Friday, January 7, 2011

between north and central america - Mexico Day 2

moving onto our next destination - Merida in the state of Yucatan. the city bears the same name as the one in Spain. Merida is crowned "The White City" for its beauty and it's also an important founding place for the Mayan civilization for hundreds of years before the Spanish arrival. a culture center to see both the ancient history of the Mayan tribe and the colonial influence of Spaniards.

Uxmal & Chichen Itza are two major Mayan ruins. personally I prefer the serenity of Uxmal and that's also where I finally made the climb to the top of a pyramid. Yippee! Chichen Itza is among one of the new 7 wonders of the world. there are much to see there from landscape to all the temple ruins, some tourists may opt to stay overnight at the site's hotels but we just spent an afternoon there this time. what I found most fascinating was the story of the Mayan ball game - Pok ta Pok.

the goal
a platform for displaying the skulls of the dead after human sacrifice

the ball court is a long narrow alley with side walls. played by 7 players on each team, with 6 players in the field and the captain on the edge of the wall on top overseeing the game. the goal is to shoot a solid rubber ball (about the size of a soccer ball) through a little stone ring hanging high (about 8 - 10 feet above the ground) on each side of the wall. if that doesn't sound tough enough, knowing the rules of the game will definitely make your jaw drop. players cannot touch the ball with their hands, feet or head but only with their hips and thighs. extremely difficult to strike a goal! making it hard to win had a far more significant meaning you'll see... evidence suggests that the games often ended with human sacrifice, with the losing team giving their lives to their gods willingly. so it's more that just a recreational game but a ritual served to their religious and political means.

on a lighter note, when we visited the Monumento a la Patria, the traffic was stopped by a policeman for us tourists to cross the rotary to take pictures which normally was not allowed. thanks to our guide who's friends with nice mr. policeman. some of us even hijacked his motorbike for pictures : P

the moon was hanging big and low that night while we were on our way to Cancun to enjoy the Caribbean beach breeze and sunshine.

soundtrack accompanying my journey: 

I Am Nothing But Emotion - Maximilian Hecker 

follow him on fb Maximilian Hecker or twitter Max_Hecker

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