Okay, so it has been several weeks since I took the time to update the 'ole blog. Sorry! I've had far more important/fun things to do.
Just got back from a week-long cruise with my family (and Becky). There were 19 of us total. It was SOOOOOO F-U-N!! I'm browner, blonder, and a few pounds heavier (the food was amazing!). Leslie couldn't go (boooooo to her professors), so Becky came along. We had a fabulous time. The boat was a bit rocky on Tuesday night (even the staff had trouble walking around), but overall the weather was pretty good. I'll probably have to tell you the story over the course of several blogs, there's so much to tell!
We sailed out of Galveston Sunday afternoon to make our way to our first stop: Yucatan/Progreso, Mexico. We spent most of Monday laying out by the pool, wandering around the boat, and observing other cruisers. There were some interesting folks on the boat, lemme tell ya. Tuesday we arrived in Yucatan/Progreso. We got off the boat, boarded a bus, and traveled 2 1/2 hours to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza. We stopped at a bathroom/tourist trap before we go to the ruins. There were several Mexicans (who stood behind ropes behind the buses) yelling and screaming, trying to sell us their crafts. Wish I had bought a few of those masks, they were cool.
Finally, we arrive at Chichen Itza. Wow. Our tour guide took us around the ruins and told us the stories behind them. It was incredible, beautiful, and chock full of iguanas. (I first spotted one in the tree, which I was planning to lean against until I saw an iguana eye looking back at me). I climbed El Castillo, which is the temple of Kukulcan. There are 91 steps to the top, and they are steep. Going up wasn't so bad, and the view from the top was breathtaking. Once up there though, the thought of having to go back down those steep 91 steps was a bit, um, breathtaking as well. I think it took me about 5 minutes with my back to the wall to convince myself to take that first step down. On one side, there is a rope you can hold onto, so I sat down on the first step, held onto the rope, and scooted myself down all 91 steps. I don't really like heights all that much. A little scary.
There's a smaller pyramid inside the big one. You have to climb this horribly dark, humid, closed in, and steep stairway to get to the top of this one. There was a Chac Mool (Chac was the Mayan god of rain and was also considered to be the "messenger of the gods". The stone figures usually functioned as an altar, and the bowl he holds served to receive Mayan offerings to be carried to the sun god) and the throne of the Jaguar. No pictures are supposed to be taken up there (I tried with my cell, and it was all blurry, creepy!). Going back down the stairs was a bit more difficult, but with my hand on the ceiling to steady myself, it wasn't too bad. Definitely not a place for the claustrophobic.
If you are at all a history buff, you really need to go to Chichen Itza. It is amazing. On the equinoxes (March 21 and December 21--we missed it by only a week!) there is a phenomenon that takes place on El Castillo. On these days the sun falls in such a way that the shape of a snake seems to slither down the steps (connecting with the serpent head carved into stone at the bottom). Thousands of people come out to witness this event. This was the symbolic descent of Kukulcan, and (archaeologists believe) had a connection with the Mayan's agricultural seasons.
Okay, so enough history for today. Next time on Heather's blog: 12 foot swells and Cozumel.