UPDATE#12 04/30/2010   

Howdy Everybody,

The adventures of 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and thru 04/29/2010 have been published on the website.  We continue with the latest edition.

 UPDATE 2010 #12  04/30/2010

At last update, we were traveling on a Yucatan adventure in Mexico.  Welcome back to our continuing adventure…


     Our upper level room at the Casa La Candelaria guesthouse, in the city of Valladolid, enabled us to get rested up for another exciting day.


     Across from the guesthouse, a modern chapel has taken on the façade of antiquity.


     Adjacent to the guesthouse, a lovely little park provides friends, or lovers, with these charming seat arrangements known as “confidenciales”.  The closely joined, opposed-facing seats allow a pair to speak quietly and confidentially while enabling them to look into each other’s eyes.  They are a wonderful and unique design.


     After packing up and checking out of our guesthouse, we headed further west to the most visited Mayan site in all of Mexico, Chichen Itza.


     Chichen Itza was a major focal point in the northern Maya lowlands from the Late Classic through the Terminal Classic and into the early portion of the Early Postclassic period. The site exhibits a multitude of architectural styles.  The site contains many fine stone buildings in various states of preservation, and many have been restored. The buildings are connected by a dense network of formerly paved roads, called sacbeob or sacbe.  Archaeologists have found almost 100 sacbe criss-crossing the site, and extending in all directions from the city.     The buildings of Chichén Itza are grouped in a series of architectonic sets, and each set was at one time separated from the other by a series of low walls. The three best known of these complexes are the Great North Platform, which includes the monuments of El Castillo, Temple of Warriors and the Great Ball Court; The Ossario Group, which includes the pyramid of the same name as well as the Temple of Xtoloc; and the Central Group, which includes the Caracol, Las Monjas, and Akab Dzib.

     Dominating the center of Chichén is the Temple of Kukulkan (the Mayan name for Quetzalcoatl).  It is often referred to as "El Castillo" (the castle). This step pyramid has a ground plan of square terraces with stairways up each of the four sides to the temple on top. On the Spring and Autumn equinox, at the rising and setting of the sun, the corner of the structure casts a shadow in the shape of a plumed serpent - Kukulcan, or Quetzalcoatl - along the west side of the north staircase. On these two annual occasions, the shadows from the corner tiers slither down the northern side of the pyramid with the sun's movement to the serpent's head at the base.


     The Temple of the Warriors complex consists of a large stepped pyramid fronted and flanked by rows of carved columns depicting warriors.


     At the top of the stairway on the pyramid’s summit (and leading towards the entrance of the pyramid’s temple) is a Chac Mool.


     Along the south wall of the Temple of Warriors are a series of what are today exposed columns, although when the city was inhabited these would have supported an extensive roof system. The columns are in three distinct sections: an east group, that extends the lines of the front of the Temple of Warriors; a north group, which runs along the south wall of the Temple of Warriors and contains pillars with carvings of soldiers in bas-relief; and a northeast group, which was apparently formed a small temple at the southeast corner of the Temple of Warriors, which contains a rectangular decorated with carvings of people or gods, as well as animals and serpents. The northeast column temple also covers a small marvel of engineering, a channel that funnels all the rainwater from the complex, some 130 ft away, to a rejollada, a former cenote.


     An inchworm wiggles its way along the stone facings.


     This would be an example of a typical Mayan habitation, constructed of wood, mud, and thatch.


     Ossario, somewhat like El Castillo, is a step-pyramid temple dominating the platform, only on a smaller scale. Similar to El Castillo, it has four sides with staircases on the respective sides.  There is a temple on top, but unlike El Castillo, at the center is an opening into the pyramid which leads to a natural cave approximately 39 ft below.


     El Caracol is a cockeyed, round building on a large square platform. It's nicknamed El Caracol ("the snail") because of the stone spiral staircase inside. The structure, with its unusual placement on the platform and its round shape (the others are rectangular, in keeping with Maya practice), is theorized to have been a proto-observatory with doors and windows aligned to astronomical events, specifically around the path of Venus.


     Constructed in the Puuc architectural style, the Spanish nicknamed this complex Las Monjas ("The Nuns" or "The Nunnery").  The group was actually a governmental palace. Just to the left is a small temple (nicknamed La Iglesia, "The Church") decorated with elaborate masks of the rain god Chaac.


The Upper Temple of the Jaguar overlooks the ball court and has an entrance guarded by two, large columns carved in the familiar feathered serpent motif.  In the entrance to the Lower Temple of the Jaguar, which opens behind the ball court, is another Jaguar throne, similar to the one in the inner temple of El Castillo, except that it is well worn and missing paint or other decoration. The outer columns and the walls inside the temple are covered with elaborate bas-relief carvings.


     At one end of the Great Ball Court is the North Temple, popularly called the Temple of the Bearded Man.


     The Tzompantli, a low, flat platform monument, is surrounded with carved depictions of human skulls.


     The Platform of the Eagles and the Jaguars is built in a combination Maya and Toltec styles. Each side has a staircase to the top. Carved into the sides, there are panels depicting Eagles and Jaguars consuming what appear to be human hearts.


     One end of the Great Ball Court…


      The Cenote Sagrado (Sacred Cenote)(cenotes are sinkholes that expose the natural water table to the surface). It was a place of pilgrimage for ancient Maya people who, according to ethnohistoric sources, would conduct sacrifices during times of drought.  Archaeological investigations support this as thousands of objects have been removed from the bottom of the cenote, including materials such as gold, jade, obsidian, shell, wood, cloth, as well as skeletons of children and men.


     Arriving from Cancun, hoards of tourists, packed into hundreds of tour group buses, literally invade the site each day.  It is best to stay nearby and arrive early, allowing your personal experience to be enhanced without the hindrance of massive crowds.


     Take time to enjoy the beautiful flowers…


     This one brings to my mind the smiling face of a comical cartoon character…


      Having taken advantage of our early visit to Chichen Itza, we were able to continue west to the colonial city of Merida.  We had booked reservations, online, at the Hotel Dolores Alba.  We found it to be very nice, centrally located, friendly, and it had a pool.  The Yucatan was experiencing a record heat wave.


      The municipal palace…


     Merida is a delightful city that offers a wide variety of entertainment venues.  As the state and regional capital, Mérida is a cultural center, featuring multiple museums, art galleries, restaurants, movie theatres and shops. Mérida retains an abundance of beautiful colonial buildings and is a vibrant cultural center with music and dancing playing an important part in day-to-day life. The people of Merida are quite mindful of the arts and enjoy performances in their magnificently restored theatre, the Teatro Jose Peon Contreras.


     Tonight’s performance featured the musical styling of a favored Mexican pianist and his orchestral group of musicians and singers.  It was wonderful!


     The theatre offers great acoustics and high-tech stage lighting.


     At night, several of the streets in the historic center are closed to vehicular traffic and are set up in an outside café/restaurant atmosphere.

     We hope you will join us in the continuation of our Yucatan Adventure in the next update section.    




       We sincerely hope that you will review the previous years of compilations to give context to the current editions.  Please let us know if you have any special suggestions and thoughts.

     REMEMBER:  The website is now fully active and you can visit it at any time.  You can also review any of the previous logs from the years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 to learn more about the crew and their many adventures.  Enjoy.



   You may contact us via email anytime.

Thanks for allowing us to share our life and adventures with you.


Lotsa Luv,

Fred Reed and Judy Law




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