The one guided tour I took was to Uxmal and Kabah. The pronounciation on Uxmal isÂ ”oosh-mal”, which translates from Mayan as “three harvests”, representing the three harvests of maize that they could reap from the soil at this location each year.
[The size of the main pyraymid overwhelmsÂ you as you enter the site - I couldn't even fit the image into the scope of the camera lens.]
Once again, you could see nothing from the entrance, a quasi-handicap accessible uphill trek. When you get back down to the bottom of the hill, the trees finally part to give you a view of the back side of Uxmal’s main pyramid, a 39 meter (127 foot) temple dedicated to Chaac, the Mayan rain god. As there were no rivers or lakes near Uxmal, its residents relied heavily on regular rainfall.
[Why do some Chaac noses turn up, and others down...? Is there a difference...?]
Images of Chaac lined every side of the doorway to the room at the top of the temple, and thirteen huge Chaac faces accompanied you up either side of the main staircase (where numerous “no climbing” signs were once again placed.) The rain god’s face was easily identifiable on other buildings around the site.
[Left: Dude with a jaguar head above him; Right: A snake winding its way around the roof.]
There was a fair deal of animal symbology scattered all over the site, which made exploration quite interesting. The down side of being on a guided tour was that I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to explore all these images – yet without the guide, I would have had no clue what they meant…win some, lose some.
Up on a hill was the governor’s palace, where it is believed that the rooms of the structure served as government offices. (But they’re rather dank and musty and personally I wouldn’t want to work in there without a HEPA filter.)
[Myself, hanging out with a rain god. Everybody's gotta have a hobby.]
Behind the governor’s palace was another pyramid. This one had only been fixed up on the front side – the other three sides looked like a rocky hill, overgrown with grass and a few bushes. This one we were allowed to climb – I couldn’t resist, of course. Inside the small room at the top, I took a picture of myself with Chaac.