Friday, June 6, 2014

Cruising the Western Caribbean, Part II

On Wednesday of our cruise, we docked in Puerto Progresso, Mexico, where we visited the ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza.  It was a two hour bus ride to the ruins that are situated in the center of the Yucatan Peninsula.  Dominating the North Platform of Chichen Itza is the Temple of Kukulkan (a Maya feathered serpent deity similar to the Aztec Quetzalcoatl), usually referred to as El Castillo. This step pyramid stands about 100 high and consists of a series of nine square terraces. The four faces of the pyramid have protruding stairways. At the base of the balustrades of the northeastern staircase are carved heads of a serpent.

On the Spring and Autumn equinoxes, in the late afternoon, the northwest corner of the pyramid casts a series of triangular shadows against the western balustrade on the north side that evokes the appearance of a serpent wriggling down the staircase, which some scholars have suggested is a representation of the feathered-serpent god Kukulkan.  One of these days, I'd love to return for the Spring equinox, which gets roughly 60,000 visitors on that day to see the serpent wriggle down the staircase.  Fewer people attend the Autumn Equinox because it is often cloudy, and I'd hate to travel all the way, just for it to he cloudy.

Also, at Chichen Itza is the Great Ball Court, the largest in Central America.  In the corner of the ball court, our guide Antonio showed us this little Mayan woman who was selling handkerchiefs.  She was so cute, I had to take her picture.  We bought four of her handkerchiefs.  There were tons of little stands selling Mayan calendars and masks, as well as the wooden penis below.  It was so beautifully carved, I would have bargained with them for a price, if my mother had not been with me.  I actually bought most of my souvenirs from the cruise at Chichen Itza.

Sadly, we only had two hours at Chichen Itza.  I could have spent days explore the ruins.  After. Two hour bus ride back, we made it to the ship just in time to board, so I saw very little of Progresso.  That night the ship sailed around the Yucatan Peninsula to Cozumel.  The only thing I can really say about Cozumel is that it is a Mexican tourist trap.  In fact, from what I saw of it, it's not that much different from Florida.

From the vantage point of the ship, it looks like Pensacola or Panama City Beach.  In the tourists shops, it wasn't much different, just the jewelry was cheaper.  Mama bought her a beautiful pair of sapphire earrings.  I think all I bought was a daiquiri.  Although I heard that a lot of people went to the pharmacies, and if I didn't have insurance and/or needed Viagra, it would have been the place to go.  But the proce of my migraine medicine is much cheaper in the United States with my insurance, though I was surprised they sold it down there. 

After walking around Cozumel and having lunch, we went back to the ship and I enjoyed some of the eye candy.  The gulf was actually pretty rough that night and the boat was rocking something fierce.  I barely had any dinner,  I was getting a little nauseous with the motion of the ship.  So I turned in early that night.  Friday was our last full day at sea and it rained most of the day, and since the storm was heading with us to New Orleans, it was raining when we docked in New Orleans as well.  We had planned on heading into the French Quarter for beignets and some cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde, but wih the rain, we decided to head on home.  There's not much worse than the French Quarter when it rains.  And thus, it rained most of the way home until we got to Alabama.  Come to find out, it was the first sunny day our home had seen all week.

I loved every minute of the cruise, and I can't wait to go on another one.  Who's ready to go with me?


MAC said...

I hope you're feeling better.

I'm enjoying your "slide show" from your trip. I also enjoy the eye candy you've sprinkled throughout.

Thanks for sharing!!!

Damien Malachy said...

I envy you even the brief visit to the Mayan ruins. I spent three summers in Mexico City and had a chance to visit a number of other places (Pueble, Guadalajara, Taxco, Cuernavaca, etc) but never the Mayan sites. I did make it to Teotihuacan twice, though. Loved that!

Mike said...


What ship were you on?

We were on Carnival Legend. Carnival Dream was in port when we were in Cozumel.

JoeBlow said...

Mike, we were on the Carnival Elation. Not one of Carnival's largest ships but it was a lot of fun.

silvereagle said...

Would enjoy a transatlantic cruise sometime, but not solo as the solo pays for two! Cruise for solo travelers remains expensive on most ships. Some are offering solo rooms, but very very small.

Did you model for carving in the photo that you almost bought??!!

JoeBlow said...

Anytime you want a companion to travel with you on a transatlantic voyage, silvereagle, I will happily go and be your historical guide.

And no, I did not serve as the model, but would love to meet the person who did.

Anonymous said...

Quite a carving :D
Pity you couldn't take it as a souvenir