Here is the problem of not having a cable tv, you subscribed yourself to multiple entertainment channels like Netflix and short where you have on your peruse unlimited array of series, movies, documentaries of any genre you like and let you watch episodes upon episodes endlessly until your mind goes numb… I’m sure we all committed this sin, especially with this pandemic.
We love detective stories, especially the one that investigates criminal offenses, the more deranged the suspect is the better. We’re so deep into it that we feel like we’re good at looking for hints, reading the pattern and so on and so forth. At one point, I think we could open our own private detective firm, alas, we live in Quebec City where a yearly dead body count can be summarized with one hand fingers and the mafias smuggle maple syrup instead of cocaine. There’s not that much crime going on to investigate.
So as graduates of Criminal Law with a specialization in aggravated assault and bad guy behaviour from the University of Netflix and Prime TV, we should’ve known better not to trust strangers when we’re abroad, especially when we don’t even speak the language.
Yet, we casually picked up a hitchhiker when we were driving in the middle of nowhere in Yucatan from Merida to Uxmal…
When we're driving to Uxmal from Valladolid, we saw this guy by the road flagging his thumb, asking for a hike. The road was empty and endless with bushes on each sides of the road. We thought what a poor guy, he wouldn’t get a bus here. We didn’t even know where he needed to go but it looked like he needed to go in the same direction that we’re heading, so we let him hop in. All we understood was he needed a ride to go to Uxmal. Lucky for him, that's where we're going as well. For someone who finished 13 seasons of Criminal Minds in marathon, we among all people should’ve known this wasn’t wise, but it was too late and the guy was already sitting at the back of the car. How do we know he’s not a serial killer? But my friend, the question works both ways, how does he know we’re not the cray cray one? I mean, what are the odds two crazies meet each other in one car?
We continued our trip in an awkward silence after a few attempts to communicate with no avail. As soon as we arrived at the Uxmal ruins parking, our hitchhiker offered us some money for I wasn’t sure what, and was very persistent about it. Gees, was our vibe that bad that he offered us a few dinero to spare his life? Man, I thought I was the one who's gonna die with my throat machetéed for giving a ride to a hitchhiker in the middle of nowhere in Mexico…
Once we entered the ruins site, we instantly forgot about him because the place is just breathtaking. And unlike any other ruins we visited in Mexico, Uxmal ruins are not over-crowded nor over-commercialized. It’s well kept and they did a very good job in preserving the site and keeping it clean.
Pyramid of the Magician a.k.a the Adivino
As soon as we got in, we’re greeted by this amazing the Pyramid of the Magician a.k.a the Adivino. Which is fair because I think only magician can do the job to build this pyramid indeed. It has a different shape than other pyramids we’ve seen; it is inhumanely HUGE, and has this rather elliptical base instead of the more common rectangular shape like other ruins we visited during this trip. The rounded sides made it look so massive and once again made me realize how bad-ass the ancient Mayan architectural skill was. I just can’t fathom the fact that all this was all hand-made manually!
And then when you thought an ancient ruins couldn't be more sophisticated, the magician that built this site was like; hold my beer! and abracadabra!
The next ruins known as the nunnery complex has this intricate lattice stone work and all those creature sculptures all over it! The details and the bigginess of this complex are just incredible. Yes, of course some preservation effort has been made, the complex looks like it has gotten a facelift which some finicky tourists said it loses its authenticity, BUT, think of it this way, this 'facelift' are merely restoring of what was there before, creating how it looked back then before centuries of weather aged them. So imagine all this amazing details was created back then manually, by incising, pecking, carving, abrading using simple tools.
From the Nunnery, we can walk through the ball court to the next site. I noticed that at all of the ruins we visited in Yucatan, every one of them has at least a ball court. The ancient Mayans did love their exciting rubber ball games! I'm guessing this part sport, part political, and mostly sacrificial game were important back then for the Mayan society.
Different than the Magician Pyramid, this building is oddly square with square ornaments. In the front of this palace, there's a two-headed jaguar. Originally, this statue served as the throne/the seat of royal authority. The shape kinda reminds me of CatDog but sacred.
House of the Doves
Now this one is more unique. What's left in this area is a wall with nine triangular units, each with square openings, resemble a pigeonhole with its many holes used by birds for nesting and resting. Although, I'm pretty sure this wasn't the real intent of the building.
The Great Pyramid
The Great Pyramid is the only pyramid in this site that we can go on to. You can go to the top deck of this pyramid and enjoy the view overlooking the entire Uxmal site. Rumor has it, this pyramid would have been even because the building we see today was merely to serve as a substructure for another pyramid to rise on top of it. Something big must have happened and made the construction stopped midway. Whatever the cause remains as a mystery until today!
Overall, Uxmal is definitely the best ruins we visited in our trip in Yucatan, Mexico. On the way back to Merida, we had lunch at Haciendo San Pedro Ochil that offers a buffet of traditional Yucatan food. I will write all about this Hacienda in another post because it deserves its own story. After lunch, before heading back to Merida, we dipped in an underground, hidden cénoté to freshen up. It was a great day trip all and all!
PS: If someone would ask me which one to visit between Uxmal and Chichen Itza, I will still recommend to visit both because both have different kind of architectural awesomeness.