Chichen-Itza Mayan Ruins
Chichen-Itza (website) is a 2 hour bus ride from Cancun. Thankfully, our bus was comfortable and air conditioned because it was HOT out there! In April of 2003, it was over 100 degrees and very humid. But no matter because it is well worth the trip. These are probably the most famous Mayan ruins in the world.
Model of Chichen-Itza Ball Court Scoring Ring Beheading
The great ball court is absolutely huge! I can't even imagine playing an hour of full-court basketball in there. And look how high up the stone scoring rings are! Dunking is pretty much out of the question. The base of this court is lined with carved murals. The mural in the picture above is of a player getting beheaded, something that happens to the captain of the team that loses (you can see 7 streams of blood squirting out of his neck). Talk about motivation to win!!
El Castillo Stairs of El Castillo Ball Court Jungle Temple of Warriors
El Castillo is the central attraction at Chichen-Itza. The stairs are REALLY steep! We were warned ahead of time that some people get to the top and are afraid to come down. A few people have died falling down the stairs. The picture of Genelle & Tiffany on the steps shows other people using all four limbs to get up while some are coming down on their butts. Genelle & I successfully made the climb and were rewarded with a great view from which I got some nice pictures.
NOTE: "El Castillo" has been closed to climbing
Many tourist have died by falling down the steep, narrow steps. The last death was in 2006 when an 80-year old lady from San Diego fell down all of the stairs from the very top. That accident, combined with longtime warnings from archaeologists that the structure was being irreparably eroded by the hundreds of thousands of visitors who climbed it every year, prompted officials to close it.
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