Tag Archives: Central America

The Mayan City of Palenque

Palenque Ruins, Chiapas, Mexico

Palenque Mayan Ruins

Quite a shock to me how the Mexicans have done up their part of the Mayan world, very touristy and very tacky. Outside at the entrance were tons of mexicans offering themselves as your tour guide for us$60. There were souvenir stalls right inside the mayan site trying to sell you their mayan inspired craft wares, quite sacrilegeious if you ask me. As with all their tourist sites, it only opens at 8am to 4pm, by this time it gets way too hot to walk around, the site was bare and there are hardly any trees sheltering the place. The tourists came in droves, flooding the whole place. It was the Mexican school holidays with many families coming all the way from the major big Mexican cities and noisy kids on their school trips.

Palenque Mayan Ruins
Templo de las Inscripciones, the tallest building in the site.

Palenque Mayan Ruins
Templo de las Inscripcions, image taken from el Palacio. It was so sweltering hot while I was here, I had to hide in the Palacio complex to recover from the heat.

Palenque Mayan Ruins
Typical pyramidal structure of this mayan era. There were many similar like pyramids in the site. Top of the structure is the foliated cross design typical of Palenque.

Palenque Mayan Ruins
Grupo Norte. It was like Mayan temple street aligned with stretches of temples. This image was taken from Templo del Conde where Count de Waldeck lived for a few years. This eccentric world traveller and explorer lived here for 13 years, mediating and practising his own version of the lost Altantic spirituality which eventually became the popular new age Mayanism belief. He was living here with his native mistress.

On the side note, Palenque is also the place where the Western travellers come in search of psychotropic mushrooms vendors for their psychedelic induced experiences.

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Mayan Ruins at Yaxha

Yaxha Maya RuinsYaxha Ruins, Peten State, Guatemala

Yaxha is huge, with many complexes, most still covered in mounts. It is said that this is the Las Vegas/New York or Megapolis of its time. Many came as traders or visitors. A pity I could only spend 2 odd hours here as I was on a guided tour, it took 2 hours to get here. I had an informative guide who gave details of the place and a little on how the mayans lived as well as his own theories. Coming here is challenging. You would need to arrange for private transportation bring you to this remote place.

Yaxha Maya Ruins

The highest point often belongs to some king or high royalty. The view here overlooks the River Yaxha. This city is one of the very few places that was built near some natural water source, perhaps because this was the trading capital of the mayan world and the river led to other parts of the region as well as Mexico. Somewhere along the river was also where the reality show, Survivor – Guatemala was shot.

The woods at Yaxha

The unescavated part of the woods filled with young ceibu trees.

Yaxha Maya Ruins
El Mirador – the lookout platform, after a fair climb up, you could see the tree canopies as well the whole place, with a tiny peak of the highest complex in the area. The tree in silouette is a ceibu tree part family of the ceiba, one of the sacred trees in the mayan world. While up here, the howler monkeys were belching out their very intensive calls, it was as if they were serenading to me, howler monkey style.

The woods at Uaxactun

My travel companion of this part of the adventure

Uaxactun Mayan Ruins

Uaxactun Mayan Ruins

Its quite lovely how the trees are growing amists the ruins keeping the place cool and protected from the blazing hot sun, and most of the ruins here are left in their mounts. These are tended by the very friendly locals who prune and upkeep the place on a daily basis.

Bookmark https://ihavetravellust.wordpress.com/2008/05/14/the-woods-at-uaxactun/

Mayan Ruins at Uaxactun

Forest at Uaxactun Maya Ruins
The woods of Uaxactun

Uaxactun Mayan Ruins
The woods

Uaxactun Mayan Ruins
Grupo ruins, as with all Guatemalan mayan ruins, they are tastefully restored with trees growing between the ruins. Quite unlike the Mexican sites where it is mostly bare and exposed.

Uaxactun Mayan Ruins
One of the major astrological study complexes where the stars are aligned with, I spend part of the evening starglazing at some of the complexes.

Uaxactun Mayan Ruins
Shows the difference between the exposed buildings and the ones still in their mounts. This site possibility residential quarters with many tiny rooms.

Uaxactun Mayan Ruins
As with all sites, there is always a complex at the highest point looking over at the whole area. A tall building possibilty the king’s residence. The complex over looks the town of Uaxactun and beyond.

Uaxactun Mayan Ruins
Most ruins exposed and escavated have long collasped The stones are left as it is and not restored.

Seeing Lake Atitlan in Infrared

Infrared and Normal compared
click for bigger view

It takes time to get to know her, spend a few more days with her than the usual 3 days, Lake Atitlan will slowly reveals herself to you. She is truly gorgeous and magical, often labelled as one of most beautiful lakes in the world.

Turn out I was not much of an early riser while at San Marcos de laguna. Even after setting up my alarm countless of mornings, I still could not make it for the sunrise at 5am. Only at dawn does the cloud cover disppear over the volcanos. And so I resorted to my infrared filter to uncover the beauty of this beautiful lake. This was taken late in the morning about 10am. On infrared, it reveals a little more of San Pedro Volcano, and you probably can make out part of Volcano Toliman

The only morning I managed to wake up in time for sunrise, was also the morning I did not bring my camera out.

Infrared Images of Lake Atitlan

Lago de Atitlan
The docks and the two volcanos, Toliman, San Pedro(left)
view from San Marcos de laguna
Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala
Infrared Image in monochrome

Lago de Atitlan
The docks and the two volcanos, Toliman, San Pedro(left)
view from San Marcos de laguna
Lago de Atitlan, Guatemala
Color Infrared Image

Tikal Ruins in Infrared

Tikal Gran Plaza in diptsch
Tikal Gran Plaza in diptych
view from Acropolis Centro
Petén, Guatemala
click for bigger view

Tikal Gran Plaza
Tikal Great Plaza View from Acropolis Centro
Petén, Guatemala

Semuc Champey in Infrared

Infrared landscape images of Semuc Champey, Q’eqchi’ Maya town of Lanquín, Guatemala

Semuc Champey
The pools

The Woods of Semuc Champey
The woods

Semuc Champey
The private pool

Semuc Champey
The rapids of Rio Cahabón

All images taken by Hoya IR filter and Ricoh GRD

The Monster of Tulum Ruins

The Monster of Tulum
Tulum Ruins, Yucatan State, Mexico

Iguanas are everywhere in this Mayan site which sits on top of a cliff overlooking the Caribbean ocean. This monster poses proudly for a few seconds before being frightened by troddles of rowdy tourists on organised tour packages trying to snatch its photo.

It almost feels like a Godzilla movie set at some ancient city.

Here’s the image posted at Mark in his Lonely Planet Blog Article
http://inside-digital.blog.lonelyplanet.com/2009/11/02/holy-cows-step-dogs-other-tourist-animals/

Wanna see Maximon?

Santiago, Lago de Atitlan, West Guatemala

“Wanna see Maximon?” chanted all the young touts running towards me as I barely stepped out of the ferry at Santiago, Lake Atitlan.

This deity of the Mayans has become such a huge tourist attraction that every local boy and man you meet would offer to bring you to the current abode that houses Maximon. A rather worldy street punk of no more than 10 years old managed to get my business after I bargain him down to Q$5 (quetzal) to bring me to the current property. Every year, the statue of this cross between a mayan, gringo, catholic god chooses a family house to reside in.

After a short walk to its current residence, once again I was asked Q$10 for entrance to see this rather strange looking effigy. In the same room as Maximon, there was an effgy of a dead jesus after he was crucifed, bleeding limbs and all. It seemed quite strange but not usual to mix cathoism figures with mayan deities.

There were chants going on in this tiny quarter, two men were kneeled down giving offerings to the Deity. One had a white veil drapped over him, had I not given him a second glance, I would have thought it was a lady quietly chanting away. The other one had a mobile phone stuck to his ear, constantly spitting in front of the effigy while having his phone conversation and in between that, taking huge puffs from his big fat cigar before spitting again. Obviously a multi-tasker of sorts, he might conducting some ritual but you would think that one who does not have good hygiene. The floor in front of him was covered in huge wet puddles of his thick spit. (You can probably make out some puddle at the far left bottom corner of the photo)

Took out my camera and snapped this only shot in the room before I was once again asked for more money. To take a photo of Maximon I would have to offer him more dinero pointed out by one of rather sharp faced attendant, I declined and left after lingering a little bit more looking at rest of the catholic effigies.

Paper cutting decorations adorned the house which Maximon currently resides to announce its presence.

Here’s the whole story of Maximon by Wikipedia

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