Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Climbing the Temple

On a recent trip to Cancun, my father and I jumped on an excursion to Chichen Itza. After an almost 3 hour bus ride, stopping along the way to look at cheesy, expensive trinkets, and stopping for lunch we finally made it to the site.

It was utterly awe inspiring. I don’t know how else to explain it, but after reading about it, and seeing pictures I was speechless. It was hot and the sun was blaring down, but to just be in that place was amazing.

To be in the middle of the “city” and to see how advanced they were as a civilization was mind boggling. The sculptures, the structures, the acoustics, the mathematical anomalies, to see it all in action was overpowering.

It was so hot that my dad was concerned about me climbing the temple. I told him it didn’t matter how hot it was, I was, etc. I had to climb it. Two of the four sides of the temple have climbable stairs, the other two have large areas of stairs missing. It was only 91 steps to the top, 91 narrow steps, 91 steep steps.

There is no way to walk up the steps standing straight, so bent over, hand over hand, head down, periodically looking up to make sure no one was in my way I headed up the temple, no stopping.

The view from the top of the temple was out of this world, the thing that struck me was even though the land is so flat, the only thing you could really see was the area’s just surrounding the temple. Everything else was thick jungle and there were no other landmarks to speak of, you could see for miles above the jungle.

As I stood at the top of the temple, I suddenly felt very guilty becuase I knew that during the time when this temple was built, there was no way that I would have been able to climb it, and now there were hundreds of people just clamoring all around it.

We only spent a few hours at the site, but it was amazing. To be at the far end of the grounds and hear someone from the top of the temple, as though you were standing next to them, ask their friends on the ground “are you gonna climb up”, to the echoes that were repeated 7 times in the ball court, to the way the echo of a clap sounds like a bird chirping off the temple, it was all amazing.

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