March 21st may have been Spring Equinox, but it seems like New York weather would beg to differ. Since you can’t fight Mother Nature, my husband and I took the opportunity to hightail it down to Cancun, Mexico so that I could get a much-needed dose of Vitamin D.
A lot of my usual travel activities center around understanding cultures. I admittedly geek out a bit when it comes to learning about history (or anything, really). So, I wanted to take advantage of an entire week south of the border to not just my get my beach on but to go on a little field trip to the ancient ruins of the Mayan city Chichen Itza.
Even though it’s not yet summer down there, it was H-O-T. It’s hard to keep it cool in the direct sunlight, so it requires some careful outfit planning. Hence the white-on-white ensemble in breathe-able fabrics. The natural ventilation (aka holes) in my summer sweater from Pinkyotto were crucial. My gently wrinkled white linen Theory shorts (similar pair here) were just loose enough to not adhere to my skin. You know you hate it when that happens.
If you’re interested in what I learned while I was there, read on for some Fun Facts!
It’s hard not to marvel at the architectural achievements of the Mayans. The Temple of Kukulcan was named one of the new 7 Wonders in 2011. You can get some sense of the enormity of it from the picture above. That’s me standing at the feet of a giant! My only wish was that visitors were still allowed to climb to the top. I could have used a good stairmaster workout after a week of eating and drinking at an all-inclusive resort.
The Mayans were excellent sportsmen and played a game of cultural significance for them at the Great Ballcourt constructed in the city. No records currently exist of the rules, but from what I can gather it seemed like some sort of soccer/basketball hybrid. That’s my armchair archaeologist interpretation, anyway.
Another amazing thing about the Ball Court is that the acoustics are inexplicably, expertly engineered. Each end has a raised temple area, and you can hear a whisper from one end to the other. That’s a distance of over 500ft, so I guess you’d be hard pressed to keep a secret in that place!
Mayans were one of 3 cultures (along with the Babylonians and the Hindus) who independently invented the concept of zero. Even with the advent of modern technology, when’s the last time you heard of someone inventing a number? I mean, that’s loco!