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And the Mayans thought they had it rough. Chichen Itza. 

  

Chichen Itza or the Mayans have no idea about suffering. 
Now even though you’ve paid for everything on the all inclusive vacation, there are always extras. The better wine, the kids free zones, the off site excursions. Part of the reason of going to Mexico was to see something other than the beach, because why on earth would you ever just want to sit on the beach being served a string of food and drinks all day long. It was decided that the “day” trip would be to the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, a true wonder of the world. We were told not only would able to see the ruins, but they were throwing in stops at a Mexican sink hole where you could swim and lunch at another all you can eat roadside buffet/giant souvenir stand. A 2.5 hour bus ride separated us and and a day away from the beach. 

This excursion meant being on the bus at 715am. That’s the equivalent to a school time bus pick up. It meant waking up at 645am, which in turn, at least for me meant not sleeping the night before for fear of the alarm not going off even though I’ve never slept past 545am in my life. The real challenge was getting the kids up, the same kids that slept until 11:00am the day before. Well on that day there must have been some Mayan miracle because it actually all came together and we even had time for breakfast.  

The all you can eat buffet. Deadly on a bus trip if you pick the wrong combo. Important in case the lunch buffet was everything pork. So of course the only logical thing to do, load up the beach bag with 30 boxes of Zucharitas, because “They’re Estupendo!” So after our 10 minute buffet breakfast heist we were picked up for out 2.5 hour ride to the ruins. Our transportation promised, luxury bus, delivered, mini van. I could have started complaining at the that moment, but something told me it was better to hold out til later. So, at this point it was just us and a woman already sleeping. As we turned onto the highway, the thought of a 2.5 hour peaceful van ride, seemed ok. After 30 minutes we stopped and waited. Finally, barreling down behind us we saw it, the big bus. Luxury. First class, well first class minus. And as we got on, we saw it was a big empty bus, seats galore, more sleep awaited. As we lurched away, we travelled all of five minutes before stopping again. More people got on, and then another stop, more people, and then a stop where people got on and off. We were on the crosstown local. Tourists from every hotel in Mexico got on at various stops. I was so delirious, I think the last guy we picked up had a chicken. It was 915am and we were finally making our way for the 2.5 hour bus ride to the ruins. Now it was time for me to spring into action.

“Another 2.5 hours? We were told the whole trip was only 2.5 hours. That’s really not fair”

Boy I really showed him.

“Don’t worry. There’s a time change we gain an hour. Here have a beer.”

How could I argue with that logic. And so we were off. A croissant and a never ending supply of beer I assume qualifies for a Mexican bus breakfast. Then came the history lesson. As the bus was filled with Germans and Russians and Egyptians and people from Spain and two American families of course everything was done in English. They didn’t even bother to see if we understood another language, they just knew. So the highlight of the talk was the fact that the descendants of the Mayan people have a purple mark above their ass. To prove it, the tour guide pulled out a picture of her son showing his ass with a giant purple mark. The kind of mark that would get you put into jail for child abuse. I really couldn’t hear anything else through the speaker except for the fact was that there was no numero dos in the bus bathroom. As we wound up with seats in the back, and seeing the other people on the tour, I was grateful for the declaration.  

Finally, 4.5 hours after getting on our minivan, we arrived. Chichen Itza. It was a sea of people, the majority of whom would have been easy prey for the old inhabitants. The site was amazing, buildings based on the sun’s place in the sky during the different seasons, storehouses which kept things cool, structures that had been there for over a thousand years. I would tell more, but our tour guide vanished 15 mins after we arrived when we stopped for 5 seconds to take pictures. 10 of us were left to wander on our own through a sea of merchants selling “Mayan” trinkets. For an hour, we saw amazing examples of Mayan architecture punctuated by people eating ice cream and/or screaming at their kids who were pissed because they couldn’t climb on the ruins. An amazing hour of wondering was followed by a five minute run back to the bus for fear it would leave without us. So, yes, that’s right, we had just spent 4.5 hours on a bus for a 1.5 hour self tour of one of the great wonders of the world. And the fun was just beginning. 

  
Back on the bus, the question of where the tour guide went was met with another beer. 15 minutes later we were at our lunch, a Mexican roadside all you can eat buffet. Now mindful of the warning of no numero dos on the bus, and given the fact that I wouldn’t have stopped at the is place even if it was in the US, I limited my diet to rice and more rice. Binding. Fortunately the tour guides carved out 2 hours for this stop. So without eating, we were left to wander through the giant souvenir stand selling the same stuff that they had on the outside, just at a higher price, which of course meant this is where the kids had to do their shopping. 

  
More beers and off to the sinkhole. It was now pushing 3:00, approximately the time we told everything would be done. The sinkhole is exactly as it sounds. It is a giant hole in the ground, sinking to a depth of approximately 150,000 feet or something like that. It’s filled with natural water that was now a swim hole for hundreds of tourists. From above it actually looked like the giant live Petri dish it was. After taking a dip and surviving, I had the pleasure of going to the change room where I was greeted by the sight of a guy who left the stall door wide open, while he was, I guess for lack of a better term, squat hovering, above the toilet. I assume he had the same numero dos rule on his bus.  

The ride home…well you can guess. The accommodation to us for the local ride on the way to the site was making sure that we were the last people dropped off.  

Chichen Itza an amazing site. Make sure to rent a car and go alone.  

Post Script. When I complained to the tour company about the day they apologized with two bottles of tequila and a ceramic cross and Christmas ornament. Perfection.   
#chichenitza #mexico #50goingon14 #insangucafe #bustour 

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