While Mom and Dad were off picking up Nathan in Tuxtla Gutierrez the rest of us divided up into two groups and went to Cobá on consecutive days. We divided so that one group would always be home with Avery.
I felt a little like the trip was falsely advertised because it said we were going to Cobá. We did go to Cobá, but in reality we spent half of the day in other places. The first half of the day we did the adventure activities. Grandpa waited in the van through most of those, but not all of them. After all the exciting high risk stuff we went to the actual ruins of Cobá and walked around.
After the two hour bus ride over about a million speed bumps and honking at about ten dogs to get out of the road we arrived at a jungle-ish area where we changed into swim suits and headed out. We hiked a little bit to a zip line. Clair was pretty scared of the zip line (I think she was scared of about everything adventurous that we did) but she was a good sport and didn’t make too much of a fuss.
The zip line went over a field and a small pond. It was a nice view but kind of short for my taste. I was hoping to zip line through a full jungle scene, but it was fun none the less. After the zip line we walked a little ways to a pond where we kayaked through a pond and a small canal to another pond. We saw some fish and the ponds were really peaceful. It was pretty nice.
Clair was hilarious steering. Mostly we did pretty well but we ran into a few river banks. After the kayaking we all got back in the van and drove to another site where there was a cenote. I think this was my favorite part of the day. A cenote is an underground cave with water filling it. First we had a blessing by a Mayan shaman to protect us from the bad spirits in the cenote. They Maya believe that the bad spirits will make bad things happen to you for three days after going into a cenote so he gave us a protective blessing in Mayan.
The smoke is tree sap put on hot coals so it burns. He taught us a few words in Mayan but I forgot them almost as soon as I heard them. So much for my linguistic skills. After the blessing we crawled through a tiny opening down some really steep stairs onto a platform that was just above the water. After a quick talk we all got to jump in.
The water was crystal clear and felt really nice. It was nice and quiet and our guide grabbed some calcium from the bottom to rub on our faces for a “professional spa treatment.” I wanted to stay down there for about three hours, but we had to move on.
After the cenote we changed into regular clothes and drove to a cenote that had caved in so that there wasn’t any water in it anymore. We rapelled down the side into the bottom of it and looked around a bit before climbing some really steep stairs to get back out. This is the part my 82 year old Grandpa decided to participate in. Crazy old man!
He had quite a time getting back out of the cave too.
After the rapelling we had a traditional mayan meal made for us by the women of the village we had done most of our adventures in. The food was fabulous. Unfortunately from this point out I don’t have any pictures, as Mom and Dad had taken the camera with them to get Nathan. The pictures I do have and have posted so far came from the people who ran the tour. They put all the pictures they took on a CD we could buy at the end, and as I knew I couldn’t live without a picture of my Grandpa rapelling, I forked over the 20 bucks and now I can show all you wonderful people what we did.
The meal was vegetable soup, black beans, rice, two different types of chicken, tortillas stuffed with potatoes, homemade corn tortillas, jamaica (hibiscus tea, but it was cold) and tamarindo. It was fabulous. And they had spaghetti there for picky people like Clair, so she was happy too. Of course, we were all pretty hungry, but we ate up and everyone seemed to like it. At the end they gave us a desert made of sesame seeds and honey.
After the meal we drove to Cobá where we had a very serious and emphatic tour of a ruin of a government building and Mayan ball court before we went to see the main temple a mile and a half away. The tour was interesting. The buildings are oriented to the compass and the ball court had a carved picture at each end that was only barely visible anymore that describes the rituals of the ball game. It looked kind of grisly.
After the tour we hired a local biker with a bike set up to take two passengers in front to take us all to the main temple. It was pretty impressive and apparently they usually let people climb it (not that I probably would have, I was pretty beat by then) but they have been trying to restore it for the last couple of months and weren’t allowing anyone to climb it. It was big and impressive, although not as cool as the temple at Chichen Itza. It also wasn’t as well restored which diminished its impression a little but there were rocks with carvings on it and I can’t imagine how they got all those rocks piled on top of eachother the way they were. I’m glad I saw it before Chichen Itza, though, or I might have been a little disappointed.
We rode back in the same bike contraption and I bought a treat at the entrance of the park. Clair bought a bracelet and we checked out some of the things people were selling. Then it was an hour to Tulum where we had cookies and abstained from a free shot of tequila and then two more hours home. The tour guide told us when we got back that we had driven over 108 speed bumps that day. There’s Mexico for you I guess.
The next day Linden, Nathan and Nelson got up at 6:45 and they got to do the whole thing while we went to go get Grandpa a replacement pair of pants for the pair he tore on the trip.