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Maya Riviera Day 5: Ruins of Tulum

Sarah's parents organized a trip to the Mayan ruins of Tulum and to the Hidden Worlds cenote (seh-no-tay) on Monday. I didn't know what a cenote was, all I knew was that we were going to be doing some snorkeling there so I assumed it was like a lagoon or something. It turns out that a cenote is a fresh water pool that is accessible because a sinkhole opened up and exposed it. (A cool side note here, I just did a Google search for "cenote" to double check my informal definition and most of the image results that popped up were for two cenotes that I visited last week!)

Our visit to the Hidden Worlds cenote was very strange. We stopped off at a roadside location where they fitted us all up in wet suits and piled us into .... "truck" is too glamorous a name. Imagine an old truck. Now strip away all of the metal on the outside of it. Really, strip EVERYTHING away that isn't necessary for operation. You are left with 4 wheels, an axel, an exposed engine, a steering column and a single chair for the driver to sit in. No dashboard or anything, he had a single gauge duct taped onto the steering column. Now imagine the flat bed on the back of the truck. Add to it a simple frame about 4 feet high with 2 extra cross bars along the top. Everyone piles into the back and stands up, holding onto the metal frame for dear life. heh.

We climbed down into this tiny hole, so small that I had to contort myself a little bit to make it in. It opened into a medium sized cave which was mostly filled with water. We got in, snorkled around in a little circuit and hopped out. It was neat and I enjoyed myself despite it's simplicity.

Then we were on to the Mayan ruins of Tulum!

The plaques that describe the area mentioned that the architecture at Tulum was known for being simple and unsophisticated.


These guys need better PR.

The beach behind the cliffs of Tulum was very pretty:

We found Clay sunning himself on the edge of the cliff. I was _just_ about to go to something horrible to him while Debbie took a picture of it, but his instincts woke him up just in the nick of time.

This is the aforementioned Debbie:

Paul laments the loss of these Mayans. They owed him $5.

On that note, I've been told through my life that the Mayans disappeared or were all killed off, but this isn't true. There are still plenty of Mayan people alive in Mexico, but it's the Mayan culture that is mostly gone. Some of the people still even speak Mayan in places, although our tour guide mentioned that most who do speak Mayan mix it with Spanish. The above ruins were still inhabited in the early 1900s until the Mexican army came and whupped on them.

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