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Elaine and Peter’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 01 Mar 2020

Location: Chicken Itza, Central America

MapTraveling today through the coastal plain of the Yucatan peninsulA. It is a flat area covered in impenetrable vegetation some of which is quite in hospitable such as the poison ivy.

First stop was the town of Izamal, named after one of the most important gods, Izama. He was apparently a sort of genius in mathematical and writing systems, so much revered that when he died, he was worshipped as a god. The name Izamal itself means city of hills referring to the many Mayan temples originally built here.
We were taken to have a look round the St Franciscon monastery which was built overlookingbthe main square on top of a Mayan temple. It was quite a disappointing place but it was undeniably fascinating to sit in the square and watch real Mexico pass by on its way to the local market.

As we travelled on today we passed through several small villages with very basic facilities. Passing one primary school, the school gate syndrome took on a new meaning altogether, with whole families crammed onto a moped or into a tuktuk.

Our hotel was a superb place, the Maryland Resort with its own private entrance to the site of Chichen Itza. Originally before the hotel, the owners of the land built a hacienda with some of the ancient monument stones used for the structure as they were in many places around the country.

There were many such haciendas in fertile areas and it is hard to believe looking at these lovely friendly people how many of them are descendants of slavery.
Apparently life was worse here than it was for the back slave trade carried out in the USA.
The haciendas workers were paid a determinate amount for a period of time but the salary was very little and they could barely the haciendas each used their own currency, money earned could only be spent in the stores on the plantations where prices were double. And so the workers got more and more into debt which was impossible to repay and they became owned as slaves.
One ritual was that when two workers got married, the new bride had to be spent with the hacienda owner!

Later that evening, five of us took a taxi into the site of Chichen Itza for a sound and light show... and a bonus, we got in for half price as OAPs .... it was a fabulous evening and one which we will remember.