Friday, June 11, 2010

Puuc Zone Part II

After leaving Yaxcopoil and Peba and finally finding ourselves in the hills of the Puuc, we drive first to the Mayan ruins of X'lapak, which I stupidly thought were the last ones in that line of ruins. While my New York guest toured the site, I rechecked maps and saw that there was another site, Labna, just 4 kilometers away.

Labna was our next stop, after about an hour at X'lapak. I was initially not going to visit the site but thought what the hell, it's been a while - and I am glad I did!

Labna is a spectacular, albeit small, site full of intricately carved stones and stunning, rebuilt arches. The ruins under the trees in the jungle are un-restored mounds of carved stones, which lie in helpless abandon at your feet as you wander through them, feeling a little like Catherwood and Stephens must have felt when they saw them for the first time. The ruins are so detailed and so in your face, since this is an off-the-beaten-track Mayan ruins site and as such you are free to immerse yourself - literally - in amongst the pieces of forgotten ancient history strewn at your feet.

Be sure to wander off the sac-be or path that leads you naturally from one area to another; there is plenty to see under the brush and trees, plus you have the added advantage of it being a lot cooler, especially when visiting in a month like this, when it is so hot.

After Labna, it was Sayil and finally Kabah, the ruins closest to Santa Elena and Uxmal and the ones I mentioned in an earlier post a few days ago. At Sayil, I again waited for Ms. NYC to explore to her hearts content while I explored photographic opportunities in the sparsely stocked 'gift shop' palapa. An example of the interesting - ok, pornographic - items on display, covered in thick, black, cobwebs dating back to the Echevarria presidency, is in the photo below.

After Kabah, and thoroughly saturated not only with the heat that was becoming unbearable but also Mayan ruins, it was time to pay a visit to Valerie Pickles Pickled Onion restaurant, on the highway as you near Santa Elena. A light lunch was had there and then we were off to Uxmal, where I accompanied my New Yorker to the check-in counter and left her to enjoy a well-deserved and refreshing afternoon by the pool.

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