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Uxmal

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In the hills an hour south of Merida, past the edge of the Chicxulub crater, sits Uxmal.  Uxmal was a Mayan trade center from the Late to Terminal Classic period with about 20k residents at its height. It is an excellent example of the Puuc architectural style, and the pinnacle of late Mayan art. As it grew from a small town to a major center in the region, sacbe were built, radiating out to nearby settlements (the sacbe linking Uxmal to Kabah is still standing) and other large sites like Chichén Itzá. Even after it was abandoned, it was still visited as a pilgrimage site until the Spanish conquest in the 1400s. Due to its location in the hills, it remained well-preserved. It officially became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1996.


The site has a number of well-preserved buildings and carvings, even before its restoration. If you visit, the first building you'll see after climbing up the steps is the Pyramid of the Magician (the first picture at the top of the post). Unlike most…

Orbital resonance

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There were massive tropical storms. The children, reared in lands where rainstorms are subdued things, were amazed. They didn't know when the car arrived, that they would be flying away. Like little lightning rods catching the charge of familial anxiety, they wavered between anxiousness and calm.

 I didn't understand it before, but I do now- the need to leave post, if only for a little while. The change was a welcome reprieve, but we're back at post again. Just in time for more rain. We also came home to a green pool that clearly had not been cleaned in the two weeks we were gone. Needless to say, I am now working to arrange for a company to come by and regularly maintain the pool. Such is life in the Yucatan.

  School number two is in our rear view window now, after a miserable slog to close out the month. I don't think anyone will miss it. I know I won't miss it. The emails keep coming though, asking when we'll re-enroll our children, or emails telling me …

Mayapan

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Forty five minutes south of Merida, off of I-184 is the archaeological site of Mayapan. It is an easy site to visit, as the ground is pretty level and clear of debris. Like previous sites we've visited, there are more uncovered areas on the perimeter of the cleared and restored area. The big draw of the site is its main pyramid, the Temple of Kukulcan. The temple, and the other structures found at this site are generally considered inferior to those found at Chichen Itza. But, unlike Chichen Itza, this place has fewer crowds. So if you get there early (like we did), you will have the site to yourself.
   Even if you show up later and a bus shows up (as one did near the end of our visit) it's not a real crisis. People will beeline to the main pyramid (pictured at the top of this post), so your view of carvings and the mural at the site will likely go unmolested as other tourists scramble to clamber up pyramids in order to get selfies or group shots.



 There are a lot of origi…

Intertitle

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Last weekend was Easter, but here in the Yucatan, we are solidly in summertime temperatures. The kids have a two-week break from school, so the house is in a greater state of disarray as the children revert to their natural feral state. The kids, after an amazing tryout day/visit at one of the local montessori schools will be switching schools, again. Hopefully for the last time. The catch is, they start at the beginning of the new school year, and not sooner. So until then we wait, and the children stick it out the last two months before summer break. Everyone has been sick, which has put a hold on our pyramid-visiting plans. This is extra depressing because we now have our official license plates (bye bye paper tag!).
  For those of you who are reading this, and don't know why this is so exciting, let me explain. When you finally get your car at post, you have to wait to drive it until you have it plated. Usually, this happens pretty fast. But sometimes, things happen that del…

Oxkintok

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Last weekend we visited Oxkintok, an archaeological zone near the town of Maxcanu which is a little more than an hour away from Merida. It is a less-visited site for a few reasons; it's in the hills, the site is not completely uncovered, and the two roads most frequently used to get there (after you exit the highway) each have their own problems. If you take the route we did (the clearly marked exit), you will be travelling on a winding, increasingly sketchy road up a hill that turns into gravel/rock for the last part leading to the site. The other route has you take a poorly marked exit off the highway, but is more direct, and maintained.

  No matter what road you take, you will be rewarded with a site that is massive (even though it is not completely uncovered) and devoid of tour groups. This site has a number of pyramids to climb, and carved sculptural column figures. It is very apparent from the site that it really has not been completely unearthed. Beyond the cleared area,…

Dzibilchaltún

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Dzibichaltún is a tiny site, about 15 minutes from Merida. The two things people go there for are the small pyramid, and the friendly-for-everybody cenote on-site. There is also the ruin of a church from the sites second life as a colonial ranch (and you do have people visiting for that), but the bigger draws are the step pyramid and cenote. There are also many iguanas all over the place, and a gift shop/convenience store/tchotchke zone near the front entrance.
  The day we went was a sunny, clear day. We left early to visit the ruins- mostly because you want to go early (anywhere) to avoid crowds in the Yucatan. We got to the site at about 9 in the morning, but there were already tour groups at the site. This is not surprising, because the site is also close to Progresso, where cruise ships berth when visiting this area of the Yucatan.



  It's an easy site to walk, even with kids. You can climb on most of the ruins, save for the section with the actual intact pyramid. The cenot…

Not waving but drowning.

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I write in the book every day. "I'm sorry that you write and you are always asking how your daughter is and I don't respond." I am listening to the words, nodding because this is how the transaction is supposed to go.

"Your daughter."
"Your daughter ran around the classroom."
"Your daughter did not want to do her work."
"Your daughter started taking down the display I had on my board."
"Your daughter ran from me, around the room."
"Your daughter climbed up onto the table and hit another child in the face."
"It was an accident, and she apologized, and she felt bad, but she hit her."
"I know she doesn't understand Spanish, but she needs to respect me."

I nod, and listen as she continues to tell me how my child has failed, again, today. That's my job today, as the cars of other parents waiting for their children in the pick up line wait behind me. As my children wait somewhere behin…