6 September, Mexico, Tulum sacred site
My couch surfing friend advised me to visit Tulum and Chichen Itza. I allocated a day for each place to travel and visit.
Tulum (Yucatec: Tulu’um) is the site of a Pre-Columbian Maya walled city serving as a major port for Cobá. The ruins are located on 12-meter (39 ft) cliffs, along the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico- The Maya site may have been formerly also known by the name Zama, meaning city of Dawn. Tulúm is also the Yucatec Mayan word for fence or wall (or trench), and the walls surrounding the site allowed the Tulum fort to serve as a defense against invasion. From the numerous depictions in murals and other works around the site, Tulum appears to have been an important site for the worship of the Diving or Descending god. Tulum has architecture typical of Maya sites on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. This architecture is recognized by a step running around the base of the building which sits on a low substructure. Doorways of this type are usually narrow with columns used as support if the building is big enough. As the walls flare out there are usually two sets of molding near the top. The room usually contains one or two small windows with an altar at the back wall, roofed by either a beam-and-rubble ceiling or being vaulted. This type of architecture resembles that done at the nearby Chichen Itza, just on a much smaller scale.
Tulum was protected on one side by steep sea cliffs and on the landward side by a wall that averaged about three to 5 meters (16 ft) in height. The wall also was about 8 m (26 ft) thick and 400 m (1,300 ft) long on the side parallel to the sea. The part of the wall that ran the width of the site was slightly shorter and only about 170 meters (560 ft) on both sides. This massive wall would have taken an enormous amount of energy and time, which shows how important defense was to the Maya when they constructed the site here. On the southwest and northwest corners there are small structures that have been identified as watch towers, showing again how well defended the city would have been. There are five narrow gateways in the wall with two each on the north and south sides and one on the west. Near the northern side of the wall a small cenote would have provided the city with fresh water. It is this impressive wall that makes Tulum one the most well-known fortified sites of the Maya.
Among some of the more spectacular buildings at the site is the Temple of the Frescoes that included a lower gallery and a smaller second story gallery. Niched figurines of the Maya “diving god” or Venus deity decorate the façade of the temple. This “diving god” is also depicted in the Temple of the Diving God in the central precinct of the site. Above the entrance in the western wall a stucco figure of the “diving god” is still preserved, which the temple gets its name from. A mural can still be seen on the eastern wall that resembles that of a style that originated in highland Mexico called the Mixteca-Puebla style. Also in the central precinct is the Castillo, which is 7.5 m (25 ft) tall. The Castillo was built on a previous building that was colonnaded and had a beam and mortar roof. A small shrine appears to have been used as a beacon for incoming canoes. This shrine marks a break in the barrier reef that is opposite the site. Here there is a cove and landing beach in a break in the sea cliffs that would have been perfect for trading canoes coming in. This characteristic of the site is probably one of the reasons the Maya founded the city of Tulum here in the first place, for later Tulum would become a very prominent trading port of the Maya during the late Postclassic.
My Day Out at Tulum
Leon kindly gave me fruit and yoghurt and offered me to take his water. Was feeling a bit flat today but managed to get going. I caught a taxi for 30 pesos to the ADO Bus station. I caught the bus to Tulum which takes around 2 hours south of Cancun. I got to the town but wasn’t sure why I had gone. I couldn’t remember what Leon had said. I found out their were ruins. I walked and check out shops on the way, very aware of the American tourist presence. The town catered for tourism. I was going to walk it but a Skuba dive guy advised me to either get a bus for 10 pesos or a taxi for 35. I didn’t want to pay anymore, just a bit careful about spending. Anyway, it turned out that a Dutch couple decided to do a good deed, they offered me a lift as their hotel was next to the ruins. They arranged for the taxi to take me up there. I was grateful for their kindness. The ruins were more extensive than I expected. I walked along a pathway through beautiful bush and walked under a rock archway into an open area which had ruins on all sides. The first site is the pyramid on the hill, as you get closer you see the turquoise see that it overlooks. I saw another temple, smaller, flanking the pyramids and to the sides there were other relics and loose stones around. The architecture and stonework was spectacular and you could imagine the Mayan living there. As I looked closer at the rocks I noticed it was mostly volcanic and I noticed there was crystals in the ground. Such a beautiful place. Apparently they took their boats up the coast closer in as the reef is just off shore around 100 metres. It is the second largest reef in the world. The ocean is the Caribbean and it is beautiful and the breeze just cools you down. I saw some wildlife, eagles, water birds, little birds like minor birds and lizards that blended into the stonework. When sitting on a rock meditating a few birds swooped in to get attention. I didn’t feel they were attacking but I did wonder about the ancient spirits protection and the Mayans. This mysterious world is full of magic, shape changing and rituals to access power and insight into the otherworld or indeed some may consider the real world. I went back to the entrance and changed into my bathers as I found the Caribbean hard to ignore. So I walked up the road, a bit weary so finding the white beach with umbrellas was my oasis. I lay in the water and floated for some time and just resting my body as it has been full on traveling, I am moving most days. It was beautiful to float and dive. Not as stimulating as Australian surf but I was not complaining. I sat on the beach and just felt the breeze cooling me down. I then got dressed headed back to the road and flagged a cab. He charged 45 peso’s which I questioned, he rang the base and they apparently confirmed it, I said it was expensive and it was compared to Cancun taxi’s. Got back to the ADO bus station and caught the bus. I washed off some of the salt and had wet hair which was a bit cold under the airconditioning.
Got back to Leon’s and had a nice chat about the day. He and I talked about his family, his sister is apparently a bit of a clown and teases him a lot. He said he loves her. He told me he is the black one of the family, everyone else is white. Turns out he has African grandparents so he is a bit of a mix. His sister thinks he was adopted. His eyes are a little slanty and she thinks he has Chinese she said to him to open his gift, his eyes. He laughed heartedly about his sister. She sounds like a live wire. His parents come and visit occasionally separately. His family gets together rarely as he works a lot. Apparently the sister is having a baby so finally they all get together. Leon indicated he would like to do what I am doing but around India and China. He has a love of languages particularly Hindi and has learned to speak Chinese, apparently the writing is harder. I encouraged him to make his dream real and talked to him about the law of attraction. I visualized $10,000 and exactly I earned that in one month. I believe you can manifest what you want by focus. I told him to make a vision board. He said he would try. He is a Spanish teacher at a private school and really loves the kids, he spoke of his babies (younger ones). He said he is the only man in the school, and yes he is the King. I laughed at that. He also mentioned he laughs a lot and people ask why, he said because he’s happy. I also laugh a lot and for the most part I am happy. I have a few lingering things that make me feel a bit sad but I am working on letting go of the past and accepting people for who they are. Sometimes it is easier said then done if you don’t agree with someone, but to find peace you have to forgive. Often I feel it is forgiving yourself for mistakes.