Sunday, May 6, 2012

2 Things You Can't Do Anymore

I've written before about the three months I was fortunate enough to spend road tripping thorugh Europe with my parents when I was in my teens. One place we visited on that trip was Athens, ancient, fasinating other worldly and filthy.

As is almost required when in Athens we hiked to the top of the Acropolis. It has been worn smooth as glass by the countless number of feet that have trod across it over the millenia. We saw the famed Maiden Porch, noting that the replicas that stand in place of the one's spritied off to England are a distinctly different shade that the others. We gazed out over Athens and it's maze of streets from this sky high vantage point and walked through the remains of the Parthenon, crossing a floor over 2000 years old. Unfortunatly the interior of the ruins of the temple have now been closed due to safety concerns and can only be viewed from outside the iconic, legendary structure.

Decades later my sister and I spent several days in Cancun. She was a flight attendant at the time and flew free, I used a buddy pass, one of the perks of her job. It being the off season, we were able to find affordable lodgings at the Intercontinental Hotel. We found the resort town of Cancun itself to be almost completely charm free, outside of the iguanas that have made a home at the upscale resorts and content themselves with sunning about the hotel pools much to the chagrin of the pampered tourists being forced to share the space with them.

While there we arranged a day trip to the Mayan Ruins at Chichen Itza. It was my first experience with this ancient culture. We had a great guide for this excursion, knowledgeable and personable. The information gleaned that afternoon began my fascination with the Mayan culture. During the time we were allotted to explore the site on our own my sister and I hiked a short distance back into the jungle to discover the site of the steambath the ball players used for purification rituals prior to their performance in the ball courts. The ground writhed with varied colored iguanas. I remarked that they were like squirrels in the wooded neighborhoods back home. We then climbed to the top of the pyramid. Later, during my trip to Merida I climbed other pyramids but none were as monumental as the one which towers over these more well known ruins. We were afforded from the summit an expansive view of both the ruins and the jungle that surrounds them. Alas, that view will have to remain a memory as two friends who visited the site after we did said the top of the pyramid was no longer accessible to tourists.

Once again, during my travels I have sometimes been extremely lucky.


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