Two months in Mexico travel blog

Home Depot should turn green with envy at this hardware store

sign for convent in Itzamal

rest of sign

up the steps to the convent at the upper platform with the...

after going through the arched wall the top platform held the convent...

looking to the left of the church at the rest of the...

altar inside the church, sorry, too dark

stained glass window in front of church

view of street below convent platform

view of market and other street from other side of convent walls...

walked across to the far side and another street

below and to the right of last street is anothe park area

park with part of the pyramids in the background

looking down at the horse and buggys

in the market getting fresh squeezed orange juice

breakfast of meat tacos.

lady wrapped in shawl sitting with her veggies,

more meat tacos

selling right off the truck in the street

when I walked down the street the rest of the convent was...

found one section of the pyramids down the street a couple of...

this section of the pryamid group is called Kinich Kak Moo

sign for the pryamid

same type of banyon tree with roots coming down out of the...

on the top of the pryamid, climbed a whole bunch of steps...

from the top of the pryamid platform looking at the convent church...

corner of the temple from the top of the platform, trees are...

right side of temple

on left side were the steps up to the top

second section about 5 blocks away

three major sets of steps to climb to the platform of this...

looking to the left side of the pryamid mound on top of...

sign for temple

this site used many giant stones to build with. These steps go...

more of the giant stones used in the steps to the upper...

top of the giant steps is the platform with the top temple

around the left side of the top temple. shows tiers in building

looking down from the top of the temple to upper platform. path...

looking down the steps, some are missing and have just the under...

looking over the back of temple with the town crowding in on...

on way back to car found this courtyard filled with corn to...

nice yard and house saw on way down street

one of the streets of Itzamal with all the buildings painted yellow

looking in another gate with driveway and open patio

part of Ake site that was on the far side. A hacienda...

directly behind the mound is the church on the high platform of...

looking from the church steps to the temple mound in the first...

going down the road to the rest of the site was the...

columned temple on the left side of plaza

walking in the plaza area this part is the temple on the...

left side view of temple

view of columned temple from the top of the temple on its...

looking over the other side of the temple is the sisal factory....

cistern hole at top of temple mound

more of the top of the temple mound with wall structure of...

part of stella, image not clear

looking over the top of the back of the tall temple mound...

going down the back side of temple was this huge outcroping of...

on the left side was more of the outcroping of huge stones...

from the bottom looking up at the wall structure

columned section in back of temple building

part of stucco covering on blocks that remains

looking back at the columned temple and the tall one almost hidden...

closer view of columned temple and the mound with trees

from the top of the small temple looking at the sisal factory,...

looking at large building that houses part of the sisal factory machinery

sun behind a wooden cross erected at the top of the small...

top of small temple platform

walking back to the front of the tall temple shows corner structure

more of temple front on road side

this round place was right on the front side of temple

on left side of side going toward the plaza front, steps and...

building that holds sisal manufacturing machinery

this has no roof anymore as it was blown down by the...

the process starts here where the bundles of leaves off the catcus...

more leaves wait to be raised to the masher on the left...

leaves coming down the belt feeder to the crusher wheels

unshredded leaf and partly shreded one to show how they take off...

after the leaves are shredded they are loaded on flat carts and...

in large building is the rail cart to haul the sisal bundles...

machinery in building that was damaged by the hurricane

whats left of the roof rafters after the hurricane in 2002

the begining of the factory tour in the small shed. raw sisal...

raw bundles of sisal waiting to go into machine to be combed...

raw coils being fed into machine to stretch it out into thinner...

the coils go through a tube that stretches it out and sends...

this next part stretches it into longer and narrower coils

this combs the narrower coils out smooth

another view of same

smaller coils being fed out of the machine into a long roll...

same machine says Leeds England 1850

the smaller coils being fed through smaller combs to stretch it down...

the smaller coils are fed into another machine to coil them on...

from the smaller coils it is wound up on spools of giant...

the bobbins are put on this machine that twists two ropes together...

parting shot of the front of the big hacienda arched building that...

field of sisal catcus being cultivated for production. Takes seven years to...

on way out of Ake was this wonderful house


Izamal, Ake and the sisal factory: Dec 22

I walked all over town looking at what was left of the ancient Mayan pyramids, the stones, which were still intact that weren't stolen to build the Spanish church and dwellings. In spite of that, I liked the convent and arches. It had a beautiful altar. The monks said it was ok to take a picture. It was too dark to see much, sorry. I walked back down the steps of the convent and over to the market and found besides the meat department and the veggies, a whole section of food vendors that were selling meat tacos for breakfast. They were doing a brisk business. I found the orange juice man and he squeezed me a plastic bottle of fresh orange juice. Going to miss that when I get home. I couldn't find any eggs, so I went to a small restaurant next to the market and had a lovely omelet with rice and guacamole. The restaurant was very clean and the decorations were lovely. I really enjoyed my breakfast.

I continued my walk and the ever-present Internet came into view. When I was done with the Internet, I saw a man opening his store. I had been kind of waiting for him as the write up on the town in the Yucatan Today magazine said he was from the US. Sure enough he was Hector Garza. He and his wife were from Austin. (I live 40 miles from Austin). They had been down here 18 years, the first 12 in Merida. He goes all over Mexico and buys some really neat stuff from the interior of Mexico to sell in his shop, 'Hecho a Mano'. He sat me down and we hashed over the condition of the world condition while he ate breakfast. He told me that a fancy doctor from Merida owns the Hotel Cantu where I stayed, that was in such a fleabag condition, has never done anything to fix it up. Apparently uses the hotel as a status symbol. Some of his friends should stay there and tell him a thing or three about the condition. It could be fixed up really nice. The building is an Old Colonial Spanish style probably as old as the conquest.

Itzamal doesn't seem to do a whole lot of stuff other than the usual small dusty town things. I did see a couple of nice houses and some interesting local flavor. I was glad to get on the road after walking the all over the whole place looking for the 5 parts of the pyramids. Only managed to see three and in the conversation with Hector Garza he told me I was sitting by the wall of the fourth one in the area next to his shop. I bid him good-bye and drove from there back to the highway. Somehow I missed the road that goes to the Ake site. I ended up almost to the Merida city limits before I found a road that went that way. The whole landscape in that area is flat and scrubby salt flats. Not many trees and a whole lot of small dusty villages. Being the whole ground is packed with rocks everyone has a great rock fence. The only way to clear your land is stack rocks into a fence. It is that way all over Mexico, especially in the Yucatan area.

When I did find Ake, about 3 p.m. it was located behind an old Hacendia fence and a sisal factory. The factory was running and I could see the machinery moving. It didn't take long to look at the site of Ake that contained a columned building, the temple and another smaller temple building behind it with stairs and an old wooden cross at the top.

When I came down I stopped at the factory and asked if I could take a couple of pictures. He said 2.00 but I didn't have change. He walked away just as a pickup pulled into the larger building on the other side of the dirt road. I debated and then got back out of the car and went across to where the men were. I asked again, telling him I was writing a book and wanted pictures. I asked him if he had change, sure enough, (after the price went up a dollar) to 3.00 I was given the grand tour of how they make jute rope and twine out of Maguey cactus. Fantastic process. The machinery they were using was shipped from England in the 1850's and was still running. After he showed me the plant he took me back to the huge 30 foot high building and showed me how they take the cactus leaves and strip the fiber out of the leaf and get it ready to spin into jute in the factory part. He also told me that the hurricane from two years ago ripped off the roof and damaged some of the operation. This made sense after wondering why the roof only had a few boards on it. When he was done I tipped him 2.00 because money talks and he was nice to explain how the sisal was made. No English, but a lot of hand gestures and pointing. He even gave me a ball of jute twine. By that time it was getting dark and I hustled out of there and made it to Motul, as I figured I could get a hotel there and not try to go on to Merida. I had until the next night before I was to take the bus to Palenque. I still wanted to see the site of Xcambo and run the coast road into Merida. More later, Gay



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