Got to sleep a little late as the transport wasn't due until 7:40. I was the only pickup from the hotel, but when I got to the transfer spot... a full bus with 56 people and not an empty seat – I got to sit next to the only other single person there – a woman from Argentina who could speak about as much English as I could Spanish. Not a lot of talking on the bus...
As I had feared it was a real cattle drive. The guide was articulate and made some pretty bad jokes, but OK. He tried to sell us any number of items (personalized Mayan calendar with your fortune on it! Your name in silver in the Mayan alphabet... We were taken to a cenote and, while part of the tour, we had to run a gauntlet of people selling stuff, and were not allowed to take in “outside drinks.”
Since I had seen one yesterday I decided to explore the area. Came across a processional and followed it to the remains of a small pyramid. You could clearly see some of the worked stones, but it was all a jumble. One of the 3000+ that dot the Yucatan.
Then off to an “all you can eat but no outside drinks allowed” lunch. Some dancers came in and put on a two minute show, then passed the hat. Did I mention there were hordes of people selling trinkets?
Finally off to Chichen Itza. The guide separated us into English (about 12) and Spanish groups, then we toured the ruins. The main pyramid is fantastic. Two sides reconstructed, a third being worked on, and the south... pretty much in ruins. The ball court was spectacular as was the skull temple and the Venus platform. The acoustics are so marvelous at the place that they have concerts once a year by big named folks (like Elton John) and they don't use mikes. Many representations of the rattlesnake and several monuments to Caarn, the god of rain. You couldn't go on any of the structures – with almost 10,000 visitors a day the place was being loved to death.
And the vendors... Every path was lined with them selling everything from silver jewelry to hand carved wooden masks, to plaster casts of things that looked like pyramids but were probably made in China. Lots of women selling hand embroidered handkerchiefs for $1.00.
The bus ride back was accompanied by a showing of “Pretty Women” on the bus TV screens. Finally back around 7:45.
Did some emails from the room, then took a drink and walked barefoot on the beach. Got back and security had confiscated my sandals!