TRAVEL HERE: DISCOVER THE YUCATAN & THE MAYAN WORLD
No time for working out or a sit-down breakfasts today. Our shore excursion met on the pier at 9:15, so we grabbed breakfast in the Windjammer Buffet and disembarked.
I love cruising and one of my favorite moments is stepping off the boat at a port of call. Progresso was not new to us. We’d been there several years ago on a Carnival cruise, but that was before I started blogging. On that trip we visited the Dzibilchaltun ruins, which I highly recommend. This time we were taking a tour called “Discover the Yucatan & the Mayan World”. It was a sort of compromise somewhere in between going all the way to Chichen Itza and spending the day on the beach.
The city of Progresso is developing their port and I’m pretty sure the cute little market at the end of the pier was not there last time. We didn’t see anything that tempted us to pull out our wallets, but it was a nice commercial enterprise and it gave us something to do while we waited for our tour to be called.
On the Bus
Once everyone on the tour had been accounted for, our guide led us to our bus for the day. For the most part it was in good condition, but I could tell it had been in service for awhile. Our guide had a shtick about his name. He complained that all of us tourists didn’t know how to properly roll the “R” in Carlos, so he’d prefer it if we called him The Big Chihuahua or Uncle Chewy.
Our first stop was Xcampo. (Well, actually the roadside restroom before you got to Xcampo.) Xcampo was a temple complex, like Chichen Itza or Dzibilxhaltun, but on a much smaller scale. The visit was not very long, but long enough to wander around and climb on the pyramids.
And speaking of climbing the pyramids, we learned that the steps of the pyramid were so steep to be sure that no one could turn their back on the god and walk down. They’d have to crawl down to do honor to the god. In addition, That’s the reason the door to their huts were so low – to remind people to bow and do honor to the home’s inhabitants.
On to Dzemul
Dzemul was a small town primarily occupied by descendants of the Mayans. Our first stop in the town was an architecturally correct replica of a Mayan home. When the bus arrived our hostess was nowhere in sight. We sat there a few moments as the guide tried to decide what to do about her absense. Just about the time he decided we’d go to the next stop, up comes this darling little lady on the orange human-powered vehicle you see in the picture gallery. These were the most popular vehicles in town and came in a wide variety of colors and themes.
As Uncle Chewy explained the details of Mayan home-building, our hostess went out back, stoked up a fire and made us some tortillas. They were good!
The next stop was the local Catholic church with a long history. There we were greeted by this beautiful woman in her traditional hand-made dress. Just so you don’t miss it, that’s cross-stitch and it covers the dress. Can you imagine how long it took to make it?
We were enchanted by this lady. She exuded pride and self-confidence. She and some associates performed some folk dances for us and one performed with a tray of water-filled glasses. The the tray of dancer in the picture got a little off balance and dribbled water on her as she danced. She was such a pro that it didn’t even cause her to blink. She completed the dance without ever touching the tray and behaved as if the water dripping on her was just part of the act. The dancers on the ship could take lessons from her.
Inside the church we were treated to a little history. Bill was amazed to learn that they used to make church doors so large in order for people on horseback to ride in, without having to get of their horse, in times of emergency.
Cultural orientation completed it was time to go to the beach. Come back next week and join us there. In the meantime, enjoy these pictures of Dzemul.