Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mexico 2014 - Part 9

The next day (26 May 2014) Erron and I had arranged to go on an LDS tour to the Tulum ruins through a company called "Alma's LDS Tours." Our van picked us up at about 8:00 am and we took a short 30 minute trip to our destination. 
Our tour guide was a super nice guy that was actually the bishop of one of the wards in Playa del Carmen. There was a cute family from Glendale California that we enjoyed chatting with the entire trip. They had a son that was just graduated from high school, and another son that was a going into his senior year.
As we were talking to the mom we found out that she and Erron went to the same mission! (Barcelona, Spain) So that spawned a whole discussion in Spanish about the area they served in and how much they loved it. (As far as I could understand...)

As we pulled up to Tulum, I dreaded getting out of the chilled van. (Have I mentioned how much I really don't like humidity??) We all piled out, and started to walk to the place where we would get our tickets. Our tour guide told us to hang around near the grass, while he went to pick up our tickets. Again, we spent time chatting with our new friends, and trying to fan ourselves dry. 

Our guide returned and we proceeded to walk through a tall rock structure that gigantic display with miniature versions of all the ruins we were going to spectate. We continued through the gate, and our guide pulled our group to the side to talk about significance of the place. As we sat along a rock wall shaded by trees, he told us all about the significance of many of the things we were about to see. He explained that the Mayans were the Lamanite people that we read about in the Book of Mormon. He also explained that there was something significant about the trees that surrounded the area. Perhaps they were hollow on the inside, but I cannot remember in great detail everything he shared with us.

He showed us that the entire ruins were contained by a stone wall,  by which the Mayans could defend the city from both land invaders as well as those coming from the sea. He told us that as we got to the wall, we were going to have enter through it (as there was no other way) and that we would note that the entrance would we really low. The significance of the entrance being so low was because they wanted everybody who entered the site, to have to bow to God. 

We started walking up a long stone staircase, and we finally came to the point where we were to enter Tulum. Erron had to crouch down quite a bit in order to walk in, whereas I didn't quite have to bend too far to enter. However as I was walking through, a bug (we assume a carpenter ant) crawled up onto my ankle and bit me. The awe that I was experiencing a moment before, entering into this historic city, was completely taken away. My foot went numb and I cried out as I grabbed Erron to help me walk. We got into the city & all I could think about was if I was going to be okay. I just wanted to sit down somewhere, but the tour had to continue. We were with a group, and were only scheduled to be there for a couple hours. I think Erron was taken aback by the beautiful structures around because there wasn't any cottling, of any sort. More of a "suck it up" attitude. I was pretty bugged, but determined to make this trip a memory I would treasure forever!

 I took these pictures when we got home and I was able to rest my leg. It wasn't numb anymore, but dang! That bite hurt for DAYS.

As soon as I made the choice to enjoy my time no matter what, I snapped back to what was happening with the tour. Our guide showed us from where we stood what many of the buildings were. He showed us an altar of sorts that was in the East (where the coast was). And he pointed out another altar in the West, where on certain days of the year the sun will line up perfectly in the eastern altar, and set perfectly in the western altar. 

We continued to walk around reading and learning from our guide about all the buildings we were seeing. My favorite building was the temple of light. It is built so perfectly and precisely that every year, on April 6th, the sun will pass through the window on the Eastern side (as it rose) and illuminate the inside entirely! Erron brought up an amazing thought when we were learning about this. In the LDS faith, we believe that Christ was born on April 6th, and that was also the day the The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints was organized. So how cool is it that while the light and truth of our church was being restored to Earth, the temple of light was being illuminated? 

The next temple that I enjoyed learning about was the temple of the descending god. 

Here, (above along the top of the lower tier it depicts the life of Christ. I don't exactly remember the order, but pretty much it tells the story front-wards and backwards, I'll have to look into that to refresh my memory. 

The next temple I loved learning about was El Castillo (The Castle) temple was the main one located on the highest point of the city, and I believe was the tallest as well. They think it was also used as a landmark for sailors. The thing that intrigued me the most about this temple were the symbols that were represented on the front. There were three panels located along the top border of the temple, you had the the almighty god, the descending god, and a blank tile. When the Spaniards invaded the city of Tulum, they asked the people why they left the last tile blank. The response they recieved was "because it isn't a god that you can see, but you can feel him." Guys, they tiles represented The Father, The Son, and The Holy Ghost! How cool is that!?

Here is a plethora of the same pictures, because tourist stuff yo.

There were iguanas ALL over the place, they were like squirrels here in the U.S.A, except even more. And of course they just mosie around like they own the place....which yes, I suppose they do.

We paid for the cheaper package, which excluded a trip to a cenote, so our tour guide left us to spend some time of our own while he took the rest of the group on their adventure. Our package included an hour of beach time, but Erron and I took one look at the overcrowded beach and thought why would we go down there when we have a beautiful (nearly) private beach back at our condo. So Erron and I wandered around the city a little more, and after we had read all the plaques, we decided to head out of the ancient city, and head down to the real town where our ride was going to pick us up. And of course who could pass up a ($10, totally reasonable) photo opportunity with a lizard of this size:

Well, as you can see I clearly passed that photo opportunity up, but Erron was so brave to like cuddle that thing!

We then found a delicious vendor selling coconut ice cream. Like literally frozen sugar, coconuts, and cream. It was HEAVEN. We went back for seconds. I mean it was only like $8 a cup, so again, totally reasonable! (;

Our guide came back, bought us some delicious Subway, and we chowed down on our way home in the chilled van. On the ride back our tour guide also showed us a stone souvenir he was selling. It was a replica of an artifact found in Mexico quite awhile ago.

This video explains it pretty well:

And for $20 we were totally in! It's such a neat piece, and I don't know if it is actually Lehi's dream or not, but it's impressive nonetheless! 

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