1st April 2004 Mexico 14,

While I was getting up a local walked past pushing his cargo trike loaded up with logs, they were stacked up almost 6 feet high, they must have weighed a ton, which was why he was pushing the trike not riding it. He'd certainly got up a lot earlier than me. Those logs must have weighed real heavy though because, just next to me one of the wheels collapsed. Oops! I guess he realised the cause, because when he came back with another trike he took 2 trips to move the wood.

No joy on more tourists so I went back again to the region of the salt factory. This time I found the flamingoes, and lots of other birds to watch. I got my chair out, set my binoculars out, made a coffee, and stripped off to sunbathe for a while. I must have got too involved with the bird watching, I got sunburned. Duh!l

On the way out to the salt factory I saw a truck driving along the road which totally wiped out any record made by yesterday's tatty pickup. This truck had NO bodywork at the front, except for some rusty metal at the back of the engine and a little bit at the sides of the engine. There were no headlights, nothing at the front, just wheels and an engine. There was no windscreen. Every remaining metal bit was rust coloured and disintegrating. Coming down the road it was obvious the twin back wheels were not following the front wheels, they had a mind, and a route, of their own. The bed of the truck was some old planks, there were no sides of any sort. The load was some big stones, rocks, no danger of them bumping off, the truck didn't wheeze along at more than 15 mph. I didn't like to take a picture of it, in case the driver thought I was poking fun at him, most people here don't have trucks of any kind, not even old ones. However, John's pickup is noisier.

I took a picture of the sea. It really is that colour.

In Tizimin I went to check the Internet and found a young man who knew what he was doing with computers. Actually he's a systems administrator, the internet cafe is just run by the same company he works for. I'll have to reconfigure your laptop he said, and he was away accessing TC/IP properties and typing in addresses almost faster than I could keep a note of what he was doing. Anyway, it worked, a really fast connection, 87 emails downloaded in a flash, my last journal note went out quickly, and I updated my AntiVirus. For some reason the program I use to update my web pages (Cute FTP) did not run correctly, neither of us knew why. Anyway, thanks Gabriel, I really appreciate that help, it not only got my computer working but gave me some insight as to why I have been having some problems. Unfortunately your addresses won't help at the next cafe where no doubt again there will someone taking money but knowing nothing.

I parked near the main square. Unfortunately it was the quite corner where all the school kids gathered to meet and chat until late. In the morning I thought I'd get some money, the darned ATM ate my card. I had to wait an hour for the bank to open. I explained my problem to a girl at a desk, you'll need your passport she said, then go and queue for the cashier. I hadn't been in the queue more than 5 minutes when she was waving my card at me from the other side of the bank. Jeeze! Just like that! Last time a bank ate my card it was that rotten BPVdF bank in Maintenon, the one that later took money from my account without my authority and could not be bothered to tell me how it had come about. The time their machine ate my card, they said the machine was only opened once a week, they could not get the card back for me for another 6 days! I think they could learn from the Mexicans. Well, they could probably learn from most anybody.

Next call was Ekbalam

That's a big pyramid and those are a lot of steps. The covers are protecting original stucco carvings

This stuff really is original, from 700 AD! It's wonderful! This was the kings home, the room you can see was his "office", it became his burial chamber, When his tomb was discovered, there was his skeleton in the room, plus those of two children, presumed to be his servants sacrificed so they could be at his side in his next life. There were 39 pots with 7000 valuable items, 5000 pieces of shell jewelry, 2000 of opal jewelry, and 3 pearls, presumably traded. The stucco carvings were all preserved because after his death a wall was built in front of the structure, and the space filled with limestone chippings so that the stucco would not be damaged. The doorway was a jaguar's mouth, the bumpy things you can see front sides and top represent teeth, the rest of the detail you cannot see on the photo, but it really is marvelous. I'm realising that it is really worthwhile to use the services of a guide on these visits, they don't ask a lot of money, and you get a lot of information. This guide asked $10 for about an hour of his time.

I've seen a lot of ball courts, even in pueblos in Arizona, but I don't think I've mentioned them. This is one of the best preserved (or reconstructed) I've seen.

Midway along the sides, on the vertical bit, was a stone ring. The idea was to get the ball though the hoop without using hands or feet. The game had strong religious significance. I've read that often the captain of the winning team would offer himself for sacrifice. I've read that the players would all be captives and the losers would be sacrificed. Well I suppose that would add a certain sharpness to the game! Truth is, no one really knows what the rules were, or what was the significance.

I drove around the village of Ekbalam and took a photo of a typical present day Mayan hut.

Sometimes they are oval, that one is square. One room, not a lot of furniture. The sleep in hammocks, much cooler than beds. Ladies were making them in that village, but I already bought one. So I gave out some of my Mardi Gras beads. Wow! I'd no sooner given out 3 than there were 30 outstretched hands, where did they all come from? Luckily I have an almost unlimited supply of Mardi Gras beads!

The square in Valladolid was pretty

but the wires on the museum balcony were not.

Police pickup, with police.

I went to a cenote

and drove to another to visit in the morning. Here I have the owners permission to park overnight in the car park.

Best regards

David Barker


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