Thursday, December 31, 2009

Last post of the decade!

Wow. so that's it for this decade... eshhh, wild stuff. Anyway I know I have been quite bad about posting lately but things have been just insane. I hope everyone has been having a nice holiday season, I know I have.

Anyway I thought I would finish the year off with a few photos I have taken this year but have not posted (as my oportunities to go out and shoot have been rather limited over this past month or so). To all of you who follow this blog, thank you for your time and I look forward to hearing from you in 2010

- Carlos Rosado

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Daytrip to Izamal

Today Jeanette, Chris, Baiba and I took a day trip out to the city of Izamal. The city is located about an hour or so west of Merida. The city is Colonial but it is littered with pre-hispanic (Mayab to be specific) Structures. The largest pyramid the "Kinich Kak Moo" has a 200 square meter base and is 180 meters tall... unfortunately its not really possible to fit the entire thing in to a photo unless you do a fly by, the immensity of the structure is really lost in the photos. I also was able to snag a few photos of some of the indigenous flora and fauna, so all and all it was a good day. Lunch was yummy to!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Santa Elena and Mul-Chic

Today I made my way with Jeanette and 8 other people to the town of Santa Elena. Santa Elena is about 15k past Uxmal and 8K before Uxmal. The town is small but fairly cute, however there is not much work and many of the men of the city have emigrated to the united states and particularly to San Francisco (thus the curious welcome sign with a pyramid, the towns church and the golden gate bridge). While at Santa Elena we had a nice bite to eat at the pickled onion and visited the archaeological site of Mul-chic. Mul-chic is an interesting but very little restored site. From what I understand there was some work done there in during the 60s at which time they removed some painted stucco murals and moved them to Merida. However that was nearly 50 years ago... so as you can imagine the site is very much covered by the jungle... which makes it quite charming and adventurous a place to see. After our little hike out to Mul-chic we went in to the town and visited with our guides (Abel) family and got to snap some photos. Hope you enjoy the pics.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Location: Mexico, Yucatan state, 20 km north of Valladolid
Transportation: Best to drive or take a tour from Valladolid
Bathroom facilities: Yes
Nearby refreshments: Yes (although mainly at the site of the cenote)
Accessibility/Difficulty: Very easy
Cellphone reception: Yes, but spotty

Ek-Balam is Mayan archaeological site located 30 minutes north of the city of Valladolid. Ek-Balam (literally Black Jaguar in the Mayan language) saw its heyday from around the 3rd century B.C. to the 11th Century A.D. The sacred center of the city in which the principal structures stood and the elite resided was heavily fortified and enclosed by three walls.
Most of the structures in Ek-Balam date from the classic Mayan period.

Although Ek-Balam is now well known to Yucatecos and travelers alike, excavations at the site by the INAH began fairly recently (1994). Because of its compact size as well as the beauty of its buildings and natural surounding, Ek-Balam has become a favorite of many tourists and day trippers... this is a site you really should not miss!

- The Main Acropolis
By far the largest structure, it is houses the tomb of former ruler Ukit Kan Le'k Tok. This beautiful building is 146 meters long by 55 meters high and 29 meters tall.

(main staircase)

Even more impressive than its size is the beauty of its stucco work and painting. Immediately observable is something which to those with knowledge of Mayan architecture may seem a tad out of place; a depiction of the Mayan "monster of the earth" which corresponds to a style of architecture known as "Chenes" characteristically found in the neighboring state of Campeche.

Said monster of the earth is presented as a gigantic altar to which priest were able to enter. The immense altar has protruding teeth on the top, sides and most obviously on the bottom (I guess over bites were fashionable!). The altar is very intrinsically decorated with representations of human skulls, masks, intricate designs and the likeness of different individuals. Some of the human figures poses adornments which look quite a bit like angel wings. On one of the walls of the mouth original painting survives which presumably depicts scenes from the life of the cities elite.

Modern architecture really needs more decorative skulls =)

Cool stucco mask

The "Angels"

Surviving fresco

- The Oval Palace
From the contents discovered within this two level structure, we are able to infer that the building was used as a residential complex for some of the cities most powerful residents.

- The Ball court
The ball court at Ek-balam is located in between the northern and southern plaza. A Frieze of a man of great stature holding a bird is visable.

Other notable structures include the twin pyramids, the arch, structure #18 and a series of stelae.

While at Ek-Balam you are likely to see several species of birds as well as reptiles (mostly iguanas, although I have seen some fairly big snakes along the trail to the cenote). Unfortunately seeing a Balam (Jaguar) is extremely unlikely (you are better off going to Calakmul for that)

X-Canché Cenote

About 1km away from the archaeological site visitors can find the very charming X-Canché Cenote.

The site of the cenote is administered by a indigenous coop which for a modest fee offers visitors bathroom facilities, camping areas and a small restaurant which serves Yucatecan food. Access to the Cenote itself is made easy and safe by a wooden staircase (Good thing to, since the drop from the edge to the water is of about 15 meters). The diameter of the Cenote is of proximately 50 meters. Activities such as cycling, climbing and rapel are also available for an additional 30 peso fee (great deal!).

Thursday, October 22, 2009

El Meco (Mayan Archaeological site in Cancun)

Well once again I managed to find the time to get out there and explore during my business trip to Cancun, hooray more archaeology! Today during my time off I made my way to "El Meco" a small archaeological site just north of the Cancun city center. The site is small but very beautiful with many birds and iguanas roaming the grounds. It is ironic that being so close to the hotel zone it is so sparsely visited... when I showed up the security guard acted surprised to see a visitor and even asked how I found out about the sites existence. There was nobody other than me at the site and a group of restoration experts working on a stucco wall (who were very nice and let me take some pics of them as they worked). Getting to the site is very easy, you can take a cab (35-50 pesos) or even take the city bus (just 5.5o pesos) so there is no excuse not to go and sober up from a prior night of debauchery in Cancun =)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

El Rey (Mayan Archaeological site in Cancun)

All this week I will be in Cancun for business, so of course I will make the best of it and try to get out as much as I can to find some interesting things and places to shoot! Today I took a bus down the hotel zone to visit "El Rey Archaeological Park". El Rey is not a big site... however it is by no means insignificant. Most people who visit Cancun never bother to check it out because tour guides and agencies tell them that they are better off taking one of THEIR tours to Chichen Itza or Tulum (as if seeing one Maya site is enough! *SCOFS*). However El Rey is right there on the hotel zone and with admission being only 35 pesos its a no brainer. Founded in the 12 century, El Rey is a post classic site whose main economic activity was fishing and trade. The architecture is consistent with other Mayan settlements along the coast of Quintana Roo, such as Tulum, San Gervaiso, El Meco etc. Anyway, here are some photos (note the hotels and telecommunication towers peering through)

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Roatrip to Yaxuna

Today Sergio and I made our way to Yaxuna for the day. The site is in the municipality of Yaxcaba (Yucatan state), about 20 mintues from Libre Union and Piste (in either direction). Before hitting the town we checked out the little town which was actualy quite cute and had some nice little churches. Yaxuna is a very interesting site, it was a fairly large centre, but the visitable area is relatively small. The constructions are of a fair size but the area is not really landscaped at all, which makes for a very diffent experince from most sites. I really enjoyed it and was glad I brought some good shoes! (There are probably quite a few snakes out there in all that tall grassy vegitation... but we had no problems) Hope you enjoy the pics.

Very detail of cool altar!

Facade of this neat church with three towers... quite unusual architectural design

Detail of old lock =)

Segio chilling out

Ballcourt at Yaxuna

Kinda nice pic of butterfly

Little raingod mask, there seems to be quite a bit of toltec influence here to

Smallish pyramid covered in vegetation

Main Plaza

More pyramids

View of a few buildings from atop pyramid

Thats all for today! check back soon!