The tour guide looked like a Mexican Saddam Hussein. I would have never mentioned it, but he seemed proud of the fact and told us at least ten times. El Saddam also informed us that the best was to remember how to pronounce Chichén Itzá was to say 'Chicken Pizza' as many times as possible.
Chichén Itzá is a wonderful site, dominated by large gray buildings rising up out of the hot, arid jungle. Any thoughts of fantasy worlds or imaginary dungeons melt away. This shit is real, and there is a heck of a lot more to it than just a pyramid.
What most people don't realize is that a good chunk of the site was basically rubble when European explorers found it. A lot of effort went into figuring out how all the stones fit together. And who knows, maybe they got it completely wrong. Perhaps Chichén Itzá should really look like a gigantic stone EPCOT center.
Okay, maybe not. :)
Below is the Well of Souls. It's a cenote, which is a fresh water filled limestone sinkhole. Supposedly, the Mayans took sacrificial victims, weighted them down with stones, gave them a hallucinogenic drug, and tossed them in the below.
Unlike the other cenote I visited in the Yucatán, this one was dirty and muddy looking, and I could just imagine centuries of corpses piled up on the bottom, intermingled in the ooze. Yuck.
The image above is of part of the Tzompantli, or Wall of Skulls. Supposedly, thousands upon thousands of human sacrifices were performed here. Death seems to be ever present at Chichén Itzá.
Near the end of the tour, El Saddam let us roam the site on our own. I was drawn to the out of the way nooks and crannies were the crowds were absent. After some time of wandering, I found myself staring at a blocked entrance. Where was the entrance to? Well - it should be obvious. A hidden shrine - with deadly traps and hideous monsters. Perhaps there was a gibbering mouther just beyond the stones - but only Erol Otus would know for sure.
So get off your duff and go to the Mexico. Or perhaps just go to the Wikipedia page. Whatever the case, ancient Mayan ruins are a great way to get inspired. Dream on.