Cancun

January 23, 2008
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Cancun is an amazing city, especially if you consider the people, the scenery, and the climate. It is renowned for its beautiful beaches, nightlife, and archaeological sites, and it attracts over four million visitors per year. All of these and much, much more created a fantastical experience that protrudes from my memory of amazing travels.

Still yawning from getting up at three a. m. in the morning, I gazed drowsily at the airplane window, which showed of blue clouds and a white sky. I meant, a blue sky and white clouds. Deciding that I was to catch up on my sleep, I closed the window and took a slight nap. I was awakened by the captain’s voice, “We will be arriving shortly…” and I pulled up the window to l look out. I gawked at the green foliage, realizing only a full minute later that the greenery consisted exclusively of a substantial amount of leafy green trees. Soon, we arrived at the airport. Stepping off the airplane, the dusty, hot atmosphere greeted me in my sweater and ski jacket, which I quickly put in my bag.

Our hotel was a very, very nice hotel and sat across from a mall called “La Isla.” The hotel had a very nice view of the blue, blue ocean, and was accessible to the beach. My parents and I took a quick tour of the hotel site, and, spotting a circular-shaped pool, we decided to take a dip in the pool. The weather was the most near perfect I have ever experienced, and there was always a slightly warm, gentle breeze to make sure that it was not too warm. Afterwards, we stopped at the spa, which, according to my mom, was “an experience made to always remember.”

We decided to explore the downtown, which turned out to be a mistake. Tourists usually do not have to pay taxes. Receiving the bill for the dinner, we had to pay for an extra 18% tax (and, after asking the hotel, was actually only at 10%), and a required tip. Wearing questioning expressions, my parents paid the bill without any comment.

The next day, we went to Chichén-Itzá. Chichén-Itzá is listed as one of the Seven New Wonders of the World. The new Seven Wonders of the World was established by the New7Wonders Foundation. Over 100 million voters voted to decide the Seven New Wonders of the World, which were determined to be the Taj Mahal, Christ the Redeemer, the Great Wall, Petra, Machu Picchu, the Colosseum, and Chichén-Itzá. Our guide, a cheerful man with a dark tan and a slight Spanish accent in his English, explained shortly a history of Chichén-Itzá. Chichén-Itzá means “at the mouth of the well of the Itza (people).” At the center of this site is El Castillo, also known as the Temple of Kukulcan. El Castillo (the Castle) is a step pyramid which makes a serpent’s shadow on the Spring and Fall Equinoxes. Aged and cracking, you can sense the city’s grandeur that has gone through so many years and yet still gives you a sense of greatness. Located near El Castillo is a ball park, promptly named in English the Great Ball Court, where the ancient Mayans were to have played the Mesoamerican Ballgame. To score, you had to get it through one of the stone hoops at each side of the court. To hit, you had to use your waist, which made it pretty difficult to score, making games last sometimes even days.

Wandering about, we approached another temple, except unlike the many other temples of the city, it was round. And apparently, it seemed to be the only round temple in the city. Later we learned it was named “El Caracol” or “the Snake.” It served as an observatory to the Mayans, and helped them get accurate calculations for their calendar, which was remarkably accurate.

After reflecting upon my trip to Cancun, I absolutely understand why the Yucatan Peninsula and Cancun would be the ideal place for the cultural and beautiful capital of the Mayans and why so many tourists have fallen in love with Cancun, as I have, too.





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