The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Mayan ruins at Uxmal, Mexico

We spent three hours at the ancient Mayan city of Uxmal, Mexico, walking through air that dripped with humidity.  There was so much information to soak up that I eventually just took in the landscape instead.  So this post is short on information, but long on pictures.

Panoramic views of Uxmal

There are literally dozens of Mayan ruins on the Yucatan Peninsula.  We chose to visit Uxmal because it is the second best.  All of the tourists flock to Chichen Itza, which is reputed to be the very best on the peninsula, with the result that the government had to close off most of the structures to protect them.  At Uxmal, we were able to explore and climb everything except the Magician's pyramid.

Workers repairing the Magician's Pyramid at Uxmal
The Magician's pyramid was closed off while it was undergoing renovations.  Workers were carefully marking each stone, taking them off, then mortaring them back in place, all while standing on a flimsy scaffold made of tied together saplings.  The human element softened the ruined stone buildings and captured my imagination.

Stone carvings at Uxmal
Even more tantilizing were the stone sculptures coating the walls of various buildings.  I love the flat animal sculptures with intricate linear patterns, and it's hard not to like the endless versions of Chaac like the one on the right, with his long hooked nose.  Chaac is the rain god --- I wonder if our visit to Uxmal will bring us yet more rain?

Iguana, butterfly, seed pod, and flower at Uxmal

Of course, being who I am, as soon as the tour guide turned me loose I headed in the opposite direction from the rest of the group, toward the woods.  The Yucatan Peninsula is covered with dry, scrub forest due to very thin topsoil over limestone.  Trees were short, and many were legumes --- presumably the poor soil gives trees that can make their own nitrogen an advantage.  Butterflies abounded, as did huge iguanas that had taken up residence in the abandoned rooms all around the ruins.  Swallows soared and chittered, Africanized honeybees gathered pollen in the grass, and Mark and I sat in the shade and lived Uxmal.

This post is part of our Moundville and Cruise to Mexico honeymoon series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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