[:en]We get a quick breakfast at a local comedor, and at about 7 AM we are all ready to go. I try to use my spanish to get us a better deal for a ride into Chichen Itza. I get an offer that seems outrageous and I quickly turn it down. The man replies with some simple words – “this is how much it costs, you won’t find it cheaper anywhere else.” His words have the reverse effect that he intended, it makes me want to try to find it cheaper, even if by only a dollar. I walk around and ask more drivers and I get the same response from each one of them. If I can’t find it cheaper, I’m definitely not gonna go with the same guy. I find a random guy not caring much about making money, I ask again and I am given the same price. I signal the crew to come with me and as we pile up in an older minivan, the same guy whom I turned down jumps in the passenger seat. I have been played.
Chichen Itza is probably the most visited ruin city in Mexico. It’s not as big as Guatemala’s Tikal but it’s quite massive. The day is turning out to be like any other day, hot and dry. We arrive and once again, our crew is eager to save some money. As you walk in, there are many translators ready to help you see the ruins. We get a couple of offers and we just keep on walking. As we come closer to the biggest pyramid, we realize that it will make absolutely no sense to visit the park and look at a whole bunch of structures without knowing anything about them. We decide on a price cap for our translator and we go back, looking to score a deal. An older gentleman comes forward and offers his service, we totally low ball the poor bastard. He says that it’s too low, obviously and gives us a counter offer, we agree and we are off.
Our guide, a gentleman in his late 50s, completely shocked us. His knowledge of the ruins and the Maya culture is absolutely staggering. We are mesmerized by his stories and his explanation of the Maya number system. As he draws on the sand with a stick to explain to us, fools, the way the Mayans counted I feel like an absolute shit head. He talked to us for close to 2 hours, explaining anything from writings to the place of the mayan culture in the Pre-Colombia cultures, it’s demise and how things could have been if the Spaniards would have not tricked everyone with goddamned mirrors. Later, we find he is a second generation guide, that he attended a university in Mexico City with a major in Archeology and that his passion is sharing his knowledge with the gazillion people that visit the park everyday. We tipped him well at the end of the day, I feel like less of a shit head now, but am still equally shocked.
The tour we purchased with Mr. Awesome covered only about 1/3 of the park. The walk around the rest of the ruins was just like the day started, hot and dry. It would have been a lot more enjoyable if we had our trusty guide with us but alas, our money cap had been breached. On the ride back we make diner plans to go to our favorite place as a farewell dinner, we are parting ways with Ed and Temi the next morning as I was able to find a Open Water scuba diving certification in a nearby beach city. We eat awesome food, drink many girly drinks and I take some polaroids. It was fantastic.