Sunday, April 06, 2014

Quirigua Stelae (3-23)

Meet Hector.
The most hardworking, efficient bus driver I have ever met.
He was right there to give the old ladies a helping hand off the bus, 
always had fresh cold water for you getting on or off the bus,
kept the windows spotless so you could take clear photos, 
and drove the bus through areas I wouldn't want to take a small car. 
All done cheerfully and competently.
Virginia, our guide, told us that people in Guatemala have a great work ethic.
She and Hector were shining examples of that in word and deed.

This is the beastly bus that Hector maintained for all 42 members of our tour.
Under a big ole mango tree.
Did I mention we got all sorts of delicious fresh fruit on this trip?

Our first stop was at Quirigua.
Which is a Mayan archeological courtyard or meeting place with huge "stelae".
Stelae are massive stone monoliths inscribed with ancient writings 
recording Mayan history, rulers achievements and rites.
Once again, I was impressed by the complicated, 
and beautiful intricacies of the artwork carved in stone.

There were 11 of them varying in height from about 9 feet to 35 feet.
It's amazing to me was that these stones were taken from a quarry over 3 miles away,
They had no large domesticated animals, so getting the stones there was all from human effort. 
This city was a port of call on the river (which is now quite far away because of earthquakes)
 between two different areas and was quite affluent and held a lot of power.
You can see here the size of stelae compared to regular folk 
that some were dang tall.
(that's Chuck in the blue and white striped shirt third male from left)
The little huts over them are to protect them from deterioration because they are made of sandstone.

 These are zoomorfos - which I think basically means they are stylized animals.
They had all sorts of stories incorporated in the body. 

There were two of them. One with a ruler coming out the backside (bum).

Not exactly sure how coming out the backside of a crocodile is powerful
 - but who knows exactly what that was all about.

  This was the shortest stelae - and for some reason didn't rate a little hut.
(Actually, I think they were working on it
- but it makes a better story saying it's prejudice because he's short.)

The whole Quirigua area is about 84 acres and this was the most open part.
It is kind of hard to take it all in size-wise.
So, check out the tree in the middle.

 Same tree with me at the base.
From Quirigua we got back on the bus and traveled to Pentechel
where we would go to see Tikal the next day.

I took a LOT of photos from the bus.
And some of them even turned out - kinda.

Part of the area we went thru is pretty much desert and they raise cattle there.
The only kind that can survive the heat are Burma- so we saw a lot of those.
Plus- there were also a lot of random people walking out in the middle of nowhere.

Lots of clothes hanging to dry. 
(Just like at my house :0)

And guards everywhere.
Virginia said that after all the political unrest there were a lot of people
 without jobs who were used to military lifestyle/training . 
So, many businesses put them to work guarding. 
And most successful businesses have them now.
By late afternoon we finally arrived at Pentechel and the nature preserve where we would spend the next two nights.

Looks like a good place for a swim 

-except for the crocodiles. 
(do you see him?). 

We had amazing food the entire time.
Lots of fresh fruit and veggies with rice, beans and seasoned meats
This place was no exception.

Pentechel is like something you would see on a movie set.
It was incredibly lush, lovely and relaxing.


Miste Chandler said...

What a great adventure. I never knew you were going until you mentioned you were there on FB. When you said your wifi would be spotty I thought maybe you guys were going hiking somewhere. How cool and fun though. It looks amazing! My spring break will be spent working. Though we don't all have the same break this year. Can't wait to see more photos.

Lost Woman said...

I had not heard of this site. The scale is crazy indeed! Glad you posted the shots with the people and you to give a proper perspective.

I DID see the alligator. Did you actually catch that shot from the bus?

Excited for the Tikal entry!!

jo said...

This is completely awesome! Keep the posts coming........I love to see your adventures!

The Desiree said...

Saweet! I am getting really jealous right now. This sounds like the most amazing trip ever!!