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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Copan

HONDURAS | Thursday, 9 February 2012 | Views [1095]

The first great Mayan site I'd visit on my "journey of rediscovery" would be Copan: Honduras' most famous. This morning I awoke early so I can make my way toward Copan, as it's about a 2-hour drive from La Entrada to Copan Ruinas despite the fact it's only 62 km away. Making a cup of coffee for breakfast, I was ready to set out shortly thereafter. There really isn't anything to see or do in La Entrada, but that's part of its beauty. Walking down the road headed toward Copan Ruinas, nobody was picking me up and then I walked past a police checkpoint. Finally I just got on the bus. Often it's faster to hitchhike than to take the bus as many buses seem to stop every 100 metres or so. I'd better admire the route because I'll be going this way again tomorrow. Truckers (or anyone for that matter) throw a shitload of rubbish out the window, particularly Styrofoam cups and plates, and you see it everywhere along the main routes. At roughly 11 AM I was dropped off in the town of Copan Ruinas; note that Copan is the ruins, and Copan Ruinas is the town. La Entrada and Copan Ruinas: two towns two hours apart with two very different personalites. The former is a perfect example of a Honduran town, run-down and full of street markets and fruit vendors whilst the latter has cobblstone streets full of shops selling postcards and Copan T-shirts. Picking up a few postcards before walking toward the ruins, I was there at around noon or so. The entrance fee is a rather steep L285 (US$15) and I couldn't negotiate a discount Brightly coloured scarlet macaws squawk above the entrance to these beautiful ruins. Three weeks ago I was Carara unsuccessfully trying to spot one but there's heaps of them squawking above and below the canopy.

It's believed that people have lived in the area of Copan since 1200 BC and that this great Maya city was constructed around then, but they were rediscovered in 1576 and at the time only a handful of people were living there. Unlike Tikal and many other famous Maya sites, Copan is famous for its sculptures. Upon my entrance I was in the Great Plaza with its famous stelae. These sculptures are of the various rulers of Copan. Many areas of the ruins are off-limits and there's a lot of man-made (as in modern) stuff here, such as a large tarp that covers the Hieroglyphic Stairway (also off-limits). It was after 2 PM and the ruins close at 4, so I really only had about two hours to explore but compared to many other Mayan sites Copan isn't that big. Walking up to and past the Temple of Inscriptions I head toward the large pyramid. A whistle is being blown at me as I tried to snap a good photo, I had to move away. Copan sure has a lot of out-of-bounds and touched-up areas (which are easy to distinguish because concrete is used. The East Plaza is like a large soccer field complete with the stands for fans, and within the area are two tunnels which cost an additional $15 to visit (but I chose not to). 

With an entrance fee higher than that of a cheap hotel room, Copan is totally worth it! A lot of areas are touched up but it's Honduras' premier Maya site. As I ascend what I'd call "stepping stones of the Maya" I take a deep breath as I gaze into the gorgeous blue sky. Soaking up the atmosphere I do a lot of walking, getting rather lost or stuck in some places. Scarlet macaws, the jungle, the Mayan stonework, and the sense of history make this place so special! It's 2012 and I'm here at Copan! This is supposed to be a big year for Mayan ruins. Is the world really going to end? I don't think so! Little to people know is that they Mayans didn't actually predict the end of the world; it's that 2012 is the last date on the Mayan calendar. As I sit on these legendary stone stairs, I wonder which Mayan ruin I'll visit next...perhaps Tikal or Uaxactun.

Tags: maya

 

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