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

Giant Stelae

GUATEMALA | Saturday, 11 February 2012 | Views [656]

Flores has Tikal, Honduras has Copan, Chiapas has Palenque...but there are many other Mayan sites dotted around the northern half of Central America. The truly adventurous, however can make the journey past all the banana plantations to the legendary site of Quirigua (pronounced "Kee-ree-WAH"), home of giant stelae the height of three men. 

Before last night I never even knew about this place until a teenager dropped off his friends and then drove me here, about 5 km down a road that's nothing but bananas, bananas, and more bananas. By all this I was driven bananas!!! Suddenly, out of nowhere, Quirigua appeared right before my eyes! The teenager managed to get me in, and the security guard was nice enough to let me camp for free last night and even gave me a lift to the market so I could buy a few snacks. This morning though I was up extra early so I could take in Quirigua before I make a move north. Up at 5:30 I was, before the sun was even up. Through the wet grass, my mosquito-bitten legs carry me before a large field with these huge stelae that make me wonder: how did these guys manage to even get these off the ground and in the position they are? There were no tractors or modern equipment during the Maya era! 

Quirigua's construction finished around 850 AD, and like Copan is notable for its sculptures. Even more impressive is the massive Ballpark Plaza. An ancient sport was played here, and it seems so real I can actually envision a soccer match filled with with fans in the stands. 

The grass was soaking wet, mosquitoes were feasting on me, and I was rather groggy but I could care less. Last night I spent a magical night under the stars at the foot of a Mayan ruin, and this morning I'm wandering one of these great spectacles. Going barefoot through the bush, I observe various mushrooms and other flora whilst on a short walk before going back to the plaza. There I take in a rainbow, a pink morning sky, and the sun through the jungle.

What a magical place this is! Let me tell you a bit about the Ballpark Plaza and the game the Maya played; the ball was made of rubber, and represented the sun on its daily journey around the sky. The ball courts are always located in pre-Hispanic settlements (there's another ball court at Copan) and always have two parallel structures, as in the example I see here at Quirigua. I wonder what it'd be like to visit Ancient Maya more than 1,000 years ago! If I could go back in time 1,000 years I'd either visit Ancient Maya or pre-European New Zealand. I've always tried to fantasize it. Coming back through I take in a view of the giant stelae and imagine...

Two Mayan sites visited, and many more to go!

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