Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Copan Ruinas

After arriving in Copan on Thursday, we went to the actual ruins about a mile outside of town on Friday. These ruins are very unique amongst all the ruins we have seen due to the intricate carvings that olky seem to have happened at this site. There are numerous pyramids, not quite as large as El Mirador, but still very imposing. This city was founded after the time that Mirador had been abandoned. These ruins also have a lot of hieroglyphics telling the history of their rulers, or so think the archaeologists. About a mile past the ruins there are more ruins, Las Sepulturas, which is where the nobility and wealthy elite lived. This area seemed to be slightly less excavated, but more interestingly it was completely devoid of tourists. There was a lot to see, and it was interesting to see how their homes were constructed. Obviously all the wooden construction has disapeared, so it requires some imagination, but you can see what family interaction must have been like for the ancient Mayan inhabitants. There is also a very nice museum near the ruins that we went to on Saturday. In this musuem many of the original artifacts are displayed since outdoors in the ruins replicas are on display due to exposure to the elements. In the musuem they have built a replica of a temple that the Mayans later built a pyramid over which is also unique to this group of Mayans. In many places in Europe where each new ruling group built their important sites on top of the prior ruling groups important sites, this area seems to be the only Mayan group to have engaged in this practice.
On Sunday we went to Casa Kinich, a musuem about Mayan life in this area. This musuem was very interesting, but judging by the state of the exhibits, it seemed like it was really nice when first built and has since never been repaired. It really is a musuem for children, but for a dollar each, it was a good way to spend the morning before the 49ers game. We don't need to discuss what happened Sunday afternoon. After a deeply saddening loss, we decided to go to the Aguas Termales yesterday. All the hotels sell overpriced transportation to the hot springs, but we decided to take a minibus for less than half the price. At the Aguas, there are basically two options, a $3 option which includes access to the river where hot water mixes with cold water and access to two swimming pools, or a $10 option which gives you access to the "wellness center". We decided on the $3 option, enjoyed some time in the river, but decided the pools were basically public swimming pools, not really hot and not exactly comfortable. We decided to sneak over to the "wellness center" to check it out. Luckily the Aguas are somewhat understaffed so it was an easy sneak. Here there are a variety of tiered pools from hot to cold as well as massage tables, etc. After spending a few hours in the hot water we had enough and started to look for a way home. After 15 minutes or so a woman in a pickup truck passed by and we hopped in, cheaper than the bus ride! So here we are in Copan, hanging out, and tomorrow we head to El Salvador!

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