Monday, March 3, 2003
Just one more exploit before we head home. Tabasco's Mayan city of Comalcalco lies an hour and 40 minutes northwest of Villahermosa. Conditions here were different than elsewhere in the Mayan world, and they were lacking the rock to build their temples. They made do though. Comalcalco is the first and only Mayan city constructed of brick and mortar. The city reached its height from 600 to 900 A.D., and by 1100 was completely abandoned. We took a bus and then a taxi to reach here, and arrived mid-afternoon.
Plaza Norte, Comalcalco
As we entered the zona arqueologica Comalcalco, we were immediately drawn to a refresco stand. In case you're thinking of visiting, I think it's worth noting that they do not sell water!
As many ruins as we've visited, we still found this site very interesting. The brick structures make this one completely different and really quite striking. It also gets my award for the sweatiest Mayan site. It was I mean HOT, but we lived to tell about it. We spotted a couple of large lizards, but they stubbornly refused to pose for our photographs.
At the site museum you can appreciate features of the structures you couldn't normally see. Many of the bricks used in construction have shapes of animals, humans, or symbols baked into them. Strangely, the bricks were normally placed so that the designs faced inward, presumably never to be seen again. Also on display were bodies found buried in a crouching position inside large ceramic jars.
Our taxi having long ago left, one of the site guards arranged for us to ride back to centro in the back of a guy's pickup. Our driver graciously refused payment.
We bought tickets on a second-class bus for our trip back to Villahermosa, and ended up having to stand in the crowded bus all the way to Cárdenes, over an hour, where most of the passengers unloaded. We weren't sure if we were to change buses, but Tom asked the bus driver and he told us to stay on board; we were in the right place.
The two of us ate eight delicious, greasy carne asada tacos and had two Cokes at Tacos Cha-Lu, near our hotel, 48 pesos. Taco Bell could learn a thing or two. We headed back to our room and packed.
Playing while packing