The heat of the sun was beating down on me so much that my mouth begged for water. Water that I had nonchalantly assumed I wouldn’t want to carry, and therefore left in the tour bus some 1,000 feet back. The sun near the equator is so much different than what I am used to back home in Jersey, and on my third day of vacation I still wasn’t quite used to it. It was all I could do to try and squint my eyes and listen, as our tour guide explained the history of Coba, a ruined city of the Mayan civilization.
Coba is located in Yucatan, Mexico and during its time of civilization is estimated to have had 50,000 inhabitants. Possibly even more. When I visited we were taken to see the main court (which is where the ball games would take place), and the pyramid known as “La Iglesia”, before seeing the much-anticipated “Nohoch Mul” pyramid.
â–º QUARTER FINALIST 2012 TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
The Nohoch Mul pyramid is infamous for it’s ancient sacrifices that happened on the very top. To get to the top, you must climb 120 steep, very worn out steps. This is different from Chichen Itza, another Mayan ruin in Mexico that no longer allows tourists to climb due to keeping the ruin in good condition. My family and I decided to take on the challenge and climb to the very top!
Before we started our climb, the sun suspiciously hid behind some clouds, clouds that looked almost dangerous. With the thought of rain in the back of my mind, I began to climb with my family, trying to hold on to the one long rope that ran down the middle of the ruin. Half way up I decided holding onto the rope wasn’t the best decision, for the fact that so many other people were doing the same thing and feeling the others pull on it was making me nervous. I began to use my own method, climbing up the mountain hands first, pulling my feet behind me. It worked well, as long as I didn’t look down! I kept thinking about the height of the temple, and how I really wouldn’t enjoy falling off of it.
By the time we made it to the top, the clouds had gotten darker, and after taking a few pictures and admiring the view of the treetops, we thought it best to make our descent. As I made my way down, which was much scarier than going up, it began to rain. As if it wasn’t bad free-climbing a steep pyramid, now I had to do it when it was slippery! This time, I tried my best to get a hold of the rope, which became my security. Other than slipping once, which I swear made my heart stop for a second, I made it down without a scratch or bruise.
I have always thought Mayan ruins were interesting, ever since I learned about them in my sixth grade social studies class, but never did I imagine I would get the chance to actually climb one! It taught me that I am braver than I think, and if I can tackle a 138-foot pyramid, I can tackle whatever else life brings.
(I took an excursion courtesy of Riveria Maya resorts, but any hotel in the surrounding areas offer day trips too!)
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