Liam and Franklin's Excellent Adventure, April 2004
The theme of this journey was "Pre-Columbian American Ruins".
First, we spent 4 days in Mexico's Yucatan peninsula,
seeking abandoned Mayan cities:
- Liam hiding the contraband
in the trunk of our rental car;
- an alien life form escaping into the
waves near Tulum;
- Mayan walls at Tulum facing the sea;
- life was a beach for these Mayas;
no wonder their civilization was in decline;
- some of the steps at Nohoch Mul at Coba
(the rope is not original equipment);
- ruins at Ek Balam with a flat and
sparsely populated Yucatan in the background;
- Liam, unafraid of serpents, preparing to climb
El Castillo at Chichen Itza;
- Chichen Itza's Grand Ball Court
(note the hoops!);
- a small sample from the
Group of the Thousand Columns
at Chichen Itza;
- the first iguana was a surprise
but we soon found Chichen Itza was crawling with them;
- view from the quadrangle at Uxmal,
looking south toward the Governor's Palace.
Next, we spent 10 days in Peru breathing the same thin air
the Incas did.
To reduce the chance of being kidnapped by the Shining Path terrorists,
we signed up with Trafalgar Tours for guides, transportation, and hotels.
That worked out well:
- our tour group at Machu Picchu,
from left to right:
(this and other photos were taken at the site by an entrepeneur
who offered them for sale a day or two later outside our hotel in Cuzco
-- what organization!)
- Rajni and Dilip from New Jersey;
- Emily and Gus from Ontario;
- Pat and Claude from Maryland, with Luis,
our guide from Cuzco, in front;
- John and Maxine from Michigan, with Liam in front;
- Peggy and Chuck from California,
with Paul from West Virginia in between;
- the long and winding road
that leads to Machu Picchu;
- Machu Picchu
(no, it's not a scale model!) in the afternoon and
Machu Picchu in the morning;
- Inca rooms with a view;
- Liam befriending a resident alpaca
(photo modified by Claude to remove other tourists);
- the solar observatory at Machu Picchu
with Wayna Picchu peak in the background, which peak Liam boasts of having
ascended in 21 minutes;
- the valley of the Urubamba River;
- third-world insect repellent;
(Yes, that's a water-filled baggie with a fly on it.
The guy at the restaurant claimed the flies are scared off by their own
reflection. Seems tourists will believe anything.)
- Inca terraces for farming
and for attracting tourists;
- Inca jigsaw puzzle construction at Saqsaywaman;
- heading south by rail from Cuzco through the
Andes mountains to Puno
(my favorite picture from the trip);
- Inca tomb near Lake Umayo;
- Lake Umayo,
with a Vicunya preserve on the island to the left;
- Prickles watching the sunrise
over Lake Titicaca;
- life goes on on one of the many
floating islands in Lake Titicaca;
(These islands are built entirely out of reeds. As the bottom of the island
decays and sinks, the residents pile new reeds on top, completely
resurfacing the island every 15 days, including under their houses.
These islands may have begun as an early
to escape Inca imperialism but the current residents seem unwilling
to break with bad tradition.)
- Liam and Claude use the lookout platform on the floating
while Paul keeps it from sinking.
Finally, we spent 4 days in and around Mexico City.
It was a rather uneventful time to visit:
no bullfights, no baseball, no soccer!
Most of our time was spent at Teotihuacan, to the north of the city.
- a view of Mexico City
from the top of the Torre Latinoamericano;
- early morning view of the Avenue of the Dead
at Teotihuacan, with the Pyramid of the Moon in the background;
- midday view of Teotihuacan from the top of
the Pyramid of the Moon, with the Pyramid of the Sun to the left and
the Avenue of the Dead to the right;
- Prickles watching the sunrise
from the top of the Pyramid of the Moon;
- Liam, partway up the Pyramid of the Sun.
And then we came home.