Copan

by Hagan on March 18, 2009

All pictures pop up in the same window without leaving the page.

This is some other place in Guatemala on CA-9 before CA-10 south from Guatemala City. I stopped for a second because I had heard of the town for some reason and wanted to see what it was about. I didn’t really see much of anything but this church and a bunch of Guatemalans wondering why I had stopped in. I think the town has a name similar or the same as the town of the same name I was supposed to check out or I read the signs incorrectly.

Either way, I am certain that all these little towns in Central America have larger and more ornate places of worship than are necessary for the local population. This organized religion thing down here is worse than in the US, only the Christian monopoly seems more entrenched.

I saw rain that night and the next day, and the next.

Nothing to report here.

I think Flickr should have an audio note function – I would love to just babble on for a few minutes about the watermelon that I ate instead of actual food to attempt to lose weight over the course of this trip. The day after I took this picture, I got by on three bags of fruit (they slice up fruit and sell it in plastic sandwich bags on the street) and one bag of mixed nuts.

I was just talking to my mom today about tiny houses.

I expressed my interest in streamlining my life, and she told me about that site. I wondered if I could build one of those houses and park it on 45th and Lex and just take the parking tickets and call them my rent. I am seriously considering this option.

I think a tiny house could work somewhere in this picture, maybe atop one of those distant mountains.

I just saw this article – The title Quest to Shrink the SLR made me look, but disappointed me. If it can’t fit into your pocket, it isn’t shrunk enough. Obviously, there are some technological hurdles to jump before the point-and-shoot world gets high-quality photo capability, and until then, I will take all of my pictures with cameras made to fit in my pocket.

Is anyone else looking forward to the day where their blackberry takes HD video, SLR quality pictures, cranks out stereo sound, and has 8 hours of usage before the battery needs to be recharged? The only thing I could think of adding to that is some sort of Kindle-like capability and you’d never need another gadget.

The next step for this tech would be if it was installed in your body like a cyborg.

I am ready for the revolution.

The guy who granted me access to Honduras stayed there about a half hour after closing time to help me out. The lady in the town with the photocopier (about a mile away) stayed open another fifteen minutes for me. I love this isthmus!

I learned at this border that I was saying “I want to leave (Country X) and find (Country Y).” I thought that ‘hallar’ meant enter, but it turns out that it was just below ‘llegue’ (arrive) on my Spanish cheat sheet, and I had recalled it incorrectly. I kept telling the border agents that it wasn’t too hard to understand what I wanted after they figured it out, but I guess my Spanish wasn’t exactly the easiest to decipher.

Mi Español es malo, pero es no muy malo.

I have about sixty photos of Mayan ruins that I have no captions for. I mean, I will tell you about the redhead MILF a few photos from now, but really, I don’t know all that much about this place. The guides cost $20 each, and I didn’t have that, so I had to skate through and figure it out for myself.

So this is the layout of Copan in miniature at the visitor’s center.

Why am I thinking of Jurassic Park right now?

I took about five videos and finally settled on this one. I took one of myself walking into the courtyard for the first time, walking up to the ruins, looking at the intricate carvings – this one was the best one (and I still don’t think it was that good).

I am going to be copying some wikipedia articles and putting them here so you can get an idea of what Copan is all about. It is a pretty awesome place, but I would skip it if you have been to Tikal.

From Wikipedia:

The site in Copan is known for producing a remarkable series of portrait stelae, most of which were placed along processional ways in the central plaza of the city and the adjoining “acropolis” (a large complex of overlapping step-pyramids, plazas, and palaces). The stelae and sculptured decorations of the buildings of Copán are some of the very finest surviving art of ancient Mesoamerica.

I met a girl the night before from England who was gorgeous, but I got stuck sitting between here and her significantly larger, more crosseyed friend. I later reflected me on my infatuation with this girl and figured that I only thought she was gorgeous because she looked like Carrie Swan (a girl that I went out with in HS and kept thinking of for about four years after we broke up). Of course, since then I learned that any belief that in finding connection with another person will somehow solve some sort of (or any) problem in your life is a complete lie.

I wondered why that when my grandparents have died that I haven’t been so sad, and at my buddhist retreat, I think I found some of that answer. I don’t tend to associate myself to an ownership of others very often. In the last few months, I have been distancing myself from ownership of anything all together (certainly my real estate) and I am much happier for it.

Please, if you are reading this and you are someone who gets me gifts for any holiday, the only thing I could possibly want would be a gift certificate that could be used at a fancy restaurant or some type of travel voucher. Over the next year or so, I will be minimizing my entire wardrobe to simply white shirts, khaki shorts, and jeans.

Now if you are one of those people who don’t listen to instructions, and you absolutely must buy me something, I am a 15/34 and you can get me a white non-iron shirt from Brooks Brothers. They have thrice yearly sales, and you can usually get three of them for $175.

Thanks.

As I was leaving this place, they were selling some awesome jade statues that I would have certainly bought had I been able to bring them home. I have reduced my total impulse spend to food since then.

These are very well protected, as you can see.

Honduras had a site that was completely ransacked by locals for the stone about forty years ago. It was a site with supposedly more intricate carvings than the ones here. If the people in that town ever visited the area surrounding Copan and understood what kind of economic boost that the tourist draw gave to the town, they would burn their ancestors in effigy.

The one thing that I would like to know that I can’t figure out from a cursory glance at Wikipedia is what the designs on the stelae mean. I am sure the guides would have been able to explain this to me. I want to know why that one is squat and why it has what it has on it and what they used it for and why it is located where it is and why this courtyard is filled with so many of these things and what it was once used for.

I don’t think that information is worth $20 to me, but it would be nice to have as I write this. It would certainly fill out the caption section nicely.

Later in the set, I take some video of an unearthed section of the city and show the fantastic detail of the carvings (the reason why this area is underneath a tarp).

Funny I should mention Carrie Swan when talking about this archaeological site; she’s an archaeologist.

This tree must be eleven feet in diameter at the base. I don’t know how old the tree is, another thing I am pretty sure the guides could tell me.

So this is the picture I took seconds before the Redhead MILF and I first saw each other.

She was in her late thirties and as walking around the ruins in high heels. My first inclination was to tell her that it was fine to wear comfortable shoes while walking such treacherous terrain, but as I kept looking, she was still looking back at me. She was a Latino version of Jessica Rabbit.

As I walked down the temple to the landing on the other side, she was walking up to the same landing. Her husband, their child and one of her girlfriends/family members was also tagging along.

She left her kid with her well-dressed and attractive husband to follow me, friend/sibling/cousin in tow. At the top of the first temple, I said hi. Well, hola, but same thing. She said hi and then something that I couldn’t understand in Spanish to her accomplice and left as I was taking pictures. They rounded a corner and laughed to themselves.

It was time to pay my way into the tunnels. A lot easier than I had even assumed. I probably could have gotten away with just walking into the tunnels, but I bribed the guard like the people the night before told me to do. It cost me a little less than half what it cost at the gate and I could still feel good about contributing to the local economy. I was hanging out around the mouth of the smaller excavated tunnel pleading with the guard and explaining about how I didn’t want to go all the way back to the gate to pay for the tunnels, but now that I was here, I wanted to go in, and I had $5 for him.

As I was haggling, the Redhead walked into the tunnel sans husband. I went in as she left and we smiled at each other.

I went into the next tunnel, and she followed me in with her friend. I was taking a picture of the detail on one of the carvings in a pocket like the one the lovebirds in the video are in. The friend came in to look at the carvings, and when she left, RM came in. She lingered for a second and brushed up against me intentionally. I turned and smiled at her again. She smiled at me, turned away coyly, said something to her friend (who was out of eyesight) and walked away. They laughed again as I passed the pocket they were standing in.

That’s it. Sorry to disappoint . . .

I mean, I would have liked to say that we made love atop the ruins and it was the best sex of my life, but that didn’t happen in reality.

I’m positive that it happened in more than one person’s fantasy, however.

The reason that these carvings cost so much to see is because they are 300 to 400 years older than the buildings that you can see from the outside. Every emperor of the town was just a little more egotistical than the next. I don’t know if they stopped building new monuments to each successive emperor, or the new emperor just took over for the last one and whoever was alive when it was finished was the one who got the naming rights.

These bricks are from the 400s. I have seen older structures but none older in the Americas. I don’t know anyone who has seen an older structure than New Grange.

I can’t caption all of these. I mean, WTF is this thing. I got nothin’.

Supposedly this is a bust of one of the kings. There were seventeen emperors of Copan from its inception to when they stopped counting.

These sections of the town were for high-ranking officials. The stone houses around here were about a foot thick with stone each and were very cool inside. Their version of AC worked surprisingly well.

Some German tourists took this for me. Most of the tourists were locals, which I thought was surprising. Most of the tourists at Tikal were visitors from other countries. Of course, Tikal was much more expensive.

These guys are free in Honduras – they’re the national bird. They’re pretty expensive everywhere else.

Sorry, bad joke.

Man, what a gorgeous ride this was. It was a curvy path through mountainous greenery from Copan to La Entrada on the Carretera Pavimentada Principal. This was my second favorite stretch of highway (the first being the PCH of El Salvador).

I am still amazed that you can get an acre of waterfront property in El Salvador for $8,000. Check this place out.

$300,000 for a 3,000 square foot mansion on the coast of El Salvador. I hope one of you guys reading this blog puts an offer in at $250K and buys this sucker. I promise that I will visit you every year. I have been looking at it since it before the price dropped. If I could afford any sort of mortgage right now, I would surely relocate. That house and the area that it is in are both gorgeous.

Not the first or last time I saw this kind of Coming To America BS down here.

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