Copan Ruinas, the town next to the ruins, is in the western corner of Honduras. There's not a whole lot to the town except for an over abundance of accommodations. But Honduras has a different feel from Guatemala. It's more cowboy country. Meaning more cattle, meaning more beef. (Guatemala is chicken land.) Street vendors grill yummy smelling beef slices. Milk, so expensive in Guatemala, is much cheaper here. Cowboy hats, cowboy boots are also back and the locals look less Mayan than typically Latino/Latina. But they are just as easy going and just as friendly as the Guatemalans.
The ruins are more chilled out -- this is not Chichen Itza or even Palenque. Even with the tour groups, it does not feel crowded or overrun. Copan has more carvings and carved stellae than other sites, with lots of glyphs as well as representations of rulers, monkeys, turtles, alligators and serpents, but the coolest thing about it is the surrounding area with its cotton silk tree, ceiba, gumbo-limbo, cedar, ear pod trees as well as macaw feeding station. There are several bright red, blue and yellow macaws, all as gaudy as Bozo the Clown. And oh, my, when they fly!! What a sight. Giant wing spans, long colorful tails. No wonder the Mayans thought they were representatives of the Sun God.
The adjoining site, Las Sepulturas, was the residential area for lesser muck-a-mucks. The chief, royalty and priests probably lived near the temple, while Las Sepulturas housed the shaman, shamana, scribes and other important people. The lower classes had wooden houses which disintegrated over time, but these higher ups had solid stone foundations that remain today. Did the same dynasty live there the entire time? Was the place conquered by outsiders and taken over? Or abandoned until new squatters came in? The temple was definitely reworked, succeeding generations building on what already existed. I suppose it might have been the same for the houses. Today, there is no one to rework any of it. There are only ghosts sharing the space with lizards and birds.
Labels: Honduras, on-the-road