Tall pyramids, narrow steps

by Andrew Stein

It’s hard to call Chichen Itza and Uxmal “ruins”. They’re hardly ruined at all, still possessing the spirit that I imagine filled the air more than 1,000 years ago. Chichen Itza and Uxmal, both around Merida, were built by the Mayans. Today, Chichen Itza is a buzzing marketplace with local craft makers drawing nearly as much attention as the magnificent towers around them whereas Uxmal is a less well-traveled, but larger ruin. At Uxmal we took the opportunity to climb the steps of a pyramid, eager to get the complete view of an ancient town that seemed to extend back and back. The view was stunning and the climb down the steps, terrifying. The mystery that remains is why the pyramids were built for such narrow feet.