Sunday, September 8, 2013

Fishers and Mechams last 4 days with us...well one of their last 4 days with us.

How did the 8 days with our Fisher and Mecham families zoom by so rapidly?!

Monday, September 2, we headed to the Copan, Honduras Ruins bright and early.  Remember that date: "Sepember 2"
The next day we found out it was a date we should have remembered way before it arrived.
About 10:00 that morning we had arrived at the El Salvador border to cross into Guatemala.  It took 40 minutes, which we thought was a long time.  But we would learn coming back into El Salvador the next day what a "long" border crossing really was.

We felt blessed we were inside our nice rented 26-seat air-conditioned bus out of the sun and rain. Parked next to us were some El Salvadorians traveling in the back of their pickup.  Many, many travel this way in Central America.
We drove an hour or so in Guatemala before crossing the border into Honduras.  It was 1:30 Monday afternoon when we got to the Copan Ruins.  (We'd been told it was a 4-hour drive; took us 5 1/2 hours.)
Our hearts sank when we saw the sign: 
"Copan Ruins -- Open 8am-4pm"
But then we found out they stop selling tickets ($15 per person) at 4:00 and are actually open until 5:00 p.m. 
So we had 3 1/2 hours which turned out to be sufficient to see everything -- except the tunnels (which cost another $15 per person). But our guide told us the tunnels are not really accessible during the rainy season, and are covered with plastic to protect them, so we chose not to do the tunnels.

First thing the kids climbed up the small pyramid at the entrance to the Mayan Central Plaza.
We were happy to have Elder Joseph y Hna. Marilee Clark join us for this 2-day adventure.
We learned a lot about the Mayans, their royalty and culture from our guide, Cesar...
Now I am going to have a Sunday nap with my sweetheart... more later this afternoon.
                     ....It's later, I'm back.
The hieroglyphic stairs up the grand pyramid at the Copan Ruins are covered by a tarp to protect the from more erosion.
Here is some interesting info I just Googled...
(...well, interesting for those who like ruins.  Just skip if you are not interested and scroll down to the rest of our adventures in Copan.)
Also known as Structure 26, this pyramid stairway boasts the longest Maya text found so far. This stairway is the last construction phase of this structure. Underneath this pyramid archaeologists have found other construction phases as well as many astounding pieces of art. 
One example is the earliest stela found at Copan , Stela 63 with a date of, 8 Ahau 14 Ceh corresponding to December 11, 435 AD, this stela was found broken in 3 pieces and buried within the structure. 
The original base where it had stood against the back wall of the inside chamber, evidence states that the burial of Stela 63 occurred almost 200 years after the date carved within this sculpture. In front of Stela 63 and in the uppermost fragment there is evidence of soot and smoke, the blackening suggests that this sculpture was exposed for a great deal of time (200 years?) and was the subject of worship by the constant burning of offerings, until its defacing and burial.
The purpose as well as the disposition of the structures of which Pyramid 26 is a part of remained similar throughout all the building phases uncovered so far, even though the subtler details changed over time, such as orientation, decoration and size, with Pyramid 26 serving as a dynastic temple. Complementing the plaza with Pyramid 26 was Structure 11 that served as a house of office and the Ball Court A, all of these structures suffered modifications over time. The origins of the Ball Game can be traced to the Early Pre classic period so it is no surprise to find one in such an important place at the Acropolis and with more construction phases.
Of special importance is the Hieroglyphic Stairway itself, as it details the life and times of the rulers of Copan in an attempt to legitimize their power linking themselves historically with the founder of the dynasty Yax' K'uk' Mo'. Commissioned by Ruler 12 Smoke Imix God K. Pyramid 26 was finished in 756 AD by ruler 15, K'ak' Yipyaj Chan K'awiil, and on his tomb he was buried with jade, ceramic censers, a flint knife and other ceremonial objects associated with bloodletting.
In the central axis of the Stairway there are 5 seated figures with adornments consistent with warfare, self sacrifice and ancestor worship. Through a reconstruction by Barbara Fash of the façade decorations on the temple, are consistent with warfare, the motifs depicted are large Tlaloc masks set at the corners of the temples and on the central axis of the East and West sides. These 6 masks representative of warrior gods and sacrifice seemed to protect the 5 ancestors nestled on top of the Stairway the same as 5 more located in the façade with slightly larger life-sized human figures and adorned with shields.

...meanwhile back at the
We were all fascinated with the many Macaws flying around, with some perching...
Macaws like this...

And this...
On our way out of the Copan Ruins, we posed with Aimee and Michael Mecham...our oldest granddaughter and her husband.  We were so happy they were able to come.
After a fun browse in the Park's Souvenir Shoppe to compare prices versus what we would find in town, it was off to check into the Hotel Graditas Mayas for the night. (The town is barely a mile from the ruins.)
Then it was off to Copan's central plaza two blocks away for shopping and eating.
Tipica food is rice, beans, salsa and a little meat...with French Fries added for the North American tourists.
If you look closely, you can see the waitress carrying part of our order on her head...
Then we posed outside the fun restaurant. The photo of all of us was on someone else's camera.  I got one of Janie & Shawn.
Then while the young ones shopped, the Clarks and we took a tut-tut back to the hotel. Hna. Clark sent us a photo of Tut-tuts from the next day.
     A fun ending of a fun day with family and friends...
I'm worn out just posting our first day at the Ruins, and I must have worn you out, too.
        But our next day turned out to be more of an adventure than we ever expected...
   be continued tomorrow...maybe.
We hope you have had a peaceful and restful Sabbath Day.
Families and friends are forever. 
We spoke at the Cuscutlan Stake Conference this morning--Sunday, September 8.  That will be a future post.
       Goodnight.  Have a great week - Sept. 8-14.

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