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Old 11-19-2012, 01:09 PM   #541
JDowns OP
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Originally Posted by TUCKERS View Post
I didn't realize you would go to Yucatan after Palenque. Great ruins there too, Chichen Itza.

There be SNOW and the way over to the peninsula, that road is high elevation and changeable weather.

Dang that's a big detour. Good for you.
Hola Señor Tucker,

It is cold up over that pass through the Chiapas mountains, you got that right. I might have to go back over and check out Tonina though before heading over to to Tulum and Chichen Itza. I'm all in on Mayan ruins after Palenque. I figure better see them now in 2012 before the end of the Mayan world before heading to South America in 2013.

Best,
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Old 11-19-2012, 03:38 PM   #542
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Beautiful weather today for pyramid climbing. I decided to leave all my stuff at the hotel and just wear my Zombie Apocalypse Training Camp t-shirt and jeans as ATGATT for the short ride out to the Palenque ruins outside town. And I flipped my baseball cap backwards and wore it under my helmet like the local boys around here do on their scooters so it wouldn't blow away.

The lady at the hotel front desk is dyslexic apparently. Wouldn't you know it. Following her directions to the letter down the street and to the right I ended up across a bridge, over a gravel pile and in a field next to a basketball court:



Going the opposite direction and to the left I was soon at the front gate to the Palenque ruinas;



It was only 27 pesos to get in. 2 bucks. I parked at the bottom next to where the tourists were finishing up coming down the waterfall pathway and parked. One nice thing about a little dirt bike is that you can park it in a convenient location across the street next to the bus stop:



I climbed the stairs and pathways up against the flow of tourists which meant I could see all the people coming down these staircases:



and climb through the jungle along a waterfall pathway:



and across Robinson Crusoe-esque swinging wooden bridges which the kids across the way jumped on just as I was taking this shot, thus the blur:



The first long batch of tourists were French as I heard, "je suis trés fatigué papa" and "Mon Dieux!' along with smelling the fabulous perfume the wives were wearing as they passed on the narrow path. Trés chic!

It was very Indiana Jones with huge trees 6 feet in diameter rising up 100 plus feet with sinuous trunks that reminded me of the Mayan Village women's legs at the market yesterday:



more coming as pictures finish uploading. Stand by...
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JDowns screwed with this post 11-19-2012 at 07:08 PM
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:06 PM   #543
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While the upper pyramids and temples had been touched by modern man a bit more, these lower ruins were only lightly touched with re-pointing and some of the staircases being the only modern Mexican work I saw.:



drainage gutter that carried water or waste and was covered at one time with flat stones to double as a walkway. Clever:



Here's a better shot with the flat stones intact in this section:



The narrow path continued up the hill through minor housing areas:



I walked out in the jungle and saw where the service crew quarters were out in the boonies:



I only got yelled at twice all day for not staying in the lines. Here is another staircase midway up the path. You can see the Mexican work in the center where the tree blew it out. They tried to emulate the Mayan style at least using the blown out stones but didn't quite get it. The right and left side of the staircase is all Mayan made by the same people who built the buildings next to it and up above. I like their style down in the lower housing areas here. Almost a rustic Celtic feel to these guys work.



This staricase is Mayan but has been repointed with cement to allow walking on by tourists. The stonework is the same as the housing area. Definitely Mayan and not Mexican:



continuing....
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:17 PM   #544
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Stonework

I know you haven't been there yet, but do you have any theories as to how the Incas were able to so perfectly shape qand fit the multi-ton blocks in Macho Pichu?
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:25 PM   #545
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I know you haven't been there yet, but do you have any theories as to how the Incas were able to so perfectly shape qand fit the multi-ton blocks in Macho Pichu?
Hi CC,

From what I have read and the stone quarries where they worked it looks like they used calipers and levers and a lot of effort pounding out the stones to get a perfect fit. It's amazing what you can do with enough manpower, stone hammers, patience and time. They didn't have the benefit of burnt limestone for mortar like the Mayans so had to stick to dry perfection fit.

I'll let you know more if I get there and inspect it personally. Look forward to visiting you in Panama when the rains let up next month.

Kindest regards,
John Downs.
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:40 PM   #546
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John
I took the 5 day hike to MP and when you see the size of the building stones you may believe what my guide said....
they moved the big ones telepathicley!!! The stones were quarried across the topolambambo river down in the valley.
We as a species have lost our powers of mind since the Incas
It is well worth the money for a guide when you get to some of the sites in Peru.
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Old 11-19-2012, 04:54 PM   #547
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Mucho awesome read thanks!
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:04 PM   #548
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Since the Mayans didn't know the Roman arch they were limited to stone lintels and corbeled roofs. Here you can see the corbeling or extending out each course a little until it meets at the top:



Then they mortared round river rock on the roof like this to keep the rain out:



Up further you get into later work that was plastered. The plaster is all washed off over the centuries except in the inner courtyards and protected passageways. This wall could have been plastered with all kinds of designs. Who knows? All that's left is traces of lime plaster on the faces of the stones:



The oldest temple showing how they filled the inner walls and build the stepped outer walls with the nicer stone. I've done this before when a customer pointed to thin air and said they wanted a stone terrace there. It ended being named the Great Wall of Woahink. I can sympathize with what these guys were up against:





Some ace masons were working on this temple upper area. Nice work. Hidden by plaster for the early centuries, but the quality has allowed this one to stand the test of time:





I think the same guys worked on this pyramid. The best work there that I saw. Aesthetically beautiful stonework. The Mexican boys over there are chiseling out the portland cement mortar that was used to fill the joints when it was first restored years ago. They are repointing with lime based mortar as they should:



and doing a crap job of it as you can see from their work on the lower area:



I stood on the temple across from them and watched them work for a while and they should be shot. In an ideal world they should take pictures and make sure to do no harm and be true to the original work.:



They were prying out all the small stones and resetting them Mexican style. Oh well. No big deal really since this whole temple was coated in a thick layer of limestone plaster and sculpted and painted who knows what colors. We are just seeing the bones that are left and this temple would have looked totally different in it's heyday anyway.

The real artists in the Mayan world were the plasterers and stone sculptors. The stone walls were just a medium for plaster. All that's left is the bones of these pyramids much like a concrete block wall before it is stuccoed in modern Mexico like the shy fellow was building up in the mountains a couple of days ago.


You can get a hint of what it looked like in the main temple covered passageways with remnants of gargoyle-like masks and the red and blue pigmented plaster they used. This place must have been awesome in its heyday 1000 years ago when Europe was in the dark ages:



and some stone carving that has lasted:









and in the inner passageways where the plaster is protected and still somewhat intact:







Here is a shot for the art director of a cute local girl taking the same shot I did after she looked up:




and niches that have a hint of their former glory:



the main temple was thrown together by a different crew who were building for mass and probably couldn't wait for the plasterers to come by and cover up their work:



You can see a hint of the eyes and tongue sticking out on the lower right of this lintel:



and on the walls of this inner courtyard on the top of the main temple. This must have been where the honchos with big egos hung out. It's where all the biggest stones and stair slabs are. And I can tell you the bigger the ego, the bigger they want the slabs:



the stairs on this main temple were reconstructed by Mexicans at some point in the last 80 years or so:



You can see their work on the staircase stand in contrast to the original Mayan work to the sides:



This temple hadn't been messed with too much:





Although in the inner area there was rebar showing in this reinforced concrete lintel that has to be over fifty years old:



It looked like they took the original stones and rebuilt it to match the old work on top, so they did a nice job of restoring it in the flavor of the Mayans. The outside terrace was pure Mexican though:



These boys were hanging out in the shade mixing mortar for the repair crew. They wanted to know how much they could earn in the U.S. I told them 30 an hour if they spoke English and worked for themselves, 15 if they didn't. That's how much they make in a day:



Stopped by the vendor area and chatted with Tricepilots buddy. Since the Tricefamily were so kind to me and he introduced me to Ray Harmon's BBQ, I thought it was the least I could do to give his amiga some business, so I bought a Mayan mask from her for 150 pesos. Here she is wrapping it up:



This lady is a goddess. I kid you not. I am zip tying this Mayan mask that has been touched by an angel on the Sherpa numberplate for good luck and will mail it to Trice when I get where ever I end up. Here she is with a message she wrote in her notebook for Tricepilot. Or Treece peelote as it is pronounced in Mayan:



She wanted my correo so I gave her my address. I was getting thirsty and asked the head of maintenance if there was anywhere to buy some agua. He said, "follow me." And I went down to the maintenance shed and got some water from their water cooler. Here is El Jefe giving me the thumbs up. They call him El Gato since he is sly like a cat when it comes to hanging out instead of actually working. Nice bunch of guys:



Rode back to the motel and parked up the steps in the lobby with my Nepalese bike made in Japan with some Mayan flair.





I spent 534 pesos today or $42.72 on gas, food, lodging, internet and farkling the bike.
That's it for now.

Adios amigos,
Juanito
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Old 11-19-2012, 05:39 PM   #549
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You are muy macho explorer for finding her.

Well done! Indeed, she is a Goddess

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Old 11-19-2012, 06:17 PM   #550
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Excelente edición Juanito. Very insightful on authenticity of masonry. Too bad those guys are being so ham fisted in the restoration of main temple. Maybe the elements will mitigate the damage over time.
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Old 11-19-2012, 08:15 PM   #551
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Sorry for the hijack. Actually in the 744, L888 is a non event even with one engine out. 2 engines out, different story. Its spectacular scenery on a clear day. I really need to do L888 the proper way, on a bike.

Looking forward to Palenque through your lens. I passed on the Yucatan last time around and have regretted it a bit. Guess I just need to make another trip.

Did you happen to stop at the Tonina ruins outside Ocosingo? That's right up your alley for sure.

suerte, Vin
Hola Vince,

Thanks for the heads up on Tonina. Its only a couple hours away up over the pass. I think I'll jet over there tomorrow and check it out. Love that road.

Then I'm doing research and development for your Yucatan ride.

Although I would enjoy reading a No Fumar Uzbek ride report. I can see you tearing down the Pamir Highway on a 990. That would be equally entertaining.

Saludos,
Juanito
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:02 PM   #552
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John
I took the 5 day hike to MP and when you see the size of the building stones you may believe what my guide said....
they moved the big ones telepathicley!!! The stones were quarried across the topolambambo river down in the valley.
We as a species have lost our powers of mind since the Incas
It is well worth the money for a guide when you get to some of the sites in Peru.
I'll let you know if I get there. It seems every stone mason should check out the Inca ruins.

You would be surprised what you can do with a thick head and no telepathy though. I've moved 1000 lb boulders across peoples back yards with a tripod of poles lashed together like a teepee and the boulder swinging in the middle. Just move one leg at a time and you can creep across rough terrain and slopes like the Japanese do. At least that was where I got the idea. Wood and rope rot so no telling what the Inca were using centuries ago. My guess is mechanical advantage.

Early stone masons used to set massive gravestones on slivers of ice and move them around until they were just where they wanted them on the pediment and let the ice melt. If you didn't know you would think it was magic.

Best,
John Downs
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:11 PM   #553
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Wow! Palenque looks a tad different than when I was there in 1981! Then there was no entry gate, no pathways, and they were cutting the jungle back daily. You were free to roam anyplace you wanted.

Still looks awesome though.

From the highest temples you could look around and see many other pyramids that had not yet been uncovered, all grown over with jungle they just looked like hills.

I like your new mascot. In the UK we always had a mascot on our bikes and cars, it was a type of eccentricity.

Aren't the females pretty? I almost fell in love and stayed there thirty odd years ago, darn she'll be about 60 now!

Well done John, great report.

Be good to your self.
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:33 PM   #554
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Mucho awesome read thanks!
Hi Mr B,

Glad you are enjoying reading along. Welcome aboard. The party is just starting. Drinks and refreshments will be along shortly. (As soon as you go to the fridge.)

Kindest regards,
John Downs
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Old 11-19-2012, 09:46 PM   #555
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Excelente edición Juanito. Very insightful on authenticity of masonry. Too bad those guys are being so ham fisted in the restoration of main temple. Maybe the elements will mitigate the damage over time.
Yes, that lime mortar slobber will wash away in the tropics just as all the lime plaster did years ago. It's no big deal. Time heals all. In the game of rock, plaster, scissors--- rock wins every time.

Saludos,
Juanito
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