Our final stop in Copan was a visit to the Mayan ruins for which we
had ostensibly come this far in the first place.
The roadside was clearly labeled to help passing travelers satisfy
their needs for gasoline and ancient Mayan temples.
A scale model was on display near the ticket booth to give one an idea
of the magnitude of the excavated ruins. It's a veritable Mayan theme
The gate was closely guarded by a pack of attack parrots. Their
vicious catcalls struck fear into the hearts of hooligans who dared
consider sneaking into the ruins without paying the fee.
We strolled around the big open field, inspecting numerous statues
erected to honor the thirteenth ruler of Copan, affectionately known
as Rabbit, which is not surprising given that his full name was
Waxaklahun Ubah K'awil, which can't have been easy to pronounce after
a few drinks.
The Mayans had a fondness for sacrifice (occasionally of humans) and
this stone was apparently constructed to channel the blood away from
the unfortunate subject in a pleasing spiral.
This friendly turtle guarded the door to the otherworld. This is the
side that faced the world of the living.
This side faced the nether regions, where it seems everyone had big
foreheads and buck teeth.
This bird watches over the court where a ball game was played in which
the losing captain was generally sacrificed as part of an end game
The main attraction at the Copan ruins is this massive staircase in
which the steps are intricately carved with a history of the ancient
city. The big tarp is protecting it against further erosion by wind
Here's a look back at the ball field and the steps.
The Mayan sculptors were pretty good at sculpting scary gods, but
didn't seem to have devoted a lot of effort to capturing the beauty of
This guy, for example, wasn't getting many dates.
The archaeologists were on the scene, monitoring a variety of weather
Joining the archaeologists were those that came to sit in meditation
on the temples, monitoring the spiritual vibes that they believed to
be emanating from these ancient places of worship.