After three days of master classes and performances, our final day in Canún was nothing short of an idyllic vacation! Nestled into an overwhelming final semester, this day spent exploring Mexico provided a much needed dose of relaxation.
Our first stop was at Chichen Itza, the famous site of the Aztec pyramids. I vividly remember the unit in 7th grade social sciences class focused on the native peoples of central America, and I can remember learning about the pyramids, the sacrificial rituals, and the ball game that defined Aztec culture. Pictures never did true justice to the architectural marvels of their society, but getting to see their majesty in person was astonishing, and certainly not something I ever thought I would experience. My favorite fun fact from our tour guide: there was a bird that lived during the time of the Aztecs that would make a distinct call during its mating season, and this call was used as a signal for workers to begin planting and preparing their fields. The way the pyramids are built, when you clap right next to the base, the sound will reverberate and make a noise almost identical to this bird call. This sound was used by Aztec royalty to control workers and direct them toward different tasks.
Our next stop for the day was a sink hole where locals and tourists alike go to enjoy the crystal water deep beneath the surface. These sinkholes are called Cenotes, and were created by the impacts of asteroids millions of years ago. The walls is the Cenotes were rocky and lush, and the water at the bottom was wonderfully cool and clear. There was a ledge 60 feet up that the adventurous could choose to jump from. Unlike many, I love heights; I ran off the ledge chasing the intoxicating feeling of flying, streamlining my body at the last minute as I braced for the impact of the water.
Special skill acquired: jumping over pyramids!