2016 Panama Canal Cruise
March 26 - Puerto Chiapas, Mexico
We signed up for an excursion this morning. We couldn't get on the earliest one. Ours started at 10:30. So we had a casual breakfast in the dining room sitting with couples from Portland, OR and Windsor Ontario.
We left the ship around 10:00 and passed the the terminal in Chiapas to our bus. Our excursion was called "Chiapas through the ages: Izapa Ruins and Tapachula". Excursions with Holland America are contracted with local tour companies. Guides speak fluent English and are experts on local history and culture. We drove through the countryside and made out first stop at the Tapachula Planetarium. I thought that this was a little strange at first, but then the agenda unfolded. We were greeted by several locals dressed up in ancient Mayan costumes. They treated us to ritual dances. No human sacrifices were included. Then we went into the planetarium and watched a presentation on the stars and how they were used by the Mayans in building their cities and temples. This was in a very dark auditorium. I had lots of trouble staying awake.
Our next stop was in the city of Tapachula. We parked near the main plaza and took a short walk around it. The walk included a visit to the new city hall. They are proud of it because of its two beautiful stained glass windows depicting ancient life in Chiapas. There was a mural on one of the walls with a similar theme.
Our guide then took us over to the picturesque old cathedral. We walked through the inside where a few parishioners were rehearsing deliveries from the lectern. I assume it was for Easter Sunday. They were speaking Spanish so I wasn't sure. The sanctuary was small and colorful.
We gathered outside of the church where two women in native costumes were waiting for us. Our guide explained what the costumes represented.
Back in the bus, we drove through the congested city to the ancient archaeological site of Izapa. We followed our guide past mounds as he explained what they were all about. The mounds were low with steps to their top surface. To me it was difficult to imagine what was done here but our guide mentioned that the area was known for religious and athletic purposes.
We got back to the ship around 3:00. by this time we were very hungry. We immediately went to the dining room where high tea was being served. The tea and finger sandwiches took off the edge off of my hunger. We sat with a young woman who was a lawyer in Australia and originally from Indonesia. She was very chatty. The couple that sat with us were friendly. He was a retired dentist who claimed that he is a farmer now.
Our routine of happy hour, dinner and laps followed. I went alone to show in the Vista Lounge. Ann wasn't interested in watching Puck, a talented magician. I really enjoyed it, especially the dancing napkin.
This is how we got there: