Day 3 - Copán, Honduras

This hotel is spoiling me. It is not a fancy resort by any means, but just a quaint little inn with maybe four guest rooms. This morning when I woke up and went outside, there was a single table out in the middle of the garden set for three people. Breakfast was served, consisting of papaya, toast, eggs, and beans. Also, there is a “pillow menu” in the room. I just walked over to José, the doorman and also the only person working here right now, to ask if I could have a few, and he brought me to a wardrobe upstairs stuffed plum full of memory foam pillows, body pillows, buckwheat pillows, and every other kind of pillow imaginable. So forgive me if I doze off while writing this but I am quite delightfully comfortable.* There’s more: the shower doubles as a steam shower! I just finished bathing in steam until I felt like I was going to drown.

Today we went to the ruins of the ancient Maya city of Copán. Where to even begin? I took an entire class this past semester on Mayan hieroglyphics and, due in part to the enthusiasm of my incredible professor, became positively obsessed with the subject. A major chunk of the class was devoted to deciphering the stelae of Copán, and today I got to see those magnificent monuments in all their archeological glory. I’ve been to Chizen Izta and Tulum, which were both pretty incredible, but this time around was just so much more meaningful! It was like on SAS**, when we would be learning about something in class, and then we got to go see it first hand in whatever country we were visiting next. Only this time, I had been learning about Mayan Glyphs for four months previous. And then to go see the real thing was almost more than I could handle. What beauty, what history, what wonder!


We walked in through the entrance and as we were buying tickets, a toothless old man dressed in a complete safari getup came up to me and asked where I was from. When I answered Colorado, he nearly stared jumping up and down, exclaiming, “Colorado! I know about Colorado! It’s legal to smoke marijuana there!” Then he went on to tell me that CU Boulder was one of three major universities who had done research in Copán in the 1990s. This tweaked my interest and I asked if he had any recollection of who had been here doing the research. His memory was vague at first, so I asked him if the name Inga Calvin (my Maya Glyph professor) rang a bell, and he once again started showing his excitement and said that was the name. What are the odds? 


I acted as tour guide for Mom and Bobby, leading them around from stela to stela and pointing out whatever Glyphs I could decipher, from dates, to the names of rulers, to the glyphs for the name Copán itself. Also, what was somewhat tragic from an archeological perspective, but downright cool from a tourist perspective, was that the ruins of the buildings and structures themselves were, for the majority, not roped off. We were free to climb to the tops of pyramids, and stand from the vantage point of where the ruler’s throne would have been, overlooking the great and vast ball park. We were even able to go down into the tunnels, which offered an eerie glimpse into a time1500 years ago. Some demented person on Trip Advisor had warned not to wasted your money on the tunnels, but please, if your are ever in Copán and have any appreciation for architecture, anthropology, or the Maya culture, explore the depths of the ruins if you dare!

*I actually did doze off halfway through the second paragraph.
**I promise to stop with the SAS references! Soon.