Valladolid is old and charming and I stayed at El Meson del Marques, a lovely colonial looking hotel, reasonably priced with courtyard, fountains and a great restaurant in front of the main Plaza of town. Walking down the narrow streets the following day a taxi driver was shouting "Ek Balam! Ek balam!! It sounded like arabic (al kabam?) to my untrained ear as opposed to Spanish, but it turned out he wanted to take me out to the most fantastic ruins by the same name which translated means "Star Jaguar;" perhaps the name of the king whose tomb was found there. Again, with a thought of adventure and a little faith I hopped into his car (always under the protection of Jesus or Mary who either ride the dashboard or are displayed reverently in almost every type of vehicle), and for the fare equivalent of maybe 5 dollars headed out into the countryside at break neck speed. Though not as well known as Chichen Itza I'm so glad I decided to go!! The beautiful glyphed and fantastic carved facade of the palace/tomb was in perfect condition as were the ball courts as though the players had just left to go celebrate- or cut off the heads of the losers- they didn't believe in handshakes or "well played old chaps" type of sportmanship!! I couldn't help but think of my brother and his basketball and soccer team. I wondered if threatening them with decapitation would make them play a better game!!
There is also a cenote close by called Xanche with rapelling and zip lines for the daring.
Within walking distance of my hotel was the beautiful Cenote Zaci in a park like setting and right off
Today the Mayan people are mainly Catholic, sweeter than honey and as honest and helpful as you could wish. Everyone drives like a maniac though and my taxi had only one half seat belt but I was still charged full price.
At night the streets have a carnival atmosphere with people on the go, smells of food, hawkers and music blaring and some times cars with loud speakers drive by advertising God knows what as I don't speak Spanish yet. In the afternoon a marching band played in the plaza outside my window every day so I was allowed no siesta!