Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A Memory of Oxkintok

I looked at the labyrinth wishing I had brought my flashlight. I mean I didn't come all this way not to go inside, not to see what the real mystery was. I hadn't endured the horrible bus ride, the breastfeeding and the heat just to take my token picture. I wanted to go inside. The Tzat Tun Tzat. It even sounded mysterious. Was it a prison? A little Alcatraz in the middle of the Yucatan? Why hadn't I brought a flashlight?

A trollish little man with sparkling teeth and an oddly pleasing smile appeared out of nowhere and approached me cautiously. "Quieres entrar? Traigo torcha," he muttered in broken Spanish. "Yes, I want to go in." Are you kidding me? The little man had a flashlight to boot.

I looked Asterio up and down. He had probably taken hundreds of portly gringos into the labyrinth in his day. "How much?" I knew better than to expect it wouldn't cost me. "Nada," he laughed, sounding a bit like Igor jingling the keys. He scampered to the door and urged me to follow him. The sweat that only a fat guy gets in the tropics dripped down my nose. "What the heck?" I reasoned. "You only live once."

Hoping to lighten the mood, I asked my cohort if he'd ever seen any aluxes, or goblins, in the area. "Only at night," he replied with a nonchalance that seemed a little unsettling.

Asterio entered and I followed right on his heels. At first, the way was lighted by the windows and doorways that perferated the Labyrinth. I could kind of tell where we were going, but we got deeper and deeper into the Labyrinth, and I got disoriented. Asterio seemed to go faster and faster. I heard him up ahead of me and I could see the flicker of his flashlight. Was it running out of batteries? The passageways seemed smaller. I could feel my hair brushing against the smooth limestone. I heard other noises. The wind? I couldn't tell. We were too deep inside to tell.

I heard something. I couldn't see anything. I felt like I should do something. What? I was paralyzed as something hit me in the head. I screamed and tried to rid myself of it. It moved. It moved? Oh, great, something is attacking me. My arms flailed about, my legs stomped feverishly, and my head shaked uncontrollably as I flicked and convulsed against the unseen enemy.

Asterio giggled sheepishly and I heard him turn slowly and flash his light at my feet. "Murcielago," he said matter-of-factly, "I'm too short."

Guided tour of Oxkintok's famous Tzat Tun Tzat--$10 (paid as a tip)
Getting hit in the head by a live bat--priceless.


Blogger Indigo said...

Priceless indeed!

We had a bat in our livingroom one night. Nothing like sitting there, watching tv in your jammies, and then seeing something black flit by at super sonic speed. I would have DIED if it would have hit me in the head.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Silver Boh said...

Sounds like a great trip, wish I could have gone with you.

10:31 AM  
Blogger Le laquet said...


I remember being at a French tea party - a "I'm new to this village so I'm having a tea-party to say hello!" kind of affair. (My mother and I took Welsh cakes of course!!) All the French ladies (widows, fashionistas, old dears, the mayor) spent the afternoon ducking to avoid "la chauve-souris/the bat" which swooped repeatedly over-head until hustled out of the door whilst they munched English scones and Welsh cakes - culinary entente cordiale at it's finest!

1:14 PM  
Blogger janie q said...

that reminds me of that nintendo game, zelda, all those labyrinths, never knowing what to expect next.

4:12 PM  
Blogger Terry said...

Most impressive. Funny and very well written.

6:14 PM  
Anonymous aidana said...

ts could be a chapte in a book,,,well written

9:25 AM  
Blogger vicki said...

great entry for B4B- loved story and it resonates perfectly with Mexican experiences.

5:15 PM  
Anonymous Frances Nash said...

bats are so cute--like tiny mice!

8:55 AM  

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