February 26, 2011

Inland to the Ruins of El Chanal

 I’m a sucker for ruins. I can spend hours sitting in the rubble of forgotten civilizations imagining the past. What I love most is to wander slowly and silently, taking in different vantages. Sometimes when I close my eyes I swear I feel the echoes of the long ago people.

My biggest regret, when we changed our plans and decided not to go to the Galapagos, was we’d miss southern Mexico and Central America and not see the big ruins with Maia. So when we learned of the ruins outside of Comila (about 3 hours from Barra) I wanted to head inland. And when I shared our idea with Meri from Hotspur she told me she’d be all over that plan and her family would love to join us.

Colima actually has two sets of ruins: El Chanal and La Compana, and both are found on the northern outskirts of Colima. El Chanal is located in the residential area at the end of Venustiano Carranza street just north of the Tercer Anillo Periferico (3rd ring highway) and it’s really poorly signed so be prepared to ask for directions.
 The ruins themselves are modest and infrequently visited. A fact that meant we were the only ones there. But being the only people wandering through an ancient city is a magical experience. And as we climbed the pyramids and pondered the ball court my imagination flowed freely. I tried to see the site bustling with people and then tried to imagine the excitement of the first archaeologist who stumbled across the remains.
Very little is known about El Chanal, including who occupied it. Archeologists have figured out that the site was occupied from roughly1100 AD to 1400 AD, and it was mysteriously abandoned about 200 years before the Spanish arrived—probably because of warfare.
Maia and Carolyne being sacrificed
Today though the site is still and silent—a testament to a mysterious time when people thought dogs accompanied the soul through the dark of the underworld to a sunny afterlife and blood sacrifices kept the earth in balance...

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