Sep 20, 2006

BALL GAME WIDOWS
COPAN, Honduras –  "The channel was for the blood," Gustavo explains, pointing to the famous Mayan altar, shaped like plump UFO. "After the sacred ball game, a human sacrifice would occur here. Maybe the captain of the winning team, maybe the losers. We don't know."

"Rough sport," I remark.

He sighs. "The name is so misleading. It was a ritual, rarely performed, which attempted to restore order to the universe."

The site sprawls before us, the monoliths of the "Copan Renaissance" patron 18 Rabbit and other leaders, the stepped temples and hieroglyphic staircase: its 2,500 tiles jumbled by a modern collapse like a inter-millennial Scrabble set.

In 1839, gentleman explorer and author John L Stephens bought the site for $50. Some travel writers have all the luck...

"The reader is perhaps curious to know how old cities sell in Central America," he wrote. "Like other articles of trade, they are regulated by the quantity in market and the demand; but not being staples articles, like cotton and indigo, they were held at fancy prices and at the time were dull of sale."

The market's flooded of late, unfortunately. No budget UNESCO World Heritage sites to be had here. Move along...

7 comments:

  1. DIY Diva2:54 PM

    Well, home-owning isn't all it's cracked up to be; I can't imagine a whole pagan city.

    Maybe you dodged a bullet there.

    D (headed back to the flooded basement. Sigh)

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  2. Last time I owned a home, the tenant sunk it.

    But a flooded basement sucks too. Chin up, duck.

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  3. I'll give you 50 bucks for the rights to your sunken houseboat.

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  4. Oh, we salvaged it.

    Wreck of the Narrowboat Harmonia

    I sold my share to the ex, who passed her along after two years. Being an absentee landlord internationally is no fun.

    Especially with tenants like that.

    DB, film rights are still negotiable, but the bidding starts higher than $50!

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  5. slave labor3:17 PM

    Remember the dead rat in the walls?

    Good times.

    J.

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  6. I'll give you 51 bucks for the film rights to your sunken houseboat.

    ReplyDelete