Ruins usually rank pretty high on tourists’ lists of things to see while in the Merida (Yucatan) area. Most opt for the Ruta Puuc to see Uxmal and Lol-Tun, but others go straight to Chichen Itza. My friends, Rosario and Judith, had a better idea. Rosario grew up in Tekax, a large village roughly two and a half hours from the capital city. My daughter (Ysabela) and I had never seen Tekax, so we were excited to go. We (Rosario, Judith, Ysabela and I) caught the comvi (taxi van) on Calle 62 in Merida. It cost us about 240 pesos each.
Once we got to Tekax, we had to find a taxi to drop us off at the ruins called Chacmultun. It took some wheedling, but a driver agreed to drop us off and return three hours later to take us back to Tekax. I was afraid he wouldn’t come back, but Rosario didn’t pay him to make sure he kept his word. We had the ruins almost completely to ourselves. It was a bit unsettling after the crowds in the city. We shouldered our backpacks and started walking the paths. I remember the beautiful tree at the beginning of the trek. It had such gorgeous flowers blooming. Iguanas were all over the place as well. They sounded as heavy as humans on the fallen leaves!
Rosario and Judith took their time and pointed out every possible detail to us. I snapped pictures while Ysabela drank her water. I stopped every chance I got to check out the stone buildings. Rocks of all sizes littered the ground. The trail we were walking kept getting steeper. We stopped midway to catch our breath. We had gone barely half way up, but my legs were protesting. The humidity didn’t help either. Ysabela dug in her heels and balked at continuing, but we finally convinced her that the view would be worth it. It was!
Rosario told us about “aluxes” (ah-loosh-ays), which is the Mayan word for “elves” or “dwarfs.” She told us a family story that happened years before. Her brother was lost for a few hours. Once he was found, he insisted he had seen an alux. If aluxes exist at all, they are no more than three feet tall and live off the land. They are said to either protect land owners or aggravate (menace!) them, depending on each land owner’s character. If a land owner respects the aluxes, they will guard the property. (Many Mayan people leave food for them.) I have even heard stories of aluxes scaring intruders off the land!
We took our time returning to the drop-off point to meet out taxi driver. I stopped one last time at the fascinating building I saw on the way in. I looked down in the grass and was amazed to find a small stone in the shape of a face. I swear it’s my own personal alux. I was thrilled. (I have collected rocks for years!) It is still one of my most prized possessions. Judith and Rosario were impressed. I must say, finding that alux rock was the highlight of my exploration at Chacmultun! Even though it is a distance from Merida, I would recommend the trip. Just don’t go alone and watch for aluxes!