Mayan steps going down into . . .

The exact spot where the Mayan steps were discovered leading into a cavern.

The building, now known as Casa Mexilio, and then known as the home of Vicente Solis, Fernando Solis, and then a generation later, as the home of Rosa Maria Mier y Teran de Polo, had been empty for many years. There remained one piece of furniture - a pull chain toilet on the second floor.

But in a large back room which had a tin roof a small bathroom lay in ruins in the corner. The nightmare only came once, but I still refuse to use the toilet in that room. ——The floor gave way as I sat on the toilet, and the tumble landed me somewhere under the Santiago Plaza in a dark and smelly cavern (i.e. Journey to the Center of the Earth / movie).

This was an area used by the chicle business of Francisco Polo Montes, and if you read above, he was the handsome chiclero, husband to Rosa Maria. It was the bodega. The balls of rubber-like chicle stayed there before being shipped to Mr. Wriggly in New York. And inside there was a shelf containing snakes in formaldehyde to teach the chicleros the dangers of the jungle. The receipts, facturas and various business papers were in the garage when we cleaned things up - and for years letters arrived in an attempt to track down debtors, or taxes.

When the ancient toilet was detached from the floor, there was only a black void. An impulsive albañil friend who had more muscles than brains grabbed one of the ‘puntales’ , the long poles we used to support the new vigas for the bovedillas supporting the new roof construction. It was a bit more than 5 meters long. My friend decided to use it to measure the depth of the black hole in front of us and in so doing lost his grip and it disappeared into the sumidero. The cesspool hole was a lot deeper than we thought.

About that same time the excavation of the swimming pool was in progress, one afternoon they reached a point right in front of the door of the chicle bodega and you could see a cavern. Don Juan said that they could see ’steps’ ; later, curious George went with his flashlight, and he also could see steps decending into the blackness.

And I, the boss, had heard stories of the government coming and closing down a work in progress, if Mayan stones were discovered. So, to protect my swimming pool, the hole was ordered closed up, and that became the shallow end of the swimming pool. Jorge still sometimes mentions “the steps” and I say “Shhhhhh”.

And this is what we constructed above the mouth of the cave.

Featured Posts