The Maya Hotel was the best abandoned site I've ever been to.
I heard about it over the internet and had seen a few promising pictures so I took a hiking buddy with me to check it out. I wasn't sure if we'd really find it or not, but after reaching the top of the foot hill we found it to be just right there in plain view from the cable car station. Getting to it was another problem. There was a gate labeled "Do not enter" in plain view of the cable car station booth where the staff was looking out for anyone buying tickets.
Although not recommended, I decided that we sneak around through the forest instead. A lot of the area was fenced off as it belonged to the station, but I did find one area that opened out into the forest. My friend and I slipped through.
I was prepared to take on the wilderness, but I was not prepared to take on a sheer slope that looked rather impossible to climb up if one was so unfortunant as to slip down. That plus all the rumors about pit vipers and such living in these forests. I hesitated at the edge of it, wondering if I dare step further. My friend was brave enough to go on ahead and cross the slope without sliding down. I followed him closely. Thinking back, we really should have just jumped over the fence and risked the consequences of being seen by the staff. That slope really was dangerous and it may only have been luck that we made it across.
Then we had to jump down to a little pathway leading to the hotel. It was blocked by a rusted sign and some barbed wire but I managed okay. And then.. we were right there in front of the thing. The hotel, in all its abandoned glory.
It was nothing short of amazing. I'd dreamed of places like that, I'd imagined places like
that, I'd read magazines about places like that, I'd always known that somewhere on this earth, there MUST be places like that....... but I had never been to one before. And then suddenly, there was this
beautiful, broken building before me. Every facet of it combined the elements of manufactured things, nature, age, and myriads of shapes and patterns that you can't see anywhere in the functioning city.
The hotel had once been pretty fancy. With a great view from the top of the mountain, it was probably pretty expensive. There were a lot of big wide broken windows and rooms for, I think, lounging. There was a ballroom with a stage, and a bath area.. A big kitchen, and a lot of other places I wasn't too sure about. All of it was amazing.
It had rained the night before.. My most potent memory of the hotel was the water that had pooled into the ballroom.. The reflections of broken glass in rippling water that spread across the floor, and a
lone chair in the middle of it. There was also a tire in part of the roof.. A giant tire that had
broken through the roof halfway. We're not sure how it got there... My friend suggested that some airplane lost a wheel or something.. That seems to be the only logical kind of answer, but it seems a bit coincidental to be true. No idea.
Some of the places were unstable. The stage, for example, was fallen through, and in one of the carpeted rooms there were giant dark holes in the flooring. Everything was colorless and faded... which made it all sorta uniform with natural hues. Foliage was started to take over in some areas.. random trees growing in hallways, vines creeping through the windows... I love the elements of manmade and natural all merged together symbiotically. Beatiful, absolutely beautiful. Words and pictures do it no justice. I think there is a common misconception that concrete lasts forever.. Seeing the sagging floors of this place and the way tree roots were forcing themselves through every crack really hit me how impermanent everything in this world really is. Without the maintenance of man, everything we have made would crumble to dust.
Oh, and then there were the sounds.
It was pretty windy up at the top of the mountain. A door, not quite fallen off its hinges, creaked. The empty window panes rattled. Water dripped noisily down into the ballroom and echoed there. There was this giant fan that had fallen down from its fixture in the cieling that creaked every so slightly as it hung from cords... There were just so many interesting noises! You'd expected an abandoned place to be silent, but there was so much noise from everything creaking and dripping and bending in the wind, that it was actually full of sound. At one point, I put my bag down to take some pictures and ended up moving along the side of the building alone.. when suddenly I heard footsteps!
First, I ignored it, but I continued hearing them.. I ran up to grab my bag again, just in case there was someone around. When I came up the stairs, the footsteps ceased. But when I went back down again,
they started up... I followed the sound through a dark hallway where some random beam of wood had fallen at a diagonal. I came to some kind of bedroom. It sounded like someone was running laps in there and my heart was beating as I peeked inside. It turned out to be just water dripping from the ceiling and landing with a reverberating echo, mimicking the sound of footsteps exactly! It was thrilling.
We spent forever there.. just exploring every cranny and taking as many pictures as possible. There were abandoned toilets, the boiler room, some kind of public bath area. . . Eventually both our cameras ran out of batteries, a bit coincidental, and we decided this was a sign that we ought to make our way back.
After a prolonged farewell to the building and some last minute gazing at its beauty, we went back up to the gate. The staff weren't expecting anyone to be coming from that side, so my friend jumped over onto the viewing platform and no one noticed! It seemed so easy! So I swung one leg over the gate and. . . THE DOOR TO THE OFFICE OPENED AND A MAN CAME OUT!!! But he was laughing about something his coworker said and somehow, SOMEHOW didn't notice me. I can't describe how that felt.. him being right there and being just totally blind to this tall foreign woman climbing over the "do not enter" gate.
So I swung my second leg over and.....
SOME TOURISTS CAME OVER TO THE VIEWING PLATFORM!
But none of them seemed to care too much about my strange behavior. That's where playing the foreigner card comes in handy. I jumped down and my friend and I walked casually off back to the trailhead.