(San Cristobal, MX - Palenque, MX)
We just spent an incredible day wandering the ruins and pyramids of Palenque and dipping in the pools under the waterfall at Misol-Ha. Amazing!! Palenque is famous for it´s great Mayan pyramids cut from the jungle, and some literally dug up from beneath soil and gigantic jungle trees! We thought we´d hit the road and head South today, but we were having so much fun we decided to stay another night and just enjoy it. We spent hours walking up and down the steps at Palenque, peering into dark passageways, and trying to imagine life there 1,500 years ago. One of the out-buildings (my first steep ascent of the day) a Count actually lived inside during the early 1800´s! I walked around the small stone space, with three small rooms along the back and one long in front, and tried to imagine a man living there with that view. The stairs back down were intimidating!!
After our hours there, we rode the motorcycle through cornfields and more jungle to the Misol-Ha waterfalls. The fenceposts here are alive! The soil is so fertile, that when they hack out a stick and put it in the ground, it grows. The choice here are lovely silvery-barked branches the bloom with pale pink blossoms. It´s rather amazing how much life is everywhere, with orchids living in the trees, vines draped everywhere, and bromeliads making their homes up and down every tree.
The Misol-Ha waterfalls were spectacular! They are set in a huge water-carved bowl and cascade down nearly 100 feet into a big greeny-brown pool beneath. The water isn´t as stunningly blue and clear like the Agua Azul falls, but we actually preferred its wildness and all the green vines and plants covering the basin. We spent about three hours swimming, climbing around on the moss-covered rocks, taking photo after photo, and even hiking around the basin to a cave waterfall. We paid $2 to have a guide with a flashlight lead us inside where we found tiny bats hanging overhead sleeping, and water jetting out from a crack inside the mountain. I´ve never seen bats sleeping in such quantity before, and they were so tiny and seemed so sweet. When you shine the light on them they sort of shake and shiver trying to keep it out of their eyes. Apparently at about six at night they all wake up and fly out to eat dinner!
Yesterday we stopped at Cascadas de Agua Azul (Blue Water Waterfalls) which were splendidly blue! They seemed surreal in their bright colours, the rounded pale gold stone pouring the water off its edges and creating beautiful places to sit and lose yourself in the beauty. Nearby were little palm-thatched restaurants where we had some fresh empanadas (tiny fried pockets of dough with chicken, cheese, potatoes or beef inside). We ate 20 of them! Delicious.
Right now we are at a very hot and humid internet cafe one block from the Plaza Central where we will meet our Bavarian friends for the third consecutive night of socializing. We went out in San Cristobal two nights ago with some of the people from our tour that day and had a hell of a time at Bar Revolucion! Two of them (Eve and Johannes) were headed up to Palenque yesterday and Eve suggested that we could meet for drinks. We discussed possible locations to meet in town and decided that, ¨in front of the church in the main plaza,¨ would be Romantic (as Eve put it). None of us were familiar with the town, but if there´s one thing you can count on down here, it´s that there´ll be a main plaza with a church.
On the road yesterday we ran into a couple from Scotland that are travelling the America´s by sidecar for the next YEAR AND A HALF! They´re heading South to Peru over the next two months and you can be certain that we´ll see them again. Here´s a link to their website if you´d like to take a look. http://adventuresidecar.co.uk/
I had my first vegetables of the trip in vegetable soup, and it was so delicious! I had it again for lunch, and plan on having it for dinner, too. I can´t tell you how precious I now know it is to have your choice of greenery at the market, and on the menus! Asparagus, broccoli, kale, lettuce, spinach..... I dream of it.
We head South tomorrow toward the border which we hope to pass without too much trouble on Saturday morning. We meet up with Mike, Leigh, Bethany and Kyle in Flores in the North of Guatemala on the 6th, and there´s a lot to see in the South before then so we´re in the process of working out an action packed plan to see it all.
Once again, we hope everyone is well and look forward to the next adventure.
1) This one´s for you Ross.
2) San Cristobal Party People
3) Andy and Maya on their way to San Crisobal
4) Agua Azul
5) Really, Really Nice
6) Ruins at Palenque
7) Exploring all about
9) Emerging from the caves at Misol-Ha
10) where we found underground waterfalls, and lots of Bats!
11) Beautiful, Peaceful...
12) and Refreshing!