11.16.2012 - 11.16.2012
We've descended from the mountains to the town of Palenque, where the heat and the humidity and the scattered, practical look of the place remind us of the Philippines. I slept the first part of the 5+-hour bus ride, and when I awoke there was already lush forest and banana trees and the ramshackle homes with corrugated roofs that seem to be the standard dwelling everywhere in e humid tropics or sub-tropics. There is more poverty evident in these rural parts--today we encountered our first Mexican touts--but the rivers look cleaner, and the children waved to us from the side of the road. The children in Mexico whom we've encountered so far seem to be more matter-of-fact than in other places. If you give them something they are solemn, showing no surprise or delight. Maybe they are used to gifts, or maybe they feel the occasion demands seriousness. It is also not like other places where you may suddenly be swarmed by a dozen children, begging. It was the worst in Uganda and Kenya--so much so that we saw a sign in a cooperative hostel commanding tourists to keep their presents to themselves.