A Travellerspoint blog

Mexico

First Border Crossing


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We left our little hut in El Panchan suuuuper early in the morning

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A grueling trip to Guatemala today. Though everything seemed to go smoothly until the border. There we were scammed by Mexican officials of $50, which meant we had only the equivalent of $2 when we got to the Guatemalan side (plus $400 in $100 bills that we were loathe to exchange at such a poor rate). It wasn't enough for the bus fare to Flores, and there wasn't a bank that could exchange money for miles around, so Chris had to pawn his watch for $10 in order to get us to our destination. Supposing he hadn't done that. I wonder if we would have made the driver wait for us at the ATM or if we would have swallowed the $10 loss in the poor exchange. It's not as if we're new at traveling, but recently it feels as though we are.

In the long run it doesn't matter much to us, and I suppose the officials we inadverdently bribed know that. I hope it is what enables them to do what they do‐‐the confidence that we will not be much harmed by it.

Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Palenque


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Our visit to Palenque started out overcast

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Which perfectly matched our overcast, ominous moods

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We also happened to go on the one day a week that the historical site is free to all Mexicans

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Still, there were places that were plenty peaceful and empty

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We didn't take pictures of ourselves for the first set of photos because we were mad at each other (can't remember why now)

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Ancient ruins just look more lost amid the jungle

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The sun is starting to come out

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My favorite one, which I call the Hobbit House

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Sun, sun, sun

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Fabulously intricate carvings

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Playing with the diorama setting on my camera

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Don't they look a bit like models of the real thing?

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Climbing to ruins always seems to be a good workout

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He's always going out on ledges and then getting too scared to come back

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Hmm, looks like we may be friends again

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Hardly anyone visits the side buildings, but we do because we have to see everything

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This building gave me the feeling of an old Scottish fortress

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Inside there are stone beds. Sleeping technology has come a long way.

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You can't get a greener roof for your house than one where a tree is growing out of it

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Me? Go in?

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Wha? Beautiful.

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Tomorrow we leave the small hippie colony of El Panchan. At dinner today we sat above a man who had two piercings in his nose: one through the bridge and another through the nostrils. The picnic table outside our cabaña has been commandeered by friendly half-naked men smoking and chatting in the dark, their cigarette tips like fireflies. Last night I thought I heard drums in the distance.

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But animal noises are the ones that dominate the night here. The whirring, clicking, chirping, and peeping of thousands of insects and frogs. And, chillingly, the barking growl of howler monkeys in the distance, sounding like the synthesized cries of a B-level Hollywood monster. At the ruins today they were directly above us. We saw their unexpectedly ordinary-sized bodies shaking the trees but, as with the chimpanzees in Uganda, could not get a decent glimpse of them. They spent their time in the canopy with what must be gorgeous views while we apes, tail-less and naked, were stuck on the ground.

The jungle is always wet, and nothing dries here. All I can smell is mold.

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Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Cascadas de Agua Azul


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This place near Palenque was just so photogenic that we couldn't stop taking pictures. I actually thought it was more pleasant than the more famous and grander Semuc Champey in Guatemala, but it could have just been the weather.

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Long walk back to the main road. Luckily, it's pretty.

Posted by chschen 05:53 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Headed Down to Palenque


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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.

Posted by chschen 05:00 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

San Cristobal de Las Casas


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They care about fitness in San Cristobal de Las Casas

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It's so you're in shape enough to climb up all the hills

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Peaceful, empty

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Woohoo for selfies

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For some reason I just loved this view

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It wouldn't be Mexico without another picture of a church

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There are always so many stairs to climb

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We were thinking we'd move in to this house in the background. Gotta love that roof.

Posted by chschen 05:12 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

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