Main square in San Cristobal... Lovely city....
I arrived in Palenque yesterday. I seriously had another impression of this city. I had somehow thought it was similar to San Cristobal. Not... It's a lot smaller and just a typical small town. San Cristobal on the other hand was an awesome city, albeit a bit cold for me. It was totally bohemian mixed with progressive and traditional. Really loved it but was getting bored with nothing in particular to do... This just traveling for the sake of traveling is getting a little tiring. But I know as soon as it is over, I will have wished a savored the journey a bit more.
Because of that, I decided to take the plunge and visit the ruins at Palenque, one of the largest Mayan settlements.
It was beutiful and well worth the trip. Although I'm a tight wad, it was so cheap compared to Machu Pichu..... by far... Machu Pichu figure about $100, Palenque....about $4.. Although the boys in the hostal got roped into taking the tour and shelled out a bit more, it took some walking around to figure out the cheapest way to go. There were collectivos going there for only 10 pesos, the tour company roped these guys into paying a 20 entrance fee into the parque, plus transportation. Although they visited another site..Agua Azul, they paid in total 240 pesos including entrance fees and transport, I paid 71 pesos. Sometimes it pays being a tight ass. A lot more effort, but it saves in the end.. ha!
Well, it was cloudy all morning and I got there relatively early. The clouds and mist gave the ruins a magical haunted feeling, the howler monkeys were going crazy.
more ruins.. really mystical though
... As it started clearing up, but only slightly and climbing the many temples, you can see off in the distance the amazing valleys and mountain ranges of Chiapas... Truly, this must be the most beautiful part of Mexico.
It had very different feel to it compared to Machu Pichu, more real. Although it was very much reconstructed, not at all compared to that of Machu Pichu. There were tourist, but a lot fewer so you felt you could breath in the history and beauty around.
Yesterday, was a totally a lazy day. The two nights before in San Cristobal, I stayed in a hostal full of rastas listening to house music all night. Never thought that rastas would be so into house... The ganja smoking started as soon as they got up and lasted until 2,3,4 in the morning.
Couldn't have asked for more enchanting and ghostly weather.
I had heard that mexicans smoke a lot of weed, but really! That was too much.... The whole hostal all day glowed in a ganja haze.... I left really early yesterday... Before I got on the bus there was a street vendor selling tamales.... ok people I am in the land of real tamales. The ones in Colombia and in Honduras were the sweet kind and had a bit of slimy texture because of the maiz and sugar although very tasty... The ones in Nic, on the other hand, were hard with a compacted texture and utterly tasteless. It seemed no point in making tamales in Nic if there was absolutely no flavor... Mexico, on the other hand, naturally.... full of spice. They are stuffed with cheese and salsa with veggies and maiz.... Oh my god... they are soooo good. I finally came back... It reminded me of the tamales our mexican neighbors used to give us when I was growing up.... I have been searching for tamales like that for a long time, and I have arrived. :) Speaking of food, so..... I experienced the well known pupusas of El Salvador and the chiquilas of Mexico.... these are the two items I had heard so much about from other travelors... The travel books sometimes take away from experiencing things independently, however they sometimes serve as a wonderful guide to seek out and try things you wouldn't otherwise seek out.... I am refering specifically to quesilla. Although I couldn't make it to Oaxaca
, I did seek out there cheese here in Palenque..... sooo amazingly good. However, I still think Nic rules out all the other countries in S.A. and C.A. when it comes to delicious cheeses. There it is cheese heaven and a lacto intolerant nightmare, but somethings are worth the pain...
Although I had planned on staying in Palenque longer, I have booked my ticket on to Flores, Guatemala. There isn't much to do here... But I would totally go back to San Cristobal if I could have found something to fill my time and if I had time. I really loved it there. I was warned that travel in Mexico is very expensive and it is. Going to Oaxaca for a couple of days wasn't worth the price, so I decided to dip back through the northern part of Guatemala and head over to Belize.... There is something very strange about the border crossings dealing with Guatemala, it is almost as if there is no way to get over the border without getting on one of those damned tour, cross-border buses... I don't know if it is a total racket or for safety reasons traveling across border to Guatemala is so controled, but I have never had such a hard time trying to get a bus to a border town. I was told that this crossing it a bit dodgy... I got a ticket all the way, but will have to take one bus to the border and lancha part of the way down river to the other border town of Guatemala and then another bus to Flores.... We'll see how that goes...