Monday, July 4, 2011

Palenque and Merida, Mexico 7 - 12 Jun 2011

Palenque 7-9 Jun 2011
It was a long bus ride from San Cristobal de las Casas to Palenque. Elena and me  weslept half the way, we arrived Palenque around 2pm. We met Juan from Argentina when we got off the bus. He doesn't speak English :-( he is also going to El Panchan. So we took a quick lunch and catch a collectivo to El Panchan. Collectivo is mini van just like a bus that picks up and drop off passenger on the road towards a fix destination. We found a room for 3 at 50pesos per night/person at Jungle Palace. It is a hidden paradise. I love this place, it is in the jungle just off the main road 2km from the Palenque ruins. We are surrounded by trees, birds, monkeys, lizards, ants and mosquitoes. I was lucky to catch a glimpse of a Toucan on the tree.

We head to Palenque Ruins the next day. Palenque ruins is scattered in the dense jungle, entering thru the jungle entrance and a huge pyramid emerge from the surrounding trees. The area of the ruins has been restored and maintained, we were able to climb up to some of the structure. The best view is from Templo de la cruz where we oversee the El Palacio and the endless jungle. We met Remie from France while we were having a rest in the ruins.  He then joined us and show us the way to the nearby Waterfall. It was a great idea in this hot weather. We spent the rest of the day soaking in the pool of the waterfall. J

We planned to visit Misol Ha and Agua Azul waterfall the next day. In the morning we met Robin from Holland, he decided to join us as well. So the 5 of us took off to town to sign up a package. Remie decided to take the local bus on his own as he wants to save money. Misol Ha is a small waterfall with a cave under the fall. We had 1 hour swim there. Agua Azul is really incredible. There are layer of falls one after another, pool of clear water as we walk up the fall. We play we soak we chill for 3 hours here. It was a wonderful day.

We bid farewell to Robin and Remie. Juan, Elena and me took an overnight bus to Merida. We have a quick change at the bus station and get ready our cold wear for the overnight bus.

Merida 9-12 Jun 2011

A tough night on the bus, none of us have a good sleep. We arrived at Merida at 6am, feeling exhausted. We found a hostel just next to the Zocalo, it was 130pesos per night/person. We took it anyway. The hostel is in the old colonial building with high ceiling and big windows, we stayed because they prepared great breakfast. J Elena and I decided not to couchsurf since Juan is not a couchsurfer and we love his company too. After breakfast we had a stroll around the city, check out a museum, had some food and some shopping. We all needed a nap that afternoon. J

At night after dinner, we head out to look for a party place, we walk and walk for about 5km and we finally hear some salsa music from across the street. There were some old couples dancing salsa,L since we had no other choice we decided to have a drink there. The night turns up to be good with a great performance from the band.

Next day we took a bus to Uxmal ruins just for a day trip, Uxmal is 1.5 hours from Merida by bus. It was another hot day.  The huge Magician Pyramid is unusual among Maya structures in as it is oval or elliptical in shape, instead of the more common rectilinear plan. Uxmal was in better condition than many other Maya sites thanks to being unusually well built.

We finished by noon unfortunately we found out that we have to wait for the 3pm bus. So we decide to hitch hike. After several failed attempt we finally got a truck. The truck driver and his assistance were really nice and friendly. They were transporting pig’s food to Merida. They drop us near to Merida to catch a bus to town. It was my first hitch hiking, I wouldn’t try it alone. J

This night we decided to cook in the hostel, we bought some rice, veg and beer. I cook the rice and Juan fried them with tomato and pepperoni. The owner of the hostel was offering us food as well. Really nice people. Not a bad idea after all.

At this point in time, we were quite tired of ruins or pyramid but there is still one more that we cannot miss. That is Chichen Itza. It is located on the way to Tulum. We packed our bags again the next day and head to Chichen Itza before on the way to Tulum.

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