Palenque & San Cristobal including Xmel

Trip Start Nov 03, 2008
Trip End May 2009

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Flag of Mexico  , Yucatan Peninsula,
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

On the way to Pelenque we visited Xmel, its even bigger than Chichen Itza and has fantastic carvings. Pelenque is set in the Chipas jungle, we saw toucans and heard howler monkeys. The site has parts under gound that you can walk through and you can climb some of the pyramid temples. Its similar, but different enough to be well worth the visit.
We moved on to San Cristobal in the highlands, in a mini bus ( am missing the public buses with chickens ) and got held up for a couple of hours as there was a prang on one of the bends between a lorry and car. This gave Bri a chance to play cards with the locals, only loosing his car, house and children in the process. It rained in big splobs overnight , so the Misol-Ha and Agua Azul waterfalls were a muddy brown colour, instead of the turquise blue seen in post cards.
The indigenous people in the highlands are amazing. They managed to resist being conquered by the Spanish and each village has its own traditional dress, language, religious ceromonies and laws. Bri managed to snap a great pic as we were leaving, their clothes are brightly coloured and all hand woven.They use the abandoned catholic churches for their own worship, which often involves live chickens....much more fun than the Pope ranting!  They have a really low crime rate as they have prisons that have doors facing the street, to shame people and if you re- offend they may chuck out of the village.
The street kids here are really cheeky, if they see you eating, they ask for food, I gave up my breakfast and lunch in the same day. Bri has become a babe magnet to the girls selling bracelets ...they see him coming from miles away!
Mable x

Oh look. more grey pyramidy looking buildings AND these are even bigger, gosh Mac was enjoying himself.  The guides have been very good and brought the sites to life.  They were really cleaver builders the Myans, secret passages, underground chambers with hidden locking systems, just like in the Tomb Raider games, Bri keeps moaning that his new 2GB card is not big enough even though the trip is for 16 days, he will have to stop taking photos of his feet!  The van driver, a Mexican called Ludvic, no honest, is not only a mad driver but listens to TERRIBLE music, if Macīs iPod fails there could be blood shed... Leaving Xmel the group were held up by a real bad accident and the local ambulance was over 80kms away with an average speed through the mountain passes of 50-60 kmh, not good for the injured.  To pass the time Bri played cards with some of the locals on the bonet of their truck using the Spanish deck Mable had bought.  With his now near perfect German Bri impressed them in the game they had just taught him and promplty lost.  Moving onto poker Bri played them for their car and girlfriend AND won.  He gave them the chance to win them back though.  Much amusement for all concerned including Sam our tour guide who was very selective on what she translated into Spanish to them for Bri.  The road through the mountains was shocking and according to Sam at least one person on every group she has taken has hurled up during the ride.... we are obviosly made of tougher stuff munching our way through double strength chilli crisps, tortillas with cheese dips and bananas throughout, she was mightily suprised.  They arrived late evening and headed into town for a much deserved drink and dinner in the lovely town of San Christobel, Mac is looking very much to exploring it. 

Yep, San Cristobal is fab, colours that you could only get away with here in South America.  The local villages are very interresting, shame that religion is still trying to mess things up for them, woud all the religious do-gooders please piss off, God isnīt working too well in our own countries so why would he do a better job here?  Carol has become a magnet for the local kids stealing her breakfast, lunch and anything else she is eating at the time.  She also falls for their cute little faces and has a nice collection of clay Mexican cats... take a look at the pics of their cute faces.... food terrorists!  The weather is hot here in the day time but drops a bit at night, it s some 2100 mtrs up.  This has been a lovely stop over, Mac likes Mexico and Mexicans in general like Europeans, more "Cultured" as one said... I wonīt say which nation pisses them off the most, answers on the message board please. Mac x x
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