. do not take the first available taxi you see, or trust that the price someone gives you is the best. i had friends that told me i should stay at a ranch near the ruins, but i was too tired to figure out where it was so i had oscar take me to the first place near the ruins. $20, which doesn?t sound bad, but the other place would?ve been $10. second, the next day i wanted to go to agua azul.. beatufil by the way, and i oscar was outside dropping more people off at maya bell.. and i didn?t realize how far it was going to be, so i asked for a ride.. yea.. 1.5 hours.. he charged me eighty dollars!!! i later found out i coudl?ve taken a colectivo for 10 dollars.. and a bus to maya bell would?ve cost me one dollar instead of 5.. and i found out that there?s another bus i can take to go on my long endeavors.. i?ve been taking mainly ADO, but there?s another one called AEXO that is waaaay cheaper. so i?m goign to go for that for now on... well live and learn.. don?t be in a rush.. don?t take the first price. at least i learned it early on.. okay, so agua azul. soo beautiful.. i can?t even begin to describe the power of the falls, toby said it well when he was describing it ?"here you can feel that water was the power of the mayans, the power of humanity." no wonder the Holy spirit is referred to as flows of living water.. it?s so powerful. and then with the backdrop of the jungle.. and i?m going to have picture up`soon of the jungle on facebook.. probably tomorrow.. but they definitely don?t give it justice. and it was so wonderful cuz i got to swim in the falls! and feel the currents pushing me.. you?ll see pictures. but it was also really cool, because even though i think i got cheated, it was a good experience befriending oscar my taxi driver. one i had an awesome talk with him about God. He?s catholic, and believes in the virgen of Gudalupe, and was telling me how it originated with Juan Diego. and i started asking him questions about if he considers mary higher than christ, because i really don?t understand it. and then he got so passionate, and says he always prays in the name of jesus christ. and told me about how he used to be on crack, and beat his wife when he got drunk, but by reading about the stories in the bible, and allowing God to change him from the insideout, he has been able to see a better way, a harder way, but better. praise God. He also talked to me about the natives living in the area. the bus ride up was so mind blowing. it was like history meating the present. the natives there really do wear traditional clothes, and not to appease the tourists, but because it is their way of life. their native tongue is chol in this area of chiapas, and oscar was telling me how in the native schools they have bilingual teachers, and that the indigenas don?t need to wear uniforms because they can?t afford it. which is interesting because every other school in mexico, it is mandatory. also, for the indigeneous kids, they have to walk many miles from the cierras to get to school, and after just driving it i was tired. they go through a lot of work, to get an education. and the maize! i?ve known that maize (corn) was originated in mexico, but to see the rows and rows and rows of maize everywhere in the hilltops was amazing. oscar told me that the men (campaneros) cut the maize from way up top, and every day the women carry it down to the town to sell. such hard work. they carry it with a bag that is held with their head and lays on their back. it?s hard to explain.. and today i went to los ruinas de palenque. you always hear about the lost civilization of the maya.. and how people don?t know why these cities were abandoned.. but you can?t really grasp this mystery until you?ve visited it. it?s amazing. it was a real city, and i could imagine myself living there. and it?s HUGE! and set right in the center of the jungle. once again, ?words can?t describe how i felt while i was there.. all i know is that i left with the same question as everyone else.. why was this place abandoned? what i can describe is how dizzy i felt when i climbed to the top of one of the very small temples.. i?m scared of heights, and these stairs did not seem safe, so after the first one, i stayed at the bottom of all the others.. well at least at the bottomo f the semi high and really high ones.. and let me tell you.. these thigns are high!! also, everywhere you went inside the ruins there were indegenous people selling different memorabilia... and i dont?t knowif you need a special permit to sell things here, but one thought came to mind.. this place belongs to them. it is their home, thier history. they belong there more than anyone else that was there, and because it is their history, they own it. it makes me want to know more about my history, my persian side, and swedish side. i want to know what my history is made of, to see more of what i own in my blood.. the lineage God put behind me to get me wherei am today. i think it?s important for all of us to understand, and appreciate and remember our ancestry. oh, and on the bus ride heading to san cristobal.. which i had to turn back on.. i met a guy named heroberto.. and the first thing i?noticed was that he made the sign of the cross and kissed his hands towards God before we left. it reminded me of something i read in rigoberto menchu?s book.. that the indegenous every day thank the great father.. aka God.. and even those that now work in the world, still give thanks because it is tradition. traditions are important to remember the peopel who were before you.. it was a beautiful moment. well, that?s a lot of info.. and if you?ve made it, i?m proud of you. lol. i don?t have the pictures up yet, but they?ll be up either tomorrow or the next day.. hopefully i?ll be in san cristobal. God bless, love, michelle. ps psalm 115 is really good. i read it while at the falls with oscar.
soo much has happened. lets start by telling you that i should be writing this letter from san cristobal, but i?m writing it from palenque.. everyone knew it was going to happen.. yes, i lost my passport. i figured it out half way to san cristobal and turned around. it turned out to be a good thing, because i?ve been having trouble connecting to God, and the whole time i was jsut begging for Him to help me, and feeling bus sick the whole time.. and then i realized that this trip isn?t just about me, it?s about Him, He?s on this adventure with me, and He?s my guide. so whether i find my passport or not, it?s all good cuz Hes drivign.. luckily the first place i thought i might?ve left it said that they had given it some woman, and they?re goign to take me to her in the morning. so it looks like it?s all good. yay!! God is good :) as for the rest of my trip. i got into palenque at 5 in the morning, took the first taxi, number 182. my taxi driver?s name was oscar. he?s awesome.but before i get into him let me tell you guys about the lesson i learned