Day 2-3 Palenque

Trip Start Jun 26, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Day 2-3 Palenque

Departed Merida at 8.30am, where the group is anticipating a long drive to Palenque. Since there is still no sign of Mike's luggage we are forced to stop at a Mexican version of Walmart to buy some cheap, no frills clothes.

We stopped for lunch at a restaurant beside a beach and ordered a variety of meals to share, with the seafood Ceviche being the pick of the bunch. Really tasty food, which leaves me wondering why I stayed so long in the USA eating all their bland processed food. Otherwise there is little to mention about the driving leg of the trip other than the toilet incident. Several of the girls have very weak bladders and desperately needed to urinate and since we were in the middle of nowhere and hadn't seen a toilet for a good hour we pulled onto a dirt track in order for them to relieve themselves in the bushes. Only 1 of the 3 girls were brave enough to go but ironically 2 minutes up the road we stumbled across a gas station with toilets much to the other two girls enjoyment.

9 hours later are setting off we finally arrive at our campsite just outside Palenque, situated on the edge of a jungle. Once again we had a few drinks in the evening and all did a round of tequila shots which we all downed in one but this moment will best be remembered for the look on the Korean's face after she tried tequila for the first time, was definitely a sight to behold. Most of the group got an early night and retired to the palapas and their newly acquired hammock (brought for 500 Pesos or $50 US Dollars). Sleeping in a hammock is definitely an experience, adapting to the gentle swaying (difficult to tell if you've had one too many drinks or it is actually the hammock) but I didn't sleep too well and woke up several times during the night due to the calls of nature I.e. the distant mating call of the howler monkeys or some other animal making weird shrieking noises and the urgent need to go to the toilet.

The following morning, I was regretting that tequila and Lina who was still drunk was also regretting the many drinks she had the night before as we both vomited the previous nights liquid content. Do feel guilty that I lent her the money to fuel her drinking binge. However that didn't stop us participating in the morning guided tour around the Palenque Ruins and the jungle tour. The ruins are more impressive than Chichen Itza with the temples and pyramids obscured by the jungle. Jungle that had consumed these buildings for over 500 years after the Mayan demise until the Spanish explorers' discovery during the 18th Century. Also being able to climb over a large majority of the temples and pyramid also helped.

The jungle tour was good, climaxing in a swim in a small river with it cascading waterfall. Was a bit disappointed that I didn't get to see much wildlife but our guide did see a small snake before promptly killing it and then telling us "poisonous snake, good to kill when young". Otherwise Bobbie (from England) managed to acquire some wild mushrooms from a random local, which he said were magic mushrooms but since Bobbie were the only one brave enough or stupid enough to try these, we shall never know if it had any hallucinogenic effects.

That afternoon was allocated free time, but most people went into the small town of Palenque to do some shopping or surfing the internet. In the evening the group went to another campsite's restaurant for dinner where the service was atrociously slow but the live band was good.
So the trip is going well, although I am a bit disappointed that our guide, Jenny has invited three of her friends (other trek America leaders) to tag along with us in the evening, although they do disappear during our day time activities. Doesn't help when I get a bad vibe from one of her friends as he appeared he could be taking advantage of the drunk Swede, although I think I am just being overprotective with me going into big brother mode.
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