Welcome to the jungle. Palenque

1 Dec

29th November 2012

As for the last night in San Cristobal we went to our favourite restaurant for dinner and went to buy tickets to Palenque for the day after at 7.30 am. 

We would have all gone to bed early, but the guys decided to go for few beers. 
I put my alarm at 6 am, but when I woke up I found out that none of my travels mate was there. I had no idea where they were, but at 8 am, when we were supposed to be already on the bus to Palenque, I started to get worried. 
The hostel owner was also worried as he had heard of a fight with  locals so he called the police and a hospital, but no report of four young foreigners arrested or injured was recorded. Thank God. They all finally arrived around 11 am; I’d better not specify their shapes and the reasons of their no show. 
The good thing is that at least we were able to take the bus to Palenque at 12.30 for a five hours ride during wind the wind streets typical of  that area. We stop for a break on the road, I bought some water and a delicious corn on the cob, my favourite snack lately. The journey was much shorter than others but it was probably the worst one because of the bad route. Finally we arrived at Palenque town and took a taxi to reach El Panchan: a magical place situated on the edge of the Palenque Ruins National Park, literally in the middle of the jungle, very wild but very popular destination for backpackers. 

As usual we had not booked any accommodation but we wandered around asking availability in few cabanas, and asked also to restaurant and bars.  I love to leave it as an adventure itself also the research for a bed where to sleep, but it was very late, humid and I was so tired. That night I remember to feel really tired and needing home, but luckily it only lasted for few hours. We took look at a proper accommodation on the top of a tree but it was overbooked. El Panchan is a unique place, they usually do hippy festivals there, is situated in the middle of nature, with no roads, just few small wooden bridges to cross from a piece of land to another. 
Our tiny wooden cabana was quite wild but at least you could feel really far away from modernity  even more than how I had felt in Mazunte. There were no windows, only a mosquito rack, which was pleasant somehow because it was like sleeping  outdoors, both for the fresh air coming in and the slightly thunderous noise of birds, crickets and some other animal’s call. We had dinner at a place called Don Mucho,  with a surprising half Mexican half Italian menu. In the desserts menu there was an even more surprising option: bread with nutella that of course I ordered. One of the little things you appreciate more when abroad cause they make you feel closer to the roots, which in the end is not bad.  After dinner we assisted to a nice live band playing cumbia, a genre of music that I started to appreciate in this trip.  They even played one of my  trip soundtrack from a popular Mexican singer called Lila Downs “cumbia del mole” which reminded me of the first time I listened to it on the beach of Mazunte. The concert was followed by an amazing fire-poi show accompanied by drums. Amazing night, amazing farewell night for my travel companions and me, we sipped few mojitos and went to sleep. I had enjoyed the animals calls few hours before, but when I tried to sleep I found it impossible with that sound even if enjoying that real feeling of being in a jungle. 

The morning after we all woke up early to go to one of the most popular Mayan ruins: Palenque, the capital city of a powerful dynasty that ruled most of the areas now called Chiapas and Tabasco. 
As in other Maya areas, back in the day there was a vigorous development in religion and civil architecture and sculpture: It was impressive, huge and emotional. On one of the temples there was a girl practicing yoga, I have that picture in my mind of that girl practising in such a mystic place. Must have been amazing. 
We visited the arqueological site’s interesting museum where to see most of the object that were found in the area. It was worth to see it, and I would recommend it to you all. Afterwards we took a collectivo to get to the town and after a quick lunch we headed to the popular waterfalls of Chiapas, called Agua Azul, which means “blue waters” in Spanish. We walked up to the top of the waterfall for about 30 minutes in order to admire the waterfalls from different point of views. They were actually amazing, when you stop to gaze at them you feel so alive but also powerless towards nature. It is incredible! 
We left that amazing place cause it was time to leave Chiapas and go to our next destinations, which were all different among each other. Actually, I had tickets for a 900 kilometres night bus to reach Tulum; Jonas would go to Campeche and the two Aussies would head to Guatemala instead. We all took different routes but I am sure we would have missed each other a lot. We had spent more than a week together 24 hours a day, living and sharing  unforgettable adventures. But the show must go on, travels are made of this: meetings and leavings, and somehow I was also happy to be on my own again for a while. I hugged them all at the bus terminal and promised we would have met again one day.

No matter what, it is impossible to describe how close you feel to nice persons during a trip. You meet random people and cross their lives for a while sharing funny memories and experience you would ever forget in life.









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