Ok it’s official – after climbing a million stairs today we have decided that the Mayans must have had the best butts of any people in history.
After being woken by howler monkeys again we made a 6 am predawn departure from Palenque . Our route took us into town to find an ATM and supermarket. The ATM was fine but the supermarket proved to be unusual. It was closed with a grill over the door. The grill had a small window that opened in it – we paid for and conducted our purchases through that – unorthodox but it got the job done.
Once stocked up on water and junk food we exited Palenque to the strains of Booker T and the MG’s Green Onions.
Our first stop was at a small cafe for breakfast – after a meal of scrambled eggs, ham, bread, black beans and rice -which some of us shared with the local chickens – we hit the road again headed for Yaxchilah, a city which flourished from 250-900 AD. As the site is only accessible by water, we exchanged van for open boat on the Peten River and had a beautiful 45 min trip up river.
Amazing amazing site. After exiting the labyrinth (underground stone passage ways) to access the site, Howler monkeys greeted us as we entered the area and cheered (jeered) us on as we laboured up the million 18 inch steps to the temple 33
. Another major hike took us to the top of the site and the grand Acropolis where some interesting frescos are still preserved .
As with other Mayan sites probably 5% of this site is restored. Mounds are evident everywhere in the jungle where temples languish under centuries of vegetation and dirt.
The return trip down the river went quickly. Crocodiles were lazing along the sandy shores. The river is very low right now, exposing many interesting sandstone rock formations and a large part of the river bed. Following lunch we headed for Bonampak and its amazing frescos. They did not disappoint. These are the only known frescos in the Mayan world and their preservation rival tomb paintings in Egypt.
There was a lot of information on them at the site. Boiled down it reads, the king went to war and won, the king had a gathering, made some sacrifices of prisoners of war and all was good with the world. Looked like one heck of a party😀. The colours are outstanding – This was one of the things I really wanted to see on my trip. The photos will not do them justice but will give you an idea. The fabulous temple and some awesome stelae on site completed the trip.
After a long wonderful day we are now in a jungle campground by a river with cabins about 5 kms from Bonampak. The cicadas are in full song as are frogs. Dinner is ordered – quesadillas – , tequila is here, we will have a fire afterwards and all is good with the world. Tomorrow we say farewell to Mexico for a few days and head into Guatemala with our final destination being San Jose. The journey will be by van and boat