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Oaxaca, San Cristobal, and Palenque

The days have sailed past since my last update, so it´s going to be a wee bit of a challenge to come up with the intervening bits of the trip.

I wandered around Oaxaca a bit more with my camera and got some (I hope) good shots of the city colors in the late afternoon. Pretty sure I coud have easily spent some more time there, but alas, the night bus beckoned.

It´s been many, many years since I did a night bus ride. Oh my, nothing about it has improved. The first hour and a half or thereabouts, they showed Angels and Demons which looked interesting but it was dubbed in Spanish so I´ve semi-spoiled it for myself despite not really knowing what happens exactly! During that time I couldn´t sleep no matter how much I wanted to. I had slept so late to begin with and the bus was going down winding mountain roads in the dark. Every few seconds, the headlights would highlight the face of the mountain we were circling and then I´d see the tail-lights of a bus ahead of us careening around the next curve. So not fun. This was the only part of the trip where I had a distinct feeling that if it continued long I would be losing dinner.

At last, we exited the hell of the mountain and the road became dark and uninteresting. I wavered between awake and asleep but never in anything remotely deep. I hope not to repeat an overnight bus trip again. Nothing good comes of it aside from saving a night´s lodgings…

We arrived in San Cristobal de las Casas bright and early in the morning. I don´t have a lot to say about the town for some reason. It wasn´t, to me, as picturesque as the previous two towns and it was crawling with other tourists. Made a good stop I reckon for laundry and such but didn´t excite me much. We did do a brief stop in a small nearby town that was interesting but as the locals don´t like their photos taken, I´ve little to show for it other than memories of seeing a village that likewise had plenty of tourists in it. Not nearly so interesting as the small village in Egypt where it really did seem we were the rare few to pass through. The church in this small Mexican village was a bit different, at least, the floor covered in pine straw and candles just everywhere. A recipe for fire in my book, but connected to their Indigenous beliefs and customs so memorable.

After two nights in San Cristobal it was on for our curent stop in Palenque. On the way we stopped at two waterfalls. The first was okay but I was just not prepared for photographing waterfalls. The second was spectacular as there was a path behind the fall to get the view from inside. Quite fun even if I probably won´t get any major photos from it. Photographing waterfalls is an art unto itself and not one I´ve practiced much nevermind had none of the tools needed with me. Still, great fun and as it´s much hotter than anywhere we´ve been to date, it was well worth it just for the cool breeze behind the fall!

Today was the ruins at Palenque themselves. Wow I was so not prepared. We´d been told pants were probably better in the forest. Well, the ruins themselves are cleared (well the ones you can visit, a very tiny amount of them). I politely excused myself from the part of the tour wandering in the jungle, not my thing and spent my time photographing the ruins until the group came back out. So, I totally could have worn shorts. It was so, so hot and I stupidly left my water behind in the room. I didn´t go back because I figured surely there would be water in the ruins (there was at Chichen Itza). Nope, not a sign of bottled water until we exited where I prompltly bought the biggest water I saw, 1.5 liters, and downed it in less than 10 minutes. I was still thirsty after as I think I´d sweated out that much moisture! The last stop was a museum. I started to go in but still had my water and they wanted me to turn in my bag and dump the water. It was at that moment that I knew it was a complete waste of my time to see the museum. I was past caring about anything I saw and all I wanted was a shower. So, I waited outside. I don´t think anyone else cound understand but I saw artifacts from Palenque in Mexico City and I wouldn´t have remembered anything I saw more than 5 minutes later.

Luckily a couple of others were also tired and wanted lunch so the guide put the three of us back on a bus for the hotel. No idea how long the others stayed. I took a shower and changed into shorts and sat around awhile before finally deciding that I need to get out and find some snacks for the long, long bus ride to Merida tomorrow. I think it´s more than 9 hours. Heaven help me but at least it´s not overnight. We sleep in Merida the next two nights before heading on to Cancun.

That´s pretty much where my trip will end. Between a just general feeling of being over this right now and the tech woes, I decided to go home early. I´m skipping Belize and flying out of Cancun. I´ve got a little over a week after this tour ends. That will give me time to take in some of Play del Carmen and hopefully the ruins at Tullum. I am booked into a western style chain hotel for the first several nights to give me time to recharge my worn out personal batteries. I am so looking forward to it! It´s not the Hilton but at least it should be comparably plush. I´ve a few days as yet unbooked but I´ll sort those out in due time. Maybe a small trip to nearby Isla Mujeras. Nothing definite.

Not sure what the next chapter after this trip is over will be. Perhaps put the RV on a short road trip for abit. I still have a few places in Europe I really want to see, so maybe one last brief Spring fling with the travel aborad shtick. We shall see!

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