Saturday, August 11, 2012

Back to the Highlands: Palenque, Chiapas State

I finally have some travel momentum happening after bailing out of a somewhat flooded Veracruz early Friday morning.

Ernesto made its mark in Veracruz but we must have been on the very edges of it.  We had plenty of rain but it was on and off all day, and not continuous.  It was windy as well, but nothing like what you would expect with the fiercest of tropical storms.  I spent much of Thursday taking photos of a rainy downtown Veracruz.

Yesterday I caught a bus first thing in the morning for the trip to Villahermosa, the capital city of Tabasco.  What should have been a six and half hour trip of just over 300 miles stretched to almost ten hours of construction zone jams, stops at police/army checkpoints, and one very long wait at a toll plaza.  Arrgghh!

So I was happy to get a room late yesterday just across the street from Villahermosa's bus station which enabled me to quickly catch another early bus this morning for the two hour ride to Palenque.

Once I got checked into a room here it was only 11.00 a.m. and plenty of time to run out to the ruins and the national park surrounding it.

I spent a happy couple hours roaming the massive site--one of the major Mayan archeological sites in Mexico--shooting photos of the immense structures, dodging the many mostly Mexican tourists, and walking through the very well kept jungle paths leading down from the site to the excellent museum and park exit below.

I think I'm much happier in the highlands than on the seashore.  It's still very hot and humid here, but there are decent airconditioned rooms available for 300-400 pesos--still pretty much within my budget.

So instead of heading deeper into Yucatan--it's still almost 1000 kilometers to Cancun from here--I will continue to make my way further south to San Cristobal, capital of Chiapas state, and Mexico's southernmost state.  The guidebooks say this is a very beautiful region, and if Palenque is any indication, then I'm sold.

In 1994 this region made world headlines when the Zapatistas began their New Year's Day revolt under Subcomandante Marcos.

From San Cristobal I will be able to loop back west and north to Mexico City by way of Oaxaca and other points.

Check back here in a day or two:  I'll try my best to post again from San Cristobal. . .

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