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Tuesday 28 Mar 2006
Palenque, Mexico

Los Ruinas del Palenque

Lonely Planet got it wrong.. AGAIN!

We got up EXTRA early this morning in order to arrive at the museum at the Palenque ruins so that we could get a limited-edition pass to Pakal's tomb (Pakal being the great ruler who built much of classical Palenque around 600AD). Getting into the tomb was supposed to be a great priviledge and it was limited to around 15 people per day...

Getting to the museum involved us scampering 2km through the jungles, passing the plethora of temples without stopping for photos all the way to the exit of the site in order to get to the museum at the end of it.

Sweaty, wrecked .. we approached the museum and I gasped that we needed dem tickets..

"No.. es prohibido" (it's prohibited)

Gah!.. apparently it's been closed to foreign visitors for the past 2-3 years for conservation purposes.. and this edition of Lonely Planet was printed only last year.. grrr

Nevertheless, after a quick brekkie, we backtracked and took in Palenque's ruins. The Palenque ruins are unique in this region because they are found in a deep jungle setting. Indeed we even saw some small gorillas in the trees above us as we trekked the gravel path through the forest.

It was very picturesque, albeit humid and extremely tiring to walk around, and had an air of Angkor Wat about it. But as anyone who has trekked around Thailand will know you quickly become 'Wat-ted out' .. i.e. Temple-d out.. and that's what happened to us today... we've seen more Mayan temples and sacrificial bas-reliefs to last a lifetime than most, so we were glad to finish the tour and contemplate heading back to Mexico City (after a few more margueritas this avo of course!)

The original plan of going to San Cristobal de las Casas has fallen down since we've only just discovered that it doesn't have an airport with flights to Mex City.. plus it's a solid 7 hour bus ride through valleys on a bumpy track to get to... next time....

We've booked our return tickets to Mex City.. and tommorrow morn we leave Palenque to bus to Villahermosa for the flight.

As for Palenque town? Well it's quite lively and VERY Mexican with only the odd scattering of hard-core backpackers around (us included... *cough*). Cowboy hats and large GMC trucks are the in-thing here. A funeral procession passed by today.. headed by a quintet of mariachi players held up in the back of a GMC pickup playing oddly cheery music

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