Tuesday, 22 October 2013

246 Palenque

Monday 21st October 2013
Miles today  10 Total 25,466

We captured this little fellow sunning himself by the hotel pool.

Today we visited our first Mayan Temple it was only 5 mile ride so we left late. This was possibly a mistake as we arrived at the hottest part of the day and as the place was in the jungle, the humidity was seriously oppressive. 
The place was in the center of a national park and as we approached the barrier we were stopped by a picket line. Apparently the Government have recently taken the place over and aside from the staff wages, are keeping all the money instead of ploughing it back into the site for maintenance and the community. The staff were getting a bit fed up with the situation and decided to strike. They still let us in and we had to pay twice. Once to get into the park and then again to visit the Mayan temples.

On arrival at the gate we parked and were approached with a request to wash Wallace. Needless to say we refused, only we touch the bike. However the next question was to watch over the bike. This was a difficult one as you can imagine. We were about to leave the bike for an hour or so. We were over a barrel and I paid 20 pesos for Wallace's protection.

The scum bag in the blue shirt is the guy I had to pay to look after Wallace.

The Mayan ruins at Palenque date back to 226 BC and were abandoned in 799 AD (how they know this is a mystery too !). Anyway, the place was home to the local King and used as the center of the local Mayan civilisation. The site is huge and we only visited about a quarter of it. It is estimated that only 10% of it has actually been discovered and only half of that has been uncovered. 

More reading from Wiki here: Wiki Palenque

The place was straight out of a "Tomb Raider" movie with only the vines removed. One of the structures in the center of the excavated area has been left under jungle foliage to show how effective the jungle has hidden the civilisation for 1000 years. It just looks like a hill covered in trees and jungle foliage.

Tomb of the Red Queen.

Most of the history of the ruins has been gleaned from some seriously clever people reading hieroglyphics from the site.

The creeping vines that once dominated the ruins.

We then made our way back out of the park only to find that the dirt bag that was supposed to be looking after Wallace was getting on the back of another bike to leave. I am more annoyed with myself for even considering that he would still be there at all. Grrrrr....

It was then back on Wallace and halfway back we came upon a nice open air restaurant and after eating gingerly, we rode back to town and went shopping for essential supplies.
Whilst out we saw this. A whole family foraging for wood. 

Check out the machete that the little girl in the pink is holding.

After that it was a quick dip in the hotel pool whilst sipping away at a Corona beer.
The weather here is very humid and it will take us a few days to get used to it.  It feels a lot hotter than it is and you feel permanently drenched. We have a fair few miles to cover in the next couple of days, we are headed for Cancun, and the roads are not the best.

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