Palenque via Ocosingo (& Tonina Ruins)
|Up and out to bus at 7:15 YUK! Traffic even then. We ended up getting tickets on OCC bus to Ocosingo and Tonina ruins (see Pics) then onward ticket at 2:30 for Palenque - bus left late, thru great mtns scenery, cloud forests of pines (pics). Quite a bit of clear cutting, even more betw Ocosingo & Palenque, all planted with corn. A disaster waiting to happen I say. Maybe one of the reasons the Maya etc. civil. disappeared!
A taxi to Tonina and 2 1/2 hours later a combi back to Ocosingo only to find out the bus was going to be delayed 'til 6! due to 'gente' (people) blocking the highway between Tuxtla and S C las Casas (a demonstration perhaps?).
"Tonina experienced its golden age during the Late Classic Period although the Valley of Ocosingo was inhabited from the Late Preclassic. Steles found at the site dating as late as 909 AD suggest that Tonina resisted collapse and remained a vital society past many of its contemporaries. Because much of Tonina's ornamentation is done in stucco early depictions are non existent having been destroyed or simply eroded by the Early Postclassic. The ruined city was inhabited intermittently and its tombs reused.
Tonina is believed to have conquered Palenque and led to its eventual collapse. In the 7th century a dynast change occurred from the long standing "Lord of the Lineage of the Underworld" to the "Snake Skull-Jaguar Claw".
As customary the new ruling elite built over their predecessor's works adding their layer. During the revitalization period Palenque and surrounding villages were attacked and taken under control by the new ruling party.
Tonina reached its zenith around ten years after sacking Palenque in 730 AD. It was known as the Place of Celestial Captives having chambered many captured personages. A popular theme in Tonina sculptures is captives being decapitated or subjected to torture.
The last ruler to be immortalized by any remaining record was Jaguar Serpent in 903. This is the last period that Tonina is believed to experienced any standing as a society." Quote from blog about the site.
Tourist Info on Tonina
So with refund in hand we zipped up the street to colectivo stop. Left at 3 pm on another Mr Toads Wild Ride (driver hit a dog in the road, going too fast to stop or avoid). Arr in Palenque just after 5...another colectivo dropped us off in front of entry to El Panchan & El Jaguar Hostel. Opted for the latter because we were tired, sweaty, and it was close by. An OK place w/ 24 hr hot showers in dbl cabin for 250p ($10 US each) The 12 hours from mtn cool and dry to jungle hot and humid really put the old bodies to the test.
The shower was MOST welcome. Dinner at one of 2 restaurants across the way, big hangouts both for X pats, bohemian sorts at Don Muchos...food pretty good.
Palenque all day and misty rain most of it...gave a real jungle atmosphere. Climbing steps is making us strong (there are alot of them), now we just have to quit eating quite sooo much and perhaps our bulky bodies will be a bit more fit traveling.
I doubt the Maya died of obesity related diseases, ha! Very fine museum on site also, w/ English explanations. Went to internet in town (we're staying 4.5 km out in El Panchan) but we missed last colectivo - 6 pm - so instead of 20p it was 50p to get back!
Day trip to Yaxchilan & Bonampak ruins on the Usumacinta River (border w/ Guatamala).
Pricey (550p=$45 US) but really no other way to do it in one day - 6am to 6:30pm, incl brkfst and lunch...both good, so we felt it was good value for the $$. Nice group, most in20-30s w/ one Italian mom an exception - daughter is guide in Italy. Others incl Norwegian fellow-runs dive company in Oslo of all things, a KeeWee gal who quit job of 5 yrs as mkting manager (60 hrs+ a week), and a recent busness graduate from Holland. Had a fun time chatting and seeing the jungle ruins in this remote area. No rain but cloudy - perfect for hiking in the jungle, 40 min boat trip to Yaxchilan and back reminded me of Mekong River trip w/o jet boat excitement tho.
Saw a small crok and gela monster on bank as well. Two passengers stayed in border town Flores to cross into Guatamala tomor, 5 of us returned w/ lots to remember (see pics).