Merry Christmas from Palenque
Dec 25, 2004
|Merry Christmas from Palenque: Dec 25
I made it on the night bus that undulated across every pot hole from Merida to Palenque from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Felt like I was drug through a knot hole, this being one of many I was drug through, but I must have been able to get some sleep. I took a taxi from the bus station to Hotel Xilbalba. I woke everyone up and since they didn't speak any English they put me a room until the day shift came on duty. After a shower and a quick wink I ate some breakfast at the hotel. The staff straightened out my room and relocated me in one in the annex section of the hotel. I needed to fall back and regroup after the night ride, so I walked uptown and found an Internet and started uploading the photos. I loaded all of them on for Oxtankan, the site close to Chetumal and the Bacular area, Muyil and the beach at the Cabanas in Tulum. You are going to love them. Then the Internet slowed down to a crawl. It will be closed tomorrow for Christmas and on Sunday. So right now I am going to wish everyone a Merry Christmas before I get blown off the net.
I could see the mountains off in the distance from town. Today it had clouds roll in and it may rain. I hope not as it may make the trip tomorrow slippery. The town is a noisy place like most of the rest of the country. People are buying things for Christmas. I've seen tables and chairs go by in trucks and refrigerators, washing machines and TV's that were being purchased from stores. Someone has money. It really looks like the last minute rush before the end of the day. I didn't think that Christmas would get to me, but watching all the people on the streets made me think of home and not being there.
Palenque sure has a different flavor. No embroidered dresses like the ones in the Yucatan. The people I saw in town all wore modern clothes. I have seen Guatemalan ladies in wool skirts and silk type blouses selling crafted stuff from the highlands. I bought several small-embroidered purses. For 10 pesos they posed for a picture. I am going to Yaxchilan and Bonampak tomorrow on a tour arranged from the hotel. Then Sunday and Monday I will visit the Palenque site.
There is a big statue of Pacal, the famous ruler of Palenque in a monument circle in the middle of the crossroads. Nice sculpture, but he had to share the space with Winnie the Poo plastic balloon and a nativity scene for the holiday. There was something wrong with that picture.
I am going to do a round trip to Tonina and back to Palenque on the 28th then go to San Cristobal on the 29th. From there I go on to Oaxaca on the 30th. I almost didn't get a bus seat. The ticketbus.com hasn't worked for a couple of weeks and it wasn't until I arrived in Palenque that I could buy my tickets all the way to Pubela. From there I will get a grip on how to draw the trip to a close. I have to spend most of one whole day in San Cristobal as I can only get a night bus to Oaxaca.
An interesting thing, the man that owns the Hotel Xilbalba in Palenque, Senor Marco Morales, has relatives who worked on the Palenque site. His family had the original plaster casts and rubber molds taken off the Palenque lid of the Pacal's tomb in the late 1800's. They also have the casts to some other stelas and lintels, like the famous Lady Xoc doing the blood letting ceremony and conjuring up the spirit serpent. He has a replica of Pacal's tomb lid on display under a protective roof just down the street from the hotel. When he told me I could sleep under the tomb lid if I wanted, he meant the lid replica and not at the site of Palenque. I think I will pass, as the ground is not too inviting and it is right on a gravel street. The hotel is a lot nicer. Even though I booked in advance I still have to pay primo price of 40.00 a night for peak holiday season. Oh, Well. I am wishing ya-ll have a nice Christmas and I will try to upload on the 30th before the bus leaves.
It is only a ten-minute walk to anything I want to find here in town, but the site is 6 K from here.
More later. Love, Gay