Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ruins of Palenque

Paleque Ruins

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Today was one of my favourite days of the trip so far. Not because we were out with cheap beer, or that I went on a date with both Keira Knightly and Claudia Schiffer, it's not even because it was a perfect right point break at shoulder high with no one out.

Today we went to the ruins in Palenque.

We arrived around 9am and the ruins had been open for an hour, and already there were hundreds of tourists wandering around just inside the gates.

After chatting with our parking lot friends and telling them that although the car was pretty dusty it didn't need a clean we headed in to find ourselves a guide for the ruins.

You don't need a guide to wander around, but if you want to actually learn about the ruins and the Mayan history for $650 peso's between a few people is money well spent.

English speaking guides are slightly more expensive then spanish, but I don't think that Bag's would have appreciated having to repeat EVERYTHING that was said in both English and Spanish throughout the day.

Our guide was a bit of a champion. His nickname was Gato, which was given to him because he has lighter "cat like" eyes then his Mexican breatherin, which actually is because his grandmother is Spanish.

Our first stop wasn't any of the ruins, but the jungle next to the ruins that have been restored. There he showed us a leaf and told us how when dried out and smoked you'll be flying with the fairies. This was not the leaf that you're probably thinking of, but a common leaf that is abundant throughout the jungle.

He told us about the mushrooms that grow around the area, and how the Mayans used to use the mushrooms to enhance the stars and the moon and would allow them to listen and understand more of the world. He also warned us that there are many people that will sell you these mushrooms (my car park friends offered me some after I picked up the car and tipped them for watching it), however if you have any small issue in life that the mushroom with make it muchas grande. Only those with sane mind and peaceful life will benefit from these.

He showed us vines that when cut in half have a inner star shape, and that these were used for tea which the Mayan's drank frequently to provide protection for the snake venom. Oh, and this isn't accidental snake bites. It turns out that the venom from snake bites induced a hallucinogenic reaction with the Mayans in which they would again see the stars and hear the world. They used to purposely get bitten to induce this!!!! I think I'd rather find some dried up leaves or pick some mushies.

A little further in to the jungle we came across what looked like a hill......... about the size of a ground level house. Gato told us that in Palenque there are over 1000 structures that are still yet to be uncovered, and that only 2% of the city of Palenque had actually been restored.

When we climbed this "hill" we realised that on top there was actually a door way with steps that went down a couple meters. The passage then leads off to the left and right to the rest of the structure (I'm pretty sure it was a house).

You can walk from here for 2 hours in either direction and wander over hundreds of these hills without realising that they were actually party of the ancient city of Palenque.

It was a pretty cool start to the tour, to get a first hand look at what the area looked like when Mayan hunters first told a Spanish Priest about it in 1746.

We moved on to the ruins that have been restored and the tour continued.

As Gato talked more and more about the Mayans, the history of the area, the work being done to uncover more of Palenque, the Mayan calendar and how those in power used it to command the common folk......... as I listened to all of this I felt like a little kid that watch a movie about space and wanted to become an astronaught..... yes I wanted to become an archaeologist.

Of course, not one of those ones is a white coat in a laboratory, but like India Jones and the Temple of Doom........... but without the screaming woman always landing him in trouble.

I could go on about the tour, but I know it's way more interesting experiencing it then reading it.

As I'm sure I've said in previous posts (and I'm sure someone may have mentioned it once in the past......... perhaps twice) a picture tells thousand words so feast your eyes on the Palenque photo's from Face Book.

I've been trying to give you a sneak preview, but the connections here aren't playing the upload a photo game so you'll have to check it all out at the Palenque Album.

Tomorrow we're off to do another tour around the city, but this time it's 3 hours of jungle tour!!!

From there it's back into "Chrissy" and we're off to Campeche!!!


Kelli said...

Lil' Sis here!
Have you even had a shower yet! You're starting to blend in with the jungle!
William is getting so big now! Beckly sent you an email with some cute pictures! He was being naughty today...not sleeping and stuff but he's so cute when he's tired and angry! :) Anyway...the ruins are beautiful! Have fun...and remember...don't take drugs!
Kelli xoxoxoxoxox

Anonymous said...

Don't listen to Kelli! She's right about William and stuff, and probably about the shower thing too, but.....Get into those mushies!!!!
Pictures are great mate.
Stay safe,

Birdman said...

Hey little sis,

Glad to hear William is doing well, and yes I stayed well clear of the drugs.

Shower? Well we're showering a little more often, but I'm pretty sure I've worn the same shirt and shorts for the past 5 days.