Sunday, October 6, 2013 of the Maya

In our  niche
Archaeological site of Palenque
We started out on Thursday morning with a guided tour of Palenque ruins and the jungle around the ruins. As this is not tourist season, we felt like we were the only ones there. Our guide enjoyed telling us stories of his theories on the disappearance of the Mayas. We need to do much more research on this subject...they were so advanced in many ways, yet the royalty disappeared. These photos are only a sampling of the many I took. The accessible buildings are only a drop in the bucket of the number that are still  not excavated all around the jungle.


These mushroooms were growing.
I love the design elements

One of many relief sculptures

Richard at the bottom of Misol-ha
Afterwards we continued our tour of the area of Misol-ha and Agua Azul...both waterfalls, river and beautiful natural parks. In Agua Azul we took out our drawing pads while eating grilled plantains (large bananas) and french fries. Many of the children gathered around to watch us draw and paint. This is another way to connect directly with people as they are usually fascinated by catching a scene on paper.

The following day was an adventure to two other archaeological sites... Yaxchilan and Bonampak. We had debated whether to do these as they are really off the beaten track and take a long time to get there but they are really worth seeing. Again we were virtually the only ones around ... just a few small groups of tourists. We were 8 people in a van...mostly Mexicans except for a woman from Sweden (who lives in SMA) and her sister visiting from Sweden. We always enjoy the camraderie of a small group on adventures together. In order to get Yaxchilan we drove for 2 1/2 hours and then a boat ride down the river to the site (45 minutes). There were about 30 students at the top of Yaxchilan who were studying the mayan glyphs, analyzing the various parts that are available to see in this remote river front site. Each of the symbols represent a word or several words. The designs are amazing.
Mayan glyphs


Amazing large trees at Yaxchilan

A howler monkey
On the walk out of this site we were lucky enough to see one of the howler fact there were several of them. The sound they make is loud and very strange. We had been hearing them without seeing them. This was a highlight of this afternoon for all of us. Look up howler monkey on Utube if you want to hear their sound.
Then we headed to the site of Bonampak, a smaller site but known for the amazing murals on the walls that were done over 1200 years ago. I captured a few on photo here but many more still on the camera. Through these murals they are able to determine much about the culture of the people.
Murals at Bonampak



Above a door entry at Bonampak

Our hotel in Palenque
Maya Tulipanes...a day of rest
After two amazing hot humid days in the jungle, we have a rest day here in Palenque before heading back tomorrow to San Miguel de Allende. We have had a joyous and full adventure in this land of the Maya. It is a part of Mexico that is so very different than all the others we have visited and we are grateful for this opportunity to travel together and experience new worlds of the past and present.

Once again, thank you to all for traveling and sharing our adventures with us. I know many enjoy this blog, but truly, it is my gift to myself to capture in photo and words some of my memories so I can revisit whenever I want. Love from the 2wo of us.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Chiapas adventure continues...

Our new amigo...Jorge
Xenote which can be seen from the ruins
On the left is Guatemala, on the right, Mexico
We spent a most amazing weekend in the city of Comitan de Dominguez with Jorge, his wife Marisol, son Daniel and friend Artemio. We met them through their son Jorge Jr whom we met in San Miguel a few weeks ago. They invited us to stay in this town, about 2 hours by bus from San Cristobal. We arrived and were taken to a lovely home with an amazing garden. Then we were whisked away by Artemio for a day in the surrounding National Parks ... the ruins of Chinkultec and Los Lagos de Montebello followed by an amazing meal in another garden setting.

We are in Mayan country very close to the border of Guatemala and in fact, were able to cross the border and walk right into the country of Ricardo's mother. It was quite a moment in time for him as most of you know the story of his family. The countryside in this part of Mexico is amazingly beautiful, green, with lush forests, xenotes (deep pools), the national park of 53 lakes in various colors of blue and green and waterfalls.
Artemio and our local guide at Chintultec
The day was full...we joined Jorge at night with his nephew Sergio to attend a talk about a famous patriot of the town .... Bellesario Dominguez. The whole day, including this talk was in Spanish and I did understand most of it. I see how far we have come with our language study when I realize that we can understand so much. We saw the city at night and it is beautiful. Here is another place we shall return to.
In our garden

At the restaurant in the countryside

One of the over 50 lakes 

Comitan de Dominguez at night

Our new family at the waterfalls
Sunday began with a breakfast in the gazebo at our Casa followed by a trip to the Cascadas de Chiflon (waterfalls). At the top we were soaked as the spray and water from these amazing falls was so strong that it felt like a very strong rainfall in fact it was too wet to take out my camera. We mostly dried by the time we got to their home in the countryside of Comitan. When we arrived Marisol and I picked veggies from their garden for comida...chayote squash, zucchini, corn, onion and then combined our culinary talents teaching each other ideas for spices, etc. She made home made tortillas on the comal as well a drink. She is very interested in vegetarianism and I had already sent her information that I have in Spanish via email. It was an amazing moment in time and cooking together is a very bonding experience.
Cooking together

Los lobos!

Na Balom.

Today on the roof for breakfast
A view from our roof
Now for our last few days in San Cristobal...several museums such as Na Balom which was the home of archeologist Frans Blom and his wife Gertrude Duby Blom, a photographer journalist, enviornmental pioneer and jungle adventurer.We also went to the museum of Amber and the Museum of Traditional Mayan Medicine. Today we had sunshine in the morning so ate our breakfast up on the roof and had a lovely Indian comida with our host Teresa...another new friend. We have grown to love her faithful friend Chooch and we know we shall see each other again soon.

Nueva familia
Church in San Cristobal

Another church in San Cristobal

My new art jewelry made by a mayan from the jungle

Typical designs of Chiapas

We leave tomorrow for Palenque and back to San Miguel early next week. Once again amigos, thanks for traveling with us. Love from Ricardo y Susanita.