Day 8 : Palenque, Chiapas
One week in mexico and not a single bad avocado. Dan and I have eaten about 12 market-bought ones and countless more spread in tacos from the stands that pepper the streets here. I’m worried about avocado withdrawl on our return – avocado and tequila withdrawl. Last night, in our concrete jungle hostel, we drank two thirds of a litre. I feel a little sick at the thought of it.
We’re in Palenque, after taking a night bus from Talum, and arrived here two days ago at about 5.30 in the morning. We’re staying out of town in El Panchain – a surreal backpacker ‘village’. El Panchain couldn’t have existed twenty years ago; it’s not a village that has become a traveller hangout, like Thailand’s Pai or Manali in India, but is only hostels and restaurants for backpackers. Is a village of travellers. It sounds horrific but is actually very nice: good food, very peaceful (apart from some terrifying noises coming from the jungle) and pretty cheap. Our third morning here and the third time Dan and I are woken up by an incessant roaring, all the other animals go quiet and all you can here is the roaring, like something out of a horror film. It’s a sound neither of us have heard before or want to hear again – though we do want to know what it is…
Yesterday we had a ‘no spend’ day, i.e. we’ve been spending far too much since we’ve been here and so are trying to make up for it with ‘no spend’ days. It was wonderful. We strolled through Palenque – a town described by other travellers and the Lonely Planet as uninteresting which it’s not – and drank, possibly, the best coffee I’ve ever tasted, entered the most weird and wonderful apothecary where I had to stop Dan buying various potions that would ‘help’ his manhood, sampled raw cocoa, read Mexican baby books, ate some very cheap and delicious tacos, tried on cowboy hats, gawped at pinyatas and Christmas decorations to rival Oxford St, meandered through an awesome graveyard and bought avocados and tequila.
The only thing not seen yesterday was much wildlife, a first. Since we’ve been here we have seen:
Pelicans, pigs, massive iguanas, blow fish, needle fish, jelly fish, cat fish, enormous turkey type animals, enormous rats, racoons / squirrels?, a cockroach, buzzards, bright blue birds, bright yellow birds, bright red birds, bright pink birds, bright multi-coloured birds, big fluroecsant butterflies, big moths, bats and more stuff I can’t think of.
The day before yesterday we visited the Palenque ruins, which is why tourists come here. They are remarkable. Today we’re going to visit the waterfalls, which is the other reason why tourists come here. It’s 8am and I’ve made us packed lunches: guacamole, bread and tequila. I’m still wide awake at 7am every morning, Dan thinks I’ve got a problem, “you’re so energetic in the mornings, where does it come from?”