Mexico Day 7

Hi Everyone

It is so nice to not have the internet rule your day and night. How refreshing to not be able to log on all day long. I have been to places where I have not had the internet for more than a week at a time. Try the African Bush, Mongolia and Antartica. Nobody there ever heard of the internet and they are very happy. Non internet connected gives you a better opportunity to enjoy your day and the company you are with. Don’t forget your other body part, your cell phone. Throw it out. You can live and be happier without the internet and cell phone. Try it for a week. Instead of going on the internet start reading a real book. I have so enjoyed the people on this trip and the company of my wife Olivia. It feels great seeing her disconnected from her hectic life. I have spent most of my life without the internet and cell phone. How sorry I feel for my grandchildren. Their bodies and minds will become connected. Life is too short and enjoy the simple things in life. Always look for the silver lining with whatever you do. You can find that silver lining if you spend the time to look hard enough. You never know what life brings and what is just around the corner. Enjoy it and always look for that silver lining. It is always there.

Enough of the psychology of life. What did you do today in exciting Mexico? We all met at 7 AM for breakfast. Its nice hearing the sound of Macaws in the morning. Reminds me a little bit of hearing lions roaring in Botswana as I fell asleep. We are in Palenque, Mexico. I described in my previous blog where we are and I still do not fully understand where I am except I am in a beautiful tropical rain forest with nature all around us.

We then boarded our bus for a short ride to the Mayan ruins of “Palenque”. Palenque was a Mayan city of approximately fifty thousand people at its height. There were lots of Mayan cities and none of them really got along. They were always fighting and disagreeing about something. When the Spanish arrived, this was to their advantage. If the Mayans had united and fought the Spanish as a whole, they could have easily defeated them. Our own tour guide, Francisco, led us through the ruins. He was very knowledgable and used an IPAD and had drawings and pictures as he explained what we were seeing. The day started out with rain. The rain forest was wet and the stones of the ruins were slippery. This is the wettest part of Mexico and gets the most rainfall. Only two percent of the actual city has been excavated. The belief is that there are over 1400 additional ruins and structures that are still covered by the jungle. This has been documented by ground radar. The government will not let any ruins that are now covered by the jungle to be excavated. They are afraid to disturb the rain forest and the wild life living here. We climbed and walked through these beautiful ruins. The three largest temples are named the Temple of the Cross Group, Temple of Inscriptions and the Grand Palace. The tomb of Palenques greatest king, Pakal, was discovered in the Temple of Inscriptions. The Temples sort of reminded both Olivia and myself of Angkor Wat but of course, not as large in its current state. I climbed up one of the Temples to get a panoramic view of the entire site. We roamed through the Grand Palace and were amazed by how these people built this impressive structure. How did they obtain their knowledge of engineering and architecture? I bought two remembrances of Palenque. One is a Mayan calendar, which is round and the other is a small replica of Pakal’s death mask made out of stone. I felt like we were intruding on someone elses home as we board the bus for lunch. By the way, no one knows why Palenque was abandoned. There is an aqueduct running through the site so water was not the problem. That aqueduct still exists today. Palenque was named by the Spanish since no one knew its true name at the time.

The sun finally appeared as we were entering a traditional local restaurant. I had a platter of smoked pork with beans and Olivia had a great vegetable taco dish. The restaurant served its own coffee and I can give it a high five. The coffee only needed a pinch of milk and was so strong. I had two large cups and savored its beauty and aroma for as long as I could.

Our next stop was a beautiful wildlife center. This wildlife center takes in local animals that need to be taken care of and are then released back into the wild if they are able to survive on their own. We saw lots of jaguars, screaming and howling monkeys, wild boars, birds including beautiful macaws, deer and others. Ivan, our tour guide, told us that sometimes after animals have been released they make their way back to the center since they love it so much. Nice knowing a place like this exists here. Our walk took us about two hours and the center is close to our hotel.

When we arrived back at the hotel I picked up our laundry that I had handed in this morning. Are you ready for this? Three pairs of pants dry cleaned and pressed, six shirts, one top, nine pairs of socks and eight pieces of various under garments all for 390 pesos. Thats less than $20. Back home two pairs of pants at the dry cleaners cost me that.

Dinner was spectacular. We were taken to a local restaurant that was very small. There were only three tables and one of the tables was long and our party of sixteen were able to sit around it. We were served a six course meal of Mayan food with all of the ingredients locally grown. They served us taco chips that were made of a root. White tail deer meat and wild boar were very delicious. The corn was not the yellow corn that we eat, but a sort of whitish blue corn that I had never had. I loved the taste. Dessert was corn and chaya flan. Chaya is a local fruit. What more can I say?  A beautiful day spent in an abandoned city and the surrounding area.

Tomorrow we check out and its off to Campeche. Campeche is a port city on the Gulf of Mexico and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.