Day 131 - Arrived in San Cristobal De La Cases early in the morning. It is at 2100m in the mountains and is widely regarded as the finest example of a Spanish colonial town in Mexico if not all of Latin America. We found a hostel and had breakfast and then set off walking around. We wandered round the main square and saw the cathedral and visited the very colourful markets. Catherine has dragged me into practically every jewellery shop on offer. San Cristobal is one of the few places in the world where amber is mined and jade and turqoise are also in abundance making jewellery relatively cheap and she is looking for a pendant. Had lunch and continued to wander around most of the day and then out for dinner in the evening!
Day 132 - Spent another day walking round San Cristobal and stopping off in cafes, chilling out, reading etc. Very hard day! also visited the mayan medicine centre which explains how they use the jungle to cure every day ailments etc. Also went to see a hacienda which was where two Dutch anthropologists lived as they studied the Mayan culture in the state of Chiapas where we are. They went into the rainforest and lived with the Lancandonian Mayans and learnt their ways of living and amassed a photography collection of over 50,000 photos…some, not all of which, are on display! They were honoured for their environmental work by the UN in 1991. Then in the evening out for a pasta dinner and then watched a DVD.
Day 133 - Up early as off on a tour today. We set off at 9am to the Sumidero Canyon about an hour from San Cristobal. We went on a two hour boat ride down the river which runs through the canyon. The canyon is huge and very impressive with 100oft walls of sheer cliffs on each side. At its highest point, the canyon is 1000m or 3000ft high! As we went along the boat, we saw alot of wildlife including pelicans, monkeys in the trees and crocodiles, which was good for photos. On the way back, nearer the midday sun, the crocodiles came out to bask in the sun on the banks of the river and we could get quite close up in the boat before they slunk back into the water! They grow up to 6-7m long in that area! Then had lunch at a small town on the way back and arrived back mid afternoon. And did not do a great deal for the rest of the day!
Day 134 - Last day in San Cristobal and had a lie in as we were rather tired, despite having not done a great deal. So we had, perhaps, the most laid back day ever! We basically walked from cafe to cafe and I finished the book I have been reading and sat in the squares as it was very hot! Very stressful day, but also managed to get our travel plans sorted for the following day to Palenque and then an overnight bus to Merida. In the evening we went out for a good dinner, I had all you can eat meat and salad buffet and had steak and chicken, so stuffed myself. Then we went to the cinema after dinner!
Day 135 - Up at 5.45am, which is an obscenely unearthly hour of the day for both of us! Got packed up and then picked up by a minibus and we set off towards Palenque and we both went to sleep. Had two stops along the way, firstly, a beautiful cascading waterfall called Agua Azul, meaning water blue. It was 500m and came down in many layers and you could walk all the way up the side and see it. Then a bit further on the journey we stopped at Misol Ha, a Mayan named waterfall which was about 150m and just dropped down straight into a massive circular pool and that was really nice too. Had lunch their and then onwards to Palenque. Palenque sits high in the jungle and is one of the mosty significant archaelogical finds in Mexico. So far, 26 temples have been excavated but from surverys done from the sky with high tech equipment they have established there is a total of over 1,500 temples in the city of Palenque. They remain unexcavated in the jungle! We hired a tour guide who took us round the main temples, some of which have sarcophogi hidden deep in the middle of the temples, found by walking through passage ways! The most interesting thing we picked up from the tour is how Palenque is a mix of civilisations, with influences from Eqypt, Grece, China, Thailand etc. There is a carving of Tuthenkhamun and many carvings of Egyptian dress and a Chinese dragon. The theory behind this is that they went out into the world and wer linked with som of those civilisations through trade! At the end of the tour we were dropped off at the bus station and had six hours to kill before our overnight bus, which we had booked, to take us to Merida in the state of Yucutan! So we went to a Best Western hotel and sat and had a drink and then a long dinner to try and buy time! Then off on the overnight bus to Merida at midnight.
Day 136 - Arrived in Merida at 9am, but unfortunately Catherine had succumbed to food poisoning on the bus during the night so had a rather unpleasant journey! Went to a hotel and checked in and Cat slept most of the day and did not eat so i just read my book and had a look round the town and had a subway for dinner!!
Day 137 - Catherine still felt rather porrly but managed to have a bit of a walk round. Then I went off and tried to find a better deal on hotels as the one we are in is rather poor and overpriced. Had a swim in the pool in the afternoon and then out for something to eat and then watched a dvd with Catherine in the evening!! Not a massive amount to report really! Merida is a really nice town and is in Spansh colonial style around the centre. The main square is now a continental style plaza with cafes around the egde. The Spanish conquistadores dismantle the Mayan teemples that were there and used the same stone to build a huge cathedral and a stone plaza!
Day 138 - Moved to a much nicer hotel I found in the morning and Catherine managed to stomach some breakfast and is feeling a bit better! We even managed to have a look round the town today and went to some markets and cultural site the city has to offer. In the evening there was traditional salsa dancing going on in the streets in front of the restaurants where they had bands playing and the roads were blocked off to traffic. So after dinner we went and watched this which was quite interesting.