We flew from Mexico City into Villahermosa
Cruising over a lush, rich green wetlands
To begin our visit to the Mayan ruins at Palenque.
Palenque town is a 1.5 hour drive from the airport.
It was getting late in the afternoon
So we splurged and took a taxi from the airport.
Taxis in Villahermosa are nothing like the taxis in San Miguel
Nice medium size comfortable cars
With air conditioning.
I imagine this is for several reasons:
1. It is wet, hot and sticky
2. This is where oil business is done in Mexico
The plane was filled with men in suits
Wearing black pants and white business shirts,
Carrying briefcases and boxes of pastries
Which they shared with each other
At the front of the plane.
At any rate, we had a nice comfy ride to Palenque
We arrived just about dark and cruised right by the town
Right by the ‘Super Che cuesta menos’ supermarket
I wonder what Che would have thought about this,
A legacy of being honored in name, by a grocery store….
On into El Panchan, the jungle destination
At the gate of the ruins.
It was unclear exactly where we were supposed to go
But we knew it wasn’t inside the park
And we had to ask directions of the military guards
Who were at the base of the park grounds.
As it turned out, we were there –
But the sign for Margarita and Ed’s Cabanas
Was turned around backwards
Which was just fine if you were going the wrong way.
El Panchan is an interesting little enclave of cabanas
Which range from concrete buildings
To concrete walls with palapa roofs and screened walls
To wood posts with screens and curtains
Some of them hammock only beds.
Margarita and Ed’s Cabanas
Are concrete buildings, some with palapa roofs
And a main two story building where the family lives
We stayed, downstairs, in back, following a meticulously
Manicured path to our pink walled room.
The air was filled with early evening sounds –
Birds and millions of deafening cicadas
You are definitely in the jungle here,
It’s wet, fetid and marked with stone and wood walkways
Which meander throughout this little jungle travelers village.
By the time we were settled in it was dark
We were hungry so we went out to find something to eat.
There are probably miles of little foot paths
That lead to the various ‘resorts’ that are in this enclave
All with low lighting, following bridges over small streams
That eventually led us to Don Muchos,
The largest restaruant in the area.
The menu was the typical Mexican fare –
Enchiladas verde, rojo, mole
Tacos de pollo or rez (rolled fried taquitos)
Ensaladas, sopa azteca
And a full fare of italian pasta dishes.
Apparently there is a large Italian influence in the south.
The restaurant seemed to be filled with Europeans
Especially French and German travellers
Mixed with a large contingent of what Zoe calls
‘Trustifarians’ – young folks in dread locks,
Wrap around skirts, cotton shirts and pants
Living in the jungle on their parents trust funds.
In my day, they would have been called hippies.
It was like being dropped into a time warp
Of something out of Casablanca,
All the characters were there.
The food was very average
We ate and went to bed
Knowing we would not want to stay
More than a day here.
Tomorrow – to the ruins.