March 5, 2009
I wrote this posting on March 5 and am posting it on March 10 - since we only just got internet access. I will try to update this Travel Blog tomorrow night.
It has been about a week since we were last able to connect to the internet and post to our Travel Blog. In fact, we are writing this posting today, in the hope that we will have wifi or find an internet café at our next location.
On February 27 we stayed in Calderitas near Chetumal. This was a great RV park with RV sites on the Gulf of Mexico, a lovely swimming pool, frigate birds overhead and nice restaurant. We swam at the Cenote Azul and explored the ruins at Kohunlich and two other less well known sites.
On February 28, we drove to Palenque, one of the most famous Mayan ruins in Mexico. The ruins are in a jungle setting and very spectacular. Our RV park, in the grounds of a big hotel, was very pleasant. There were howler monkeys in the trees making a terrible racket. Interesting! While we were at the ruins, it started to rain. Rain pounded down all night and buckets of water poured off the trailer’s canopy. Everything seemed to be damp.
March 2, we drove back to Villahermosa, where we had stayed on February 8, and camped next to a big water park with three swimming pools, water slides, etc.
We were up early the next morning to take a bus trip up into the mountains of Chiapas. We stayed in a hotel in the Spanish colonial city of San Cristobal de Las Casas. We were 6600 ft. above sea level and, while the days were warm, it went down to below freezing at night. Cold! Our tour included visits to two Mayan villages, Chamula and Zinacantan. A highlight was the former Catholic church in Chamula which is now used for Mayan rituals and ceremonies. The floor of the church is covered with long pine needles. There are no benches but there are shrines to many familiar Catholic saints down each side of the church with hundreds of candles burning and Mayan shaman carrying out healing rituals. Another highlight was a performance by a local theater company - Palenque Rojo, telling one of the myths of Palenque. The dancing, music and costumes were fabulous and really brought the long history of the Maya in Palenque to life for us.
On March 4, the bus took us back to Villahermosa. On the way we stopped at a huge zoo, where we saw many tropical animals including the famous and rare quatzl bird with green feathers and a very long tail.
Today, March 5, the caravan headed back up into the mountains to Tehuantepec. We crossed over into the coastal plain and across the very windy isthmus where there were hundreds and hundreds of wind turbines taking advantage of the ceaseless wind.. This means that in one day we crossed almost all the way from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Our RV park is set in a mango plantation with corn fields on one side and a banana plantation on the other. Unfortunately there are a lot of bugs and no real facilities.
We talked to family back home tonight and want to confirm that we have not experienced any of the problems being described in the Canadian media. We did get checked at a couple of military check points but there was no trouble and everyone was polite and pleasant. In other words, the Mexicans seem to be dealing with their issues as best they can.
Tomorrow we head for Oaxaca. There is a chance we will meet up with Tara – but it seems a bit unlikely since we won’t know where we will be camping until we meet up with our tour arranger. We hope she is having as good a time travelling around Mexico as we are.