Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Best of Small Town Mexico-Exploring the Yucatan

I really hate to put you through another episode of "Come on over and check out our slides of the Grand Canyon!" but this week's Best of Small Town Mexico has to do with our recent trip to Palenque. One of the very best things about living in our small town is that it is smack dab in the middle of Mayan Ruin Central.

Our hotel was nice; simple but clean. We reserved, and paid for in advance, I might add, a pool-view 2 double-bed room. We were given a room with one double bed and a view of the adjoining business's parking lot. They were nice enough to give us two roll aways (free of charge!) and us each a cup of juice (?!?). Oh well, no big deal, it's all about spending quality time together, right?


So Friday we were off to explore the ruins of Palenque. It was very cool. It is probably the biggest group of ruins we have seen in this area of Mexico and is situated in a lush green jungle.

I will not try to impress you here with my knowledge of Mayan architecture or their social structure or even when the darn buildings were erected because it's pretty limited. That's Guapo's department. If I would let him, he would stop and read every dang informational sign he could find. If you want to know more, I am sure Google can point you in the right direction.

My department takes care of things like keeping everyone lathered in sunscreen, fully hydrated and saying things like: "Ohhhh, wow! That's beautiful/big/interesting/unique."

Or, more often: "JULIO, GET BACK DOWN HERE!!!! Stop climbing the pyramids without me or your dad."


One major difference between Palenque and other sites we have visited was that at Palenque we were actually allowed to go inside a few of the buildings whereas at other ruins we were only allowed to climb around on the outside. That was really cool. We were able to see some beds where people slept and even saw some ancient potties.


The next day we went to a place called Agua Azul (Blue Water) a group of waterfalls about an hour from Palenque. Here's a little travel tip: Don't travel in Latin America during "Semana Santa" (Holy Week) unless you really like crowds. This lesson we learned in Venezuela but somehow pushed it to the back of our minds when we were planning this trip. This was the scene when we arrived at Agua Azul:


Not too inviting. The problem was, to keep the kids behaving all day at the ruins we had to constantly reminded them that the following day they would be frolicking in waterfalls. There was no way Margarita (8) was going to take pictures and leave; and who could tell poor little Julio (5) who threw up on the way there because the road was so curvy, that swimming was cancelled?

Someone had to take them in to the very crowded, very cold water.

Have I mentioned lately what a great husband and dad Guapo is? He had absolultely no desire to hop in the waterfall water, but did so anyway while I sat, fully clothed, and took pictures (well, someone had to watch our stuff).

And finally, here's a funny sign:

That was right next to this waterfall:

All and all it was a fantastic trip. Mexico is an incredible country with so much to see and do.

14 comments:

No Cool Story said...

Cool!, I was hoping you'd post pictures, thanks!.
"My department takes care of things like keeping everyone lathered in sunscreen" At home, this is my official title: "Commissioner of Safety", yep, that’s me. Making sure no one runs up and down pyramids.

I also like to take pictures of fun signs, maybe I'll post them one day.

Grammy said...

I can't believe you went to the exact same water fall as my friend Andrea. She also thought that sign was hysterical and tried to trick her husband into swimming, by reminding him that "the official sign said that it was dangerous not to." How lucky am I to have 2 well traveled friends with great senses of humor? Thanks for sharing.

smartmama said...

fun- i keep begging dh for a ex-pat experience- i love foreign adventures... sadly i've been to over 15 countries and still ahven't been to mexico our lovely neighbor to the south...

El Guapo (I hate my name) said...

With Gabriela's overwhelming need to follow all rules and obey all posted warnings, I was surprised that she didn't dive into the waterfall after reading that sign. The water was cold, but worse than that it was full of a lot of people who had sweated a lot to get to it. I felt like I was jumping into dirty dish water on spaghetti night.

K-squared's Mom said...

Left a long comment a little while ago but somehow, it didn't post. More pictures please! It was great that you could get inside the stuctures at Palenque. In Tulum, every building was cordoned-off and everytime someone would try to sneak past the barriers, you'd hear a whistle from a hidden "ruins police". Thanks for pointing us to Akumal! We loved it there.

Stephanie said...

Thank you for posting your pictures. It looks like your trip was a blast!

itybtyfrog said...

What great pictures from your trip. I love the ruins. We went to Tikal in Guatemala. The ruins are so amazing. I would love to study more history to find out about them. Your keeping the kids slathered in sunscreen just falls under the title of mother. What Dad remembers to do that?

Anonymous said...

Nice work! Very funny and very cleaver. I found especially interesting the picture of "El Guapo." He looks an awful lot like this guy, I'll call him "Steve." But Steve's not really nearly bald like poor El Guapo is.
I'd like to know a little more about this collection of ruins in a future blog someday, to see if I need to add it to my "must see" list.
I think you are the best blogger in the world, good work!

Anonymous said...

Oops, I meant clever not "cleaver," sorry.

ShelahBooksIt said...

It's so cool that you're really exploring while you're in Mexico. We've lived in several different places since we got married. The city we lived in before we had kids I knew like the back of my hand. The state we moved to with a newborn and a toddler I felt like I never really got to know. It's cool that you're not letting the kids limit your explorations!

Linsey said...

Great Pictures!!! How fun!

jd said...

Oh what a spectacular trip!! How wonderful!

Zoe said...

Wow!! What amazing pictures. I would LOVE to go there!! How fun for your family!

handiemom said...

How fun! I have never been to Palenque, but I have been to Chitchen Itza, Tulum, Teotihuacan, and Uxmal. My favorite is probably Uxmal -- it is so green and beautiful. Thanks for the pictures!