OR, THE GREAT PALENQUE RIP OFF
ALERT ALERT ALERT: A WORD OF CAUTION. GOOGLE PHOTOS, mysteriously disappeared swathes of photos from all of my trip thus far. Then a few days later more vanished back to September 2020. This is happening to many angry people apparently. They do not respond with this complaint by a crowd of furious clients who have lost precious memories. The fact mine went in swathes was very odd too. Lucky I am an anorak on trips and download to an external hard drive but I don’t have any pre trip photos and videos from September. Warn everyone as it seems to be a huge problem and they don’t respond. I seem to have permanently lost all Christmas pics and am heartbroken.
OR TOUGH ROAD TRIP FINALLY GETS ME THERE!
Journey to Palenque was long, I’d downloaded a crazy series to binge watch for the six hours which just about kept me sane as they pull the screens most of the way down on the ADO buses and have tinted glass and all sorts so no window gazing just navel and Netflix gazing.
On arrival jumped straight into a cab to my Hotel Las Cabanas de Marguerite y Ed (yeah doesn’t easily roll off the tongue) but it was a lovely little place with good air con and excellent water pressure. The misty eyed reviews of it being ‘just round the corner, are silly. Nothing is just round the corner there are two security gates up its six kilometre road. Anyway checked in and straight down the little rough road to the restaurant cafe that services all the little jungle pads around the road. Mojito in hand and chatting away in my good day at Spanish Spanish (I have bad days when I just can’t seem to string words together, and no, it’s not from drinking too much) I was very content and went to my room with my takeaway mojito to sit on the terrace and listen to the noise of the jungle, happy after the long journey and weary. I was truly happy at last since Tulum. Love the sound of the jungle as long as the creatures don’t come in and visit.
Then other noises from the jungle that weren’t so welcome started, the singing in my next door cabin. With the tinny sound of music coming from some device, at first it was funny and sweet, as her hubby occasionally mumbled something to her. Then to my horror I heard sex noises starting. This has happened to me before and it’s awful. You feel as if some terrible voyeur, some peeping tom, so I started talking loudly as if on the phone to let them know I was there and how easily a pin dropping could be heard. They got the message and I think went over final line quickly as the thigh slapping and sighs stopped. That night however I slept like a baby. I hadn’t realised how exhausted I was and jungle always helps me kip.
This little patch of heaven is also very hippy dippy and my feet are firmly planted in both worlds. It makes me the lone wolf I’ve been this trip. I’m a very practical person so like to analyse facts hence being devastated at the huge hoax that is being perpetuated now. Also I retain a mystical and spiritual side but it’s my kind of version and doesn’t quite tally with the quite extreme crystal sculls and angels sector of this community here. I have a lovely friend Stephanie and as I said to her the other day I am the Yin to her Yang. I’m more your battle warrior on this plane to be trying to protect our children’s (and our) future. I’m more stand up and be counted.
In the extended little ‘village’ was a tour stand, bead jewellery sales and a tattoo and body piercing shop. American tattooed beautiful people had escaped the madness of the outside world. This is not a new concept but very reasonable now so onwards and upwards to them. Even here in the traffic light system of Mexico the two green zones are now heavily indoctrinated from previously to the extent of wearing masks in the streets. You need less densely populated places to be truly free of the mask madness.
Anyhoo. The next day I was up bright and early for my Palenque long anticipated trip apex, grabbed brecky and off I went. There is a collectivo to the ticket office which the guys hanging around the stop said I could walk it in ten minutes. Liars. I had been walking for around twenty minutes when a collectivo passed and I jumped on just in time for another five minute drive. Although the walk was bucolic with cows in lush pastures and rolling verdant hills interspersed with jungle palms and vines I didn’t want to use my already clammy energy on a continuing walk saving my puff for this huge site. At the ticket office was my first disappointment. Museum closed. Two tickets paid for though (separate rip offs as it transpired) Next collectivo then up a long and winding road to it’s first magnificent ruin and the dawning on me that a large part had been closed off to the public. For general tourists they couldn’t give a shit but for anorak nerd like me I was heartbroken. This pilgrimage was basically a wash out.
A Bit of History from the Official site.
The archaeological zone takes its name from the neighboring community founded at the end of the 16th century: Santo Domingo de Palenque. The last meaning, also of Spanish origin, means ” Estacada ” or ” Palisade “, which is a wooden fence that surrounds a site to protect it. It is possible that the indigenous people preserved in their memory the existence of defensive works in the abandoned pre-Hispanic city. On the other hand, the place name comes from the Chol language, referring to the Otulum stream, which means “ fortified houses ” that crosses the archaeological zone. Other names have also been used to refer to the ancient settlement: Na Chán ” city of snakes “, Ghochan ” head or capital of snakes“, Nacan, Ototiun” stone house “and Chocan” sculpted serpent “, among others. The local inhabitants know it by the name of the Otolum stream, whose alternate meaning is “ place of the fallen stones ”. Xhembobel-Moyos, the name of an immediate town, was at one time also used to designate the ruins.
Palenque was together with Tikal and Calakmul one of the most powerful cities of the Classic Maya, seat of one of the most notable dynasties to which Pakal belongs, whose tomb was discovered in 1952 by the archaeologist Alberto Ruz L’Huillier. Like all Classic Maya cities, Palenque was related to others through commercial exchange networks or alliances between groups of rulers. The territory was organized from the existence of city-states, whose centers have been identified by the presence of the so-called emblem glyph, but the basis of this organization: exchange, alliances and of course war, supposes its constant mobility. But the hieroglyphic inscriptions not only offer the identification of the site, they also give an account of marital and political alliances and war situations between cities. Mayan inscriptions have been widely studied for being one of the first manifestations of writing in Mesoamerica with a logo-syllabic alphabet, and for their calendrical systems: a cyclical one, as in other parts of Mesoamerica, and a linear one, called the long count. Chronology: 500 to 900 AD. C. Main chronological location: Classic, 400 to 900 AD. C.
There’s a good article in the National Geographic if you’re interested and the museum apparently has lovely finds from there but excuse me for lacking enthusiasm as that was close as was most of the site and you couldn’t climb anywhere to get close and personal with the huge number of carvings and glyphs that it is famous for. So Palenque can piss off.
I’d seen on Google a review from two weeks previously that the tomb of the Red Queen was open, well no its not. We were allowed a basic walk around in a short circuit and that was it. These sites really need to update which sections and sites indeed, are closed. I’m constantly being frustrated at every corner at differing information and worthless journeys. I’m talking about many, many hours on buses. As I said at the top of this blog you need to think hard about how much travel you do at this time and in the foreseeable future, there are many places that are not open but in a very limited way.
Photos from what looks like a stunning museum.
I now had six hours to kill. Was tired and depressed. Could have made it down to Aguas Azules but lacked the passion. Hmmmm? What to do? I had the girl, who was still giggling about my story of the couple making sex noises the previous night, call the owner and I rented my cabin for another half day nearly crying with relief and bought myself a lunch at the local spot nearer me where they made me fresh chicken and veg for half the price of the big place. Sometimes tatty old places with plastic tablecloths and a simple open kitchen are so much more calming and kind. Sitting there next to a couple of old mates, one Mexican old geezer and an American lady with her new puppy, shooting the breeze with no affectations reminded me that there are quite a lot of shallow people in the trendier places and you miss a bit of normality. Then off to my jungle den where I then showered and rested in my lovely cool cabin until it was time to get my bus for I had decided not to stay that extra night. I’m still glad I spent those hours in a more authentic and calming environment rather than hanging around at the bigger restaurant which would have got on my nerves. It had been a bit of a long journey for such a disappointing Palenque and I was eager to go on on to Xpuhil at the centre of many sites.