It was cool last night so we shut off the generator and opened the windows. The last generator shut down a little after 9:30 PM. Two busloads of tourists arrived at the hotel yesterday afternoon and I could hear their music and laughter until I went to sleep.
This morning we awoke to discover that it had rained rather hard during the night and had rained in on our bedroom dresser. I found out today that it rains here an average of 85 inches a year. Mostly during ten months of the year. February being one of them of course.
Carol Ann and I rode to the ruins with Tom and Kim. We still don’t know much more about our car except we found out that our Good Sam Emergency Road Service should cover some, if not all, of our towing needs. There is still hope that the car can at least be made towable for the motorhome. If so, we will have it towed from Merida to where ever we happen to be when it is ready.
We had a two hour guided tour of the Palenque ruins. Our guide was very good. Very good English and highly knowledgeable. He told us that only 24 structures are currently open to the public out of approximately 2,400 identified so far. It was estimated in 2005 that only about 10% of the city had been explored. Most of the city is still covered in very thick and very tall tropical rain forest jungle. The tallest pyramid is still covered by jungle. Archeologists have managed to snake in a fiber optic camera and take a look. Supposedly it is in good shape. Uncovering structures and maintaining all of them requires 400 full time employees. As money is made available, they will dig out and uncover another structure.
Palenque dates from around 100 BC to its fall around 800 AD. For about the last 150 years it was at its height. Almost half of that time it was ruled by Pacal the Great. Age 12 to 89 yrs. He lived in a 9,000 sq. meter palace with indoor bathrooms. The underground drainage system built by the Mayans is still working and keeps the city from flooding during the rainy months.
With the rain came very low clouds. It was quite warm and the humidity kept fogging my camera lens. I had a cheap plastic poncho but it was too hot to wear so I kept it over the camera and just got wet. I finally got out a small travel umbrella when the rain got harder.
While at the Palenque ruins we climbed up and down some very slick stone steps without railings. The place would be an absolute OSHA nightmare. A woman in another group actually slipped and fell down some steps (I don’t know how many). She was unable to walk and had to be carried back to the entrance where she was put into an ambulance and taken away. I’m sorry she was injured, but I sure was glad that it wasn’t anyone from our group. We have had enough of that sort of thing.
After the ruins tour we went to the museum and saw some magnificent jewelry and death masks made of jade. There was also a replica of Pacal the Great’s twenty-ton stone sarcophagus.
After the museum we went with Tom and Kim to meet Harvey, Barbara, and John for lunch at a local chicken place. It was definitely not a tourists’ restaurant. In fact, I don’t think I would have eaten there if it hadn’t been for the others. The menu consisted of barbecued chicken, half or whole, and barbecued ribs. It was OK but not as good as the chicken we had at a similar type restaurant in Piste. We ordered four chicken halves and four plates of ribs and drank water and cokes. Tom went across the street and bought a 6-pack of beer. We split the cost four ways. Our share was $110 pesos and included a tip. That works out to less than $5 US per person.
For dessert, we went across the street to a Panaderia (bakery). I took a tray and tongs and selected a couple of items from the glass display cases. I picked up a nice looking piece of cake, placed it on the tray and then Carol Ann quickly said, “PUT IT BACK, PUT IT BACK”. I picked it up and realized there were several large black ants crawling around on the piece of cake. We decided not to get anything else.
On the way back to the RV parking lot we stopped at a Chedrau (or “Super Che”) supermarket get cash from the ATM. We have decided to give up on Visa and just go cash only for the remainder of the trip. Now I can pay Michel back for yesterday’s fuel.
It is almost 3:00 PM, still raining, and time for a nap before our 6:00 PM dinner.
Tomorrow we take vans to check out two waterfalls, Misol Ha and Agua Azul. We were told to take our swimsuits if we want to swim. I hope no one goes over the falls. It would be just our luck!