So, i strated the tour up in Mexico city, where it is about 2000 meters above sea level which is pretty cool. We hung about ht ecity for a few days and visited the Anthropology Musuem and saw some ancient mayan artifacts and stuff like that. I met my new tour group for the next two weeks and realized that i was with a whole gang of aussies. Luckily i had been there on my travels so i knew some of the in jokes or what they were talking about with the AFL. Anyway, they wear all great fun, i mean they"re aussie, nothing bothers them.
Our first stop was Puebla, a town about 5hrs out of Mexico city which was brimming with culture and architecture for us to wander around. It felt so good to get away from all the smog of the big city and wander around the pebbled streets of Puebla. We had a lunch in this really nice little place where i tried the lacal speciality of Mole Poblana which uses 25 ingredients and 7 different chillis. Amazingly it wasnt really really spicy though, which suited me fine. Having a delicate stomach in Mexico can be tricky! I wandered the market and snapped away, which is cheaper than purchasing. Then walked over to the main Cathedral which was very grand. It was nice to see a church again, who somewhere which had a strong religious belief, as i hadnt really encountered that since asia, 6 months ago! Seem a long time ago now! We did a day trip the following day around the tile factory, some more churches but one which stands out particulary. When the spanish invaded in 15....something, the only way they could get the locals to turn catholic was to build a church on top of their sacred site, so they built a church on top of the pyramid. So the locals had no choice but to worship the church and so were eventually converted. I thought we had paid the 150 pesos to go on a tour for the day to see the volcano, but were told it was to see it in the distance and unfortunatly it was cloudy that day so i missed out. Typical, but we did get a glimpse of it as we left the city the next day, for free! Another funny thing, was when we went for dinner at a local place at the zocalo and oneof the girls was sat at the table eating her lunch when all of a sudden, she screamed really loud to realise that a rat was trying to run up her leg! Nice!
So, after Puebla, was Oaxaca. This was another nice little town. We stayed in a little casa which were more like little nuns rooms. We wandered the town again, whch was very nice still, lots of locals around at the zocalo, just hanging out. They never seem to be at work. I just spent my time there looking around the makets where they sold fried grasshoppers in chilli. I didnt try one of those im afraid, but they dont taste of mush, just abit crunchy! We did a day trip out to the mountains where we visited some pools, called the Hieve la Aqua, the petrified waterfall, basically a waterfall which has crystalized on the side of the mountain with pools of water around it. Was so refreshing to dip in after a hot day of traveling. We also visited a factory which sold Metxcal, sort of like tequila and a weaving place. So good day out.
Our next journey was to San Cristobel on the over night bus, this was a bit of a nightmare, as it was 13hrs. I thought it would be ok, but the windy roads with a bus driver who liked to live life on the dangerous side, was abit scary. In fact only 20 mins into the drive, i saw 2 crashes, so i was slightly concerned. Finally by 12;30pm, i couldnt stare at the roads anymore, i finally fell asleep and the travel sickness passed, but i wont be doing that again in a hurry!
Once in San Cristobel, we had time to look around the town. We visted the coffee museum and sampled a nice frappaccino. Then in the evening, by chance, i had read my email to find that my own sister was heading into town that day too! Wowy, but i didnt know where too. So i tried to call, and no answer, then emailed, no reply. Then asked my tour guide where he thought the riveled tour group, Gap, would be staying....but with no luck. So finally, Juan Carlos, took us to a popular restaurant that he thought the other group may go. And, amazingly, across the restaurant, was my sister! She was ther with her group and had just arrived there only hours before. Apparently, the restaurant had moved since the last time the guide had been there so they walked for 30mins to find it and nearly gave up looing for it. But lucky for us they didnt! So it was a nice reunion. We were both tired to planned to met the next day outside the cross in the square at 2pm. I dont have a phone which works, so its taking it back to basics here. But it worked out fine! We met up again and exchanged stories of where we had been and where we were going and then departed againg, until we meet in 4 weeks time!
We did a tour from San Cristobel to Chumula, to visit an old mayan town. We ate handmade tortillas, tried on the local dress and were taken to the local cemetary. The dont believe in medicine so it was pretty big. And they also belive in drinking a lot of coca cola so that when they burp, it relieves them of their sins. So as you can imagine, there was alot of coca cola everywhere. In fact, all you saw them drinking was the stuff. We were told not to take any pictures otherwise we could end up in jail! So we did as we were told, although, i did catch this japanese lady still taking pictures of them. They believe it is bad to have an image of yourself, so they cover their faces if they accidently walk into the view of a camera. Inside the church was the weirdest though. We entered in to find no benches, and the ground covered with pine needles. The aroma was so strong as they lit them, so it was quite intoxicating. They were all sat on the floor, praying, swaying and drinking. It is ok to drink alcohol in the church, so there were the odd drunk. And mothers brest feeding. They also sacrifice chickens as part of the offering to their god. I didn quite see one, but they were just about too. I had to leave after 30 mins of being inside the church, the intensity of it and the smoke filled room had made me feel quite light headed. Luckily, the fresh air outside brought me round again, but it was the strangest thing i had ever seen!
After San cristobel, we had another windy journey through the mountains to Palenque. It was a nice town, more commerical. But we were there to see the ancient ruins of Palenque. We went straight there and straight away noticed the diference in heat. It was so unbearably hot and humid. We were shown around by Salvador who showed us the hala monkeys. We saw a baby one, but our presence had obviously threatened the mother who decided to urinate all over us from the jungle above! Well, we were warned! The a tour around the ancient ruins in the jungle. They were pretty cool, so old and it was amzing to see the difference since they had been dug out from the jungle and that there are still many more temples to be discovered.
The next day we did a trip out to see all the waterfalls, we went round to about 3 which were all so blue and turqoiuse. We jumped straight in and swam under the waterfall. So refreshing. We stopped for an ice cream and as i unwrapped my ice cream packed, i discovered that there was 3 large bites already taken out from the top! It was so funny. The man at the factory must have been hungry. So i swapped it for a new one!
Next stop was Merida. The 8hrs bus journey to get there was quite tiresome and took a whole day to get there. But when we did finally arrive it was nice, to chill out. The humidity was still pretty unbearable at night. I was sharing with two aussie girls who, told me that they were in disbelief when they woke up at night, unable to sleep from the heat to find me fast asleep with a blanket over me! I must have been tired!
Well, i didnt have much time the next day to explore the place as we did a trip from Merida to the cenotes. Its the local water. They dont have lakes or rivers, just underwater pools. They are so beautiful and blue. We got taken by little horses out to the Cenotes, while sitting on carts and them carrying us along the rail tracks. It was so hot, so i felt sorry for the horse and fed him apples and banana. We jumped in and out of about 3 different cenotes and stopped for lunch, giving the horse driver some lunch too. It was such a great day, i had so much fun. It felt we were in Indiana Jones going from site to site. Then hoping out of the horse cart to a cart where a little boy cycled for 3km up and down hills into town. We were in the fastest cart so i rewarded him by buying a pepsi for him!
The next day we left for Chichen Itza. It was amazing, so hot in the sun glaring down on us. But such an enormous site. We had a gude around the ruins for about 2 hours and i got through about 3/4 litres of water. I was so relieved to get back on the bus with the air cn. It was another 5hrs journey until we arrived at Playa de Carmen, our final destination on our tour and where we said goodbye to the group.
We went for our last group meal at a cave whcih turned into a bar which was amazing! So unique and then went to the beach for free drinks at this bar and watched fire dancing!
Im now in Tulum with my new group. I dont like them as much as the last lot, but oh well, not long now till i get home. Funnily enough, its all the english people in the group that i dont like! Maybe ive become a lot more laid back and fit in with the aussie chilled out lifestyle than the whinging pommes!
Im staying on this really nice beach with little huts and hammocks so i might go and have lunch and catch some more rays. Im feeling ready to come home and face the real world now, but, i have a few weeks of adventure yet! Ive been reading classic english books, as they seem exotic now. Im on Jane Eyre now, but have been reading some Jane Austen too. I love it! But im so ready for english stuff, tele, tea and toast!
Well, off to Belize tomorrow, the boarder crossing is supposed to be quite eventfull so we will see! I will write soon to give an update of life in Central America!
Until then, Adios Amigo!