Palenque jungle fever

Palenque jungle fever
Palenque, Mexico

Palenque, Mexico

Welcome to the jungle and the Palenque ruins. These ruins are scattered throughout the rainforest, perched on mountain tops with low lying clouds hugging the forest canopy. Howler monkeys can be seen playing in the treetops. There are two parts of these ruins. One part of the ruin is relatively open and easily done without a guide. It’s great. The structures have real integrity and authenticity. Plus, the setting is so Indiana Jones, I don’t even mind the tourists so much. Humidity is at 100%, clothes vary from damp to wet (sweat city) and I am incredibly happy. Vic & I sat at the top of one particularly large pyramid/ temple for a considerable amount time, people from our group came and went as we took in the ruins and watched the tourists and the world go by. To reach a different part of the ruins, we have to trek through the rainforest on an unmarked path. We get a guide for this and he points out local plants with medicinal properties and native birds. He crushes up a bunch of tiny orange berries into his palm and marks our third eye and cheeks. At this point, I’m wondering if the joke is on us and we are going to have orange stained faces for the next few days. It’s been raining, which means tiny pieces of pottery and other ruins are often exposed. The trail we’re on, leads to an ancient Mayan pool. The guide asks us to take off our shoes, stand and lean over the edge of the pool while he cups the water in his hands and pours over the back of my head. He does this three times as some kind of Myan blessing/ baptism. We only see three other people on the trail and feel extremely lucky to have experienced this. I enter a small rock crevasse, into an ancient Mayan aqua duct. The water still runs through here, it’s pitch black, but there’s now light at the end of the tunnel. Guide: “you can eat all the mushrooms, but some you can only eat once”. Me: “Why?” Guide: “Because you die”…

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