The Urban Wanderer

Crossing Borders ~ Bridging Cultures ~ Traveling Responsibly

Jungle Fever

This post was originally from February 13, 2023

On Sunday we caught a local bus that took us 10 hours through the countryside to the jungles of Palenque. 

Palenque is situated in the state of Chiapas and is one of the least visited parts of the country. Although Chiapas is also known to have the highest poverty rate among all Mexican states, this area is absolutely stunning. It’s a lush and tropical paradise that is the base to visit the Palenque Mayan ruins. 

The Palenque Mayan city was inhabited from 226 BC to 799 AD, but the city was on the top of its power in the 7th century. What makes this Mayan city so unique is that much of it is still covered by the jungle. It is said that only 3% of the city has been excavated.  I can only imagine the history that is left to be discovered, as what they have found so far are tombs of kings adorned with jade as well as scripts of hieroglyphics. We also learned that the Mayans of higher class would modify their features by training the body from a young age. First they would hang a piece of jade between the baby’s eyes so that it would train the eyes to be crossed. As well, they would tie a board around babies skulls to reshape the head, making the skull be cone-shaped. Skulls found in excavations have these very unique features. It is interesting to look at different cultures over centuries (including what what humans do presently) and see what humanity percieves as beauty. Why can’t we just be satisfied with what we are born with right?

Later today we drove about an hour from Pelenque to the Cascada Roberto Barrios Waterfalls. The only time I’ve seen waterfalls that were similar to these was in Laos, but without a doubt these are bigger and probably more beautiful. There were so many cascading falls that led from one to the next. Surrounded by the gorgeous jungle we were able to explore the surrounding area and even take a dip. I felt like a real life Dora the Explorer!! Liza and I opted out of swimming as it was close to sunset and we didn’t feel like sitting in a wet bathing suit for the hour drive back home. The falls were absolutely breathtaking and there were no other people other than our group in sight. I truly feel like this is nature at its finest! 

Do you know what is not nature at its finest? The restrictions on toilet paper usage. I guess usage isn’t the right word as technically you can use as much as you want, but what you’re not allowed to do is flush it down the toilet. It goes against all instincts every time I use the loo. 

On that note I’ll bud adieu for now… or maybe I should say adios. Tomorrow is another pretty long travel day as we head further south and our last stop in Mexico before crossing the border.

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