Published: February 25th 2007November 7th 2005
For the last two weeks the three of us have been on the road hading east across Mexico. The first couple of stops were Oaxaca and San Cristobal. In Oaxaca we visited the Santo Domingo cathedral which was beautiful inside. All of the walls and ceilings had been ornately carved and decorated and it was quite a sight.
Next stop was Palenque - where we really started to appreciate the best of Mexican culture. Yes, apparently there were some ancient jungle shrouded ruins located there which we visited and found very spectacular, but the cultural highlight I'm talking about is the visit to the Misol-Ha waterfall - setting for the closing scenes of the Arnie classic Predator!! Having come so far we couldn't leave without payng homage to the great acting of the Austrian Oak - so we duly stripped down, plastered ourselves in mud (I say plastered but as you'll see from the pics I didn't do the best of jobs!) and adopted our crucifix poses a-la the great man! A little more prior planning may have seen us procure a laser pen and a small stuffed rodent to round off the scene but you can't have everything!
Those legs really catch in the teeth!!
The next town was Merida, and here - as with so many places our Spanish was called into question. This time we had rocked up at a hostel whose flier promised free internet access. The hostel owner - who was the Mexican yoda and a bit of a legend - tried to explain that it wasn't working by pointing to his machine and uttering some very fast, very unintelligible Spanish. Although we didn´t understand a word, the general state of the computer - circa 1985 model with holes in the front of it were important components were surely meant to be housed - we got the message. However Yoda took the blank expressions on our faces that were created by the 11 hour overnight bus journey to be blank looks of incomprehension. Thus, ever eager to help, he rummaged around in a drawer and came up with a circuit board that he preceded to bang against the computer in order to prove that the internet was in fact broken - top work.
We've had a lot of fun playing menu roulette when trying to pick meals, and some very bizarre conversations with the locals, who have been friendly and
The reason most normal people visit the town of Palenque - but has it featured in one of Arnie's finest films I ask you?
always eager to help. The international language of pointing has been used a lot so far on the Alger-Freitag tour.
After a few days of exploring Merida, another extremely pleasant Mexican town, we decided to hire a car and go on a little bit of a roadtrip! The beast we managed to hire was a bright red VW Beetle that was about as basic as they come. Radio - nope, temperature gauge - nope, seatbelts - nope, air vents - nope, working horn - nope, engine - just about. Basically it was four seats and a lawnmower engine loosely cobbled together. We had an absolute scream hooning about in it and maxing out on the main highways at about 75 miles an hour.
Our trip took us to see a couple of Cenotes which are large caves that are full of water, for want of a better explanation, that are very deep and ideal for swimming and jumping into. On the drive to the cenotes we were hit by a massive tropical storm and the rain came absolutely sheeting down. Not the most enjoyable experience as I was driving the Lovebug and in keeping with the rest of
Location of the closing scenes of Predator!
the car's slightly questionable mechanics the windscreen wipers could barely handle a light drizzle let along this downpour, and the headlights appeared to be two strategically paced candles! Thus we ended up crawling along the main road at about 10 miles an hour - always a pleasure!
The final stop on our road trip were the temples at Chichen Itza. It was a good way to end the road trip as they were very enjoyable - although the three of us all agree that the temples at Teotihuacan were the most spectacular. One of the highlights of the site was the ball court they have which is the largest surviving one in the end. Competitors were supposedly meant to knock a ball through impossibly small rings apparently using only their hips - and the reward for the winning team, to be ritually decapitated and given Deity status. Maybe one to watch from the stands!
Anyway, that brings me back to Mexico City which will be my home for the next four weeks or so. I'm staying with Sarah, a friend from uni, and her housemate, before flying to Rio in December to meet back up with Steve and
Arnie eat your heart out!!
My homage to the Austrian Oak
Chris and continue my travelling around South America.
There are more photos below