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North America » Mexico » Chiapas » Palenque
June 11th 2006
Published: July 13th 2006
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PalenquePalenquePalenque

Palacio at sunrise. You better appreciate this picture since I had no "special permit" to take it...
The best possibility for some pictures in gentle light are in the early moring hours. With the pleasing coolness of the night still present the ruins of Palenque would be more enjoyable than in the hot sun of noon. Thinking that I was at the entrance of the archeological site at six in the morning just to find out that some stupid regulation says you need a "special permit" to enter at this early time and the regular opening time is at eight o'clock.
Not for you, my friend, I thought and vanished into the bushes... after about half an hour of tough orientation training in a half-dark jungle I found the first traces of the ancient maya site. Some trimmed white stones under the leaves on the ground were the first sign that I was on the right way. When I saw the corner of a temple in the first glimpse of sunrise through the thicket I felt like a real explorer. I had found the maya ruins! (Naturally, they are not fenced in but rather guarded by the jungle from the back side.)
Sneaking in to see the sunrise over the Palacio is one thing, another is not run
Toad in the JungleToad in the JungleToad in the Jungle

During my small "detour" though the jungle I came across this fat toad.
into the guards that patrol the site already in that early hour. Here, I almost failed. When I came around the corner of a temple terrace that I had climbed from the jungle-shielded back side I looked down at a grimm guy in uniform. Not a problem if he had not also looked up to me! The guard shouting after me I jumped back into the jungle and back the way I had come. At one place I had to come close to the edge of the jungle again, in a steep little valley a river was flowing and the place to wade the water was rather unhidden. Of course did the guard track me down here once more and set me running again!
After all the way back through the jungle, hardly escaping the guard and hardly avoiding the snakes in the green I came back to the main entrance. Covered with sweat and dirt it was exactly the rigth time to buy a regular entrance ticket and to enjoy the rest of the morning between maya temples beautifully build along a small river cascading down the hill side.


Additional photos below
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Sneaking AroundSneaking Around
Sneaking Around

That was just before I encountered the guard. He's coming down there along the path.
Grave of King PacalGrave of King Pacal
Grave of King Pacal

In this one a hidden chamber was found, the grave of King Pacal.
The Grave PyramidThe Grave Pyramid
The Grave Pyramid

Today it's closed unfortunately. The sarcophagus an the burial objects have been removed to the antropologie museum in Mexico City.
CascadesCascades
Cascades

One thing that make Palenque a real enjoyable place is that it is located around a small river running down from the green jungle hills.


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