Yaxchilán (Day 1 in the Jungle)

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February 18th 2011
Published: June 29th 2011
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Heading to the boats (obviously). :P
Today is the first day here in the Lacandon Jungle, and first day that I've ever been to Mayan ruins. The one we went to today, as you can see, is the Yaxchilán ruins which are accessed by boat through the Usamacinta river which is situated between Mexico and Guatemala. The boats are long and skinny and have a cover so that we won't get sunburned along the way.

The ride to the ruins was relatively uneventful, though it was mildly exciting to be between two countries. I didn't keep track of how long it took but it was quite a long ride, even with a motor.

On arrival, we had to sign in and everything at the front desk, and then our coordinator told us to pair up with whoever and decide for ourselves which route we wanted to take to visit the scattered ruins. Don't quite remember which routes we could take, only that the few that I was with decided to start with an uphill hike. It was rather strenuous considering how sharp of an incline the stairs were on, and the hike seemed to go on forever just to reach the first ruin. After getting to the first one, I just took a picture from the base and floated around the ruins until my group came back down.

By the third ruin, I was pretty hungry (note that at this point I still haven't eaten one full course meal), and probably dehydrated (I would have brought a drink if I knew where was a safe place to relieve myself. After all these warnings from K and G, I was afraid to touch anything and mildly freaked out when I did get touched by a branch or something). The sun was high and very hot, scorching me even though I was wearing a hat and everything. Meltdown alert! I pretty much went to pieces at this point and one of my classmates offered me some peanuts she happened to be carrying around, and another some cookies.

Unfortunately for me, at this particular ruin that I broke down in front of, there was only one way around it and that was to climb up and over. -sigh- I forced myself over.

Ultimately I made it from point A to point Z, and by the time we reached the

Hey, I see Guatemala :D
end I just wanted to lie down somewhere and not budge for the next few hours. Met up with some of the other classmates who had arrived to the end area of the whole park in front of one of the smaller ruins. I enjoyed watching another group consisting of the more adventurous people (K, G, etc) going UP from this end of the park. I couldn't help but be thankful that we didn't go up from the 'end' part as it was a nice long string of stairs going up that aren't the easiest to navigate (I heard that a few people die each year because of the stairs. EEK!).

I forced myself to follow some of the remaining group to the front entrance (I really didn't even want to walk that 100 feet or so) where we had to wait around for about an hr (because we finished the place in a short period of time so we had a lot of time to kill) for the hardy group to come back (they came back dripping with sweat. Ewww...). Apparently they saw some howler monkeys on their second round about (some of our overall group had heard some the night before, loud and clear), which I'm jealous about, and some said they didn't realize how big those monkeys really are.

The boat ride home was worse than the ride to the ruins, as by this point I just wanted to sleep but couldn't because my life jacket was all puffy and there wasn't really any room on the bench to sleep out on. On the other boat, they saw a crocodile above water for a few seconds and someone had to scream (popularly believed to be the cause of the crocodile to high-tail it into the water). So... who said that there couldn't possibly be crocodiles in this river? Sheesh... I've been sticking my hand into the spray of the water on the way to the ruins ;o

After getting back to base I headed straight to bed. It's so hooot and muggy. I'm going to die in this place...


P.S: For dinner we had a bowl of noodles with some kind of spaghetti-ish sauce (really light version) and I couldn't eat about half of it. Oddly enough, I wasn't the only one who wasn't hungry so our 'garbage disposal' was overwhelmed. I can tell the waitress was not impressed (hey, at least -I- had a good reason. After having eaten so little from being sick, I didn't have as big of an appetite as I usually would have. Not sure what the others' excuses were o😉. Secondly, it was kind of oily.

P.S.S: Excercising before visiting ruins is a good idea. A very good idea...

Additional photos below
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See all those stairs? Why I was glad I didn't have to go up from this spot :P

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