Today has been a long and exhuasting day, and not for the best reasons. Having booked a trip to visit Yaxchilan today we were awake at 5am and sitting on the doorstep by 5.45. To keep my moaning to a minimum, suffice to say we were still sitting there at 7.15 when the reception finally opened. The company had no record of us having booked the trip, the bus had long since departed, they would not offer us any kind of discount and the hostel staff could do nothing to help, and didn't seem hugely bothered anyway. The good news is we're not the only ones this happened to, and the woman responsible for messing up all the bookings was fired....which really helps us a lot!
We agreed to change our plans and visit the waterfalls today, keeping the possibility of visiting the ruins tomorrow open although I wasn't relishing the thought of another 5am start.
We collapsed on the bed back in our room hoping for a quick nap, only to have a member of staff chase after us telling us the trip was about to leave now. We tumbled into the van in a daze. Our German neighbours from
the next door room were surprised to see us and asked why we weren't at Yaxchilan so we told them about the problem beofre lapsing into silence and then a brief sleep until we arrived at Misol-Ha.
The name Misol-Ha means 'streaming water' and refers to the river that forms the waterfall. The river falls off a cliff of 120 feet into a deep pool. The water at the base of the waterfall is 45 feet deep. The van left us in a small car park and we were told we had about an hour and a half to explore the area. We got a breathtaking view of the waterfall and then set off down the small winding trail, mostly sleepwalking I think. Being close to the pounding water was a pleasant relief from the heat. It was cooler beside the water and the constant spray was refreshing. We followed the trail behind the waterfall, although anything resembling a path soon petered out leaving us with a maze of rocks to pick our way over. We clambered over the rocks, and I was glad of my shorts and waterproof sandals as I frequently had to paddle through the water. Reachig
the far side we could see caves going into the rock face and small groups of people walking in. We soon discovered that a mere 10 pesos each got us the loan of a torch and a 'guide' into the caves. The caves went a short way back to a pool with a little waterfall. We fumbled around in the dark losing our footing everytime the torch beam swung away from us. We did eventually mabage to get back, take a peek at the waterfall and follow the group back out. We another group coming in and despite many friendly hands offering to help us squeeze past most of us opted for the more adventurous exit of merely hopping down into the water and wading out. The cold footbath helped me wake up a bit and it was a little more cheerfully that we retraced our route back to the van.
We drove on to the second of today's waterfalls; Agua Azul. I slept most of the way we soon arrived and were deposited in front of a small cafe. We decided to eat first while most of the rest of our group went straight to the falls. We had
a quick meal and then went in search of the falls. I was initially incredibly disapponted. We caught a glimpse of the falls but there were crowds and crowds of people around the bank and in the water. I could see the falls behind the roped off swimming area and decided to try and find a better spot to take a photo from. I was relieved when we found the proper viewing platform, although it was still busy and the weather was rather grey which didn't show the blue water to its best advantage. We followed the trail up a little way and soon discovered why everyone had recommended we visit. The waterfall consists of many cataracts following one after another and the winding trails led us up this sequence of falls; some pretty trickles, some impressive cascades, and all the way up pools of cool clear water where people were paddling or swimming. It was wonderfully relaxing to wander past the flowing water. We found the a secluded spot to sit and rest, beside a small stream of cool water and beneath a canopy of green palms glowing in the sublight. We continued our upward march and came to
another viewing platform high above the main falls which gave us a spectacular view down the river's path.
Eventually we had to admit we were on a time limit and were too tired to have to run back at the end, so we began a slow descent. We bought fresh mangoes on sticks (far better than ice cream!) and retraced our steps. We paused again at the original viewing platform and then returned to the roped off swimming area so my boyfriend could take a dip. We walked back to the car park and not seeing the rest of the group went in search o a patch of shade to sit in until it was time to go back to the hostel. The return trip was quite pleasant as this time I was awake to see the lush green hills as we drove.
The rest of the day didn't pass so well and we got to sightsee our first Mexican hospital! My boyfriend was starting to feel ill as we got back to the hostel. I dismissed it as tiredness and maybe food poisoning and promised to go to the pharmacy to get something. I stopped by reception to cancel
the Yaxchilan trip as there was no way we'll be awake at 5am again tomorrow. I walked up the road and cut across the dirt track to the supermarket. The woman in the pharmacy couldn't help me and suggested I get a doctor, which I requested back at reception as by this point my bofriend was in bed wearing a jacket and complaining he was freezing. We waited two hours for the doctor who didn't come, then by sheer good fortune found a guy who is working at the hostel as a summer job but happened to speak fluent English and offered tot ake us to the hospital and act as a translator. We got to the hospital and I was none too happy to see people sitting in the corridors and someone who appeared to have a broken leg on the floor propped against th ewall. We went through to a waiting room which may have been by the maternity unit as it had a rather surreal mural of what looked like Guadalupe surrounded by naked babies and waterfalls. We waited awhile until our friend came to tell us we might have a very long wait as there was
only one doctor in the hospital! He then offered to phone his father, who happened to be a doctor, and get him to give a diagnosis over the phone! We took this option and were given the name of the drugs to buy. We then hopped back in the taxi and popped over to the nearest pharmacy to buy the tablets. When we asked what was actualy wrong we were told 'oh it's very common, it's the dengae. Mosquitos are common here!'
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