Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Day 48 (245km): Sneak attack topes

I awoke to the sound of a breathing dragon.... or so I thought. Apparently it was howler monkeys. Oh boy what a noise. We took a combi to the ruins since it was a fair hike and that would have probably crippled Alberto. It was only 10 pesos each. The other advantage of not driving the bikes was wearing shorts cause it was wickedly humid. 
This guy was chilling on the bathroom mirror

We had the most bizarre experience trying to enter the ruins. The lady told us we had to pay 300 CAD. Why? Because they accused Alberto of being a professional photographer. Why? I had a gorillapod in my backpack (what is a gorillapod?). Apparently you qualify as a professional photographer if you have a tripod. What kind of professional photographer uses a gorillapod!?! Anyways, we gave it to them for safe keeping and went in as tourists, sans gorillapod. So no pictures with the two of us in them.
The ruins were nice, but my goodness we were sweating so we only stayed for a few hours. The jungle setting was pretty. The ruins didn't blow my mind though. From an engineering standpoint I feel that the Incas were much more sophisticated. 
Alberto enjoying Palenque
Taking a moment to soak it all in

From Palenque we backtracked slightly and got on the Frontera route (also Ruta Maya) back south. It was actually really nice: good fast pavement, not that much traffic. The only issue was the sneak attack topes. In the middle of the highway you're cruising along and then suddenly there is a tope. There is no sign and it's not painted... it's just there. And when topes aren't pulling a sneak attack there were guys herding cattle down the highway. We had to stop dead and let the cows go around us. The experience was quite intense, luckily Alberto took a video so for full details see the video. For those wondering whether they should take this route, do it. There are also lots of tourist sites to see along the way. Our destination for the day though was Las Guacamayas so we didn't stop to see anything else. Leaving the main HWY to go to Las Guacamayas was a truly adventurous experience. It was paved but with some pretty hardcore sections. We definitely stayed on our guard and were travelling pretty slowly. Thankfully it was only 40km.

The interesting road conditions
You never know when half the road is going to be missing

We arrived at Las Guacamayas safe and sound and feeling a little bit more like adventure travellers. The eco-tourist site is very nice. If you're feeling flush the cabanas look amazing. We weren't of course so we set up camp in the camping area. The bathrooms were the best bathrooms we had camping in Mexico, and would rival most bathrooms at campgrounds in Canada or the US. There was also a wildlife component: I saw some parrots and monkeys. 
Camping at Las Guacamayas
My favourite Mexican food


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