I left the last entry on kind of a low note. It has been on my mind that I need to update that. I am finally doing that.
When we arrived in Palenque I immediately felt the vibe of the town. The place we stayed at first glance kind of put me off, but after a short time there it grew on me. Mostly because of the roof area that had a couple of hammocks a table and some relaxing chairs. We monopolized that area for the time we were there. We used it as a living room. Everything was within walking distance there and the city just put me at ease. I started to feel so much better about things. We took advantage of the street vendors and the little shops all around. The kids loved going to the bread store for breakfast. There was a lady that ran a little restaurant on the main street in town. Everything was made fresh. We ordered breakfast there and after she took our order she left to go a few doors down to grab some ingredients for our meal. We ate there twice in one day. There was a very lively church right across the street that we danced on the roof to well past the kid’s bedtime, but they weren’t going to sleep anyway with the volume of the “hymns” coming our way. We had visited the ruins of Comalcalco earlier, but the ruins of Palenque were amazing. There are just so many ruins there. The site is enormous. Palenque was by far my favorite city we stayed in Mexico.
The road from Palenque to San Cristobal de Las Casas was brutal. It was a windy mountain road the entire way. With 1268 speed bumps. I may have made that number up, but I can’t be too far off. The most interesting part of that drive though was where we pulled into a town and the car in front of us stops as do we. The reason is there are boards across the road with nails sticking out of them. There are a lot of men milling about with machetes some of them masked with bandannas. I had read on Facebook in a group about travel in Mexico that eluded to something like this but provided no details. I immediately knew this must be what they spoke of. We waited, and waited to wonder what was going to happen. Traffic was backed up a great distance in both directions. Finally, some shouted something and everyone started moving. They approached the first car with a can and I could see the driver hand over some money. They shouted to the guys manning the board with nails. It was moved out of the way and car proceeded. We were next. I rolled down my window and they said they needed 50 pesos. I played dumb and said I didn’t speak Spanish (which isn’t far from the truth) I asked “porque”? They answered and said it was because of a problem. I said “una problema conmigo” (a problem with me?) They said no but they needed 50 pesos. I said something else like if you don’t have a problem with me then why do I need to pay. They just kept saying 50 pesos. I pulled out 20 pesos and kept reaching in my pocket but pulling out 500 peso bills. I would shove them under my butt each time. I didn’t want them to see them. Finally, after I kept playing dumb they just said “pasa pasa” and let me go without paying them anything. While they had machetes they were sheathed and slung on their backs. None were wielded threateningly. I was nervous at first when we were waiting, but I was never scared. Even if they got my 50 pesos, that’s about $2.50 USD so I wouldn’t have been out much. I was glad when we pulled into San Cristobal de Las Casas.