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February 2014
Posted by: HoboSylvain | 2014-03-01 21:28:55 | Merida, Yucatan, Mexico
Keywords: summary
If you're a regular reader you probably noticed I didn't write much last month. Mostly because I've sick or injured all the month. I love to write, but inspiration comes much more easily when I'm pain free. I'm not a tortured writer. My discomfort however happened in a 'good' time frame for my trip in the way I didn't have that many UNESCO places to visit last month... so I could rest without changing my schedule too much. I did manage to see great locations.

I began the month with a cold that didn't want to go away... I dragged it for over two weeks, from San Cristobal de las Casas to Palenque. No matter what I tried, I couldn't shake it off. Of course, the fact I was in altitude with the cold nights and the cold showers didn't help, but that's part of the Mexican experience when you're on a budget. Once in Palenque, I finally managed to get rid of it... only to slip out of the shower, fall on a step and at least crack a rib. I didn't seek medical attention because I knew if I had no other complications (lungs or kidney), there's no need to. The only thing to do is to take pain killers (Ibuprofen works best), stay put and wait. The first week was the worst, because of all the muscular pain... and I was eating Ibuprofen capsules like candy. But once that phase was done, it was much better. I still feel the pain but it's at a much lower level now.

Because of my cold, I didn't explore as much as I wanted in the two cities I stopped at in Chiapas, but as you can read in my Southern Chiapas article, one of those stops was very interesting.

I fell the day I was supposed to visit the Palenque ruins. I then changed my plans to give myself a few days rest, after all I still had 4 days in the city. But on Sunday, I decided to go visit the site. Sunday is the worst possible day to visit an archaeological site in Mexico. First because obviously it's packed with tourists (there were 5 buses of them while I was there). Second because it's the day the Mexicans visit those sites (since it's free for them on that day). But on many sites there are things closed on Mondays (in the case of Palenque it was only the museum, in other cases it's the whole site that is closed). Since I was leaving on Tuesday for the next stop and I couldn't change my reservation for that location, I had no other choice but to go on Sunday.

I can't say I enjoyed the visit very much. Of course, it was because I was in pain an doped by the pain killers but also because it was extremely hot and humid (the Palenque site is in the jungle). The loads of tourists didn't help either. But also the site isn't that spectacular (my experience could have been better if I had been in shape to climb on the pyramids and other structures) and relatively small compared to many others I had already visited. But there are many interesting facts about this Mayan outpost, as you can read in my article about Palenque.

I then took a first-class bus to reach Campeche. This was a very special stop for me... because I had something waiting for me there: a pair of shoes. I have very large feet (US/Canada size 14) and despite many research in one of the largest city of the world (Mexico City, 22 million people), I could not find shoes! You can read more about more about this most expensive pair of shoes of mine here. But I also encountered the very magnificent historic fortified town of Campeche that pleased my eyes and my camera.

I took a second-class bus to reach Mérida, because I wanted to save but also because I knew my cracked rib was better... and wouldn't mind a few extra bumps. The ride was smooth and very enjoyable in fact. From Mérida, I concluded the month by visiting the impressive city of Uxmal, considered one of the most important Mayan cities.

Overall, it was still an interesting month. Of course, I would have preferred to experience it without the cold and the pain... but that's life. When you're always on the road, things like that happen. If I had been in Montreal, I probably would have caught the flu. Between a flu in Montreal and a cold in Mexico... I happily choose the latter. :-)

Magician pyramid in Uxmal.

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