|Yesterday we drove out to the Palenque Ruins. At the Nacional Parque entrance we picked up a guide. As it was raining he chose only to show us the main plaza. The rain was warm.
First standing together were 3 pyramids with the palace at right angles.
The first pyramid was built around 300 A.D and is the oldest. The 'comb' has partially fallen.
The 2nd pyramid has a thatched roof covering an open staircase. This pyramid was dedicated to the Red Queen. Her sacophagus is still inside high up on the 3rd level inside a room. She was buried with all her treasures....jewellery, clothing, etc. Only the sarcophagus remains. The treasures are in the museo at San Cristobal. The skeleton was red, the color the inside of the sarcophagus had been painted...mercury paint. The skeleton was taken to Mexico City for testing.
The 3rd pyramid is the highest. From the top floor there is a tunnel down through to the bottom. In a small room a 3rd sarcophagus weighing 600 lbs was found. At the initial time of discovery it too was filled with jewels. Pacal wore a jade mask. All is in the Museo of Archeologie in Mexico City.
Only the sarcophagus remains due to its weight.
Next we climbed up through the palace to the platform around the top. We climbed through rooms with Mayan arch roofs. Many etchings proved that it had been intricately decorated. We saw where the king prayed to the Corn God for 9 days. During that time he drank only posole...a corn drink.
Once at the top we looked out over the main plaza. We saw where the Catholic priests had removed family portraits that had been stuccoed on the buildings eroneously thinking they were gods...this was a residence.
One they removed was of the 12 year old Pacal being crowned by his mother. It is dated and signed. Pacal lived 80 years....saw his pyramid completed.
We saw cornerstones that had fallen, quadrangles down below. Some with steps, one with friezes carved in a wall. They are complete. We saw the royal bathroom with its 3 toilet seats aligned but in separate rooms. They have a connecting sewer. A spring bubbles up into the sauna...yes sauna and then clears the sewer so all stays fresh. One thing interesting is that Mayan women give birth in the saunas. Yes saunas are also used for cleansing. Rocks are placed in the corner, covered with herbs and insense...mainly copal...The hot water bubbles up and ....
From here we went to look at the aquaduct. It was once all covered but now parts are exposed.
The Maya grew maize...corn....in the valley below. They cleared the jungle. They overused the soil and left around 900 AD.
We left here after descending, going back the way we had come past the giant Mayan complete with headdress to Escarcega where we turned south to go to Chetumil and on to Tulum. We spent the night at the Chicanna Eco Village Resort just east of Xpujil.
This a.m. we crossed the road to Chicanna Ruins. Here there are 6 structures that nature is slowly destroying. Some have intact inscriptions. The 2nd building has the most complete. It is of a giant snake with mouth open, its teeth showing. The building had 8 rooms, 3 in front and 5 behind. Buildings 5 and 6 have collapsed tops and only 2 inscriptions left by open doors.
It is thought it was a 'trading post' as artifacts from as far away as Copan, Honduras and Guatemala were found in the ruins. It is thought to have been occupied between 300 BC and 900 AD.
After we explored...all by ourselves....we drove rte 186 to rte 307 and went north to Tulum. We are now in the Addy Hotel. We have a room off the courtyard. It is basic, clean and has hot water.
For the most part roads have been good....wide, all paved. There has been some rough road particularly in Chiapis were most road construction is.
People have been friendly, helpful and honest. Occasionally we have noted " how much can you afford" prices but rarely. Food is generally interesting and delicious.....especially the 4" corn and flour tortillas piled high with condiments. We've had comfort food when we needed it. And taken rest days as required.
All too soon, we'll be home.