Updated: Jan 4, 2021
We have been looking at border conditions to determine when we should head back to the states. We have also enlisted Sybren to help with any news he might hear about the roads we will travel to. We feel that leaving after May 18th will be the earliest. This was our last week in the Jungle in Palenque. We made it the best week minus a boa constrictor.
We had great fun at the pool every day for at least 2 hours. We have my ice cream floaty but the patch isn’t holding air for very long now. It will stay back with Inga and Torben…. The last campers left. They are waiting to travel south and many countries in South America will not be opening their borders until possibly September. Larry plays on his modified surfboard/custom boogie board and has acquired some mad skills! I have to brag….I’m very impressed. Torben likes to surf the pool as well and we almost talked Inga into trying it too. Pool time is one of the best times of the day. We generally meet around 3ish and play and socialize till 5 ish. We still enjoy playing with the volleyball and foamy softball. Balls are fun, especially in the pool! We had some badminton fun at our campsite plus some more softball conditioning. LOL Torben was an excellent hitter.
We have spent a lot of time trying to find a vet for your adopted cat Gypsy. We need to get her a rabies shot and proof of good health to cross the border. For 3 days in a row, we drove around Palenque and the outskirts of town, looking for a vet. Some are closed because of the virus but others seemed to have gone out of business or disappeared. At this point, we will travel and hope they don’t ask when we cross. We did find a nice pet store and got her a carrier. I think that it will be better as I know we will have the airstream searched carefully.
One evening we had a bonfire or maybe a campfire (because of the size) and enjoyed some beer that we found…..There is a dry law right now but we were able to find a workaround. Torben was surprised when we shared a few with him. The fire helped keep the mosquitoes off for a while but at a point, we had to call it and go inside. If you don’t have ants crawling on you, you have the mosquitoes biting. It’s a very buggy place at night. There is also the flip side. We get creatures that only come out at night, like geckos, moths, scorpions, toads, and some water lilies. Plus when you go out after dark it makes everything a little scarier!
We had a game night this week. Inga invited us to play ‘Sorry’ on a miniature magnetic board...about 3 inches square. We received a fabulous tour of their ‘home’. A custom Toyota Landcruiser. It’s very nice and extremely cozy. They are able to go off-road and camp just about wherever they want. The game was fun but the conversation was the highlight of our evening. Probably because I lost!! Lol
One of the best activities this week was Motorcycle Day!!! We borrowed (rented) an Italika 125 from David, one of the maintenance workers for Maya Bell Resort. Sybren helped arrange this for us. Sybren speaks a lot of different languages. He’s Dutch, plus speaks German, English, Spanish and also some french. He negotiated the amount of time and the price. We were very fortunate that David was willing to loan it to us. This motorcycle is his livelihood. He needs it to get around plus he does the grocery runs to the store each day for food for the kitchen. His wages are only about $250 a month. When Sybren brought him over to negotiate a price and help to interpret. This is what it looked like: David asked how long in Spanish to Sybren. Sybren translated into English for me and Larry. Larry looked at me. Half-day. Then it would go back the other direction to David. How much? Again around we go….We finally gave David twice what he asked for. His huge smile and his heartfelt “Gracias” spoke volumes.
Where did we drive that super cool powerful beefy motorbike with the milk crate bungee-corded on the end of the seat? Everywhere and then some!! We must have brought some attention. Two blondes on a bike! We did bring registration with us for the bike in case we were stopped. We had no helmets or license but here we go!! We drove down our street Carr. Palenque-Ruinas. We waved at all the folks that we pass every morning when we walk, jog or bike. We waved at the guards that have been positioned at the Parque Zona Arqueológica Palenque since we arrived here on March 20. We waved at the bus stop man and the young boy we see walking multiple dogs. We stopped at the small Palenque sign and drove into the town center. We parked and walked around one last time. We went to our fruit and vegetable stand and to cruise to the Palenque International Airport. They had security but we were waved all the way in. We parked and I walked around to take a picture of the 2 small jets. Nothing was going on at all. One guard came up to me and told me “no Fotos”. She made me delete them…...very interesting! We left for more exciting areas.
We thought we would make another attempt to get past the guards at the ruins. We’ve been turned away many times at the road that leads to the ruins. Once walking, another time on bikes, and lastly, we tried going off the road through the creek. The guards came and got us after letting us walk around in circles for 30 minutes. We also tried a secret path behind Maya Bell that hasn’t been used since the ’70s…...well, the jungle gobbled up that path a long time ago. There is a dirt road that Torben told us about. He said it goes around the guards and dumps you out closer to the ruins. We thought we’d try the bike on the dirt road. Well, that was slow going with lots of potholes and loose gravel. We traveled this way for 25 minutes, stopping at a tiny town for a cold beverage. We decided that this road would never end….or take way too long so we turned around.
We stopped at the Maya Jungle restaurant on the way back. I talked to the owner about arranging for some meals for the bus stop man as we were leaving in a few days. For $2700 Pesos or $ 123 US dollars, we were able to buy one meal a day for the bus stop man for a whole month!! That seems like a phenomenal price to improve the quality of this man’s life. We also dropped off some clothes as we drove out of town on our last day.
I jogged a few days this week building up my miles. I really wanted to do 10 miles before we left. It was part of my 30-day challenges. I did 3 miles Wednesday then 5 miles on Friday. I figured I would rest for 2 days and then go for it!! I would attempt 10 miles on Monday. I would run as long as I could and then if necessary walk. I could run/walk or just walk. I had a plan for success. I went to bed early after Larry’s awesome pasta dinner. I woke up earlier than usual, 5:30 am. I wanted to be on the road by 6:30 am. There is very little traffic down the road. Just locals and the collectivo (bus) drivers. I run on the road until the bike path’s quality improves by the park gates. My course was out and back for 5 miles. There is only one hill I have to run...but it’s a good one. Larry was bringing my water and a small snack (cereal bar). He would stop along the way to support me. What a guy!! The first 5 miles went well. I made a pit stop at Maya Bell to use the restroom and eat my snack. I went back to the road for the remaining 5 miles. I was going slow and steady and I was feeling good. I started to think…...3.1 more miles and it could be a half marathon….only 3.1!! I hadn’t even finished my 7.5 and I was planning on continuing past 10 for the gold! Needless to say, I entertained that thought until I completed the 13.1 miles. There never was any doubt that I would do it. I made up the Palenque Half Marathon while jogging it. I came to First Place too!! Larry even made a finish line out of sticks for me. Apparently, he had a hard time finding rope (vine) in the jungle. Lol
I didn’t want to have any alcohol the night before we drove. We decided to have a last night get together 2 days out. Larry was able to get some tequila. He was the bartender and made us some amazing margaritas. They were so good, he had to remind me that I should stop at 3…..there was a lot of booze in them. Sybren has drunk up the restaurant’s beer supply in the past 2 months. He normally has 6 a night. He’s been out of beer a week now. On this night of celebration and saying goodbyes, etc. we gifted Sybren 6, Tacate Ambers, in the bottle.
The last night, Torben and Inga treated us to pizza. We ate our last meal together in the air conditioning of our Home (Airstream). Inga usually sleeps until 9 am but everyone was up by 7 am to say goodbye. I gave my handmade photo thank you cards to all the workers that were at Maya Bell during the 2 months we stayed. I enclosed a tip and wrote a small thank you note inside. I gave the owners a card earlier in our stay and received a nice bottle of merlot from Argentina. I wanted everyone to know how much I appreciated them and how wonderful they made our experience. I feel like I have another home here in Palenque!