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Journal - 16-Mar-2001, Friday, Comalcalco, Tabasco, Mexico
(Trip: Ruta Maya, Southeast Mexico)

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Click for larger image! Corridors into the past. Keywords: backpack,Mexico,travel,overland,camping,camp,bus,autobus,tabasco,shell,brick,pyramid,anthropology,olmec,olmecan,maya,olmec-maya,olmeca-maya,comalcalco
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Click for larger image! Overlooking the pastel jungle. Keywords: backpack,Mexico,travel,overland,camping,camp,bus,autobus,tabasco,shell,brick,pyramid,anthropology,olmec,olmecan,maya,olmec-maya,olmeca-maya,comalcalco
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Corridors into the past
Overlooking the pastel jungle
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Awaking, tired, at 8 am, we realize that it's too late to make a morning trip to Comalcalco. Ah well, I guess we needed the rest. It's important not to over-exert ourselves if we're to stay healthy and enjoy the trip.

After a leisurely breakfast, etc., we wind up at the bus station at 12:00. The idea is to visit Comalcalco today and then travel south to a 1000 hectare eco-tourism park called Agua Selva ('Water Jungle'). Apparently camping is available at the park.

Camping. Right now my thoughts have turned to dumping our camping gear in a bid to save weight. Lumping three heavy backpacks around is becoming less and less fun! The heat and humidity make all the difference. I don't like to think how much fluid my body is losing every hour - it feels like liters!

Arriving at Comalcalco bus terminal, I go off in search of a hotel. We've no special desire to stay here but the idea of walking around with our bags is equally unappealing! The hotel across the road is $10 and the room looks fine to me - tidy with a re-assuring whiff of chlorine.

When Monica sees the room, it's hate at first sight. She says it's obviously a prostitutes' hotel and makes a face like she'd rather sleep in the street. Okay, so the christmas tree lights around the bed are a bit weird but overall it still seems acceptable to me.

A short taxi ride takes us to the ruins. There is a relatively large pyramid (built from bricks - very unusual) with a number of interesting buildings surrounding it. This is first Mayan site I've been too. There is a rush of excitement as I walk down a corridor in the highest building, overlooking the jungle on all sides. Suddenly it's like I've traveled back in time and caught a glimpse of the vibrant ancient civilization. Must remember to drink more liquids.

While walking we are accompanied by a squadron of dragonflies. One is accustomed to think of dragonflies as beautiful, benign, flying works of art. When one is amongst hundreds of them, dotting the sky like small birds, one isn't so sure! Fortunately steamed human doesn't seem to be on the menu today.

The park is closing as we leave. We start to walk back in the direction of town. We'd like to see one of the cacao (principal ingredient in chocolate) farms that this area is famous for. The best we manage is a house selling homemade, traditional, chocolate. We buy a bar of almond flavor. It tastes quite different to the European chocolate most of us are used to.

A passing bus takes us back to town where we wander around for a few hours. Anything to avoid going back to the hotel says Monica. By asking around (detailed tourist information seems to be non-existent) we find a Cacao farm that is apparently open to the public. The only indication of this, at the entrance, is an old, half hidden, sign that says 'Wolter Chocolate'. We plan to return in the morning.

The heat and humidity continue to pound us long after the sun has set. I feel like I'm walking around with an open tap under my hat! The city is full of ice cream sellers, peddling their wares (literally!) on tricycle mounted coldboxes. The power of the market - services arise to meet needs. It's difficult to imagine central planning anticipating the increased need for ice cream in Comalcalco!

Back at the hotel, Monica seems to relent a little in her feelings towards the room. A terrible band plays loudly nearby - what have we done to deserve this! I'm tempted to head into the jungle tomorrow to get away from 'civilization' for a while. Monica is tempted by a nearby beach.

Concerned about bites, we hitch up the mosquito net for the first time ever. It fits the bed surprisingly well. To combat the heat, I wet a small towel and lay it over my torso. It has the opposite effect of a warm blanket. Perfect.

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Cuba - Rotorua, New Zealand - Christ Church, Dublin - Monument Valley, Arizona - Monte Albán, Oaxaca, Mexico - Staffa, Scotland - Huamantla, Tlaxcala, Mexico - Costa Rica - Tule Tree, Oaxaca, Mexico - Fiesta, Mexico City - Making Lacquer, Olinalá, Mexico - Talavera Ceramics, Puebla, Mexico - Mata Ortiz Pottery, Mexico - Lebanon
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