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Monkey as funky as ever popped

Nae, Matt (whom readers will know from the second Italian adventures) and I flew to cursed Villahermosa to avoid a 13 hour bus trip, and leaving as soon as possible headed to modern Palenque, donned citronella patches, bathed in DEET, chewed down bitter anti-malarials, and headed to the archaeological site.

One is told from Day Number 1 of residency in Mexico that Palenque is one of the most important archeological sites in Mexico. This is largely because the Mayans here built the site not as a city, but as a necropolis, and so many lavish tombs, complete with hermitically-sealed mercury vapour clouds, have been built into the area. These are often built into the pyramids, at the end of tunnels, making them distinct from the pyramids of other Mesoamerican cultures, who built in layers, but solid. Many rivers were also diverted to run under the one domicile, the palace, into which toilets, visibly corroded by royal uric acid, dropped. Sadly though, while of archaeological value above that of many other cities, it is less impressive a city to walk amongst than many others.

However, as I grow older and more cranky, I'm more wont to be lazy and do things the easy way, dropping the independent traveller shtick. This manifested in Palanque as the hiring of a guide, which made for a richer experience than the stubborn backpacker would get, as he took us into the jungle amongst the unexcavated tombs (along a well beater track, it is true). Inside, we saw wild howler monkeys, thus completing one of Naomi's quests, dearly held for many months. For you see, in the imagination of Naomi, the power of Monkey was irrepressibur! We did not stand too close underneath, as apparently they tend to take a leak on the overly-curious human. We swung on vines strong enough to hold our weight (action shots ensued) and we also saw in the jungle mahogany trees, almond trees, guava trees and balsa wood trees (and others I've forgotten because I didn't write this immediately). Balsa wood!

Considering that the Americas had the chocolate, vanilla, strawberries, mahogany, tomatoes, potatoes, tabacco, peanuts, and now I find the balsa, maybe one day our descendants will look more kindly upon our current nasty imperialist adventures aimed at getting our oil out from under “those people over there”, as it is hard not to look kindly upon our forebears who went and got our stuff from those American natives who were sitting on our furniture while eating all of our Neapolitan ice-cream, and our mixed nuts, and our bloody chips, simultaneously smoking our smokes and flying our goddamed model aeroplanes.

Ahem. Anyways, in the site itself, there is one temple which, if you look from a distance and at a certain angle, and squint, you can see on the roof a crucifix. It turns out, according to some bible thumpers, that this is proof-positive that Jesus came to the Mayans. This is despite no reference to such a figure in any documents, myths, or other buildings, and the existence of a full pantheon of other gods, apparently tolerated by 'A Jealous God'. If you look hard enough, you will see anything you want everywhere.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 6th, 2011 07:32 am (UTC)
Hermetically sealed mercury clouds? Waaah?

Did you perform the obligatory Tarzan style roar whilst swinging on jungle vines?
Jul. 10th, 2011 04:16 am (UTC)
They had red paint made with a mercury compound. It was conjectured by the guide that this was a trap for thieves, though that may or may not be so.

Looking back, I see I failed to roar appropriately.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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