We made it to the campsite with a few kilometers of the ruins around 6 pm, still happy from swimming in the cascades. We were pretty excited to see 2 other VWs in the camping area (adding to our theory), but 1 left after a few hours and no one seemed to be camping in the other.
We headed straight for the pool and within 15 minutes were entertained by about 10 howler monkeys climbing in the trees surrounding us. Jason and I were delighted, but Bode was more excited about the pool–it had a huge kid area and a diving board. I’ve said this before, but this kid has got some messed up priorities…I mean there were monkeys everywhere!!!
We also saw a toucan with a bright yellow beak in the trees, as well as lots of butterflies, including the bright blue morphos. It was an effortlessly amazing evening.
Bode had met 4 French girls and was trying to play volleyball with them in the pool. I say trying because every time they hit the beach ball to him, he’d hang on it and float for a while before lobbing in back. He charmed them anyway. As we were leaving, he told them one of our favorite Bode quotes of the trip.
“If you want to see me later, I’ll be in the red bus. You should come by.”
Jason and I just looked at each other and then the girls in total shock. The girls were simultaneously astonished, blushing and flattered. Did our 5 year old just invite 4 French chicks back to his bus? Smoooothly? Way to go, B! We only hope he’s not peaking too early.
Besides campsites, this place also houses backpackers in various cabanas, or you can just rent a hammock for $3. We ate a great dinner in their restaurant and were excited to see some live music there. Unfortunately, exhaustion hit Bode especially hard and we had to go back to the bus soon after it started.
Now in the jungle, it was another night of incredible heat and humidity with no hint of a breeze. We were all pretty miserable and didn’t sleep well. Along with the heat were the jungle sounds including the howler monkeys, which don’t howl – they roar like dinosaurs. Loudly. It sounded a bit like Jurassic Park.
We were up early and on our way to the Palenque ruins by 8 AM, trying to avoid the heat. It didn’t work an the heat was oppressive. In the parking lot someone offered to watch the bus again, but Jason didn’t want to pay. It’s a huge tourist destination, and we were some of the first people there with a good spot in the center of all the souvenir stalls, but I still worried about the bus a bit.
We knew we wouldn’t last long (mostly Bode) so we opted out of getting a tour as well. We just went in, read the guide book and climbed around. We walked to around the palace and climbed up the tallest temple, leading to another one of my favorite Bode quotes.
“If these guys were so good at building things, why didn’t they put in an elevator?”
We were done by 10 and headed towards Palenque town to find a supermercado (free air conditioning!) and figure out was was next. We decided to get a cheapy hotel in town with A/C and internet for about $20. It was worth it just for the A/C. Driving around in the jungle in an old VW is fun and all, but damn it’s hot.
We lounged in our tiny room con clima all afternoon and made some decisions about where to go next. In the early evening, we drove the short distance to Mismol-Ha for a quick swim. More people holding ropes across the road asking for a toll and more nice waterfalls at the end of the road. This time, it wasn’t so good for kids (deep!) so on the way home we snuck back into our old campsite and cooled off in their pool again.