Palenque, Flores and Amapala

Palenque 

So we then moved inland to Palenque (for yet more ruins!) – the town of Palenque is, well, not the nicest but there is a tiny village 10 minutes away in the jungle, called El Panchan, which is a lot more traveler friendly. Our old friend Cerca met us there and we shared a cabana and booked ourselves on a tour of the ruins and nearby waterfalls the next day. I had planned on missing out these ruins, but as the tour included them I went along, and actually there were pretty amazing – the site was huge and spread around a jungle so we had an occasional break from the heat. We then went to see two waterfalls which were really nice and I found a perfect present for my host dad, who loves building planes 🙂 that night we also had dinner with an italian guy, a mexican guy, a french guy and another israeli… some more random conversation! 

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Flores

The next day Laura, Cerca and I set out for Guatemala… we bought a tour with the same operator as the ruins as we had heard it is two buses and a boat to get to Flores. The tour was OK, except for them failing to tell us that we had to pay a $30 fee at the Mexican border, and that we got a dodgy boat over a very illegal looking border on a river and then driving through Guatemala for almost an hour before getting to an immigration office. But oh well, we arrived eventually…

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Flores is an island on a lake which you can cross a bridge to get to… despite this we managed to book a hostel which we had to get a boat to, but in the end it was a great hostel with an amazing view of Flores. We also met two great guys, from Sweden and NZ, who I spent some time with while Laura and Cerca visited more ruins. On the day they went to the ruins, me and the two guys basically drank beer for most of the day (with me and the Swedish guy swimming to another Island and back some point in between) and did nothing much else. So we were quite merry when Laura and Cerca turned up, but they definitely weren’t… they had been caught in a huge downpour for the whole day and came back pretty miserable 😦 We made up for it the next day though when we toured the island, me and Laura had a girly lunch, and then we all went for a dinner. The dinner was mine and Laura’s last meal travelling so it was very sad to be saying goodbye to our travelling adventure and very surreal to be returning to Tegus, especially with Laura leaving Honduras a few days after we got back… 

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Amapala

So Laura and I got back to Tegus on the Sunday just gone and had all these plans of what Laura wanted to do before leaving… however me and our wonderful friend Teddy had different ideas 😀 The last few months Laura and I have spent a lot of hilarious time with Teddy and Christopher, friends of my host brother, and we had planned a trip before but never got around to it… so we actually all made into one car, with lots of alcohol and random jokes (mainly about Laura and Teddy’s future baby) and set off for the south coast of Honduras! 

After a car journey, boat and moto taxi, we arrived at one of the nicest hotels and jumped straight in the pool… where we stayed for the rest of day (until it started raining) and evening (we got back in when it stopped raining). There were a lot more jokes about the baby, Bert Katai; lots of eating a random Honduras sweet which we nicknamed Dumbledores and reminiscing about our last 7 months in Honduras. It was really surreal the next day when Laura mentioned that in 24 hours she would be at the airport ready to leave…

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So that evening, Laura and I headed to metro mall (where more random stuff happened – seriously you can’t even make a trip to the mall in Honduras without having the weirdest things happen!), then to Laura’s host family’s house. We had a meal with the family and then some drinks with a couple of friends before heading to mine for Laura’s last night in Honduras! 😥 

And I’m now sat in my room with no more Laura… it’s going to be so strange no having Laura, who basically became my sister, with me for the next 5 months. We literally spoke from waking up to going to bed, usually seeing each other at some point in the day… but I’m sure we will use skype and facebook to keep each other up to date on both Honduras and England. Hope you’re enjoying home Laura, miss you!! x 

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Mexico – MC, Isla Mujeres and Tulum

The last few weeks have been non-stop and tomorrow I am going to the ICYE camp and then straight off to the states for 10 days so here is a quick recap over our last couple of weeks in Mexico and Guatemala… 

 

Mexico City

We had an amazing time in MC – Laura was especially excited to see the city and it definitely lived up to her expectations. The architecture was amazing, there was far too much to do and see AND it was safe. Our hostel was fine, a little on the pricey side but we thought the breakfast and dinner buffet included would make up for it… but the food wasn’t great (apart from pancakes on morning). But we did meet two great guys in the hostel, Christian and Cerca, who we ended up seeing some sights with and we had a lot of multicultural banter… 

In the centre we saw the Zocalo, the outside of the National Palace (it’s closed atm), the huge cathedral, a couple of random but free museums, Tenochtitlan (Laura’s favourite) and a genocide museum. Yes, we went all the way to Mexico to learn about genocide… but we are human rights geeks and it was really interesting, if not quite depressing. 

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The other days we went on some day trips with the guys to the pyramids at Teotihaucan (amazing!! It was boiling but we managed to climb up the 230ft Sun pyramid), the Xochimilco canals (we went along the canal with beers and more random banter) and Chapultepec park (which included a seriously boring museum and renting pedalos on one of the lakes). We really enjoyed spending time with the guys and spent most of our evening playing card games and occasionally watching Christian getting drunk off Mezcal (actually a worse light head than me!). What with us being British, Christian being American and Cerca being from Israel, we had some very random but very hilarious debates, like… George Bush, british politics (including the infamous Barbara Thatcher), the Israeli army, terrorists, George Bush, the royal family, drugs, porn, vietnam war, Guy Fawkes, James Bond, Christian’s heritage… and George Bush. We missed them a lot after we left!! But Cerca did turn up in Palenque with us later on… 🙂 

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Laura and I also had a day trip to Taxco which was maybe my favourite place during the trip… it’s a small town perched on a cliff and the views are amazing. The town even had a Swiss cable car to go up to a hotel where the view was stunning. The town is famous too for it’s silver jewelry so we both went way over our budget and bought some pretty things… Also, best thing ever was that all the taxis were VW beetles and the buses were VW camper vans!! 

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Isla Mujeres 

To get back to coast we ended up flying to Cancun, it was actually cheaper and a lot faster than buses, but we’d decided to skip it and go straight to a nearby island. Driving through Cancun felt like flying through Florida, everything was so American, but the sea did look amazingly blue… but we were glad we chose Mujeres as it was sooo pretty and relaxing. Our hostel was nice with a huge beach garden full of hammocks and it was right on the beach… so I could get up early and lie by the beach until Laura was up. Oh, and it had the cutest puppy EVER! We did plan to rent a golf buggy and explore the island but we ended up just relaxing on the two nearby beaches and chilling in the hammocks. 

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Tulum

After a few days we jumped back on the ferry and got a bus down to Tulum which has a beach… and ruins! So best of both worlds for me and Laura (we discovered we had very different travel needs…); however our first night was shaken up a bit by a random mexican guy we met who told us about turtles coming up to the beach at night. So we ended up hitchhiking down to the beach and looking for turtles… we did see some baby one and an amazing, huge lightening storm over the sea, but the guy turned out to be a little creepy (especially when he turned up at our hostel the next day looking for us!). 

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The next day we wandered around, buying souvenirs, before heading to the beach to catch some more rays. The day after we went to the Tulum ruins, which were quite small, but they looking amazing next to the sea… it was far too hot again though so we gave up pretty fast and spent the afternoon on a different beach… then we had to leave the coast and it was goodbye beaches!! 😦 

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