There were several delays, but we finally met Jeremy in the late morning, with an affable cab driver ready to get us all the way down to the jungle. The ride was 200 kilometers and it would take 4 hours. I didn't believe them at first. The first leg of the trip was really gorgeous and we were moving pretty fast. But soon, we were driving much slower, because there were topes everywhere. Topes are speed bumps that locals put in to slow cars down. They are nothing like speed bumps that you might find in the USA, because they are handmade. And they break, and sometimes leave holes. So the trip really did take an exhausting 4 hours. Apparently there are about 200 topes on that route.
Jeremy, Dale and I were to stay overnight at a beautiful resort called Misol Ha.
Howler Monkey Sounds
Right about 3 am we heard this horrible sound. It is what I have imagined zombies might sound like. It didn't sound like any animal I have ever heard. They sounded like they were right above us in the trees. But at daylight, they were gone and everything looked safe and innocent.
We ate a great breakfast and said goodbye to Jeremy, who still had not gotten in touch with his brother Tommy who was working at the farm. After breakfast, we toured the grounds and I found a nice place to sit and paint. While I painted, Dale walked around the waterfalls. It was really lovely. We went back to the restaurant for lunch and were just getting ready to order food when Jeremy showed up and instructed us to take a cab to Palenque where we could see the pyramids while he got business taken care of. He had a ride waiting, so we rushed off and were dropped off at the entrance of the resort, where we were then to wait for "a cab." What we actually rode in was the back of a pickup with hard benches and a canvas canopy.
We drove for about an hour, and turned off the highway to this peaceful settlement with gravel roads, animals, and modest houses.
We arrived at Don Armando's place, met some people, including a Korean partner, and were led through cow pastures to a field while the Korean guy rode a nice little stallion, to see the mine.
Dropped off on the side of the highway once again, standing in the sun, I wondered how many hours it would take to find a ride. To my dismay, most of the taxis that passed were going the wrong way, and they were full. Suddenly, a big modern looking bus drove up, and stopped, and for a reasonable rate, agreed to take us to Ocosingo, which was civilization, and just a one hour cab ride away from San Cristobal.
We jumped on the bus, which had a/c, plush seats, and movies. We relaxed..except when the bus lurched while flying over bumps. The driver didn't slow down for those topes. A time or two I was sure that we were going to tip over! After about an hour, Dale got up to go to the bathroom. He came back from the toilet and said, "The door to the toilet sticks, be careful" oh great. This strong man had trouble with the toilet door. I went back there anyway. To my relief, it was clean, although it was NOT air conditioned and there were diesel fumes. And I could not open the door. I kicked, I yelled, I wiggled the latch. Ayudami! I yelled and yelled, and some guy asks me, you speak English? like who cares? It was so hot back there, I was feeling sick, trapped..Then they stopped the bus and Jeremy came back.. somehow, someone got that door opened. As I walked back to my seat, everyone was glaring at me. Stupid tourist... ugh. I crawled into my seat and fell apart. Tired, hot, starved, nauseated. I just wanted off that damn bus.
As we were coming into Ocosingo, Jeremy said, there's a restaurant right where the bus will drop us off. That made me feel better, barely. And then we got off the bus, and the restaurant was gone..apparently boarded up and closed. We all looked at each other, and I just started walking to San Cristobal. I found a supermarket and went in but couldn't find anything that resembled food that I could eat. I finally found some yogurt and bought that and some water. Meanwhile, Jeremy, who was in a lot better shape than I was, bought bread, cold cuts, and condiments. I downed the yogurt as fast as I could, and we hopped into a cab. In the dark, I made sandwiches. The lunch meat was labeled "FUD" I am not sure if that was supposed to reassure me, but it did not. My sandwich was disgusting. Nothing tasted good. The bread, the meat, not even the mayo. Dale and Jeremy had no problem, they ate their sandwiches and Dale finished mine too. I'm happy to say the rest of that trip was uneventful, and we safely made it back to our bnb.