26 december 1998 - Merida

  We need to get to Merida to pick up Theresa at 9:30 in the evening, but we still haven't gotten Mathias' camera from Sergio. After a lot of running back and forth between the beach where Sergio works (sometimes) and his chicken shop where his wife works, we finally grab hold of him and head back to his house at around 4pm. He appears a little stressed out, but we calm him down by playing Cross-eyed Mary at full volume on the stereo. He is back to his old self shouting abuse at the people we pass with the van. Finally we have the camera, and head off to Merida.
Theresa arrives

The road to Merida is really boring - completely straight with 5 meter high dense jungle on both sides. But we soon find the small airport. Theresa arrives on time and there is much rejoicing! Now we are four: Theresa, Mathias, Fred and Daisy; ready to continue the adventure...

We spend the night in Merida.
(Theresa wrote a trip report for the following week, see her web pages.)

27 december 1998 - Xcalumkin

 

After a late start, we head south towards Uxmal. We have been looking a little at the maps and it looks like it is pretty ambitious to reach Mexico city by January 2nd which is when Theresa's plane leaves in the morning. We will have to do a fair bit of driving but hopefully we can take in a few interesting sites as well. It will actually be good to get moving - we feel we spend a little to long in the Playa del Carmen area. We are eager to get back up towards mid- and northern Mexico where there should be lots of rock climbing waiting for us.

Uxmal ruins

Uxmal is one of the more famous ruins, and it is pretty impressive. There are a lot of original decorations still visible on the buildings and they are all in very good shape. You can clearly see what the ornaments represent. We wander around for a few hours until we are completely dehydrated - it is a really hot day.

Xcalumkin Caves

There are some caves called Xcalumkin on the road just south of Uxmal that attracts our interest. It is getting a bit dark, so why not camp at the cave and explore it during the evening. There is a family in a little care takers house next to the cave, but they are only there during the day and are on their way home. They are very friendly. While the mother shows us the facilities like water, electricity and where the cave is, we play scary monsters with the kids. They are a lot of fun. We give the family a ride to their home in Daisy, who have never been so packed with people before!

Once we are back, we start putting on the caving gear. It is Theresa's first caving trip, so that adds a little excitement to the adventure. Part of the cave is a show cave with lights and the family had left the lights on. However, to add to the excitement we turn them off before we enter. It is a fun cave with a humungous main shaft, shortly after the entrance. There are lots of bats whizzing around. We start exploring some side passages which involves a lot of crawling and also some scrambling up and down steep rock. Theresa does great, and doesn't seem to mind crawling through bat shit or having the little buggers fly around your ears all the time. After an hour or so, we exhaust the side passages and now there is only one unexplored way: down the main shaft. Unfortunately it is only possible with a bit of SRTing, i.e. going down (and back up) using a rope hanging in mid-air. There is probably 20-30 meters to the bottom. We have the gear in the van but Theresa wouldn't be able to follow, so we as the perfect gentlemen we are, we decide to call it a night and head back out. We'll be back.

Futbolito

We go to the local town for dinner. It is an extremely lively little place, probably because it is sunday and everybody had just been to church. We have a good bunch of games of foosball (or babyfoot as the French call it) with the locals, which was good fun. They had 20 tables set up outside on the main square - a town of foosball fanatics.

Back to the cave to sleep.

28 december 1998 - Palenque

 

We wake up in the morning when the little kids from the night before get to impatient and start sticking their heads in through the windows, wondering where we are. They are lots of fun, those kids, and we play around with them all morning. They are completely fascinated with the super strong magnets that we have been using to stick things to the van. We also take a few pictures with the digital camera and show them on the computer afterwards.

We then drive to Palenque which is pretty far further south. Fred was here what seems like ages ago, when he was making his way down towards Guatemala. We had hoped we could sneak into the ruins at night, enjoying them in the full moon (ok, half moon) but there are some guards on the road leading up to the ruins so we have to abandon that idea.

29 december 1998 - St. Cristobal de la Casas
Palenque ruins, Miso ha waterfall, Caving, Swimming, Drive - Read all about it on Theresa's website

30 december 1998 - Tehuantepec
Canyon de Superon, Savage drive at night - Read all about it on Theresa's website

31 december 1998 - Oaxaca
Drive, New years eve, Mezcal, Fred's health deteriorating - Read all about it on Theresa's website

1 january 1999 - Mexico City Airport
Drive, Nice evening in Hilton hotel - Read all about it on Theresa's website


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