Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Welcome to the Jungle! April 20th, 2007

Hola amigos y amigas,

I hope life is treating you fantastically!

I've been having an amazing time. I spent Semana Santa (Easter) in Merida, a thriving (and, I discovered, fun) Mayan town. They had many colourful processions, and there was live music and dancing in the streets every night. I thought how great that they celebrate in this way, only to be told by locals that this was normal. I visited many ruins (Uxmal, Chichen Itza), went snorkelling on the cenotes, made many friends and had a great time. I also had a little holiday romance which was very nice indeed! One of the highlights was meeting Humbatz Men, a ╢famous╢Mayan medicine man and holder of the prohecies. I was anticipating a really powerful spiritually elevated time with him. After a frosty start on his part, we got on famously, went out for dinner, and he took me to meet him 97-year-old mum who was an absolute gem. We sat in the street outside her house drinking beer and I was thinking that life doesn't get too much better than this. I think she wanted me to marry her (70 year old!) son, and like many people in Merida begged me not to leave! It's amazing that I did leave as I loved it but know I will be back many times.

I'm writing from the jungles of Palenque in Chiapas, in the south of Mexico near Guatemala, and about as far from the European Parliament as you can possibly be! After many adventures with low gas, camping with only ants for company, and one bird and several butterfly massacres later we arrived two days later from Playa where I've spent the last week, well, dancing and swimming really! It's incredibly beautiful, important ruins, great laid back music, waterfalls, sleeping to the sound of howler monkeys that sound like jaguars at your door, and being chased by turkeys who are very nosey I'm finding out! I think if I spend a few more days here my hair might form dreads from ambience alone so we (my crazy Mexican friend and I) are about to head out to the waterfalls and in the next couple of days arrive in the mountain town of San Cristobal de las Casas.

I had a lovely experience on my last night in Playa. I got a call from a guy friend of mine to go outside on the balcony. I opened the door to find a whole band outside serenading me! At first I was horrified as I was trying to be incognito and it was midnight. But the music was intoxicating, it was Andean music with panpipes and after a couple of songs I got the guts to go outside so that my friend wouldn't be publicly humiliated! I ended up enjoying it, and it was one of the nicest ╢bon voyage╢presents I've ever had!

Bear with me if I'm not in contact too much over the next weeks as I never know where I'm going to end up. But please write as I love hearing all your news!

Anyway, time to hit the road again! Lots of love from Chiapas!

Sandra xxx

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