It is Christmas day and we have made it to Palenque, Mexico! This is our last stop before the big trek to Belize City tomorrow. I think Palenque is probably best known for the ruins which we visited today, but the city is actually really nice and has the best Intnernet cafe we have seen yet, so I am sold.
Last night (Christmas Eve) we stayed in San Cristobal and it was really wild. We heard a few fireworks going off during the day, but they were no big deal. We went to bed around 11:30, but at midnight all hell broke loose. I think every Mexican within 20 miles started setting off fireworks right at midnight. We stayed in bed for about 5 minutes before we decided it was a lost cause and we headed out to the roof of the hotel to watch the madness. The participation really put Americans on the Fourth of July to shame. One of the other hotel visitors commented that it seemed like we were in the middle of Baghdad!
Today while driving we encountered a make-shift road block. This is only the second we have seen, but it's basically a scam put on by local Mexicans. They hold a rope with flags on it across the entire length of the road, forcing you to stop. When you get up there they ask for change or try to sell you goods. It's no big deal, but kind of a hassle. HOWEVER, today a bunch of kids set up the road block and as we approached we heard them all screaming to each other and quickly dropped the rope allowing us to pass. At first, we were confused as to why they let a car full of (normally profitable) gringos drive through, until we noticed a Policia truck coming around the bend in the opposite direction who passed the block at the exact time we did. Lucky!
I just realized the sound is a little screwed up on all the videos. Sorry about that. I'll be able to fix it when I get home. More photos are posted to the Flickr account as well.
Here is a video of the ruins of Palenque!
Video coming soon