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January 6, 2019

Day 10 San Cristobal – Palenque

Filed under: Trips — pearsey @ 8:04 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

30 June, 2018

A cool little bus in San Cristobal

A cool little bus in San Cristobal

Today was a travel day, where we spent most of the day on the bus. We had a chance to take a last look around San Cristobal in the morning and grab anything we needed to eat for lunch and tea before leaving. Most shops were slow at opening, even though it was 10am. The bus stations are like airports and run really efficiently. They’re also very clean, although you do have to pay for the toilets. Your bags are checked in, admittedly at the bus as you are boarding, but you’re given a ticket and can only collect your bag with that ticket. No ticket = no bag, so don’t lose that ticket!

The bus today wasn’t express, we left at 12 and made quite a few little stops which is a little annoying when you’re going right through. The trip today was about 8 or 9 hours, for a town about 3 or 4 hours away, with the route going through Villahermosa in the state of Tabasco. The direct road to Palenque passes through an indigenous people controlled area, so depending on their mood, depends on whether traffic can get through. The big public buses always go round, just not taking their chances.

An idea of the long v short route (map from aboutsancristobal.com)

An idea of the long v short route (map from aboutsancristobal.com)

You could take a small private bus and go the short way, which then gives you the luxury of stopping off at some amazing sights along the way, but unless you travel in convoy, you’re also at risk of being held up. There’s been plenty of reports of bandits holding up and then robbing vehicles, especially with foreigners on it. Yep, letting the indigenous control their land seems like a good thing…

Found a new little street in San Cristobal that had some different little bakeries and shops, but I’ve still learnt that while they look good, they don’t always taste the best. I was tempted with the chocolate mice though, but as soon as you left the shop they’d melt it was so hot and humid!

Chocolate mice at San Cristobal

Chocolate mice at San Cristobal

On the way to Palenque, we stopped at Chontalpa. We saw the train line that carries refugees to the USA from the Central American nations of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The people of the town actually throw food to the people on board, because it’s a long journey. If you look at the map, we’re way down at the bottom of Mexico, not far from Guatemala.

The train line illegal migrants often use to get to the US

The train line illegal migrants often use to get to the US

We got to the hotel around 8.45pm, so a long day of travelling. So what do you do on a bus for nearly 9 hours? Good question. I had a phone and ipod, so those tended to get a bit of use. A portable USB charger is a blessing – there’s usually a USB charging port, but it doesn’t always work. I had a friend back in Aus who was sending me some clips of Masterchef – so that would normally fill in 20 or 30 minutes watching those. Thanks to the Mexican sim card I purchased back in Puebla, Whatsapp data was free, so it was easy enough to download those clips. Movies on the phone, I’d update my travel diary, I loved watching the scenery and of course, inevitably you would get some sleep!

Some of the water ways and marshes near Chontalpa

Some of the water ways and marshes near Chontalpa

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