Needing an Official Archaeologist Badge

Just after posting my last entry, I made my way back to the hotel and took a nice long nap. Like, a great nap. I was so sleepy and wonderfully drowsy.

However, two hours into my nice, long, restful nap I heard a loud knocking at the door. Once I had realized that the sound I was hearing truly was knocking and not some fabrication of one of my dreams, I stumbled – very much stumbled – to the door and opened.

There, was a man holding a big, bright, red, Mountain Equipment Co-op duffle bag. My duffle bag! The one that held my clean clothes and toiletries! The one that held the chargers for my cameras and extra batteries! My duffle bag!

So, all in all, it took four full days for my luggage to arrive. I’ve learned a lot from the experience, namely the following:

    – Always pack extra underwear in your carry-on
    – Most stuff you pack, you probably don’t need, so leave it at home
    – Travelling light is freeing and so, so much fun
    – Do not fly United Airlines

After Merida, we took a night bus all the way to Palenque and spent a couple of days staying in a jungle hotel. The stars! I have never seen so many beautiful stars. It was if a black velvet blanket had been thrown over the earth and someone had lazily spilled silver sparkles on top of it. I tried to get a photo, but without my tripod, it was not very successful.

While in Palenque, I went on a day trip to visit Yaxtilan and Bonampak. It was a bumpy van ride in, followed by a nice boat trip up to Yaxtilan. The ruins were beautiful, and mostly deserted thanks to being sheltered in the beautiful chaos of the jungle. It was just like those romantic images drawn of Mayan sites in the early 1900s.

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Somewhere along the way, a clumsy tourist had knocked down one of the stones from the steps of Yaxtilan’s pyramid, and being the happy archaeologist I am, I pulled it off the ground and put it back in its place. People were giving me all sorts of crazy looks, which has given me the idea that trained archaeologists should have some sort of badge they can carry around – not unlike a policeman’s badge – and I could just flash that to random people as I move around sites.

“Out of the way please – archaeologist coming through,” I’d say. You know I need one.

After Yaxtilan, we took the boat back, had lunch and then stopped at Bonampak on the way back to our hotel. Though Bonampak had much of the same sorts of buildings and features that the other sites had, it also had some amazingly well-preserved painted murals.

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I took some pictures of the beautiful jewel-tone colours and spent a few minutes just gazing. I overheard that they may be closing this site to tourists in a few years and I can’t say I blame them. As I was standing there, several people walked up and put their hands right on the mural. They had to reach beside some plexiglass barriers, but that wasn’t enough to let them know that no, you should not be putting your hands here. Why someone feels the need to touch something that was clearly visual is beyond me.

This would have been another time where having an archaeologist badge would be useful. I could freely smack hands away from murals with wild abandon and arrest people for crimes against precious ruins.

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The next day it was a tour of the ruins in Palenque. Another pretty cool site, but the crowning glory of the site was its museum. It held a MASSIVE sarcophagus, belonging to former ruler Pakal. I want one of those when I die. Just so you know.

After touring the ruins of Palenque, it was back on another night trip to Tulum.

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Tulum was beautiful, but by that time, I was all ruined-out. So it was off to the beach, where I sunbathed and relaxed and obtained a strange sunburn on my neck as my necklace drifted across my body over the course of the day.

Now, I’m in Cancun. I plan on lounging and shopping before heading back to chilly Canada.

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