Trip Start Mar 26, 2009
58Trip End Jul 18, 2011
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We were dropped off with two Canadian guys who were heading in the same direction and after asking a couple of passerby that came down from the convenient overpass we set of in the said direction. The entrance to the park was maybe a 1km walk, not that much fun in the heat, and at the entrance to the road there was a house set just back with a woman sat outside taking advantage of the streams of passersby and selling refreshments. She also offered to watch our bags for us for a few pesos and although against the advice of not trusting anyone, we decided to do it as we would not be able to take the boat ride with them and also we had not taken up the offer in aqua azul from a similar kind of guy and were forced to explorer the surroundings with our packs on or have one of the group stay with them as we bathed. I was not that big of a deal anyway as this was a family house and they were just really doing a favour but it was funny to actually walk in to their lounge and see the father figure laid out in his hammock watching a afternoon edition of "lucha libre" wresting just as most men would do back in england on a Saturday with the football... somethings are not all that different.
So we eventually boarded the boats that they have to do the tour which was like something that would take you up and down any large river in a big city. This one was different though in the way that about 5 mins into the tour we were told to look left where a crocodile was lazily cooling in the water a few metres from our vessel. From that point any hand dangling that i had been doing was put to a abrupt finish. The river maybe runs down for about 30 km through a large winding canon that becomes very impressive at points from the sheer height of it and the severity of some of the curves. Along the way we were passed a very bizarre nesting ground for an enormous group of evil looking birds, a man made shrine with the now very common image of the virgen "maria" dressed up with candles inside a cove, several rock formed shapes made in the cliffs that had names such as the the bull and lion, a dried out waterfall that called the chistmas tree due to its form and at the very end a large dam that kept back the pressure of the long river. crocs galore.
All very interesting stuff, and was great to have the experience of actual being in a canon this time and which while not being a patch on the grand canon its still well impressive when you think that all of this is natural. The real shame of it was though that most of the way down visible rubbish was floating in the water, with things like bottles and crisp packets that had clearly been casually tossed over the side. The source made it self even clearer as we stopped next to the dam to take in the scenery as the river had now opened out into a great lake only to have a small boat come speeding towards on the distance that i though was going to the coast guard or something. Then though as the familiar chant of "coca cola, cervaza, fruta" came across the water it became clear that they were some entrepreneurs taking advantage off the vendor free waters to try and sell us some refreshment... coy! The trip was around 3 hours, with the last hour being the most challenging to stay awake as we had to go 30 km back up steam in the midday sun with arbitrary drones from the engine just about putting everyone into a deep siesta.
From the canyon we retrieved our things from behind the hammock as the original guy swung in his original place with just a few more empties next to him to give any evidence of movement. We thumbed down a bus to take us down to the next town of Chiapa de Corzo, We had about 4 hours until we had to get another bus to the next town of Tuxtla to then get the overnight 8 hour bus to Oxaca. So we spent the time to eat and have a wander around the village only to be halted when we came across a bar that over looked the entrance to the river that had a live mexican band playing accompanied by 5 beers for just under 3 dollars. The music saydee said was a little like as they would play at a wedding although on the much lower scale of the budget. It was good fun and the beers helped with it being so loud, we got well in the swing of things and had even broken into the tequila by the time we had to leave to get the bus. This probably worked out best though to not be too distressed by all the mayhem of a friday night in tuxtla, which we were greeted with as we got out of another crammed colectivo by a couple of merry mexicas which included an off duty police man who insisted on following us for 3 blocks to advise us on following the word of the lord while flashing his id every opportunity he could. A very special man.
At least though he prompted us to get a taxi to the bus station as at this point we were going to get another cramped mini van to get across town but pc pedro was that much of a pain we hailed the first one that came across.
We were all feeling a bit grim as we arrived at the station, with a day of sweltering in the sun and the beer high wearing off we were well glad to see that we could get the earlier bus to oxaca and not be forced to wait a further 2 hours in the roasting station with an army of insects crawling all over the floor.
So it was up on to the bus, in first class for an extra 5 dollars to spend out first of many nights on the road.