#4 Yucatan, Mexico (final) Jan. 6, 1982

Driving south into the jungle we stopped to visit a family of Indians who lived in the Local Palenque Indiansjungle. It was fun to interact with them, albeit in a limited way because of the language barrier. However, they looked to us like people may have looked ‘back in the day’ when these sites were vibrant cities.

Palenque has a unique setting since it is so deep in the jungle. West CourtyardPalenque was first settled around 100 BCE but had its hey-day from about 630 to 740 AD. Like many of these wonderful Mayan cities, it was abandoned about 900 AD. The largest structure, the Temple of the Inscriptions, contains a stone sarcophagus with a beautifullyPalanque-Temple of the Inscriptions decorated lid. This was the tomb of Pakal, who reigned from 615-683. Many more structures remain in this group.

We pushed on to one more magnificent museum—-at Villahermosa where they have the Parque-Museo La Venta. In 1958 when petroleum exploration threatened the very Giant Olmec Headimportant Olmec site of La Venta, archeologists had the important pieces moved to this outdoor park- museum in Villahermosa. The Olmec civilization flourished at La Venta from about 800 BCE to 400 BCE making it one of the oldest in Mexico. These colossal heads (eight feet tall) img694are truly mind-blowing.

These huge rock edifices are on a massive scale.

We really enjoyed not only the wonderful monuments, but two boys accompanied us on our exploration. It turned out that there is a zoo on the premises, too, and so not only did we have the company of the boys, but also of

Jeanne with Two Friends a four- legged friend!

The Regional Anthropology Museum rounded out our explorations here, providing a good
opportunity to img709view the different artifacts from different eras in this area.img702

We drove back to Cancun, turned in our car and flew home, passing over the volcanic mountain of Orizaba on the way, which Mount Orizabaallowed me to photograph it from the air.

It was a splendid trip and the Mayan archeological sites were wonderful to experience.

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