There was a shout from Sarah at 7am this morning, “it’s starting to rain”. Rain, what’s that!
It was a good enough reason to get out of bed and get the show on the road. I should have had a cold shower last night after tramping over the amazing ruins in the sweltering sun. No appetite this morning.
Today we are visiting waterfalls. The first, Agua Azule. It’s about 70k’s away but that means about two hours driving. I set the sat-nav to take us to our destination. Jen begged to differ when I turned left at the first intersection and suggested we should go right. “Lets trust the sat-nav” I said and we wound around and over mountains for an hour, getting more and more remote into the jungle. I decided to pull over as we seemed to be going in the wrong direction. Looking at the projected road forward on the sat-nav the road seemed to disappear and turn into tracks. Damn. We had been driving for an hour going over countless bone jarring Tope’s but it seems the sat-nav was taking us to some other Agua Azule!! back tracking, it took us till 12.30pm to recover the ground and drive the additional 70k’s.
It was an interesting drive all the same. Small settlements are slowly chewing into and deforesting the jungle, for firewood, maize, pasture and to build more shacks. The Mayan people are squat nuggety people that seem to breed incessantly. There are women walking along the road with babies suckling and children, no older seeming than 14years, holding babies. Later, Sarah was talking to a waitress who was 26 and already a grandmother!!!! Some people were seen carrying prodigious loads on their backs with straps over their foreheads. Wood cut in the jungle to be sold by the roadside. Maize, and one chap had a hand hewn table which must have weighed a ton, slung on his back.
Kids try stopping the traffic by pulling string across the road so they can sell bananas ,both fresh and cooked and all manner of things including coconut milk in plastic bags, complete with straw.
It’s rather sad to see the jungle being chopped down. We are architects of our own demise.
Agua Azule is an amazing spectacle. Cascading water falls that fan out and create pools lower down that are slowly building due to silica in the water. The water colour is blue (azule) due to the silica river floor. We chatted to two Spanish girls who were touring by plane and coach. They were from Majorca and spoke perfect English. There were a number of europeans walking up and down the path who were rather sombre, serious looking people, so we assume them to be Spanish.
From Agua Azule it was another 40k’s to the next water display, Misol Ha. This is a very different waterfall. Much higher with caves carved out of the rock face allowing you to walk in behind the tumbling water. I’s a beautiful setting but like any attraction, it’s surrounded by stalls and eating places though not as overwhelming as Agua Azule, where every square inch of available space beside the water, is crammed with makeshift structures selling souvenirs of every type. When approaching both sites, there is someone to stop you and demand the payment of 25 or 40 peso’s. An entry fee we thought. Wrong, it is for the use of the 200m of road to the entrance, where you pay again!! Indignation is pointless…:).
It’s about 4pm when we pulled into the car park at Misol Ha,which was nearly deserted.
There was a long American Ford panel van with cooking going on at the open bar doors. A couple from Latvia, Carl, Christine and daughter Emma immediately bonded with Charley and Jaxon and they played together till it was time for bed at 9pm. What a great experience for the kids. The couple bought the van in Washington and converted it for living themselves, similar to Poki and are touring in it for 7 months. We sat around chatting till 9pm. They all spoke excellent english.
Howler monkeys could be heard close by in the jungle, though they were out of sight. Vultures sit in the trees beside us. It’s a beautiful setting.