This post is divided into a few pages -- just click the link at the bottom to move onto the next.
Parque La Venta: Our adventure started with an overnight bus from Mexico City to Villahermosa, Tabasco. Eleven hours by bus, but it went amazingly fast thanks to our new device that allowed us to share the iPod (and thus tune out the world). Villahermosa was mostly just a point in transit, where we'd catch a bus south to Chiapas, but it has one noteworthy feature: a park called La Venta. Our trusty guidebook told us it was a park full of Olmec carvings that were discovered in a nearby jungle. Instead of putting them in a formal museum, they put them into a slightly controlled "natural" setting (as natural as you can get in a park with marked trails, trash receptacles and toilets). The park was nearly empty this early in the morning (except for the malaria-infested mosquitoes), and we had a wonderful walk around. The park was quite impressive. You follow the paths around and every so often come upon an amazing head or beast or tiled floor. The only problem was that it was next to impossible to find our way out, once we'd entered the jungle. Eventually we did, and we got to see a bunch of monkeys. Caged, but still, they were our first Mexican monkeys. Mesmerized, we watched them for hours, or so it seemed. Monkey kids act like human kids; monkey parents act like human parents. All cute.
Anyhow, a few pictures of giant Olmec heads and things. ("No, Maggie, not Aztec. Olmec. Can you say Olmec?")
Next page: Palenque!
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