Palenque

At the end of the day, as I was coming back to reality, and as the gates to Palenque, one of the most important of the ancient Mayan cities, were about to shut, I couldn't find my traveling partners.


Kayleena, the 17-year old from British Colombia, and Francesco, from Rome, plus Jenny, the young Asian woman from Norway, were all missing, as far as I could tell.  


That evening, when I finally caught up with them, a few hours later, they were eating spagetti at a tourist restaurant near the spot where we'd set our tents up for the night. 


Francesco, the Italian, kept saying, in English, "It was AMAZING!"


"What was AMAZING?" I asked him, but he just kept on repeating the same mantra. AMAZING. 


Kayleena, the seventeen-year old Canadian could only laugh hysterically; she couldn't stop long enough to tell me anything. Jenny wasn't that great at speaking English (I think it was her third or even fourth language), and was also still entranced by the spell of those mushrooms and by whatever the hell had just happened that was so "AMAZING" that she couldn't manage to tell me a thing either.


It took me most of the meal to piece together what had been so "AMAZING." 


Shortly after we'd eaten those orange mushrooms and parted ways, they were caught by Palenque security guards with the rest of the bag, which led to a ridiculous foot chase across the lawn of that ancient city, and to the security guards calling the real police, which landed my friends in jail. By this point, I wasn't sure that Francesco knew what "AMAZING" meant. 


It turned out that "AMAZING" meant that after about an hour in that jail cell, the three of them realized, "Hey. Can't you buy your way out of jail in Mexico?" 


And so, with their limited combined Spanish (something like: "Pagar para salir?"), they offered the guards a meager bribe, a few hundred pesos, which apparently worked like magic, no questions asked, and they were released from the cell, like it was nothing. And they'd only paid a total of about thirty US dollars for the three of them.


A few minutes later, they were free again, at which point they realized how "AMAZING" that series of events had been, and decided to go out for dinner to and laugh it off, which is where I came back into the story.