Diary 7 (or Incidents of Travels in the Yucatan)Happy Birthday for the 1st of August Bob!Campeche is much nicer than Merida, with real colonial charm and a restored town centre recently awarded World Heritage Site status by the UN. The buildings are really colourful and surrounded by the remains of the old city wall and its 8 gates. Unfortunately it was a bit full by the time I arrived at 7pm so the only room I could get was sharing with the cockroaches in a fleapit off the main square. At least the shower is lukewarm! Had my revenge by waking up the propietor at 6am to let me out to catch the early bus to Ednza. The caretaker of the site was on the same bus and I was the first person to walk in the plaza that morning, the only signs of human habitation being these huge pyramids and my footsteps in the morning dew. Got some lovely 360 degree panoramas. Hitched a lift home in a VW beetle with a German tourist who I was chatting to on the main temple. Our driver was the presido of the local pueblo, and one of the few in the village who dont regularly make the trip to the US for work. He let us out at the market, which was even more crowded, noisy and smelly than the Chinese ones! After that I walked the 2km round the city walls and had lunch from the supermarket, sat on the sea wall looking out over the Gulf of Mexico. Time for a siesta me thinks. Treated myself to dinner at a restaurant overlooking the main square, mainly because of the view of the floodlit church which I took lots of shots of. Everyone else I meet (Hi Rob and Christine) on this side of the peninsula is headed to Palenque, so hopefully I´ll be off the beaten track for the next couple of days. Thursday, not a good nights sleep. The anti-malarial choloroquine is giving me really vivid dreams and I spent half the night puking. Urrrggghhhh! Feeling sorry for myself, so I convinced myself to stay in bed for the morning. Got up at 6.30am, packed and made my way to the bus station cause I´d had enough of lying in bed and staring at the fan going round. What a good idea, the breeze in my face and a lovely drive down the Gulf coast did the treat! Feeling much better. This bus driver was completely bonkers, overtaking everything in sight, and not really bothering about the buzzer and redlight that go off every time he exceeds 95 kph. Hang a left to head inland and got to Xpujil at about 1pm. The Hotel y Restaurant Cakamul has some picturesque little cabanas out in a garden at the back so I rent one (for a little more than I had anticipated at 20 quid a night!) and head out to Xpujil ruins just 1 km out of town. Xpujil is quiet and understated, a good antidote to the size and grandeur of the more touristy sites. I timed the return to town just right as the biggest rainfall I´ve ever seen came down 2 minutes after I got into the Restaurant Genesis. It dwarfed the so-called typhoon in Hong Kong for ferocity and sheer volume of water. Because of the storm, the strip lights dont work in the restaurant or cabanas, so I slip under the mossie net at 8pm for an early night. Where are the senoritas when you need them ????A brekkie of Frosties and orange juice begin Friday, after a brilliant nights sleep, the cabanas even tempered the intensity of the chloroquine induced dreams. Xpujil is surrounded by a cluster of Mayan sites known as the Rio Bec sites, and at this point I wish that I had a hire car to visit all of them. Instead I walk into town (all of 400 yards) and hire a taxi for the day. Chicanna is 15km west of Xpujil and spread out amongst particularly dense deciduous jungle. Its special feature, a monstrous mouth framing a large doorway was a real treat, rendered in full 3D with protruding monster teeth and flanked by big-nosed masks. Becan is the largest of the Rio Bec sites, and one of the few Mayan sites to have an obvious defensive construction, a 2km moat ringing the ceremonial and administrative center. Restoration work was still continuing on some of the site and unrestored mounds of stone abound. The mix of architectural styles made for a bit of an adventure: small vaulted rooms, steep twisting staircases, roof combs and large open plazas making an intimate visit. The high relief of the remarkably preserved carvings also protects patches of the coloured stucco (limestone plaster) that covered all known Mayan structures. In patches at Becan its thickness is evident, almost 2 inches in places; whilst at Chicanna a trace of the original Mayan heiroglyphics could still be seen (and photographed :-). A final architectural highlight was a wonderfully preserved mask and fresco at Becan, still in situ on the site and with wide staring eyes, the paint still vivid across its face. After the best fajitas de pollo (chicken) that I´ve had yet at the Restaurant Genesis it was off to bed for a read and a siesta. I also sewwd the bl**dy seams on my Chinese trousers again - the combination of a damp atmosphere and too many Mayan staircases I think! I´ve become a bit of a regular at the Restuarant Genesis, with a couple of beers before bedtime. Saturday morning sees me sat by the side of the road waiting to hail a bus. No-one, including the staff at the bus station, will admit to there being anything other than buses at 7am and 4pm, but I arrived on a thru bus at 1pm, and I know there was one 3 hours earlier. A bus duly arrives at 10am, "Told you so!". Its 3 hours to Chetumal, gateway to Belize and as there´s an excellent museum there I´ll chill for a couple of days before making roads into Belize and Guatemala. The hostel here is clean and basic. The whole town turns out for a free music festival in the evening and there´s a genuine friendly atmosphere - probably the first time I´ve felt this in Mexico. I got mistaken for a toy plane vendor (I´ll tell you in person, its easier that way) and then pootled off for bed.Sunday in Mexico is free admission day, so I´ve saved the museum until today. It´s apparently got loads of scale models of the Mayan cities and is meant to be worth the visit. In fact, I´ll be there in about 15 minutes time when I stop typing and walk the 50yds to the entrance. There´s a bus tomorrow morning to Belize City and I intend to be on it. Adios amigos!