There was a time while I traveled in the area of Palenque, Mexico, in the state of Chiapas, where you could stay in a small, open-air hut with a thatch roof, called a “palapa” for about a dollar… hang a hammock and fall asleep with Howler monkeys making this hypnotic echoing snoring sound while the rain fell in the jungle. That place was called Maya Belle, and it’s still there. Only, now it caters less to backpackers traveling on a shoestring, and has a swimming pool, proper rooms with air-conditioning for the more discerning traveler. The original little cafe is now a restaurant with a menu and waiters.
Maya Belle is still a nice place, but it doesn’t have quite the vibe it used to when I first started going there.
Just down the road are the Mayan ruins of Palenque. Now, there are tons of tourist busses, flying by all day. And basically a small village of tourist gift stalls set up outside of the entrance. But, when I visited originally, you could sneak through the jungle on a small path all the way to the ruins. If you went at night, and didn’t get caught, you could spend all night exploring there under a full moon and even make your way down into the main pyramid Temple of Inscriptions.
I’m thinking maybe it’s been nearly 20 years since what I’m about to tell you took place. Or, thereabout.
Back then, if you wanted to get a message back home that you’re still alive and what not, you had to catch a collectivo van-taxi into the town to make a call from the telecommunications place.
There was this magnificent little place in town that used to roast their own coffee beans every day. Palenque is in the state of Chiapas which as spectacular coffee. Coffee and some sweet bread was all this place had. A couple of flimsy tin tables with chairs, a large coffee roaster, and a coffee machine. Man, this coffee was incredible. I don’t mean just tasty, but it was like a lightning bolt of energy just after the first cup. Your mind would be racing so fast that you’d swear you just learned all of man’s knowledge in one cup. Soon, you’d start sweating profusely for a few minutes. When that wore off, you’d order another cup immediately. Two cups was about the limit, because after two your brain would feel like it was being cut out and eaten while it was still throbbing… Mayan style.
Before the coffee, I stood in line at the phone place. When it was my turn I was having trouble understanding the clerk’s Spanish and she was having trouble understanding mine. Twenty years now, and I still can’t speak Spanish fluently, but back then it was really bad.
Luckily, there was a short local Mexican man behind me who spoke English. He asked, “Do you need some help?” I told him I did. He translated my request to make a collect call home. He said, “The girl has instructed you to enter phone stall number 4 and pick up the phone when you hear it ring.” I thanked him and carried on with the instructions.
I said this fellow was Mexican, but I’m not entirely sure that he was. He was slight and very short. He stood perfectly erect and had almond-shaped eyes. His skin was dark, but his features were more indigenous I think. Hard to pinpoint, but his nose was very large. Not garishly so, but it commanded more attention than the rest of his facial features. Kind of “royal” looking. Those almond eyes were an intriguing close second.
After I’d finished my call, the fellow has just wrapped up his call as well. I thanked him for helping me out and asked if he lived there in Palenque. He said he did and that he had a small cafe. I said, “Perfect! Is is near here? I’ll come by and have a beer or something.” He said that wouldn’t be necessary and that I didn’t own him anything for his help. I said, “Well, it’s pretty hot out. I was going for some strong coffee, but it’s so hot out… figured I’d get a beer instead. Might was well get it from your cafe.” He accepted the logic and said, “Very well. My cafe is only about two blocks from here… “
As we walked, I tried to make the usual small talk, but he didn’t say much. He just quietly agreed, or gave simple replies. Once we arrived at his cafe, he motioned for me to sit at one of the two simple tin tables. There wasn’t much in the cafe, other than a few convenient store like items, and some local vendor calendars on the walls. Not much for decoration at all. The menu was sparse with a few basic items, beer, and sodas. I asked if the cervezas were pretty cold, and he said, “Si, very cold… well, it depends. Some are colder than others.” “Which is the coldest?” “Let me check… I think the Superior is the coldest right now.” “Perfect! Superior is one of my favorites. I’ll have a cold Superior please.”
After a couple of minutes of silence, I figured he wasn’t up for chatting so much. I drank my cerveza and looked out toward passersby on the street.
Glanced back and noticed the fellow has seated himself at my table and looked as if he were studying me. Or, deciding if he was going to tell me what he was about to divulge.
Over the next 45 minutes or so, he told me about his people. “His people” is how he referred to them. He said that his people could communicate with each other over great distances with nothing more than thought… that they didn’t need letters or telephones. Said that at that same moment as we were talking, his two daughters were in the jungle not far away and were asking if they could stay out and play by the stream a little longer. “Your daughters just asked you that telepathically while you’re talking to me?” “Yes” “Did you answer them” “Yes, I told them it was ok to stay out playing, but to be home by 6pm for dinner.”
He told me things about history, and that some things that seem horrific or wrong at the moment… that when you look at them from outside the timeline… way further out… they often make more sense. You see what happened before that led to that horrible action, and then you see what happens as a residual effect of that action further down the timeline. Most often you can deduce that this one horrible thing had to happen in order for these other greater things to happen. Everything is happening for a reason, and for good reason.
I asked, “Oh come on… You mean to say horrible things like the holocaust were meant to happen and for good reason?!” He said, “Yes, as terrible as that was… it had to happen like that at that particular time, in order for other important actions to take place further down the timeline.” “That’s a bit hard to imagine… I mean, I can’t see how something that horrific could possibly be part of any righteous plan.” “I know, it’s very hard to see the whole from one particular section of events. I’m not saying that was a good thing to happen, but it was necessary for other things to happen years later.”
He went on to tell me that “his people” could also travel anywhere they wanted with thought alone. And, that it could be taught to others. However, they were very careful about who that taught how to do these things because they could be used for bad intentions. I asked, “So, you could teach me to communicate over long distances with only the mind and travel to anywhere I choose using my mind?” He said, “Yes”.
There were a few moments of silence as I thought about this and while he studied my reaction. Until, he broke the silence saying that he had to leave to pick up some things at the market before the dinner hour and would chat with me later. I paid him for the beer and thanked him again for helping me out at the phone center, and even more so for the very interesting conversation.
Headed back out to the scorching heat and waved goodbye to the gentlemen from the street.
Walked around in a little bit of a daze after that. It was so hot and humid, all I wanted to do was get back to my hammock in the shade of my palapa at Maya Belle and lay there thinking about what we’d talked about.
Later that afternoon I was hammock swaying in my palapa when some other backpackers I’d met earlier stopped by. They were curious where I’d disappeared to all afternoon. I told them I had to run into town to make a call home, but that I’d run into a very interesting fellow who’d helped me out translating.
There were three of them, and I remember a couple of them were from Austria and another was Australian. With each of the details details I told them they drew in closer. When I finished all I could remember, they still wanted more. They asked, “Do you remember where his cafe is?” “Yeah, I think so.” I tried to explain how to get to the cafe from the phone place, but ended up saying, “Sorry, I’d know where we walked if I was there, but I can’t recall if it was one block, then turn, or two blocks…” “Well, could you take us there?” “Oh, I guess so… I don’t really have any reason to go back into town right now… but there’s still time before the collectivo taxis stop.. so why not… I’d like to hear more from him too.”
They all seemed pretty excited and ran back to their palapas to grab their belongings, and we were off.
Once we got back into town I was completely turned around. I wasn’t quite sure which way the cafe was and the group was getting a little annoyed. I said, “I’m sorry, it’s all looking the same now and I can’t remember which way I went when I left, because I ended up just wandering around making some photos. I’d also had a couple cervezas and it was so hot that I was a little delirious too.” “Should be go back to Maya Belle then?” “No, give me a second… I’m sure I can find it. Wait, lets just go back to the phone place. I’m sure from there I can retrace where we went.”
To be clear, I really had no idea at all. For some unexplained reason, the location of this cafe was escaping me. Maybe it was the heat beating down and radiating back up off the concrete. Maybe it was the beers. Going back to the phone place was a desperate shot in the dark because I was embarrassed that I’d been so confident of it’s location before.
Once we got to the front of the phone place, I still didn’t have a clear idea. I remembered the direction we started off, but I we were chatting along the way and I really wasn’t paying attention. So, when we started off from the entrance in the direction we’d walked, I stopped even trying to remember. Sort of switched to a gut feeling or intuition. After about 20 minutes of walking, turning, turning again, then continuing around a corner… I was about to confess I was lost. When at that very moment I looked up and there was the cafe and the fellow standing there greeting is. Whew!
The fellow went to the back for drink menus and I motioned for the others to take a seat at one of the two tables. The Australian guy pulled a chair over form the other table and we waited. The others were excited to hear more from this mysterious fellow, as was I, but I was also baffled at how I was able to find my way back to this place after being certifiably lost.
The fellow came back and passed out some laminated single page printout menus of the snacks and drinks they served. Everyone just wanted cold cervezas and I confirmed that the Superior cervezas were still the coldest. They just wanted to get on with the good stuff, the mystic secrets… as did I.
When he came back with the cervezas, he passed them out then stood by quietly looking out toward the street. At that moment I noticed something that had been nagging me from the first time I spoke with him but couldn’t put my finger on. When you visit Mayan ruins sites, or look at photos of the stone carvings they left behind, you’re struck with one consistent characteristic. They’re almost always depicted in profile, and their noses dominate most of their face. It’s as if the top of the nose doesn’t stop at the bridge between the eyes, but instead continues up into the forehead. It’s a striking look, and this fellow had that very same look.
The carvings always appear to have very smooth skin as well, completely free from imperfection or wrinkles. I suppose this is likely the case with most carvings and statues. But, this fellow’s skin also seemed nearly flawless and almond-colored. The majestic nose, the almond eyes, the way he sort of lightly glided as he walked… he looked like what I imagine a Mayan might’ve looked like.
The others were motioning at me to try and get his attention and see if I’d start sharing the stories again. I asked him plainly,
“Um… I was telling my friends here about some of the interesting things you were telling me earlier.”
”Yes, what things would that be?”
”You know, about communicating with the mind… the Hitler… traveling with thought…”
“Excuse me? I don’t recall any such conversation.”
“You don’t? Remember I was here earlier?”
“Yes, I helped you out at the phone center and then you stopped by my cafe for a cerveza.”
“Seriously? You don’t remember anything we talked about?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t. And, I need to get back to the kitchen to prepare for the evening, if you’ll excuse me.”
He slipped away to the kitchen. The others looked at me with aggravation that I’d made the whole thing up and dragged them into the town for nothing.
“I’m so sorry… I swear he said all of that stuff I told you. I’m not sure why he’s denying it. Very strange”
“Yes, sure he did”
“He did! If I was making it up, why would I double down and bring you all here?”
“It’s ok. The cervezas were pretty cold. That was worth the trip alone. We’re heading back to Maya Belle. You want to catch a collectivo with us?”
“No, I’m going to hit the market for some fruit before I head back. So sorry about this.”
“Don’t worry about it!”
They took off down and I sad there for a bit finishing my cerveza and having a smoke. The fellow finally came back and asked if I wanted another cerveza. I told him I did and then asked him…
“So, you really don’t remember our conversation from earlier in the morning after you helped me at the phone center?”
He stared at me and said nothing.
“Maybe, 3 or 4 hours ago? We came back here and you were telling me about how you communicated with your daughters using thought?
“Yes, I remember the conversation and everything I told you.”
“Then why did you deny it in front of my friends?”
“Because those things I told you were for you, and you alone. It wasn’t for them. And, I will tell you more and teach you the things I know when you’re ready. But, you’re not ready yet.”
“Ok… well, what do I need to do to get ready?”
“There’s nothing you can consciously do to prepare. When it’s time, I will see you again and tell you more.”
We parted ways and I went back to Maya Belle. I thought about what he’d said and that there was nothing I could do to prepare, so I just put it in the back of my head for later.
About a year or two later, I was once again traveling in Mexico and had wondered back to Palenque to stay at Maya Belle. I hadn’t forgotten about the experience with the strange Mayan looking fellow and couldn’t wait to get back to his cafe to see if I was finally “ready” to learn more.
Again, it took me awhile to find his cafe again, but I did. Took a seat and eagerly waited for the fellow to take my order. Only, it was a different man now. I stepped back on the sidewalk to double check that I was at the right cafe.
I asked the man if the owner was there. He said…
“I’m the owner.”
“Ok, well… I’m pretty sure I was at this cafe a year or so ago and there was a different owner.”
“Yes, a short fellow with almond eyes?”
“Yes! Is he still here?”
“No. He was here, and then he disappeared.”
“He moved? Do you know where?”
“No. When I say disappeared, I mean he, his wife and two girls were here one day, and the next they were gone. They didn’t even take any of their clothes or belongings. They just disappeared.”
“Yes, it was very strange. He was renting this space and operating the cafe, and then they disappeared. Nobody had any idea where they went. They even left the stove and refrigerator. It’s like they vanished into thin air.”
“That's pretty bizarre. No clue where they went at all?”
“No. The fellow was renting this place and had paid for the next month in advance. After 3 or 4 months went by, I asked the landlord if I could take it over and she agreed. All of the furniture, cash register, stove, refrigerator, tables and chairs… everything is actually their’s. I figured I’d put them to use until they come back… if they ever come back.”
I walked around Palenque streets for awhile wondering what could have happened to them, or if I’d ever see the fellow again.
It’s now been over 20 years since I met the mystical Mayan interdimensional fellow. Strangely, I still think I may see him again one day just as he promised. I only hope that when that happens… this time… I’ll be ready.
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