I had the opportunity to show some lovely people from New Orleans a little of the "back country" in the Yucatan yesterday. They wanted to get away from the herd mentality of the bus as well as seeing some small towns and lesser-known sites and so I decided that heading out towards the 'convent route' and Mayapan ruins would be a good option to visit some places that are usually off the radar of folks coming in on the Ectasy cruise in Progreso.
At 9:00 AM, we packed up the wheelchair and drove off towards Merida, taking the periferico or beltway to the Cancun exit from where we headed off towards the convent route. After driving for about an hour and a bit and discussing everything from fiesta beads at the New Orleans carnaval to Obama's health care package, our first stop was at Acanceh. In the main plaza photos were taken of the pyramid right in town, the local colonial-era buildings and we enjoyed the sights and delicious smells of the market. The church was also on the agenda. Then, on the way back out of town we stopped at a tortilleria, where they were making fresh corn tortillas and the very friendly owner gave us permission to step behind the counter and take photos of the corn grinding process and to see how the fresh tortillas are cut and baked in gas fired ovens. I bought a half-kilo of tortillas, which the owner graciously declined to charge for (but I paid him anyway) and we enjoyed a fresh healthy snack in the car on the way to...
Tecoh. This pretty little town I had visited before and this visit confirmed my suspicions that the towns residents are very proud of their city and as before, streamers over the church and city hall announced that yet another fiesta was in full swing, complete with a bullring made of sticks and string which would make a Canadian safety inspector cringe but which is completely safe and normal. A stop at a rancho that advertised 13 cenotes resulted a bust since the gate was closed and a rather large bull was inside guarding against potential trespassers.
After Tecoh, we stopped at Telchaquillo, which is a rather charmless hamlet with a nondescript and austere church and whose main claim to fame is a cenote right there in the main square. While not the prettiest cenote in the Yucatan, it is easy to descend into which was perfect for my guests today.
Then on to Mayapan, where we saw two busloads of blue-skirted, white-bloused nuns on an excursion, all having a junk-food lunch at the entrance and having a grand old time. A quick look at the ruins and we were back on the road, heading back towards Merida and lunch at the Hacienda Teya, known for their decent Yucatecan food and great service. Lunch was very enjoyable and accompanied by a bottle of refreshing grenache rose wine and then it was time to hoof it to Progreso so as not to arrive late for the cruise ships departure. Had their been a little more time, my guests would have liked to stop at the Aristi liquor store, where local liquor is bottled and sold, but due to time constraints I decided that we needed to get to Progreso first. We arrived at Progreso at 2:30 PM.
I believe a good time was had by all - I know I certainly enjoyed this excursion and the company of some great people from New Orleans. Thank you!