Saturday, October 29, 2011

Whirlwind Trip to Unvisited Places

While most people tend to want to visit the familiar and the 'must-see' occasionally someone will ask for something different. 

This was the case just recently when some Canadians and I took a ride out to Motul to check out the market which was a very colorful Yucatecan market place complete with a cows head (skinless except for the snout area - kind of like a bovine goatee); colorful vegetable and fruit tables manned or should I say 'womanned' by smiling ladies who were not too shy to pose for a photo or three next to their exotic wares; and many other things from chinese plastic toys to underwear and bras and spices and and and. 

Being in Motul, it seemed logical to have huevos motuleƱos for late breakfast and let me tell you they were fantastic. Made to order by the lady in the corner stall on the second floor of the 'new' market, they were so good! See the photos to make your mouth water!

After Motul, we were off to Dzibilchaltun and wanted to make a stop in Conkal to see the church and the Museum of Sacred Art, but again, as happens so often on the so-called "Convent Route" this one was closed at noon. The visit to Conkal did however enable us to practice our English with local students who were getting out of school nearby and shouted "hello" and "good bye" along with "what's your name?". 

From Conkal, the back road to Dzibilchaltun, stopping for more photos at the Conkal cemetery.

At Dzibilchaltun, the excellent guide services of Jose Ancona (my personal favorite as his English is very good and he explains things in a very calm and understandable manner) made the visit a lot more informative than just popping in and strolling around the "rocks".

Then, with the heat and all that exploring, it was time to head off to Progreso for a beer. Or three. The ocean, churned up from the storm activity provoked by Rina in Cancun, was brown and full of seaweed. Not an ideal situation for swimming, but all that seaweed would work wonders in a garden!

After Progreso it was back to the hotel for a much needed siesta!

Photos are of the church in Motul. Very austere, with the obligatory little white boy altar boy figurine soliciting contributions from the brown masses at the entrance.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New Cenote Option for Adventurous Travellers

With nothing better to do on a cloudy Sunday afternoon, I decided to take myself on an exploratory tour of some cenotes I had heard about near Mayapan.

As I drove the the highway past Tepich, Acanceh and Tecoh, the sky turned menacingly black and soon, a torrential downpour made visibility a real challenge. Slowing down of course helped and with the conviction that it would stop when I reached my destination, I bulldozed ahead with the wipers at double speed. Sure enough, the rain let up and finally stopped altogether and I reached the town of Pixyah without a worry.

Upon entering the town, I noticed that religious slogans were painted on nearly every building, house and wall and I thought "oh, THIS is that town I heard about". No drinking or carousing here, the town has built a little reputation on its insistence on abstinence when it comes to alcohol which is great, since this is the cause of so much destruction in rural communities in the Yucatan.

At the Casa Ejidal, two laconic individuals managed to arise from their stupor (it was a lazy afternoon) and indicated that the guy I wanted to talk to was Monchi, who lived across the street; he would show me the cenotes.

And he did. Got into the car and away we went, into the jungle along an overgrown, rocky road that seemed really long going in and really short on the way out. It was not a problem for the Impala but a higher, four wheel drive vehicle would be best for this route.

The cenotes are spectacular (but I am biased, I love them all) and there were some local divers at the larger one whose name was NohMozon which means 'evil wind' or something to that effect.

The smaller, closer to town one is called NahYah which means Casa del Zapote but there are no longer any Zapote trees to be seen. It is very deep and at this time of the afternoon under a cloudy sky, very dark and forboding down at water level. Here, Monchi told me a little anecdote about a local drunk (perhaps this was before abstinence made the drinking more difficult) who fell into the cenote and promptly pulled himself up on some rocks and passed out. I have the audio of this anecdote but Blogger doesn't allow me to upload sound files, apparently. Here it is on SoundCloud:


(above) The NahYah cenote

This trip would make a great day trip, but not so much for people coming in on a cruise ship as the drive is a little long and the off-road portion is slow going.

Enjoy the photos!

Monday, October 3, 2011

City Tour on a Tight Schedule

A group of 10 and Yours Truly left Progreso recently at around 11 AM for a quick look at Merida's Montejo and downtown Plaza Grande. The cathedral was in the middle of mass complete with music and parishioners and a surplus of beggars at the front door and soon after, from the state government building where we were admiring the murals the explosions started which were nothing more than the gremios doing their thing and my Progreso guests were able to get some good photos from the second floor, looking out onto the Plaza Grande.

After that, we stopped for sorbetes at Colon, a Merida institution since 1907; among the flavors sampled were coconut, guanabana and strawberry. Yum. Then it was off to lunch, which originally was to be Eladios but the time constraint made for an interesting alternative: Wayan'E, the popular taqueria in Itzimna. Everyone enjoyed their pork tacos of Poc Chuc and Castacan!

Then, COVI for liquor shopping and finally a well-known cookie bakery for carrot cake, before heading back to Progreso in time to take the shuttle back on to the pier and the cruise ship.

All inclusive, opportunity for shopping, lots of food and little bit of culture!