Traveling Through the Yucatan


The following is an article from Traveling Pat! Patricia is a regular contributor to The Inspirational Mom.

Driving down to Celestun felt like driving in a tunnel.  The road is straight, flat and bound on each side by thick jungle scrub.  Occasionally there is a tire hung from a scrawny tree which I think is to help you not veer off the road when you get bored and drift off during the drive.

The small fishing village of Celestun is in the midst of a wildlife sanctuary. Its claim to fame is the thousands of flamingos that flock to the waters of the mangrove forests to feed and make their home.

Our hotel was on the water…nice, kind of shabby sheik, more shabby than sheik though.  We think we were the only people there. It is high season but you would never know it.

Walking down the street to find a boat to take us out to seethe flamingos, we were intercepted by a guy spouting mucho rapido Spanish.  We have been practicing our language skills so nod confidently and say si si amigo (we threw in amigo for a flourish) He says he will take us out for $33 bucks. Great. The other tours are $100.00. We pile in his little taxi bike thing and before we know it we are zooming along in the complete opposite direction from the water and where the main tour guys are…  He says it’s only 6 K.  Hmm we were only ½ k from the boat dock when we met him…  Were we doing the right thing I wondered?  Finally I say “Senor?” and he whips around and says “boat” and gestures vaguely in some indiscernible direction. Eventually we swerve off the main dirt road on to a mucho smaller dirt road and head off into the middle of no wheres ville.  At one point he stops, darts out of the vehicle and disappears into the bush.  My mind goes on auto pilot…kidnapping or robbery maybe?  Are there partner amigo banditos in the bush?  Cripes…  He emerges carrying a very long stick….  I knew it!  Oh… it turned out it was for poling the boat along… Yes we did actually get to the water.

Our guide polled us across towards a startling pink line on the far bank.  Approaching the birds the squawking and croaking was incredibly loud and they looked so elegant, high stepping and dipping their heads down to feed.  Their unusual pink color is attributed to them eating small shrimp.   For those bird aficionados out there, the formal name is Phoenicopteros ruber rubber. Kind of catchy don’t you think?

On the way to our next destination (Uxmal) we stopped at a grand Hacienda.  We talked our way past the sentries at the gate saying we were there for lunch. Ok, I lied. George and Lara and Bill and Hilary and Aaron and Pat.  We were all there.  Well maybe we weren’t there at the same time, but whatever.  The desk clerk was going to cut us a deal and we could stay for $400.00 a night. Best price.  At one point I thought, “To heck with it let’s just do it.  I envisioned a massage down by a Cenote followed by wine and dinner with a Spanish classical guitar playing in the background. But saner heads prevailed (Aaron’s).

Now we are at “The Club Med” (not really) in Uxmal in the Puuac region of the Yucatan.  Puuac means “hills” The highest one rises to a staggering 100 m…300 ft.  Very flat here.

Massive in scale and elegant to behold this archeological wonder has much debate about its origins.  Some think Mayans from Guatemala founded it in AD 600 and others contend it is much older.  In Uxmal, the rain God Chac reigned supreme.  Water was scarce and the Mayans spent much of their time appeasing him.  I am not sure how effective of a God he was, seeing as how they were constantly short of water… In the mid-10th century Uxmal was abruptly abandoned.  Was it war with Chichen Itza, deforestation or maybe drought?  It is a big Mayan mystery.  But in its heyday it was a bustling city of thousands and today is a fantastic archeological site.

I saw this sign after I had walked all through this area.  I told Aaron about it and he said it indicated curves on the road!!  Yeah right honey…

And this one also.



Thank you, Traveling Pat.



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