The next day we rode to Uxmal, and were met by our most developed ruin to date. The entrance had a coffee shop, with a few tourists standing round at 10am enjoying their morning Coronas, surrounded by expensive looking shops selling half litre bottles of water for 25 pesos. There was also Infinitum Movil, the free wi-fi found in many town squares, McDonald’s and Starbucks across Mexico. We tried to walk in through the turnstile, our first one of those too, but were turned back. Every other place just involved showing our student IDs, but the guard wanted something else. It turned out that Uxmal (and probably Chichén Itzá too) is more expensive as the Yucatan State Department charge an entrance fee which isn’t covered by the student visa. I got in as a Mexican student as I have my student visa, but Peter had to pay as a foreign student as he only has a tourist visa. It cost me 71 pesos, my first money spent entering a Mexican ruin so far, not too bad considering the sheer number we’ve been to.
Although the ruins weren’t anything like as big as those at Tikal, the key buildings were very well maintained. There were plenty of intricate carvings to enjoy and, even though it was busy in places, they seemed to be focused around the main complex and not too bad outside of that. If you’re interested in thoughts about ruins, make sure to check the bottom of the page where I link to us rambling about them. After looking around the ruins we hung out in the entrance making the most of the free decent speed wi-fi for a while to get things uploaded. Videos especially are a pain to get uploaded, and it’s one of the reasons why the posts take a while to get done.
One of the reasons we stayed at Uxmal for so long, is that we were in a kind of limbo. There was a town 15 km north of Uxmal, but then nothing for about 40km (outside of a small village) and with the headwinds it would be not only difficult, but also thoroughly unpleasant to get to the second place. The wi-fi was of a fair speed at Uxmal and the chances of having better speeds in Muna were minimal.
When we had just enough time to get to Muna before the sun went down, we set off. It was even windier than we had expected, and it meant that we got to town after the sun had set. The area around the main square was noisy, which made us realise it was a Friday. We found a large church just a bit out of the centre and Peter went to ask. I guess the Yucatán is a very popular place for cyclists, because the people had spoken together, not realising that he could understand, about how it was ANOTHER cyclist looking for a place to stay for free. It felt strange being seen in that way, as some kind of a burden, as we often see such warmth aimed towards us. The man in the church escorted us to the police station, where we were directed towards the commandante (chief) who said we could pitch our tents just outside but there’d be noise and the lights wouldn’t be going out until midnight. We didn’t want to look for another place to camp, so used the time to dine, find some groceries and then around 9:30 pm put our tents up. I had blog posts to write, but Peter went to sleep and was soon snoring away.
We woke up to the bizarre sight of plenty of police sleeping in hammocks tied up to the columns to the side of where we were camping. I guess that’s what they meant when they told us it was safe. No-one was going to mess with our tents when it would have involved disturbing a group of 6-8 sleepy policemen.
That morning, we packed up, had breakfast and headed off for the 60km or so to Mérida. We had a possible place to stay and we hoped to get there by lunch to enjoy the afternoon there. The wind seemed stronger than the day before, and of course was blowing in our faces. We rode for a few hours and barely seemed to make any progress. My stomach was giving me grief which really didn’t make the ride any more enjoyable. We’d tried in vain a few times to thumb a lift, as the wind was especially annoying as the ride itself wasn’t at all interesting. Eventually a guy stopped and picked us up. His name was Manuel and he was going to Mérida and would save us the couple of hours of pain to cover the 20km we still had to go. I sat up front and we spoke about travel until before long we were in Mérida.
My Warmshowers host back in Savannah, Georgia in May 2011 had mentioned a friend of his living in Mérida, but unfortunately he had family staying so was unable to help us out. We had a possible place to stay on Couchsurfing, but after calling at 1, being told to call back at 6 pm and then doing so we were no closer. Loretta, our potential host, was having phone issues and the number which had worked perfectly at 1 pm seemed to be broken at 6 pm as neither the iPhone, Skype or a regular payphone could call her. After some discussing and waiting, we found a cheap hostel at 8pm. It was 100 pesos each and included a buffet breakfast. Of course at 8:30, after we had checked in, Loretta got back to us and let us know we could head over. We arranged to go the next day and headed out to buy ingredients to cook dinner, as well as denture cleaning tablets. Apparently they’re the best thing to clean not only water bottles, which I figured was the cause of my stomach issues, but also my Vibrams, which have stunk badly for a good while.
The next morning we had a lazy time eating a ridiculous amount of food at breakfast, and then in the early afternoon we went over to Loretta’s place. She’s an Ohian that loves to talk. After giving us a lesson in doing laundry by hand, which took us a while, we spent the rest of the afternoon and well into the evening talking. A fantastic lady who is not afraid to either ask the mountain of questions that she has or give her opinion on any topic.
Story of the dwarf of Uxmal
Dwarf of Uxmal
Pedro and the wind