©2019 by Jelle.

The peninsula of Yucatán

2/9/2018

After a few more days with the group of Mexicans, I continued my way alone because of the different routes that we had. I wanted to go around the peninsula of Yucatan, while the rest of the group takes a more direct route towards the South. I’m only a few days away from Cancún and still need to make up my mind about going to Cuba or not.

 

 

We left Villahermosa with a part of the original group and had a pretty big trip of about 150 kilometers to make towards Palenque. That turned out to be 13 kilometers too much, as we encountered a tropical thunderstorm. We could see it coming from a big distance and we’d never seen anything like it before. Like a wave, the thunderstorm came rapidly in our direction and turned the clear blue sky into obscurity. We were forced to seek shelter. Luckily, someone could pick us up with a pick-up truck. We could sleep in a community house. Palenque is known for its Maya ruins that are in very good shape. Obviously, I had to see that with my own eyes and it was indeed really impressive to see.

 

A quick last picture before the thunderstorm erupted

 

De Maya ruins of Palenque

 

The next day, we went towards the next village and left pretty late in the morning because we only had sixty kilometers to go, according to Marco Polo (better known as Omar). However, that route was partly impassable. The real route was fifteen kilometers longer and the location where we stayed was another fifteen kilometers past that village. Sixty kilometers turned out to be ninety again! We slept at a farm and were accompanied by dozens of toads who came out of nowhere.

 

Camping in the barn of a farm

 

The next day, it was time to say goodbye to the group. It was really that I had some good company for a while, but also a relief to continue on my own pace. They really (and I mean really really) take their time with everything. We left later than agreed, stopped many times and a part of the group was quite slow. I continued my way along the quiet and flat roads of Campeche, with beautiful meadows with palm trees on the left and right side of the road. Some parts of the meadows are underwater because of the rain season. You can definitely tell that you’re in a tropical area! In terms of climate conditions, it feels like you’re in the reptile house of a zoo all day long. The only difference is that there is no exit to escape the heat and humidity (and no barricades that separate you from crocodiles).

 

A last picture with the group with amonst others Marco Polo (Omar) in blue :-)

 

The rest of the day, I was cycling along the Gulf of Mexico with a beautiful view on the sea. After a while, I came across a nice restaurant with a beach. I arrived at the beginning of a Monday afternoon, I was the only one there. I drank something and obviously could not resist to take a dive in the sea. The abrasions on my groins were not too happy with the salt of the sea…. I had found an address in the town I was cycling towards. The man was part of the Mexican bicycle tourist community and told me the day before that I could stay in his house and that we would have dinner together. That was the reason I cycled 140 instead of 70 k’s. When I arrived in Chapotón, the man ignored my messages on all platforms and did not answer my calls. I patiently waited, assuming his phone battery died or whatsoever. After a couple of hours, the sun started to set and the daily tropical thunderstorm was getting close. I had to look for alternatives. The red cross location did not exist anymore. When someone else tried to call the man, he suddenly answered the phone but hang up as soon as he realized that is was about me. Up to the present day, I still have no clue why he behaved like that. Probably a bad conscience. I decided to go to an hotel instead.

 

Palm trees on the right, the Gulf of Mexico on the left

 

The restaurant with irresistible sea

 

From Champotón, it was only about 65 kilometers (really!) towards the state capital, Campeche. Again, beautiful views on the sea with a couple of local fishing villages along the way. The Red Cross location of Champotón moved to Campeche. This time, Google Maps was up-to-date and directed me towards an exiting Red Cross location where I could stay. I was happy that I could use a fan to blow away the mosquitos. Somehow, those mosquitios look like they’re highly evolved. They’re super tiny, anti-insect stuff doesn’t bother them, they’re barely hearable and visible and they’re already gone once you notice that one is stinging you.

 

In the capital (Mérida) of the next state, Yucatán, I was more lucky with my place to stay. When I arrived, I first had to wait for the man to send me a message with his location. For a moment, I was afraid that he was not going to send me anything, but received a message after some time. I could stay in the house of Ken, a retired man from the United States who moved to Mérida in 2009. He has a gorgeous house (with a swimming pool!) in the middle of the center. Only two weeks ago, I was sleeping in some kind of favela in Veracruz, and now I’m in this luxurious villa. The differences between the poor and the rich are big. It reminded me of Los Angeles, with the difference between Beverly Hills and the rest of the city. It is a sad fact, but it also raises awareness of how lucky I am that I’m able to do this trip. If you’re in the middle of it, that awareness tends to fade away.

 

Two weeks ago

 

Right now

 

I’ve heard some crackling in my rear wheel for some time now. I thought it was nothing, but when I took a closer look, I noticed a broken spoke. Apart from the sound, there was no way to tell the bicycle had a broken spoke. I didn’t want to continue without fixing that, because the equilibrium in the forces of the other spokes is completely gone. That way, it’s only a matter of time before the other spokes break. Luckily, Ken knew a good bike mechanic who could fix the spoke. He also switched my tires, because my rear tire is more worn out than the front one, because of the weight of the rear bags. On this moment, I’m still in Mérida and will continue towards Cancún within a couple of days. I still have to make the decision whether I will go to Cuba or not. In that case, I also have to find a place to park my bicycle, because I don’t want to take everything with me for the short period in Cuba.

 

The governmental palace with one of the olders cathedrals of the continent in the background.

 

 

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