Sunday, July 11, found B and I once again up and drinking coffee on the back porch by 7 am. This was the day we were to head out for Uxmal. This is probably the second largest Mayan ruin site in the Yucatan peninsula. Chichen-Itza being the first. We had discussed getting an early start the night before as it was going to be a long, hot, rough day. The longer we sat with no sign of the family stirring, the more exasperated we became. Neither one of us wanted to be climbing around in ruins in the midday sun. Besides which, my back was still killing me from my wonderful, but ill thought out, cave adventure. After considerable discussion amongst ourselves, we decided that when the family did finally get up, we would reluctantly tell them that we would not be going to Uxmal today. I did not think that it would be a good idea and I wanted to rest my back.
We heard the first sounds of people stirring around 10am. I thought for sure everybody would now get up since whoever it was that was up slammed the bathroom door loudly enough to awaken even the mummies back in Santa Elena! I was wrong. It was fully 30 minutes later before the whole family got up. The slammer turned out to be Juan.
We broke the news to Juan about not wanting to go to Uxmal. He totally understood and agreed that it would be a bad idea today. He announced that we would have a day off and just rest. Later, he said, we would drink a lot of beer too! Beer drinking seems to be the favorite indoor and outdoor sport in Akil! At least with Juan and his relatives.
When he announced to the family that we were not going to Uxmal, I could plainly read the kids faces. They seemed to be saying, “Oh great. Now we get to just sit around here and be bored all day.” Except for Carlos. His girlfriend had recently arrived back in town and he was jubilant to be set free to go spend the day with her. She is from one of the “better” (read rich) families in town. He can only spend time with her with a chaperone present. I didn’t think they still did that sort of thing, but looks like they do.
As we sat on the porch, finishing our last cups of coffee, Juan was reading the local paper. He turned it to us and showed us this article about a guy from Cancun who has transplanted to this area and started a huge cactus plantation. He knows that we are continually on the hunt for unusual cactus for our garden in front of the cabana. He suggested that we take a ride out there, since, in his opinion, it wasn’t very far. We readily agreed. Secretly, we sort of had the same thought as the kids about the day off!
So, after a quick breakfast of empanadas, toast and left over chicken soup, we loaded ourselves into our respective vehicles and headed out. B was driving today since my back was not up to it. I wish I had looked at the map we had first. I would have had some sort of inkling of the distance. Not that it was that far, about 70 miles, but since he had said it was close, I thought we drove for hours! We passed through Ticul on our way and located several shops selling earthen pots. We wanted to stop at some of these on the way back. Ticul is famous for pots and shoes. For some strange reason, it is the shoe selling capital of the Yucatan peninsula. Almost every other shop sold shoes. But women’s only.
Leaving Ticul behind, we entered into the high but gently rolling hills surrounding the area. There is a line of “mountains” that runs along this portion of the Yucatan, called by Juan the Yucatan Sierra. This protects the peninsula from really bad storms and hurricanes. I guess he forgot that hurricanes can also come from the Carribean like they did in 2002. The views as we traveled up and around these hills was breathtaking. Green and lush as far as the eye could see. Eventually we came to a rather strange place and Juan pulled in. It had lots of cactus and agave planted everywhere so he assumed this was the place. We doubted it. There was a large sign in English proclaiming this to be an RV Trailer Court! I couldn’t begin to imagine how many, or why, English speaking people would want to haul a trailer way up here, with nothing around, and camp. But evidently they do or it wouldn’t exist. I have to add though, it was closed with no campers in sight the day we were there. We told Juan that we thought this was the wrong place. He insisted it was the cactus plantation. We finally made him ask the caretaker who was lounging under the shade of a palm tree. Yup. The cactus plantation was further up the hill, just past the small town of Muno.