Valladolid to Tizimin

29 Oct.

I´m sitting at a Pemex petrol station near Tizimin. We are very tired today. Nadya’s already sleeping and I want to do so too but it’s been 3 days since I wrote anything.

Let’s start where we left of. We woke up in Chemax at 7 feeling quite refreshed. After two hours of packing we were cycling again. Just before we left we had had a quick peek at the local church. It’s quite big but unlike in Europe very simple. 30km to Valladolid took us just under 2 hours. We arrived at the city center and crashed on one of the benches in the park.

relaxing at a bench in Valladolid

After a couple of hours of surfing the internet we bought some tamales for lunch. Tamales are boiled or steamed cornmeal filled with chicken or pork usually wrapped in a banana leaf. They were very tasty. We were about to leave what place when the rain finally caught up with us.  It’s been cloudy for the past 3 days. We quickly found a shelter in one of the hotels driveways. It wasn’t  just rain, it poured like hell. We stayed put for 2 hours and decided to spend the night there. There are 2 hostels in Valladolid. They are both close to the centre. Unfortunately one of them was completely full and the other one had only one private room for 290 $MXN. It’s way over what we can afford to pay for a night but we didn’t really have any choice. Having paid we moved into a very simple room with a bathroom and surprise, surprise,  hot water / first time in more than a month. We spent the evening typing our diary and making some more wallets.

We woke up around 9 and very quickly understood that it was gonna be a very hot day. The price we paid last night included breakfast. I got a bit upset and had a go at the hostel guy for not being able to provide cornflakes with milk even thought it explicitly said that we can choose out of 2 options. The other option was toast with butter and jam plus coffee. I shouldn´t have. If he ever reads this I apologize. We were almost ready to leave when I decided to call my grandmother and we ended up talking to her for almost an hour. It was scorching when we left the place to check out Cenote Zaci which is located right in the town.  We didn’t expect what we found. It was a huge cave with a decent size pond in the middle and some stalactites hanging of the top.

Cenote Zaci

We went straight down and into the water. It was refreshingly cold and we spent a whole hour there.

taking a waterfall shower at Cenote Zaci

After that we moved back up and into a nearby restaurant to have some lunch. Two chicken soups and enchiladas did it. 3 hours later we were pedaling again. We only had 2/3 hours of day light left so we dconcluded that spending the night at Ek Balam would be our best bet. Ek Balam is only about 30 km outside of Valladolid and off the main road a bit . We got there at about 5 and luckily found some people even though it closes at 4. About 2 km further into the jungle is another Cenote Xcanche.

Cenote Xcanche at Ek´Balam

Of course, we went we went for a swim straight away.  It is huge as well and has a lot of catfish in it. We slept in hammock in a palapa along with some guys, who work around the cenote.

Palapa at Cenote Xcanche

Sleeping in a hammock can be very comfortable if you know how to do it. You need to sleep crossways. It was already dark when we finished cooking our dinner. We have a Primus omnifuel cooking stove which save us quite a bit of money and provides us with hot dinners mainly.

The following day, we started with a morning dip in the cenote and left before 9. Ek Balam ruins are just two km back and after we 89 pesos each for the ticket and went for wander around our first ancient Maya sites.

Ek Balam - view from the top

Our bikes and belongings were left with local rickshaw drivers. The ruins are quite impressive, several big stone pyramids as you might have seen in pictures or on TV. We walked around for about an hour and a half and climbed the highest pyramid which gave us a great view of the whole archeological site.

artistic photo of Ek´Balam

The Sun was high and burning as we cycled off. We decided to take a shortcut through the village of Ek Balam but it turned out to be a dead end and we had to cycle about 5 km back to Ek Balam ruins and then onto the main road. We stopped at Calotmul and entered a local bar which had very loud reggaeton music on. It was full of men drinking beer. We were invited to have one, too. And we did. Beer was the only thing on the drink list; however, they had two different brands Sol and Superior. They don’t do draft beer in Mexico so the place was full of 1 litre glass bottles. The guys were all curious about our bikes and our journey. Some of them wanted to dance with Nadya but she declined their invitations. They were obviously all a bit inebriated. Even though we offered to pay, they refused and so we left a little tipsy and onto to the scorching Sun again. We got to Tizimin an hour later totally exhausted. After filling up our food supplies we rode off to find a place to camp. Right after the town there’s a gas station and we were cheeky enough to filter some water here. They kindly allowed us to use it and later even camp on their grounds. It’s close to people and we have plenty of light as it is open 24/7. I’ve been writing for almost 2 hours now. I need to go to bed or I’ll fall asleep here. Asta mañana.

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