Day 10: Tizimin to Rio Lagartos - Grampies Yucatan Return: Winter 2023 - CycleBlaze

January 9, 2023

Day 10: Tizimin to Rio Lagartos

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Hey everyone, if you happened to read yesterday's post early, you missed the addition of a report from a night market in Tizimin. There are some great pics of vendors in there - go back and have a look!

Today we got our timing nailed down properly - going to bed at 8 p.m. and rising at 4 a.m., to be on the road by 5 a.m.  That gave one hour before the sky began lightening, with full light by 6:30.  Our starting temperature was 18.5 - really comfortable - and it did not go over 30 before we had done the ride. Resetting our "time zone" like this is mostly going to work well.  One possible problem is that arriving at our next hotel at what they think is 10:00  a.m. might not work if we can't check in. But then, we should be able to go hide in  a cafe or restaurant.

After all the jam packed activity in the square last night, it was a revelation to pass back through  at 5 a.m. It was not only of course deserted, but all evidence of what had gone on had been removed.

Deserted
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Party? what party!
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The only possible clue was people sleeping at the edge of the square in tents. We think these are not the homeless, but rather vendors, who will go again today or perhaps go home today.

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It did not take long for us to hit the open road. There was really a lot of fog or mist in the air -which we could clearly see in our headlight beam. When daylight came, the mist persisted, and we kept our lights on.

The open road to Rio
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Misty farm scenes
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Dramatic jungle tree in the mist
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We had described Tizimin as a cowboy town, and now we were passing many cattle ranches. As we saw in the Comments yesterday, the primary cattle variety is the Brahman. Here that is confirmed by the sign, but three other varieties are also mentioned.
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They are so cute - and look at those ears!
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We are going to Rio Lagartos to look at Gulf of Mexico shore birds, especially the flamingos. But there were lots of birds along the way. As usual, Dodie is the spotter. I was glad we left early this morning, because she pottered along, looking left, right, and up. Then when a bird was seen, I stopped to try to zoom in on it. Get ready, bird identifiers, because here is what we saw. (Mostly we took out duplicate shots of a kind of bird, but some repeats remain because they give a bit of a different view, or we are too dumb to know that we already included a bird type.)

On the Ruta Flamingo!
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Laurie MarczakCrested Caracara!
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Bill ShaneyfeltTropical mockingbird
https://birdfinding.info/tropical-mockingbird/
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Bill ShaneyfeltKinda far off, but looks like maybe scarlet tanager

https://ebird.org/species/scatan
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Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltNope. Vermillion flycatcher.
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Bill ShaneyfeltMight be great tailed grackles

https://ebird.org/species/grtgra
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Bill ShaneyfeltBest I can figure using internet image searches is maybe white fronted parrots

https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/18995-Amazona-albifrons/browse_photos
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Bill ShaneyfeltLight stripe on the tail matches black hawk-eagle

https://ebird.org/species/blheag1
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Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like a kiskadee

https://ebird.org/species/grekis/MX-YUC-061
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Bill ShaneyfeltMight be a plumbeous kite

https://ebird.org/species/plukit1
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Bill ShaneyfeltJacana

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_jacana
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Bill ShaneyfeltMaybe Altamira oriole

https://ebird.org/species/altori
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Although we were mainly photographing birds on this ride, we were of course surrounded by trees, shrubs, and flowers. There was often a sort of tropical meadow by the road, and in that were lots of interesting flowers and plants. We just shot one or two, and also a couple of trees and a beautiful  lily filled pond:

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Bill ShaneyfeltMight be a spurred butterfly pea

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centrosema_virginianum
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Morning Glory does really well here, and climbs a lot of shrubs.
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This tree looks like it belongs in the jungle.
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We suspect this may be a kapok, because those pods could burst open with white fluff?
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Bill ShaneyfeltSpiny trunk? If so, probably correct.
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The pods
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Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like kapok pods images on the internet
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The lily pond
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We made it easily to Rio Lagartos, rolling down the main street - which admittedly is not much of a thoroughfare!

Entering Rio Lagartos
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We hung a left and headed for the water, at a spot where we knew we would be able to arrange a boat tour of the coast. The reason was that in 2018 we had been here and done that. But it can never get old. For that tour we had found "Ria Maya Tours", which is run by Diego Nunez. Diego is #3 in a line of Diego's of the Nunez family that have run the company. In 2018 our guide had been Diego #4, who we were glad to see was still there. At that time, #4 had already spun off #5, who was just about 4 year old. Now 9, we hope he is soon ready to be a guide. We expect  to meet him later.

The Diego's were tickled to see our photos of #4 in our 2018 blog, and immediately organized a group photo to have in their smart phone. We took one too, like this:

Diego #4, Dodie, Steve. #3, and Mrs. #3.
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We arranged to go our for three hours from 6:30 tomorrow morning - a late hour for us, heh heh. Diego #3 then invited us to a family dinner tonight. We are looking forward to that, and will be curious to see what is served, and also to meet Diego #5. 

This family sounds a bit like royalty, with their line of succession. And it's true, except that far from claiming some Divine Right, their succession is based on hard work and an immense knowledge of wildlife. #4 absolutely amazed us in 2018 with his ability to spot and identify life along the coast.

Grampies have reached the Gulf of Mexico
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Until tomorrow.
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We headed into the centre of town, passing some rather neat houses.

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The small town square is not as extravagant as a place like Valladolid.
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Our hotel, La Placita, is really nice, with a large room, wifi, A/C, and available water for coffee or hot chocolate.
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Would you call this towel fold a "horse shoe crab"?
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Wow, there are two, non collapsing beds in here.
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After writing and posting the first part of this page, we ventured out into the town to see if we could find some groceries. The town is very small and seemingly quite poor, and though we found one moderately sized store, there was no bread and no fruit there. Later we did find one (closed) bakery, and also managed to buy some buns and sweet breads from a tiny shop more or less operating out of a house window.

Our walk also revealed some very cute houses, like the one below with the flamingos or the one with an ocean scene.

Flamingos in the balcony
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Ocean scene
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After stashing our groceries, taking advantage of the fridge in our room, we strolled over to Diego's place, which incorporates a large restaurant. Diego IV greeted us. We had imagined a large family gathering, with all sorts of food and merriment flying about. But we were sat at our choice of tables in the large restaurant and plied with food, eventually to be joined by Diego III and IV, and some very interesting other additions. Mrs. Nunez stayed in the background, but first we presented her with gifts of dried apple and tomato from our farm. she received these very graciously.

Dodie and Mrs. Nunez
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Our food consisted of a very large plate with five or more seafood preparations plus salad and fries. Normally we don't go for seafood, but this was really good, and even Dodie found things to like in it. Adding to the enjoyment was the knowledge that it all had been caught just here, inside or just beyond the lagoon. In fact as we watched, shrimp boats were cruising back and forth with nets just beyond our pier. Diego IV told us that the fish component was "sea trout", caught with rod and reel just here.

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We chose one corner of the restaurant.
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Now we had our first interesting addition. The fellow on the left is Regis St. Louis, a travel writer who has authored a number of Lonely Planet guides. He is here to update the Cancun, Cozumel, Yucatan edition, and will do a feature on the Nunez's. Diego III took the opportunity to explain at length his business philosophy, which stresses ecology, sustainability, and in-depth tours.  He talked about his so far not too successful efforts to get the other fishermen/tour operators on board with this. But he is persevering, and making sure that his successor Diego's receive the training and mind set needed to properly carry on. Grampies chipped in about how great we thought Diego's "River Maya" business was. It looks like Regis will join us on the boat tomorrow, which will add to the fun.

Two Diego's, and Regis on the left.
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Now we had the appearance of Diego V, a very sweet kid, as you see from the photo. He is also, of course, the dynasty's hope for the future.

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We had a look at the current Lonely Planet Guide, because Diego was saying that the author (not Regis) had shown up one day and gone on a tour, later telling him he would be famous. Diego had no idea what the guy was talking about, until people starting showing up, asking for him by name. Sure enough the Guide has a nice section  about him, not to mention his brother in law, a fishing guide.

Regis and the Lonely Planet
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We tried to leave reasonably early, joking with Diego IV that we wanted him to get enough rest to drive the boat tomorrow. He laughed this off, quite properly. He has lots of stamina. It's us that needed to turn in!

Today's ride: 56 km (35 miles)
Total: 390 km (242 miles)

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Leslie and Rob CookeWhat a wonderful opportunity to of been invited to supper. I will be sure to check back to see how it went.
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