Day 12: Rio Lagartos to Tizimin - Grampies Yucatan Return: Winter 2023 - CycleBlaze

January 11, 2023

Day 12: Rio Lagartos to Tizimin

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Our next major objective is Progreso, which is further west along the Gulf coast. However we have a serious case of "can't get there from here", because of a lack of roads and places to stay to our immediate west.  Our first move then has to be to come back south, to Tizimin. But it's more than that, because as explained at the start of the blog. there is also a lack of acceptable places to stay on highway 176, which does set out west from Tizimin. So we are going to end by descending all the way south to Valladolid, before carrying on west. It's ok, we like Valladolid.

We followed our new strategy again, and woke up at 4 a.m., hitting the road at 5. This time the strategy was too good, because the temperature when we started was 13. We put on our windbreakers and began watching for the sun in the East. We knew darn well it would only appear after 6, but it didn't stop us seizing on every bit of pink in the sky as a sign of warmth to come.

Just after 6 the thing put in an appearance, but it did take a couple of hours for the temperature to climb significantly.

Warmth is on the way!
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Early morning is a good time to spot birds, and despite our dissatisfaction with how our little camera is zooming to pick them up, we kept up a watch.

A most common bird today was some kind of Hawk Eagle. These guys were after road kill, and were very persistent, only reluctantly leaving when a car approached.

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Bill ShaneyfeltCaracara

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Crested_Caracara/overview
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2 weeks ago
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Next we saw this falcon-like guy.
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Scott AndersonGreat shot! A Gray Hawk (Buteo plagiatus), I think. A beautiful bird.
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Bill ShaneyfeltRaptors give me fits... I think this gray hawk might be a... gray hawk?

https://ebird.org/species/gryhaw2
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2 weeks ago
And a stark tree full of vultures.
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The vultures really are striking.
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Scott AndersonNot at the moment. Looks like they’re just hanging out. Or did you men they’re on strike?
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Steve Miller/GrampiesOur worry is that they are on the job, and deciding if we are going to make it through the heat.
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And three more mystery birds:

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Scott AndersonTropical mockingbird.
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Bill ShaneyfeltI like how mockingbirds pose so well.
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Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltI do too. They have a real elegance to them.
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2 weeks ago
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Scott AndersonYellow-throated euphonia?
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Bill ShaneyfeltMaybe a scrub euphonia?

https://ebird.org/species/screup1
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonTo Bill ShaneyfeltCould easily be. I can’t see much to distinguish the two species actually. And in fact both look very much like the yellow-crowned euphonia and thick-billed euphonia. Steve’s just going to have to go back and get a better picture, but even then I doubt we’d be sure. I wonder if they hybridize, and are really better thought of as a single species with subspecies, like with yellow-rumped warblers.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesGiven the extent to which we are circling back and around this peninsula, I could well get another shot. But hard to guarantee the same individual!
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These we take to be Cattle Egrets, they were definitely hanging around the cattle.
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Here is a bunch of them on a barn.
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It was not just birds that caught our attention. For example these cacti. Yucatan is quite a dry area, compared to the regions further south.

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Interesting twisty shape,
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And how about this flowering tree!
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Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like Australian yellow kapok, but who knows?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cochlospermum_fraseri
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2 weeks ago
Here are some more Cattle Egrets, but they are confused and are hanging out with sheep. The sheep are unique - we have never seen brown ones like that before. And are they wool-less or just really recently well shorn?
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Rich FrasierMust be Sheep Egrets then. Maybe they are a specialized subspecies?
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Now here is a real puzzler. This giant grub? was making its way by the road. It has a red head and grey butt, and is moving its body only with legs mounted up front!

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Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like a Scarabaeidae larva.

https://bugguide.net/node/view/1576870
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2 weeks ago
Scott AndersonYou should have taken a video!
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Steve Miller/GrampiesSo it will change into a beetle? What does their process look like? The one in the reference was from Wisconsin. This tropical one is sure to be quite exotic.
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2 weeks ago
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We are in cattle country, Here is a line of them moving along a trail. They seemed to be heading somewhere, but no one was driving them.
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When we entered Tizimin, we followed the sign for the main way to the centre. A little bit of culture shock hit me just then, as I compared the main drag into Tizimin to the equivalent in any Canadian or European town. No traffic lights, lines painted in the road, turning lanes, or any of that!

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The "main drag" then seemed to confront us with a conundrum. It mysteriously changed to one way, then the other way. We responded by thinking to turn right, toward where we could see the church. But that road was one way against us as well. Seeing our dilemma, a man across the street came over and tackled the problem.  He wasn't making too much progress, when a second man came along, riding a cargo bike along the one way street. He joined in the debate, and I guess there was a resolution, because we soon were at the Municipal Market, not far from the central square.

That's a one way street opposing us. Not that there are any markings!
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Maybe try that way!
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Any flashbacks I was having about what a (Canadian) town looks like were further wiped out as we got deeper into Tizimin. It's just chaos. But interesting!

We are approaching the central square.
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Clothes and oranges and everything else, for sale side by side.
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Tizimin central market. This is mainly the indoor, meat section. We avoided any photos of animal heads!
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Dodie's first objective in Tizimin, which she has been working on for some time, was to send postcards to the grandkids. She had somehow found the cards, in Valladolid, but could not send them from Rio Lagartos,  where residents have no access to postal service at all. To send the cards now from Tizimin  would require a post office, but when we went to where the GPS said it was, we could not spot it. No problem, there was an on-street police station. Dodie approached the officer, with what turned out to be the detective challenge of the day. He had to phone headquarters, and after a long conversation, did get the vague direction right, but thought it might be a couple of blocks. We headed in that direction, and fell on the office, almost in spitting distance.

Dodie went in and found that to send the cards would take stamps. But the post office in this town of 80,000 did not have any stamps. No problem, they could get some from Valladolid (population 85,000)! So Dodie gave the man the requested 30 pesos, in the form of two 20's. This caused a kerfuffle, because 10 pesos change could not be found. Dodie came back out to the bikes, and we dragged exact change from our coin  jar.  Dodie also got an official receipt, and the promise that they would get the stamps and get on it within a week!  Hapless Canada Post and the Royal Mail are starting to look better to us, but maybe Correos de Mexico is ahead of the game. Who sends letters anymore anyway! Grandkids - if you ever get these cards, drop us a Whatsapp!

The police is on the post office case.
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So easy to spot! Not so easy to use.
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These ladies passed by as I waited outside the post office. They were dressed for a religious festival. Other similarly clad people were exiting the church, carrying some sort of symbolic branches.
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With the postal situation pretty well sorted out, we set off toward our hotel, to see if we could stash bikes and gear and then go walking. We first paused at Soriana market, noting that they have increased the number of motos for sale outside. It's still about 16,000 pesos to drive one off.  Inside we saw that that is only a touch more than a large screen TV. In terms of good deals, I think the motos are the winners.

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Back outside we noticed some horses coming into town. But this is not necessarily for a parade or rodeo. Maybe they just came to do some shopping!

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When we got to the hotel - remember the hotel? the one you can rent by the hour:

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... we found that our room was not ready. Reasonable, since we had showed up at 11 a.m.! We asked if like before we could leave our bikes in the room while it was being cleaned, and come back in three hours. This led to an incredibly convoluted duel between the staff boy's smartphone translator and our own, in which neither of us seemed able to understand what was going on. Finally a fairly bilingual other client stepped in, and it got sorted,  with our bikes parked and us walking.   But this thing in which we have put ourselves de facto into another time zone is going to continue to cause hotel chaos.

We walked to the restaurant on the square - the Tres  Reis (three crowns), that specializes in Mayan food, as they all do. Dodie chose lomitos -pork bits, and I chose fajitas. Really nice, but too much food for mid-day.  Dodie had voted for going to the market, just for a taco, but got overruled. She then had to listen to me complain about being stuffed.

At the Tres Reis
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We did land up at the market anyway, and at least got some very freshly squeezed orange juice. Then back to our flop house, where we collapsed on the beds, after walking ourselves for kms in the heat. We had time to do that because of our steps to avoid the heat, right?

Today's ride: 55 km (34 miles)
Total: 445 km (276 miles)

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Bill ShaneyfeltReally tried on the cactus and yellow tree flower... Nice photos, but not much I could find on the internet. Again my reputation is tarnished. Keep up the great nature photography! Loving it!
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2 weeks ago
Suzanne GibsonThe pictures are nice and sharp! Are you using the new camera here? Or just increased the resolution with the old one?
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2 weeks ago
Suzanne GibsonJust read all of yesterday's comments. No, this is not the new camera. How could it be. Maybe the lens was fogged up, as you mentioned. I think it's the higher resolution.
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2 weeks ago