Day 15: Piste to Izamal - Grampies Yucatan Return: Winter 2023 - CycleBlaze

January 14, 2023

Day 15: Piste to Izamal

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We clung to our 4 a.m. wakeup, but paid for it with a starting temperature of 9 degrees. Gads, that is not much different than what it is right now at home, and there we have warm clothes! The regime here is a little different, though. I recall an episode of the King Fu TV series where the technique to break down a prisoner was to alternately freeze and fry them, in that case by confining them by day and night in a tin hut. Instead of tin huts, we use bicycles on the open road! By 10 a.m. the temperature had spiked to 31 degrees. Get the idea!

9 degrees in downtown Piste, 5 a.m.
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The central square is still cheery, and a little Christmasy
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From 5 to 6:30 we spent our time eagerly searching the eastern sky for signs the warming sun would return. We were glad Isaac Newton and not Neils Bohr was controlling things, because we wanted it to definitely rise and not probably rise. The birds were watching as well, and by 6:15 we  were all just chirping about it!  

The road we had chosen, especially after Dzitas, was quiet and beautiful, and with  lots of bird activity. We saw some that were new to us, we think. In the photos that follow there are some of these birds, plus plants and even a really nice cow.  The whole road was rather more lush  and pleasing than some others, and made for a great ride.

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Bill ShaneyfeltOriole... maybe orange oriole again? Not enough bird to tell for sure.
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Bill ShaneyfeltMight be a great kiskadee... If only it would turn its head.
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Bill ShaneyfeltYucatan jay.

https://ebird.org/species/yucjay1
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Scott AndersonA beautiful bird. Think it must be a Yucatán Jay, but his back should look bluer. Maybe it’s just a trick of the light.
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Bill ShaneyfeltTo Scott AndersonYeah, I looked and looked, but that's the only species to remotely fit.

The San Blas jay looks similar but only lives on the west coast of Central America.
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Bill ShaneyfeltOrange oriole!

https://ebird.org/species/oraori1
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The road to Izamal, outside of any town. Inside towns there were lots of flowers, bananas, and such.
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Bill ShaneyfeltGood ol' morning glories

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morning_glory
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Scott AndersonGreat Kiskadee!
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Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like a Queen Emma

https://www.backyardnature.net/yucatan/queen-em.htm
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QA self seeded roadside papaya - almost ripe!
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Bill ShaneyfeltI spy one near the bottom of the cluster in the middle!
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Bananas look so tropical! We suspect many areas here are too dry for them.
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The church in Tunkas. We will soon see a lot more of this yellow.
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An angular looking Grackle.
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A really great banana shot!
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Scott AndersonAnother new dove species! This is the white-winged dove. Tucson is about the northern edge of their range so I’ve been watching for one.
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Invasive or not, we really like this Tulip tree.
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Bill ShaneyfeltIf only they were not so aggressive! But they are very showy!
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Roadside shrines with unique themes.
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The three kings, we presume.
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Bill ShaneyfeltMaybe a gray hawk?

https://ebird.org/species/gryhaw2
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Celosia?
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Bill Shaneyfeltleaves look wrong... maybe something in the ginger family?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zingiberales
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Scott AndersonCool. A tropical kingbird, another species that doesn’t make it north of the border.
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Bill ShaneyfeltLooks like Ceiba

https://www.backyardnature.net/yucatan/ceiba2.htm
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The white fluff comes from those pods.
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Nicely composed cow shot!
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Bill ShaneyfeltBetter composed than decomposed! :-)
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Rich FrasierI’m always happy to see a good cow shot!
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Scott AndersonYou’ll recognize this by now.
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The few towns we are passing through do not have much food by the road. This is from OXXO.
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It looks rather gross, but is essentially an OXXO ham and cheese sandwich without the yuccky Bimbo bread. (Sorry, Sue a Jim Price - who like Bimbo)
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We stopped here to eat our packed lunch. The main course was tuna on a bun.
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Just out of Sitilpech was this monastery - with a nicer design than the church in town. Unfortunately just across the road was an incredibly loud cement or gravel plant. It was a km before we could hear ourselves comment that the plant would really challenge the concentration of the monks.
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Agave for Tequila?
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Bill ShaneyfeltPossibly, but seeing lower leaves are being harvested, it might be for rope... or several other things.

https://basmati.com/2017/04/25/10-uses-agave-plant-you-probably-didnt-know
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By 1 p.m. we arrived in Izamal, in fine shape because the temperature, that had spiked to 31 had settled down to about 27. Here on the outskirts we already see that every house is yellow.
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A sign that we were really in town was encountering the first of the caleches that famously line up by the huge yellow Monastery of San Antonio de Padua, at the central square. We were soon there, cruising the also yellow buildings that surround the square, housing shops. The shops are rather more workaday than those found on the Valladolid square. 

Another yellow landmark on the square is our hotel, the San Miguel Arcangel. We had stayed there before, and liked the central koi pod and general decoration. I lifted my bike up the stairs at the entrance and past reception and was fixing to go back for Dodie's, when the reception lady accosted me with you can't park your bike here. That quick attack always makes me see red, and when she followed with your can't take your bikes in the room, the war clouds were gathering fast.  But Dodie smoothed things out, and soon we were rolling our bikes into our nice room on the ground floor.

We soon set out for a walk, circling around the nearby Kinich Kakmo pyramid, said to be the largest in the Mayan world. It does not seem particularly tall, but it does fill a city block of the town. We also climbed up the steps of the monastery, for a great view of the nearby square and the caleches below. This included the statue of Diego de Landa, the 16th century Franciscan bishop of Yucatan responsible for burning all Mayan texts, thereby hindering the deciphering of Mayan script, religion, and civilisation.

We see our first Izamal caleche. We like the horses' hats!
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One side of the monastery.
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More caleches
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This man from Mexico City took Dodie's photo. He said he was impressed by our simple mode of transport and whole life in a few bags. He wants to show the photo to some of his fatcat friends back in the city.
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Our hotel is an integral part of the square.
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The now bike free courtyard. Admittedly it is rather narrow for bike parking!
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The koi in the pond
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Dodie liked this design, in the hotel gift shop.
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The steps to the monastery. The building itself was closed at the moment. We have never seen the inside.
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Up the steps is this broad forecourt in front of the main building.
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Diego de Landa statue. He is a very controversial guy.
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A caleche from above, on the monastery wall.
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OK, we got the point!
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Here is a cycling Grampie even slower than us!
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The backside of the monastery is not yellow.
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Part of the big pyramid. We thought there might be a way in to then climb it, but found nothing.
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Sue PriceNo climbing this pyramid any more? That's too bad! It's a great view from the top!
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When we thumbed our noses at the Bimbo bread factory, Sue Price wrote that she and Jim like Bimbo a lot. We even think they are talking about regular white Bimbo, not to mention the white toasted Bimbo sold in stores. But there is hope - here is whole wheat and flax!

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Sue PriceSeriously! We really like the Bimbo wheat bread and with the sliced pretend cheese it makes such good grilled cheese sandwiches! Mmmmmm!!!!
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Tomorrow, a long ride back up to the coast!

Today's ride: 73 km (45 miles)
Total: 630 km (391 miles)

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