Day 24: Homun to Izamal - Grampies Yucatan Return: Winter 2023 - CycleBlaze

January 23, 2023

Day 24: Homun to Izamal

Heart 0 Comment 0

It was time to plot our return to Cancun. Things to bear in mind were, of course, that we would have places to stay along the way, and that we would get there in time to pack before our flight out. And of course the distance on any given day would need to be something we could actually achieve. 

All these considerations came into play as we looked at leaving Homun. We could try a straight shot to Chichen Itza. But that would be 90 km. In general, we can do that. But on the other hand, 74 km in the heat yesterday totally wiped us out. So we decided to "waste" a day and detour to Izamal, just 50 km away (including fooling around in the square and looking for the hotel and the OXXO).  That would then buy us a run tomorrow to Chichen Itza of "just" 76 km in the heat.  But we have a plan. We'll leave really early, and then arrive early enough to jump in the Ik Kil cenote. But that will be then. Today is the road to Izamal.

As usual for morning we started out looking at what birds might be around. Normally there are the very noisy grackles, getting ready for their day of whatever grackles do by day. But here was a lone female (we think), just quietly hanging out.

Heart 2 Comment 2
Scott AndersonIt’s a female great-tailed grackle alright, but I was surprised by how bronze it looked. It took some research to convince me there wasn’t some other grackle species down there.
Reply to this comment
6 days ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Scott AndersonIt does look like a different species, but female it is!
Reply to this comment
5 days ago

The back headed vulture is most common. I think we have yet to get a photo of a red headed one - the turkey vulture.

Kinda cute, for a vulture.
Heart 2 Comment 0

Speaking of vultures, even in dusty small towns we have been seeing these modern looking bank branches. We have no evidence that they are any better or worse, and they do seem to be bringing a service out to the countryside.

Heart 0 Comment 0
Paper wasps were also along our road. At home a wasp nest inspires a certain amount of fear, as they are usually lower down and buzzing with insects. These nests are higher and seem deserted.
Heart 0 Comment 0
A dove looks on. These seem quite common.
Heart 0 Comment 0

All of the roads we took today were very reasonable, in terms of low traffic and good surface. There are always some rocketing trucks to worry about, but on truth none has come too close to us. Also, in the towns, where there is a melee of cargo bikes, moto cargo bikes/taxis, and some cars, we never felt threatened. People, dogs, bikes, etc, are all wandering about, some parked seemingly in the middle of the roadway, some trying to sell tortas and tacos and such as they go, some with four giant loudspeakers announcing their presence. A dog could legitimately try for a nap out there, but it might be too loud to get a good rest.

Good road for making progress.
Heart 2 Comment 0
Every town, without exception, has a square with city hall on one side, a giant Spanish church opposite, a playground, and the colourful letters showing the name of the town. Tahmek had all this, but little more - like no food vendors and certainly no OXXO.
Heart 1 Comment 0

We had hopes for an OXXO at Hoctun, since by now we were out of all supplies and did not even have coffee to run on. No OXXO, so Dodie went into first a little tienda on the main square, but they only had the uniquely junky, shiny foil packaged, Mexican junk snacks. Next we tried the chain Willy's Ibara Bara, and this produced some low quality chocolate milk and chocolate cookies. Who would have thought we would be searching for an OXXO to land some "quality" food!

When Hoctun did have a nice church, and the standard bust of "Joseph Stalin" as well.
Heart 2 Comment 0

The chocolate milk left us with an indestructible UHT box, plastic straw, plastic straw cellophane wrap, and shiny blue plastic cookie package. As usual we packed this out, but it was tempting to just add the stuff to the crazy piles of garbage that seriously litter most roadways. There are a lot of frustrating aspects to the litter situation. First off, it seems like a no brainer to establish a bounty on plastic and glass bottles. The industrious population, with their cargo bikes, would scour the roadsides and have them clean in no time. Next, how really hard could it be to provide people, if not with a garbage pickup service, at least with convenient places to leave garbage. Right now, they seem willing to drive 10 km from a town, to throw their used diapers and such out the window.

A really sad part is to see all the government erected signs pleading with and threatening the public about throwing garbage. Look at this example from today:

This is really like giving the government the finger.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Yeah, yeah, quote the law and threaten different levels of penalty units, whatever!
Heart 0 Comment 0
Hey, we say some more Yucatan Jays. These birds are endemic - found only here.
Heart 0 Comment 0
We are now back in hennquen country.
Heart 0 Comment 0

As we got closer to Izamal, but specifically to Kimbila and Citicum, we encountered a half dozen stand alone and boldly signed outlets for Guayaberas. "A guayabera is typically characterized as a short-sleeved Cuban or Mexican shirt that has two-breast pockets and two pockets over the hips. A guayabera is often worn untucked, even in more formal settings. Guayaberas will commonly have two vertical rows of pleats or embroidery." To show how much Spanish we still have to learn, we speculated that "ropa" might be related to the hennequen we were seeing. Nope, "ropa" is clothing.

Heart 0 Comment 0
Nice looking dresses
Heart 0 Comment 0
We also encountered another planting of dragon fruit. The trees they are planted on are heavily pruned and/or dead. Why not just use stakes or wires?
Heart 0 Comment 0
On a long empty road, billboards can provide entertainment. And hey, that's our hotel!
Heart 0 Comment 0
It looks good. And we think our price on Booking was 790.
Heart 0 Comment 0

The now familiar all yellow buildings of Izamal popped up fairly suddenly as we headed on in toward the central square. We were way too early to go find our hotel, and did some vague wandering looking for an OXXO. I could see Dodie was wilting fast in the hot sun, an so insisted we take an outdoor, shaded table at a little restaurant, one of several in the market building.

Heart 0 Comment 0
Dodie in the shade at the restaurant.
Heart 0 Comment 0
To drink with our meal we asked for orange juice, but they were out. Instead the waitress brought out what was available. There was "Jamaica" which is hibiscus, pineapple, horchata, melon, and mango.
Heart 0 Comment 0
We chose mango and pineapple. Here is Dodie using them in an unconventional way to cool off.
Heart 0 Comment 0
My lunch was an unhealthy sounding fried chicken with fries, but look, it's great. Dodie was still into breakfast, choosing huevos Mexicana.
Heart 0 Comment 0
The market of course was full of vendors of various kinds. But from our table we noticed an old couple, who had set up just off the walkway, with a small selection of what could have been spices. They sat companionably for the whole time we were there. We thought better to sit together here than at home.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Other food options in the market were ore active and hotter than where we chose.
Heart 0 Comment 0
In case you are dreaming of being at one of these restaurants too, here is a sample menu, from a slightly more upscale one on the square.
Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

We arrived at our hotel, the T'U'UL, which means the Rabbit in Mayan. You can see the rabbits in their wall mural.

Heart 0 Comment 0
Heart 0 Comment 0

We were quite "hot" on having a fridge in the room, so we could go to OXXO and stock up on our favourite refrigerated foods: meat and cheese sandwich on BIMBO bread, with green chillies, flan, cheesecake, yogurt, juice, cold coffee. The hotel said we would need an upgraded room to score a fridge and we said great. It was only a little more, and somehow they ended up not charging for it anyway. 

The room was really huge. Sometimes in France I quip that we need to make an appointment to pass between the end of the bed and the wall in the tiny rooms. But here we almost need a GPS to find that wall!

Heart 0 Comment 2
Bob KoreisAnd a ductless wall unit. Did it provide AC for you?
Reply to this comment
5 days ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Bob KoreisThe AC was great. Most hotels we have stayed in this time round have this type of AC and it generally seems to work quite well.
Reply to this comment
5 days ago

We soon went out to the pool, finding that there was quite a jungly bit behind the hotel. From the coolness of the pool we could look up at the foliage and also a fair number of birds. 

Heart 1 Comment 0

Something we saw from the pool was another of those large trees with the interesting cantaloupe looking fruits. Google Lens tells me this is a Sapodilla. 

Heart 1 Comment 0

Just next door to the hotel was a fruit store. The format of this was a room with  shelves or tables partitioning an area inside the entrance. These contained the fruits. Beyond, the family was living, and at this time cooking up something that smelled good. We got some fruits, that Dodie converted swiftly to fruit salad. Once we are back in the frozen North, we will look back fondly on the cool pool and lush foliage, and the fresh fruit next door.

Mango, orange, banana
Heart 0 Comment 0

Our final expedition was to just next door to the fruit store. Here was an archeological site called El Conejo - which is the Rabbit in Spanish.

It is strange to think of the way the Spanish stuff overlayed the Mayan, right in the Mayan cities.  So there are several ruins with city streets all around them. El Conejo is said to be one of the most heavily pilfered sites for building materials. The designation "the Rabbit" refers to a period of Mayan culture, around 1100 a.d. , I seem to have read.

El Conejo
Heart 0 Comment 0

Tomorrow, the long run to Chichen Itza!

Today's ride: 50 km (31 miles)
Total: 1,082 km (672 miles)

Rate this entry's writing Heart 5
Comment on this entry Comment 2
Marvin PaxmanWe think your pictures, especially of birds, are getting better and better. It has been really fun seeing all the pictures you have been posting!
Reply to this comment
5 days ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Marvin PaxmanThanks guys, it is realļy fun to spot a new bird species, try to focus in on it and get a cliser look. Quite an addictive hobby!
Reply to this comment
5 days ago