David Johnson's Travel Blog
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Village Life

2015-11-10

tl;dr: I biked from Coba through many small villages to just shy of Chichen Itza.

At the Sac-Be Hotel a neighbor dog started barking around 2 AM. The roosters (very plural) didn't start crowing until 4 AM. The iguanas didn't start squeaking until 5 AM. I tried to leave the hotel by 6:30 AM as the sky was lighting up, but it turns out I was locked in. There are three gates that allow you to leave this hotel, and all are locked, and my room key unlocks none of them. Consternation. About 7 AM, though, a high school kid who lived in there shambled to the gate on his way to school and let me out.

I left Coba through the street dogs and wood smoke. I decided to avoid the highway today and take back roads through some small villages such as Chanchen Primero (literally Chanchen 1) and Xuilub (I guarantee you are not pronouncing it correctly). There aren't too many cars on these roads, but one did pull up beside me and the driver yelled out in broken English, "Where are you going? There is nothing!" I eventually made him and his companion understand I was buenos via the universal language of thumbs up, and I continued on. Immediately I came across a small caravan of tricycles trundling in the opposite direction. They don't go very fast, so I'm not sure where they are going or when they could possibly arrive.

The road I thought should be gravel was newly paved, and I did come across a brand new road that was not on my map. It was going in my general direction. I skipped it, though.

Many of the police officers and taxi drivers that swarm the tourist areas live out this way. It is surreal seeing a shiny little taxi parked in front of a thatch shack with a red satellite dish on the roof. Most people here wear uniforms to work or school. It is beyond me how they keep them so clean.

My concern for finding water remains unfounded. Even the smallest town has an open door with a coke sign next to it, even if there doesn't appear to be power within. I've noticed that towns are either Coke or Pepsi. You can tell, because a large number of building will be painted with one logo or the other. Never both.

Although I saw plenty of police today, I saw no assault rifles. I've seen more assault rifles in the tourist areas so far this trip than I've seen since...ever.

For some reason, the stray dogs love sleeping right in the middle of the road. Nobody runs them over, though.

In Xuilub I stopped at a park to rest. A local immediately showed up and started trying to talk to me. I used Google Translate to accomplish very rudimentary communication. It worked. Sort of.

I hit a stretch of road construction. These men use proper equipment, but they sure don't believe in flaggers. They all made room for me to sneak by, though, as they waved and yelled, "hola!"

Interestingly, the locals attitude toward me changes dramatically depending whether I'm on a tourist road or not. In the tourist areas, the spiffy young male workers seem to sneer more than most. I wonder how it feels to bike from a shack to a bus and then into a massive resort and know that the people that you are serving probably still had to step down in comfort just to visit.

It gets hotter inland. And it is still humid. My phone says it is 30 degrees, but feels like 37.

There are many small trails leading from the road into the jungle, even kilometers from a town. At first I thought maybe people lived down these trails, but I've come to the conclusion that these trails are used by wood cutters. Men load up their tricycles with wood that is consistently cut into lengths of about a meter and maybe ten centimeters in diameter. I suppose they must sell this.

I ended the day at the Hotel Villas Arqueologicas Chichen Itza. This is a pretty fancy place, even though I'm paying only 1000 pesos (60 dollars) a night. The receptionist assured me that the internet worked well. She lied.

Sac-Be Hotel room


Sac-Be Hotel bathroom


I am completely locked in


over the wall to the neighbor's yard


stray dogs and wood smoke


this is actually a corn field




very long snake


Xuilub is a Coke town


road out of Xuilub


kilometers of road construction






school children all wear uniforms


their cemeteries are more colorful than yours


sometimes people get away


a wood cutter


Hotel Villas Arqueologicas Chichen Itza


Hotel Villas Arqueologicas Chichen Itza

contact me at le@liverworks.com
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