Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ticul to Abalá, Yucatan

This blog continues our journey from Ichmul, through Peto and on to Ticul, Sacalum, Mucuyche and ending in Abalá.
At Peto we made a miraculous connection and in less than five minutes of our arrival there we were on another bus headed north to Ticul.
We arrived in Ticul before dark and went directly to the Posada El Jardin Cabañas our favorite lodging. The cabañas are located conveniently just three blocks from the bus terminal on Calle 27 between 28 and 30. As their business card claims; “For Nature Lovers”, Large Rooms, tranquil atmosphere, patios, terraces and gardens. Well, we can roll our bicycles directly into our large and commodious quarters. What we like the most besides the jungle atmosphere in the city is its location so convenient to marvelous bicycle roads both in the Puuc hills with the many Mayan ruins and also north toward Mérida. www.posadajardin.com
Another plus to the Cabañas El Jardin is its close proximity to this lovely little unpretentious cocina economica restaurant Zazil, also on calle 27, where we enjoy lavish dining at the best bargain price in town. We are repeat customers.
Here I am with the owner of Zazil, José Gonzalez Rosado and his lovely wife who also happens to be the one to put together these extravagantly presented feasts we keep returning to enjoy.
Six A.M. and Jane and I are taking our departure in the cool early morning air from the El Jardin Cabañas headed north in the direction of Mérida. This is our fourth day out on the road and we have been enjoying a complete news-fast of no TV, radio, newspapers or even conversation pertaining to world events. This is just part of the reason that we have big smiles this early in the morning.

Jane and I make our first stop of the morning at this little out-of-the-way town of Sacalum and have our over-the-road breakfast of whole-wheat tortillas buttered with peanut butter and filled with Jane’s own muesli. Three of these give me enough staying power to make it until lunchtime.
This is downtown Sacalum, in Maya known as Land of the White Earth, which is also written up in Richard Perry’s book Mayan Missions where he describes the huge stone outcropping where the strange church is perched..
Little Mucuyché is one of the haciendas that John L. Stephens visited and wrote about on his 1842 visit to Yucatan.
Page 83 volume 1; Incidents of Travel in Yucatan by John. L. Stephens;

Hacienda Mucuyché
This is one of the most unchanged wild places in the Yucatan peninsula and it is very close to Mérida. Here is an excerpt from their book “Incidents of Travel in Yucatan” page 83;
After breakfast the cura left us to return to his village, and we set out to continue our journey to Uxmal. Our luggage was sent off by Indians of the hacienda, and the major domo accompanied us on horseback. Our road was by a bridle path over the same stony country, through thick woods. The whole way it lay through the lands of the provisor, all wild, waste, and desolate, and showing the fatal effects of accumulation in the hands of large landed proprietors. In two hours we saw rising before us the gate of the hacienda of Mucuyché (Figure 4). To the astonishment of the gaping Indians, the doctor, as he wheeled his horse, shot a hawk that was hovering over the pinnacle of the gateway, and we rode up to the house.
This pen and ink drawing by Frederic Catherwood depicts the Hacienda Mucuyché that greeted Stephens and Catherwood after their two hour horseback journey across the overgrown Mayan sacbe road from Xcanchakan.
I had been looking for the sacbe road route from Mucuyché to Xcanchakan that was traveled by the explorer and historical author John L. Stephens on his 1842 trip to Yucatan and I was told that this lady, Doña Canita with her ornate earrings was the one who knew all about local travel. I asked Doña Canita if it was possible to traverse this old sacbe road that has become severely overgrown since Stephen’s 1842 passage. She said; “you can make the trip by horse, but not with your little ‘caballito’”. The little caballito that Doña Canita was referring to was my little bicycle. I had tried this route from the other side and found her to be correct and upon inspection of the Mucuyché side my respect for her advice was confirmed…Doña Canita was indeed road wise.
The day turned hot by 11 AM and we made the decision to bike the ten kilometers to the tiny town of Abalá and catch whatever transportation to Mérida presented itself first.
Again the pleasure of our Peto trip was in the adventuresome journey. (Above is the tiny church of Abalá taken from our speeding colectivo taxi headed for Mérida.)

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