11.25.08 Campeche to Uxmal
Terrific day! We loved Campeche and drove along the waterfront on our way out of town this morning. The road was not particularly busy at 8:30 am and the roads all the way to Uxmal were excellent! We were going 55 mph for nearly all of it, sometimes faster!
Two security checks today: The first was Federale where they just asked us where we were headed and kindly gave us directions to Merida.
The second was at the Yucatan State border where one soldier came in to inspect the refrigerator for ham and chicken. He didn’t look too hard and wished us on our way. We were not scared at all. They seemed like nice people.
Yucatan- straight, flat roads with blue sky
By 11 am we arrived at the RV grass parking area of Uxmal. The Church’s book provided the GPS coordinates, which are terrifically helpful with the Nuvi’s ability to input it. For 120 pesos ($10) we can dry camp in this security-provided chained lot right beside the ruins. We are beside beautiful trees, but are all alone here. A rig from Quebec that was here early left at noon.
However, the location cannot be beat!
After leftovers for lunch, we read our Mexico Archeology and Michelin Mexico books about the Uxmal ruins.
Then we walked 50 yards from the RV to the entrance.
Uxmal is amazing! It was another 600 A.D. pre-classical era ruins by the Mayans which were deserted around 1200 AD. (Interesting that it was deserted around the same year as some of the Anasazi and Navajo areas of the Southwestern U.S.) For 3 hours we explored the many great temples. Terrific weather! While it was hot in the sun, we’re in the arid Yucatan now and the lovely tree shade and interior of the stone buildings were cool. We were so happy that we’d read, and brought with us, our books to reference. We found many of the features mentioned and took pictures at the sites of the same pictures that were in the book. Very neat!
Then we came back to the RV for reading and siesta time.
At 5 pm we went to dinner at the very lovely restaurant here, again, right next to our parking area. We sat outside by candelight, under the colorful umbrella and spreading tree canopy with a water fountain providing nature’s music. The fajitas, tacos, quesadillas, and sopa (soup) were delicioso. We typically tote our water bottles with us wherever we go, so we know we have bottled water. We also had gelato at the ruins this afternoon which hit the spot.
Sound and Light Show at Uxmal
Finally, we went to the incomparable Light and Sound Show at the ruins at 7pm tonight (8pm in summer). For 35 pesos each, we got wireless headphones for English translation of the show. Then we tromped out with about 40 other people (a tour bus came in) and in the beautiful evening, we followed the stars and some lighting to chairs set up by the Nannery Quadrangle. There we listened to the Mayan story at Uxmal. It was very dramatic with poetic words that resembled a Shakesperean drama.
We really enjoyed the story of the Princess who fell in love with the King of Chichen-Itza and was betrothed to the Prince of Uxmal. On the third day of the wedding feast, the Chichen-Itza king burst in with his 60 warriors and stole her away, causing a civil war (which probably led to their demise in 1200). Very romantic! It was a really interesting and unique experience. Our tickets to the ruins got us in for the show, even though we lost one of the wristbands along the way today.
Uxmal RV lot
We met some nice people there tonight too. Lia enjoyed talking with a Chinese lady who attends Princeton. Charles almost burst out laughing when some people near him said of Lia, “She speaks English really well!” We thought, “Yes, but don’t ask her Chinese yet! We’ve much to learn.” Lia was insulted when another Chinese man asked her “Are you 7, 8, 5 years old?” It’s hard being short, but she had a good sense of humor about it.
It's harder going down (best to turn around and face the pyramid)
We are really practicing our Spanish at every opportunity and sometimes we do really well and othertimes are completely vexed. But we do see improvement.
We’ve been in Mexico 2 weeks now. I have to say that we are really enjoying ourselves now. Driving seems much easier, we’re much more comfortable with our position as gringos, with the Mexican people, speaking Spanish, the money, etc. The people are very easy-going and friendly, generally in good moods and happy to suffer our Spanish efforts.
I do admit that it has not been an easy road, that we have been very nervous, uncomfortable, scared, and embarrassed at times.
In fact, had the road home not been so challenging, I’d have been tempted at times to make a run back for the border. But I’m glad we’ve stuck it out and adapted and think we’ve grown through the experience. Definitely, slowing it down and heading to areas that are a little more easy-going have been helpful in feeling more comfortable.
Plus, sometimes you just have to work through the newness until things aren’t so strange: Like learning how to buy gas and groceries, going through inspections, learning how to handle tope sellers, trying new foods, learning relative costs for pesos, understanding the driving rules and road signs, learning enough Spanish to communicate and ask questions. All these experiences have helped us feel more comfortable in this most exotic and lovely country of Mexico. I guess what I really needed to know is not that every experience is going to be under my control, but that I can handle whatever comes our way.
Every time we do something new, I’m more ready for dealing with it without stress the next time. Familiarity breeds confidence.
We still have much to learn. Like getting more systematic about the phone system, where to buy phone cards, etc. Sometimes, I just resort to the expensive U.S. cell phone. But we’re getting better using the phone card- but where to buy another international one? They are not quite as common to find as we might hope. We’ve done a good job finding ATM’s and managing our cash by having a healthy stash for “emergencies” (i.e. when we get low).