I left Tulum shortly after my last update. I set out to Rio Lagartos, a town popular for its proximity to the nature reserve with the same name. Still feeling quite disappointed about all the Maya ruins being closed, I decided to make a short detour to Ek' Balam, a less known ruin site. I hoped that its lack in popularity might mean it's still open, but before I even got to the gate my hopes were dashed. A local man on a bicycle rode up to my car and yelled out "cerrado" -- it's closed.
Continuing on, I passed through many little towns that looked authentically Mexican. Everything was going smooth until I reached Tizimin, a town of some 50,000 people. I don't think it's even on the map, yet getting through this place was extremely difficult. Minutes into the town I realized that I was driving on a one way street. I didn't see a one-way sign, but the oncoming taffic and the gesturing locals were a quick hint. I turned around and tried get back on the right path, but it was really confusing! Every street was a one-way street! It seemed like for half an hour I was just driving around in circles. Finally I pulled over just to relax. I ended up in the town square and was right in front of a colonial church, Parroquia Los Santos Reyes de Tizimin. I know the name only because it's listed in my guidebook as the only thing worth seeing in this town. I took some photos, got back in the car and turned on the GPS which finally helped me get out of there.
The rest of the drive was easy. I reached Rio Lagartos (which in Spanish means "Alligator River") and right away some locals approached my car to sell me on some wildlife tours. I told them I needed a hotel first and read out a name of a hotel from the guidebook. One of the men jumped on his bicycle and guided me to it, then waited for me to check in so that he could take me to his touring company. I went with him and the prices were decent so I booked a trip. As the town name would suggest, there are alligators and crocodiles in the water, but what the place is really known for is flamingos. There were hundreds of them! I was the only one on the boat and the captain entertained me and himself by trying to catch the alligators/crocodiles by the tail. I kept wondering what would happen if he fell in -- I'd get some interesting photos.
I'm now at a restaurant sunburned and somewhat happy that I got to see something interesting. I'm drinking two dollar coronas and waiting for my dinner. Not sure what the plan is for tomorrow, perhaps Campeche, a city of 200,000+ and known colonial buildings and pirate history.