I drove through most of the Yucutan Peninsula today. Most of it was good, some of it was pretty crazy! I left Rio Lagartos at sunrise, but not before taking a few photos. I thought that maybe if I leave super early, I could get to the nearby Ka' Balam ruins. I figured maybe nobody would be around, I could sneak, get a few photos and leave. The plan went smooth enough, I got to the site, the gate was closed and the ruins lay two kilometers ahead. I parked my car nearby and started walking quickly. I was near the entrance and I was thinking I was in the clear, when all of a sudden dogs started barking! Guard dogs! Well who would have though there would be guard dogs? They approached me quickly and they looked mean. I didn't make any sudden movements and backed away slowly which calmed them down. Then their owner came out and that seemed to relax them even more. He was super friendly, but he didn't speak a word of English. In very bad Spanish, I tried to bribe him to let me in, offered him fifty dollars, then a hundred, but he kept saying "no se puede." I think that meant no. It was kind of funny. I then played around with the dogs, which were very friendly by this time and walked back to my car.
My new destination became Campeche, which was pretty far and I decided to take the scenic route, passing through many little towns on the way. I learned that most of these were set up in a similar manner. Lots of one way streets, even if there's a thousand people total, and a giant church overlooking the town square. I snapped a few photos at Espita and Dzitas and made a long stop at Izamal. The latter is known for a REALLY big church and a couple of unrestored Maya pyramids. It's the closest I've gotten to Maya ruins yet.
One of my worries about this drive was driving through Merida. The largest city on the peninsula. I was looking on the GPS and it looked like there might be away to go around it and it seemed like a good idea. Well, not so much! I ended up in some really busy neighborhoods, tiny streets and INSANE traffic! Cars, buses and motorcycles were making three lanes out of a one lane road. I don't know how I got through it without a scratch. I just kept driving and it seemed to take forever but I got through. I reconnected with the highway and it was smooth sailing once again.
I'm now at Campeche. This place was worth the drive! It's such a beautiful city and it's quite easy to navigate. The best part of it is enclosed in old fortifications that were built to keep the pirates out. Inside are a hundred or so colonial buildings, all very colorful. I spent most of the day walking about trying to chat with the locals and taking many photos. It was an interesting day! Haven't figured out what I'm going to do tomorrow.
Church at Dzitas: