After a few days in Yucatan, I left most of my luggage in the hotel, and went on a three day road trip through Yucatan. The first stop was Chichenitza. If you ever travel there, arrive early.
New Year’s day I spent a night in a hammock in Playa del Carmen, had an easy morning swim in the Caribbean, and a fantastic breakfast. The nearby ruins of Tulum show that the Mayas knew to live.
Then I hitchhiked to Coba to get an idea what the less visited Maya places look like: More jungle, fewer tourists, interesting animal noises, large spiders. Here at last I had the feeling that around the corner there could be some left over piece of the real Maya civilization.
The next morning I took the bus back to Merida, for recovery and more sightseeing.
When I told one of my Gringo friends that I would spend the two weeks of winter break 1993 in Mexico, traveling through Yucatan by myself and using public transport, he had only one word: Nuts. So I took precautions by learning a little Spanish, which made me much easier to identify as de Alemannia than when I had spoken inglés.
In any case, I never felt threatened. I flew into Mexico City and continued on to Merida, the capital of Yucatan, where I spent a few days exploring the city and its surroundings. The landscape is flat and wooded, the geology lime stone, the climate warm and humid. People clearly live from tourism and agriculture, and are friendly but shy.
Main attraction for the generic tourist are the Maya ruins.
While it is true that the Maya civilization was already past its peak when the first European arrived, the almost complete eradication of the still extant culture makes the presence of what is left haunting. The alien looking artwork just tells us that the aliens, that’s us.
The near Caribbean coast invites to watch storms and muse over past and present destruction.