Me and my Mexican friend in front of the Mayan ruins of Uxmal
The next stop of my journey was Mérida, which I reached from Palenque after a bus journey of about 10 hours. After all we went to the Atlantic, to the peninsula Yucátan, which attracts a lot of tourists every year. The vast majority tend to visit the eastern side of the Yucatán Peninsula, the so-called Riviera Maya. Mérida lies on the opposite side and is the capital of the state of Yucatán. About 1 million people live in the agglomeration. Merida is the city with the highest percentage of indigenous population of any major city in Mexico.
The city itself does not offer so many attractions. The extreme temperatures of 40 degrees make exploring the city much harder and the beach is an hour's drive away.
In Mérida too, I had a very nice apartment with an inner courtyard for 3 nights, in which the owner prepared a nice breakfast every morning. The Casa Las Arecas is also highly recommended because of its central location.
Looking for flamingos
The first day we visited the biosphere reserve Ría Celestún, which is known for its species-rich nature reserve of lagoons and mangroves. My Mexican friend's mate drove us there. Like me he is an engineer, likes to listen to metal music and has a passion for marzipan. We 3 and some other Mexicans eventually shared a boat and booked a 2 hour tour through the waters of the reserve.
There lives a colony of American flamingos. To approach the flamingos, we switched to a smaller non-motorized boat in the middle of the track and split up. What I didn't know: at this time of year only few flamingos are to be found, since they migrate to the Río Lagartos in the north of Yucatán for nesting and breeding. As a result, we saw only a few pink birds. Nevertheless, we enjoyed the beautiful and relaxing tour through the water and the mangrove forest.
Return to the Atlantic
Afterwards we drove together to the sea. Finally after all these years I could enjoy the sea breeze of the Atlantic again and this on the other side of the ocean for the first time! However, you could not go into the sea because of the many sea plants. There were hardly any people sitting on the beach, but unfortunately there was a lot of rubbish on the beach.
Matching the sea climate, I tried a fish dish for the first time in many years - the widely spread Ceviche. It is prepared from finely chopped raw fish of various kinds (especially shrimps) and marinated in a mixture of citrus juice, salt, chillies, onions, coriander and other spices.
Later in the evening we visited a modern pub with a large selection of beers. At 9:00 p.m. all the guests suddenly fell silent. The latest Game-of-Thrones episode began. Even though I don't like this hype, I was forced to watch the TV series.
Lizard invasion in the historic site of Uxmal
For the second day culture was on the agenda: the Mayan ruins of Uxmal. The village is located about 62 kilometres south of Merida. In Merida, tours to this ruin site are offered, but they are pretty expensive. Her buddy couldn't drive us because he had to work. So I took the bus with my Mexican friend on my own. It was oppressively hot on the bus. My friend had more problems with the heat than I did, so I bought her a sombrero to provide her with some shade.
Although I had seen some ruined cities on my journey before, Uxmal was fascinating me. Especially the pyramid of the magician stands out in this city. It is not as high as other pyramids, but it looks majestic. Moreover, there were refreshingly few tourists present. We had the place almost to ourselves - except for the enormous number of lizards that wanted to take in our lunch.
For the return journey to Mérida we had to wait again a long time for the bus, we had already feared to go back into the city by taxi. But finally the bus arrived so that we could end the evening together with our buddy in a german restaurant. It's funny to see what the Mexicans serve here, it's mainly Bavarian drinks and food.