We're headed to the Yucatan Peninsula, which is one of our must-sees on our travel list, with the promise of lots of Mayan ruins, sunny weather and great food.
Our bikes resting in Palenque
As we were getting ready to leave, John from Valladolid chatted with us. He sent us this pic later that day!
We rode up the western part of the peninsula and arrived late in Merida. While looking for a place to stay, we talked to a few of indigenous Mayan people who were admiring our bikes. Their Spanish was very hard to understand, since they spoke it with a different accent. When we told them we were from Canada, it seems that it's a popular place to find work, more so than the US these days.
There are actually dozens of different indigenous tribes living in the Yucatan, all of them have their own distinct culture and language!
Neda is hoping to see some flamingos
While in Merida, we made a side-trip west to the coast to visit the Flamingo Sanctuary in Celestun. It's a small fishing village with great beaches and excellent seafood, and we rented a boat to take us out to the flamingo colonies.
Ducks hop and skip across the waters
Flamingos are a deep pink because of the crustaceans they eat off the sea bottom
Neda is quite a bird-enthusiast and one of her wishes was to see a flamingo live. Ever since she saw Miami Vice, actually... :) In the distance, we saw what looked like a line of pink buoys, but as we got closer, they were flamingos all lined up in the water! Neda was ecstatic and going crazy with the camera!
Such funny-looking birds
They look like road runners when they land on the water
Neda is a wealth of information, she says that flamingos like to congregate where there is a mixture of salt and fresh water, which creates an ideal habitat for them. When they're born, they are white in colour, but slowly turn pink because of their seafood diet. Which makes me think of my own Mexican diet and then I realize I'm not really tanned, I'm taco-coloured...
The boat takes us through a Mangrove forest
Reminds us of the Florida Everglades. All we need is an fanboat...
Flamingos aren't the only birds living here, pelicans hang out on the treetops
The wingspan on these birds are huge!
Hooligan pelicans hang out in groups of 5 and 6
I think the term "Flamenco Line" comes from flamingos...
Neda goes looking for birds in a fresh-water spring
The boat lets us off at a spot called Ojo de Agua, where an underground spring flows fresh-water into the sea. The water is cool and refreshing and Neda takes the opportunity to do some up-close bird-watching.
This Great Egret is not fazed at all, Neda got so close to it!
Birds are vain too...
Our chauffeur taking us back to the mainland
We're staying in Merida for a few days to catch the end of Carnaval, lots of street festivals and parades every day. On the last day of Carnaval, we watched a stage show in the middle of the historic town. The theme of the show was Merida Mistica and featured portrayals of mystical creatures.
Plenty of tourist transportation available on the streets of Merida
Dancer supposed to represent a unicorn
These dancers are supposed to be dragons
More dragon dancers!