Not talking about the people – they’re great, but man this peninsula is flat! One bloody great limestone plain just 5-20 metres above sea level. No rivers or lakes but these huges caverns called cenotes where the rainwater collects (rains start in May). Had a swim in one yesterday to break the heat that was buildin up in our riding suits. What the Mayans saw in the place escapes me. It’s hot, hot hot! Yesterday in Merida it got to 41 degrees – drop dead weather for sure, too hot to keep riding so we retreated into air conditioning. In fact we’re riding early as possible to avoid the afternoon furnace. Can’t wait to get into the mountains again tomorrow and lose some degrees of the daily peak.
But back to the Mayans – one theory is they disappeared as a result of a 200 year drought in this area. I can believe it. My preconception was that this was a lush jungle area with the Mayan temples towering above the lush canopy. But in these lowlands parts at least of the Mayan territory the vegetation is scrawny low bush so I’m still puzzled what they saw in the place.
These days another group that populate these parts are the Mennonites. We’ve come across a couple of groups of Mennonites this week – one family in their horse and buggy going to town. So distinctive, the men tall and skinny with their bibbed overalls and cowboy hats, the women with their full frocks – blimmin hot in these temperatures for sure. Last time in Mexico we’d got one of the brackets on the bikes fixed in a Mennonite community, a fine job was done. And just a couple of days back in Belize City we’d come across another Mennonite family having ice creams in a cafe. When telling them of that previous experience, the father told us he was born in Mexico but his group had moved south to Belize 30 years ago.