We were on our last leg. From Tikal we retraced the road I’d taken 23 years ago and crossed into Belize, caught a nail in the rear tire, crossed Belize, then back into Mexico with not too much difficulty. This time I actually got an import permit for the bike, that didn’t really sit well with me but I'd had dreams of running into that police lady again and losing the bike to Mexican authorities.
From Merida we started our trek towards Guatemala by way of Palenque. There are only so many border crossings into Guatemala from Mexico and as our first stop in Guatemala was slated for Antigua the road through Palenque made the most sense. It was going to be a long day on the bike, around 550kms so we took the toll roads to make time.
Cole had left Canada on the 23rd of December and arrived in Cancun on Christmas Eve so things were busy. Merida has a lot going for it, history, cuisine, Spanish architecture and an atmosphere unmolested by tourism. That doesn’t mean it’s not a busy city, 800,000 people make for some hustle, but it’s a natural fun hustle. With the largest Mayan concentration of any city in Mexico, or Central America for that matter, it was a good place to start our Mayan loop. All one has to do to get an idea of the Mayan people’s journey and Yucatan’s bloody history is explore the Governor’s Palace on one side of the square. It is a beautiful building, but what makes it even more interesting are the paintings inside that depict the arrival of the Spanish and the subsequent plight of the Mayan people as they were eventually conquered and forced into slavery. It is a sobering collection to say the least but one that portrays what happened.