Saturday, November 27, 2010

gettin' around

The statistics are not that impressive.

Eight days.  800 kilometers.  (Kilometers always sound more daunting.)

But we (Islagringo and I) packed in a lot of travel hours -- and a lot of sights and sites into those days.

"Packed in" says it all.  When I first saw the diminutive Hyundai Atos Islagringo had rented as our transportation for the coming week, I had some small misgivings.  Or, rather big misgivings about the car's size.

No need to call Dr. Freud on this one.  I just had doubts that we could fit two adult males and accompanying luggage into what was originally marketed as an Asian city car.  We were not going to be driving in Kolkata.  To me, it looked as if it could have been manufactured in Lilliput.

I was wrong. 

The car was a perfect fit.  Neither of us are luggage hogs.  Our large back packs slipped in easily behind the rear seat, and our smaller items had plenty of room.  No room to spare for hitch hikers, though.

Despite its grocery trolley wheel configuration, it provided a smooth ride -- both on cuotas and small rural lanes,.  As for the latter, Islagringo did yeoman work in dodging potholes that could easily have devoured the Atos -- let alone an axle.

Here was our itinerary.

Drive on the cuota from Cancun to Merida -- where we would particulate in the two-day bloggers' conference.  (I have already talked about it.)

Then north to visit Dzibilchaltun, a minor Mayan ruin, before spending the night in the shabby seaside town of Progresso.

Then south (past Merida) to visit to Hacienda Yaxcopoil, the grand Mayan ruins at Uxmal, and the church at Santa Elena with its eerie child mummies.  Overnight in Tikul.

The next day was Mayan ruin day.  Kabah.  Sayil.  Labna.  And a great night's sleep and an even better lunch in the market town of Oxhutzcab.

Our last full tour day was a drive through rural Yucatan villages to the Disney World of Mayan ruins: Chichen Itza.  And an overnight in the provincial capital of Valledoid.

Then back to Cancun and Isla Mujeres -- all on back roads.

Lots of driving.  Lots of sitting time.  Lots of things to see.  And the Hyundai served us well.

A larger car -- even my Escape -- would have been too wide for the roads we drove. 

There is something about small back country country roads.  They all have a familiar and similar ambiance.  Whether Greece, England, France, or Mexico.  Narrow roads.  Shoulderless.  Major shrubbery impinging on the line of travel.

And the promise of a farmer and his livestock just over the next rise or around the coming curve.  A promise too often kept.

Of course, there are always the unexpected surprises.  Like the replica of a New England clapboard house (gray with white shutters) in the middle of a little village -- cheek and jowl with traditional Mayan stick houses.

But the details of those tales will wait.

This is a paean to the virtues of our little Hyundai -- what done us well.


Calypso said...

We have friends in Xico that have an Atos. They have several luxury cars - but they are always running around in that little thing - it really can seat 4 better than a Porsche ;-)Plus they let the roads beat the stuffing out of that toy and it keeps on ticking!

norm said...

I had agreed to give a blogger friend a ride into the back country of Guatemala in one of those little rental Hyundai last winter, he called it a "clown car".
And over the mountains we went.

Unknown said...

Glad you are in Mexico and writing again about your adventures.

Steve Cotton said...

Calypso -- It is an amazing car. Who would think something that small would be as reliable as it was. Too much NOB thinking on my part, I suspect. Missed you at the conference.

Norm -- "Clown car" is exactly what Islagringo called it. But it worked just as advertised.

Laurie -- It is great to be back in the saddle.

Barb said...

Hubs and I live in, and love, Progreso. "Shabby"? A matter of opinion, only.

We rented an Atos the last time we came down. Cute little thing that did us well but probably not the best choice for someone with long legs.

Steve Cotton said...

Barb -- I will expand on Progresso in another post. I was very impressed with the work that is being done on the malecon. When finished, it should be very nice. But the town has the look of better days gone by. And I am not so certain that "shabby" is a bad thing. It keeps the city folk at bay.

Tancho said...

We rented a Atos on our last Spain trip and when you plan for it, it is surprising how much "stuff" the car can fit. For years we all got brainwashed by Detroit of how much space we "needed" and the results were the land yachts of yesteryear,and the gas receipts to prove the folly.
Even though we have a normal car here in Mexico, I do 90% of my running around in a small GEO tracker. You find parking spaces a lot easier and more often////

Barb said...

I see what you mean. Hubs and I haven't travelled Mexico enough to have anything to compare it to. Our past travels were always to all-inclusive resorts. Progreso is our first foray into the real Mexico.

And yes, if it keeps the city folks at bay, then I'm all for shabby. :-)

1st Mate said...

Just curious: what rate did you get on the rental of the Hyundai? We've heard car rentals are pricey here in Mexico, but have also been thinking we could do a lot more exploring from the boat if we took a rental inland.

Islagringo said...

I told you not to worry, that all would be fine! 1st Mate: there is a great car rental in Cancun where we got it for a pittance of $28 per day, which included everything including insurance.

Steve Cotton said...

Tancho -- I suspect we could have fit another person into the car -- if we had stacked our belongings more methodically. But the car was just right for the two of us. Size does not always matter.

Barb -- More on that later.

1st Mate -- I do not recall the rate. But we had it for seven days, and I paid $215,80 (USD) for everything. It was a very good deal. And a much better rate than I could get around here.

Steve Cotton said...

Islagringo -- I see you were answering 1st Mate while I was busy yakking away.