Bumbling Around Near Maxcanu

We headed southeast on a highway going toward Maxcanu. Instead of entering Maxcanu, we turned off on a secondary road just beforehand and drove into another era. The road was one lane, just as all the State roads used to be, and just as before, when you encountered another vehicle, one of you had to pull off to the side and stop to let the other through. There wasn’t much traffic.

We turned down a minor road. A battered sign said “San Fernando” and the small village was adjacent to a ruined hacienda that is surely more stupendous in its current state than it ever could have been when it was new. There is so little of it left, that we were surprised to hear that the Owner, who lives in Merida, was trying to sell it.

shell of desfibradora (machine shop)

Some of the local residents had moved into corners of the hacienda wreckage, which is unusual because villagers usually avoid the haciendas. However, in this case, the owner was engaged in kicking them out, having them destroy the lean-tos they had built, apparently wanting the place to look more pristine.

Quite pristine

Perhaps the owner can picture the pool and gift shop here.

Lush seting beckons to the guest

In all fairness, there us an unusually small, deteriorating  Casa Principal a bit away from these structures. It is soundly locked. Perhaps it has a few intact rooms, but it is notably unnatractive.

Here is a part of the hacienda where an older woman lives.

Residence in ruined hacienda

This is one of those villages where it is hard to understand how anyone makes a living of any kind. I asked a woman whether there was a school there and she was vague. There is no medical facility – you have to go to Maxcanu. I’m trying to remember whether there were any vehicles in San Fernando. There are no stores, no businesses.

Further down this empty road was another, more contemporaray ruin, fenced off with barbed wire.

Another 15 minutes down this road we found a treasure of a village, which shall remain nameless. It was like the places we saw twenty-five years ago. People looked healthy and were smiling. There was a lot of pride in the houses, which some of the home-owners had made themselves. It’s amazing what a difference a few miles can make. I imagine it has a lot to do with ejidal laws and how they are bent, giving absentee “landlords” dominion over space that could be used to good advantage.

Neatly thatched home

At this point, the editing function of iPhoto has ground to a halt, but I am putting in un-edited pictures anyway. I think some, like the one below, look kind of cool.

When I started seeing some of the magnificently made pole and thatch houses, I almost screamed. They haven’t been making these new since forever. Since “the hurricane” when many were destroyed all over the peninsula, about 99% of these lovely buildings, which know how to breathe, to absorb wind, and to keep bodies venilated, were replaced by those abominable concrete block houses, which “the government” slapped together quickly to provide people with shelter. It is highly unusual to come across a community where these skills are still being practiced.

Beautiful work

 

Pole and thatch artistry

The boy in the picture below is Miguel. His grandfather, standing shyly in back of him, made these walls himself.

Miguel in his house

 

About BG

Beryl Gorbman is a writer and private investigator who divides her time between Seattle WA and Merida Yucatan Mexico. She has published two works of fiction, 2012: Deadly Awakening, and Madrugada. They are both available on Amazon and other outlets. Also at Amate Books, and Casa Catherwood in Merida. You can read about them in various articles on this site.
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2 Responses to Bumbling Around Near Maxcanu

  1. kwallek says:

    Last time I was in Yucatan I explored a bit of the west side. I drove out past Maxcanu to Isla Arena and then drove the cut over north from Tankuche to the hard top road out to Celestun from Merida. It was a great outing. Arena is a step back in time place. The cut over road was paved at sometime but it was a very long time ago, top end was 5 or 10 miles an hour, gives one more time to take it all in. The Arena area was a big salt producing area in pre-Spanish times, much of the area is coated in gassed off oil from the big spill in the 70s. It is worth the drive if you are interested in how oil reacts in marshland over decades.

  2. Grant says:

    Hi Beryl,

    I love these rambles you go on in the back country. Thank you very much.

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