Black Friday

Campeche, México
November 2016

For a while it looked as if I’d be stranded at the Edzná ruins. I waited more than an hour at the dusty crossroads before the combi finally arrived heading back to Campeche. That’s the problem with combis — they come when they come.

Combis leave when they leave, as well. I waited nearly an hour for the outbound combi to depart this morning.

The Edzná ruins are a fine display of Mayan architecture. Atop a long staircase, the Edificio de los Cinco Pisos (Five-story building) towers over a spacious acropolis. In the grassy field below, the grand plaza has another tall pyramid, a ball court, and a long stepped building that looks like stadium bleachers but was once a government building for the Maya. It’s nice, too, that the ruins are not as well-traveled as Chichen Itzá, Palenque, and Uxmal. But then, that explains the transportation problem.

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Pyramid, Edzna

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Gran Plaza and Nohochna, Edzna

Edzná is the place I omitted when I drove along the ruta Maya on my first trip to México in the 1990s. It wasn’t that far from Uxmal and its satellite ruins in the Yucatán, and it may not have taken an additional day to visit. But I’ve corrected that now.

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Templo de Mascarones (masks), Edzna

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Pyramid, Pequena Acropolis, Edzna

The delay in returning to Campeche makes visiting the seaside forts on either ends of town impossible for today. I walk along the malecón and enjoy the breeze coming off the Gulf of México, which initially is good for my dodgy sinuses, but ultimately is no match for the pressure in my head. The cursed allergies have dogged me since Yaxchilán.

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Puerta de Tierra, Campeche

After a nap, I finish my day with a nice dinner at Cafe la Parroquia. It’s one of those classic dining rooms where the staff wear white coats and know the menu as if they’ve been working there for decades. Along the far wall, a wide painting depicts Mayan scenes and temples, while a tall painting on the back wall shows local village life, maybe from a couple centuries ago. Most of the people eating in the restaurant are locals, including several large families. It’s the sort of place people return to time after time.

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Plaza de la Republica, Campeche

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Mural, Campeche

I eat well: plantains and rice and a pan de chazón — a local dish combining minced shark and tortillas smothered in tomato sauce. I complete the meal with flan. Why has it taken me so long to enjoy flan?

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Fishing boat, Campeche

Campeche has been the culinary highlight of the trip so far. There’s great seafood and restaurants with tremendous character. It makes the transportation headaches a little easier to digest.

Cover photo: Edificio de los Cinco Pisos, Edzná

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