A Pocket Full Of Pesos & Floods in Merida

Trip Start Sep 29, 2007
1
5
215
Trip End Dec 20, 2010


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Where I stayed
Namadas Hostel
What I did
St Lucia's Hostel

Flag of Mexico  ,
Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Nursing our very bad hangovers and looking like death we boarded an air con ADO bus to Merida. A lame Spanish country and western style movie was playing. It is hot and humid in Mexico and air con is king as is US dollars. I've got a secret stash of US dollars in my belt and other stash holes in my pack in case we get mugged. We've already been stung with the old money exchange trick of people giving us useless Mexican pesos that are worn and torn and rejected when we go to use them.

Our Spanish is horrendous. We can say thank-you, yes, no, bathroom, margarita, ashtray, gangster, tequila, we want a double room and how much does it cost. That is it.

The architecture in Merida is gorgeous, coloured houses lining the streets, a couple of big cathedrals, lots of volkswagon beetles and parks. On our way into town i noticed lots of general store hang out places with those red plastic coca-cola chairs and oldskool pinball machines. There were also lots of those large strip club La La Parlours in the middle of nowhere like in the movie ´´Dusk till Dawn´´. We had heard about a large Fiesta in the streets on Sunday nights so we stuck around and stayed in the historical part of Merida downtown at a hostel called St Lucia Hostel on Calle 55. It was a fabulous old Spanish mansion with a central courtyard. We were lucky enough to meet Speedy Gonzales, a little mouse in the kitchen poking his head out of a frypan.

We ventured out dodging a pack of hungry street dogs to the fiesta in the main square. The whole town was alive and celebrating with dancing in the streets, live bands, restaurants with tables and chairs out amongst it, horses and carriages with flowers decorating their carts, balloon selling vendors, ladies with rugs spread out everywhere selling their wares, break dancing kids, children selling gum and cigarettes on trays and numerous street food operations selling churros (those long sugar and cinnamon coated donuts), marquerirtas, tacos, fairy floss and corn cobs. We ate at Comida Yucateca restaurant. The dishes of the day were Sopa de Lima (chicken and lime and corn chip broth) and Cochinta Pibel (a spicy dish of chicken, black beans, fajihta bread, red onion and radish) while a saxophone player played us some divine tunes. The Mexican men do like to have a stare however it's not too intense in these parts. .

The streets of Merida were flooded today and it was a case of poncho on, poncho off as we walked the city as cars seemed to float down the road. It is the rainy season here after all, the sun will come out again this afternoon.There's no drainage in these inland towns so the water just creates a river down the streets. It was interesting to watch a beggar walk past us in the rain carrying a hairdryer from the 70´s. They play loud Spanish music on horrendous sound systems and for 4 dollars you can pick a bad 80´S hairstyle from the pictures on the wall, sit in an old dentist type chair and ask the barber to copy the style. I love it and am definitely considering a short, back and sides. We missed out on the Mayan anthropological museum so just cruised around the eclectic streets. with their street lamps, cobblestone streets, worn doors and multicoloured facades.

Baby Monkey has a good position riding on the front of my pack and is meeting lots of new Mexican friends as he goes. I am also travelling with a giant bird puppet too now. What else? El Centro was very busy again and the eating is good, we ate for 270 pesos (AU$2.70) between us today. We had a sweet potato and pepper dish baked in vine leaves and the highlight for me was sweet corn with parmesan cheese, chilli sauce and cream bought from a street stall. I also had my first Horchata Coco jugu which is a refreshing drink made from coconut and a sweet milk bought from a juice bar selling Guanabana and viagra??

We went to the House of Montejo which was a beautiful example of Mexican plateresque architecture designed by conquistadors and sculpted by Mayans..... superb. We went to the Contemporary Art Museum which was a little bizarro and had works from many famous Mexican artists. The cathedral here is the oldest on the American mainland and had a large wooden cross, alter and a venerated, blistered christ figure.

Trashy Mexican pop music is played everywhere. 

Nadine was drinking cans of Corona for 80 centavos (cents) as we watched a regional dance where the girls performed  in traditional clothing (white and heavily embroidered with coloured flowers and head dress) and tap dance and swing around a maypole with their partners. The Mayan women are very beautiful.  Next we watched troubadours perform in the main plaza (central gathering place park) and watched a man paint beautiful artworks of temples and planets. We moved into Namada´s Hostel, for 10 pesos each we slept in hammocks, much cooler than the bed. 

A bottle of coca-cola and a packet of Windfield Lights costs $3.10. Tomorrow is a very special day. We visit Chichen Itza,  is a large pre-Colombian archeological site built by the maya civilization located in the northern center of the Yucatan Peninsula and Grutas de Balankanche Caves where there are Mayan artifacts and interesting acoustics. Chicken bus it is at 5:00am. We want to be first to the site near Piste. We're considering getting pissed at Piste on a strong tequila we found with a bonafide worm in it). We want to be first to the main temple to take photographs and enjoy the spiritual energy of the ruins without all the crowds.

Oh, a bird shat a good one on my toe so we must be in luck.
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