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Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
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Flag of Mexico  ,
Friday, January 26, 2007

Mosquitoes are unstoppable.  Especially the ones from Merida.  Like Michael Jordan back in the day.  Un-fucking-stoppable.  Double team him - that should do it - maybe a combination of extra-strength insect repellant and near full proof mosquito net?  No problems for the mosquito: fade-away jump shot - mosquito domination.  how about eliminating all of them with killer spray?  That should do it?  Hmmm - not quite enough:  mosquito drives to the hoop - dishes to Scottie Pippen - from downtown - he's on fire!  Somewhere previously in this blog - perhaps back in the Greek days - I may have suggested, foolishly it now seems, that bed bugs are a far superior parasitic beast than the mosquito.  In my defence, that was, of course, before I had encountered the Merida mosquito of the Devil of the Death from Hell.  Now, I'm not sure who's the meaner.  Rather, I envisage a clash of the titans - mosquito v bed bug - a battle where, initially, I thought I couldn't even speculate who would win - like Luke Skywalker v Spiderman; Paris Hilton v Britney Spears; a monkey v a llama.  But after several days of intense deliberation - and indeed an attempted simulation - I have concluded that the mosquito would win a long and arduous battle 10 - 8 in the 5th; it's solid baseline ground strokes finally wearing down the young bed bug's athletic serve and volley game.  And mosquitoes can fly.  In any event, both dominated me in straight sets - but only because they made me fucking crazily itchy beforehand.  I take some consolation in the fact that mosquito will lose to Roger Federer - no one can beat Federer...
 
Merida reminds me a bit of a lot of places:  Salta, Oaxaca, Santa Clara, a little bit but luckily not too much of Cordoba - any small-medium sized colonial city really; a grid city around a main plaza.  If you can look past the constant tropical rain and the ever-present blook-sucking machines of the devil of death (see opening of the entry), Merida is a pleasant city.  The Paza Grande beams with the ring of the marimba as the city's wonderful, swirling double chairs support the locals who have perfected the culture officially known as "sitting around and doing fuck-all, maybe I'll get my shoes polished".  Fireworks shower the square's sky - a nightly event during the month long International Arts Festival - as world dance, music and theatre continue at venues all around the city, the beautiful, colonial Teatro Peon Contrareas Merida's cultural centrepiece.  Colonial architecture dominates the streetscape, both in the historic centre and along the Paseo de Montejo - but, unfortunately, the Cuban experience - with its magnificent, both crumbling and restored colonial buildings bombarding your senses - has left Merida, and indeed most colonial cities that I've visited, in its shadow...
 
Ok - so I haven't done a lot here in Merida.  In fact, all I've really done is sat and watched:  sat and watched the locals sitting and watching; sat and watched a local guitarist; sat and watched some threatre in Spanish - I think it was a love story - and even sat and watched myself sit and watch.  Sitting and watching... decent.
 
So, to the Top 5.  You always get a few 'um...what' moments when you travel.  You know what I'm talking about - when something happens, you take a moment to try to comprehend it, and then realise that you can't - maybe because you're an idiot but more likely because it just don't make no sense.  Often it's cultural.  Someimtes it's lost in translation.  Somtimes it's a tourist trap gone wrong.  Anyway, there have been a few here in just a few days in Merida.  Here are the Top 5:
 
5.  Advertisement at my hostel.  "Full continental breakfast including eggs any way you want them".  Brilliant.  So I wake up in the morning.
"Breakfast?"
"The eggs are there.  The frypans is there.  Cook them yourself."
"Uh... what?"
 
4.  Mosquitoes - yes I will winge just a little bit more about them.  So I shower in insect repellant, pull the mosquito net tight and go to sleep in the morning.  I wake with 8 massive fuck off mosqitoes of death in my net, bites the size of new zealand all over.  Death...  "Oh... what?"
 
3.  There's a woman staying at the hostel - she's Japanese.  She speaks no English.  No Spanish either.  Only Japanese.  Communication problems with people working at the hostel. 
Solution attempt no 1:  seek assistance from Korean dude.  He doesn't speak Japanese - he's Korean.  But he looks Japanese enough.  Strike one.
Solution attempt no 2:  seek assistance from me.  Good one.  I don't speak Japanese - I'm Australian.  But I look about as Japanese as the Korean dude - and we know how far that one got us last time. 
Picture this:  Japanese middle aged woman trying to explain something in Japanese to one Korean dude and me, both of us standing there, both kinda Japanese looking, confused, having no idea what the fuck she was talking about. 
"Uh...what?"
By the way - how the fuck was she getting around?
 
2.  So I'm walking down the road and get accosted by a tourist trap dude who owns a tourist shop.
"Hey - Suzuki - I have hats!  Wanna buy a hat?"
"What you got?"
"Panama hats"
"Aren't panama hats from panana?"
"No - they're from Merida"
"So why aren't they called Merida hats instead of panama hats?"
"Because they're made in Merida" - insert Mini 'uh...what?'
"But - why didn't you call them Merida hats?"
"They're from Merida".
"Uh... what?"
 
1.  So its RainMasterRain in Merida.  Special at the movie cinema around the corner.  Nicolas Cage - The WickerMan - $1.  Do it...
About an hour in, the projection stops as the sound of power draining echoes through the cinema.  What the fuck?  A blackout?  A power failure?  Are you joking?  Then, just as I think I've identified the probable reason for this interruption to my viewing pleasure, a slide is prjected on the screen - "Intermission" - a happy popcorn box and coke can doing a dance. 
Intermission?  What the fuck?  It's a movie...
"Uh... what?"
 
To Vallodolid and the mighty Chitzchen Itza...
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