Friday, March 02, 2012


More on this posting later. Thought I'd get a few photos up for a start. We're off to hear a number of local bands this evening - everything from blues, Cuban to ?Texan?
This painting depicts a Mayan temple being torn down
and the stones being used to build a church - a common
occurence. There were many painting in the hacienda.

The living room of the Hacienda Sanchez Hotel, one
of the old estates in the Yucatan where we had lunch.

Well the Cuban band was quite good, so we ended up staying there for drinks and then on to the Soggy Peso for dinner. We're eating out more than usual but the food is good and cheap. This is also true in Merida, although it is possible there to eat in great style (and spend more money).

Merida was founded by the Spanish in 1542 on the site of the Mayan city of T'hou. Merida took it's orders directly from Spain and not from Mexico City (until the revolution) and therefore it has a distinct cultural identity. Our plans for this trip were to leave Isla Mujeres early, pick up our rental car in Cancun and then drive to Merida. This all took much longer than expected. We had to "import" our boat into Mexico (we're staying more than one month) in Cancun and dealing with officials is always slow, and then we hadn't looked very carefully at the distance. It was 305 kilometers and even on the toll highway took 3 hours, arriving at 5PM. The highway didn't have an exit or in fact anything but trees for 180 kilometers! Someone had warned us to check our gas tanks before we got on. We stopped in Valladolid at that first exit to take a break, have lunch and see a little of that town.
The Cathedral of San Gervasio and square in Valladolid
In Merida at night the public buildings are lit up beautifully
- here, the Cathedral of San Ildefonso 
We'd made reservations at a great hotel on right downtown, Hotel Dolores Alba. After a brief rest and shower we walked around the center of the bustling city. The beautiful central Plaza is surrounded by historic building, all wonderfully lit up at night. There was a demonstration of folk/historic dances that very evening at 9pm so we had time for a walk and dinner. We were still tired from the long day so none of us had patience with shopping. Unfortunately, as now we deeply regret it! There were some really lovely artisan cooperatives with a wide variety of crafts.
A folk dance performance in front of the Palacio Municipale
with a live orchestra. We just lucked out!
The shops are open until 9 or 10PM and there's a really
wide variety of merchandise. Here these death head figurines
sport appropriate cigarettes.
These chess set figures look like characters from the
Family Guy.
I'm really sorry I didn't buy any of these. I haven't seen
any as nice since.
The next morning we had breakfast in the old courtyard and then walked around again. The shops however weren't open yet and we now knew we had to leave early if we wanted to see Chichen Itza and still get back before the rental car center closed. More on that amazing visit in my next posting.
The beautiful courtyard of the Palacio Gobierno 
The Palacio was decorated by a series of
painting by Fernando Castro Pacheco
depicting the symbolic history of the Mayan
people and their interaction with the

We loved our Hotel Dolores Alba, $44 a night including
a full breakfast. It was right in the city and very nice.
And it even had a very nice pool!
The Palacio Municipal in daylight
The Casa Montejo was once a beautiful
palacio but now a bank. Still beautiful
Shoe Shine stands are in every park 
Sidewalks are sometimes covered with
Wide tree lined streets and sidewalk cafes give this city
a very European look
Even some of the more modest buildings are well
decorated and all in pastel colors
Stone carving and wrought iron work decorate
many of homes/shops

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