Our plans changed once we had visited Tulum and then Playa De Carmen as we realized that heading north on the coast was just going to get busier and busier with tourists so we decided to head West and hit Merida. Billed as the cultural capital of the entire Peninsula.
On the way we were going to stop at Chichin Itza, an amazing Mayan ruin that is one of the seven modern wonders of the world. However we didn’t get there until about 10am and there would have been at least 10 tour buses there along with a full car park so we got back into our car and decided to hit the ruins first thing in the morning when we were coming back from Merida.
So we arrived at Merida for lunch and checked into our hostel which was awesome. Cheap, great location, good wifi and it had a pool! The owner Allan was a weird British man who took 3 times as long as anyone else to do something but his heart was in the right place. We were both starving and Allan pointed us towards a cheap market just around the corner. The people there were really fantastic and gave us a sample of some of their stuff as we didn’t know what it was. I had a local dish called supa de limon (lime soup surprisingly) which was lime soup with roast turkey and tortilla. It was really nice but half way through the lime was pretty overpowering.
We spent the afternoon sorting out some bits and pieces and just as we were about to go for a swim it bucketed down. Typical. We waited that out and went for some dinner and a walk around the town. A lot of the restaurants have ladies in traditional dress sitting in the front of the shop making fresh gorillas right then and there. Unfortunately we decided on a cheaper option and paid the price with mediocre fare. The roads leading into some of the squares are blocked off at night and restaurants and bars put tables and chairs out. Great people watching spot. The hammock seller came over to us as he caught both of us admiring his work. We learnt a lot about the process but didn’t buy any. I think I will regret that as the work was amazing and really cheap. But you can’t buy everything!
The next morning we got up and soaked up the city. The town is another colonial one, so the usual coloured buildings and cathedrals. The city has a really great feel to it. There are lots of markets serving great food cheap and the streets are alive with hustle and bustle. We visited the official Mayan artistic and market and the jewellery and face masks were divine. Though so was the price unfortunately so we walked away empty handed. We did do a little bit of clothes shopping as it is really rather cheap for certain things. We don’t need to be embarrassed now handing over Tim’s holey underwear when we need to do washing!
After the heat set in we went back and went for a swim, just making it before it rained. This time of year it is the norm around here. We then went back out for some pre dinner drinks. As we were walking by a place we heard some tropical salsa beats being played live. We ventured in and found a really cool bar/restaurant in the court yard. Score. Made even better by the fact that they started serving us free tapas. Sometimes things just work out.
We soon remembered that we were heading into town as there was a Mayan football exhibition. This one they were using their hips to hit a ball through a hoop. Then they lit the ball on fire and had to keep it off the ground before hitting it through the hoop. Once that was over we ventured back it our bar and enjoyed the beats while eating our full of tacos. We could have spent quite a bit of time here exploring Merida and the outlying beach town but we are out of time! S
Saw a man playing these where we ate at the food market the first day. I have no idea if you win money or what but they look like fun!
More picturesque streets.
This was a little art exhibition we stumbled into in a public thoroughfare between two main streets. The trees where made of plastic bags. It was really very effective.
Their use of light on the colonial buildings are very well done. It almost makes them a different building from day and night.
We had been expecting to see a lot of olds beetles in Mexico and it wasn’t until we came here that we really got to see some. Apparently there are heaps more in Mexico City.
Another day another market. This one was one the second day and the tacos were amazing. Those prices are in Mexican pesos and one Australian dollar gets you nearly 14 Mexican pesos. Ridiculously cheap!
Every colonial city needs a few churches and it also needs a main square with one of these buildings with the arches. I can see why as they are really beautiful.
The reenactment of the Mayan football game. You can see the ball on fire and the hoop they had to throw it through. There was a technique as the bottom half of the ball was not on fire and was obviously slightly heavier so some of the men had worked out that if you threw it high in the air the bottom half would come down first so you could grasp it without being burnt.