Merida

  • Merida, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico - In January 2016 we will be headed to Merida, a city of over one million people on the Yucatan Peninsula in southern Mexico. The Yucatan Peninsula lies between the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea near the Tropic of Cancer. Cuba is only about 950 kilometers across the water. In a break from our […]
  • Assigning Meaning - We have been seeing signs as we walk on the street from one place to another. The first we translated. “Please Beware Do not step on me.” I think they really care about these flowers.  This next one is the mystery. We found it around the block in our own neighborhood, “La Ermita” named for […]
  • Street Colors - We went for a walk on Sunday morning and…
  • The Shoe-Shine Man - The Shoe-Shine Man Has No Shoes
  • Maya Beauty - This mask of jade, obsidian, shells and limestone plaster is a remainder of the Mayan civilization. This mask was created for the tribes royalty denoting status and power in this extensive and ordered ancient culture. Jade was the “gold” of the Mayas. Salt, jade, chocolate and the tail feathers of the quetzal bird held the wealth of […]
  • Mixto Plato - One Tuesday we choose “Manjar Blanco” a Yucatecan restaurant for lunch. (Manjar Blanco is a coconut custard that is often served for dessert in the Yucatan.) When we arrive we are the only people in the restaurant. Uh oh. As the meal progresses more and more local people come in and warmly greet each other and the chef. […]
  • The Ceiba Tree - Long before the Spaniards arrived in the Yucatan, the Maya believed that there is a central world tree that connects the underworld, the earth and the skies. And that tree is the ceiba tree. The ceiba tree, believed by the Maya to be a sacred tree, is represented by a cross found in the Temple of the Cross […]
  • Pink Flamingoes? - What color is a flamingo? Did you say pink? A flamingo is the color of shrimp. And for good reason. Flamingoes favor a shrimp cuisine rich in beta-carotene, as we learned while visiting Celestun, a little village about two hours west of Merida on the Gulf of Mexico. Celestun is a day-trip from Merida and known for the greater pink […]
  • Celestial Road Trip - We came upon this Nativity scene in a contemporary folk art exhibition in Merida. Joseph is driving. Mary is showing the baby off to passersby. The three kings are in the backseat with their gifts in their laps. Two angels are perched on the back bumper. And the car…a VW Bug, natch!
  • Standing Still - On Calle 50 near the center of the city, there are two massive relics of Merida’s past. Two of the original eight 18th century gateways to the walled city still stand, engulfed by the modern city surrounding them. In one of these gates, Arco del Puente, two doorways are cut into the supporting pillars. These small openings […]
  • ¿Hablo español? - Some estimate 700 hours of study as a line of demarcation in mastery in language learning. I am approaching 400 hours. This trip Dana began his studies. I am able to carry on a simple conversation with our instructors and other students at Calle 55, our school in Merida. Dana is able to meet and greet. […]
  • Interrupted Elegance - Henequen was the “green gold” of the Yucatan. This prized sisal fiber was exported all over the world from the mid-1800s into the 20th century. The wealth amassed was unbelievable for its time and was held by 50 prominent families. Many of these families built mansions in Merida. Paseo Montejo, a broad tree-lined avenue in contemporary Merida, […]
  • Dosado - Dosado, do-si-do or dos-à-dos is a dance step where dancers begin facing each other and end facing each other. American’s are most familiar with it from square dancing. These chairs look like dosado chairs to us. They are in parks and on streets all over Merida. In a Latin culture where hugs and cheek kisses are common […]
  • Borrowed Stones - When the Spaniards arrived in Itzamal it was nearly deserted. Five great pyramids remained in what had been one of the most important cities of Mayan civilization. The ‘conquerors’ set to work dismantling the pyramids. And on the site of the largest pyramid, with the stones shaped by the Mayans for their patriarch priest Itzamna “dew of heaven,” was built the Franciscan […]
  • Santa Lucia Park - Every Sunday at noon Meridians gather to talk, gamble and dance in Santa Lucia Park. The park is a tiny green oasis tucked in El Centro.We hear the salsa music a block away and arrive to find a one-man band, a singer and a stage full of Sunday dancers with an audience in folding chairs.Some […]
  • The Cenotes - Cenotes are natural pits (sinkholes) deep in the limestone bedrock underlying the Yucatan Peninsula. The exposed groundwater creates beautiful deep turquoise pools. Two of these drew us to visit one, Cenote Zaci in the middle of the city of Valladolid and the other a more remote cenote in the woodlands beyond the ruin of Ek Balam.Cenote Zaci is […]
  • Chocol Haa Maya - Chocolate. All you need is that one word for aficionados to go mad. But the chocolate we found in Valadolid is not like any I have savored before. This is the more bitter Mayan chocolate, Chocol Haa Maya, “the caress of the gods.” While exploring on the Calle de los Frailes (the street of the monks) in […]
  • Rooster On Car - We found this pet rooster with his own little leash living on the owner’s car. The owner sits on a stone step in front of his shop. The rooster stands and pecks his food on the car roof a few feet away.
  • Parque de la Candeleria - The pocket parks in Mexico are kind of an extension of the home. Homes are small here and the weather is hot and humid. The park trees give welcome shade during the day and the nights in the open air are intoxicating. The Parque de la Candeleria is around the corner from Casa Hipil, our hotel in […]
  • Ek’ Balam - Ek’ Balam is an ancient walled city of the Mayan civilization. Near Chichen Itza, it is a less-well known but primordial example of Mayan architecture. Dana and I visited Ek’ Balam before we went to Chichen Itza. The contemporary differences in the sites are immediately apparent. Chichen Itza is overrun with tourists. Multiple buses are idling in […]
  • Chichen Itza - We want to share our day at Chichen Itza and nothing more. There are so many books, articles, and other media to tell you the details. We are not even trying to do that. This is just our limited view and experience. We arrive from Valladolid in a parking lot crowded with tour buses. It is […]
  • Quirky Folk Art - Casa de los Venados is a private home and contemporary folk art museum in Valladolid. John and Dorianne Venator claim to be the largest private folk art museum in Mexico. Their home itself is a 400 year old, renovated hacienda expanded to 18,000 square feet and filled with some of the quirkiest custom art we have seen. The […]
  • The Unexpected - Unexpectedly our dogs Fantan and Trolley needed us in Santa Fe. We are now home after a Valentine’s Day 7-hour layover in Houston. We ate twice…once in a nice restaurant…well as nice as they come in an airport…and once in a sport’s bar. Also I ate two packages of M&Ms. But we are home now […]
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