Apparently, we’ve come to Mérida on its rainy season. The good thing is that the weather is cooled down quite a bit; the bad thing is you can’t go around much.
On Friday, June 29, we were picked up by Paula, who was introduced to me by Aurora, a Mexican friend from my days in Vancouver forty years ago. Aurora and Paula’s mother, Rosa, were high-school friends fifty years ago. Paula took us to meet her parents in a town outside of Mérida called Sitpach. It was definitely a countryside town with only a population of two thousand folks. The house was lovely with a lot of land and fruit trees. They had four dogs and three cats. We were invited for dinner, but Kip and I got so drowsy from the heat and the walking that we had done in the last couple of days that I asked to be returned to the hotel to nap.
After the nap, we managed to go out (during a rain break) for a meal nearby at a restaurant called La Recova which turned out to be expensive again. The bill came out to be 875 pesos … CAD$62. That’s the last of expensive meals for us!
We’re still enjoying our hotel service with the daily change of animated towels and authentic Yucatan breakfasts.
Click the image below to see the rain and meal we had.
After all the hassles that Albert went through trying to acquire his passport replaced, he finally got it and flew from Barcelona to Toronto, to Mexico City, to Mérida. I arranged for the same driver, Javier, who picked us up from the airport to fetch him on Sunday morning at 8 a.m. They arrived about 8:30 after a long anticipated wait on our side. It was good to see him in good spirit in spite of being battered for a whole week. I thought he may want to rest up after the long travel, but he was high on energy and wanted to begin touring Mérida.
Click the image below to see Albert’s arrival.
Every Sunday in Mérida, the streets in the downtown center are closed off for pedestrians and bicyclists only. Bicycle shops rent out single, double, triple, and quadruple bikes. We rented one made for one peddler and two passengers. Albert took the honor of becoming the driver while Kip and I got to enjoy the scenery.
The bike was hard to control and always ran off course. I’m reminded of a time I rented such a bike from an old fellow in Thailand. The steering and brakes didn’t work. I rammed it up against the sidewalk and bent the wheel. I had to pay for a new wheel and other damages that probably had incurred before. These bikes in Mérida were definitely ill-balanced and poorly serviced. Albert had to peddle very slowly and often used his shoes for brakes.
Click the image below to see a video of our bicycle tour.
It was interesting to see all the attractive young men and women in the streets. Albert commented that he didn’t expect them to be so. I guess Hollywood’s common images of weathered cartels and fat prostitutes give people the impression that all Mexicans look like that. Instead, we’re finding that the people are fashionable, well-shaped, and graceful.
In the main city park, Plaza Grande, many food, clothing, and toy vendors were set up just like in Thailand and Morocco. They had the same plastic tents and chairs set up. All types of Mexican food were sold there. In the West, everything is over regulated, and makes life very boring. What goes on and seen in Mexico is very much the same in the rest of the world. Tourists from the West love this atmosphere. These vendors make a living for themselves, simple as they may be, they’re are off the welfare systems that we’ve instituted in North America.
We stopped to have some home-made ice-cream that cost us about $2.00 each. They were delicious! I bought a nice straw hat for 250 pesos, and one for Kip for 100 pesos. The vendors were not pushy at all. I was happy to give them what they were asking for.
The weekly event was very well organized. There were police everywhere on watch, and young people directing the traffic at every intersection. I wondered if they were paid or were volunteering; either way it is a positive sign. If they were paid, it shows that the government takes care of its people; if they volunteered, it shows how the kids cared about their city. I asked and found out they were volunteers. They did that every Sunday!
Click the image below to see a slideshow of our Sunday stroll.
After three hours of walking and touring, we decided to cool off at a pool. Although our hotel didn’t have a pool, they had made an agreement with Normadas Hostel to allow their guests to use the pool. We were happy to dip into the pool, since the humidity began to build up.
When we finished swimming, it began to pour heavy rain. We hid in the hotel until 8 pm to go out to eat. We found a burger restaurant, Cuernos del Toro, nearby that made delicious and reasonably-priced burgers. The entée included a beer. I’m not much of a drinker, but a beer on a hot night just hit the spot.
We had planned to go to the Center to watch Flamingo Dancing; however, it rained again, so we just headed back to the hotel to catch up on our sleeps.
Looks like the heat and the touring are starting to get to us.