My little adventures south of the border.

Merida

Luz en Yucatan…

This will be my last post on Merida for now.  I want to eventually do a post or two on black and white in Merida, but for now I will conclude with a short post on the hotel where I stayed.

The Luz en Yucatan is the one with the gold facade.  I wish I would have gotten a front-on shot but this will have to do.  Looks pretty plain and unassuming, right?


It is such a pleasant surprise when you go inside.  This is the foyer area right when you go in the front door.


Amazing ceiling…


You can either go through this courtyard or an inner hallway to get to the office and area where the rooms are.


Fountain at the end of this walkway…


This is the main hallway with rooms on both sides.  This leads to the courtyard and pool on the backside of the hotel.  See that little beverage table to the left?  It is equipped with tequila and various liquors which are complimentary for guests.  Very cool.


This is that hallway going the other way towards the street.


And here’s the courtyard and pool.  A VERY relaxing area after a day of tromping around Merida.  I’ve mentioned before that Merida is a concrete jungle.  But it makes up for that with these little oases that are hidden in the recesses of the concrete facades.


This is standing at the pool looking back at the hotel.  These rooms have nice little outdoor areas…


I had the room above the umbrella in the distance.  You walk up the steps into the kitchen and bathroom area…then walk through a little patio to get to the bedroom.  Adorable!


This was the bathroom door.  How cool is that??


And this was the view from the little patio.  Every room has a hammock.


The Luz en Yucatan is a wonderful, comfortable hotel.  The pool and courtyard offer a beautiful respite from the Merida heat and the owners are very friendly.  At only $50 a night, I would highly recommend it.  Be aware that this is becoming a very popular hotel and they are already booked throughout much of the year, so if you’re interested, you might want to make your reservation well in advance.  Another good thing is that they don’t require any kind of advance payment before you check in.  You just have to pay in cash when you get there…they don’t accept credit cards.  Here’s their website:  Luz en Yucatan


On to Isla Mujeres next.  Stay tuned!


Food in Merida…

When I was looking through my 1,000 photos, I was pretty disappointed that I hadn’t taken more pictures of food.  The the ones I DID take were primarily of breakfast.  I think it’s because I just snacked around on food the rest of the day after eating a big breakfast.  I discovered this place which is just around the corner from the hotel where I was staying on Calle 60…about 2-1/2 blocks from the main square.  “Cafeinosense”…cute name.  They just opened a few months ago, so they’re in the process of gaining a clientele.  I would highly recommend them and only regret that I didn’t try lunch or dinner there.  Here’s what the front looks like…


And the inside…very nice…and it’s kind of nice to be able to see the chef working inside the kitchen.  He would wave through the window every once in awhile.


A little bar area in the back…


And a little patio out the back door.  They told me that in the evening, water flows over the stone wall on the right.  I wish I would have seen that.


I’m showing a few pages of their menu because I frankly couldn’t believe the prices.  Huevos Motulenos for $40.00 pesos!  Unbelievable…I’ve never paid less than $50.00.


The menu was huge…both in size and offerings…


Here is Roman…a VERY friendly and courteous waiter.  Both he and the chef came over frequently to make sure everything was okay.


Of course I had to have the Huevos Motulenos…especially at that price!  Absolutely wonderful!


This was a cheese omelet.  I didn’t know it came with potatoes, so I ordered a side of hash browns.


So these came after I was served my omelet.  They were to die for…

And this was Huevos Divorciados.  Another wonderful breakfast…


Finally, I tried the Molletes.  These are a Yucatan dish which I’ve never had before.  Maybe kind of like a Mexican version of bagels.  Again…VERY good.


I would highly recommend a visit to this fine little restaurant if you get to Merida.  Everyone is extremely friendly and helpful, and they truly want to please their guests.  Here’s their website:  Cafeinosense

On another note, these are the Huevos Motulenos I had at the little restaurant that sits right across the street from the hotel where I stayed (Luz en Yucatan).  It was good, but I have to say I liked Cafeinosense better.


For something different, I tried some pizza one day.  After I’m in Mexico for a few days, I get a craving for non-Mexican food and this placed filled the bill.  Put simply, this place is just a tiny little hole-in-the-wall with no frills.  It’s open to the street with no air conditioning, but it was worth it.


I think that pizza oven has been around for awhile…


Filling bags with shredded cheeses…


Pizza’s ready!


Yum!


Some sweet treats from a neighborhood bakery…


These guys are so photogenic…


And I had to get a shot of this from a table next to me on the square.  Wow…does that look decadent or what??  Unfortunately, I never have much of a sweet tooth when I’m in Mexico, but I bet this was delicious.


And last, but certainly not last…you got it…Bimbo dogs.  And, yes, I had one…delish!


I will do one more short post on my hotel in Merida before I go on to Isla Mujeres.  Stay tuned!


Merida Miscellaneous II…

I know, I know…I said my next post would be on food in Merida.  But after looking through my photos again, I thought it deserved one more post on just miscellaneous stuff.  I promise that my NEXT post will be on food.

There was a huge fabric store downtown…lots of pretty colors and LOTS of customers.  I’m sure these contribute to the clothing and crafts sold on Sundays.  Made me think of when I was young and sewed most of my clothes myself…suits, coats, jackets, everything…not to mention window treatments.  I haven’t sewn anything in many, many years…other than simple hemming or repairs.  I know that doesn’t have anything to do with Merida, but I thought I’d throw it out there.


Shoe shining is a big thing in Merida.  You can either stop by a stand, or there are men who walk around with a portable stand for shines on-the-go.


Lots of fruit stands in town.  This one sat just outside of a local elementary school…


I will repeat that I loved the shop windows.  Every single one was different.


Even to the point of being R-rated…haha!


This was definitely something different for me.  I was in a jewelry shop and noticed this little glass container.  I thought it just contained jewelry, but when I looked inside, I could see that the “jewelry” was moving around.  Upon closer look, I saw that they were beetles in which jewels and chains had been glued onto their backs.  (You can see one of their splindly disgusting little black legs on the right hand side of the photo in the middle.)  What an original thought, right??  I honestly couldn’t believe what I was seeing, so the guy behind the counter takes one out and sets it on his shirt and the thing just hangs there not moving.  You can imagine what I said when he asked me if I wanted to try it out.  (I’m sure that if someone did this in the U.S., the ASPCA would be on them in a heartbeat.)  Anyway, when I showed this picture to a friend, she said, “I wonder what event you would wear beetle jewelry to?”  Silly girl!  I responded, “To a party given by Beetlejuice, of course!”  Okay…a lame attempt at humor…my apologies.


This is the church next to the hotel (Luz en Yucatan) where I stayed…I THINK it’s the Santa Lucia.  Cute little church, but I wish the trees hadn’t been in the way of the bells.  The bells are often the best on the churches in Mexico.


And a side shot.  The Luz en Yucatan is the first structure to the right of this photo…and attached to the church.


I was in a gift shop on a second floor and got another shot of one of the horse-drawn carriages.  On a side note, I will be doing a post in the future of black and white photos of Merida.  I felt many of the shots I took made more of a statement in black and white than in color.


An interesting fellow…I bet he has a story.  I will say that most of the people you see in Merida are definitely Mexican.  Since it is a large city, most of them are citizens just living their everyday lives.  I actually did not notice a whole lot of Americans.  Frankly, I think there were more Europeans visiting there than Americans.  You definitely feel like you’re in real Mexico when you’re in Merida.


I visited the anthropological museum while I was there.  What an incredible building, eh?


While it was interesting, most of the items inside were artifacts from Chichen Itza.  Since I’ve been to Chichen Itza, I feel like I was familiar with everything and frankly would rather see them out in their natural surroundings rather than in a museum.




One of the things that impressed me most about the museum was the incredible architecture.  I don’t know when the structure was built, but the detail was just amazing to me.  Talk about your crown molding!


Not to mention the chandeliers!


And a beautiful stained glass window skylight…


They also had a photography exhibit on the violent Mexican Revolution.  Some pretty grisly pictures…




This was the building next door, which I didn’t go into, but again…a wonderful architectural beauty…


Another little park in this area of town.  The museum was about six or seven blocks from the hotel…definitely worth a taxi ride.


Interesting sculpture…


I thoughts these works were fun in one of the art galleries here…




Yea, Santo!


This was an inside courtyard to an art gallery I visited.  It was a private home for a couple who had their gallery on the street-side of the home.  Their Weimeraners look very comfortable, don’t they?  I would have to say that if I lived in Merida, I would HAVE to have one of these little courtyards, preferably with a pool.  The streets and house fronts are all concrete and everything feels very close and congested…and HOT!  Everyone you talk to mentions how incredibly hot it gets in the summer here.  I think a little oasis would be a necessity.


But, while I was there, sitting outside in the evening was very pleasant.  And it is a VERY popular past time for visitors as well as residents.  Merida is all about loving the city and enjoying life.  You very much feel that when you’re here.


But watch out for these guys.  Since it does get so hot here, hand fan sales are a BIG thing.  And, yes…I bought one.


Merida doors…

The doors in Merida are absolutely amazing.  Like I said before, they’re huge…which seems kind of strange since the Mayans are pretty small people.  But who am I to argue that point?  I was totally impressed with the doors.  The intricacy, the detail and the massiveness were very impressive.  Every single door was different.  When I think of the cookie-cutter subdivisions in the states where every single house looks like the next definitely doesn’t apply in Merida.  At the risk of repeating myself…EVERY single door was different. 


A lot of them had bars on the front which meant they weren’t actually used.


Lots of gargoyle-type figures surrounding the frames…


A lot of them came in threes…


Some were pretty plain…


And a lot had “inside doors”…insets where you could open a smaller door within the big main door.  You could see this in windows, too.


Lots of ornate detail…


There were also ones which weren’t too fancy…


Some were very well cared for…


Others were not…


Basic plain shapes…


Another triple entrance…


I’ll close this post with a little sweetheart who was at an outdoor art exhibit.  The parents were European and while they kept an eye on her, they pretty much let her run free.  She saw I was taking her picture and stopped dead in her tracks.  I think maybe she’s used to having her picture taken.  She was worth a few shots.


Appropriate picture considering the statue…


Dad’s fixing the balloon…


What a sweet smile…


Next post will be on eats in Merida…stay tuned!



Miscellaneous Merida…

I took just over 1,000 pictures on this trip and while I’m certainly not going to post all of them, it’s hard to choose which ones to use.  So, I’ve decided to just do little reports with no real subject matter.  I will do a separate post on doorways because doors are literally and figuratively a HUGE thing in Merida.

I’ll start this report on night time on the square.  Everything is lit up at night and it’s absolutely beautiful.  Tons of people come out and just sit on the many benches and enjoy the beauty.



The Catedral de Merida is simply stunning at night.  This photo does not do it justice.


Earlier that afternoon I checked out the inside.  I feel uncomfortable taking pictures inside churches when people are there, but I quickly took a few shots.  Incredible and humbling at the same time.


I’m guessing this must be the baptismal font??


And this was a little side area off the main church.


A few people sit at the main door…which only seems to accentuate the massiveness of the doors.


This is the doorway to the Iglesia Tercera…another church just a couple of blocks away.  There happened to be a wedding here the evening I walked by.

Talk about an incredible background for a wedding…


And here’s the flower girl…


This is the Palacio de Gobierno on the square.  I don’t know if the Gobierno lives here…


Ice cream on the square…


Lots of colors…


And across from an outdoor art gallery.  Art is a big deal in Merida…there are many artists displaying their works here…


Merida is truly a concrete jungle.  I guess that’s why there are so many little parks that appear every few blocks.  The streets are narrow, the sidewalks are narrow and the traffic is intense during the day downtown.  While this street scene looks pretty quiet, you really have to be attentive to traffic and stepping into the street.  Drivers are not pedestrian friendly, so be careful.


Not to mention there are plenty of these around which just makes things even more congested.  But I did love the sound of the horse hooves clip-clopping on the  cobblestone streets.


All the horses seem very healthy and well cared for…


Just another illustration of how huge the windows and doors are compared to the size of human beings…

I loved the shop windows and doorways…


And everyone is SOOOOO friendly.  I sat down to take a breather from all my waking on a bench on the square.  This fellow sat down next to me and we had a friendly “broken” conversation.  When I wanted to take his picture, he made me wait until he could put his sunglasses on so that he would look cool.  Haha!


I was walking around town and saw this little cutie in front of me who definitely warranted a photo.


The mom happened to be behind me and when she saw that I was taking her daughter’s picture, she called out to her husband who turned around and flashed me this absolutely incredible smile.  Wow…is that totally cool, or what?  They proceeded to tell me how much they loved their hometown of Merida.  How sweet.


As opposed to this little guy who I couldn’t get to smile.


Who reminded me of this little fellow in Nuevo Progreso.  There is such a sadness in their eyes.  What a hard life for these little guys to be out selling things in order to live.


To be continued…


The Sunday Market in Merida…

I was fortunate to be in Merida on a Sunday because that’s when they have their weekly market.  This is the main square in downtown Merida.  As I’ve already mentioned, the architecture is amazing and it seems like everyone hangs out here just to enjoy life.


On the Saturday night before the market, they block off the streets around the square and start setting up vendor booths for the next day.  Little temporary restaurants surround the square while the Mayan women continue to sell their wares.


French fries and fried hot dogs are some of the most popular items for the food vendors.


Here are these bad boys cooking in oil.  I tried them…and did not like them.  So, I don’t have to worry about hardening my arteries any more than they already are.


A common sight in Mexico…


And here were some fried cinnamony things.  They were good but I don’t have a real big sweet tooth.


Lots of fresh fruit…pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, jicama and mango…


Random musicians and singers would perform at the little restaurants…


Now, on to the market.  They had a little bit of everything.  One of the main things was clothing for women…specifically the huipil worn by Mayan women…


And the typical sundresses…


I kind of liked these flowy pants things…


Guayabaras are a REALLY big thing here.  You will find many shops dedicated solely to these.


Little girl’s dresses…


Embroidery for dish towels and baby items…


Lots of straw hats…


And purses…


Mexican Barbie dolls…


And these wooden mortars and pestles.  Now I wish I would have bought one of these…I think they’re pretty.


And LOTS of knick-knacks…


These are definitely hand-made.  I watched her making these one by one…


These actually looked more Oriental to me than Mexican…


Mayan calendars…


And a vast array of jewelry…


Aaargh…


Some very nice batiks…


And I actually liked this artwork…very colorful and fun…


I didn’t ask how much it was…it would have been too difficult to take back on the plane.


Then they had native Mayan dancers on the square…


Very pretty women all dressed up with very big smiles…


Then we get to the beer trays on the head.  I witnessed this for the first time last year when I was at Chichen Itza.  I couldn’t understand (and still don’t) the whole beers on the head deal, but who am I to question tradition?


Everyone has fun at the market.  Actually, I was surprised there weren’t more hand-made items here, but it was entertaining none-the-less.


But I think this was my best picture yet.  A little boy and his mom sat next to me while I was watching the dancers and I couldn’t help but notice the little guy’s shoes so I snapped a shot.  Wow.  Pretty cool, huh?  You’d never see a little American boy wearing these.


Welcome to Merida…

I spent four days in Merida during Spring Break.  The biggest city I’ve ever been to so far in Mexico is Valladolid which seems pretty small compared to Merida.  According to Wikipedia, “Mérida has been nicknamed ‘The White City’, though the exact origin of this moniker is not clear. Some explanations include the common color of its old buildings painted and decorated with ‘cal’ (though anyone visiting modern Mérida can see that buildings are not all white nowadays) or the fact that the residents keep the city particularly clean. Mérida was named after the Spanish town of the same name, originally (in Latin) Augusta Emerita.”

It’s been awhile since I lived in a big city.  I’ve lived in St. Louis, Minneapolis, Dallas, New Orleans, and Washington DC.  But for the last 12 years, I’ve lived in the burbs or smaller towns.  I had forgotten how impressive old architecture can be.  Downtown Merida is extremely congested in that all the homes and businesses are connected in one continuous building along each block.  The sidewalks and streets are narrow so you can feel very enclosed when you’re walking around.  The traffic is VERY heavy in the downtown area and drivers are not pedestrian-friendly, so you have to be careful and attentive when stepping off a curb.

I took so many photos when I was in Merida, that I didn’t know where to start in posting them.  The first thing that made an impression was the architecture.  I live in a large town in Texas where the architecture is not that impressive, so when I started walking around in Merida, it was difficult not to be blown away by the details and massiveness.  This was the first church I came upon…the Iglesia Tercera Orden…


And while I was very impressed with it, it didn’t come close to the Catedral de Merida.  When you cross the street and see this, it’s just amazing.

This is the backside of the church from the block behind.

A view of one of the sides of the church…

Going on to more architecture, the details are amazing and can be seen from many vantage points…

There are so many different kinds of statues and carvings…



This is the de la Revolucion which is between the Catedral de Merida and the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Arteneo de Yucatan.

And the Palacio Municipal de Santa Elena.  This and the Catedral de Merida are located on the main square downtown.


This is the walkway in front of the Palacio de Gobierno which is also on the square…

This is a side window to the Catedral de Merida…

They have little “squares” on side streets, as well.  This one was next to the Iglesia Tercera Orden…

Which is where I took this picture.  Families are very prominent here…there are many children…


There were MANY Mayan women and girls selling their wares.  I enjoyed seeing them having a moment to themselves and taking a break from their sales.

These were a couple of instrumentalists playing near the restaurant where I was eating.  One thing I didn’t like about Merida is that instrumentalists would play without asking if you wanted to hear something…then pass around a hat for tips whether you wanted them to play or not.

I liked the horse-drawn carriages although I didn’t ride in one.  This one even had a headless horse!

Haha…I kid.

I liked the contrast of the colors of the wall and the hammocks here…

And here…

You never would have guessed they’re above this…

I’ve never eaten at a Burger King even remotely like this before.  (And, no…I didn’t eat at this one, either.)

I liked the many shop windows…Mexicanisimo…haha!

Wow…

I thought this was an interesting study in reflections.  This window had a display of amethysts…but the street scene is a reflection in the window.

Ice cream shop on the square…

I saw these frequently on the square.  I wonder if it’s because Isla Mujeres needs the business??


Muy bueno guacamole dip and pico de gallo…

And cochinita pibil, of course.  The flavor was great…

This woman was begging without selling anything.  She just sat on the street with a shawl over her.  This reminded me of the begging women I saw in Nuevo Progreso.

My last picture for this post…but many more to come.  Merida has many, many photo opportunities ranging from architecture to festivals to culture, etc.  Stay tuned…



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