Sunday, November 30, 2008

Merida for the Weekend

Our friends, Jim and Janet, invited Allan, me and another friend James to go with them to Merida, the Yucatan capital for the weekend to see a craft show and just enjoy the city.We gladly accepted and agreed to meet them there; they would take the bus with James on Tuesday and we would drive down Friday morning, spend Saturday and Sunday in the house they rented and then we would all drive back on Monday. Today is Saturday, our second day into the trip, and I must say the trip so far has been quite enjoyable, certainly with memorable stories and experiences.

On the 4 hour drive from Playa del Carmen to Merida we passed through 3 armed road blocks all without incident. What is most notable is that at every one my stomach drops, heart begins to beat faster – there haven’t been many experiences in my life more intimidating than armed police dressed in military fatigues brandishing loaded automatic machine guns who stop my vehicle and begin to ask questions of me. Without fail they ask the origin and destination of our trip, always let us pass and never fail to show us a genuine smile. I have heard horror stories from other travelers, and I’m sure many are true, but luckily I haven’t experienced one so far.

Unfortunately Allan was pulled over once for speeding. I conceded to the cop that I did speak some Spanish, and luckily the officer wasn’t interested in getting us in trouble – he much preferred to resolve the matter on the spot. To my disappointment as the officer was attending to us a black Hummer passed by traveling much faster than us, but instead of stopping as the officer waved him over, he kept going and was never pulled over as far as I know. It’s been recommended to us to do the same thing (i.e. not stop), but I’m not sure we’re bold or foolish enough.

Once we arrived in Merida, got settled and began exploring what has been most remarkable for me has been that Merida in many ways it reminds me of what I love about New York City: the unique artisan craft and clothing stores. I’ve spend hours just wandering around all the different shops searching for one of a kind treasures. Merida is also filled with a sophistication and culture that is lacking in Playa, perhaps only because Merida is a metropolitan city. What I don’t like about Merida (and what I don’t miss about Boston) is the exhaust fumes and traffic congestion.

We did attend the craft show today, which was quite enjoyable – it can be hard to find such a diverse array of hand crafted treasures in Playa. Allan managed by purchased a Mayan statue while I settled on a piece of ornamentally sewn fabric while I’ll use to drape over a night stand. Tomorrow we’re going to a gigantic fair, which also should be a ball, especially considering Allan loves fairs, and since moving to Mexico has missed all the good ones in New England.

There is supposed to be another craft fair in 6 months, and I’m already looking forward to returning to Merida to see what other treasures I’ll discover.

Playa del Carmen Condo and Villa Vacation Rentals
I pose in the back patio of our rental in Merida with small pool in the background
A local artisan weaves colorful Yucatan blankets.

Janet and Jim on our open roof bus tour through Merida.

Boston? Who would have known we would find a restaurant in Merida bearing the name of our home town.

Me on the open roof bus tour of Merida.

James, Jim, Janet and Allan in front of one of Merida's colorful buildings.

I relax on a hammock in our rental.

Jim, Janet, James and Allan pose in front of our rental in Merida


K.W. Michigan said...

Merida .. what a great city! I spent time there a couple years ago .. need to return. So much charm.

Florence said...

We have been looking for an update for so long. What is up with that? I know you must have something to post.


Nancy said...

Have you given up the blog? If so I'll be taking it off my blog roll. What's up?