Thursday, December 7, 2023

 Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico       December 7, 2023

I left the hostel at 8:15 to get to the tourist office in time to sign up for a 9:30 walking tour.  As it turned out, there were only about a dozen of us anyway and what was really good was that everyone spoke English so the guide didn’t have to repeat himself in Spanish.  Believe it or not, we spent an hour and a half in the Zocálo and I really didn’t learn much - I do a lot of reading about where I’m going but it was interesting just the same.

Another beautiful building on the way to the square-

A close up of the Montejo building- Spaniards stomping on the heads of the Maya-

There are peep holes in the cathedral so the enemy could be shot at but whoever was in the church was safe-

One of the five buildings built first by the Spaniards using the carved limestone rocks from the Maya pyramids is the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary in the Hospital of Saint John of God-

It was closed.  I don’t know if it ever opens because the doors looks really old and rickety.

Next to the cathedral is the Museo Fernando García Ponce.  Of course his work is on permanent display but there are other artists showing there too.  The artist’s names mean nothing to me so I’m just showing the “art”???-

These are fun!  This one is called First Wedding and they’re by José Luis Ramirez.  They’re still smiling-

More craziness-

García Ponce’s work reminded me of Purvis Young who also used scraps of wood and other garbage in his paintings-

From here I walked to the local market and had a chaya juice ☹️ and a delicious piece of pizza-

I bought some rambutan-

People are so lazy the vendors peel the oranges and grapefruit.  They’re very cheap as the oranges cost $1.55 and the grapefruit $1.94-

There are so many stores selling Christmas decorations-

I caught a combi to The Great Museum of the Maya World.  The outside is very interesting-

Inside there were a lot of interactive computer screens and a thorough display of the Maya culture.  They lived primarily on the peninsula and further south into Belize and Guatemala-

They carved anything-

A ring used for scoring in the game of Pok A Tok-

Explaining the field-

I caught a combi to La Negrita Cantina for a beer.  Today’s antojitos included bean dip, pickled beats, chicharon and fried tortillas rolled into a tube-

Lupper was shrimp ceviche.  It wasn’t Bucerías ceviche-

I walked home, had a swim and enjoyed my room.  Today was a big day!  Tomorrow I think I’m either going to the ruins at Ixmal or Celustun to see the flamingos!  I had another good day!  

Wednesday, December 6, 2023

 Merida and Izamal, Yucatan, Mexico       December 6, 2023

I had a slow morning but was on my way to a collectivo stop by 10.  I decided to go to Izamal which is a city an hour and a half away-

There are collectivos that go out to most nearby places but they all have different starting points.  The hotel has a really good data base with the addresses of where to find them all and Merida is set up on an interesting grid system.  The streets running north and south are even numbers and those running east and west are odd numbers so my hotel is at Calle 62 and between Calles 75 and 77.  It’s very easy to find anything.  There were 6 of us ready to go but the van doesn’t leave until it’s full which is 16 people so we waited about 30 minutes.  Traffic was crazy so it was slow going through the city but once on the highway we were good.

Along the way-

First yucca I’ve seen this trip-

Izamal is the “yellow city” and that’s very true.  Every building is some shade of yellow and I love yellow-

Nearby there are 7 pyramids and 163 archaeologically important structures but I only went to one pyramid.  They were built up over several centuries to support palaces and temples.  

After the Spanish invasion in the 16th century, the Spanish built their cities on top of former Maya cities but they thought it too much work to destroy the pyramids so they just put a small Christian temple on top of them and built a large Franciscan monastery on the acropolis which they named San Antonio de Padua-

It was completed in 1561 and today the open atrium is the second largest in the world with only the Vatican being bigger-

A fresco on an outside wall-

Inside the church-

There’s a separate altar outside for candle burning which is smart because the black smoke when you blow out a candle destroys the interior of churches-

Pope Jean Paul II visited in 1993-

The Spaniards reused the cut stone from the Maya buildings to build their own churches, monasteries and other buildings.  

A lovely girl celebrating her quinceanera-

Izamal was first occupied 2700 years ago but most construction took place from 250-900 A.D.  I visited the  Kinich Kak Moo ( fire macaw with solar face) pyramid-

Closing in-

Climbing to the top-

The view from the top-

Looking down the “steps”-

It is so called because the Maya believed the sun deity descended daily as a fire macaw to collect its offerings.  The base measures 200 by 180 meters and it’s 34 meters high.  This makes it the 3rd largest pyramid in Mexico.  It’s built over a cave and used to be covered with stucco decoration.

There was a midway in a square-

After an excellent lunch of lime soup-

I returned to the collectivo stand and in no time was on my way back to Mérida.  Once here, I discovered that the colonial buildings are north of the zocalo.  I was disappointed yesterday thinking there had to be more.  I live south of the zocalo which is rubby.  I wandered around admiring the beauty-

I love the doors-

There are numerous churches all in the same Spanish style of course but closed, at least during the day-

I always thought Canadians were consumers but I think Mexicans are far worse.  The sidewalks were packed.  It’s hard to get any speed going because people are on their own planet.  They stop abruptly and turn left or right without looking to see if someone is behind them.  For me it’s annoying but here they’re in survival mode and used to it-

Even though the weather is hot, people still celebrate Christmas with snowmen-

There are lots of stores selling Christmas decorations, wrapping paper and piñatas-

I had supper at Burger King - I know! but I’m so tired of tacos and then had a marquesitas - a crispy crepe with cheese and Nutella filling.  It wasn’t a good combination but is sold as a “traditional” one.  I’ve eaten cheese and jam together forever but I wouldn’t have these combined flavours again-

I came back to the hotel and sat by the pool for awhile-

Tomorrow I hope to do a walking tour and then visit the Gran Museo de Mundo Maya.

  Mérida, Yucatán, Mexico       December 7, 2023 I left the hostel at 8:15 to get to the tourist office in time to sign up for a 9:30 walkin...