Tuesday, December 5, 2023

 Campeche, Campeche to Merida, Yucatan, Mexico     December 5, 2023

I had a leisurely morning then caught a bus at 10:40 to Merida-

It was a nice bus and I had the seats to myself.  It was a 2.5 hour trip and just outside Campeche they were working on the Tren Maya-

My hotel-

was a 10 minute walk from the bus depot.  I have a weird apartment with an eating area-

kitchen and bathroom-

and bedroom-

There’s also a swimming pool-

Not sure why that dead tree is still there.  It all looks kind of rubby but prices are high in Merida.  The  most important thing for me is the AC and mine works great.  I even have a blanket so I can crank it and stay warm all night.  Most beds only have sheets.

After getting settled I went walking.  There are a lot of people milling around and it’s just a Tuesday. I tried this cannoli which is deep fried sweet crust with a custard filling.  It was very good-

Merida was founded by the Spanish in 1542 on the old Maya city called T’Hó.

The heart of a city is the zocalo-

Around the main square are numerous free museums and the Cathedral of San Ildefonso-

which is one of the oldest cathedrals in the Americas was completed in 1598-

looking back at the pipe organ-

Next to the church is a covered walkway called Pasajede de la Revolucion which was completed in 2001.  It’s a walkway connecting the main square to the street behind the cathedral.  Apparently there is art inside but it’s hidden behind plywood walls at the moment-

The Casa de Montejo is in plateresque style which appeared between late Gothic and early Renaissance styles in the late 15th century.  It includes ornate decorative façades covered with floral designs, fantastic creatures and all sorts of configurations.  This casa was built in 1540, covered a whole block and this facade is all that remains.  Two soldiers are standing on Maya heads and they are obviously horrified and suffering-

Inside are replica rooms including a bedroom-

sitting room-


and dining room-

with a great ceiling-

Unfortunately the only authentic part is the façade.  

There’s also a display of Miguel Peraza’s work.  He uses copper, wood and brass to make his boats-

His work is very detailed.

It’s red shirt day-

The Palacio Gobierno (Governor’s Palace) has just recently been renovated-

Upstairs is a gorgeous room-

with a lot of paintings including Salvador Alvarado, the Mayan slave liberator who governed the Yucatan from 1915-1918.  He passed laws favouring women and promoting education-

Sixteen famines due to droughts that killed the corn crops influenced Drought, Plague and Famine-

Gonzalo Guerrero was a mariner who survived a shipwreck only to be imprisoned with a priest (Jeronimo de Aguilar) by the Maya in a cage for 8 years.  Hernan Cortés rescued Aguilar but Guerrero had married the daughter of the chief so stayed with and fought with the Maya.  He is known as the father of mestizaje which means mixed blood-

The Execution of Jacinto Canek shows Canek dying at the hands of the Spanish because he led the Maya in an uprising because of their poor living conditions.  His execution occurred in front of Montejo’s house in 1761.  He was quartered with red hot pokers and pincers, his remains were burned and his ashes thrown to the wind-

The Caste War lasted 50 years and over 300,000 died.  It resulted in no winner and no peace.  It was caused by the anger of the Maya feeling ill treated by the Spanish-

The Conquest of the Yucatan was led by Francisco de Montejo, his son and nephew, all 3 with the same name.  It took them 20 years to defeat the Maya and found the city of Merida on January 6, 1542-

The Municipal Palace has two murals.  This one shows the arrival of the Spaniards, the evangelization, and the construction and beginning of a new city in the New World.  We see a pyramid and Mayan mask in the background as well as a missionary next to a Spaniard and an Indigenous person carving the symbol of the Franciscan order on a melting pot.  It’s called Merida, Melting Pot of Two Races-

The second mural is called Peace, A Universal Longing and includes Mayan knowledge of the Cosmos, astronomy, the understanding of the number “0” and mathematics, corn- the base of their diet, sport- the ball game as well as music - the flute and shell-

After all that cultural stuff, I walked to the Negrita Cantina for a beer-

The antojitos were very different from what I’ve had.  There were 3 bean dishes as well as a wiener dish which was gross but grossest was chicharon -  raw pork fat.  The chips were good- 

It’s a huge place hidden behind the front walls.

Mexico celebrates a girl’s 15th birthday with a fancy dress , professional photos and a big party.  It’s called quinceañera-

This guy reminded me of George Watson-

I wandered around looking for a money changer because the hotel charges 5% to use a credit card, stopped in at Soriana for breakfast items then walked home.  I’m a 10-12 minute walk to the Zocalo which is nothing.  I walked by a couple women who were scantily dressed and then a few more and even more and figured out I was on the hooker street!  

I’m enjoying my comfortable room while those poor suckers in the dorms…. so hot.  Tomorrow I’m not sure - maybe a walking tour, maybe a pool day, time will tell!  

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