per amica silentia lunae

or, across the ferny brae with the evil voodoo celt

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Mexico - Day 6 and 7 - Mérida and Chichén Itzá
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evcelt


We came into Mérida in the mid-afternoon. It's a pretty place- the fringe sprawl wasn't too bad, there was lots of green space and trees (our bus kept knocking into low-hanging branches on the way in), and there are lots of beautiful old colonial mansions. Many of these had been taken over as corporate offices, which meant they were well-kept, too.

Our hotel- Casa del Balam ("House of the Jaguar") had started as a colonial mansion, too. It was easily the best hotel on the trip- a beautiful courtyard with trees and a fountain, elegant rooms with iron bedsteads and tiled floors, a wonderful feeling of comfort and peace... Some entertaining quirks, too, including elevators with swinging outer doors and old-style pushbuttons.

monsteralice and I soon sallied forth for a little exploring and shopping. With her expert fashion advice, I purchased a lovely guyabera shirt at "Guyaberas 'Jack'". The bag was very recognizable, though, giving the many guys shilling for shops a good conversation-starter. We ended up being drawn in by one, and didn't actually regret it- the shop had an upstairs gallery full of amazing repro antiquities, and the ceiling was painted with all kinds of Maya art.

After a fine dinner and another fashion show (I'll cover those in the last post on the trip), bbq_bill, some of the other folks and I went out to a nearby plaza for some local music. The one singer we saw was pretty good, but we were hampered not knowing Spanish enough to parse the lyrics... or the rhyming jokes he was telling in one song. After that, we went for drinks- I had an excellent, enormous, and potent mojito...

The next day, we went off to Chichén Itzá. It was a reasonably short drive across the flat green landscape of Yucatan. The site was very impressive; the Temple of Kukulkan was definitely the dominant element, and presented a different aspect at every angle. The carvings were elaborate and interesting, although definitely the most macabre we'd seen since the museum in Mexico City. Much more of a feeling of "something not very nice" going on. The grand sprawl of the main plaza gave a very different feel of spaciousness to the linear reach of Teotihuacan...

We didn't get a chance to see the southern part of the site, with the Caracol and such; we just didn't have enough time. I honestly wish we'd skipped the walk down to the "Well of Sacrifice" cenote; it was hard to get a good look at it. I think it is best seen from the air, though I suppose I could have climbed a tree like a monkey... In some ways, this was my least favorite site (though I have to say that they were all very good). It was the most crowded, and had the most vendors in and around the ruins... the pushiest vendors, too. But it was a lovely place, and I definitely wanted more time there. The weather was decent, and we paced ourselves so that we weren't too out of it by the end.

Lunch was at a nearby hotel that was a converted hacienda. Another lovely place with beautiful grounds full of birds and flowers, and there was a trio of singers with guitars to serenade us while we ate. Then it was back to Mérida. monsteralice went for a dip, I ran an errand or two, and poor bbq_bill was dealing with some irritating health issues. Dinner was lovely once again, and followed by yet another fashion show. Then it was time to pack, and get to bed... it would be an early start the next day.

Next: the fashion shows, and our trip home...

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Gorgeous photos! You captured it well.

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