OR, MEXICO STEALS MY HEART.
Arriba, arriba, arrrrrribbbba!
I was in a very weary state when I arrived. I’d said goodbye to my pal in Antigua and stayed a night in a Guatemala City Airport hotel (very good btw the In and Out, magnificent gardens and beautiful clean simple modern rooms, free shuttle two minutes from airport.) Then I flew to Cancun and stayed in another airport hotel for my initiation night in Mexico prepping for the following days flight to Merida. (Comfort Inn which also was great and I snagged the empty roof terrace as my own!).
This place has an ATM behind and a very chic supermarket two minutes away. I got all my bits done here in a very neat transfer. (The soap there is to die for, I really need to find out the name of their supplier. It was a very bright lemon scent that lasted to the very last sliver!) Sound sleep after a lovely picnic on the roof and off to the airport in the morning with another transfer bus.
Top Tip: My Old Birds please always book an airport hotel for any trying trips. The horrible anxiety about entering a country and transferring to another flight and all that entails, is too much and finally will set you back. The stress factor is too high and can make you ill. An airport hotel allows you to do your “housekeeping”. and organise money and a gradual entry to or exit from the country. Also this way your first day at your new hotel at your destination will not be wasted money by a late arrival. Trust me this is an invaluable tip for a long journey like mine.
Merida a small heaven for the travel weary.
I arrived in Merida still hyper sensitive and suspicious after four weeks in beautiful but dangerous Guatemala. What a treat. The sun was out and upon arrival at my hotel I was treated to fabulous architecture and all around and a cool elegant courtyard for my check in.
Hotel Merida is a lovely very Central hotel close to various balmy palmed squares with great bars and restaurants. It is also where I broke my foot on the little step from my bathroom to bedroom, that insy winsy likkle step.
Anyhow the first day I still was in one piece and for the first time in ages felt safe and went for a posh nosh opposite. I had the best chateaubriand ever and sampled my first tequilas. The head waiter guided my through a list and I settled for an aged rich smoky one to start with (loved it a lot of favour almost like a fine whisky) went on the a newer clear one which is more like the one we are used to in England (harsh and a feeling of rocket as you breathe the fumes out through your nose!) and an in-betweeny (which like all things in between, is neither one thing nor the other) I finished on a high with a last aged one and went over the road, my initiation by fire to Mexico and its favourite drink successful, to my bed (hic)
The morning after the night before…
No hangover!! Neat tequila is the way forward, hurrah!! I jumped out of bed and put on my pretty skirt I felt was perfect for Mexico and a white T-shirt and bounded out ready for breakfast at a little square near me but also close to the Cathedral and main square. A bit of an awakening to the constant back bean mush and tortillas. Although I’m not averse to it I sort of resent it being forced on you with your heuvos rancheros and luckily found English breakfast tea. However it was paradise for me after my previous escapades on this big trip, and I sauntered into the Square afterwards calm and replete and happy. I found art and history even though it was a Monday with most museums closed (I can always sniff out a museum!)
university open house and expo next door.
This was literally next to my hotel so I nipped in after much encouraging by the doorman. Here are a few shots of a rather macabre but fascinating archive exhibition, of the old custom of ornate posed photos of the newly dead. The mortality rate being so high at that time it was a small comfort. The Victorians were also used to this tradition. It would seem that the Mexicans are at one with death, along with their strong religeous following they also celebrate day of the dead alongside it so seem to have an easier view of death than most across the world. I’m not denigrating the pain but the very fact they had this exhibition shows a more open attitude as far as I can see.
Rodrigo de la Sierra outdoor exhibits.
A short walk back to the main square and boom! A whole arcade of fun caricature men. RODRIGO DE LA SIERRA is a big cheese over there as I would find out the next day when the museums were open again (Monday you’ll find is a day when most countries museums are closed for the day). His work was abundant in galleries. (See below)
Fernando Castro Pacheco Museum
Around the square another place was open. Staggering around it didn’t feel like most stuff was closed, they are saturated with history and art in Merida. After this last place I have to admit I was sated though. Although it was sizzling hot suddenly those clouds came over again and the heavens opened. Merida did that most of the time while I was there, one minute blue skies the next dark and ominous breaking into thunderous deluge. It really doesn’t matter because by the time the rain arrives you’re done with your busy sightseeing and ready for a quick rest and change of clothes before cocktails and dinner.
Anyway the last shots for you before I gave into siesta before drinks.
Evening in the Plaza.
The wonderful coolness of my room and my shower cannot be exaggerated. If you think it’s luxury getting back from the beach, try a full day in Merida after a sampling a shed load of tequila the night before, plus the arduous journey from Cancun the morning before. I was exhausted but still determined to walk up to a smaller square near the hotel for the very least a cocktail.
Yes I did that and with bells on. The short wet walk up to my new square was full of brightly lit boutiques and bars but I wanted the open air of the small square I had seen on my map. In a couple of minutes I was there and treated to a typical Spanish style plaza with twinkling lights, the Mexican angle was they were setting up for a night of live music and fiesta. I found a bar that was to be my nest and got set into some very fine mojitos. I didn’t eat that night, just drank and soaked up the atmosphere. I was overtired but oh so happy in this new wonderful country. I gave a silent salute to my son who had said for years I had to go to Mexico, he was spot on.