It’s been bien

It’s been bien

10-Marzo-2020, Martes. Cancun, Yucatán to Florida, USA.

It’s been bien. But all good things must come to an end.

While packing an interloper planned to stow away. Dale flicked it across the room where it landed on it’s back and proceeded to sing the ‘La Cucaracha’ until we left our room.

Last I looked la cucaracha was still stuck on his back. Apparently they can’t roll over. Adios.

To the airport

Woo Woo! We are back in the USA. Thanks Perky and Bruce for picking us up!

Buenas noches

I think I’m going on a hiatus for a while, maybe posting every couple of weeks. Just don’t know…

Hechos Graciosos (Fun facts)

Cancun’s airport is the second busiest in Mexico (only Mexico City’s airport is busier) and it has the most international traffic of any airport in Latin America. Each year, hundreds of thousands of travelers visit Cancun. Cancun alone generates 1/3 of Mexico’s tourism revenue. The country’s total tourism revenue was $22.51 billion USD in 2018.

>> We didn’t see one leave blower the entire time we were in Mexico.

A Day without Women

A Day without Women

09-Marzo-2020, Lunes. Cancun, Yucatán

After a breakfast of 2 arthritis strength aspirin we were off for coffee. The bus driver ‘Monday-Friday’ regulars are a calmer lot. It wasn’t the wild ride of the weekend drivers. However, there was a pronto stop full slamming me into Dale. Good thing he was braced for it or we’d have both been laying in the aisle.

A Day without Women Strike. Women in Mexico were urged to disappear for today in protest with escalating gender-based attacks and murders. This follows yesterday’s International Women’s Day women protesting gender violence and inequality inveighing against the “virus of the patriarchy.” Some stores were forced to close. Stay at home women were encouraged not to cook or clean. Women who needed to go to work supported the cause in other ways, like the face makeup above. At a Hilton Hotel, male employees wore purple ribbons on their suit jackets in support of the strike.

Unfortunately, things may get worse for women before it get better as there is some fear of retaliation by men. But, there is hope through awareness and education.

Mexico has a long history of inequality bias between men and women. A native Cozumel friend told us quite bluntly (although he personally didn’t feel this way) many restaurants do not like to hire women for the below reasons:
– Women always getting pregnant. If you hire men you don’t need to pay maternity leave;
– Women are simply not capable of working for 10 12 hours; and lastly
– There is a simply class different between men and women.

Out and about

After our siesta were were out and about once again to complete our beach walk of the entire east side.

My camera was left at home so we could play at the waters edge for our final 2 mile walk down to the south tip and the 2 mile walk back. It was another red flag day. Enormous waves were crashing on to the shore. Whisper soft sea foam was blowing off the tops of the waves and landing on our skin. Life guards were on full alert trying to keep future Darwin Award winners from swimming.

Buenas noches

Hechos Graciosos (Fun facts)

Overlooking the buzzing Hotel Zone, there’s usually a gran bandera Mexicana (enormous Mexican flag) made out of the same material used to make parachutes. It measures approximately 184 x 94 feet, weighs about 500 lbs and takes 40 soldiers to raise it up a 344 ft flag pole.
It’s currently down for washing. Wonder how big that washing machine is?

Mexico’s flag is made up three vertical stripes. The left green stripe stands for hope, the middle white stripe represents purity, and the right red stripe represents the blood of those who died fighting for Mexico’s independence. The picture of an eagle eating a snake is based on an Aztec legend.
In the fourteenth century, a group of Chichmecas (warrior nomads) called the Aztecs (or Mexicas) settled in Mexico when they saw an eagle (representing the sun) standing on a cactus (a symbol of the heart) clutching a snake (a symbol of the earth or Quetzalcoatl)—an image which is now depicted on the Mexican flag.

A serious walk

A serious walk

08-Marzo-2020, Domingo. Cancun, Yucatán

Luckily Spring Break in Cancun has not yet started. For 12 pesos each we took a bus to the center of the Hotel Zone. I’m certain our bus was attempting to set the land speed limit for a bus in a residential zone. At times all 4 wheels were of the ground.

Breakfast condiments including maple flavored Karo syrup and chocolate Karo syrup plus 10 creamers.

11AM we were off to walk the beach back to our hotel.

Playa Delfines (Dolphin Beach). Playa Delfines public beach has it all from wedding photo shoots, vendors, drones, sea gulls and the Cancun sign. It is one of three beaches in Cancun that have a Blue Flag distinction for the quality of the water.

The Blue Flag is a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education that a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator meets its stringent standards.

Three hours after we started …. we arrived. Over 6 miles walking on sand is a serious walk. We had to really lean into it to at the end in order to keep going. One thing I know for sure is that I’m never going to walk in a desert or 6 mile miles on a beach again.

Home sweet home. View from our room

After our siesta we headed out for supper.

No one plays Santana anymore.

Buenas noches

Do you think????

Hechos Graciosos (Fun facts)

Cancun has 14 miles of shimmering white sands made of crushed coral, meaning it will naturally feel cool underneath bare feet – despite however hot the weather!

Aquí vamos de nuevo

Aquí vamos de nuevo

07-Marzo-2020, Sabado. Mérida to Cancun, Yucatán

Aquí vamos de nuevo. (Here we go again). Bus ride to Cancun

Dale completely exhausted his conversational Spanish in the first 90 seconds.

Supper at Pescadillas el Galeón. Rumor is that one of our Minnesota friends got hammered here 10 years ago.

Hechos Graciosos (Fun facts)

Before the city became known as “Cancun,” it was called “Ekab,” meaning “Black Earth.” Cancun is actually also a Mayan word that means “nest of serpents.”

In January 1970 there were only three people living in Cancun, and they were the caretakers of a coconut plantation. Today, this all-round resort hosts over a whopping 700,000 residents due to its rapid development.

Vamonos

Vamonos

06-Marzo-2020, Viernes. Mérida, Yucatán

Vamonos. (Let’s go) We took a taxi for an all day joy ride. (1,500 pesos approx. $75 USD). We had met Cesar, our taxi driver, on our taxi ride to the Gran Museo Del Mundo Maya two days ago. We told him we wanted to see Uxmal and the Museo del chocolate plus any suggestions he had. He had a couple of great suggestions.
Cesar email: comegatosgil@gmail.com Ph: +52 9992 69 84 87

Hacienda Yaxcopoil

The Hacienda Yaxcopoil can be dated back to the 17th century. Yaxcopoil in the Mayan language means ‘place of the green alamo trees’. Alamo trees??? At its time it was 22,000 acres of land and considered one of the most magnificent in the Yucatán due to both its size and grandeur, among both the cattle and the henequén plantations. This hacienda has been used as a backdrop for a lot of movies.

The walls are not wall papered. They are painted. The design is first drawn on the walls then hand painted.

Here, the raw fibers from the henequén cactus was shredded, pulled, wound together made into rope that varied in size from fine strands used for making hammocks, twine for baling hay, to hawsers the size of a man’s torso that tie ocean freighters to docks around the world. Individual strands could sewn together to make burlap bags.

The German diesel 100 HP engine Dale is looking below at was built in 1913 by Korting (Hannover).It was used til 1984 when the henequén shredding plant closed down after over 100 years of existence.

Uxmal

The name Uxmal comes from the Mayan Óoxmáal and means “three times built” or “three harvests”. It is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in the Mayan Peninsula. It is built in the Puk architecture style. Uxmal flourished between the 6th and 10th centuries AD.

Uxmal is unique among Mayan cities as it depended on rain and chultunes(cisterns) for water, not cenotes (fresh water source). Chac was the Mayan god of rain, and the honored god at Uxmal due to the lack of natural water supplies in the city.

Pyramid of the Magician

There’s a legend that says that the main building in Uxmal, the Pyramid of the Magician, was originally built in a single night by a dwarf that was born in an egg. It has been modified 4 times over a period of 400 years and now has four layer of 4 substructures

Clapping your hands about 100 feet from the Pyramid of the Magician echos back an eeking sound. clap clap clap eek eek eek

Governor’s Palace

The mosaic façade on the Governor’s Palace is one of the longest in pre-Columbian Mesoamerica, with more than 100 stone masks of the rain god Chac. Still, it was like looking for Waldo trying to find Chac among the warriors, snakes, planets, and macaws, and other deities. The Governor’s power was based on divine right (a direct link to the gods). He could remain as the Governor as long as he had the power to make it rain. (In prolonged dry seasons or years of drought he go voted out).

The central doorway, which is larger than the others, is in perfect alignment with Venus.

Casa de la Tortuga

It was believed that turtles suffered with man at times of drought and would also pray to Chac for rain.

Great Temple (or Great Pyramid)

Dovecote. The Spaniards gave it the name because they thought it looked like a pigeon loft complex.

Juego de Pelota (ballgame)

The Nunnery Quadrangle

The Nunnery Quadrangle was given its name by the 16th-century Spanish historian Fray Diego López de Cogullado because it reminded him of a Spanish convent. It may have been a military academy or a training school for Mayan princes, who would have lived in the 74 rooms.

The North Building of the Nunnery is the highest and has a many-chambered terrace accessible via a second wide staircase leading from the courtyard. This structure has 13 doorways representation of the 13 levels of the Maya heavens. Opposite, the South Building has nine doorways, imitating the nine levels of the Maya Underworld (Xibalba). The West Building has seven doorways, this time reflecting the Maya mystic number of the earth. Mosaics on the East Building suggest this structure may represent the point in the Middleworld where the sun rises.

The rain good is all over the west building facade above with his trusty rainmaking tools (axe and snakes). One snake runs the entire length of the facade. The snakes head and tail start and end here at the rightmost panel of the building.

Rounding the corner on the west side of the Nunnery, between buildings, is a view of the Pyramid of the Magician.

Museo del chocolate (Chocolate Museum) Duh, yes. Of course I had to go.

This Museo del chocolate is one of four owned by Eddy Van Belle, a Belgian chocolate business owner who decided to dedicate his life to chocolate at the age of 12. The others are in Brussels, Paris, and Prague.

The Museo del chocolate is located in a botanical garden, which includes several varieties of cacao trees. It also houses and cares for native animals that can not be returned to the wild for various reasons.

Through out our walk we heard ceremony drums a conch horns. One section of the museum had been sectioned off for a private Mayan ceremony.

Lunch at a local restaurant where they make their own Cochinita pibil in the traditional way. Cochinita pibil is a marinated pork dish that is made with achiote, a reddish spice with a distinctive flavor and peppery smell. The pork is wrapped in banana leaves and baked in an underground oven.

Chicxulub meteorite ridge

I think this was the highlight of our day’s trip. It was mind blowing to see the Chicxulub meteorite ridge. Imagine the impact.

For a few more pesos we took a tour with Pedro, a Mayan who lives here that is studying to become a shaman. First stop was his workshop where he makes traditional Mayan items like drums and vessels. He also had two types of stingless meliponini hives.

Guided by dreams, Pedro 15 years ago first found the cave 15. It scared him so badly he said it took him 7 years before he would return to the cave. He said people have come from around the world who have dreamt of this place and sought him out.
Pedro doesn’t want the government to know about the cave because he is afraid they will take it away from the Mayan people. I seriously doubt you could find this place in any tourism literature.

Surprisingly it was like a sweat bath inside the cave. Mayan wedding ceremonies are held in the cave and people from around the world come for multi-day spiritual retreats.

It is possible to splunk into other sections of the cave. We didn’t go.

Agriculture. There are small sections of land immediately outside the Chicxulub meteorite ridge where agriculture is possible. Other than that it’s lots and lots of rock.

Weapons and drugs checkpoint Coming and going between Merida and Tabasco there are weapons and drugs checkpoint. We were asked to roll down the windows so they could look at us. Apparently we looked liked harmless senior citizens.

Buenas noches

Out for our last night in Mérida.

Dzalby for a little music. Great band. Reminisce of Django Reinhardt, Stéphane Grappelli and David Grisman.

Buenas noches

One of the must have tourist pictures.

Muchas Gracias to La Casa Carmita for a wonderful stay!!!!

Hechos Graciosos (Fun facts)

Mexican words sure have a lot of Xs in them.

Many of the Mexican words are not in Spanish, but in Nahuatl, the language spoken by the ancient Mexicans and still in use in modern Mexico mixed with the Spanish.

The sound of the “X” in Nahuatl was closer to the modern “sh” (like in the original pronunciation of Mexico “Me-shee-ko”) and because the Spaniards could not pronounce the names properly they re-codified them for phonetic pronunciation.
Pronunciation ‘X’, ‘Z’ and ‘J’ is really goofy in the Mexican language.

‘X’ is used in a lot of Mayan design. I haven’t found out the reason why yet. Let me know if you know.

Gate to the other life

Gate to the other life

05-Marzo-2020, Jueves. Mérida, Yucatán

Gate to the other life

Cementerio General, Mérida’s main cemetery and one of the country’s oldest, first began in 1821, when the government decreed that cemeteries be established outside the city limits. It was founded on San Antonio X-Coholté hacienda owned by Captain Clemente de Acevedo two centuries ago and is still in use.

The Cementerio General had its greatest splendor in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. At that time there was a custom that when a corpse arrived they had to build their place as similar (same architectural style) to the place where they lived, as a way to make the transition from life to death a little easier. This is why most of the mausoleums of the General cemetery have different architectural styles and construction materials brought from Europe. The Calle 60, the main avenue of the cemetery, can be compared to Paseo de Montejo because many wealthy families wanted their mausoleums to be placed on that avenue.

Its more than 25,000 vaults, ossuaries and mausoleums are part considered part of Yucatán’s architectural and cultural heritage.

Although I really enjoyed walking through the cemetery I was disappointed that I could not find some of the significant tombs. It was too hot to keep looking. Something for when we return…

The old cemetery has expanded to include a modern cemetery section just outside its old gate/wall.

Back to the Casa Carmita for una siesta. It’s HOT again today.

Refreshments, botanos (free snacks) then back again for a siesta.

One of the botanos was jicama and cilantro marinated in lime and hot peppers. Pretty tasty. Another was chicken gizzards.

Buenas noches

Out for our evening stroll around Plaza Grande and Santa Lucia Plaza.

Hechos Graciosos (Fun facts)

The impact site of the Chicxulub meteorite, the one that took out the dinosaurs 65 million years, is less than 15 miles away from Mérida. The asteroid/comet, estimated to be 6.8 to 50.3 miles wide, hit the Earth traveling at 44,640 miles per hour, roughly 20 times the speed of a rifle bullet. The crater is estimated to be 93 miles in diameter and 12-18 miles in depth. It’s estimated that on impact the Chicxulub meteorite was a million times more energetic than the largest nuclear bomb ever tested.

Gate to the other life… The impact of Chicxulub meteorite extinguished three quarters of life forms on Earth, marking one of the major events in the evolution of life, with the transition from the age of dinosaurs to that of mammals.

A little culture for us

A little culture for us

04-Marzo-2020, Miércoles. Mérida, Yucatán

102 degrees Fahrenheit today (39 Celsius). We took the taxi.

Gran Museo Del Mundo Maya (Great Museum of the Mayan World). I would equate this museum to a Smithsonian Museum.

Jadite baubles and beads. Wilma Flintstone would envy the one on the right.

We are touring Uxmal this coming Friday so I took a couple pictures of Uxmal artifacts.

Statues of gods. It’s amazing any artifacts are left as harsh as the Catholic Spaniards were on the Mayan people.

Buenas noches

Catrinas dancing in the dark.
Woo Woo! Cementerio General has walking tour at 8PM on Wednesday. We made it there but …. we met a bunch of Canadians at 7:45 PM who convinced us we were at the wrong gate because it was locked. Foolishly we followed them.
At some point I rechecked Google maps. I am certain we will be in the USA long before they find the correct cemetery gate.
By the time we got back to the gate we were 30 minutes late for the tour and no one was there 🙁 I suspect the tour guide had a key for the gate.

Through the gate. We have to come back!

Hechos Graciosos (Fun facts)

The earliest Mayan settlement dates back to 1800 BC. According to Mayan mythology, the world was created in a sequence of four events sculpted by a group of “artisan gods”: first came the animals, then wet clay, followed by wood… and finally the first human beings, which were said to be made of maize.

The pre-Colombian Mayans often sought to “enhance” the physical features of their children. Mothers would press boards on the foreheads of their kids so that they would be flatter (mostly just in the upper class).  Objects were also often dangled in front of a baby’s eyes until the baby was cross eyed, which was another desirable trait found in nobility.

Besides having flattened foreheads and crossed eyes, Mayan nobleman had noses that were built up with putty/clay giving them a beaked shape. Their teeth were also inlaid with jade. Nobel women filed their teeth into points.

Mayans made use of painkillers for anesthetics, medicinal purposes and also as hallucinogenic agent during religious rituals.

Conquistadors had the audacity to call the Mayans barbarians. In fact, these incredible people had created one of the most advanced scientific nations on Earth…

Mayan cities had pyramids, palaces, and ceremonial ball-courts. These buildings were painstakingly placed to align perfectly with the stars, to help make the practice of stargazing an absolute breeze. The Maya built some of the biggest pyramids in the world. They did it without the use of metal tools, the wheel or pack animals!

The Maya were also prolific writers. They were among the first to record history in books. Historians believe the Mayans may have written as many as 10,000 books. Bishop Diego de Landa took a brutal approach converting the population to Christianity by burning books and destroying other artifacts, in an effort to erase their culture.

Experts in the Mayan history simply do not have enough solid information to state with clear-cut certainty how the Maya civilization ended. The downfall of the ancient Maya was likely caused by some combination of famine, drought, and change in the environment brought on by deforestation for farmland. This likely caused neighboring cities to turn on each other causing civil strife. It wasn’t a single event, though: It took over 200 years for the civilization to fail completely.

All women like flamingos

All women like flamingos

03-Marzo-2020, Martes. Mérida, Río Lagartos y Los Colorados, Yucatán

All women like flamingo. Today we took a tour van to go see flamings. The van was one short of capacity with 11 women plus Dale, not counting the tour guide and driver. Since we were the last people to be picked up we were relegated to the back of the bus for the entire trip.
Although our tour guide was multilingual the greater portion of the tour was solo en español 🙁

The drive to Los Colorados was more interesting than the drive from Cozumel to Mérida. A little more agriculture, a small amount of irrigation for crops and cattle, a few ranches (small to large), miles and miles of rock fences and a lot of scrubby land. It’s 300 miles round trip.

Sometimes when you travel out west in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado you see beautiful ranches and think ‘Wow! That would be a cool place to live”. Not here……
The land is rugged, extremely rocky. Occasional there are dining room table size chunks of rock, no doubt courtesy of the Chicxulub meteor.

Potty break at the Oxxo in Sucila. Sucila is small town a couple kilometers west of Tizimín, where we turned north to Río Lagartos. I bought one of each of the limón (translates to lemon but it really lime) flavored cookies.

The longer we were in the back seat of the van the better our seats looked. The bus driver played heavy metal music on the radio. The music was more than loud enough for us. Interesting music choice for a bus load of old women and Dale.

Estamos aqui al la Parque Natural Ría Lagartos. (We are here at the Ría Lagartos Natural Park.)

The ISYSA salt company has mined the salt at Los Colorados since the 1940’s. Los Colorados is an ancient saline estuary where the Maya harvested for more than 2,000 years. The salt gave life to the towns and businesses of Central America including Chichén Itzá, Cobá, Uxmal, Edzná and Tikal, as well as more distant places like Copán, Izabal and other Caribbean islands.

Ariel view of the las coloradas ‘big red sea salt lakes’.

The ISYSA facilities harvested more than 200,000 tons of salt last year.

Short stop at a beach in Parque Natural Ría Lagartos near Los Colorados

Río Lagartos (Alligator River) boat ride from Los Colorados to the city of Río Lagartos. Río Lagartos is a mangrove-lined, salt water river. But in reality Río Lagartos is not really a river. It’s an estuary. The lagartos are not alligators, they are crocodiles.
The entire of Parque Natural Ría Lagartos has been recognized since 2004 as UNESCO a Biosphere Reserve because of its incredible flora and fauna.

It’s not much of a picture below but interesting never the less. The bubbling spot near the bow of the boat is where a cenote is emptying into the river.

We also saw lots of migrating white pelicans, egrets and herons from the USA and Canada, and Mexican eagles.

Ciudad de Río Lagartos (City of the Alligators)

We stopped for lunch then headed back to Mérida. In case you wondered, here’s what the back of the van looked like.

Buenas noches

I was exhausted from sitting in the bus all day. We ate the rest of our cookies just to make sure any cockroaches around here didn’t get them. Per room instructions posted in yesterdays blog, I didn’t want to use my shoe:-) (We haven’t seen any cockroaches)

After a shower to wash the salt water spray and heat of the day off we were in bed by 8:30PM.

Hechos Graciosos (Fun facts)

The word ‘flamingo’ comes from the Spanish word ‘flamenco’ meaning fire. The pinkest birds have the highest status in the colony as the bright color shows that a particular individual is strong and good at finding food resources. 

Flamingos are social birds thrive on social interaction and do not thrive if they have to live alone. A flock of flamingos is called a stand, pat, colony, regiment, or flamboyance.

There are six species of flamingos. The American flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) is the only flamingo species native to North America, but is rarely seen in the United States anymore.

Flamingos are monogamous by nature, and only lay around one egg per year. Flamingo chicks are born gray or white and up to three years to get their pink and red feathers.

Flamingos, both female and male, feed their young directly from a secretion produced in their crop (throat). This ‘crop milk’ is bright pink. So much carotenoid is taken up by their crop milk that by the end of a breeding season both parents have lost the pink coloring from their feathers and appear almost white.

BTW. Flamingos are pink on the inside, too. skin is pink and flamingo blood is pink.

You gotta watch this cartoon-like Andean Flamingos matting dance on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KW8GX2n4qbY

Don Featherstone of Massachusetts invented the pink plastic lawn flamingo, which has been gracing lawns since 1957. 

Keep on the shady side

Keep on the shady side

02-Marzo-2020, Lunes. Mérida, Yucatán

El Norte es no mas. The north wind has stopped blowing and it is hot. It is an art to stay in the shade as you walk around. This often makes one sidewalk on a street very crowded while there is no one on the other side. Fortunately it’s not humid like Cozumel was.

Color of the city

We’ve mastered the art of walking around here. I thought I’d seen the narrowest side walks ever two days ago but the two below are narrower!

We didn’t walk the one on the right. We went up a block then turned so we could stay in the shade.

We lept around like the video game Frogger just to avoid getting hit by traffic and keep on the shady side of life the street.

Paseo de Montejo

Paseo de Montejo, modeled after Paris’ Champs Elysees, is lined with the mansions of Merida’s old aristocracy. It’s named after Francisco de Montejo y León (el Mozo), conqueror of Yucatán and founder of the city. From the late 1800s to the 1920s, Merida was the richest city in the World as it was the leading producer of henequen, a plant that is used to make ropes.

Monumento a la Patria. There are more than 300 hand carved figures, that tell the story of México from the establishment of Tenochtitlán to the mid-20th century. There are also Maya cultural figures like a Cacmool, a ceiba tree surrounded by butterflies, jaguars, and the city’s shield.

Monumento a la Patria (Homeland Monument) at the north end of Paseo de Montejo

There are so many mansions that have fallen into a state of disrepair due to expenses to maintain.

Have you ever seen a bunch of pigeons sitting in a tree? I never have until today.

Its 93 degrees at 1PM. With humidity factor it feels like 104. Not yet the hottest part of the day. Time for the siesta.

Dale wanted to hit a Mexican dive bar. I went along for the walk and to keep him out of trouble. Found one.

I did want to stand up and take picture of the bar so I took a picture of the mirror. Dale’s hat is in the lower left corner. Zoom in… It’s worth a look.

The bartender asked if we wanted nuts. Before I could say no Dale said yes. He ate some, taking it for the team. I wouldn’t touch it. All I can say is that the food along Plaza Grande yesterday was a whole lot better than this. Gee I hope he isn’t sick tomorrow…

It wasn’t nuts.

Around town

Dining and dancing(not us)

Dinner at Museo de la Gastronomia Yucateca. This is another one of the many must eat at places if you ever get to Mérida. Two drinks, dinner and dessert $30 USD.

Traditional dancing in the street in front of Plaza de la Independencia. The price for one of the lovely women’s dresses is approx $100 USD. I totally would buy one but think it would look really out of place and funny on a Scandinavian.

Buenas noches

Literature in our hotel room. Practical advise. You gotta read it. Zoom in.

I keep my shoes by my bedside.

Hechos Graciosos (Fun facts)

Mérida is known as the White City in Mexico. According to some, the city was painted and decorated with white materials in the Spanish Era, so, they call it the white city. Whereas, other claims that it is due to its Sanitation.
One thing Mérida has going for it is that most sidewalks in El Centro are level and void of dog poo.

I believe it is a city of colores y sabores brillantes (bright colors and flavors).

Spanish lesson for today

‘Dale’ means ‘give’ in Spanish

Sunday in the park

Sunday in the park

01-Marzo-2020, Domingo. Mérida, Yucatán

Streets are closed down around Plaza Grande for a weekly Yucatan market.

First stop the Picasso Exhibit in the Olimpo Cultural Center adjacent to the Plaza Grande. We couldn’t get in right away due to some sort of a military recognition ceremony.
The drum major ceremoniously twirled and sounded his bugle orchestrating the troupes.


In the Picasso gallery

FREE access to the Olimpo Cultural Center Picasso exhibit. There was over 100 drawings and paintings.

Dans l’atelier de Picasso. The Picasso’s Workshop gallery was completely void of people when we first entered it. A private showing for the Tobins! We were amazed at the minimal security. A woman touched the glass on a picture while pointing and talking to her son. Try that in the USA…

Picasso’s “Le Tricorne” – Le Tricorne (Three-Cornered Hat) is a two-act ballet that Picasso designed the set and painted theater curtain. My pictures in this room didn’t turn out but in this room a movie of the ballet is playing and the walls are lined Picasso’s set design and costumes drawings. It was fun to look at character in the movie then find the corresponding on the wall.

Picasso’s Carmen Fixation – Mistresses and wives successively served as Pablo Picasso’s muses, but they were not enough. He also sought inspiration from fictional women. Carmen was born in a novella by a Frenchman, Prosper Mérimée, and made famous in an opera by another, Georges Bizet

Plaza Grande is know for its topiary trees and conversation chairs (chairs you sit in and face each other).

FREE access to Casa del los Montejo museum.

A Jacobo y Maria Angeles ‘alebrijes’ art exhibit was in the old library rooms. Their work has been exhibited in major national and international exhibition including the Smithsonian Native American Museum and the National Museum of Mexican Art.
Jacobo y Maria Angeles wesite: https://jacoboymariaangeles.com/?lang=en

Dance performances are held throughout the day around the Plaza Grande. This look like a dance recital. We didn’t stay long.


Ceremony, Picasso pictures, museum, dancers and a market. Not bad for a Sunday morning in the park.

Post siesta

Dzalby – Dzalby is a great little music cantina at the end of our block. We’ve walked by several times and heard Miles Davies and other great sounds of jazz and blues wafting out of it. Today we stopped in. It was full of expats and Canadians!
The bar is owned by seven guys, five of which are musicians at the symphony, one is a sound tech and the last? Don’t know.

I was still hungry so we returned to the food courts at Plaza Grande. (The food courts are Dale’s personal hell). Heck, they can be that bad. All the tables had hand sanitizer on them.

Buenas noches

Palacio de la Música – we need to check this out during open hours.
Music is an international language.

Hechos Graciosos (Fun facts)

Alebrijes are brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical (fantasy/mythical) creatures. The first alebrijes originated with Pedro Linares. In the 1930s, Linares fell very ill and while he was in bed, unconscious, Linares dreamt of a strange place resembling a forest. There, he saw trees, animals, rocks, clouds that suddenly turned into something strange, some kind of animals, but, unknown animals. He saw a donkey with butterfly wings, a rooster with bull horns, a lion with an eagle head, and all of them were shouting one word, “Alebrijes”. Upon recovery, he began recreating the creatures he saw in cardboard and papier-mâché and called them Alebrijes.

His work caught the attention of a gallery owner in Cuernavaca, in the south of Mexico and later of renowned artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.