29-Febrero-2020, Sábado. Mérida, Yucatán
It’s a whole new world to explore. Today we checked out the markets. Vamanos al mercado! (Let’s go to the market!) English is not widely spoken here in Mérida. I NEED TO LEARN SPANISH.
Across the street from Burger King is the Rectoria El Jesus Tercera Orden.
Across the small square from the Rectoria El Jesus Tercera Orden is the Gran Hotel. Next time we stay here. Great deal only $5USD more per night. Gran Hotel Across the small square from the Rectoria El Jesus Tercera Orden is the Gran Hotel. Next time we stay here. Great deal only $5USD more per night.
As we were admiring the architecture a local gentleman kept talking to us. We were thinking he was giving us the hustle as a tour guide. Turns out he was a genuinely a nice guy. He talked us into going a half a block out of our way to see the architecture on the Mercado Principal Taller de Arte Maya – Hunab Ku.
Hunab Ku is a Colonial period Yucatec Maya word roughly meaning “The One God”.
What a find! The store was like walking through a Mayan cultural art museum. It’s an old home that has been made into a shop.
Back on our way to the market….
In the 16th century the Catedral de San Ildefonso was built on the site of Mayan ruins T’ho. If you look closely you can see Mayan glyphs etched in some stones. The Catedral de San Ildefonso, seat of the bishopric of Yucatán, was the first cathedral to be finished on the mainland of the Americas. Ground breaking 1562. Completion in 1598. (36 years)
Adjacent to the Cathedral of Mérida is the Passage of the Revolutionand Museo Fernando García Ponce.
The Casa del los Montejo was built between 1542 and 1549 by the Montejo family ( conquerors of the Yucatan Peninsula). Possibly the only example in Mexico of a civil house built in the 16th century Plateresco style.
Many of the sidewalks are extremely narrow along the heavy traffic streets. they are built for the smaller Mayan people not the big gringos like Dale and I.
We made it to the market section of the city. To say it was huge is an understatement. The flowed from block to block building to building.
The booths seemed to be loosely organized in product sections. The trick is to find the section you are looking and then try to decide which of the 10+ booths to buy it from.
The crowds were overwhelming 1.1 million people in the city of Mérida. At least half of them were shopping today!
Food or Pets? Live animal section.
Cages are sold in the hardware section. That’s a few rows down. Fried fish section is adjacent to the live animals section …. Ugh germs!
Back through the clothing section to the hardware section.
And then there was the purse section, the uniform section that had the orange jumpsuits trimmed with reflective material, the underware and bra section, the meat and poulty section, the flower section, the children’s backpack section, the manicure section, the photo section, the gold section, the silver section, the cell phone section, and on and on.
Heading home. It’s way past siesta time.
After una siesta we were off to Plaza Grande for our evening walk.
Pok-Ta-Pok is ceremonial ball game played by the Mayan with great honor, The game began once the priest had finished the purification and the invocation of the gods. Essentially a solid rubber ball, weighing up to 9 lbs, is bounced between teams while trying to knock it through a hoop, only using hips.
It’s miraculous players didn’t leave the ball court a bloody mess with all the sliding onto the cobblestones in an attempt keep the ball bouncing instead of rolling.
The second demonstration was a fireball version of Pok-Ta-Pok. Hands were used to toss a fireball through the hoop.
All in all it seemed a little sacrilegious to play Pok-To-Pok honoring Mayan gods in front of Catedral de San Ildefonso. But hey, the Mayans were here first weren’t they?
Hechos Graciosos (Fun facts)
I’m not sure how everyone could tell Dale and I were tourists. Was it because of my sleeveless shirt, sunglasses, hat, canvas bag and camera? Because of Dale’s Ron Jon shirt, shorts and baseball hat? Or because we were at least 8 inches to a foot taller than a lot of the locals.
I tried talking Dale in to buying a Guayabera, also knows as camisa de Yucatán (Yucatán Shirt) or wedding shirt.
Towards the end of the 1800’s the Guayabera was the shirt of choice for upper-class Yucatecans who brought them on frequent trips to Cuba. Since the ’70s the Guayabera became so popular a slogan was born: Yucatán is the door to the Mayan world, and Mérida the world capital of the Guayabera. Guayabera Jack is one of the oldest producers of Guayabera shirts and owes its fame to the quality of their materials and artisianship.
Huipil – traditional Yucatán dresses. The huipil has been worn by indigenous women of the Mesoamerican region (central Mexico into Central America) of both high and low social rank since well before the arrival of the Spanish to the Americas. It remains the most common female indigenous garment still in use.
I’m amazed at how they can keep them white! I sure couldn’t.