My faithful readers have been wondering what is happening with the palapa. Well, the work crew has been reduced to basically just me, so things are moving along, but more slowly. Also Christmas happened and all that, and we took a “holiday” which is the posting of this detour...
After a month of having workers here, morning to night, we decided to take a break and spend a few days away. We parked our puppy with our neighbors and drove the three hours to Merida. This was to be pre-Christmas shopping and furniture scouting for the palalpa.
It was also our anniversary (The Big 2-5) and while we didn’t have the time or inclination for a Caribbean cruise or the like, we felt we deserved a treat in a big city. Back when ropes were being made out of sisal and henequen, Merida was one of the grandest in the western hemisphere, and is today a renown cultural and commercial centre.
We chose to stay at a classical old hotel, just 1/2 block off the main square, where we could easily avail ourselves of the vibrant night life. On the weekend, the central plaza comes to full life, with market stalls being set up all around, as well as countless food vendors. In the evenings, they close off several streets to vehicles, including the two blocks in front of our hotel, where the streets became malls of more food and music.
Mexican folk dancing (Ballet Folkorico) is practiced practice throughout Mexico and tours the world representing this country's culture. We checked into an events guide and found that the 10th annual symposium of Folklorico was taking place in a theatre just two blocks away, with groups from around Mexico, including participants from the US and Canada.
We wandered down at the appointed time and found this grand theatre with four levels of boxes. It was the opening night, and after many speeches and thank you’s, and two anthems (Mexico and Yucatan?) we were treated to an evening of music and dance from the host city. Just lovely.
Mostly very stylized and formal, with costumes to knock your eyes out.
Our city visit agenda, included scouting for furniture -- specifically for the couch that will be right for our casita. We had already looked through most of the Muebles (furniture) stores in Playa, so with a few recommendations, headed out (without a city map). There were two stores in particular I felt we should check out. The first we found easily, on a main street not far away. The second, when I called them, told me that they were also not far away. I took instructions over the phone, and set out. Finding our hotel, and that first store had been easy so I was confident. Besides virtually all streets in Merida are numbered -- even-numbered streets run north-south, odd-numbered streets run east-west. What we discovered, was that the corner of 20th and 23 occurs all over the city, as the sequence of numbers changes when you go from neighborhood (colonia) to neighborhood. Yes, “Mr. No Problema -- I can drive anywhere” got to see a fair amount of the city as we drove around in a few circles. In the end, we saw a some furniture we liked, but decided to defer.
On Monday we drove out to Uxmal, one of the great historical sites of the ancient Mayans.
Meanwhile, back in the “Centro” near the hotel, the streets were as crowded with pedestrians as I have ever seen. Fortunately the downtown streets are one-way, so you just mosey along, trying not to run over shoppers who are walking with the traffic because the sidewalks were jammed. With each return to the hotel, we left the truck with the valet at the hotel, and ventured out on foot to mix and mingle.
In brief, we didn’t do much buying, but Merida is beautiful, the people and food are great, and we’ll be back.