Ahh, the beach is just beautiful. The sand is so… uhm… Sandy… and the ocean is… so… uhm… calm… yeh, must be right?
It´s funny, if I was a halfway decent writer, most of my posts could have been from my living room. Just a string of words on a screen, nothing more, nothing less. But hopefully it´s infused with a little zest from being out here and enjoying not knowing what´s next exactly. I´ll catch up with where I really am a bit later.
After yesterday´s post, I didn´t do Chili´s. I hear a roar of approval from the crowd. I meandered down to a place called El Trapiche that was recommended in Lonely Planet. Now, it´s not as if I had Yucatan food. In fact, the appetizer was chips and a variety of salsas. So, I guess my appetizer was native. Some of those sauces were blazing hot and I went through my first bottle of coca rapido! My meal was.. pizza… yes… and of the various types, I chose American pizza… and… it was YUMMY but so not American. The cheese was… not sure… as I said good… but not American. And it was covered in what I think was ham, where I would expect peperoni. But it was dang filling and that was what I was looking for after traipsing all over Chichen Itza for nearly 4 hours. I was too hot to even consider lunch. So, I needed that big meal.
Afterward, back to the hostel and sat out on the patio. There was a guy playing his guitar and singing. I think it was the promised ¨trova¨ – not sure, but it was nice. The audience was English (me) and French (everrrybody else) speaking so I´m not sure any of us got much out of it but it was nice to listen to while reading.
From there to bed. Watched a quick cartoon on my media player while icing my knee and went to bed. So far, so good with the knee by the way. I think my feet are distracting me from any pain.
Woke up plenty early enough this morning to trudge over to the bus station for a run to Celestsun. Showered, had breakfast and went to put on my shoes… oy… yeh… my feet were barking. I wanted to wear my sandals and they were pressing on all sorts of sensitive spots. I started really examining them and the inner soles are worn through in places I hadn´t really noticed. And this seems to be a theme with my Mexico trips as I left a pair here last time when I was in Peurto Penasco. There was no way I was wearing the boots to the beach and the sandals are nigh dead. So, I decided my body is telling me two things, no major walking today (irony coming) and I need some new sandals. I figure Wal-mart is not far away, I can get some sandals and on the way back it will be time for the Anthropological museum to open, which is along the way. The beach can be another day.
And off I go, delightfully unburdened. I have had to stow my bag at enough museums, so I locked up the camera and went with just me and my wallet. Got to Wal-mart and discovered two things. First was a woeful low assortment of sandals. The second was… yeh, there´s a drawback to towering over better than half the populace and that´s when you try to buy clothes. I found plenty of sandals that were too small and ONE solitary pair that was too big. And I repeated this experiment at two more stores before I gave up. I bought some soft adhesive things you are supposed to wrap your foot in and used them to line the bottom of my sandals. And yeh, I think I just gave entirely too much information, but you can guess what I´m doing when I get back to Atlanta.
Before the sandal alteration, I did stop by the Anthropology Museum. It´s a pretty nice place. Nothing earth shattering, but for the equivalent of $3.70 what are you expecting? It was two floors of exhibits of the Maya from pre-history to today. The today part would be a video on body alteration practices we´d all be familiar with in the states (piercings and tatoos) as a contrast to the practices of the ancient Maya (forehead flattening, tatooing, and scarification). It was in Spanish, so I could only look at the pictures. However, a great deal of the museum is translated. The English is not perfect, but really their primary audience is not gringos, so it´s appropriate. Nothing as funny as yesterday´s signs on the bus, “Thank you for travel us¨and “Do not forget your own.”
I digress, the museum had a delightful amount of English and a staff that was willing to help, some spoke English. Incredible carvings and findings from Chichen Itza, Uxmal, and much of the Yucatan Maya are there. If you speak Spanish, there was much more to read, albeit there was enough in English for a two hour visit.
Back to the hostel for the famous sandal operation and then back to the streets with a bottle of water and plans to go see the zoo mentioned in Lonely Planet. Lonely planet informs that the zoo is free and 12 blocks west from the grand plaza. The book states you may take a bus. It should be changed to, “Dear god, if it´s summer and you are not an olympic athelete, for the love of pete, please find a bus.”
Can you guess I walked? This was the irony I promised a few paragraphs ago. See, I deliver on my promises! I walked, because 12 blocks seemed like nothing. Well, I don´t know what 12 blocks they were counting, but it clearly was not Merida´s blocks. I figured this out after leaving Calle 62 and arriving at Calle 80-something. Clearly, this is not 12 blocks as the Meridans measure them. But now, it was a challenge. I would find the zoo. I kept going. I had long since become the lone gringo. I was never concerned. The Meridans have been unfailing in their hospitality. I´ve finally isolated that there are ones that take advantage of that kind nature to try to foist trinkets on you, but the kindness seems genuine. I had a long conversation with an old gent in the square today that never entered the world of commerce. And when I finally got to Parque Centarrio, home of the world famous Merida zoo, well, it was a free zoo, that should give you some idea, right? It reminded me much of my one and only visit to the Atlanta zoo in the 1970´s. Caged animals behind fences with very little room. The monkeys have about the same amount of room as the tigers as some sort of large rodent looking creature I couldn´t identify. Clearly, the animals aren´t kept in any sort of enclosures that fit their nature. The cats I was quite attuned to how restless they were. The lion let out a might roar while I was there when a lioness stepped on him. I saw some cool creatures. the turtles were fabulous, and I saw a croc close enough I could have reached to him and lost a finger (I´m not kidding, this was totally the honor system, you value your digits, you keep them to yourself). So, that´s what you have if you ever have an interest to visit the Merida zoo.
Having walked there, I decided to complete my own personal trail of tears and walked back. By the time I saw buses with “centro” on them I was a couple of blocks from the main square anyway. And that more or less ends today. I may or may not walk to the city museum. I may or may not take a city tour. I may or may not go back to the hostel and curl up into a ball and apologize to my feet for my indiscretions.
But tomorrow morning at 9am, an aire accondicionado bus is coming to pick me up at the front of the hostel and drag my tired butt to the ruins of Uxmal and Kabah (yeh, I realized later that I said I was going to Kabul when I wrote yesterday´s post – not quite!). If you didn´t notice, you´re obviously just skimming. If you noticed and just assumed it was spelled the same, no, I´m brain dead.