Not a lot of interesting news today.
After last evening´s post, I found a bit nicer restaurant, more of a sports bar type place where they were watching “football” – soccer to the US. I´d done more of fast food type places, even though they were local and serving up local dishes. I had something chicken with all these different sauces. Some were okay. One was so hot that I think I used up half of my coke putting out the fire. They did warn me… obviously I still have to learn the hard way.
After that, aimless meandering and a little shopping. I´ve yet to discover when this place really does close up shop. Nearing midnight and you could still wander into tons of shops. I went back to the hostel and iced my knee while reading up on possible things I could do today before packing it in for the night and figuring I´d decide in the morning. I´d narrowed it down to some ruins about half an hour out by bus or Progreso, another beach town, closer and more crowded but not as nice as Celestun. Maybe 45 minutes away with frequent buses until quite late. Apparently it´s where most of Merida goes on weekends when they want to be at the beach.
Slept in the hammock for maybe two or three hours last night. Actual honest to god sleep. I was amazed, but these are definitely for people accustomed to sleeping pretty much in one position as far as I can tell. And I´m not a person who sleeps like that. So, I woke up a couple of hours into my sleep, not fully awake I don´t think, but aware, moved to the bed and promptly went back to sleep on my stomach. Hammocks… pheh….
And of course I´m in the hammock capitol of the world. I haven´t walked 10 feet without being offered, in this order of frequency, hammocks, panama hats, or cuban cigars. I have no desire for any of these items…. I did want a patch for my back pack for my Mexico trip. I sewed on my Scotland one just before coming here. Guess what I can´t find…. oh well… I may just order one online… not the same, but what are you gonna do?
Today, I slept moderately late, somewhere towards 8am when I got up. I looked at the options again while I ate breakfast and decided I was going to do pretty much nothing today. That´s not an easy nor realistic choice for me.
After breakfast, I decided to take in the only “attraction” in the historico centro that I´ve yet to do, the Merida city musuem… the history of merida from it´s time as T´ho (Mayan City) to the coming of the Spainards and today. Yep, I´ve pretty much summed up the museum. Granted, it´s free, but it lacked the one thing I´m accustomed to finding in all museums, even the ones here I´d been to so far… AC… bleh… glad it was like 9am… afternoon in that building would have been pure hell… 20 minutes of hell… but hell is hell… A few cool 3-D artistic renderings of the Maya city the Spainards razed to build modern Merida was about the only thing I really found interesting. Especially after having seen the ruins of Chichen Itza, Uxmal, and Kabah, and realizing what I saw there was here before it was wiped from the earth…. sad…
Afterward, back to the hostel again, had a taste for something sweet and remembered there was supposed to be a great cheesecake place relatively nearby. Looked it up in Lonely Planet. It said it had been at this particular corner for 20 years… well… either I can´t remember street #´s at all or it´s gone now…. I settled for a coke and some sort of gum drop like candy on my way back. Today ended up being shopping day. Odd little items for myself and family and friends. And I hate shopping in Mexico. I remember this too well from last time. I hate to haggle and you´re hard pressed to find anywhere that puts a price on anything. Add to that the 5 minutes of chit chat you invest in most any place you go into and shopping is just a grueling effort. “What´s your name? Where are you from? How long in Merida? How do you like Merida?” I know the script by heart now. Someone this afternoon at the next to last place thought I said Hungary and said very little to me until he caught on that he had misheard. If only I had figured this out days ago! Lie! Pick any place that´s not English. You´ll find plenty here who know English but hard pressed to find someone who knows anything other than Spanish or English! Drat! At the very last place, I managed to get down to half of what I was originally quoted. I wanted it for a gift, but the opening price totally turned me off and I was literally trying to leave and he kept coming down… Ahh… soon to be back in the land where you only haggle over cars…
No real plans remaining. I may take the camera up Paseo Montejo near sunset. It´s one thought I´ve had. As otherwise today has been foot loose and fancy free, everything but my wallet locked up in the hostel. And although I haven´t chilled, I´ve mostly walked and thought about a lot of things.
I´ve mentally summed up my thoughts on Merida. It´s a beautiful safe city, but god it´s blamed hot. And it´s supposed to be hotter still in the coming months. I can´t imagine it. You have to remember, AC is not common here. Its absence is the rule not the exception as those of us from the states are used to. And apparently, when it´s not hot, it´s wet. So there are your choices. And it´s not like most of the things you´re doing aren´t outside. I felt near collapse at Chichen Itza and I got there in the morning. I also realized later that I missed a section of the city, but given the whole 8 gallons of water and still feeling cross-eyed from the heat, probably not a bad thing. Aim for earlier in the dry season and good luck if you´re coming! The city is also a mish mash of new and old. Mostly old in the center city, but if you get out just a piece, you´ll see some modern buildings. The local government is even sponsoring a whole public display of modern art all along the Paseo Montejo. And there are some wonderfully preserved old buildings. And there are tons of equally decrepit old buildings everywhere you look. It´s just a mish-mash of everything. I may pass through again, but I doubt I´ll spend a week here again anytime soon. No ding on the city, just that I´ve done what I came for.
I also thought a lot about my still complete lack of Spanish language. I´ve gotten where I can hear numbers up to around 20 in spanish and not go ¨huh” and I can say it´s muy caliente or buenos dias and the like, but by and large, I still go into every settings and English just spills out. And I realized I´m incredibly lazy when it comes to language. And there´s so many in Merida who speak English when they realize it´s your native language, that they have fully enabled my laziness. But it´s beyond that, it goes back to french as well. When I was in high school, I could have at least carried on a casual conversation, nothing deep per se, but I could have gotten through a bit. I´ve run into two sets of French speaking people this week and even though I knew a word or two, I stuck to English. Today, a French speaking couple stopped me for directions… They were in a car and they were out of luck because I couldn´t have guided them to a water fountain back home let alone here. But I totally spoke to them in English and told them I was a tourist, too, and did not know. After I left, I put that sentence together in my head and I totally could have told them that in French, but there´s that laziness again. English got me by. I´ll only ever learn other languages if I´m forced to by circumstances, end of story.
As said, tonight, maybe some photos, definitely some dinner, and then packing. I´ve gotten a couple of heavier objects and my take on bag is already a monster, so I´m a little worried I may get dinged for luggage in excess weight. I have that fear frequently tho, and ironically only came close once and that was with a tripod in my bag. I wish I had paid attention when they weighed my bag before I left in Atlanta because it´s not going to be any lighter.
Last entry from Merida – take care all!