It was a very long trip for such a short visit. It was great being with Sara again, though.
Merida was very hot and very humid. The first night we were there we stayed with my old neighbors from when I lived in Mexico City. The last time I saw them was probably in the late 1980s! It was nice seeing them and remembering some of the silly things I did when I was a child. Their home, however, did not have a/c - a necessity when it is in the 90s and humid at night. In every room they did have hamocks, so I had a go sleeping in one. Sara preferred the bed.
The next day we went for la comida at a restored old Hacienda about fifteen minutes outside of Merida. Sara and I were both eager to try Yucatecan food, which did not disappoint. We became very fond of the habanero salsa they have there - it packs quite a kick. As usual, most Mexicans were quite amazed by Sara's ability to tolerate the heat of even the most potent chiles. A gringa that can eat spicier food than the locals!
In the evening we headed down to Uxmal (translated link), an archaeological site about an hour south of Merida. We made it there just in time for the light and sound show. While the show was a little hokey, the weather was still rather warm, and the bugs began to snack on us, we still enjoyed it. It was also cool seeing the bats flying out of the darkened temples.
We stayed at a nearby hotel where there were some new age groupies on some kind of couples retreat were also staying. At breakfast the next morning they were all wearing yellow sashes around their heads.
The next day we headed out to explore the archaeology of Uxmal.
The heat was pretty intense, especially when the sun would peak between the clouds. In a few seconds we were both pretty damp (read: drenched in sweat). Sara had fun taking pictures of all the designs on the sides of the buildings. The iguanas that were all around were also entertaining, especially when they were spooking French tourists.
Another funny episode occurred when we first went into the area. To go in, we had to wear silly neon wristsbands that had a ticket-tag attached to it. As you entered, the attendant would tear the tag off. When I went in, the attendant was amazed at the fact that my wrist was so large that the wristband barely made it around.
After exploring the main areas, Sara and I wandered down a small path into the jungle to find some of the marginal ruins. At one point we were pushing our way through the growth until we came to a half covered temple. A very Indiana Jones-like experience - well, maybe not.
In the afternoon we made our way back to Merida where we had to present our papers the next day. Neither Sara nor I were really prepared, but being exhausted from the heat and adventure (or perhaps we were just lazy) impeded us from really doing much about it.
Things I learned in Merida:
- I don't really like it there. It was too hot and humid (if the weather is going to be like that, there needs to be a beach and swimable ocean around). The streets are also very narrow and there are smokey buses that speed a little too close to you.
- Koreans migrated there in the early twentieth century to work in the henequen plantations. There a few of them left (I learned this in the nice museum of anthropology there), but I could not find a Korean restaurant in the phone book.
- People wear funny t-shirts there. Among those spotted: one with the Burger King logo that read Murder King, one that said "I [heart] Me", a kids shirt that said "Soy vago...y que?" (I am lazy, so what?).
- The beds there are REALLY hard.
- I have sweat glands in places I never knew.
I arrived to have to face multiple stressful situations, but I will save those stories for another day.