Tuesday, December 20, 2011

City life in Merida

Leaving from the adorable Valladolid it was not easy to feel at home in Merida. It’s a city of about a million people and what feels like a million cars too. Streets are packed with people with either meandering or (more often) rushing and pushing. The weather was hotter and the hostel, even though very nice, was not as good comparing to the warm-heartedness of Valladolid. But as before, I’ve been meeting really nice people from around the world and enjoying my time with them - Emilia from Sydney, Patricia from Monterrey, Allison & Pat from the UK, Yuxing from China.

Traffic, people, traffic, people... that's what you'll see in Merida
And some "interesting" buildings" (ok, there's some pretty cathedrals too but they have them *everywhere*).

Mercado in Merida, the fruits & veggies section.
At least the hostel was pretty good, had a pool too!
Sorry to say people but there’s really not a lot to see in Merida. Some churches and museums yes but nothing unusual. There is a big Mercado to buy food, clothes, shoes, toys.. anything.. like in every town. On Sundays there’s a big market in the main square and on some weekend evenings one of the main streets is partially closed and restaurants have tables outside – you can hear all kinds of live bands. We went to see that Friday and Saturday night and saw a few people dancing on the streets too.

Close to Merida are some lovely small town, cenotes and – again – ruins. Went to see the one in Dzibilchaltun (I’m still not comfortable with the pronunciation). Smaller pyramids but you can climb up all of them. There is a cenote (come early if you want to private dip). I find it interesting that there is a big avenue in between two temples and you can just imagine how the Mayas were walking in the large promenade. There’s also some ruins of the village residents by the “promenade”. The site is about 20 minutes bus ride outside the city (entrance 107 pesos – Chichen Itza and Uxmal are 166 pesos by the way).

Dancing in Merida

On the first night there was a salsa class at my hostel by a local dance teacher Nestor. The class was on Puertorican style (salsa en linea like the LA style) and my first salsa class actually. There was about 20 people taking part in the class which we finished with a rueda! We did about 4 different moves, with more or less success.

I heard there was salsa going on at a restaurant called Cumban Chero but it was actually mostly old couples – no dance partners for me as the ladies were sure to hold on to their men! So if you’re into salsa, in Merida you should look up Cumban Chero at Paseo de Montejo / Calle 39. There is also a salsa club which might be still open: Mambo Café at Plaza las Americas, but that’s outside the city center. You may hear an occasional bachata and merengue as well.

As a “revenge” for doing salsa here I’m torturing everybody about telling them about zouk. I got even to a point where I got as far as showing some zouk videos on youtube. I feel sorry for everybody who has to put up with my zouk deprivation but at least the girls here seemed to think it looked cool!

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