7 January 2014
Merida is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen. We spent the entire today walking around taking photos and trying all the street foods. I can’t believe how much this city resembles an old colonial city. Merida was named after a city in Spain, and while walking around the city it was very apparent that it could easily be a city in Spain.
Old Catholic Church buildings still on every cornering, colonial homes and buildings still line all the streets, and each building is painted a beautiful pastel color. One difference I have noticed between Latin America and the United States is that all the buildings in Latin America are painted bright colors. Hispanics love colors and they love art. The streets are filled with beautifully sculpted ceramics that are painted with the traditional Mayan designs. Everything is so beautiful.
After several days of consuming numerous packets of crackers from the bus stations, we decided to try to return to our normal pattern of eating during the last few days of the trip. In the Merida markets they sell a dozen cutie oranges (each the size of an actual orange) for less than 70 cents. We also discovered a frozen fruit parlor that served giant cups of fresh frozen fruit blended into a nice cream like mixture for only $1. We also found several great street vendors with cheap eats. In Mexico you can count on every street vender selling tacos and tortas, or a combination of the two. They have many great foods in the Yucatan peninsula. After walking around Merida, entering every church we could find, trying all the street foods, discovering the LDS temple, and talking with many people, we chose to eat dinner at The La Chaya Maya, a restaurant with great reviews on trip advisor.
We ordered Pepian Mole and Sopa de Lima, two very traditional dishes for this region. The atmosphere of the restaurant was great. A little lady to the right of our table was hand making tortillas and all of the waitresses were dressed in traditional. Mayan clothing. The atmosphere was great, but surprisingly the food was bit of a let down. The presentation of the food was beautiful, but compared to the great eats we had on the streets the food at La Chaya Maya lacked flavor. That being said I do not regret going to the restaurant for the wonderful experience we had!
So many great stories and foods are in this area, over the next two days Andrew and I are determined to discover them all!
Merida looks a lot like Italy with old buildings, churches, and lots to see and do. This place is known as the food capital of the Yucatan peninsula and for good reason! This morning as Kylie and I walked around the city centre and the neighboring markets we saw good stand after good stand with delicious varieties of food. You could honestly take one of the food stands here and out it in the other cities we’ve been and you’d have an instant hit!
We didn’t the morning snacking at various food stands eating mango, oranges, bananas, among many others (I had a cinnamon roll 🙂 Kylie had a frozen fruit concoction).
After filling ourselves with good snacks we decided to explore the local structures. We entered several churches with high vaulted ceilings and images of Christ and other saints before deciding to wander our way over to the Merida temple. That was one of the highlights of the day. We sat on the temple grounds and chatted enjoying the peaceful location. Kylie taught me a little about photo and we generally had a good time in a beautiful and holy place.
Afterwards we continued wandering the streets this time visiting the governor’s old home which had enormous murals depicting the struggles of the Mayan people (prosperity, encountering the Spanish, aka very, freedom, etc). These were very powerful images of art and really helped us to understand the culture and people better.
Once we’d finished our rounds of the city we decided to have dinner at a local favorite called La Chaya Maya. However the good was much less than we had expected (less in tend of quality). The popular dishes we read about online left much to be desired… Shame but it was still a fun dinner experience with Kylie. Who knows, maybe all our nights of cooking great meals together have made us a little picky 🙂
The evening was a litter frustrating trying to juggle school items via a cell phone and limited reception but hey – life goes on regardless!