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Out for a walk at Crescent Beach near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Bellingham, Washington.

Where are they going next? Somewhere on the Olympic Peninsula, Washington.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Everybody loves a parade! The beginning of Carnaval in Merida...

Our tour guide and bus arrived to pick everybody up from the Rainbow Trailer Park in Merida. The bus was partly open air... so it definitely makes it better for trying to take pictures, although it's always tough to get decent pictures from a moving bus.

Merida is a big city... population of about 1 million people now. And it's a hot city... the average daytime high is around 31C (88F) in the winter, and 35C (95F) during the summer. We like warm, but  on an every day basis that's too hot for us!

The trailer park is in the north end of the city. That's where the higher end class tend to live. And, lots of shopping malls, Walmart, Home Depot... that kind of thing.

On the bus, outside the trailer park. It is 9 kms (5.5 miles) to the city center.

The relatively new (2013) Mayan Museum is actually located a short walk from the RV Park.

Getting closer to downtown, this monument is actually located in the middle of a traffic circle.

There are many grand old homes dating to the early 1900's that have been bought and restored. Some by expats, and some by corporations. 

It's interesting, but from an expat point of view, we don't see the attraction of Merida. Personal opinion, of course. But we have rarely seen the attraction of communities that tend to be high on the list for expats. I guess there is a big list of cultural things including theaters that have regular shows, and I guess that is some of the appeal. It's not a UNESCO city, so it is definitely a more modern central area than some other Mexican cities that have the UNESCO designation.

Much of the bus tour was spent looking at the grand old mansions that have been restored.









Our bus!

The bus dropped us off in the central plaza. Our guide Francisco took us to a few of the sights in the Zocalo area. First stop was the Government building...

Our group, in the Government Palace.

Big doors on the cathedral!

The cathedral contains the largest carving of Jesus in the world that is made from a single piece of wood.

 Carved from a single piece of wood!

The MERIDA sign.

We all stopped and had an ice cream. Actually, a sorbet. I like to try something different, so I had the corn flavor! It was really good, and I was surprised by how strong the corn flavor was.

Next stop was the Casa de Montejo, the oldest house in Merida. It was falling apart at one time, but the property was bought by the Banamex Bank who restored the house and it is now a free museum, but the banking offices are behind it.

I couldn't get a decent picture of the outside, but it was built in 1549! There is an artists rendition of what the mansion would have looked like when it was completed at the time. It would have been totally out of place with the Mayan houses of the time.


We went to the Chaya Maya Restaurant on Calle 55. Good selection, and reasonable prices.

Then, it was free time.

Ruth and I decided to stay downtown because there was going to be a parade to start off the Carnaval celebrations here in Merida. The parade was scheduled to start at 4:00pm. We went and wandered around the local market in the somewhat rougher south end of town. Lots of interesting stuff, but I didn't take many photos.

Ruth!

Produce for sale.

We bought a 1/2 liter bottle of honey for 60 pesos ($4.25 CAD, $3.25 USD). We can't remember what type it was, but it has a distinct, although pleasant, flavor. We just use it to put in lemon ginger tea, and I tried it this morning. Tastes just fine!

When we made it back to the central plaza, people were getting settled for the start of the parade.

Lots of people!

Several clowns keeping the kids entertained while we waited.

Tourist Police.

This parade was done for the children, and with the children!









Lots of fun. It's hard not to love a parade!

We left before it finished. It just seemed they never stopped! Eventually, we had had enough and went searching for a way back to the trailer park. We could have used Uber, or taken a normal taxi, but we put the effort into finding the local bus because it was pretty much a straight shot north. Sure enough, it was fairly easy. Home before 6:00pm.

Somebody suggested we should stop by the Costco parking lot. When they were building the Costco a few years ago, construction equipment came across a cenote (underground cave) right in the middle of the parking lot! They did a great job landscaping it, and making it an attractive addition to the facilities...

Costco cenote.

Today is a free day. Some people have gone to Progresso, some people have gone to Celestun to see the flamingos, some people are just hanging around the park. So, everybody is doing their own thing. Ruth and I need a day of doing nothing, so we will just putter around here. Maybe walk down to the big Chedraui grocery store to get some exercise and pick up a few things.

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16 comments:

  1. Looks like avery nice city to spend some time. Like the parades:) Just came back from a long weekend in New Orleans. Lots of parades there, but these look a bit nicer.

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    1. It is a nice city but a little too hot and busy for us but we could keep ourselves occupied quite easily in the area for a bit. There are more things outside of the city that we would like to see rather than stuff in the city.

      Parades in Mexico are always fun. They had an adult version of the parade in the evening for the start of Carnival (Mardi Gras).

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  2. Always lots to do in Merida and they have not quite yet got the concept of ripping off the gringos down pat. Maybe that is why Merida is popular with the expats. It is hot now but they have just finished a cold spell.

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    1. I think there is more outside of the city that would keep us busy than there is inside of the city but that is more because we prefer the countryside or smaall towns better than the city.

      That cold spell with cloud and rain was abnormal for Merida, in general it is fairly warm/hot here.

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  3. Wow! Beautiful mansions and the parade looks like fun. Excellent pictures and colour.

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    1. Yes, there are some beautiful places here but there are also quite a few that have just been left and are starting to fall apart, hopefully someone will come along and buy them up and fix them up. Our guide did tell us that many of them get sold and torn down and new, modern buildings are built in their place which is one of the reasons that Merida is not on the UNESCO list. Also most of the old mansions that have been fixed up and made into business, not many are actually lived in.

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  4. The mansions are beautiful. I love the Governor's Palace, but cathedrals are my weakness.
    My goodness, the entire town must have turned out for the parade. Looks like a great one.

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    1. Yes, the mansions are gorgeous, too bad that they all didn't look as good. There are still some that need someone to come along and buy them and restore them to their grandeur of years ago. Also many of these mansions are businesses and museums rather than homes that are lived in.

      I wish that Kevin had included a picture of the outside of the Government Palace because it is gorgeous as well. All the murals inside the Palace were done by a student of Diego Rivera a famous Mexican artist.

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  5. Great architecture, good food such as queso relleno, morcilla (dried blood sausage), and cochinita pibil best if it is from a pozo (hole in the ground cooked with coals and covered with banana leaves), and that cenote at Costco, unbelievable! I get the heat part, too many days and it gets old.

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    1. Definitely some beautiful architecture here. The restaurant was a great pick because it had many of the traditional meals from this area on it. Kevin had the pibil and I know someone else had the queso relleno.

      They really did a nice job on the landscaping of the cenote at the Costco parking lot.

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  6. I tend to agree, kevin. I also don't see the attraction of Merida. I think its probably because like you I have seen so many colonial Mexican cities that I think are better. I feel the same way about Veracruz. Nice to see you are getting good weather at last. It has swapped,we are getting clouds & drizzle on the west coast.

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    1. Merida is nice but definitely not a place we would chose to live in but obviously lots of other people love it here.

      The weather is great, a little hot but we aren't complaining, it is better to have the heat than all the cloud and rain that we had not so long ago. I am sure your weather will improve shortly as well.

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  7. BTW it would be nice to get some feedback on Celustun if some went up there for the day as you said. They are apparently building an RV Park up there. If the one you are in closes as I think is inevitable considering its location, it may be the alternative. Apparently there are some unusual pink lakes up there.

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    1. The three that went to Celestún really enjoyed their day, they saw tons of flamingos but it was pretty much an all day affair. Some others went to Progresso and saw flamingos there as well, just not as many but still in the hundreds and it was only a half day affair, so I think either location would be a good option.

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  8. Another fun and informative post! Nice to see how modern looking Merida is! Would have liked to see pictures of the “ rougher part” of town...but I guess it wasn’t safe to do so.heh? Stay well and safe travels!

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    1. Outside of the historical centre it is very modern, it is nice to see that they have preserved some of the old buildings. The "rougher" part ISN'T really rough, it just isn't all painted up and kept quite as nice looking as it does in around the square. We actually liked this part of town better because it was definitely much more Mexican to us. We didn't take pictures just because we didn't think of it or see anything that was really picture worthy, not because because we felt it was unsafe.

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