Wanderlust Home and Pet Care
6/19/15 Flight delayed out of Houston but I arrived to a happy Gary none the worse for wear.
6/20/15 I had to reacclimatize to the heat and humidity - jeez it’s hot! While I sat in the courtyard, I read about the history of the Yucatan. Many Spanish farmers became very wealthy growing a certain species of the agave plant which produced a strong fiber used for rope, hammocks, and baskets. These fibers were sold world wide up until the first part of the 20th Century. These wealthy farmers built beautiful homes in Merida pronounced Maryda. The sad part of this history was the use of the Mayan people as slaves harvesting the agave.
6/21/15 Sunday and the Paseo Montejo is closed to traffic to allow the locals to bicycle, skateboard and walk. We walked into “Centro” to the Grand Plaza. Along the way we passed many beautiful homes - some needing some TLC. The security guard at the opera house allowed us inside for a small propina (tip). The Grand Plaza was full of kiosks selling craft items. The Chaya Maya was a recommended restaurant and the food was delicious. Then it was back home for a well deserved swim and siesta.
6/22/15 The City Tour started a 10 A.M. and was the same tour Gary took earlier this week. Tried to get lunch at the restaurant across from the bus tour but they didn’t start serving until
1 P.M. We found a place outdoors next to the Opera house. I am loving the Sangria. Some are fruity and some have a real wine taste. They are very refreshing too!
6/23/15 We said goodbye to our landlady and we found the bus to Progreso. It took us about one hour and was raining so hired a taxi to get to our hotel. We will stay in Progreso for the next 3 weeks to enjoy the food, surf and sand.
6/28/2015 The last few days have been full of; wandering the streets of Progreso and meeting the locals, delicious Yucatan food - we haven’t had one bad Mexican meal yet, tequila reposados (reposados means aged), mexcal reposados (tequila and mexcal come from difference agave plants - I prefer the taste of mexcal) , Guatemala rum that is very smooth, baptisms along the shore with singing and clapping, an almost constant breeze that keeps the temperatures reasonable, soft sand and beautiful water.
Learning Spanish would make our time here more fun and we do try to learn more words but it’s just not like being fluent. Need to take Spanish lessons. Do not order American food - you will be disappointed.
6-13-2015 - Gary here. Candy is still in Denver. I am heading up the away team, (no, I am not wearing a red shirt and I do have a name), to find a place to stay in Progreso on the coast. The landlady suggested I go with her to the Merida Mall to hear Tibetan Monks give a performance. Very interesting.
6-14 Today is Sunday and the streets are closed off downtown for their market. I planned to go. However, a 30 yr old PHD of Mayan studies staying at this B&B said he was going to a Mayan ruin. I asked if I could tag along. He welcomed the company. (I have seen plenty of markets in my travels). The site is called Mayapan and we took an 1 ½ hour bus ride - standing room only. Here is the URL:
6-15 Worked on the computer then walked the neighborhood. Ran home to avoid the rain.
6-16 My Landlady took me to Progreso, a beautiful beach town. We checked out a beach side hotel that I found on the Net. While they did not have a suite for the whole time, they were able to get us in for three weeks with us moving to a standard room the last week. Rentals are booked one year in advance so I was happy to find a place. Downside - only a refer and microwave and no couch to watch our movies. We won’t wait so long next time. Had a great dinner on the beach and drove home.
6-17 I traded this morning. Walked a few blocks to catch the Centro bus. Got off near Grand Plaza. Went to the Tourist bureau but they were not real helpful. Learned about a bus tour at 1:00.
Went off to find the English library. Quite a place! I loved the courtyard reading area. Ladies said the rental book was for Merida. Paging through was interesting but nothing for Progreso. The ex-pats were from Maine and Texas and said the members all go back home in the summer as it is so horribly hot. Sounds like a plan. Took the 1:00 city bus tour and saw beautiful architecture for about 2 hours. Then home for a swim and a bite.
6-18 Went back to the center of town. Had two goose chases to find a van going to Parque del Centenario. Finally the third cop found a van for me. The park is a popular place on the weekends, (That is why I went on a Thursday). It has kiddie rides, a zoo, food, a ski lift, and a train that circles the park. The zoo was cute and well shaded. Caught another Combi Van back to the city and a bus home. The pool never felt so good. As I got out, the skies opened up. It just stopped raining.
7/11/15 Maureen (our Airbnb host in Merida) drove to Progreso to pick us up for a tour to Grutas Loltun and the surrounding area. Grutas Loltun is a huge cave where mammoth bones have been discovered, Mayan ceremonies were conducted and was a sanctuary for the Mayan during the Caste Wars. Nearby is the city Oxkutzcab which is an important center for produce. We also visited the churches of the towns of Uman and Muna.
7/16/15 Another tour with Maureen to learn about the importance of Sisal to the Yucatan. We visited a rebuilt Hacienda still producing the agave fibers which were drying in the sun and another site where we saw the machine in action. We then visited La Hacienda Xcanatun, a restored Hacienda where sisal was produced but has been converted into a hotel restaurant & spa. It was a beautiful hotel. It was then a short drive to Dzibilchaltun, the Mayan ruin. Dzibilchaltun, a Mayan name meaning “writing on flat stones,” was once a wealthy center of Mayan coastal trade with a peak population of about 200,000. The population declined as Chichen Itza rose to power. The Maya lived here from 300 B.C. to the time of the Spanish invasions. The Spanish continued to build in the city once they arrived and the remains of the Franciscan chapel that lies in the middle of the Mayan ruins.
July 17th was the last day for school and now the folks from Merida and the surrounding area are in Progreso for summer vacation. The beach is crowded, the restaurants are full, and music is continually playing. We know which restaurants are our favorites i.e. Sol Y Mar owned by Gabriel and his wife and Barlovento for Chili Rellenos con Pollo. I have added Limonade con Agua Minerale to my drink list. Marguesita is a thin waffle filled with nutella and queso and rolled up. Yes, the cheese adds some saltness to the sweet - yummy.
Our time in Progreso has ended - for now. We actually met a couple from the USA that live here permanently. They have asked us to house sit 2 dogs and a cat in Sept. There is no such thing as coincidence!
7/20/15 No Problemo catching the bus to Chichen Itza. The bus is very inexpensive and the buses are very frequent. The Hacienda Chichen is a lovely hotel with it’s own entrance to the ruins. For an dinner appetizer, we enjoyed a crepe filled with the fungus that grows on corn called Huitlacoche.
7/21/15 We hired a tour guide for two hours. Chichen Itza has over 1,000 buildings (we only saw about 30 buildings). The carvings were amazing. In some cases, we saw the original paint still remaining in small corners which were a dark red or green color. Our guide wasn’t up to date on his information regarding the deciphering of the Mayan symbols. Almost 90% has been translated. By noon, the heat was getting unbearable so a dip in the hotel pool was very refreshing.
7/22/15 It was a long bus ride to Cancun and then another bus to the gates of Azul Beach. Our check-in was long and frustrating. The guard said it was a 4K walk to the building so we took a taxi. The taxi charged us 120 pesos or $10 when it had been costing us 70 pesos or less. Gary does not enjoy being ripped-off. As we checked in, we were offered an upgrade to a luxury room with an ocean view at a sister resort. Gary thought it was a bait and switch. (It turned out he was right because they wanted to sell us a timeshare). I said they wouldn’t risk a bad trip advisor report which we have agreed to provide. It was another 20 minute drive to get to this new resort. I had to complete the check-in papers all over again and wait for a golf cart. Short golf cart ride and then we had to wait for a butler to take us to our room. It was 5:30 by the time we got to our room - we arrived at the first resort at 4 PM and we had not eaten since breakfast. Thank goodness the accomodations are excellent - Whew! The food as been delicious and there are 13 restaurants available under the all-inclusive plan - another plus for having moved.
We took an ecological tour which turned out to be an advertisement for their horseback riding. We walked every morning down to the end of the resort’s complex. I attended a stretching class but by 11:30 am, my energy levels can’t handle the heat & humidity and I really wanted to attend the Aquagym class too! As we walked, we would sometimes stop at a bar with sat right next to the beach to have a Royal Kir or sparkling wine and sit on a swing to cool down. Weddings preparations are happening everyday. What is so interesting is the Caribbean and the Mexico east coast have been hit by large amounts of seaweed. We watched the hired help rake, lift, and dig holes to get rid of the seaweed that provides a nursery to fish and sea turtles. The seaweed is a detriment to those people wanting to get into the ocean.
Our 5 days at the resort went very quickly - too quickly! The last morning was spent at our favorite bar. It was just the two of us and the ocean. OK, the bartender was there too! Next stop Tennessee.