Back to solo travel...
Trip Start Apr 29, 2006
70Trip End Ongoing
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Merida reminds me a bit of a lot of places: Salta, Oaxaca, Santa Clara, a little bit but luckily not too much of Cordoba - any small-medium sized colonial city really; a grid city around a main plaza. If you can look past the constant tropical rain and the ever-present blook-sucking machines of the devil of death (see opening of the entry), Merida is a pleasant city. The Paza Grande beams with the ring of the marimba as the city's wonderful, swirling double chairs support the locals who have perfected the culture officially known as "sitting around and doing fuck-all, maybe I'll get my shoes polished". Fireworks shower the square's sky - a nightly event during the month long International Arts Festival - as world dance, music and theatre continue at venues all around the city, the beautiful, colonial Teatro Peon Contrareas Merida's cultural centrepiece. Colonial architecture dominates the streetscape, both in the historic centre and along the Paseo de Montejo - but, unfortunately, the Cuban experience - with its magnificent, both crumbling and restored colonial buildings bombarding your senses - has left Merida, and indeed most colonial cities that I've visited, in its shadow...
Ok - so I haven't done a lot here in Merida
So, to the Top 5. You always get a few 'um...what' moments when you travel. You know what I'm talking about - when something happens, you take a moment to try to comprehend it, and then realise that you can't - maybe because you're an idiot but more likely because it just don't make no sense. Often it's cultural. Someimtes it's lost in translation. Somtimes it's a tourist trap gone wrong. Anyway, there have been a few here in just a few days in Merida. Here are the Top 5:
5. Advertisement at my hostel. "Full continental breakfast including eggs any way you want them". Brilliant. So I wake up in the morning.
"The eggs are there. The frypans is there. Cook them yourself."
3. There's a woman staying at the hostel - she's Japanese. She speaks no English. No Spanish either. Only Japanese. Communication problems with people working at the hostel.
Solution attempt no 1: seek assistance from Korean dude. He doesn't speak Japanese - he's Korean. But he looks Japanese enough. Strike one.
Solution attempt no 2: seek assistance from me. Good one. I don't speak Japanese - I'm Australian. But I look about as Japanese as the Korean dude - and we know how far that one got us last time.
Picture this: Japanese middle aged woman trying to explain something in Japanese to one Korean dude and me, both of us standing there, both kinda Japanese looking, confused, having no idea what the fuck she was talking about.
By the way - how the fuck was she getting around?
"Hey - Suzuki - I have hats! Wanna buy a hat?"
"What you got?"
"Aren't panama hats from panana?"
"No - they're from Merida"
"So why aren't they called Merida hats instead of panama hats?"
"Because they're made in Merida" - insert Mini 'uh...what?'
"But - why didn't you call them Merida hats?"
"They're from Merida".
1. So its RainMasterRain in Merida. Special at the movie cinema around the corner. Nicolas Cage - The WickerMan - $1. Do it...
About an hour in, the projection stops as the sound of power draining echoes through the cinema. What the fuck? A blackout? A power failure? Are you joking? Then, just as I think I've identified the probable reason for this interruption to my viewing pleasure, a slide is prjected on the screen - "Intermission" - a happy popcorn box and coke can doing a dance.
Intermission? What the fuck? It's a movie...
To Vallodolid and the mighty Chitzchen Itza...