I have been on the road the last couple of days, and I had a room last night with terrible internet, so I have not been able to post anything. I am now in Merida, the capital city of the Yucatan. I am here on business to meet with the people at http://www.theyucatantimes.com to get my press card and ID. I have never been to Merida before, so I thought I would use this trip also to do some sight-seeing while I am here.
But first, let me tell you about my trip and how I got here. I asked around in Mahahual, and everybody told me there, the best way to get to Merida was to go to Chetumal and take the bus from there. I thought about it, and I said no, I am going to take the collectivo, cumbee,( or van), as they call them here. I said I wanted to see some of the Yucatan interior, so I thought I would go to Felipe de Carrillo, and catch a bus from there to Merida. Wrong choice, I should have listened to everybody, but I was set on taking a bus along the old Mayan Caste War route, so I could see some of the Mayan pueblos along the way, and see the countryside. I did see the countryside for 6 and a half hours.
So let me start at the beginning. I left Mahahual at 8am on the collectivo to Limones. I decided to catch the van to Limones, then take a Mayab bus to Felipe de Carrillo, and then another bus to Merida from there. Things started good until we got a couple of miles outside of Mahahual, and the van stopped to pick up a couple of people. The van was kind of crowded, but I had a seat to myself with no one sitting next to me. Well a farmer looking guy got on the van carrying a big white bucket. He looked around and the only seat available was the one next to me. He sat down beside me with his bucket, and in his bucket was a baby turkey with no feathers or anything yet, but it was a turkey in a bucket. Even all the other Mexicans in the van were looking and thinking, what in the hell is this guy doing with a turkey in a bucket in here. He sat next to me, and let me tell you the turkey and the bucket stunk. And what made matters worse, a bunch of flies and gnats were all over the turkey. The van was going to Chetumal, but I got off in Limones, and the whole way to Limones everybody in the van was swatting gnats and flies the whole time until I got off. I had to hold my bandana over my mouth, because the bucket and turkey stunk so bad. Where this guy was taking this turkey, I have no idea.
Now I have lived in Belize, and I have been on my share of “chicken busses” there, where they brought on chickens, pigs, dogs, and I even saw a giant python brought on a Belizean bus once. But in all days in Belize I have never sat beside a turkey in a bucket before, a first for me.
Well I got out in Limones, and I felt sorry for all the mothers and kids stuck in the van all the way to Chetumal with a smelly turkey. I got there at 9am, and had some breakfast and waited on the 10:30am bus to Felipe del Carrillo. I was supposed to get electronica fractures (receipts sent by email )to get reimbursed for my trip. So there is this old man standing there with a little receipt book selling Mayab bus tickets to Felipe del Carrilo. I would have taken another collectivo to Felipe, but I needed receipts sent by email, not paper, so I had to take either an ADO or Mayab bus.( This brings up another side story, the other day my boss in Mahahual told me to make a list of some ideas for the blog and we would go over them. I brought a list, hand written, and he said what is this, and I said a list on paper, he said I meant a list on a computer, or Ipad, not hand written on paper. I told him I was old and I still wrote things down on paper, been doing it for years. He then told me don’t bring back printed receipts on paper, only electronica fractures are good to get reimbursed nowadays.)
Well I asked the Mayab bus guy in Spanish, can I get an electronica fracture, he looked at me like I was crazy. Limones is no more than a bump in the road with no traffic light, surrounded by farms and ranches. He just shook his head no, and sold me the ticket, 45 pesos to Felipe, and walked away shaking his head, thinking I was a crazy Gringo to ask for email receipt for 45 pesos.
I got to Felipe and went up to the bus counter and asked for a ticket to Merida, and how much would it cost. The man told me 200 pesos, and I thought to myself, that is a good deal. I then asked him how long was the trip, and he said 6 hours. I then told him I had heard it only took 3 or 4 hours to get to Merida from there. He said it does if you take the ADO direct bus, and it will be here in 3 hours. So you can take the Mayab that leaves in 10 minutes or wait 3 hours for the ADO.
I thought for a second then I decided just to go ahead and take the Mayab and leave as soon as possible. I then asked him for a electronica fracture, and he smiled and said I have to go to the ADO website and get one there. I then asked him does the bus stop every now and then, or should I get something eat here, before my long trip. He grinned and told me don’t worry, the bus stops all the time at every village from Felipe to Merida. Come to find out, I was on the intermediate bus, or local, and it made stops at every little town in the middle of the Yucatan along the way, that is why it is only 200 pesos.
Well he was right the bus stopped every 15 or 20 minutes to let people on and off. The bus stopped at Moreles, Peto, Tekax, Oxkutzcab, Ticul, Uman, and then finally Merida. It was a long and tedious trip, but what I found interesting was, at every one of these little towns and villages the bus stopped in the Yucatan, there were these huge Catholic cathedral churches right in the middle of the town. The churches were huge and took up a couple blocks, and I was told the whole town or village was built around these churches. Most of these churches were built in the 16th or 17th century, and are massive. I had read somewhere before that these huge churches were built by the Spanish to convert the Mayas into Christians. The Mayan temples and ruins were torn down, and the churches built right on top of the Mayan temples, and they even used the same stones and rocks.
So whole trip took me about 10 hours, but only cost me 300 pesos, and I got to see some of the Yucatan interior, and some old churches, so in all was not that bad. So I got to Merida and checked in a hostel for the night, and went out and saw some of Merida, and took some photos. I am now in the Hotel Trinidad right in the middle of town, near Centro. I will have some more articles and posts from Merida. I plan on seeing some museums and art galleries here, as well as conducting some business.
So here are some photos off my trip and first night in Merida. It is a beautiful city, and huge, compared to what I have been living in Mahahual, I feel like I am in New York City.
Thanks for reading,
Stewart Rogers USA-South Carolina