Perhaps a morbid title for this post but I will explain more in a while (now you have to keep reading!)
We were now driving west across the Yucatan and had a couple of days to kill before heading to Merida. We settled on the small seaside town of Celestun. Maybe we were both really relaxed or maybe we had taken so many photos of the ruins recently that we managed to not take a single pic of the beach or coastline!
However we did go on a boat trip so a few birdy photos
We had shared the boat with Peter, Sabina and Nicholas who had escaped the European Autumn for a few weeks to explore the Yucatan. We enjoyed several meals with them in Celestun and in Merida but yet again I failed to take a proper pic. This is Peter and John trying to order breakfast at a place that only seemed to have one choice with Sabina and Nicholas waiting patiently.
We moved on to a different breakfast venue that had more choice and the added bonus of Christmas decs already in place (possibly been up the last few years?)
We arrived in Merida the capital city of Yucatan on 31/10. I am probably repeating myself when I say John would be happy if we avoided towns and cities for all of our travels. Still, I had twisted his arm with the promise of all the fun, colour and good photo opportunities to be had during the annual Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival.
I had checked out the best cities in the region to experience the festival and Merida was the one, I had read reviews of previous years and we were there for the traditional festival dates of 31/10 to 2/11. Note the word traditional, there’s the flaw in my plan. What I didn’t think to check was the actual timetable of events for this year (doh!). I won’t go into what the whole festival includes but there are parades with the dressing up/skeletons etc. which are more of a public event and then there are the more personal traditions that take place for the families at the cemeteries. This year the public parades where held a couple of days earlier at the weekend for the first time ever! No excuse, bad planning I should have checked.
Anyhow, we knew of my mistake before arriving in Merida but I convinced John we should still go. There were no campsites near the town so we were booked into a guesthouse that had parking. Now it’s a nice old city, but is pretty congested and the centre gets rather gridlocked. By the time we arrived it was very hot, the traffic was heavy and it turned out our parking was a block away, shared by several businesses and being used by some builders working on an adjoining building. It didn’t look very secure and John’s mood had gone from the wrong side of good to “what the bloody hell are we doing here”. We had a period of “storming” before we settled down to “norming” and after the builders left the car park didn’t look so bad.
We made the most of activities that were still happening.
A rather eclectic Halloween display.
Luckily there was still this couple to pose with, much in demand by us and others who had arrived late!
And I got the T shirt!
We had gone to the tourist information office to check out what there was to do and were advised there was a guided tour of the cemetery the next night. We turned up early to find the gates locked and no one around (well no one alive anyway!). We did bump into a couple of Brits who were staying at our B & B and also turned up for the tour on the advice of the Tourist office. Oh well it wasn’t to be so we went for a couple of beers with Phil and Dee instead. Another couple I failed to take a pic of who have been touring South and Central America on an Africa Twin.
Before we left we did get to look around the cemetery, colourful and beautifully decorated, some graves were modelled on the deceased’s homes and some had their own Mayan pyramids!
The food here is good and lots of fresh veg are easy to come by but green leafy veg has been somewhat lacking in our diet recently. Luckily the Yucatan has an abundance of Chaya sometimes called Tree Spinach, full of vitamins, iron and calcium,we have been drinking and eating as much of it as we can.
Heading over to Veracruz the port from which Juanita will sail to Cartegena we did a long day and arrived after dark in the town of Villerhamosa (or villersamosa as we had been calling it!). IOverland had some decent reviews for a highway motel rather grandly called the Plaza. A bit like a drive in burger joint we paid our 350 pesos (a reasonable £14) at a window and were directed to the entrance below.
Very nice we thought, our own garage (or as we like to call it the kitchen) with electric door and integral door into the very spacious bedroom.
First impressions, tacky 80’s disco decor but it will do. Then we noticed the strategically placed mirrors, enormous bed, kind of dumb waiter thing in the wall to allow you to order room service without opening the door and complimentary condom (we would rather have had chocolates).
Now we’ve been to one we spot these establishments often! They allow you to drive in, hide your car and be anonymous! In Latin America where households are often big and multigenerational these motels provide some privacy for young couples as well as the more traditional liaisons of a financial nature!
8 hours in the Jacuzzi, how wrinkled would you be?!
Buanas Noches xxxx