"X" in the Mayan language is pronounced as "SH"
I'll start this week with a mini lesson in the Mayan language, which is still spoken by many in the Yucatan. The letter "X" in Mayan is pronounced as "SH", so...Chicxulub is pronounced as "Chic-shoe-lube". That being said, many of you know that I have a"thing" with unique doors and windows, especially the ones in Mexico. Two years ago, when I spent two months here, I collected a series of door photographs and created a "door" poster. Below are a few samples of doors and windows in our immediate area, there's just something about the worn, weathered wood, the ancient wrought iron and the bits and pieces that draw me in and hook me. Many the day Andrea, or whoever I am walking with, has heard the cry "stop, I see a door"...it does make our errands run longer sometimes!
Sneeking in a shot of a Merida window...
I managed to take a few shots on our walk into Progreso and back. It's about 8.5 km and the sea was calm so we walked to town and back along the beach. The fishermen's boats are always surrounded by sea birds looking for a handout and today was no exception. The pelicans were lined up "row on row" and floating beside the boats.
After a lovely walk back down the beach we dipped our toes on he pool...still a little cool at 24 degrees to go right in, the Mexican pools aren't heated. However, by the time February rolls around it will be like bath water.
Tuesday we decided to support the local economy and indulge in all you can eat ribs at La Casa del Faro (The Lighthouse) in Chicxulub, as you can probably tell from the photos, we left very happy!
Our trip to Izamal, the Yellow City and Valladolid commenced bright and early Friday morning. By 9 am we were packed and on our way accompanied by Andy's suitcase for home, which took up most of the trunk space in our miniscule car. Izamal is said to be one of the oldest cities in the Yucatan. It really is a jewel of a colonial city, with just about all of the buildings painted an egg-yolk yellow, which makes the town look like a movie set. The massive Franciscan Convent, , San Antonio de Padua, sits atop a buried Mayan pyramid, in fact the area is dotted with hills, most of which are the remains of pyramids. The convent is also famous for the story of the monk Fray Diego de Landa, its founder, who burned all of the Indian scripts, and then feeling remorse for what he had done, tried to write all he could remember of the ways of the Indians in the "Relation of Things of the Yucatan". Outside the convent/church, lines of horse and buggies stand ready to whisk visitors off on a tour of the city. The clip-clopping of the horses on the cobblestone streets just adds to the old town feel. We strolled around the small market and ended up passing by a woman who was just slicing into a lovely traditional flan. It was too decadent looking to pass up and after we sampled it, we're glad we stopped ...it was incredible!
We continued on our way to Valladolid and arrived in the early afternoon to find that we had arrived on the day a festival started...just as we did in Santa Elena...this is getting to be a habit with us...but a good one! After setting into our hotel in the centro, La Aurora Hotel Colonial, we set out to find some lunch and inquire about the festival. Valladolid is a unique city in that it has a cenote right in the middle of town. We had our lunch at the cenote restaurant and browsed through the gifts on offer in the adjacent outdoor "market" before heading back to centro to ask about the festivities. In the square we happened upon a group of women and girls dressed in their finest embroidered hipils..this group kept growing until there were about 100 and now included some men and boys as well.
They started a march, of about six blocks, to a fair ground and we followed along with a few other tourists and locals. The fairgrounds were huge and there were animals on display, crafts, food, games and dancing. The best part was when we arrived....they had large fabric "lanterns" that had a square of "canned heat" at the bottom of the frame. People were lighting the fuel and holding the balloons till the air was hot enough to carry them aloft...it was magical watching 20 -30 of them float up into the night sky! Dara got bold and asked if we could have one too and low and behold.....we got one. What fun...and we didn't even set anything on fire, although there were hydro lines, telephone wires and trees all over the place...this would never have been allowed in Canada!
The next morning we visited Las Casa de los Venedos, or "the house of deer". This is a privately owned , restored home in Valladolid housing the largest private collection of Mexican Folk Art in Latin America. The owner, John, does not charge a fee for the tour, but asks for a small donation, all of which goes to an organization that provides funds for operations for those in need.
Here are just a few of the many photos we took skeletons often feature in Mexican Folk Art to show that, under the skin, we are all the same!
A peek at Valladolid streets....
From Valladolid , we headed to Cancun airport to drop Andy off to head back home and get ready for Hong Kong with his brother. Then 20 minutes down the coast to Puerto Morelos for a few days. Puerto Morelos is a small puerto just 25 minutes south of Cancun airport, no high rise buildings allowed. We stayed at the quaint Amar Inn of Puerto Morelos, which is one building back from the beach.... basic but cute. Dinner was at Sabour de Mexico where we indulged in a pitcher of limon y chaya (a green leafy vegetable similar to spinach)...it was delicious. The same was not to be said for our fish tacos, which I personally thought tasted like cat food....not that I have ever tried cat food...but you know what I mean! The next day, a wonderful morning was spent at the beach enjoying the calm, clear blue waters of the caribbean.
Andrea and I asked a woman setting up umbrellas how much they were...she asked how long we would be in Puerto Morelos...when we told her that we were leaving the next day, she said..oh, take it for free! I think that we were the first people under her umbrellas that morning and it probably helped her to rent more when people saw us relaxing in the shade, but how nice of her...we did leave a "pequeno propina" or small tip for her. A return to the artisania market was in order and then "un otro helado"....or another ice cream...it's very good, made by an Italian couple who also make their own cones!
We finally found a great map of the Yucatan in the bookstore here. It includes roads right down to Guatamala and it will be a great use when we manage some road trips...like on the way back to Chicxulub tomorrow. The water on this coast is as clear as gin with white sand beaches unlike the gulf coast which has greener waters. A day spent floating in a calm, clear sea was very relaxing...we even spied a large school of barracuda hovering in the water ...those evil grins!
On the way back across the peninsula from Quintana Roo back to the Yucatan, we drove via Tizimin and then along the coast from Santa Clara back to Chicxulub. We were looking for two realatively unknown cenotes, but only came across one and it had a locked gate, so our narrow, pot holed roads were for nought!
A few other images from along the way...there are only so many lovely images I can fit in....this week is already overloaded!