Merida Day 1
We had a 6:50am meeting time and the rain was thankfully holding off as the taxis came to take us to Palenque town for an 8am bus to Merida. The atmosphere was still a bit frosty from the previous evening but after the 8 hour bus ride to Merida things were seemingly back to normal.
The bus was due to stop in 3 other towns for pick ups but we were also forced to pull over on the roadside a few times as uniformed men kept boarding the bus. One time we all had to get off as a selection of bags from the hold were selected to be searched including both of ours! The search would hardly strike fear into a drug smuggler unless the mans nose was as finely tuned as a sniffer hound. After a cursory scratch around the edges of the bags we were free to go on our way. With the exception of being woken up to witness the aftermath of a fatal car crash, complete with bodies on the roadside, the rest of the journey passed fairly quickly and we got to the quirky Hotel Trinidad Galeria around 5pm.
The temperature was quite cool although the clouds had once again completely disappeared from the sky. After a free beer and a quick exploration of the weird hotel we had a quick wander around the town. On first impressions there doesn't seem a lot to do and it lacks the charm of all the other places we have seen. We contemplated either heading to Progreso, a beach town, or to Celestun, an wetland area full of flamingos, tomorrow but chances are we might just lie in and then wander around Merida.
The whole group went to this tiny pizza place for food in the evening and I overdosed on the chilli sauce. We headed to the Galaria's sister hotel where we could watch films on a big TV or play pool. We opted for the pool with Mattius and Sonya whilst others watched American Gangster.
Merida Day 2
We had a bit of a lie in until 9ish and following a free breakfast of toast in the hotel I went for a walk around the city (which in all honestly is a dull little town with very little to see or do). I bumped into Tres and we checked out a local market before heading back to the hotel. Simone and I went for a Subway but we were a bit disappointed as they had everything a normal Subway has except for the chilli sauce I love! This is a country that hands over sachets of jalepeno chilli sauce in McDonalds and includes them with packaged ham and cheese sandwiches so it was an odd omission from the Subway sauce arsenal! Be warned Subway fans!!
After the food we then spent a weeks budget on a skeleton mask of Frida. Frida is that mono-browed, moustached women that Salma Hayek played in the apptly named film "Frida". She is very popular over here - I think she was an artist but my knowledge of mono-browed and moustached Hispanic women stop with some of Andy May's former conquests! The mask itself is cool but then I love all the day of the dead stuff that they have over here. It would have been cheaper buying something earlier in the trip because we are in the Yucatan so everything is more expensive as we are nearing full on yank tourist territory! That wiped us out so I had to pay yet another visit to an ATM. This trip has been surprisingly expensive!
Back at the hotel I had a swim in the pool which despite not being able to see the bottom because of the grime was still very refreshing. In the evening the whole group went out to a local restaurant and I had Sopa de Lima which even those that didn't pay attention in Spanish class could fathom is lime soup. It is a Yucatan specialty that contains nachos and chicken and is quite nice!