A Travellerspoint blog

Meridan Meanders

sunny 32 °C

Merida was a large Mayan city when the Spanish arrived in 1542 and used the ceremonial pyramids as the foundation for the first Christian cathedral in the New World. Here’s the façade which faces onto the main square…
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And here’s the view across the square to the cultural centre…
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At its core the city of Merida is as Mexican as it comes. A wealth of colonial buildings surround the central plaza, and the adjacent streets are lined with Mexican restaurants and small stores selling traditional local products and thousands of dodgy videos – all latest releases are just $2 each…
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Sunday is market day, when the square bustles with women in traditional Mayan dress, music blares from every corner and stallholders try to catch the eye of locals and tourists alike. Prices and provenance vary – even the most traditionally decorated Mayan artifact may be discretely stamped, “Made in China.”
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There is a vibrancy in the air as happy families wander the pedestrianised zones or cycle along roads which are barred to traffic every Sunday. But the traffic in Merida isn’t at all unruly – most motorists willingly stop at pedestrian crossings and few take chances with amber lights. Almost all roads are one-way streets and there are police officers controlling most busy junctions. Horse-drawn carts have no problem navigating the historic centre…
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Away from the centre many of the buildings on the wide tree-lined boulevards are as modern as any in North America or Europe. Costco, Sears, WalMart and other big named retail brands have set up shop here along with all the usual American fast-food suspects. The short, stocky Mayans seem to have a natural propensity for obesity so the last thing they really need is encouragement from the fat cats of Burger King and McDonalds. We avoid the multi-nationals and try to support local businesses - where prices are about half of Canadian prices for most things - so we were surprised when we took a quick peek into Costco and discovered that they charge exactly the same as they do in Canada. The store is almost identical in design and layout to our Costco at home and for a few moments we thought we had been dreaming and had woken up in our local store. Then we stepped outside into the 30 degree heat and came back to earth.
Merida, with a population of one million, is the capital city of the Yucatan, and we will be returning in a few days to participate in one of its major attractions – the Festival of Mardi Gras and the Mayan New Year.
Hasta Luego

Posted by Hawkson 09:34 Archived in Mexico

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Comments

Can you find any charms that will protect you against the Mayan Prophecy. It is 2012 after all.

by Janet

Love that blue sky! Interesting contrast between the white carriage in the forground and the white police car in the back. I know which one I would rather ride in.

by Tom

i fancy a ride in the horsedrawn carriage looks nice how much for a ride I wonder the street looks empty.

by David Henderson

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