Our Home Base in Merida

image of Merida

After a short stay in Izamal, we arrived in the Yucatan capital of Merida. It’s just as described — an energetic and busy city. We easily found a cute hotel that had an adorable air-conditioned room (which we really didn’t need because it was in the 70s most of the week) for 500 pesos a night, Hotel Trinidad.

Trinidad had a resident staff and a lot of sweet ladies. One of them, Isabel, would give me a plate of toast and I would say “No, gracias” (I’m still attempting to not eat gluten with so-so results). She would push it back to me and say “Su esposo!” (For your spouse). Very kind.

The resident cat we all called Possum because there was a sign warning guests not to bother the possum. Since we never saw an actual possum, I assumed that was the cat’s name.

Outside our room at night dozens of bats would be feasting down on bugs and mosquitos. The hotel had a courtyard with hammocks and trees growing some very strange fruit I’d never seen before.

We made our home base in Merida and then took day trips to Uxmal and Ruta Puuk and other sites. Our favorite places to eat in Merida were Cafe Pop, which had delicious cappuccinos, and Chaya Maya, where ladies would sit and make fresh tortillas on a little flame stove and the waiters rush them over in a gourd. Chad, Megan, Eric, Tim and I had dinner twice at Chaya Maya and with everyone getting massive amounts of slow-cooked pork, turkey in three different sauces, beans, and cervezas the bill would come to around 500 pesos (at today’s exchange about 40 bucks).

We did have a really delightful meal at Panchos, which I read was an expat favorite in Merida. We had to wait out a very heavy rainstorm, and so sat tight and sipped the local anise liquor Xtabentun. The bill there was around 2,000 pesos.

I was constantly impressed at how local places with ONE cook could easily serve the tables of 15 people that were streaming in. Of course no one gets their food at the same time — you get it when it’s ready and dig in. I was told in Paris that that’s the real way to serve food (without heat lamps) and so I was happy to start the eating if I was the only one with food.

– Rachel