Day 3 - 2/20/2009:
After another enjoyable breakfast with Kiko, who has now learned that I'm a sucker for a cute dog face, we decide to check out the Museum of Anthropology. In case you have never been to Merida, the museum is located on Paseo de Montego where there are many mansions that were once occupied by descendants of the Spanish conquistidors. Anyway, as an architecture buff, I have to remember to keep my eyes on where I'm going and stop staring at the beautiful buildings. (Actually there are houses of all sizes in Merida that would frequently stop me in my tracks. Note, don't follow too closely behind me on crowded sidewalks.)
The museum in housed in a beautiful mansion.
Inside, I am struck by the juxtaposition of the Mayan ruins against the ornate architecture. Many of the displays are in both Spanish and English, and I found the museum to be wonderful at both explaining what the items represented but also how they were used. The differences between the Toltecs and Puuc cultures was also explained very well. I would highly recommend the museum if you are interested in Mayan Culture.
We spend the afternoon wandering around Merida and do some shopping. Glenda buys a hammock for her new place, and a pullover for her son, and I buy a Talavera plate for my mom. While walking along Calle 59 we pass the most amazing bakery. We decide to peek our heads in and we decide that since we are on vacation, we are going to cheat and have pastries for lunch. This turns out to be a good call as they were sooooo good. Plus, I couldn't always tell 100% what we were buying as the labels weren't very clear so it turned out to be an adventure.
We head back to the hotel to clean up a bit and rest before the big Carnaval parade at 8 pm.
About 7 we head towards Paseo de Montejo to find seats (hopefully) for the parade. It is absolutely packed. I've never seen this kind of turnout for a parade back home. The bleacher seats are all taken, so we sneak across to the other side of the street and find a food stand where they are selling seats for 30 pesos. We decide to buy the seats. We sit down and I immediately notice the mix of people around us- young, old, families, couples. There is an adorable family with 3 young kids sitting right next to us. The 2 little girls are proudly showing their mom how many shirts they have on. 1 had 2 shirts, a sweater and a jean jacket and the other had 3 shirts and a sweater. Glenda and I are amused by this as we are both in short sleeves. It was maybe 65 degrees, or about 50 degrees warmer than it was at home.
The parade gets off to a slow start, as the Corona float comes by but it's about 10 minutes after that before we see another float. The parade was an absolute highlight of the trip. Lots of music, everyone was dancing including the little kids, and the parade included everyone from groups of schoolkids to beer company floats to senior citizens all dolled up in fancy costumes.
We walk back to the hotel to drop our stuff as we realize we forgot to eat dinner. As we head out again, we run into the Canadian couple again who tell us with much enthusiasm about their evening in a local bar before the parade where they traded shots of tequila with the locals. They want us to meet up with them later at a Jazz club. We head off to dinner. Dinner was unremarkable this time, but the pina colada I had was good. It's about 11:30 when we head back to the hotel, sad that this is our last night in Merida.