It was fun to visit Mérida again, four years after our first visit in 2011.
Geoff loves seeing the old buildings, especially the once grand structures now in disrepair.
We stocked up on supplies at the giant supermarket Tienda Chedraui, out in the suburbs. Bakery departments are always fun to explore. Shoppers grab a metal tray and tongs, load up on goodies, and present their chosen treats to the bakery counter for individual pricing and wrapping. We spotted flan, sandwichon (a giant multi-layer savory cake made out of sandwiches smothered in sauce), and even some Splenda-sweenened desserts.
Hotel Maria Jose
We stayed at the Hotel Maria Jose, just a few blocks north of the Mérida central square. It was perfect! Then a busload of 13-year-old athletes arrived in town for a weekend sports event, and the atrium echoed with a throng of young enthusiastic voices for the next 48 hours!
We again visited the city zoo, where we rode the mini train, played in the
playground, ate snacks, bought a monkey toy, and even toured the animals (a bit
sad in their small cages). Geoff spied some people eating a food not listed on the
menu. After asking someone what it was, Geoff ordered it by name — brazo de
reiña. This turned out to be a vegetarian dish (a tamale of egg and seeds
wrapped in corn masa) special for Lent. Yummy!
We had a yummy Oaxacan dinner at the Apoala Restaurant, where we watched local students practicing their dance routines on the Parque de Santa Lucia stage. A sign in the bathroom indicated that we should "wash our hands" and "say no to drugs".
Boy did we eat a lot of paletas! So many flavors to try. Lyra's favorite was lime; her least favorite was bubblegum.
We traveled a few blocks north (splurging on a horse-drawn carriage ride instead of the usual bus) to the Slow Food market, where vendors sold various organic and craft foods. Geoff picked up some delicious cheeses.
Lyra found an art class there for children, so she stayed entertained while her parents shopped.
El Gran Museo del Mundo Maya
A burger snack for Lyra at Carl's Jr. (She doesn't like buns.)
We went up to Paseo Montejo, which is closed off Saturday nights for music and food & craft vendors. Lyra ate a creamy elote corn cob, and Geoff had his cheese, nutella, and blackberry jam marquesita!
Every Sunday, they block off several miles of main city street for bicycles
Las Américas Thousands of people turn up, renting bikes from enterprising
vendors if they didn't have one — including some family specials made of
multiple bikes bolted together. The huge Telcel company gave out
heavily-branded free bicycles for loan, and Coca-Cola promoted their product's
healthfulness with a "move your body" campaign with loud dance music and swings
for children. Lyra found another painting tent for kids.
Our last Mérida meal was at El Cangrejito, a little family-run seafood taco restaurant. They served many types of delicious limey seafood ceviche, which they heaped onto tiny tortillas.