My recent (OK a little bit longer than recent) scribblings (yes, I know you don’t scribble when using an iPad but…) have not been that frequent and have led to intermittent postings. This may (more likely may not) have caused some consternation (might be a tad guilty of over egging the importance of my blog to you) amongst some of you. I mean what keeps me so busy that I cannot spend ten/fifteen minutes a day rattling out an edition? Normally not a great deal really. It’s not as if I have a lengthy list of things to do every day is it?
In all honesty though I do have a list for every day. It’s got one thing on it. WAKE UP. If I manage this then it’s worth making a list but I’m not going to waste time on something I might not need, if you know what I mean!
Rose and I though do occasionally compile joint lists. And the one that we pulled together a short while ago included ‘arrange trip to Merida’. And not long after it was on the list Rose added ‘SOON’. With that kind of statement (instruction) what else could I do? Arrange it, that’s right!
So last Wednesday I booked two return tickets (well we also intended to return to Ambergris Caye) from San Pedro to Mérida (via Philip Goldson International Airport) via withTropic Air on the Friday service (the service also operates on a Monday and Wednesday).
We could have made the journey in a number of ways – water taxi to Belize City and then bus, water taxi to Corozal and then bus, fly to Corazal and then bus, water taxi to Chetumal and then bus (there may be other ways but quite honestly I’m bored now and it’s not as if this is a travel blog!) – but decided to take advantage of the discounted price (there’s still time to book because the offer runs until 15 April) offered for the expansion of routes by Tropic Air on 3 March.
With the travel arrangements made I then set about finding a hotel and this -with the invaluable assistance of the Internet- didn’t take too long at all. It just remained to pack our bags and change up some BZ$ for US$ (very easily achieved with a couple of bars and restaurants – they do, after all, takes lots of US$ from tourists!) and we were set to go.
On Friday morning we caught the 09.00 hours flight because the 10.00 hours flight was just too tight for comfort) to Philip Goldson International Airport so that we could connect with the 11.15 hours (one hour and forty- five minute flight) service to Mérida.
Where we were headed. Mérida towards the top left hand corner.
With so much time on our hands it gave us the opportunity of taking a closer look at the changes made to the ‘International Airport since our last visit.
The new Jet’s Bar. More spacious. Better equipped. More food on offer. But, to me, it’s lost a lot of its character. It’s quirky ness.
Improved -cleaner lines – walkways and seating areas.
The new (well for us anyway) cafe.
The time flew by and then it was time for our flight
and for us to join the queue with the rest of the passengers (only one seat had not been sold) and then head out to our plane.
Once on board the pilot very quickly set the course
and we were heading down the runway
and in the air
and up in the clouds.
It what seemed like no time at all (OK, after one hour and forty-five minutes) after an uneventful flight (even for Rose who is absolutely petrified of flying – the bones of my left hand usually bear testimony to this) we were heading toward’s Mérida
and after a very smooth landing straight to Customs and Immigration
where I showed just how much I need to learn Spanish.
Our passports were checked and stamped without any trouble at all. Great. With the first step out of the way I hurried forward as we were approached by a guy who came up to us and spoke very quickly in Spanish. The only word that I grasped was sandwich and, not realising that he was a Customs’ official, I thought that he was offering us food (I’m obviously not the brightest lightbulb in the box) and quick as a flash (note the bulb connection!) I replied that I really couldn’t eat another thing! Rose by this time was virtually doubled up whilst trying to convince the Customs’ guy that we weren’t trying to bring in any food. A classic case of fools rush in. I just know that I will never live this one down.
Getting over ((if I’m honest I will never (be allowed) to forget it)) my embarrassment we exited the airport
and took a taxi ((for those that are interested in the ‘how much’ (and in a future edition I will give a cost breakdown for those of you that are interested (and for those of you are not for that matter) it was $MXN 200)) to our hotel which was a fifteen minute drive away.
The Gran Hotel, nicely located on Calle 60 which(not with luck but the result of my research!) placed us centrally in the historic centre (centro – see, I’m picking up Spanish already!).
Inside the hotel.
And our room:
After quickly unpacking we headed out to start our exploration of Mérida, the capital of the state of the Yucatan, affectionately nicknamed ‘The White City’ ((as an aside, and in case that it might be of interest to some of you, I tried to establish the origin of this nickname but there is no clear cut – definitive- answer. Some say that it is because many of the original buildings were built of limestone (white). Others because of the cleanliness of the City – it is swept twice a day)) but first we needed to eat (remember I had declined the sandwich!). But not before we had a Mexican beer (I do enjoy Beliken but it’s nice to have a change) and some guacamole and tortilla chips.
And then sopa de lima (look how my Spanish is coming along!) for me
followed by conchineta pibil for me
and a shrimp pasta for Rose.
In future editions I’ll try to give you a better insight as to what Mérida has to offer and how Rose and I spent our (five nights) there. Can’t wait can you!!!!
The headline for today’s edition is based on the Ricky Nelson version released in 1963 which reached number twelve in the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart.
Those of you that have been reading this blog for a while will probably remember that in a much earlier edition I mentioned that one of the properties near to where we live is the Hotel. This place partially operated (none of the rooms have ever had guests in them) when a bar, Molly Malone’s, was open for around six weeks between Mar-April 2012. Since then though it’s doors have remained closed.
Well – is this an EXCLUSIVE (it needs to be in capital letters) ? – the Hotel opens it doors for business tomorrow, Friday 4 April when the bar and restaurant has a grand opening (or is it re opening ?).