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MAYA ADVENTURE DAY 8: MERCADO LUCAS DEL GALVEZ

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I’ve always wanted to be one of those adventurous people

who traveled to a food market with exotic produce

wild game and things you have no idea what they are or can pronounce.

Of course there are many of these types of places in Mexico.

I had no intention of actually BUYING anything at this type of market—

just to photo the market life.

I found such a place in Merida called the Mercado Lucas del Galvez a market well over 100 years old.

Even though it is HUGE – like several blocks huge and 3 stories in some parts —  it was not easy to find.

Then again not much is easy to find in Mexico when you speak

Tex-Mex Spanglish and there are tons of pedestrians.

But with the help of my resourceful hubby, a random tow-truck driver and $5 we found it.

Selling everything from liver to shoes to papayas to god-knows-what that is!

Imagine my shock when I learned that one of the woman I admire most

had actually been there!

Martha –  you should’ve called me…(watch here)

We would’ve had a ball girlfriend!

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It was almost exactly what I imagined.

Women white dressers embroidered with flowers selling fresh herbs, spices,

radishes, dragon fruit, cilantro,

peppers of every variety, mangos, pineapples, fruits I had  no idea what they were,

limes…speaking of limes…they’ve gotten more and more expensive

locally but in Mexico they are literally growing on trees everywhere

so i don’t get what the big shortage is all about.

I actually picked a couple off a tree at Chichen Itza and made margaritas with them!

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radishes are very popular in Yucatan cuisine

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I could photo these women in their craft all day.

There’s just something beautiful to me about people in touch with mother earth.

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Gotta love my husband.

Even on vacation he’s never off duty.

This is his looking back at me – can you stop photographing for a second

and pay attention to your surroundings – look on his face.

Always on patrol when it comes to his family’s safety.

Then again I can’t blame him.

I was carrying many thousand dollars of equipment on me.

Thank God he’s not always around to see the

crazy stunts I get myself into:Dbless his heart!

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But it’s hard to stay focused with all the colorful natural goodness around.

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handle your business girlfriend!

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if you don’t know what this is (above) I am truly sorry

for you because you have missed out on quite a delicious delicacy.

Chicharones or fried pork skin– BUT NOT the kind you see

in the chips aisle. No this is the real deal and addictively good.

We didn’t have any but it looked pretty awesome.

There were many stands to buy meals from but we just aren’t THAT brave.

The unfortunate side effect of having a degree in Biology is

knowing about different microorganisms, bacteria, and parasites that

places like this are perfect breeding ground for.

Thank God my husband trusts my caution and is the same if not worse.

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Then there was this.

So i thought i was pretty adventurous living my photography dreams of

photographing exotic markets and all.

Of course this seemed completely normal to the local folk

standing in about an inch of bloody salmonella on the floor.

I just couldn’t imagine Martha here at this point but see the video — she was!

I was so grateful Maceo was wearing tennis shoes and not flip flops at this point.

That and i didn’t have any open cuts on my feet!

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This guy wanted his photo as he was very proud of his poultry.

Turkey is a widely used food all year in the Yucatan.

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We were happy to exit the grocer area after that.

We came upon a man named Manny who custom makes some very cute leather sandals.

We couldn’t help but giggle at his ingenuity of using old tires as soles.

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So comfortable that I had 2 pairs.

Although it took a little while- i was glad there were

animals nearby to keep Maceo entertained.

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He was smitten over this little dude.

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He charged $15 pair but we paid him more b/c the quality of his work

was very nice and underpriced.

He was thrilled and so was I!

MAYA ADVENTURE DAY 7: LIONS TIGERS & PAJAROS OH MY

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Parque Del Centenario where the Merida Zoo lives.

I just loved the entrance.

Bright and colorful, I loved the old day nostalgia of the iron gates

and architectural accents.

A very charming and smallish zoo with just enough animals, a sweet park,

refreshments, and a train, and some simple rides.

Pretty awesome that it opens at SIX am! Although,

we didn’t make it there till 10.

And you really can go at anytime and feel good about

it because it is free!

Yes I said F-R-E-E!

I read about the history and basically in early 1900′s

the city town folk decided that there should be a park for children in the center of town.

At first it was more of a bird sanctuary, but with time

more and more animals were added.

I just love that.

That people came together in the the name of the good of children.

The love of children.

A timeless value that binds all beings across every culture and time.

To put this above monetary practices is very telling of the type of community

that lives in Merida.

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Picture taking was starting to wear on these good sports

so excuse the cheesy smiles:)

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A long train took us on a tour of the park.

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I took very few photos on the train b/c it wasn’t traveling very slow LOL

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Snacks and refreshments everywhere except where the animals are kept.

You aren’t even allowed to take WATER in!

You have to leave all drinks on a shelf as you enter the caged areas.

I thought it was very quaint that people leave their drinks there and they

are undisturbed.

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I photo’d lots of animals but not everything.

Some were being fed or cleaned– the giraffes, gorillas, etc…

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Oh these baboons and their butts. I could without seeing that.

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and I think he could do without his foot! He was very agitated with a flea I guess?

hubby thought it was hilarious and told me to “shoot shoot”

yuk yuk no thanks

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Maceo’s favorite – Señor Toucan – who seemed to

really take to Maceo too. Or maybe it was jut b/c he had a

Mexican soccer shirt?

Mexico takes it’s FUTBOL VERY serious!

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Felt very sorry for this guy. He seemed to be very anxious pacing up and down.

His cage was not adequately large enough in my opinion.

He ignored everyone except my husband.

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Came within a few millimeters of getting sprayed by this lovely

tigress! She lifted her tail and SQUIRT!

Drove the tiger next door crazy. silly girl playing hard to get.

THANK GOD i was paying attention and jumped back for dear life.

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Lots of rides for kids. Unfortunately, we were visiting in mid-June

and school is not out till July. I’m guessing this is why the rides were closed.

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My poor gigantasaurus is losing his childhood way too early

because he’s such a big kid. His body may not say 9 years old but

his brain says SLIDE ON!

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Nice and quiet, lovely adventure at the Merida Zoo.

Definitely worth a visit!

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MAYA ADVENTURE DAY 7: LET’S BE TOURISTS

Driving to our “touristy” venues on the list I couldn’t help but be entranced.

If you know me- you know my love for all things vintage, retro, rusty,

weathered, crazy, real.

Everywhere you look…literally every block

pretty much has

 buildings with unique architecture, colors, ironworks, doors and so much

eye candy I could barely breathe.

What others would probably classify as dilapidated structures

I could only drool over.

So many shoot ideas and yet no photo shoots to do

boooooo hoooo hoooo!

 Gonna go back one day and take a busload of folks with me.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get very much more than this

which I find RIDICULOUS considering like every block had SOMETHING to photograph and it was

a LARGE city. But it was chaotic – what with the kamikaze drivers,

selective GPS,  road bumps, families on motorcycles, being lost, etc…

that and old rusty buildings are just not as interesting to CERTAIN people

as they are to me. ahemmmmm

PRIORITIES PEOPLE, PRIORITIES!

 The first stop on our “be a tourist” tour was the

Monumento a la Bandera or the Flag Monument

which unfortunately did not have the flag up!

Really a shame b/c it really sets nicely against the sky and the beautiful

hand sculpted monument.

The sculpture show the history of Merida from Maya to Spanish conquest.

The only McDonald’s in the region is across the street from the monument.

After a week of culinary adventures Maceo was ready for a taste of home

which ironically we don’t eat McD’s at home.

VERY clean!

he was pretty happy.

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 Along the route Paseo Montejo

you’ll find absolutely gorgeous visions of architectural splendor that

might preclude you to think you are in Europe.

Which would make sense considering they were

modeled after the tree-lined boulevard of  Paris’s Champs Elysees.

The contrast of the poor pueblo to the elegant mansions in Merida

is pretty confusing to a visitor with no knowledge of the history.

In the early 1900′s, henequen plantations producing sisal were a hot commodity.

This along with the conquering of the Maya people used as cheap labor

gave way to a very elite society in Merida.

In fact, Merida once held the title of having the most millionaires per capita

in the world.

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Many of the mansions have been transformed into museums or other public venues.

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Museo de Antropologia

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Every day it seems we made our way back to the Plaza Grande

where there are daily shows, shopping, museums, heck just the people watching is good.

Bordering the square is Casa de Montejo.

A stunning depiction of colonial architecture with stunning European vibe.

The home was owned and even lived in by the Montejo family for almost

FIVE HUNDRED YEARS!

And you thought your family was tight.

Montejo was the Spanish conqueror who landed in the Yucatan and

overcame the Maya  in the 1500′s – shortly after Columbus – in Spain’s name.

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The street scene…just love.

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My funny comedian who just shocks me with

a random show of extroversion now and then

decided to dance alongside of a pharmacy mascot.

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Onto more touristy stuff…

The Governor’s Palace  or Palacio de Gobierno.

Yucatan is a state of Mexico –

this would be equivalent to visiting the capitol building in Austin, Texas.

It houses the governor and guarded because it is a functioning, municipal building.

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The large murals done by Mexican artist Fernando Castro Pacheco in the 1970′s

were striking and poingnant.

The subject of all 31 paintings demonstrate the historical relationship

between the Maya and Spaniards as the region was conquered.

Visions of slavery, murder, bloody strife.

I found it remarkable that even though we didn’t have a tour guide-

the paintings made such a great impact on Maceo’s understanding of

what transpired without being gory.

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Later we ate across the street from the Hyatt at Chile’s!

I’ve never been so happy to see a Chile’s.  And like McDonald’s

I’m not usually a fan but I was pretty happy to see some pasta.

Which i might add was sooooo sooooo good.

To add to our lovely evening — it just happened to be

soccer world cup time and Mexico was playing!

An incredibly fun time watching Mexicans root for their team

full of pride.

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Maceo’s like….what tha…..

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a kiss caught by my favorite side-kick photog Maceo.

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We had a super fabulous trip to the zoo but I have to give that it’s own post

b/c there are many photos….

Next on our Mexican bucket list was a carriage tour.

We saved some apples from breakfast for our intended pony.

Meet “Muneco” or boy version of “little doll”.

We were shocked to hear that Muneco had never had an apple!

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Mace was thrilled that he got to give him his first apple

which Muneco decided he loved after a little coaxing.

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Silly faces just because…

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My romantic husband had the carriage driver

stop at the Plaza Grande for a sweet serenade <3

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So funny– we kept looking for this darn

restaurant but couldn’t find it again.

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If you go to Merida in the winter – November through January-

you can see an actual bull fight!

Mixed feelings on this.

It would be amazing to see but then again I don’t know if I could handle it.

So i’m just gonna say I’m glad it was the summer and I had no choice!

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The tour was an hour long and our guide was

very sweet. He took us to many little neighborhoods and

was happy to let us even get down whenever there was

something interesting to see.

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A ridiculously but productive day of playing tourists.

MAYA ADVENTURE DAY 7: NO PLACE LIKE HYATT

So after almost a week of roughing it

we were entirely too ready for civilization,

automobiles, air conditioning, concierge services,

and fresh towels and sheets!

As much as we did love getting to see a side of Mexico that

most people don’t, we didn’t want to leave without

seeing the major landmarks.

The Hyatt in Merida is fantastic.

I thought I’d take a minute to say how much we really liked staying here.

I believe that good service should be shared and spread just as much as bad service- only fair.

I have to say, I read some negative reviews after I returned from our trip

and I couldn’t disagree more with them.

We are VERY picky people. Like impossible picky people sometimes.

I think we’re actually reasonable but the quality of service and products have

declined so much in recent years…but i’m not going to get into that.

Truly, I have absolutely nothing to gain by giving them the thumbs up

but it was well-deserved. Nothing less than a perfect experience.

The lobby has a contemporary decorum and is striking.

The staff was amazing.

From the servers at the restaurant

to the desk help to the bellboys…they were all so helpful and gracious.

America could learn a thing or two from these people.

Everyone spoke English and Spanish

and not only did their jobs but made a point to chat which I found very genuine.

You really can’t go wrong with the Hyatt if you need a place to stay in the city.

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The rooms were clean, smelled fresh, the linens the same.

Bed perfect comfort after a day of adventures in the city.

The Lobby into the breakfast restaurant.

So usually I wouldn’t take the time to photo a restaurant

in a hotel. But this was  not just any restaurant in a hotel.

Please excuse the platters that are picked over as I didn’t photo till

9ish and there was a large group of some type of sports association staying at the hotel.

But really every day the breakfast was fresh, fast, something for everyone.

Fruit bar

Pumpkin seeds a very regular part of the Maya diet.

Toppings for the Yogurt bar…also known as yogurt heaven

Warm Pastries. The cream puffs on the right were heavenly.

Lots of sweet breads and pastries.

Variety of freshly squeezed juices. My crazy son had the green one– Chaya Orange juice.

Chaya is a type of spinach and popular in the Yucatan.

Hot breakfast dishes ready for serving such as sausages, bacon, hashrowns…

I didn’t photo the other areas which included made to order omelette station,

waffle/crepe/pancake  station, tacos, everything you can possibly think of.

Make your life easy and stay here.

You’ll be happy!

MAYA ADVENTURE DAY 6: GOODBYE TELCHAC HELLO HYATT

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Day 6 brought with it a beautiful day to end our stay in Telchac Puerto.

From the beginning, we made an itinerary of sorts

to help us narrow down the places and sites we wanted to see.

One of the days would be devoted to making use  of the bbq grill/pit by the pool

per Maceo’s request and officially named

“Pizana Family Maya BBQ “.

We had already purchased steaks from the Bodega a few days earlier but

we wanted a bit of fresh local flavor too.

So we woke up early and the awesome town police drove

us to a dock a couple miles down

where the fisherman come early in the morning with their fresh catches.

Can’t get much fresher than literally — off the boat.

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 I have no idea what kind of fish it was but we bought enough for us

and a bit extra to send to the town police as they had been

very kind and helpful from the beginning.

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The fisherman offered to skin & debone the fish right there.

My anxiety level was pretty high seeing his rudimentary approach

using a big  sharp knife that he didn’t bother to clean before

 he went to work. But I could see he was a professional as

he sliced and peeled all within a solid 15 seconds.

That and I was going to cook the fish very thoroughly:)

But we were trying to live a little more carefree

and a little less hand-sanitzer obsessed lol.

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Oh the photoshoots I daydreamed about at this marina!

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We returned and I soaked our veggies from the Bodega

in water and food disinfectant.

I made a lovely salsa for huevos rancheros

which my husband adored.

Although he begged me not to cook, I couldn’t help

being inspired by the culture.  That and I love to cook.

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No recipe here…

Just chope some tomatoes, a little onions, and a pepper.

Then add the pepper to your level of heat desired.

Easy as that.

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Spent the day with more playing and walking on the beach and packing up to go to Merida.

More homemade delish salsa and fresh guac.

 I made the best margaritas we’ve ever had as we both agreed.

Maceo was thrilled to have a virgin version.

Something about being on a beach in Mexico can have that effect on you I guess.

Oh and I swiped a couple of limes from a lime tree at Chichen ITza!

So these were our Chichen Itza margaritas- maybe made them magical I think.

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Weather was great the whole week.

Highs of 82 and breezy warm winds with no humidity.

I dare say I was even a little chilly in the pool at night!

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On the menu was grilled fish, steaks, and potato salad.

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After we made our bellies happy

we strolled down the sandy street to the pier

where there was some sort of concert taking place.

I don’t know what the celebration was but we were happy for the free entertainment.

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Hubby got to talk cop talk with his buddy and other local police.

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there was some wild saturday night fever dancing.

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sweet little girls giggling and dancing

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We were told this was man was the mayor of the city.

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The band was pretty good!

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Remember that time in Mexico when  your dad told you

cut in and ask a random stranger if you could dance salsa with his wife?

Even when you didn’t KNOW how to dance salsa?

Oh my.

The stories my son will tell the therapist when he’s all grown up.

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The whole village got in on the fun.

BBQing at a little convenient store next to the pier.

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Meanwhile a block down

the town’s older boys are playing a basketball tournament

against another local town’s boys.

Seemed very organized with uniforms, laptop scoreboard, and referees.

Many people sat on the sidelines watching and cheering.

What a great way to get the community together for fun.

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Mexican s’mores with Mexican chocolate and Mexican marshmallows

which Maceo thought was very cool.

also made cool with MORE swimming under the stars.

A perfect ending to our

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The perfectly, sweet ending to the beach and village portion of our Maya adventure.

C O N T A C T