Merida was a hot, beautiful town. Filled with beautiful Spanish architecture, Merida felt both like a tourist heavy main attraction and a unique and special city. Sadly, we didn’t spend too much time wandering the streets – the blazing sun took a toll on us after a particularly long overnight bus ride, so the first day was spent relaxing in the hostel. (Wish I had taken photos of it – very aptly named Art Apart Hostel, it was covered head to toe in knick knacks and curios, plants and furnishings).
On the second day we made our way to Chichen Itza. One of the 7 wonders of the world (or is it? We tried to google and clearly the lists aren’t actually definitive), I wondered more at the sheer numbers of tourists that popped out of the woodwork to arrive at Chichen Itza initially more than the ancient town. When we left in the late afternoon and the tourists had left in droves, it was beautiful to see the buildings that are so cleverly constructed and so well preserved — El Castillo, for example – the main temple which you see photographed – is perfectly designed to showcase a Mayan calendar. The stairs, levels and panels all separately add up to parts of a calendar – months, days of the year and the 52 years of the Mayan calendar round.
I viewed Chichen Itza with some familiarity; it is so interesting how so many of these ancient civilisations share so many similarities, that walking these sites makes you feel like you’ve been there before. I particularly found this regarding the ball courts at Chichen Itza, which reminded me of the games of the Romans that we learnt about in Classics. I suppose that civilisations always share common human traits, no matter the distance between them.
The next morning in Merida we strolled the city before catching an early bus to Cancun – the first place in Mexico that I haven’t really liked. I think it’s probably because all that I knew of it before I came has clouded my judgement, but it’s just the neon-lit, frat infested city that I was expecting. Had a delicious taco here, though.