Monday, July 19, 2010

The Very Early Morning Airport DropOff

The nice thing about Continental is that is flies directly to and from Merida almost every day.

The evil thing about Continental is that the one and only morning departure leaves at 7:00 AM. Which means that you have to be at the airport at 5:00 AM or 5:30 AM at the latest. This means leaving your Merida house at 4:30 AM or so, depending on where you are, which means getting up at 4:00 AM.

Sometimes I get called to take people to the airport on this little trip, but mostly, people prefer to take a cab, simply because it´s cheaper. My service is about personal driving and there's not much in the way of a 'drive' on this airport trip so I can understand when people are shocked that I charge what I do.

I do, however, provide the best cup of fresh, industrial strength coffee on that short trip that you will have all morning.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Uxmal Day Trip - Hacienda Ochil outdoes itself today!

There's not much I can add to the Uxmal day trip, except that today, in addition to the stifling heat of a Yucatecan July morning, a visit to the colorful market of Uman and the great view from the hill behind Muna, I was able to secure a memorable moment for my California guests at the Hacienda Ochil, where we stopped for a bit of Yucatecan food on the way back to Merida.

Turns out that the tanque, that raised irrigation water holding tank that many haciendas turn into a swimming pool, was full and oh-so-inviting that the kids (and later the adults) had to swim in it. The fact that there were tadpoles for the kids to rescue made it even more inviting. The problem was that the tanque was on one side of the property, out of sight of the restaurant. So I asked the waiter if it would be possible to eat near the water, so we could keep an eye on the kids, expecting the usual taciturn 'no se puede' so common when one makes a request that is somewhat out of the ordinary. Well, to my pleasant surprise, the waiter, Roger, said he would be happy to set up the table next to the tanque, and he did. The setting was so attractive I had to take a photo and the feeling was like having the hacienda to ourselves for a little while.

Bravo Hacienda Ochil - you set the service bar a little higher today!

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Judge. Judy.

I just had to use this as a title for a post, for yesterday I was in charge of taking a judge (actually an oficial from the Registro Civil) to a wedding out in wet Telchac where my friend Judy was running a wedding.

I picked the judge up at his home in el centro; actually near his home at the Kukulkan stadium because I got completely lost in several colonias and never found Vergel II, which was where the judge lived. Once in the LawsonMobile, the sky turned an ugly black and the clouds opened up in one thunderous crash, dumping several tons of water on Merida. Driving the periferico took a great deal longer than anticipated and so it was a good thing I had picked up my judge earlier than scheduled for the hour-long trip to the beaches.

On our little journey, we chatted about everything from our favorite Yucatecan foods (mine - queso relleno, his - puchero) to what it is like to be a judge and some of the highlights of his experience in providing the official blessing at civil marriage ceremonies. He mentioned the case of the fainting groom and also the bride that slipped and fell as she walked across a grassy carpet outside towards the table where the ceremony was to be held. I told him he should be making notes for what would surely be a most interesting book.

In Telchac, I left him to perform his duties while I visited friends from Quebec who were staying nearby and who told me about their adventures in the rain.

On the way back I learned a few things about the life of an oficial in the Registro Civil. For example, they are on call 24/7, and not for weddings but in case of things like burials, deaths, and other family related life or death events. And that they are not paid by their employer, the state government, for their wedding protocol events a domicilio. One assumes that they receive a gratification ie tip for their being at someone's home to perform a wedding, but he did not confirm (or deny) this. In any case, they are expected by the government to perform these duties and do not receive any compensation or gas money even, as he pointed out.

His greatest satisfaction, he said, was the ability to help people, especially older folks, who are bewildered by the system (aren't we all) and are trying to sort out their status in the absence of formal records and/or documents from when they were born. A nice fellow, this judge.

All in all, a very interesting afternoon.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Rainy Day in Merida

All the way from sunny Fort Worth Texas, the happy family from the cruise ship decided to skip Uxmal and head instead into the city of Merida to have a look-see. The rain you see, was coming down in dribs and drabs and the thought of spending any quality time among the ruins under a precipitous cloudy sky was less than appealing to everyone, me included.

So we toured the main square, the state government palace, the cathedral, Montejo´s humble abode which is now a bank, a fact that made it more appealing to one member of the group (and no, he is not a bank robber); toured the sad little Picheta shopping center and then stopped for the quintessential Merida treat on a hot, humid day - a sherbet at Sorbeteria Colon.

After spending a little more time in the centro, it was off to lunch at La Tradicion where everyone enjoyed great Yucatecan food including Poc Chuc, Queso Relleno, Longaniza and of course, Cochinita Pibil. Habanero chiles were also eaten and hopefully my intrepid Texans did not suffer too much later on!

Back in Progreso at 1:30 PM, just in time to for them to watch the terrible Germany-Spain semi final World Cup soccer match on the boat.

Thank you and I hope the rest of your cruise was relaxing and devoid of too much adventure!