Sunday, January 29, 2012

Happy Guest Comments!

"Jorge was the consummate professional, very patient and accommodating as well as answering a thousand questions"

- Diane, Saskatchewan - 

Day trip with driver Jorge to Uxmal and sights along the way

Hacienda Exploration Day Trip (Part 1)

The so-called glory of the past comes alive in the over 1000 haciendas of the Yucatan, of which there are are several hundred still visitable today. Many of these are ruins, abandoned to the ravages of time as a result of "socialist" land reform back in the 1930's which took land from the wealthy land owners and redistributed it to the Mayans that were there originally and actually did the work, are visitable in comfortable day trips from the city of Merida.

Ranging from over-the-top beautiful luxury accommodations and hotels to bare minimum shells in the process of being restored, all the haciendas have something to tell us about Yucatan's history and whether you are an architecture buff, history fanatic or simply want to spend a day in the countryside, visiting haciendas is a great way to spend a day.

In this first set of photos of the haciendas visited in one recent outing, we see images from the hacienda San Antonio Tepich, also known as the "rabbit hacienda" because they have rabbit on the menu. The property is divided in two sections: the abandoned machine room and the main house or casa principal which has been restored and where the restaurant is located. At the time of this visit, there is construction work going on and it appears that bedrooms are being added for folks to spend the night.

The second set of photos is from an ambitious restoration undertaken on the property known as hacienda Kankirixché, which for the moment consists of a main building, several smaller buildings in the underbrush still to be restored and what will be ecological trails through the underbrush.

Flagstones to the Machine Room, Tepich

Modern Art aka Grafitti, Tepich

Machine room, Tepich

Square (unusual) chimney, Tepich

Original stones in the entryway, Kankirixche

The main building, Kankirixche

Hurricane damage, Kankirixche

A stone crushing machine from the turn of the century, Kankirxche

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Happy Guest Comments

"Thank you ,you guys were the highlight of our trip" 

- Doyle - Arkansas Razorback fan 

Took the Merida Whirlwind Tour from the cruiseship with 
some of his own modifications to include more shopping
and leave out the Mayan ruins

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Abalá Church - Abalá, Yucatán

In the little town of Bethle... no wait that's not what I wanted to write. In the little town of Abalá, which is in the Puuc area and the town that precedes a fantastic cenote called Kankirixche, there is a freshly painted church which, in the afternoon light and against a blue sky, screamed TAKE A PICTURE OF ME. And so I took several. I couldn't resist.

Abalá is on the road to Uxmal, sort of. It is a little off the highway and can be visited in about 15 minute or so.

And if anyone knows how to get to the cenote Kankirixche, please let me know. I went offroading there with friend and we did find a cenote, but it doesn't look like the one I have seen in the photos online.

In any case, here are the photos from the Abalá church:

Monday, January 16, 2012

Pedro's Gourd Art - Muna, Yucatan

In the tiny town of Muna, on the hilltop you must cross over to get to Uxmal, there sits a tiny artisans shop run by Pedro, who makes the most spectacular little gourds, perfect for decorating your home or for gifts to bring home.

The gourds are hollowed out, dried and then carved, polished and waxed to become beautiful objets d'art you will be proud to own. Please note that I receive no commissions from any shop or restaurant recommended on this site; any mention is made only in the interest of promoting the shop, restaurant or artist and only those deemed worthy of any attention receive write-ups.

Here are some photos of his latest creations;

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Happy Guest Comments

"Your driver was great and the suggestion for visit and lunch, perfect

We will pass on your name to our friends visiting Merida

Hope to talk to you again

Thank you"

- Guy from Quebec -

He and friends took driver Jorge out to the Puuc route with the usual fun stops along the way

Monday, January 9, 2012

Mani - More Than Just a Convent or a hunk of Delicious Poc Chuc

There are two main reasons to visit Mani: to eat Poc Chuc at the reknowned Principe Tutul Xiu restaurant or to visit the monastery/convent/church as part of your hurried pilgrimage along the so-called Convent Route. I say hurried and so-called because the main attraction of the Convent Route, the churches, are closed after morning mass and not reopened until late afternoon for the evenings entertainment. Which means that if you are trying to visit all the churches along this heavily promoted route, you will inevitably be disappointed as you will encounter more than one of your intended destinations closed up tight.

But I digress.

A visit to Mani is full of photo opportunities, from the inside of a corner store where an old man with a people skills challenge and wearing heavy eye mascara will find you whatever you need from behind the giant wooden counter to the dog atop a wall superimposed on the church where Friar Diego de Landa committed his atrocities in the name of the Catholic faith. There are also colorful door fronts on the stores and somber paintings over the convent doors. Random Mayan stones forming part of a buildings wall tell the story without saying a word, of how a Mayan temple - once home to kings, high priests and governors - was desecrated and its stones used to build something as mundane as a house for common folk.

Bring your camera to Mani and in the perfect warm light of a Yucatecan winter afternoon, revel in the history and colors around you.