Mexico: Merida

Museo Regional de Antropologia at Merida

Museo Regional de Antropologia, Merida

Palacio Gobierno, Merida After subjecting us to a year of country arrest, the immigration Gods finally took pity on us and released us from our bondage. We gladly accepted the new freedom and travelled overseas for the first time in more than a year - well, all we did was cross the gulf of Mexico, which still qualifies as "overseas" as far as I am concerned! This time the menu contained the tri-states that constitute the Mexican Yucatan peninsula - Yucatan, Campeche and Quintana Roo. After some last minute perusal of the guide books, Palanque in the neighbouring Chiapas was also squeezed in - all in the span of 10 days.

We went there during my wife's spring break - fag end of March 2005. The weather was hot, humid and muggy - exact same one that I grew up hating during in my early years in Chennai, India. Thankfully, everything other than the weather co-operated, making the trip a memorable one. Most significant among the "others" was the help extended to us by the locals in almost every 'pueblo' we crossed. The street roads that take you in and out of these villages are all part Murals, Palacio Gobierno, Merida Convent, Izamal of tribal knowledge and local folklore. Without the inhabitants tireless efforts, we would still be lost in Uman trying to find the right turn that would put us on the road to Uxmal!

We flew in and out of Merida, the capital of Yucatan, and hence, spent our first day in the new world there. Most of the morning was spent in checking off the city attractions from our to-see list. The ones that stood out were the Museo Regional de Antropologia (anthropology museum) and the Palacio del Gobierno (government palace). The former gave us a wonderful introduction to Mayan history and the latter gave us the taste of 20th century Mexican murals. At the palace, Fernando Castro Pacheco has tried to mimic Diego Rivera's masterpieces in Mexico City - by painting a series of stunning murals about Yucatan history. Pacheco takes over from where the museum stops its story telling.

In the afternoon we took a bus to Izamal, known for its brightly coloured 15th century convent. For me, photographing the resplendent building during the afternoon light was only half the motivation. Other half was the desire to take my first lessons in the art of driving and navigating in Mexico. From whatever little I could make out from the comfort of an air-conditioned bus, it did not look too intimidating.


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