Saturday, June 28, 2008

Travelogue, part 1

So a week ago Wednesday, we hung out with the kids in the morning (and finished packing), had their favorite lunch (Steak and Shake, on the barstools), then dropped them off at a friends' house. They've spent a lot of time there, so they pretty much said "bye, Mom" and were off playing.

We made it to the airport just on time and checked a couple of bags (a rare thing for us). Luckily we were flying on Continental, who is not charging for checked baggage. They also still serve food--we usually fly NW, who only serves beverages without charge.

We arrived in Merida around 10 pm, then waited in a huge line for Immigration. We were behind an American who has a vacation home there, so she gave us suggestions of what to do in Merida. Behind us was a group of teenagers on a mission trip. An hour later, we pushed the button to see if we'd be inspected at customs (nope), and went to find Roberto, the driver who was picking us up.

Roberto was easy to pick out--he was taller than most Mexicans...and he only has one arm :) He quickly recognized us and we were off to Casa Santiago. We chatted with Frank for a while, and discovered that his son went to the rival college! Small world...(it'll get smaller in a subsequent episode...)

Our room was nice, but it was a little disconcerting--totally unplugged! No TV, no internet, no radio, not even an alarm clock! Luckily (?) the birds were wide awake at 5:30, so there was no chance of oversleeping.

Friday morning we got up, enjoyed our continental breakfast, then set off to explore Merida. Dante, one of the assistants at the B&B, tried to help us get a SIM card for Patrick's phone--but even though we had it "unlocked" before we left, it didn't work. So limited phone time with the kids, since without a Mexican card, we were roaming at $0.99/min plus fees...

First we checked out our neighborhood, including changing money, Santiago Park and some local shopping. Patrick bought a lightweight shirt called a "Guayabera", and I got a female version. We also got Panama hats after several stores, were very much well used. We checked out the Macay, a modern art museum,
as well as the Anthropological museum. By then it was raining (well, pouring), so after changing more money (did I mention it's a cash society? Credit card acceptance was rare.) and catching some of a Lord of the Rings movie(the line was very slow at the bank), we took a taxi back to our hotel (we were about two miles away by now).

For dinner, we hit Casa de Frida, and discovered a favorite--chilis en nogada. Basically it's a poblano (not spicy) pepper stuffed with meat, rice, and fruits with a pecan sauce. The duck in mole sauce was great too.

By then we were past tired (as I am now),

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