Monday, April 30, 2012



During our little vacay to Merida, we also traveled to Uxmal, which is about 30 miles south of the city.  If you haven't figured out by now, I'm slightly obsessed with the Maya culture, architecture, and history.  My family traveled to Guatemala when I was 19, and visited Tikal.  Since then, I have been amazed every time I see Mayan ruins.  It is unfathomable to me how the Maya constructed these buildings without our modern day technology.

La Gran PirĂ¡mide (The Grand Pyramid)


Nunnery Quadrangle is a nickname given by the Spanish.  It was the Government Place.  It covers more than 1,200 square meters.

Parts of this building were decorated in elaborate artwork.  Some depicts the two headed serpent and others depict the Rain God, Chaac.

Magician Pyramid (El Adivino)

 El Adivino was built with 5 levels and is one of the most picturesque building of Uxmal.

I had a wonderful time learning about the history of Uxmal and their struggle with survival.  Our wonderful tour guide, Dan- my brother- navigated us through the ancient history.  (I think I did more picture taking than listening.)

Another great trip with great company.

Love my husband

Jackie and Dan

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Palacio del Gobierno (Governor's Palace) in Merida

On our second day in Merida, we wanted to see the sights around the city.  Merida is the capital of Yucatan with many things to explore and experience.

Palacio del Gobierno

The hubs and my brother exploring.

Night time view of the Governor's Palace

 Inside the Governor's Palace are murals painted by a famous Mexican artist, Fernando Castro Pacheco.  These murals show the history of the Maya after the arrival of the Spaniards.



Salvador Alvarado

He is seen as "the one true liberator of the Mayan slaves."  He passed several laws in favor of poor, education, and women liberation.

Felipe Carrillo Puerto and Lazaro Cardenas

Each are two major figures in the emancipation of the Maya.

Mexico's struggle

This mural depicts Mexico's eternal struggle with good (eagle) and evil (serpent).  Fernando Castro Pacheco tries to portray this violent fight, which we hope, will eventually end with the triumph of Good- the liberation of the Mexican people and all their positive qualities from the dark proponents of Evil- symbolizing corruption, exploitation, and poverty.

The Conquest

Commander Francisco de Montejo together with his son and his nephew, would take on the conquest of the Yucatan Peninsula.  The task of conquering the Peninsula, however, was not easy, and it took the Montejos 20 years to dominate the Maya whom defended themselves bravely.

Gonzalo Guerrero

Guerrero was shipwrecked off the coast of the Yucatan and captured by the Maya.  Eight years later, Cortes rescued Guerrero, but Guerrero refused to go with Cortes.  He instead stayed and fought against the Spanish along side the Maya.  Guerrero, who married the daughter of the chief of Chetumal, is considered the father of "mestizaje" the mixing of the races in the Yucatan.

We stayed at Hacienda Merida.   It was a very nice, clean, centrally- located hotel with reasonably-priced rooms, friendly service, and wonderful drinks and food.

Having drinks on the patio 

The staff at Hacienda Merida recommended La Chaya Maya for dinner.  We enjoyed our dinner, appetizers, and drinks.

Women making homemade tortillas in the restaurant

Shark empanadas!  Yum

 My new favorite drink.  It's made of annis and honey. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Our next stop with my brother and Jackie was Valladolid. 

The translation from above:

"Valladolid is a quaint colonial city with neighborhoods of great majesty and beauty. It is located east of the state of Yucatan, strategically between the city of Merida and Cancun (only 2 hours drive from each), 40 km from the majestic Chichen Itza (Wonder of the Modern World) and 26 km from the Maya Archaeological Site of Ek-Balam. Is also only an hour and a half on the Riviera Maya, as well as other attractive tourist circuits: the North, Las Coloradas, Largartos Rio and San Felipe, on the east, the archaeological site of Coba and the Mexican Caribbean, the West, the capital Merida and Izamal (Pueblo Magico of Mexico.)"

The picturesque, colonial buildings AND people!

This beautiful church is located in front of the Zocolo.

The fountain in the middle of the Zocolo

We took a break from driving and walked around the city, tried Pollo Pibil, and relaxed in the Zocolo

Pollo Pibil...YUM!


Aren't they cute?

In Vallodolid, we also visited Casa de los Vendados.  This is a private home owned by a husband and wife from Chicago.  This house was bought in 2000 and completely restored 8.5 years later.  John and Dorianne are collectors of Mexican Folk Art and now have over 3,000 pieces.  They open their home every day to share their collection with the public.

 Everything was made of paper machete

The beautiful colors Mexicans use.

This is a Tree of Life.  The fruit is useless to eat, devoid of any nutritional value, but the Maya used the hard shells to make bowls, cups, and decorative vases.

 Outside in the garden, this mermaid sits made of steel.

The sun came over the top of the cross to create a (almost) heavenly photo.

A Maya creation... They had some great hallucinations!

This is a Catrina portrait over the breakfast nook.  Catrina is the female symbol for the Dia de Los Muertos holiday.  Dia de Los Muertos is a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and focuses on the gathering of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members whom have died.

More Dia de Los Muertos figures, but these depict Frida Kahlo, a famous Mexican painter and artist.

More adventures to come...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ruins of Tulum

When my brother and his fiance came to visit Jade and me, we knew they would keep us busy.  I love traveling around and seeing the beautiful sites this area has to offer.  Our first day of traveling, we went to Tulum.  

Tulum is the site of a Maya walled city.  The ruins face the Caribbean Sea along the Yucatan Peninsula in Quintana Roo, Mexico.  It is situated on 39 feet tall cliffs along the coast of the ocean. 

Tulum was constructed by the Maya shortly before the arrival of the Spaniards.  It is believed to have been a fort built to watch the sea.

Diseases brought by the Spanish settlers appear to be the cause of the demise of the city.  

Don't let these photos fool you.  This site is one of the most well-preserved coastal Maya ruins, and is a popular site for tourists.  I was just really lucky not to catch any fanny packs and cameras in these shots.

Bring your swim suit and snorkel gear when you come to Tulum.  On a hot day, a swim in the Caribbean is perfect.

Iguanas were everywhere.  They were definitely comfortable with the tourists, and even let me get pretty close to take some photos.

Pollo del arbol anyone?

It was a beautiful day with my wonderful husband.  There is no one else I would rather share these new experiences.