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Published: November 15th 2019
After the quiet encounter with the barracuda, we grabbed a yummy juice from the sweet old man at the market, packed our luggage and made our way to the pier to get the boat, then the bus (bone shaker) and then finally a first class ADO bus for 4 hours to finally arrive the main city of Yucatan called Merida. It was even hotter here than Isla Mujeres and without the sea breeze this town felt boiling hot. We tried to walk to our airbnb but just half block down we stopped a taxi that took us in front of the door of what would be our house for the next three days. Calle 68 Number 465.
The house was pretty and very nicely decorated with Mexican features all around, extra shabby chic pieces of furniture, all done with good taste. The layout is quite similar to Mayflower road, actually very similar but bigger and with a small swimming pool in the rear garden.
But, yes there is a huge BUT. The house smelled like an old damp basement. It looks liked the only creatures that lived here in the last year were
mosquitoes and they were not happy of our arrival, they tried their best to keep us away biting us till so full of our blood that they couldn’t fly no more. It took few hours of extra cold air conditioning to get rid off the mosquitoes and damp smell in our bedroom. For the rest of the house, we had to leave the mosquitoes doing their thing there. By using the kitchen and cooking and generally being there we managed to marginally reduce the damp.
Merida is a little town, a nice example of colonial architecture, many pretty colourful houses with big tall windows and doors, timber framed and glass panels, all similar but all different, some recently renewed and painted, other showing signs of times past and other untouched probably from the early nineteenth century. I liked all of them, Daria preferred the newly refurbished ones but appreciated the decadent shabby style of the non refurbished ones. We took some pretty and colourful photos here. Vibrant and sweet.
Here in Yucatan they have a great tradition of food. The coming Yucateca is famous for the Sopa de Lima; a chicken soup with tortilla
chips inside and tons of lime. we were waiting to arrive to Merida to have this soup.
We probably had the soup three or four times but we didn’t limit ourselves to this. I had the most my belly could take of traditional, mainly savoury dishes. I had an order de Panuchos de cocinita (fried crunchy tortillas with black beans purée and topped with a kind of pulled pork). Then I had just one Gordita (a soft spongy corn taco cut in half and filled with different type of meat or traditionally black beans stew). Gordita means fatty and I definitely felt fatty after all the pork!
We went to the Merida flea market, on the south of the city, away from the tourist places where we could see the various types of stands and stalls. I like markets in general, my favourite is Portaportese in Rome. I grew up going there and most of my possessions; records and cashmere jumpers come from there. In Mexico I was interested to see how people interact with their flea market and how the traders show their goods and obviously the food stands in particular (best place
where to get a stomach bug but I am not scared of it). We saw a lady frying balls of dough into a huge pan, which caught our interest, so we moved in that direction approaching the place from the back of the business (the kitchen). The lady smiled at us, Daria asked about the frying dough - she was making balls of corn dough - putting inside a mix of white beans as a heart and then plaster them a bit and straight into the bubbling oil. She was making the base for the Volcano! I had to try it. The lady offer us a plastic table with plastic tablecloath, we sat on plastic chairs while she was frying the dough. We felt like we were Martians. The fried dough passed hand and went to a guy who filled in with pork meat, pico de gallo, white crumble cheese and served to me on a small paper plate covered with a plastic bag. The meat was juicy so juicy that giving the first bite all the juices run over my t-shirt and made a huge stain starting from my shoulder till the bottom of my t-shirt, like this I
was looking a bit less Martian. Daria was too pretty to not look a Martian though, she was speaking with the lady the all time, she tried the Volcano and she admitted was very good and dirty. 8 pesos (32p).
Then we could walk a bit around and end up at another food stand, but this time was inside the covered market, was a proper market food “restaurant” where you ate at the bar classical Mexican style 4 square metres, tiled top full of food and kitchen tools. This stall was Caty’s place.
Caty is a lady around 60, Mexican looks, a big smile with a special metal tooth implant. She had an old frame picture with a poster of a young, probably American, guy topless the poster was old, maybe she kept it since she was the same age of the guy in the picture, or I can say that probably now the guy in the poster will have the same age of Caty. Anyway we stop at Caty’s because she had a board that said the food she had in her big aluminium pots and we were excited (specially Daria) to see
she had Pozole, the classical Maiz soup. But her board said Pozole hecho en stilo Jalisco (from a different region). Even more interesting, we didn’t know what Jalisco style means, so it was a must to try. Caty was happy to have us at her bar, she spoke with us all the time we shared the plate of Pozole. She explained all the other food she had and she was interested in Daria asking her questions, Daria was happy to answer and ask questions back she also asked Caty to pose for a picture. Pozole was very good, so tasteful and spicy with chunks of beef in a red oily broth and big corn kernels floating and emerging out of the surface. Best Pozole we ever had...60 pesos. We would totally return to this market if we were staying longer.
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