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Published: March 5th 2015
The last two days were just travel from Valladolid to Merida, orienting, and grocery shopping. We just hung out in Valladolid at the hostel killing time, sweating in the heat until our afternoon bus. We've found arriving too early at a hostel is more annoying than leaving one late; your bed might not be ready, and they might not have a great way to store your luggage if you want to go wander about in the new place until you can check in.
Today we found our way to the main square in town. It was nice to just sit and chat there. We were told that many of the things around the square were free to see, but hadn't really planned on going in to much. There were information plaques scattered about town and we started reading one in the square. Then we were approached by a friendly local who shared a lot of information with us about the area and chatted, suggesting we go to a store that was supplied by the nearby small towns with artisanal goods. Walking around a few minutes later another man from a nearby town (who arrived early for work at a restaurant since the colectivos are not the most predictable) approached us and told us to check out the Governor's Palace and the murals there that showed the Maya peoples' history and strife, and to check out Mundo Maya; the same shop the previous local told us about. Both men talked up the hats and shirts at Mundo Maya so much we decided we should check it out after the Governor's Palace.
The paintings in the Governor's Palace were really interesting and beautiful. They were very large and detailed so that looking at and analyzing one took us a bit of time. It was a nice way to spend half an hour or an hour out of the heat of the day.
Then we went to Mundo Maya. It was full of goods, not dissimilar to those we'd seen for sale in other touristy shops. Shirts, dresses, rugs, jewelry. Dan was really looking forward to getting a hat, but one that he could pack away without damaging it. The man in the shop was very helpful and showed us many hats and explained the different qualities; the price ranging from MXN750 to MXN1950. This was much more than we are in the habit of carrying so we explained we'd have to go get more money from the hostel. Unprompted with bargaining, he told us that if we came back by 6pm he would sell us two of medium quality for MXN1400. Ashley, the ever suspicious, said we should Google the shop having read about coyotes that get a commission from sending people to certain shops.
And good thing we did. We found zero good reviews online about Mundo Maya. It seemed very overpriced, and products were not always made from the advertized textile; the main being sisal made from a type of agave. One of the guys in our case said that we could get hammocks and shirts made of the stuff because it was good in the heat and it acted as a mosquito repellent. Our online research revealed that they don't actually make clothes or hammocks out of it because it's scratchy and uncomfortable.
A disappointing lesson, but a good one. A good story does not good product/service make. 😞
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