Somewhere between leaving Tulum and Izamal we had a bit of a crisis of the type ‘what are we doing and is this actually fun?’. Whether it was the having left family and reminders of home in Tulum or the inevitable relationship and personal lows that happen to everyone, travelling or not; something shifted and we were suddenly not happy with the way we were managing our daily life of camping, driving, the heat, and dare I say it the sameness of topes, driving and the ever-changing scenery. So we had an idea that we needed to stop. Take stock. Repair Hanna – once and for all – and just generally have a little bit more space in our living environment. So we started to look for a place that might offer the chance to experience all of the above.
The city of Merida was somewhere that we had heard was a vibrant, architecturally exciting and had a great night life and of course a plethora of highly recommended restaurants – it also had a very highly recommended, english speaking, mechanic (Recommended in an app called ioverlander that we are using on a regular basis, which is a fantastic resource created by people that are doing what we are doing. It has listed many places to stop with reviews, places to get propane, camp for free, camp for fun, RV stops, fuel stations and recommended mechanics) – that tipped it; Merida it was to be then. Searching Airbnb we found a 1 bed apartment – with dipping pool – in the historic area of the city, booked and paid for a month.
The place itself wasn’t exactly what we had imagined but a couple of days of sleeping in a bed twice the size of Hanna’s and some good quality restaurant food and we started to relax.
So how to describe a city experience? With a list of things we did? Or a detailed itinerary of our daily life? There are very few photos from that time and even if there were more I don’t think that they would or could convey the very personal feelings we had in changing from living in Hanna to living in a flat. Suffice it to say that we found an organic food market, we found good European style bread, fine restaurants, fresh and diverse fruit and vegetables (I know that sounds mundane but ‘diverse’ is the word of importance here), we went to the local squares at night once a week where there was free entertainment – this included bands, singers, ballet, traditional dancing, we danced, we ate, we drank, we met a few lovely people and generally had a restful, recuperative and fun experience.
The mechanic turned out to be amazing and someone to trust with our mechanical problems. We worked out the buses and cycled around town, took Ubers places and drove Hanna around the small and quite tight streets where we were staying. When it got too hot we stripped off and jumped in our dipping pool (sometimes 5 or 6 times a day).
Sas had her birthday there – 42; the answer to life the universe and everything, and we had one of the best Italian meals we have ever eaten to celebrate. Slowly and surely the month passed and suddenly it was time put everything back in to Hanna again and hit the road. We couldn’t do it … so we camped out in a shopping mall in the north of the city for 3 days, found time to get some dental work done until finally, we really couldn’t put it off any more … so we rolled out of the city via our new friend’s house (Thanks Brenda) to say goodbye to her and Merida and headed toward the ruins of Uxmal.
The work that had been done on Hanna was great – the speed wobble had been fixed and the steering box changed, the unidentified banging from the front had been solved, the leaking auto-transmission unfortunately did not get fixed but 3 out of 4 ain’t bad.
Merida has a large ex-pat population and perhaps because of this it has a feel that is distinctly Mexican of course but with other influences running through much of the city’s daily life making it easy, fun and a great place to hang out. Did I mention that it was always between 35 and 40 degrees C until 10 or 11 at night? Not humid though just really really hot.
For flavour the photos are of the architecture but the rest I guess you will just have to imagine or go there yourself, we recommend it highly.
Mark and Sas x