Holiday Exile 2011
Bienvenido, loyal reader! Please join Bruce and Mary on their annual holiday sojourn. As usual, for those of you email subscribers who prefer to view these posts from the blog-site, please click here.
As many of you know, one of the conditions of our house sitting gig is that when the owners, Harley and Myrna, come down to actually use their Casa Mexicana we are required to vacate, but even then, only when they need the room. In fact when they came down for the long labor day weekend this fall, it was only the two of them and they invited us to stay. We appreciated their generosity but we told them that with their hectic jet set life, they deserved some privacy so we headed over to Casa Chalia. This exile we are headed to LaÂ Luna Nueva.
We spent Christmas Eve making new friends. For more go to last week’s post, here.
This is Jose, an employee, and Greg. One of the cool things about staying at hostels is the interesting people you meet. Greg is a very affable Englishman who grew up in northern Wales and left home at the tender age of 16. Among his travels was a ten year stint in Brazil.
This is our private unit with bathroom ensuite, one of three on the main level. It is small but comfortable, with A/C. It is just off the front desk and common area which it makes it very handy but if we’d been smart we’d have booked one of the three upstairs privates as the sound from the common area comes right into our unit, and as our bedtime is closer to 9 than 11, if someone is watching a movie on the big screen it can be annoying. Oh, the dormitory is upstairs as well.
Our new friend Pat with us in front of El Lucero del Alba’s Christmas tree (look familiar Chuck?). Tuesday evening we had great fun eating botanas, sipping Toritos, and talking smart. Actually a little too smart for our own good as we discovered when a nearby table took umbrage with us for practicing our Spanish dirty words a little too loudly. Don’t worry about us sullying an already questionable gringo reputation as we made a point of befriending these locals before we left.
On Thursday we saw our new friends Megan and Alec off. Originally from Washington St. and New York, they now hail from Vermont where Megan is a “cheese monger” and Alec is schooling. Ironically Alec is fluent in Espanol and Latina Megan speaks nary a word. They are backpacking around Yucatan over Christmas break and were bound for Tulum from here. After hugs, watching them walk off with their backpacks felt like it was our own kids who were off onto another adventure.
As many of you know, Thursday evenings usually find us at Restaurante Las Vigas and the path always takes us across La Plaza Grande, La Plaza Principal de Merida. They have been doingÂ massive renovations downtown including La Plaza Grande where virtually all the concrete was replaced which must have been thousands of tons. Working around the clock they completed this project in about a month. The worker above is hanging the final lamp.
Friday night found us being hosted at a party in our own “home”. This is owner Harley. It was great fun but we always feel a little funny especially when people ask us, “So where do you live?” “Well, actually…..here!”
We were very happy to see our good friend Bette at the party as it had been too long. Bette was the star performer on a Daily Show episode called American Refugees Seek health Care in Mexico.
Back at Luna Nueva we made another new friend, the thoroughly charming Maxi (her American name, as no one, including us can pronounce her given name) from Shanghai. She speaks English flawlessly and attended HS in Australia finishing up in PA. Now she is a freshman at a high end PA college majoring in International Relations. We are fascinated with Chinese culture so we quizzed her quite a bit. We find that English is mandatory starting in grade one (for you Joanne) and that her father strongly encouraged her passion to study abroad. She is an only child and tells us that the single child policy is mostly overlooked in agrarian areas butÂ enforced strictly in the city. But those who can afford to, can “buy” the right to have another child, for about $10,000US. She says that there is currently a debate among the upper middle class that if the parents have a high level of education and are productive members of society that they should be allowed more than one child, at no charge that is. We find it strange to hear her say, “I do know a few people who have siblings.” When we ask about human rights, she allows that America is much more free but the Chinese gov’t is not as heavy handed as we think. She says that unless the dissident is high profile, they simply censor the individual and no other action is taken. So essentially she feels pretty “free” back home.
Mary is poolside at Hotel Marioneta, a gorgeous boutique hotel in Centro. Our friend and Dave the Brit’s very good friend, Daniel, an Argentinian is the owner and proprietor and he graciously offered his hotel as the venue for Dave’s NY Eve party. Que Bueno!
Dave y su novia Amalia. Amalia runs an import business in town, Rattan Importa.
After we grazed on botanas all the evening the main dish arrived, stewed rabbit with cabbage, mashed potatoes and peas and carrots. Dave said he spared us the heads. When I asked about our good fortune he explained that when he lived in Spain they always served rabbit meat with the heads along side, to prove it was not cat they were serving. Thanks, Dave.
Thanks for visiting gentle reader. Bruce has made one new year’s resolution and that is to get back to fighting weight by his cumpleanos numero 60, next New Year’s Eve. Bruce would love to hear of your resolutions. Hasta proximo Domingo!