Now that we’ve returned to frigid Ontario after many weeks in tropical Mexico, I’m glad I have photos of eye-popping bougainvillea to drool over. They’re helping me hold on till my spring bulbs eventually break through the earth…the latest my early crocuses and snowdrops have been for many years.
Yucatan state, specifically Progreso, a small fishing and shipping town on the Gulf of Mexico a few miles north of the lovely colonial city of Merida, is our favourite place. This is not a resort but a real Mexican town, with dogs sleeping in the middle of the road, wagons selling pineapples at the side of the road, and plenty of topes (pronounced toe-pay and better known as speed bumps) on the road to keep you from running over or into either. We rent a house on the ocean and cook most of our own food, shopping at the local market for vegetables, fish and meat, and for staples at the bodega, a monster supermarket owned by Wal-Mart (which I boycott at home but can’t avoid here).
This is Mayan country, with sites like Uxmal and the Puuc Route within easy driving distance (and never crowded like the tourist magnet Chichen Itza, nearly three hours drive away), and many small villages or restored haciendas to explore. People are incredibly friendly and the restaurant food is real Mexican, simple and delicious, plus generally inexpensive.
What I love most, though is the colour. Many women wear the traditional embroidered huipiles, with shawls tossed over their shoulders, to shop or go about their daily business. The houses come in many colours, even lime green and fuchsia. If we go at the right time Carnaval is in progress, with happy parades marching around the town. Merida’s parade is a bigger version of Progreso’s, featuring commercial floats and street dancers–Progreso’s parade specializes in adorable school kids wearing Carmen Miranda outfits, excited teenagers flaunting their dance moves, well-endowed twenty somethings swinging their hips, and elderly seniors moving more slowly but with a sensuous rhythm.
Mexico is a happy experience for us, and not just because it’s an escape from the ice and snow of winter. Here are some of the images that remind me of the friendly faces and colourful sites we love about the country.
Oh yes, there’s more. Are you still with me? I have to show you images of the Progreso Carnaval parade, complete with beefcake and a drag queen, plus the usual adorable children. Scroll through them below.
W ell, that’s my travelogue for today. Just to finish, here’s a shot of a hibiscus growing in the garden of our rented villa, big as the proverbial dinner plate, There’s one reason I wouldn’t mind moving to this country.