Memories of Mexico

Mexico memories 1

Bougainvillea blooms over a fence at the entrance to a beachside house near Progreso, on the Gulf of Mexico in Yucatan state, Mexico

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.

panuchos

Panuchos–shredded chicken, pickled onion, avocado, salsa fresca, lettuce and black beans  on a crispy tortilla–in a restaurant in Santa Elena, a town near Uxmal, a Mayan archeological site.

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.

huipiles

A couple of Mayan matrons wearing traditional huipiles sell their wares at the Sunday market in Muna, near  Uxmal, an archeological site that rivals Chichen Itza but isn’t as crowded.

uxmal pyramid

Speaking of Uxmal, here is the stepped Adivino, the Pyramid of the Magician, one of many structures explorable in the ancient Mayan city. It was a powerful city in western Yucatan and is thought to have been the capital of a regional state from 850 to 950 CE. The steps on the pyramid are still climbable, if you dare.

Yaxcopoil

Yaxcopoil is a partly restored hacienda with tours showing how it operated in the days it was making sisal for the rope trade. It even has a couple of rooms for rent.

yellow house

Houses and restaurants or small businesses, like the one above and those below, in Progreso and the surrounding towns are often painted in colours you’d never see at home. They look wonderful in the strong sunlight of Mexico, but would be overpowering in our more muted northern light

 

IMG_7707

aqua and red houserestaurant and bike

laundry

thatched roof rest

restaurant 2

Telchac city hallOh 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.

little boys in parade

parade girlsbeefcakeIMG_8429old guy in paradelittle glamour pussW 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.

amaryllis?

One thought on “Memories of Mexico

  1. Hi,

    When we first came to a progreso we were told there is only one place for us to shop…Aurerra…subsidiary of Walmart. I too boycott it in Canada. Shopped there once and then found our way to Willy’s and Super Aki. Terrific stores.
    We are Slow Food advocates so love the public market for fruits , veggies spices and such. Still have not found a place to buy decent sized, über backed bath mats. Recommendations?
    Like you I am a sucker for plants and luckily my husband is a sucker for my happiness so he encourages me to pick up a little something each time we are at Super Aki. I have been fertilizing with a homemade concoction of seaweed tea and the plants are doubling in size in a week. I have not even bought any soil. Just plopped things in the ground in the soil they came in. ( Thanks for the tip, Miguel our taxi driver)

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