Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas to All!

The tree is decorated, there are stockings for each of the dogs, and the turkey is thawed and ready for tomorrow's meal.  We will see Darren's family in Australia via Skype this afternoon (Christmas morning there) and I will visit mine for a few days beginning on the 26th.  We will have friends with us tomorrow, just a few days before the anticipated birth of their new baby next week.  There are a few presents under the tree, and we've even had some much-needed rain here in town.  With people home from work, we chat with our neighbors front porch to front porch in the middle of the day about holiday plans.  We are grateful for all of these simple things.

Happy holidays to all, wherever you may be!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Contender Number 4...

Ok, so we know that the normal HHI formula doesn't include a fourth house, but for this one we had to make an exception.  The fourth house on our list of possible properties was an unusual property on Calle 80. It was on a large piece of land that was more square in shape than long and narrow like most Merida lots. It had a very substantial casa on it that was not in bad shape, though not in good shape either.
The location was good, only four blocks up Calle 59 from the square at Santiago, and the block was really beautiful with a wide street and a substantial number of the houses restored and well cared for. The house already had five very large rooms with 20 foot ceilings and some nice pasta tiled floors (underneath all of that dirt).  In addition to the great location, the unusual square shaped lot made the property seem bigger than it actually was. 
Before we left, we were already dreaming of a big hacienda-style portal along the side of the house facing the garden, ten or twelve feet deep with arches and lots of chairs and hammock hooks for sitting in the shade.
Photo from
The garden already had a couple of large hardwood trees and a large citrus tree of some kind (maybe sour orange?) that just added to its appeal.

All in all, this Santiago home was going to be hard to beat!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Works

It turns out that there is more going on than just the work at the Plaza Grande.  Thanks to Nancy's comment on a prior post, we went out to search for more projects.  In addition to the work at the Plaza Grande, the City is also carrying out work on the streets and other parks in the central corridor along Calle 60 as well.  It looks as if electrical and other wires are being buried along at least some streets including this one along side of the Opera House (which also appears to be newly painted).
 There is also this work on the street next to the Parque de la Madre.
In the background of this picture, you can also see that the Parque de la Madre is under renovation as well, along with the Parque de Santa Lucia and the Parque Hidalgo next to the Gran Plaza Hotel.

"We promised to renovate the Centro Historico.  Today in Santa Lucia Park we are doing it!"
"Restoration.  The rescue of our historic downtown."
"We undertook to rescue the Centro Historico.  We delivered with the rehabilitation of Parque Hidalgo."
 Some of the signs suggest that other works are either also planned or may even have been completed.
"We apologize for any inconvenience that may be caused by the Work."

And even though it isn't covered with the same kind of signs, the passageway between the Cathedral and the MACAY across from the Plaza Grande has also been covered with a new roof to create a covered passageway over the area that is usually used to showcase larger sculptures.

Things in Merida really are looking up!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

El Pequeno Diablo...

Every trip I take I always like to find that one little treasure that I can take back home with me that reminds me of where I have been.Well on this last trip I found my 'treasure'.

A little wooden 'Diablo' puppet...I saw this 'tourist' shop on my way back from the main square. I usually don't go into these shops but on the outside it said...
Casa Del Las Artesanias
Del Estado De Yucatan

Anyway, it was full of the usual stuff but also had some cool things as said puppet.

He will go in the guest room to watch over everything from the fireplace mantle.

Can't you just see him sitting there while a fire burns underneath!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Lost in Translation

You have probably heard of the little pictograms that appear on many (though not all) corners in the Centro Historico in Merida.  As the story goes, these were used to mark intersections in the past to help the citizens and visitors of old who could not read figure out where they were.  Rather than tell someone to "meet me at the corner of Calle 68 y Calle 51," for example, you might say, "meet me at the corner of the Lighning" ("el Rayo").  [Disclaimer: the sign of El Rayo is not at C. 68 y C. 51...this is for illustration only!]

Often, the subject of the pictogram is clear, and it does exactly what it was intended to do.  This one marks the corner of "the Cardinal."  The one below is "the Pearl."

A simple walk through the historic district can turn into not only a visual treasure hunt, but also a bit of a multi-cultural puzzle as you try to figure out what the signs mean.

For example, this one is "the Lark"...simple enough with a little electronic translation.

Google Translate didn't help too much with this one, though, as it kept insisting that "La Tucha" meant "the Tuch," whatever that is.  A little more searching turned up a reference noting that, in the Yucatan, "La Tucha" is also a female monkey.  So now that one makes sense too.
It was confusing to see that "La Langosta" meant "the Lobster," but one of the alternate definitions for "langosta" is "the Locust," so another one down!
Next came "the Nuns" (Las Monjas) and "the Sitting Bull" (El Toro Agachado").  Score two more!

But this last one has me stumped, so I'm looking for some help here..."El Otelo."  What is that?  The best that I can some up with is Othello strangling Desdemona, but Shakespeare seems a little far-fetched as a pictogram to simply identify a particular corner to sixteenth century Maya.  Any ideas?  Anyone??