February 23 I arrived in Mexico for a one month stay in Merida. The goal of this trip is to further grow an abundant mindset and live out the life that I want. Many have asked me to keep them apprised along the way and this is the best way to do it. These are the Merida Chronicles capturing each of my days in Mexico, and the total expense of the trip.
Wednesday, February 23, 2022
Arrived Wednesday, February 23rd in Cancun. Had a direct flight from Cincinnati via Frontier for only $200. The flight was incredibly quick, taking only 3 hours. I could see the Florida coastline, spotting Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg before we veered further west. Once in Cancun, I took the ADO bus from the airport into Central Cancun then to Merida. The bus cost $30 and took 4 hours to get to Merida. It was a very comfortable ride. The bus had air conditioning, Wi-Fi, large seats that reclined, and tv screens. They played the Discovery channel, then a KISS concert, then a movie. It was so loud I wore my ear plugs the entire drive. Once into Merida, I took a taxi to my Airbnb. The taxi cost 150 pesos for a 5 minute drive. I should’ve taken an Uber/Didi.
Thursday, February 24th
I found myself a little tentative to leave my Airbnb this morning. This is the first time I traveled solo in a country where I don’t speak any of the language so I was hesitant. Eventually, I decided to check out things in town and I went to Park de Santa Lucia, Park Hidalgo and Park de Santa Ana. I wasn’t exactly impressed. It was hot (30-34C here) and I got bit by an ant. Ants don’t bite in Ohio. Everyone wears masks, even outside. This makes the heat a little hotter.
I was hungry so I watched the food vendors at Park de Santa Ana for a while and decided they were too aggressive for me. Instead, I had lunch at El Apapacho which had a nice outdoor courtyard and good food. I ate everything. As I observed other non-Mexicans drinking the table water, I also went for it.
After that, I decided to walk up to Walmart. I was in need of something relatable and comfortable so that’s where I went. It’s slightly embarrassing to admit that, but it’s the truth. I also needed hair products and toothpaste. The walk up there took me up Paseo de Montejo, the most famous street in Merida. It is modeled after the Champs Elysee. It’s a beautiful street and a nice walk, particularly in the morning or evening when it isn’t so hot. The food selection at Walmart was smaller than I expected, especially the produce. But I suppose Mexicans go to markets for their produce. I picked up toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, bananas and a tiny Coke and walked back. I worked for a couple of hours, talked to Kara, called a potential tenant, ate a lot of the nuts I packed from home, and went to bed.
Friday, February 25, 2022
Woke up feeling uninspired and uncomfortable in my Airbnb (bad mattress, hostel-like). Reached out to Emily who had been in Merida last year and asked for advice on the Airbnb. She said they cut their losses and changed locations halfway through their trip. I think I might do the same.
At 10 I joined a free walking tour of Merida. Our guide took us along Calle 60, the urban center (Centro). The tour guide explained that many of the churches were built from pyramids that had been constructed by the Mayans. He showed us several rocks that were originally part of pyramids embedded in the church walls. This was part of Christianity overtaking the Mayan culture. He also explained that the Mayans became slaves as well as African Americans. The old Centro area used to be the center for African Americans. Now it is one of the most elite and vibrant parts of the city. He also talked about the big push towards education in recent years. Students can go to a public university for as little as $4,000 pesos or ~$400.
Some of the wealthiest early inhabitants of Merida influenced the Parisian architecture found here. Many buildings appear like those in Paris, minus the granite. The Champs Elysee inspired the Paseo do Montejo. There was another solo traveler on the tour, Saffron, from England. I invited her to lunch where we commiserated about our countries and other current events (Russia/Ukraine). After lunch, we visited a few of the free museums then retired back to our own places. Her hostel was only 10 pounds per night, and it had a pool and free breakfast. She said it was an amazing place to stay. I was a little jealous.
That evening there was traditional song and dance as well as a light show in the main plaza. I grabbed an ice cream cone and enjoyed the festivities before turning in for the night.
Saturday, February 26, 2022
The plan for Saturday was to go out and get groceries so that I didn’t have to eat so seldom and I could eat at my Airbnb instead of always at restaurants. Since the local markets are intimidating, I walked to Walmart before it got too hot. I loaded my backpack with rice, oats, yogurt, produce, nuts and walked back. It was a long walk in the growing heat with so much weight but I made it.
After that, I decided to go to the beach at Progreso. I took the Autoprogreso bus which was $1.50 round trip. For Progreso being 30-45 minutes away, that is a great deal. The bus had AC and tight seats. Many people came on and stood in the aisles because all the seats were taken. The Progreso pier is 4 miles long due to shallow waters. The sidewalk was under construction in areas so it did not give a great first impression but the longer I walked the better it got. It was quite windy, 25 mph. The sun was very intense so I hopped in the water right away.
After cooling off I walked much of the strip again before stopping in an OXXO and grabbing a bloody Mary and a water then found a shady place on the beach. I’d like to get a little more sun but I’m quite pale right now and the sun is very intense. I have a couple of red spots just from walking around the last few days so I don’t think I need to intentionally tan at this point. I stayed for a couple of hours before catching the bus back. Once back in Merida I grabbed a marquesita for my walk back to the Airbnb. Unique and delicious. I don’t know how many miles I walked today, but it was a lot. I talked to mom for a while before going to bed.
Sunday, February 27, 2022
I worked a couple of hours in the morning, then planned to go to the Paseo de Montejo where they close the street to only cyclists for the morning. But I received an inquiry from another potential tenant so I didn’t end up going. That’ll be saved for next week. After conversing with the tenant, I decided to grab brunch at a place nearby called Maiz. It was delicious. I had eggs de la Mexicana, beans with corn tortillas, fresh squeezed OJ, and carrot cake. Everything was excellent. I finally found a good place close to my Airbnb! I’ll go back next weekend.
After brunch, I decided to come down to Hidalgo Park to document the trip. It’s a beautiful little park and easier to find a shaded park bench than the plaza. Perhaps this park bench was empty because the birds hang out right above it and poop on those of us below. About 15 minutes on the bench, I felt a wet splat on my exposed arm. Having nothing else useful, I wiped it off with a leaf and moved to a different park bench.
I feel like I’m starting to get a grasp of the city, and my confidence in interacting with Spanish speakers is ever-so-slightly growing. I won’t feel like a success until I get my food from local markets instead of Walmart, though.
It has been very hot here and I look forward to the next couple of days where the highs will only be the 80s. My shower tonight didn’t have any hot water but that was ok.
DaY 1-5 Expenses
Amounts in Mexican Pesos
|Transporation||$556 bus to Merida|
$150 taxi to Airbnb
$42 bus to Progreso
|Total Spend||$2640 ($129 USD)|
*My accommodations are $0 because I collected $800 in Airbnb credits through the Citi Premier card. The $800 credit covers my one-month stay in Merida.