Merida, January 24th:Maria Teresa Hotel... it seems so odd. We keep finding coffin shops and funeral parlors next to the hotels we take. There's always the sweet smell of curry when we round the corner next to this one... Progreso tomorrow. This city is very pretty. The man who sold hammocks was very charming... If it rains all the time in Progreso we'll feel at home...
Rereading this for the first time in decades, I'm surprised at how few notes I wrote in this journal about Mérida and Progreso. My memories of that first visit have remained so vivid over the years. But this was near the end of a long backpacking journey around the country. I remember being tired of travelling by then, a bit homesick and missing Tom, who stayed behind in Vancouver. Hard to imagine I was even missing the West Coast rain.
I guess that's why I didn't recognize at the time that some day I would want to bring Tom back to Mérida to stay.
I have such strong memories of the place - the calesas clopping down quiet streets, the abandoned feeling of Progreso in January. I remember our hotel interior had an air of faded grandeur, with a colonnaded second floor balcony, and an old man who every morning slowly pushed a squeegee along the pasta tile floors. I remember the springs poking through the worn-out beds. And nearby, good food, cooked in banana leaves.
I have often tried to remember where the hotel we stayed at was located, and wondered what it's like now. So after unearthing my journal notes I did a quick Google search - found a news story. Yikes!
|Feb, 11, 2011, The Yucatan Times|
Of course I see now I've walked past it a hundred times in the past couple of years but didn't recognize it or remember the name. I didn't realize it was such a dive - perhaps the years have not been kind, and it has clearly not become part of the restoration of the historic centre. I will take a peek inside next time I pass.