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Shore Excursion: Merida City Highlights

January 28, 2011

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Day three we were docked at Progreso and joined the tour Merida City Highlights and Shopping. The pier going from the ship to Progreso is one of the world’s longest piers at about 4 miles. From Progreso it is a 45-minute drive to Merida the Capital City of Yucatan Mexico.  As we drove thru town we passed a Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Burger King, Auto Zone,  Mercedes dealer, Ford dealer just to name a few of the retailers that are also in the states. We arrive downtown on the Square with time to visit the Cathedral of Merida, the Governor’s Palace, and of course shop. We were warned that as soon as we stepped off the motor coach street dealers would be trying to sell their wares, we were pounded with ones wanting us to buy Cuban cigars, fans, and textiles. We visited the courtyard of the Governor’s Palace to see the artwork and then went to the church. The church was built-in the 1500’s and has a huge wooden cross. There were several elderly women sitting inside the entrance of the church begging money, something I’m not a customized to. The square was filled with people not just tourist but mainly locals, just sitting and resting, maybe taking a short siesta. The streets of Merida were narrow and many one way. One thing we learned quickly was if the light changed you better be out of the street or you could end up a hood ornament. An unusual item we saw in two stores were live beetles with jewels on their backs. Our guide told us that it was a long time tradition to decorate these beetles and use as brooches. That once the beetle was placed on the shoulder that human warmth kept them still and they did not move. Unfortunately, we were not able to take pictures of these bejeweled bugs. I enjoyed seeing this part of Mexico, and thumbs up to our guides that filled us with history about the area. But, don’t test me on any of that.

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