Hola loyal reader. Please join Bruce and Mary in their 2010 holiday season exile. As usual for those of youÂ who prefer to read these posts from the original blog-site please click here.
Well this is a first for us in our three years living in Mexico, we are not back for the holidays. It has been especially hard for Mary, missing the kids and family terribly but it also presents some logistical problems as this is the only time of the year that the owners come down and this casa grande may be our home, it is their house so we must vamoose.
About a month ago we had scouted out Merida hostels and had compiled a short list of about half a dozen to check out in person. Second to last on our list was The Yucatan Vista Inn owned by Londoner Alan whose charmingly eccentric personality was perceived much differently by us by the end of the week but we’ll get to that later. So last Sunday we packed our gear and caught a taxi and set up at the Yucatan Vista. We had the room off the very nice, very poorly maintained pool and it was quite comfortable. We were excited to try the jacuzzi. I started filling the tub but there was no stopper. Mary went to inquire of Alan who responded by saying, “It’s best not to use the Jacuzzi as it doesn’t work quite right and may not turn off”. Ok, but it is too bad that that was a sales point to this joint. So anyhow I showered up and found this day and throughout the week that if you’re quick, you can get enough hot water for a shower.
The next morning Mary had an 8:00 shift and as she is gearing up for the workday our computers on a patio table poolside Mary asks Alan if she can make another 12 cup pot of coffee. Alan says, “We’ll I spose, if you’re going to drink a ton of it, but you know coffee isn’t cheap.” Later that afternoon we bought a kilo bag of the same brand for 59P, about $5US.
Last Tuesday was a day fraught with worries for Mary as we were invited to a house party at…. our house. Mary was so sure that there would be house issues and that surely she had done something wrong in prepping the house for their stay, and Harley did mention some things to discuss in his invite. To fortify Mary’s nerves we had a couple of litros of cerveza at Por Venir cantina. Well, finally we make our way to the house and Harley and a 12 foot tall Catrina greet us at the door and the issue that the gregarious Harley wanted to confront us with was, “You guys have to promise to stay here for at least one more year!” Well…ok.
This is Harley, me, and our partner in managing this house, Omar.
We have a wonderful time, presented as rock stars to Harley and Myrna’s family and visiting friends. And the botanas are out of this world, jumbo shrimp, prosciutto wrapped papaya cubes, and many gourmet cheeses and crackers. And now I know why they have a fancy wine cooler in the kitchen as the red wine I was splashing down was absolutely exquisite and please don’t ask me what it was, I just drink the stuff. After I get one one-more-drink we do leave as it is a school night, Mary must be up at 5.
I am still sleeping Tuesday morning as Mary is making our coffee at about 5:00 when suddenly Alan appears like an apparition and berates Mary for making coffee in such a noisy fashion as this will surely disturb the lady who will be arriving shortly for her annual sojourn to this Inn. Ironically this bi-polarly rude man had been bothering Mary throughout her shift yesterday, confiding all his failed relationships, and of course the failures were always her fault. When Mary told me of this, we came to an instant decision, as soon as can arrange it we are out of here, even though the place is actually quite a nice facility.
So after my shift we walk the 10 blocks south on Calle 68 to check out Casa Chalia, the last hostel on our list and the only one we did not visit. The Belgian Yan (John in Ingles) and his lovely wife Rosalinda show us in and it is a lovely place. Regarding our internet needs we discuss options for locations for a good signal and outlets for our laptops and he decides that we will use his personal dining room, right next to his main router. We are a little overwhelmed by this generosity but he insists upon it. We sign up and quickly grab a cab back to the Yucatan Vista to get ready for our boss and good friend Connie’s house party.
I am working my shift Thursday afternoon when the dysfunctional Alan approaches me, “Howya doing?” “Oh, I’m plugging away.” “Say, I was wondering if we could make a deal. I’d like to get away for the weekend, I was wondering if you could watch things for me, I mean you never go anywhere anyhow?” I was so dumbfounded I didn’t know what to say, I was tempted to tell this nutcase that we’re checking out tomorrow but I was worried that he might have a fit and just throw us out summarily so I just said, “Sorry, Alan, but we have plans.”
Friday morning we quickly pack and as we’re passing his desk in the mini-lobby we plop down exact change and when he wonders why were checking out I simply tell him that we didn’t want to trouble with our coffee over-consumption and the uproar over Mary’s coffee making. As we walk out the door, Mary looks back to see him staring down at the money and muttering, “I didn’t over-react.”
We have no luck with a taxi so we lug our gear (we dramatically over-packed) the ten blocks to Casa Chalia. Yan quickly secures it and we grab a breakfast at a nearby comida economica, get lucky with a taxi this time and head to the VIPs complex to cash gift checks from Mary’s mom and then to Walmart and on to the gym. After a righteous workout we have lunch at Lulus.
We taxi back to Casa Chalia and Yan shows us our room. It is small but very charming and very clean with a nice private bath.
The common area of Casa Chalia.
This flowery trellis provides shelter from the sun for the commons.
We found out the hard way that New Year’s Eve is not celebrated here like it is in the US. Here it is family time. Not knowing this we taxied to La Pigua, a great seafood place. It was closed. We went to Hennessy’s a new Irish Pub on Paseo. Private party. We walked up to La Choperia. Closed. We legged it downtown to La Plaza Serenata figuring if it was open for Christmas Eve it would be open NY Eve and we were right. We grabbed our favorite balcony seat overlooking La Plaza Grande and this is where we celebrated my numero 58.
Casa Chalia serves full breakfasts every morning starting with fruit, this is what we awoke to New Years day.
The main course, cochinita, a Yucatecan pork dish.
This is our hostess Rosalinda working on our breakfasts.
Mary and Yan. Yan met Rosalinda in Belgium. Rosalinda fell in love with a Belgian here in Mexico and followed him back where she raised a family. Yan and Rosalinda have been together for about 7 years. Rosalinda was born in this house and when her beloved mother passed about 3 years ago (Chalia was her nickname) Rosalinda and Yan came here and built this lovely hostel.
After carousing all day, New Year’s day, we return to Casa Chalia to find a party in progress and to add to our delight, Yan and Rosalinda served us all a Turkey dinner with all the fixings including vegetarian fare for Bogus (with the dreads) and his girlfriend Annah (sorry for cutting off part of your face Annah) the Polish contingent. Continuing around the table: Mary, Johannes a German studying at the U of IL, his novia Astrid, Andrea a Spaniard, Yan, and Luis, Andria’s boyfriend.
And that my friends is our exile to date. Tomorrow and Tuesday we will be working from Yan and Rosalinda’s dining room and then our exile ends and we are back in our casa. I must say this has been quite the excellent adventure and Casa Chalia has got to be the very best hostel in Merida and we feel that we have made fast friends with the extremely accommodating Yan and Rosalinda.
Thanks for visiting gentle reader. As always Bruce loves comments. Hasta proxima semana!