Ok, things are starting to really pick up on this trip. Riding down through northern Mexico was nothing compared to the fun to be had in the Yucatan.
This week my spanish has improved tremendously, going from mere "Spanglish" to officially "Broken Spanish". I hope to be an actual novice Spanish speaker before long, but there's a long way to go. Fluency? Yeah right - present tense is enough for me.
Veracruz was a lot of fun, and I started to meet people on the trip for the first time. One particularly interesting aspect of Veracruz is just how few foreigners (such as myself) are to be found. For the first several days I counted exactly white-folk, including myself. No black, no asian, no anything else. I never realized just how diverse America was until I had left.
After Veracruz I jumped on a bus down to Merida, in the heart of the Yucatan. Halfway along that trip, however, our bus was mobbed -- literally -- by a bunch of strikers that forced us to the side of the road and delayed our journey until a new contract was negotiated. Once back on the road, it was only a quick trip to Merida, the best city so far.
Merida is centrally located for all the Mayan ruins and culture of the Yucatan. It's apparent all throughout the city and surrounding countryside, especially in the marketplaces. In my time here in Merida I went to visit Chichin Itza, the grandest of the ancient Mayan cities, as well as the Tres Conotes, three of the biggest underground pools that form in the chalky rock.
The best part of Merida, however, has been the people I've met. While enjoying a cup of tea and listening to music in a cafe, I saw a table full of fun-looking people that I guessed spoke English. I approached and found that I guessed correctly, as they're all German (and Swiss) students studying Espanol at a school here in Merida. After meeting they took me out dancing, dining, and all over the place. Meeting them has been the highlight of my trip so far.
Now, however, I'm off to Cancun. Or Cozumel. I haven't decided yet. But I'm off somewhere, just after I grab some food in the market. I'm getting more adventurous bite by bite, and I think I'm going to try a street vendor today. Perhaps that's not the brighest idea before getting on a long bus ride but hey, I've never been accused of being the smartest guy.
Lotsa good pictures on the website this week, though I'm behind by a couple days and have some cleanup work to do. Hopefully next week I'll have my house in order. Hasta luego!