Friday, May 11, 2007

day nine: gardens, museum

I wasn´t too tired in the morning despite a late night, but I was annoyed to find that I was two days behind in my blog and one day behind in my journal. I did get to chat with Michelle before school, though.
In class we mainly covered aspects of the Maya religion and a little about important numbers and themes in the culture - pretty bare bones, but a good start. At lunch, I burnt a CD of pictures for 11 pesos at the internet cafe; it´s run by a fellow with long hair and big gold hoop earrings. I like to think of him as the Internet Pirate.
In Spanish, we learned some important things like how to say "I´m hungry" and "I´m too hot". The latter is important, because you might think that the word for hot is caliente, but in fact the proper one is calor; caliente in that context has a sexual connotation. Similarly, it´s important to conjugate correctly - an extra s on the end of "cuanto cuesta" changes it from "how much does it cost" to "how much do you cost" - very important.
I had planned to go to Progeso, the beach, in the afternoon but wasn´t really in a beach frame of mind, so I went with the herbal lore project group to the botanical gardens on the outskirts of town. We had to argue our way in because they close to the public at noon, and all of the signs were entirely in Maya and Spanish; luckily we had Mary and Anne to translate, and my reading comprehension is quite good from Latin (finally, it´s useful!). Most of the labelled plants were pretty tame, though I was attacked by a rogue cactus. I took a lot of pictures - a mesquite tree, the water gardens, and a tree called Bo´ob in Maya (yes, we´re easily amused).
Sadly we had to rush out because Dave had places to be, but I snapped a picture of a bitter orange tree on the way out.


The project group caught the first cab out, and Anne and I took the next to the Anthropology Museum. The cab driver tried to charge us gringo prices - 150 pesos for a five minute cab ride - but when we called him on it, he admitted that it was only 40.
Our first mission on the main street, Paseo Montejo, was food. Most places were unfortunately still closed for siesta, so we ended up getting snacks at the OXXO (corner store) to tide us over. On the way, though, we ran across a large home furnishing store that broke my heart. It was full of the sort 0f furniture I see on design blogs all the time - $3000 couches and so on - with an eclectic mix of chic and kitsch. I was very, very fangirl about it. I wish it were kosher to take pictures in stores.
The anthropology museum was boggling. The pieces of statuary from various sites are impressive enough, but the cenote finds are just amazing - textiles, jade, earflares, anthropomorphic bells, gold - there was a solid gold frog about an inch long with jade eyes. I took a lot of pictures, but by the time we finished the first floor they had closed the second floor for the night, so we vowed to come another day.(Anne posing with a ball court hoop from a remote site here in the Yucatan)

(deformed skulls - the Maya used to bind their skulls as they were growing in order to have oddly shaped heads as a status symbol)
(assorted jadeite jewelry - those things with the large holes in them are ear flares, to be worn in stretched earlobes)

We decided to walk back to the hotel; it was only about seven blocks, and the evening was cooler. There are a lot of outdoor sculptures on the Paseo Montejo, and oddly enough almost all of them are by Japanese artists. Very strange.(some strange art on the way back to the hotel)

When we got back to the hotel we picked up Heather and went out for supper. We rejected the first couple of places because of the price and the menu, and were getting stupidly hungry, so we went to El Trapiche, where the food is not only cheap but the best we´ve had. I had fajitas con pollo (chicken fajitas), with refried beans and guacamole, and also salsa verde, which is pretty mild. Anne had a tasty looking pork dish and a bowl of sopa de lima spiced with habaneros - burninatingly delicious.
When we got back to the hotel, I went straight to bed after journaling the day, completely exhausted.

4 Comments:

Blogger papermemories said...

Steph,
Everytome I read your blog my mouth water! I love the Candian versions of the food you describe, but I can only imagine how much better they are in real life!

Jill

1:31 PM  
Blogger dp said...

I am with you, Jill. Everything sounds so yummy...
Love the language clips...so funny. I hope you have a great time this next week. I know I won't see any blogs for a few days... but hopefully you can touch base along the way.

4:48 PM  
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