Thursday, December 31, 2009

Valladolid...

After spending a full day in Playa del Carmen, I decided to take the ADO bus to Vallodolid. I was hoping to take a colectivo, but the desk clerk at the Luna Blue said I had to take the bus. That's fine...it will give me experience with the Mexican bus system. Here's the bus station in Playa. I think I paid about 94 pesos for a ticket. While I didn't have any hotel reservations there, I planned on staying overnight because I wanted to see Chichen Itza while I was out that way.

I got the back corner seat so I could take a picture of the bus. There was no bathroom on this one. They are very comfortable.

Here are the two little guys in the seats in front of me. They were great little travelers.


This lovely lady got on at Chemax. We couldn't understand a word between us, but she was sweet.

Then (go figure), she pulls out a bag with some cloths she embroidered that she wants me to buy. How could I say no? After all, here I am in the back corner of the bus...kind of a captive audience, wouldn't you say? But I don't have a problem buying something that's actually made by the natives, rather than all the crap they sell all over the place. The cloth isn't my style or color palette, and I don't know what I'm going to do with it, but I figure I'm helping out the Mexican economy...well, at least for this lovely lady.

So I pay her for one, then she keeps pulling them out to show me more. "No mas, no mas!"

Here's the bus station at Valladolid. Since there was no bathroom on the bus, I really needed to use one. You can't see her in this picture, but there's a woman sitting at a table charging 3 pesos to use the bathroom. I pay her and go in, but notice there's no toilet paper. Apparently, that's what the 3 pesos is for, so I had to go back out and grab my little share. I would not recommend using this bathroom if at all possible. It was the one time during my stay in Mexico that I did NOT sit down on the toilet seat.

The bus station is a little ways from the downtown area, but I decided to walk instead of using a cab. I wish I would have taken a cab. I think it must have been about 500 blocks. (Well, maybe not that many, but it felt like it in the heat.) Since Valladolid is in the middle of the Yucatan Penninsula, there are no ocean breezes, so it was very hot. I had noticed the Hotel Zaci on the way to the bus station, which had been recommended by someone, so I tried there first. The desk clerk told me they were all booked up. Now I'm starting to get a little worried. I didn't know the bus ride was going to take four hours, and I had no reservations anywhere, so I was beginning to wonder if I was going to be sleeping on the curb in Valladolid. So, I walk towards the main square and found this place. It's called the Hotel San Clemente and was only 430 pesos. I decided to go for it in case I couldn't find anyplace else.

The rooms were old and very basic...but clean and comfortable. (Why is it that pictures are hung so high in so many Mexican hotels? You'd think the people were about ten feet tall there!)

It had a very nice courtyard with a view of the cathedral in the town square.

I tried going in the pool, but the water was so cold, I couldn't stand it. (Call me a woos.)

The Luna Blue doesn't have TVs, but this place did. When you're traveling alone, sometimes it's nice just to have some noise in the room. A friend got me hooked on watching old black and white Mexican movies when I'm there.

You know how most American hotels always have a copy of the Bible in the rooms? Not here...

You think maybe they got wind of my first night in Playa with the crazy Canucks and figured I needed this?? Hahaha!

Here's the pretty cathedral on the square...


And a nice dusk view...

I had a late lunch at this place...it's in the Hotel el Meson de Marques which is also on the square. I discovered it after I checked in at the other place. Very pretty courtyard...

The chips and salsa reminded me VERY much of Picus on Isla...

I ordered the Cochinita Pibil which is a traditional dish of the area.

It was really good...a little different for my taste, but very flavorful...

One thing that's different here is that there aren't any sidewalk restaurants. They are all set back in buildings or courtyards, so they're not as easy to spot.

I know I posted this in a prior post, but it's probably one of my favorite photos of my whole trip. I love the colors against the blue sky. It is VERY crowded in Valladolid with lots of cars, so I can't believe I got this shot with almost no people or cars.

All of the elderly women wear traditional Mexican dresses...


Just some various shots around town...




The city is very old and dates from the mid-1500's. You don't get nearly the "touristy" feel here that you get in the coastal areas. In fact, Valladolid reminded me a little of Nuevo Progreso, the border town I visited several months ago off Texas. I didn't see many foreigners and frequently felt like I was the only gringa there!


Later that evening, I had some crema de espinaca (cream of spinach) soup at a little restaurant across the street from my hotel. It was too dark to get a picture but I wish I had. I've never seen such a vibrant green soup before. While I was eating, an elderly woman stopped by my table peddling some little packets of something...I couldn't understand what she was saying. So I bought one for 5 pesos. I opened up the packet and asked the waiter what it was. He said, "I think it's what you call 'peanuts'." Hahaha! I thought it was going to be some special Mexican cure-all for old age or something. Silly gringa tourist.

The next morning I had breakfast at the little restaurant at the hotel. I can't remember the name of this egg dish, but, again...it was something traditional to the area. I didn't like it at all...plus it was VERY greasy. It was the only thing I ordered on my trip that I couldn't eat.

But the view was nice...love how the orange pops against that blue sky!

So, remember how I said I didn't know how I'd use the embroidered cloth I bought from the woman who got on the bus in Chemax? The bus ride to Chichen Itza was very chilly, so it came in very handy! Everything happens for a reason.

Coming up...Chichen Itza!

7 comments:

Jamqueen said...

Wonderful photos, Deb! Looks like you had quite an adventure. Only 17 more days before we get to go!

Vee said...

Enjoyed your report, Deb. Does this mean you're back at home? Happy New Year, wherever you are!

Paul said...

KEEP ON KEEPING ON. Happy New Year. It's winter up here in the Black Hills...going snowmobiling tomorrow. I'll eat a bite of snow for you.

jeanie said...

Deb, Are you still there? I thought you were going to Merida and Isla as well or is that another trip?

Isla Deb said...

Ann - Yes, it was an adventure! You're a short-timer now...have fun!

Vee and Jeanie - I got home on Wednesday night. And Merida is for another trip!

Paul - I got your pictures of the snow....BRRRRRRR!! Hunker down and stay warm!

Nancy said...

Wonderful photos, Deb! I love the cathedral, the orange against the blue sky, and the empty street, among others.

I hope some of that talent rubs off on me in Merida in March!

gil garcia said...

Good photos. An adventure quite different from the coast/ Looking forward to the next chapter.