Zocola and German Engineering Part 1 & 2


Ahh, Merida.  The main transportation hub of the western Yucatan, I had high hopes for the place.  The bus dropped me off way in the south, and I had no idea where I was, so I wandered for about an hour before I found the travellers salvation, the internet cafe.  Ten minutes later I was on my way.  I found a hostel on the main square called Hotel Zocola which looked clean enough and was inside an old colonial mansion.  I wasn’t too picky by that point as I had been walking around the city in 30 degree weather with 30 pounds on my back and it was time for a shower.  I booked in and found that the female dorm was also the main throughfare for the ladies bathroom.  Awesome.  I decided to stick around since I had already paid and just lounged for the rest of the day in the common area, which was actually quite gorgeous with vaulted sealings and arches that looked out into a little courtyard.  My sleep wasn’t great but I met a gal from Britain named Kia and we both decided to tag along on a trip to the seaside town of Progresso that the hostel owner had organized.  Turns out he just wanted to show off the new hostel they were building but we went off on our own and found a great little stall in the market that sold some really great battered fish.  There was a brief moment of panic when Kia noticed that the menu sign showed the word Delfines which translates to Dolphin, but it turned out that that was the name of the stall, not the fish being served, so I didn’t end up eating Flipper after all.  The day ended with another somewhat restless night of sleep.  I was woken up by a Mexican man crawling into the bunk above me.  I poked him awake to alert him that this was the female dorm and he should leave.  He replied that he worked there and that the male dorm was full.  Awesome.

The charger on the laptop I am using is sparking so I am going to continue this story when there is less fire hazard



So where was I?  Right, so Kia and I met a German named Andi in the hostel and we hatched a plan to check out some Mayan ruins along the Ruta Puuc via car rental since the bus route was bit of a pain in the ass.  We ended up with a blue VW beatle because it was way cheaper than renting something new.  They still manufactured the old style Beetle in Mexico until 2003, which was the year of our car, but it looked like it could have been from the 70’s; the stereo had been torn out and the gear box was pretty interesting to try and shift. It had always been Andi’s dream to drive an old Beetle.  He was an engineer so he considered it a bit of a right of passage as a German.  We set out in the morning {the same morning the Mexican guy woke me up by crawling into the bed above me} and  were on our way.

Many many many ruins later,  we finished off the drive at a huge cave, called Grutas de Loltun;   it had a cathedral ceiling 40 m high and it was used by the Mayans to hide from the Spanish.  Definitely a highlight for a rock jock like myself, though Kia and Andi weren’t quite so awed.  We got a bit lost on the way back and ended  up in a village called Oxkutzcab as the sun was setting and decided to stop for food as we were all starving.  We found a little place by the market and I had the most amazing soft tacos of my entire life.  The restaurant didn’t even have a name above the door, and I don’t know if I could even find it again.  Alas.  We made it back to Merida in one piece and Kia and I split a private room for the night to actually get a proper sleep.  She locked her laptop in one of the metal locker in the main room and we went to sleep, set to depart to Campeche the next day.  In the morning we found that someone who had been staying in the hostel had picked the lock of some lockers and her laptop and a bunch of cash was gone.  Another man had everything including his passport taken, so I suppose it could have been worse.  My passport was in the locker with Kia’s so we really lucked out there.  She had to spend the entire day in the police station and I waited for her at the hostel.  After she was done they offered us a free room but we decided to get the hell out of Merida and got on a late afternoon bus to Campeche.

Author: Amy D. Nelson

Wanderer, hack writer, aspirational hobo, part time aerial surveyor, geologist, forester and whatever else I can do to pay for a plane ticket. Is that sentence fragmental enough?

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