I had a dream about a place in Mexico called Merida. A lovely little colonial city tucked into the Yucatan jungle, surrounded by ruins, cenotes, thick groves of trees, ocean, and Haciendas. I’ve had a few friends in the past year tell me of it’s beauty and the wonder of the Mayan people that make this part of Mexico so special and so memorable. And so, I managed to find a way to take a trip at the end of June, after a few months of writing and recording in the studio. A very long expected and long awaited release valve into the wonder of the jungle. My dear friend (and amazing personal stylist) Tiffany was my traveling companion… Thought I’d share a bit of my adventures with you.
On the steps of Ek Balam Ruins, in the heart of the jungle. Ek Balam has something to do with “jaguar” which I imagined I heard raoarng at night while we slept in a palapa hut in the middle of the small Mayan village the night before. Rawr.
And while we’re talking about rawr cats—-> this little wooden jaguar seems a little testy, non?
One of the great buildings at Ek Balam, I’m not even sure how many steps to the top but they were incredibly step and worth the climb. You could see jungle and trees for miles and miles, and the other ruins peeking up out of the tree canopy. This is Tiff making her way to the top.
The first cenote I’ve ever swam in was near Ek Balam. About a 2 km walk from the ruins, it’s a welcome sight after the humidity and heat (even at 8:30am). The Mayan believed the cenotes were passage ways into the underworld. They are massive and majestic… vines and tree roots hang down into the sunken swimming holes as birds soar and fly across above the opening. Little black fish with whiskers swim around you in the water and when you float on your back and look up skyward, it takes your breath away.
And of course, we all know my favorite part of any trip—-> the food. Yes, I suppose I did eat my way across the Yucatan. Here is the guacamole that was all smashed up table side for us in Valladolid. Three huge creamy avocados, pico de gallo + habanero salsa- and yes, us two girls ate every last bite.
Hells Bells! Nothing makes you quite as happy as an ice cold cerveza (Bohemia Obscura) in a frozen chilly blast mug. Yes, especially after a long hot drive and wandering the streets of a new city watching the haze of heat rising up from the pavements. I fully own the goofy sunglasses and very thrilled smile—> I was in heaven.
In lovely Valladolid we came across this wonder of a fountain honoring the Virgen… it was made entirely from broken tiles painted in the Talavera style, broken into shards and applied in a gorgeous mosiac pattern. One side had raised tile flowers. Stunning and beautiful, I could have listened to the water falling into the basin for a good while longer.
Cochinita Pibil. One of my all time favorites from the Yucatan, it’s a slow roasted pork that traditionally has been cooked in the ground for hours. The rub is made with achiote, a red spice that imparts a specific tang along with the juice from bitter oranges. My favorite was to eat Cochinita Pibil is in the form of tacos (I am after all a true Mexican American- give me little street tacos any day), and in the Yucatan they serve tacos in the form of panuchos or salbutes (small handmade corn tortillas- either deep fried or soft). It’s always accompanied by pickled red onion. *swoon*