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Coconut trees

This is in the ejido of Canasayab in the state of Campeche in Mexico. Having visited dozens of villages in the state some are more memorable than others. It’s not always related to whether there was something interesting and fun to see/do. It often came down to the simple matter of time and whether I had enough of it to walk around and absorb the surroundings.

Luckily in this village I did and these coconut trees particularly come to mind. They were just behind the local school. I thought it was the coolest school “playground”.

Coconut trees

Coconut trees2

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Green Tunnel – Happy New Year

This photo makes me think of these ridiculous “10 places to see before you die” type of posts you see go around the web. More specifically, it reminds me of one particular place I saw in one of these posts, the “tunnel of love” I believe it’s called in Ukraine. The reason I find them ridiculous, is that there is so much beauty to see out there that trying to come up with the list of only 10 best places to see just seems silly to me, and maybe a bit presumptuous.

I have never seen the tunnel of love in Ukraine but this one came out of nowhere on an average road in the middle of nowhere in Mexico. It was by the village called Villa de Guadelupe in Campeche. It’s one of those moments of amazement when you see something you were not expecting even in the slightest. One doesn’t have to follow lists, sometimes the things that awe you the most come out of nowhere. Happy New Year and I wish your 2015 to be filled with such moments.

(Colors disappear for some reason when the photo is enlarged)

Green Tunnel

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In and around the market, Merida

I spent a fair chunk of my time in one of the markets in Merida. I love wandering around these sort of places, get away from the sights into the hustle and bustle of daily life. The market was fairly big so I kept getting lost many times over. It wasn’t quite like the markets in many parts of China for example, but you could still find tons of things, from gambling sites to jewelry to thousands of knockoffs and more.

I feel like by now I have a good sense of when’s a good time to have my camera out in sight and when to keep it hidden. Sometimes though when I get interested in a certain way I just forget about the camera in my backpack. Here are photos from the few moments I did have it out.

MarketMerida

MarketMerida3

MarketMerida4

Gambling seemed to be in demand in many markets around the Yucatan peninsula. Merida being a bigger city had more machines than usual. The guy outside kept eagerly looking at me across the street. I felt it was alright to take my cam out and snap the scene. He didn’t seem to mind.

MarketMerida2

MarketMerida5

MarketMerida6

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Merida

Despite having spent months in Mexico I haven’t really spent all that much time in bigger cities. Merida is one of the few where I did stay for a little while. It’s in some ways my favourite place I’ve seen in Mexico. As I’ve mentioned in my previous Merida post it makes me feel like parts of the city are stuck in the past. This street is a good example of the impression Merida has left on me. It’s close to the market area, a fairly narrow street full of run down beautiful colonial buildings. Many of them are falling apart and there are a lot of similar buildings around the city. Their condition does give it a certain character and appeal like it’s not trying to impress you, it’s just is what it is. This particular photo has also been my wallpaper for several months now.

Merida

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Hammocks and the beach

I’ve finally spent a few hours going through the Mexican photos from over the summer. Given the experiences I’m surprised I haven’t filled my SD cards 100 times over, but I still captured some interesting memories. This probably being the most relaxing. At the time we’ve been working in small communities on the Yucatan Peninsula and with a weekend off my colleague and I decided to take a last minute trip to Tulum in Quintana Roo.

The first photo is from the cabin we stayed during the 1st night. The latter photo is after hours of driving dirt roads in the national park just south of Tulum, which has, no doubt, been a weekend highlight for me. At the end of the park on the coast side is a dead end with a small village of Punta Allen, living off the coast. It’s been a little tiring getting to the village but has been totally worth it.

Along the road to the village there are a bunch of small openings cleared out by machetes. We took a few out of curiosity until we found one that lead to the isolated beach, on the second photo. I set up my orange hammock, got my book out, we put on our swimming attire and played a game where we own a private beach. While the cabin is sure sweet I think I prefer stumbling across a gem like this. Clearly we weren’t the only ‘smart’ ones as there were some ropes laying around left by previous visitors from over the years. What would you prefer?

Hammocks and the beach1

 

Hammocks and the beach2

 

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Church of St. Francis of Assisi

This is the Church of St. Francis of Assisi. Apparently there is a church with the same name in India. This one is not quite on the same continent in Hecelchakán, Campeche. Chakan means rest in thhe Mayan language. Though I can’t say that’s exactly what we did, the town did have a calm, stress free vibe about it.

I took these on 2 different occasions, first the black and white version and then the colour version early in the morning. I couldn’t quite decide which one I like more so I’m gonna post both.

Church of St. Francis of Assisi

Church of St. Francis of Assisi2

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Streets of Merida

After a long month we’ve finally left Campeche. The next stop was supposed to be the state of Oaxaca with a pit stop in Merida, Yucatan. Until 24 hours ago I thought this would be my last night on the Yucatan peninsula. But plans have changed quickly and instead of boarding a plane to Oaxaca we’ve moved to Yucatan. The plan for now is to work here for about a month.

I’m currently in the biggest city in the region, in Merida, as we plan things for next week. It’s a big change from small villages in Campeche where I’ve spent most of last month. It’s quite amazing how a groups of people can live so close to each other but have such different lifestyles. It’s only been a day and my impression of Merida is still forming. So far it makes me feel like the parts of the city I’ve seen are stuck in the past. Hence, the analog/vintage look of the photos.

I haven’t had much time to wander around and get lost in the city but hopefully the coming days will change that.
All the best to  you reader, wherever you are.

StreetsofMerda

StreetsofMerda2

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Post work drink

I’ve caught these farmers just outside of “Blanca Flor” with a couple of post work brewskis next to this old beetle. I snapped this photo and then moved a bit closer for another shot. By then one of the farmers had noticed me and lets say the shot that followed isn’t exactly G rated 🙂

My experience in Mexico might be a little uncommon as I spend a fair share of my time in places where a large part lives off social programs or doesn’t own a proper toilet. I’m sure the things I learn aren’t true to all of Mexico, however, from my experience in Campeche getting alcohol in certain parts isn’t very straightforward. First there is an issue of getting a licence. A lot of businesses in small towns don’t even bother getting one. And then in the state of Campeche, there is also a fairly strict time limit that goes along with the license (apparently similar laws apply in other states). What’s slightly surprising (I don’t mean any disrespect) is that most places I’ve come across actually follow this law. But as usual, one finds a way with time.

With no signs or any sort of official directions Blanca Flor proved to be an absolute pain to find. As much as google is useful in bigger cities it’s completely useless in a lot of other parts of the world. Getting directions in Campeche has been an “experience”. People either don’t want to admit they don’t know the way and send you nobody knows where or they try to replicate a series of twists and turns with their arms. Not very effective if your arm doesn’t bend in 6 different places. “Stop by the bush after the curve” on a road full of bushes and curves isn’t very helpful either. But after countless of u-turns and dozen of “turn here, turn there”s we’ve pinpointed the location by the foolproof method of trial error. As a result we didn’t manage to get what we had wanted in the village and a man did show me his crutch. But it was a place to see anyways. What’s the point of an adventure if everything goes as planned.

All the best to you reader, and when you take your shower today remember that there is a family in northern campeche without a clean place to poo. But they do have satellite TV.

Post work drink

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Flooded in San Antonio Yaxché

It’s been a while since my last post. Not for the lack of photos but rather time and limited access to internet. These days I’m travelling for work around southern Mexico. Culturally it has so far been a great experience. On a professional front things have been less than great for various reasons I won’t bore you with. But as it is often the case during such travels the key is an open mind and patience.

This photo is from a small rural village of San Antonio Yaxché in Campeche. It’s primarily inhabited by the descendants of Maya. Nearly everyone speaks spanish but the primary language of communication still remains maya. If I’m correct yaxché refers to a certain tree in the mayan language. We were supposed to run an experiment in a local school. Sadly for us (and the kids who usually attend the class) the room had an aluminium roof filled with holes. So, of course, during our experiment the rain came down like it’s the end of the world. Besides the people and the material getting wet, it was impossible to shout over the noise from the rain drops hitting the aluminium roof. Unfortunately, we had the cancel the sessions.

Here’s a photo of one of the few streets in the village. I haven’t seen it rain this hard for quite a while. The rain “laguna” on the photo went quite deep in certain parts, but some people didn’t seem bothered at all.

SanAntonioYaxche1

San Antonio Yaxché is an ex Hacienda. You can still find some ruins around the village, one of them is this arc that stands at the entrance to the village.

SanAntonioYaxche2

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