Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Latin American Bloggers Meeting - Day 2

Friday morning and Paul, Nancy and myself met at a sweet little restaurant across the street from our hotel, Cafe Club, for breakfast. I laughed out loud when I opened the bread basket to find these little homemade delights nestled inside.

We finished breakfast and headed over to Lin's house where the first event of the weekend was to take place. We all gathered around and listened to various presentations. I led off with Posting Digital Pictures to Your Blog...Why or Why Not? I was followed by Ellen discussing How To Make Money from Your Blog. (or not). We also had Theresa discussing Finding Focus for Your Blog and Paul on Finding Inspiration for Your Blog. Here's Ellen captivating the crowd.

Followed by Theresa.

I was sitting in the wrong spot to get a good shot of Paul presenting.

This is a shot of our hostess' backyard, complete with heated swimming pool. I am so jealous!

One of Lin's cats. Since I am great Siamese cat lover, this one made my heart skip a beat.

Following the presentations, we walked a very long and hot 3 blocks to our lunch place. People, it was over 100F every day while there! We dined at a botanas bar. If you are not familiar with the concept, every time you order a drink, usually beer, you are brought plates and plates of free food to sample. Adding to the fun was the fact that everybody had to eat from the same plates!

Here's part of the group.

Just some of the array of food brought to us. l to r, starting at 6 o'clock; mystery item, pickled carrots, fish ceviche, pickled cucumbers, moving to tortilla chips and below that another mystery item. There was also guacamole and pumpkin seed dip and, of course, freshly fried pieces of pig skin.

The mystery item up close. Want to know what it is? Pickled pig's ear. I did not partake. I see no need to put animal spare parts into my mouth.

Afterwards we had a few hours of free time. I shopped a bit and then took a much needed nap!
We all met up with Theresa at the main town square for a walking tour of the zocolo area. I must say, Theresa knew her stuff and was an excellent tour guide. I have been to Merida many times before and thought I had seen it all. But I was in for a surprise. Look where she took us.

We were all like "an underground parking garage? why are we going down here?" Unbeknownst to any us, in the back of this garage is the entrance to an underground tunnel system! It was dark, humid and totally fascinating. I am grateful to Theresa for showing us this little known gem.
We also walked through the outdoor gallery of the Musuem of Contemporary Art. I am not a big fan of Modern or Contemporary Art, but some of the jun, er, art, is interesting. Take these for example.

Other than the tunnel, the highlight for me was finding a stand that sold salchipapas. A word derived from combining salchicha (hot dog) and papas fritas (french fries). A mound of delicious deep-fried goodness. I have loved this particular snack since first discovering it in Costa Rica. The vendor thought it funny that I wanted a picture so he insisted on getting in it too!

A close-up of the deliciousness.

During our tour we passed the Cathedral all lit up in her night time glory.

After the tour we headed out to a restaurant on the luxury street called Paseo Montejo. We had a rather less than mediocre dinner but our main purpose in being there was to listen to the band. Since the place was called Los Cubaneros, the band was Cuban. Great salsa music was enjoyed by all. Some of us even got tipsy enough to get up and show off our dancing skills. There will be no mention of names here!
Tomorrow: Saturday's entertainment, great mix-up and the goodbyes on Sunday. Stay tuned!


Jamqueen said...

Sounds like you had a great time, despite the heat! It's always nice to discover new things in a place you like.

Life's a Beach! said...

That cathedral is beautiful. Great photos! What's this about underground tunnels? Seattle had an underground, but it was because they had to raise the level of the streets in the 1800's due to sewer problems because of the water/tide levels. I'd love to visit Merida someday! Can't wait for more!

Anonymous said...

wayne. hemmingway's on isla passes out little food plates too. I was told cantina's (working mans bar?) had to do this. It was to insure that heavy drinkers/alcoholics always had the opportunity to eat Something. Is that not true? and if not, how would one know which bars pass these out? any insight?


Anonymous said...

And the pigs ears are not spare parts. Thats what they make hot dogs out of:-))
mmm,mmm, good!!ha

Hollito said...

"complete with heated swimming pool"Heated? Stop kiddin´! ;-) Most of the pools I jumped into in MX would need a cooling, because they were either lukewarm or near to boiling. ;-)

Islagringo said...

jamqueen: you are so right. what a little gem she showed us!

LAB: the tunnel wasn't very long and had a couple of turns. I don't think they have excavated it all yet.

carl/debbie: I always heard that hot dogs were made from the spare parts at the other end of the pig! Not too sure I would eat anything at Hemmingways. I have heard the same thing as the reason botanas are given out. I have also heard that any bar (not bar/restaurant) is required by law to hand out food. That is why many bars put out peanuts.

holito: funny how people's experiences and perceptions of the same thing can be so different. I always think pools are cold.

Anonymous said...

If Ears are spare parts lets see you do with out yours.


Anonymous said...

BTW, nice to see you grin...)

O Robert

Jonna said...

OMG!! You eat salchipapas?? I can't even look at those things.

I so agree about needing to heat pools, we have a solar system but it is still a little too chilly to me. I can't imagine being able to go in the pool in the winter unless the system starts working a whole lot better.

I've heard that the tunnel was for the priests to escape during the Cristeros war or, I've also heard that it lead from the priest's residence to that of the nun's. Scandalous!

Ron said...

Thanks for the good reports and photos!


Islagringo said...

ole: I wouldn't eat pig snout either but that doesn't mean I don't like yours.

O Robert: I must have been really happy. I hate my smile and try to never do it in pictures.

Jonna: ah c'mon. You know you want to try them! Thanks for the extra info on the tunnel. They were lined here and there with "Mayan" pottery fragments. Probably fake?

Ron: you're welcome.