Landed in Mérida!

Oy, it’s been a very long day, but I’m here!

maz to mer

I made the mistake of going to bed at my usual time yesterday and so I was up at 6AM, not good when you know bedtime won’t be till 11PM your time/midnight local time.

I had 5.5 hours to kill till departure for the airport so I had a lie in, then made breakfast and finished packing and cleaning the house (I always give the floors a final pass at the last minute). My ride showed up 10 minutes early, but I was very nearly ready. Better early than late when you’re on your way to the airport!

The road out is just about all paved!!! It’s unbelievable. I heard that there is talk of paving more of the main street on Isla, too. The times, they are a changing! Needless to say, we were at the airport in record time.

Since I wasn’t sure that my luggage was under the weight limit for carry on, I elected to check in at a desk, something I haven’t done in a long time. To give me less to handle, I only had my small suitcase and my tote bag, which was full to bursting with my electronics, documents, liquids, and more. It was heavy, but I made the right call. Check-in, done in Spanish, went smoothly and I was given tags for my bags confirming they had been weighed and were to good to go. I was warned that there would be a 10-minute delay for my flight, but assured that I had plenty of time to make my connection…

I’ve spent a lot of time on the main level of the Mazatlán airport, but had never been upstairs. All there was up there was a couple of restaurants and shops, plus a Carl Jr’s hamburger stand. I was pretty sure there was nothing beyond security for food and, being a full three hours early for my flight, I’d decided to have lunch at the airport. The two restaurants were ridiculously expensive, even for an airport, and not appealing, so I caved and got a fast food cheeseburger. Should have brought my own lunch!

I then went through security and, wow, that went very quickly! I didn’t get a pat down (it helped that I remembered not to wear a bra with underwire!) and I didn’t have to take my shoes off. My liquids were packed correctly (which the lady at check-in had confirmed anyway) and I didn’t have to turn on my electronic devices. My suitcase did raise a flag and they asked for permission to open it. What was I going to say, no?! As I expected, they were curious about my stainless steel French press, but accepted my explanation without even touching it. I did get a laugh for having marked my bag of white powder as “leche con polvo” (powdered milk)!

There was just about nothing on the other side, just a jewelry stand and a small bar/cafe where I could have gotten an even more expensive lunch than on the other side. I did spend a whopping $15 on a bottle of water and also $40 for a coffee. My first thought was that was a crazy price, but it was an Americano, so espresso from fresh ground beans with hot water. It was so smooth I was able to enjoy it black. Totally worth the money!

It was a long wait. I really could have left home later, but I’d rather the wait than to be rushed. I watched an ep of the show I’m currently enjoying (Defiance) on my iPad and that helped 45 minutes go by quickly! I also finished a funny book about the career of a customs inspector in the UK, rather à propos reading for my location.

We finally boarded, 10 minutes late, but we were off very quickly. I’ve only ever before flown Air Canada, West Jet and one of the U.S. airlines. InterJet had something none of those airlines have: leg and elbow room.

It was interesting to see Maz and Isla from the air as we took off. The airport is so close that I could spot my house as we were taking off. I am not joking/exaggerating! It was a case that I had to know exactly where to look as we made our ascent, and I did!

We only had about a 1.5 hour flight, but still had a snack and beverage service. I accepted a small bag of rather yummy Frito/Dorito-style chip things with a bit of kick, but was at a loss as to what to ask for a beverage other than water. When flying in Canada, I always get ginger ale and it’s a huge treat, but I knew they wouldn’t have that in Mexico. I asked if they had a soda with lime hoping to get something like a 7-Up or Sprite. The flight attendant pondered my question for a couple of seconds and said, “7-Up?” Yup, that worked. 🙂 I only have soda on airplanes because the carbonation helps me clear my ears.

I read through my flight and we were in Mexico City in no time! It’s huge! I thought Chicagoland (where I’ve landed several times) was big, but this was civilisation as far as the eye could see! Traffic was bad! As we landed, I could see many roads were backed up.

By the time I’d deplaned, I only had about an hour until my next flight was supposed to board, so my first priority was to find my new gate. It wasn’t on the boards, so I asked at an Interjet information kiosk and was told to come back at 7:00, about 45 minutes later. So I went off in search of food and found a rather uninspiring food court with Subways, McDonald’s, Starbucks, Wings, and a few other stands. I picked Sbarro’s, which I think is a U.S. pizza chain (I only know the name from the movie The Terminal), just because pizza sounded good and their pizza looked decent enough, even if a slice with toppings was $72! I went with just plain cheese for $51 and had to grudgingly admit that it was pretty good, especially for airport pizza. 🙂 I then popped into a 7-Eleven to buy a litre bottle of water so I wouldn’t have to worry about finding some when I got to Mérida. That would give me enough to get me through the morning, including making coffee. $11. Even Mexico airports gouge you on everything!

It was 7:00 by that point, so I went back to the information kiosk, where I was told to come back at 7:30. What? That’s when we were supposed to leave! They said a word I did not recognise. I know “delayed” as “con retrazo” (very close to the French “en retard). They used a word that started with d and it took me a second to process that this is what they were saying. Delayed?! OMG. I asked how long and they said about 30 minutes.

Thirty minutes was fine. I’d told my host I would be there between 10:00 and 11:00 and a half-hour delay put me at the apartment around 10:15, 10:30. Absolutely no reason to panic. I still had no idea where my gate was going to be and found a seat within sight of the information desk. Minutes after I sat down, a man in a bright orange security vest came up to me and said “You’re going to Mérida?” I replied in the affirmative and he told me to go to gate three and that we’d be boarding around 7:45. Talk about service!

This was my first time traveling through a country where I can barely understand the language when spoken and I’m glad I made it through as well as I did. There were some English announcements, but the accent was so strong it wasn’t really not much clearer than the Spanish.

Our plane finally arrived and the passengers on it deplaned in record time. I was one of the last ones to be allowed to board. Air Canada will board rows such and such, then such and such and Interjet has a similar zone system. I understood this on my first leg of the trip, but couldn’t find my zone on my ticket. This time around, I had plenty of time to locate it way at the bottom. Zone one, since I was in row six. Great, I’d be one of the first to deplane!

We boarded with great efficiency and were taking off in no time at all. I was very impressed! It was another very short journey, just enough time for a snack and a few chapters of a book before Mérida was sprawled below me.

I’d texted my “greeter” in MC and hadn’t received a reply, so I decided to call him before getting in a taxi. Always risky. I don’t do well on the phone at all. I thought we agreed that he would be waiting for me when I arrived, but had a feeling I’d be left waiting on a curb…

Like Maz’s airport, Mérida’s airport has official taxis with set rates. I’d been told it would be $200 to go to my apartment, but they insisted on $270. Fiiiine.

I knew I wasn’t in the proverbial Kansas anymore when my taxi driver actually buckled up… and didn’t drive like a maniac… and obeyed all red lights and stop signs. What I could see of Mérida was very clean and tidy, with clear road signs. All a sharp contrast to Mazatlán. I told the driver this and we started chatting. He says that April and May are the worst months here weather-wise.

He found the apartment without any trouble and I knew I was at the right place because a) the street had a sign that matched the street name I’d been given; b) the building had a number that matched the address I’d been given; and c) the building looked like the picture from the Airbnb site. 🙂

So there I was on the curb. The door into the apartment complex was locked. I was a bit earlier than I thought I’d be, the journey from the airport having been super quick, so I figured the guy was going to be along shortly. But after a good 20 minutes, I was beyond ready to be settled for the night (and grateful to be in a neighbourhood that felt safe!) and used the last 4% of my battery on the phone to try my “greeter” again. Augh, he’d been inside one of the apartments the whole time waiting for me to call!

He rushed out to show me to my place, in the back of the complex and up… a spiral staircase. Be still my beating heart! The only way I would be more excited about my apartment was if it also had a turret. I’ve always dreamed of living somewhere with a spiral staircase!

The apartment is large and seems clean. I got a whirlwind tour and discovered that I have a balcony! What a bonus! I am a tad disappointed by the kitchen, though. I don’t even have a decent pot in which to boil water tomorrow. So I have some shopping to do. I’m going to be here for eight days and it’ll totally be worth it to get some cheap things to be comfortable. Just from tonight, I know I need:

– a pot and a frying pan;
– a new sponge for the kitchen;
– wash cloths for the bathroom (I knew I should have packed some — even my hotel in Durango didn’t have any);
– trash bags (although shopping should will take care of that);
– toilet paper

No big deal at all. It’ll give me a chance to figure out where I’ll be buying home goods when I move to this neighbourhood! 🙂

I had a shower and then crashed in bed with my computer, where I am writing this post. I am very grateful that the bed is super comfortable, a huge improvement over my bed on Isla, even with a topper!

I think I will be happy here for the next eight days. Let’s see what the morning brings.

I apologise for any typos in this post. I’m starting to see double. 🙂

21 thoughts on “Landed in Mérida!

  1. I hate airport prices.
    I’m glad you got settled in.
    What fun, shopping, my favorite sport.
    Looking forward to the food & exploring.
    Enjoy my friend!

  2. Airports are always expensive. They ‘have you’ and take advantage of the fact, The taxi was way more expensive than I would have expected though, 270 pesos? Wow, that is an NOB price.

    I tried to see if Uber had made it to Merida but found nothing. You should download the app.

    Anyway, you are there! Find coffee in the morning and begin the adventure!

    • I was shocked by $270 when the airport is in city limits. It costs about $400 to go from the airport in Maz to the Golden Zone, but that makes sense considering the distance. I’ll pay $550 to go straight home from the airport, or I could do $380 to the embarcadero in town, $8 for a lancha, and $30 for a pulmonía on the Isla side. Door number one, please.

      Mérida is known for having some of the cheapest in town taxi rates. We shall see.

      And find coffee? I BROUGHT coffee. And my press. 😀

  3. I am glad you made it there safely. When you go to Europe consider KLM airlines, they have more elbow and knee room too. Now we only fly them when traveling there…I will wait and wait for a seat sale and then it is almost the same price as the crappy charters. Be sure to take lots of pictures!

  4. It was pretty hot here yesterday afternoon! My wife had an appointment and we got lost looking for the place. It was about 32° I passed a few liters through my pores and that was at 4 pm.
    Merida is a great city, I’d love to come and stay a month or two. There is so much to see and photograph and music every night for free. Enjoy the holiday

    • It’s going to be in the 30s my whole time here. I had no problem in such temps in Maz when I arrived in November, so I’ll be okay. The trick is to stay hydrated and water isn’t enough if you’re walking a lot. Drink Electrolit!

    • It’s going to be in the 30s my whole time here. I had no problem in such temps in Maz when I arrived in November, so I’ll be okay. The trick is to stay hydrated and water isn’t enough if you’re walking a lot. Drink Electrolit!

      Thanks! I can’t wait to get a taste of this city!

  5. Enjoy Merida. Give Hennessey’s bar on Montejo a try, consider whether the street you want to live on is a bus route, go to Parque Sta. Lucia on a Tuesday evening to watch the dancing…lots to see and do. Do not think that the current temps are in any way representative of temps in April and May.

    The “d” word that means delayed is demorado.

    • I’ve been trying to go to Hennesy’s, but they’ve been closed. Maybe I’ll get lucky tonight…

      Great thought on the bus route! I’d rather be on the other side of the Paseo, or at least near an intersection with lights!

      Don’t think I’ll have time for Sta. Lucia tonight as I will be beat.

      I know about temps! This is a dry heat.

      Demorado will be easy to remember as it sounds like demoralised. As in I was demoralised when my vuelo fue demorado. But what an odd word since it translates as belated. At the Maz airport, I’m pretty sure they use con retraso.

      • My suggestion about the bus route has to do with avoiding streets the buses travel on as they are noisy, stinky, and kick up a lot of dust that you will get to clean up in your place. Better to be one street over from a bus route street.

        • Oh, I agree with you on that one, but it’s a good point that I should be within a block or two of a main bus route without having a scary intersection to cross to get there!

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