In an effort to deliver you some new voices on Ottsworld, here’s a visitor submit from traveler Vicki Hill. Vicki is an efficient good friend of mine who traveled with me to Merida Mexico. It was her first journey to Mexico and her pleasure for the tradition was infectious. Like the nice curious traveler she is, she by accident discovered one of many coolest and little-known tales in Merida so I requested her to jot down about it! All opinions, experiences, and images listed here are hers. – Sherry
On my first day in Mexico, I walked via the slender streets of Merida’s historic middle alone, fortunately taking in all the brand new websites and sounds. There have been so many! Brightly painted boxy houses-pink, blue, inexperienced and yellow- constructed so shut to 1 one other however combined in with bakeries, taquerias, small convenience-type shops and outlets. I watched motorbikes, buses, vans, tiny vehicles & bicycles flying by on uneven brick streets. And I handed so many pleasant welcoming smiles & greetings from the locals.
However on that very first stroll in direction of the sq., my eyes noticed a darkish pink and white stone plaque; mounted up excessive on the nook of a constructing. I shortly crossed the road, seen the Spanish phrase for the image engraved on the stone & took a photograph. This may change into my loopy obsession in the course of my time in Merida. My touring companions can attest that I used to be at all times shouting, “Hey, I’ll catch up,” as I rushed throughout the streets to each nook the place I noticed these carved plaques. I used to be so curious to find out about them.
We had an exquisite tour with Raul from Excursions by Locals on our third day in Merida. And I couldn’t wait to ask him about these fascinating items of artwork caught on so many corners. He referred to as them Stone Plates.
Discovering Your Manner Across the Merida Historic Heart
When the Spanish conquered the previous Mayan Metropolis of T’ho, they structured all of the streets in an ideal sq. grid. Not by any names, simply numbers—North to South even numbers; East to West road named with odd numbers.
So, the nook you wished to seek out or meet at is perhaps at 65 & 42. It may appear fairly simple to navigate now, however it was complicated to many on the time within the newly constructed metropolis. To assist those that didn’t perceive or couldn’t learn, they might use nook landmarks to explain the place a selected location was—like “by the bronze statue” or “close to the two-faced mural,” and so on.
Corners are Key
Nook store homeowners started to call their companies after folks, locations, occasions, or animals to make it simpler to navigate the town. And earlier than lengthy, enterprise homeowners sought out nook buildings as a result of they had been simple to find.
However, over time, quite a lot of these nook landmarks disappeared. Then, the town authorities started making the Stone Plates of pink and white plaster, inserting them on corners all through the town. Among the plates are very outdated, and a few are more moderen, however each outdated and new preserve the historical past of the town corners alive. And, it appears, every plate has a narrative, occasion, or legend behind it…or had one. It was tough to seek out a lot details about these little items of artwork, however right here’s a tiny style of their historical past.
Learn extra about our journey and get a whole checklist of
Native Issues to Do in Merida Mexico
Historic Nook Markers
On the nook of Los Dos Camellos” (the 2 camels) is the story of a Lebanese immigrant who introduced a pair (female and male) of camels right here with the hope that they might reproduce, however with out success.
Merida Stone Plaques Inform a Story
“El Polvorín” (powder keg) is the place an explosion occurred in a gunpowder warehouse.
The legend of the “La Tucha” (a monkey) is that a good looking younger wealthy lady was was a monkey for being too impolite.
And, on the nook of “El Loro” (the parrot) is the story about two outdated women that owned a blind parrot. When it died, the girl changed it with a parrot statue. So, everybody referred to ‘the nook of the parrot”.
And the one plaque (& statue) I used to be unsuccessful discovering (however it wasn’t with out attempting!) is the story of “El Elefante” (the elephant). Courting again to the 1830s is an elephant statue on high of a roof positioned by the enterprise proprietor to make his place stand out. The plate is of an elephant & it’s the identify of the nook.
Some plates are named after native timber akin to “El Tamarindo” (the tamarind), “El Limón” (the lime) or “El Almendro” (the almond). There are a lot of plates with animals photos like “El Venadito” (the little deer), “El Pato” (the duck), “Los Dos Toros” (the 2 bulls). Some replicate the climate like “El Huracán” (the hurricane), “El Ciclón” (the cyclone).
The Unknown Tales – A Cause to Go Again to Merida
However there are a lot of I discovered names for, however no tales and I might like to know their historical past: “El Chévere” (The Cool Man), “El Salto de la Pulga” (The Soar of the Flea), “El Besito” (The Little Kiss), “El Mono Suelto” (The Free Monkey), “La Chaparrita” (the quick lady), and “El Imposible” (the unattainable).
However the one which had us all stumped was “El Autogiro” (the helicopter). This one couldn’t be very outdated and I wish to know its story!
In my analysis, I discovered the variety of plates starting from 170 to over 600—I’d guess the primary quantity is nearer; the historic middle isn’t that large. They aren’t on each nook, however as I walked and walked all through my week in Merida, my eyes had been at all times drawn to the corners, trying to find plates.
I ended up taking photographs of 33 Stone Plates…all manner above my head, often taken in a rush & some at night time. It was positively an surprising a part of my journey to Mexico, however one I actually loved, and it’s been enjoyable to seek out out extra about this a part of Merida’s historical past.
In regards to the Creator:
Vicki Hill is an avid solo automobile camper and hiker. She has shared her fantastic