Friday, January 11, 2013

Merida on the Map

Here is the article from Travel+Leisure that was published 8 years ago this Christmas.  What's changed?  Not a lot at first glance but when the article was written there were no (zero) vacation rentals in Merida.  It was David Keeps idea that we start Urbano Rentals and Best of Yucatan.  We were meant to spend a couple of hours together during the holidays of 2003 and we spent 8 days together going to all of our favorite places and trying all sorts of new places that David discovered.  Who knew you could walk up to someone's door and ask to be invited into their living room to see their sprawling nativity scene?  Tulum is no longer a 4 hour trip.  You can make it in 2.5 hours if you bypass Valladolid.  I never said "I know everything and everyone" and today I certainly don't know all of the new comers to Merida from the North or East or even from the Western states of Mexico.  My little sleepy Yucatecan neighborhood became "the" hot place to be during the real estate boom that this article helped create.   The antique dealers are no longer a secret and their prices are sometimes higher than they would be in New York or Paris but they still call me when they know I'd like something or when they need some quick cash and I'm still in the market for a bargain...or a treasure. Sabrina's tacos are still the best thing going but Santa Lucia park has been renovated and some very trendy and stylish boutiques and restaurants are about to open (maybe).  Trotters, Ki Xocolatl & Pez Gordo are waiting for INAH to approve their building permits. David Sterling has become the go to guy for every famous chef or Martha Stewart that passes through town and Los Dos Cooking school gets rave reviews from all of our guests who attend. Now Starwood does not have the monopoly on pricey boutique hotels with mediocre food...there are others. I still find it hard to eat dinner in Merida.  There are lots of pricy ambitious eateries that stack food or concoct disastrous combinations under the banner of fusion to entice and poison you.  I'm still happiest in the old traditional places that serve simple mexican fare or seafood.  I started raising chickens and doing yoga a couple of years ago which led me to stop eating meat and so eating out is increasingly difficult but every winter I make the effort to check out the newest places if I can stomach it or the old unreliables to see if they've improved.  I'm seldom surprised as you can tell from my two food blogs on Merida and the Yucatan.  It was fun to catch up with David again in May 2012 for an article on Tulum which you can see below.

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