Progreso

Max is finally getting the hang of what it means to behave like a proper tourist boy on the beach. We took the bus to Progreso today for our second visit to this small and very modest beach town which is the closest beach to Merida.

Progresso

We have gotten pretty good at hanging out at some random corner of Calle 64 and waving buses down as we go and who can argue with a combined fare of $2.8 for the roughly hourlong trip.

Other than the beach and a few restaurants that serve pescado and mariscos (which are strangly missing on many Meridien menues and if there is fish it’s often fried) there isn’t much to Progreso: a hotel in the grassiest green I have ever seen, a little veggie and fruit market and a few streets with hole in the wall stores all selling exclusively what looks like cheap plastic crap imported from China. Pretty much in front of every store, though, sits a little old lady in the typical white embroidered traditional Yucatean dress, drinking Coke Zero from the bottle and selling a few bunches of radishes, some sweets, tangerines, limes, of course, or herbs. We got there fairly early and the vendors of hand-woven belts, shirts, blouses, necklaces and – a new one – pretty cool kites outnumbered the visitors by 2 to 1.

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The grassiest green hotel I have ever seen.

We had barely arrived when Max ripped his shoes off. At his day care he has learned to take his shoes off before going into the sandbox and I swear the child can’t go in the sand wearing shoes. He absolutely has to take them off, be it the warm sandy beach of Progreso, the sandy playground at Santiago park or, I suspect the freezing sandy beach of the North Sea in December. I have told him on occasion that it would be okay to leave his shoes on but he can’t do it, he has to be barefeet. Period. Next thing I saw was a little blue flash tearing towards the water and running in. Is this the same kid who a week ago freaked when the water hit his knees? He went in with Uli and then with me and then with Uli again, to his waist, even a bit higher and couldn’t get enough until his lips had a scarry eggplant color and his whole little skinny body was shivering. Then he wanted to go again …. I have hope that by the end of this sabbatical we’ll have him ready to try and start with a few swim moves.

We had lunch in one of the seafood restaurants and came closer to obnoxious behavior than we ever have so far in Yucatan: 5 guys, late teens, early twenties at the next table, had obviously a few to many beers and where sort of loud and arrogant. Typical behaviour, wouldn’t even notice it either in the States or Europe but here it stood out.

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Street vendors are everywhere and are selling anything under the sun, much of which I don’t need or want.

Something else struck me again today: street vendors of very sort are an accepted part of life here, they often come into restaurants with trays full of sweets selling them to the customers (they always carry their stuff on their head with amazing ease), the waiters will even go get them for you if you ask. Guitarists play on busses, collect money, have a little chat with the driver and then head out to catch the next bus back. Little old ladies selling veggies or young man selling random stuff like shoe laces, black maket DVDs or sponges in front of a strore is the rule, not the exception. Nobody shoes them away, or forbids them to come in (with a few exceptions, for example restaurants that think of them selves as high end and cater mainly to non-Mexican tourists – in short, the ones we avoid like the plague). Their products are not targeted at tourist but address everyday needs of people living here. Since I am such a sucker I need to avoid them, especially the little old ladies who look frail and tired, else I’d probably end up with a year’s supply of nut-crunch candy or cleaning rags.

The task in the evening was to find a download cable for Uli’s camera which we achieved. Now I can post a few of Max’s pics as well.

Tomorrow we are off to see the Chichen Itza. We’ll stay for the night so there will be a report on Monday evening our time of our adventures climbing (or not) the “big, very old and very very dangerous PYRAMID of CHICHEN ITZA”. (in Max’s world the word “pyramid” just like “Mount St.Helens” has to be screamed, these things are way too important and dangerous to merely speak their names at normal volume).

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