Scenes from Izamal | Mexico | Living in Mexico

Scenes from Izamal

Izamal is one of those jewel-like towns, carefully restored and maintained. Most of the buildings in the center are painted the same color—mustard yellow—which gives the place its sunny character.

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On Sunday, families come to the plaza to relax, to buy a treat, maybe to attend mass in the Santuario de la Virgen de Izamal or one of the barrio churches.

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It's hot here. Year-round high temperatures are in the 80s-90s. Ice cream is a big seller in the plaza.

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Ice cream sellers clank on gongs to attract attention. Traditional Mayan men commonly wear light-colored clothes, sandals and straw hats. For some reason, they roll up the cuffs of their trousers.

Women wear huipiles (colorfully embroided short dresses) or the gala terno (a white dress embroidered with white lace), often with lace-hemmed slips that hang below the dresses.

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Half-hour carriage rides cost gringos $50 pesos ($4.50 US). Local people probably pay less than half that.

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This guy's handsome green carriage carries an advertisement for the No Name Broiled Chicken Company.

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Only on Sunday, you can get charcoal-grilled chicken with soup or rice, delivered to your home. Order by telephone. I bet it's the driver's wife's business.

Speaking of chicken, in the neighboring town of Tixcocob (the hammock-making center of the Yucatán) I found Bobbo's chicken stand.

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I love the cartoon of the chicken getting a hot foot.

So many independent, proprietor-run businesses thrive in Mexico, each with its own unique approach. The claim to fame of the Delgado Mortuary is 24-hour service—probably a strong selling point in a tropical country.

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The hearse is a minivan with landau irons artlessly painted on the rear windows. I like the Delgado Mortuary. I'd use them.

Jean and I ate comida at a restaurant called Los Mestizos, the owners proudly announcing their mixed Spanish-Mayan ancestry. That kind of pride is refreshing in a country dominated by snooty criollos claiming pure Castillian blood, as if that were an asset.

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Jean wanted to know who their decorator was.

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This restaurant was, shall we say—colorful, even by Mexican standards, where hot pink is a neutral. It was a bustling, friendly place with excellent food including many Yucatecan specialties. I ordered Dzoto-Bichay. Reaching out to English-speaking customers, the menu described this dish as "Chaya tamale with hard boiled eggs and moiled [sic] seed served with a tomato sauce." It was delicious.
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