The Paseo de Montejo is Merida’s Champs Élysées. Built at the turn of the century, this wide tree-lined street is a fun place to take a stroll. We saw lots of old houses — some restored and some in pretty bad shape.
About halfway down the block is the Anthrpologia y Historia Museo. It has a lot of well-preserved Mayan artifacts that you won’t see at the ruins (because they’ve been moved here for safety). The museum is also in a fully restored giant colonial house.
At the end of Paseo Montejo is the Monument of the Motherland — a gorgeous sculpture telling the history of Mexico. Eric, Chad, Megan and I ate dinner across the street from the statue while the sun went down.
Two awesome things we saw while eating dinner: 1) The monument is in the middle of a traffic circle. We saw a bicycle enter the circle that was carrying at least 8 small cages with one chihuahua in each. The cages were built onto the front of the bike so it could serve as a mobile pet store. 2) A Mayan man approached us selling corn husks that had been dried and made into giant grasshoppers. Eric said no out of reflex to vendors who come up to a table while you’re eating (and that he wouldn’t know how to pack it in a backpack), but we didn’t see anything like that again and he says he now wishes he had bought a grasshopper.
In between, we visited Merida’s only Irish pub where I had a Guiness (in a can) for 70 pesos. There wasn’t much Irish about it. More noteworthy was a little coffee shop called Cafe La Boheme that really made you feel like you were on a quieter (and muggier) Champs Élysées.
I also saw some signs of modernism. Maybe Frank Lloyd Wright was here in the 50s?