BOLT’s Top 5 Things To Do When Visiting Merida

We’ve been blessed with lots of visitors lately and were so proud to show them our beautiful city. So, it’s time for a top 5 list of what we suggest you see when visiting Merida.

El Zócalo

1. El Zócalo

Also known as la Plaza Grande or Grand Plaza el zócalo is a must visit site. It’s a great spot for picture taking, it’s surrounded by historic colonial buildings and an ancient cathedral. There are lots of art galleries and street vendors in the area. At night el zócalo comes alive with music, light shows and a variety of activities.

Musica en el Zócalo!
El Museo del Mundo Maya

2. El Museo del Mundo Maya

The Maya World Museum is a striking, modern Mayan cultural museum with many exhibits of art, handicrafts & history. It’s a great place to spend a cool air conditioned afternoon on a hot Merida day.

Maya Museum Exhibit

3. Biciruta on Sunday Morning!

Rent a bike and enjoy a ride down historic Paseo Montejo. The street is closed to car traffic on Sunday mornings and full of bikers, skaters, folks walking their dogs, babies in strollers and more. It’s a lovely way to take in Merida’s main street with beautiful old mansions and monuments.

Monumento de la Patria
Look for the pink umbrella!

4. Free Walking Tour

Every day at 10 am there is a great walking tour which starts at Parque Santa Lucia. You will tour central Merida, see lots of historic buildings and thoroughly enjoy a brief history lesson.

Cathedral de Merida

5. Take a Day Trip

With so much to see and do you may not want to leave Merida. However, at least one trip out of town shouldn’t be missed. You can visit the closest beach town or Progresso, spend a day at one of the many cenotes or visit the pyramids at the World Heritage Sites of Chichen Itza or Uxmal.

Yucatan Cenote
Uxmal

If you are planning a visit to Merida, please let us know. We’ll be proud and honored to show you our beautiful home city.

A visit to the Fez (Fes) Medina

The medina (walled city) in Fez is the oldest and largest one in Morocco. We spent over 6 hours there today, exploring the narrow streets, admiring the beautiful goods for sale and enjoying a day amidst the hustle and bustle of a Saturday in Fez. Everyone was very friendly although some of the sellers were a little pushy. Our guide, Mohammed, was very informative about this UNESCO world heritage site, built in the 9th century.

We visited the ancient Jewish quarter of the Medina. There is a rich history of Judaism in Morroco, although sadly not very many Jews remain.

We entered the medina through the famous Blue Gate. You can see that the exiting side is green.

Another highlight, although quite smelly, was a visit to the tannery. There, over 600 families ply their centuries old craft of turning goat, cow and camel hide into leather goods. Although smelly, the view from the top was awesome!

We also saw the river that used to divide the medina into 2 sections (Spanish and Tunisian) but is now connected by a bridge.

A visit to the medina of Fez is a must if you are here. Be sure to have good walking shoes and water. Have questions about our visit to Fez? Please email us at boltraveling@gmail.com

Celebrating A Year in Merida!

We have really come to love this city! A year passed by really quickly! Lots of good adventures, wonderful new friends made and just another wonderful year for Black Old Lesbians Traveling!

A BOLT MUST: A HOME WITH A POOL

Our old home in Da Nang, Vietnam

Water is my happy place and because of me, we choose to live in smaller apartments that have pools. I came to accept this about myself after our first 6 months here in Merida. We had a lovely 2 bedroom home but no pool. I became a “pool beggar”, visiting friends with pools frequently. Now we are in a much smaller place and I love my daily time in the pool.

Our Shared Pool here in Merida

There are so many benefits to swimming and exercising in the water. Including:

  • Water supports the body, putting less stress on your joints and muscles.
  • Working out in water helps build strength.
  • Water pressure helps put less strain on the heart by moving blood around the body.
  • The impact of gravity is less in the water allowing a greater range of motion.
  • It keeps your heart rate up but takes some of the impact stress off your body.
  • It builds endurance, muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness
  • It helps maintain a healthy weight, healthy heart and lungs.
  • It tones muscles and builds strength.
  • It provides an all-over body workout, as nearly all of your muscles are used during swimming.
  • Swimming or water exercise are relaxing and peaceful, alleviating stress
    improving coordination, balance and posture,
    improving flexibility, and
    providing good low-impact therapy for some injuries and conditions.
  • Especially here in very hot Merida having time in the water provids a pleasant way to cool down on a hot day.
Pools are great for spending time with friends.

For more information about the value of water exercise visit https://pin.it/5bVVSOE

I’d love to hear about your “must haves” in finding the home that is right for you. Please feel free to share in the comments section. If you have any questions please contact us at boltraveling@gmail.com

Nuestras Primeras Dos Semanas en Mérida

Tomorrow will be 2 weeks since our arrival in Merida. Because of Covid concerns we haven’t done much exploring yet, outside of getting to know our new neighborhood. Here is a summary of our first two weeks in pictures.

First off, We love our little orange house and the small compound in which we are living.
There is a lovely park one block away with walking trails. I am really enjoying my morning walks an seeing my neighbors and their dogs.
There is a GREAT BIG mall within walking distance too. It has EVERYTHING including an enormous supermarket (Soriana).
There are all kinds of restaurants in the area including a pretty good pizza place (yes, they deliver).
Equally close is another, smaller, mall with a fully stocked Walmart.
There is a beautiful community of Black folks here. They had a gathering in the park on Sunday which included a toy drive. Kathy enjoyed meeting some new folks and seeing some old friend and dropping off some toys.
We have a tortilleria right across the street from us, which is wonderful.
The place I was most excited to discover was right next door! There is a wonderful little tienda that sells fresh fruits and veggies, and egg. They even have a butcher!

So, our new life in Merida is comfortable, quiet and beautiful…all we could ask for during these difficult times. We look forward to exploring and sharing more as the weeks progress. Stay safe! Love and light to all!

?!Merida!?

My friend, Olivia, gave me the inspiration for this week’s blog post. She asked some great questions which I will answer here.

The value of questions!

How was your time in Vietnam? It was wonderful! Vietnam handled the Covid crisis very well. It was very safe. Da Nang is beautiful and affordable. However, we came for a month and ended up staying for 10. We were concerned about having to review our visas every month and the strong possibility that we would eventually be denied.

Beautiful Da Nang!

Will you ever return to Asia? We hope so. We love Asia, especially Thailand and Malaysia. Plus there are several countries we still want to visit (India, Sri Lanka and Cambodia for sure). But if 2020 has taught me anything it’s that nothing is for certain.

Yep!

What was your impetus to move to Mexico, in the middle of a pandemic? How did you choose Merida? Merida is one of the safest cities, not just in Mexico but the world. While the pandemic is of course a concern, we chose Merida because of it’s relatively low Covid numbers, thriving black ex pat community, affordable housing and proximity to family and friends in the U.S.

In or out of a pandemic Merida is very safe!

How are you feeling today? We traveled for 2 days, 4 planes plus all the packing and preparation. We are exhausted and jet lagged but grateful to have arrived safely. We tested for coronavirus before leaving Vietnam and were both negative. We plan to isolate for the recccomended 10 days and will wear masks and practice social distancing until further notice.

Covid Testing, Family Hospital, Da Nang

One question Olivia didn’t ask but I wanted to share on briefly is: What was traveling like during a pandemic? It was really surreal and a bit anxiety producing. Most of the airports were REALLY empty until we got to Houston. We treated ourselves to better seats, lounges and a hotel stay during our Houston layover. We wore masks at all times and my hands are so dry from all the washing and hand sanitizer. Overall our travel was a positive experience, for which we are very grateful!

Ho Chi Minh City International Airport
All Nippon Airways Ticketing Desk
Vietjet Travel Lounge (only 3 people there, including us)

Thank you Olivia for helping me to clarify what I wanted to share today, our 5th day in beautiful Merida.

Casa Dulce Casa

THANK YOU VIETNAM!

Kathy and I feel very safe here in DaNang Vietnam. We have good reason for this. Vietnam has one of the lowest incidences of Covid 19 in the world. This is amazing when you consider that we share a border with China and are a mere 1200 miles away from Wuhan (where the virus first was documented).

There are many reasons for the low number of cases and the fact that there have been no deaths. This NPR article gives some details as to why this is so. The Vietnamese government was very proactive from the start. When we got off the plane in February we were carefully screened including our temperatures being taken. Masks have been worn for months, hand washing and social distancing have been stressed and for the most part respected.

I feel that in addition to a respect for governmental authority (say what you want, this is a Communist country), there is also a real level of concern for the well being of others. Masks are worn, not just to protect the wearer but for the protection of others. There has been no hoarding or panic buying of food or home goods. To alleviate food insecurity rice ATMs have been installed. While I have heard about some xenophobia, it is my understanding that it is not sanctioned by the government.

So BOLT intends to remain in DaNang until the pandemic is over, maybe even until a vaccine is created. We are practicing social distancing, eating well and enjoying our time together. We know we are extremely privileged during these times. We hold all those who are sick and are affected negatively by the pandemic in our prayers and meditations.

BOLT in the Time of Rona

These are trying times for us all. Kathy and I are safely in Vietnam and doing well. We are practicing social distancing which is not so easy for these 2 Black old lesbians! This blog is about some of the things Kathy and I are doing to stay physically well, mentally strong and emotionally positive during the pandemic.

I assume we’ve all read all the information about hand washing, avoiding crowds, corona statistics, etc. In fact, I feel like I’m reading the news more than I should. We feel a lot of concern for our family and friends all over the world. There’s a lot of uncertainty, fear and anxiety. Here are some of the things we can all do instead of spending time in worry or the 24 hour news cycle.

Spend Time in Prayer, Meditation and Quiet

I think this is probably the most important thing that we each do daily. We give each other time and space, every morning and evening, to attend to our individual spiritual practices.

Get Plenty of Fresh Air and Exercise

Even in “shelter in place” situations going outside for a walk or exercise is allowed, and even encouraged. But people are asked to keep their distance from others. I’m participating in the Girl Trek 30 Day Walking Challenge. I’m also extremely grateful that we have a pool and I swim daily. Kathy goes out for a daily walk. She says that if she didn’t walk daily her days would feel very empty.

Keep Mentally Active with Reading, Hobbies and Creative Activities

I’m writing this blog and fool around with Pinterest pages. Kathy has created a YouTube channel. We both read and play brain challenging computer games. These are all great ways to pass the time when faced with stay at home situations.

Keep Your Immune System Strong

There are lots of beautiful fruits and vegetables here in Vietnam and we have found plenty of healthy choices for food. We drink lots of water. Devise at home self care rituals. A silver lining of the pandemic is that we have plenty of time for rest.

Reach Out, Be of Service, Stay in Touch

Even with social distancing or quarantine I think we can find ways to connect with and help one another. If you are member of a 12 Step fellowship there are phone and online meetings. You can brighten someone’s day with a phone call. You can arrange a treat to be delivered to a neighbor or friend or offer to shop for an elder. We’d love to hear from you. Please share your ideas for thriving during these difficult times.

BOLT REVIEWS: Hoi An

Any visit to DaNang is not complete without a trip to the ancient town of Hoi An.

Hội An is a city on Vietnam’s central coast known for its well-preserved Ancient Town, cut through with canals. The former port city’s melting-pot history is reflected in its architecture, a mix of eras and styles from wooden Chinese shophouses and temples to colorful French colonial buildings, ornate Vietnamese tube houses and the iconic Japanese Covered Bridge with its pagoda.

Hoi An is also a well known spot for bespoke and tailor made dresses and suits. On the recommendation of a local we visited Naly Tailor and Cloth Shop. For a very reasonable price we are having some pants and dressses made. The owner, Twi, is very lovely and creative.

I do have to say that Hoi An is quite touristy and the vendors can be very assertive. There are beautiful lanterns, kimonos and jewelry for sale everywhere. Be sure you bargain for your souvenirs, etc. Remember, the first price is never the final price!

Be sure to stay for the evening in Hoi An as that’s when the town really comes alive. The lights are so beautiful!

We ended our day with a lazy ride down the river. It was so peaceful and our boat captain was fantastic!

By the way, BOLT is now an Amazon affiliate. Throughout our posts you may find links to Amazon products you may be interested in. For instance, I took all the photos for this post using my Redmi phone. Click the link for more details. As always please let us know if you have any questions or comments to share.

BOLT Reviews: Lynchburg RV Resort

There is a long and winding road through rural Virginia to get to this resort but Oh! is it worth it! This is one of the most beautiful RV parks I’ve been to.

There is a lovely and tranquil lake with swans.

There are wonderful trees everywhere.

The campsites are shady and spacious.

There is a great pool, surrounded by plenty of lounge chairs.

There are two activity centers (family and adult) and both have delightful decks.

The lake has a beach and swim area.

There are outdoor activities like shuffleboard and playgrounds.

I especially love the many walking trails, both paved and dirt.

Kathy and I are very satisfied with our Thousand Trails membership. We have enjoyed exploring the states and having nice spots to stay.