Friday, September 30, 2016
In the picturesque mountain town of Mammoth Lakes, California, striking views are everywhere, from cascading waterfalls and lakes, to ancient pine forests. But this image was one of my favorites because it's so unexpected. The kayaks are piled up near the lake and a man in yellow and black that mirrors the boats colors is napping in a position that almost looks like a human kayak. No, I didn't set this up. It's just one of the dozens of memorable scenes that I witnessed in Mammoth Lakes.
Monday, September 19, 2016
Browsing through a destination's market supplies so many revelations. The sensory overload of colors, smells and sounds show so much about a place and culture. I was excited to see Merida's Mercado Lucas de Galvez and I was not disappointed. The sprawling covered market offers everything from paella pans to pet parakeets. Walking through the endless aisles was like a lively tour of the kitchens and tables of a local house.
I was amazed to find that all of the fruits above are different variations of mangoes.
Spices are essential to Yucatecan cooking so peppers, herbs and spices were everywhere.
A whole section is dedicated to dulces or candy, which meant I was in heaven. I felt compelled to buy pounds of my fave cajeta, which almost required me to check my luggage at the airport.
But the most unexpected site for me were the vendors for fresh chicharrones or pork cracklings. I learned that Mexico is one of the world's top producers of pork rinds. Locals crowded around this vendor for bags of the popular snack. I don't eat meat so these didn't look tempting to me but it certainly gives Merida's market a flavor like no other!
Friday, September 9, 2016
The Yucatan is famous for dazzling beaches but the bustling capital city of Merida makes you forget that you're surrounded by coastline. So I was taken aback to glimpse the pearly sands of Progreso Beach just 20 minutes outside of the city center. Old fishing boats decorate the end of the beach and vendors stroll with Mexican candies and fruits.
Palapas line the beach for fresh seafood but I focused on the flawless stretch and gentle waves. The beach was quiet with only a few strolling locals but on weekends, it's a popular spot. I splashed through the Gulf of Mexico and lounged on the sand until I couldn't ignore the prospect of fresh fish any longer.
Yucatan cuisine is one of my favorites so I immediately ordered pescado tikin-xic, a regional fave of fish seasoned with achiote and other herbs and baked in banana leaves. Nothing beats the taste of freshly caught fish with an ocean breeze washing over you. Afterwards, I meandered down the malecon and soaked up the Mexican sun that always seems to shine the brightest on the Yucatan coast.