Photoblog: Merida and the Yucatan

Daily wake-ups as early as 4:15am, constant encouragement to produce content (or brainstorm more concepts), keeping up with another internship, e-mails, and friendships from home - this goes far beyond a full-time job. Week three on-location has been draining, frantic, but overwhelmingly delightful. No matter how plum-tuckered-out I get during production, I still find our daily activities and trials worth the sweaty days and gastro-hilarity. As Barney would remark, "The fun and learning never ends. Here's what we did (this week)!"

 Celestun

Celestun

At Celestun Nature Reserve we jetted through mangroves and observed some flamingoes from afar. Post-nature experience, we saw our first Mexican beach for about an hour while having lunch with Alex, our accommodating and passionate host for Merida, and Jorge, driver extraordinaire.

 Uxmal

Uxmal

 Pinatas

Pinatas

 Merida Market

Merida Market

 Lucha Libre

Lucha Libre

A unanimous favorite moment on the entire trip was our training session with Lucha Libre stars. This is by no means the WWE of Mexico. Lucha Libre isn't scripted and is all about honor. We flipped and flopped with the self-proclaimed good and bad guys, received our own fighting names (mine being "Sexy Star" thanks to the resident fourteen year-old trainee in the vicinity), and honestly attempted to capture the essence of the sport.

While most film crews or documentarians like to cover Lucha Libre in a fluff or comedic piece, they were really touched that our presence was about knowing the sport and telling others about it. These guys are investment bankers (or something else) by day and honor protectors by night.

And a note to all of you wondering what makes a move complete: it's all about slapping the mat for a little drama.

 Hacienda Sotuta de Peon

Hacienda Sotuta de Peon

 Chocolate Shop

Chocolate Shop

While I could go on for pages describing the locations and experiences of Merida, I'll refrain and simply focus on the guy who made those moments happen. Alex isn't a tour guide but a key link in the Yucatan tourism chain. He's got mad power, connections, and responsibilities up the wazoo. On a more poetic note, Alex was an incredible resource and friend during that hot and humid week. He mentioned we opened his eyes to aspects of his own region he didn't know or had forgotten - providing him with the inspiration to do something good. Wonderful guy with a great perspective.

 Quinceanera dress

Quinceanera dress

The Yucatan state offered things I hadn't anticipated and people I found endearing. Way to go, Merida. You overcame the blistering heat and humidity with your charm.

All photos © ProjectExplorer.org, 2010.