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Ruta Maya 8 – Great Balls of Fire

Friday 18th April 2014

It was dark before we reached Merida. We found ourselves a rustic little backpackers located in an old pension, but without effective fans the night was sweltering. 

I was rudely awoken in the morning, not by the dustmen, but by a goddamn earthquake. The entire building shook. The ground shifted from side to side. Bits of paint, dust and debris fell from the high ceiling. It measured 7.2 on the Richter Scale. Remarkably, Case slept right through it.

Artist's Impression

Having survived the quake, we decided to have a day off from gallivanting around Mayan ruins and instead go gallivanting around the town of Merida. I’m glad we did – the place is wonderful (and reasonably earthquake-proof, evidently). I found us a new gaff to stay for the night, a nice little hotel on the north end of town, and I even splurged out on AC and a telly that we would probably not even use.

Why would we need TV when we had all this splendid architecture to enjoy?

We went for lunch and ordered too much food.

Waaaay too much food. Delicious though.
The road adjacent to the main square was closed off and bleachers were being set up – some event going on that evening.
Ooooh... exciting...!

Being Good Friday, I kinda expected it to be a Catholic thing, so imagine my surprise and delight to find that no, we had just found ourselves ringside for THE COOLEST THING I HAVE EVER SEEN WITH MY OWN EYES.

You don’t believe me, do you?



Three words for you:


Aside from the Fire Hockey, there were traditional Mayan ball games…

Have hoop, let's play ball!
Mayans are also known for their ability to defy the laws of gravity.

And even a wedding!

I want Mayan warriors standing guard at my wedding.

You’d think it was just good timing, but I swear stuff like this always kinda just happens when you’re on the road!

Just next time remind me not to wear shorts.

After all the fun of the Mayan games (seriously going to write to the IOC and ask for Fire Hockey to be included in the next Olympic Games), Case and I grabbed some lolly ices…

Lolly ices. GRABBED.

Checked these beautiful old churches…

Would it be blasphemous to say this would make a great bar?
Pretty imposing. Like, pretty yet imposing.
And ended up in this pub that had some incredible décor.
Late night drinks in the Land of the Dead

Nice one Merida!! I love this town!

Graham Hughes

Graham Hughes is a British adventurer, presenter, filmmaker and author. He is the only person to have travelled to every country in the world without flying. From 2014 to 2017 he lived off-grid on a private island that he won in a game show, before returning to the UK to campaign for a better future for the generations to come.

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