…and then God smote me

WHY IS THE STEP SO HIGH???

I should have put some money in the collection plate but I always reverse when there are nuns. So, now the power is off for at least a day or two at my first wonderful hacienda. I skipped down the pavement to the second hacienda which still had power. As we walked into the entryway I was pleased to see that it was almost a mirror image of the first hotel; it was actually rated more highly. The manager showed me the first room available but it was incredibly dark with very high ceilings – something out of a Guillermo del Toro movie, perhaps? It was also a smoker’s room. My nose started to wrinkle with disappointment and they showed me the only other room. It too was smoky and similar to the first one – it’s only advantage was a dark window looking onto the pool at another room like the first perfect one. There were no more rooms available. Sigh.

I sadly drooped back to my first room with some portable lights so that I could pack my bag. By this time, my clothes were soaked through for the third time with the intense heat and humidity. After I moved into sinister room #2, I had another shower and decided to have a nap in bed. I kept looking up into the ceiling beams and seeing ‘things’. They were probably dead cicadas or spiders but I was now on an imagination roll. As I lay in bed, I thought about what I could do.

• I could try to find another hotel but now the WiFi was out and it was too hot to wander about
• I could visit the wonderful museum with Maya artifacts
• I could go to the fancy shopping mall
• I could take the bus to Progreso, a seaside resort, but it was 3 hours on the bus.
• I could take a guided tour in a car to one of the ruins/cenote

These were all part of my original plan but I was feeling really sick with the heat and what latterly turned out to be virus (we had a flu virus in Houston). What did I really want to do? Go home was the simple answer but given that I had just done something similar in Puerto Vallarta, I was wondering if I was over-reacting. I tried to self-diagnose and my conclusion was that I was not anxious just fed up. Finally, I decided to go on one last walkabout to get some snacks from the local shop. My room was so dark that I hadn’t realized that the sky was ominous. I took two steps outside and then changed my mind and came back into the hotel. Within minutes a tropical thunderstorm had started with flash flooding. I looked with fascination as the pool started to overflow and then asked if I could use the phone to speak to United Airlines in Mexico.

The representative was very helpful but yet again United screwed me again with a $200 change fee to go home the next day even though the flight was not full. The night staff looked upset that I was leaving but I think they understood. After the phone call, I arranged for a wake-up call at 4 am (one early flight a day from Mérida). One young man working at the hotel reminded me of Agador Spartacus in the Birdcage movie but he was wearing shoes. He offered me a drink and brought me a plate of lovely snacks. Agador explained in halting English that the crackers were like communion wafers and covered in delicious tomato and avocado salsas. Since I had gone to bed at 6 pm, I was fully awake at 2 am. That was fortunate because the night porter slept through his alarm. I could see the taxi driver through the gap in the door but struggled to unlock the big old door. Finally, the porter came running out half-dressed and bid me Adios!

When I got to the airport, there were no United representatives at the check-in desk… The cleaning staff explained that it didn’t open for another hour even though I had been told to be there precisely three hours before departure. Teddy was waiting anxiously for me at immigration in Houston but seemed relieved that my mood was fine. So that concludes the disastrous trip to Quito Mérida but I will post some lovely photographs next week and I will definitely return…

One final look at my perfect room #1 with the red patio doors…

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How to read maps…in El Paso

Church of the Immaculate Conception, El Paso

Church of the Immaculate Conception

This is the Catholic Church I was looking for, however, if you look at a map upside down you end up at the other end of town… I traipsed across an Interstate, train-tracks and found myself in a pawn shop area. There was a beautiful Anglican church below – which I would have gone into, if it was open. Eventually, I did the sensible thing and went into the pawn shop and asked where the church was. Even with that, I had to go into the police station, closer to the Immaculate Conception to check where I was. Usually, I am a good navigator but I guess God was leading me on a different path.

'Not the Catholic Church' St Clement Anglican Church

‘Not the Catholic Church’
St Clement Anglican Church

Both churches were really beautiful but the sky around the Immaculate Conception church was breathtaking. It was a small church within the downtown area and there were some parishioners praying. Suddenly I was back 40 years because one of the ladies had a long scarf over her head. Back in the day, women couldn’t enter a Catholic church without a head covering. A scarf was sufficient, occasionally a Mantilla, but today I was wearing a $3 Fedora.

This is just the sort of church I love. Small, intimate, beautifully decorated by those who care for it.

stained-glass-el-paso

Station of the Cross Christ consoling the women

Station of the Cross
Christ consoling the women

St Anthony and stained glass

St Anthony and stained glass

One of the comments on my previous church post referred, with astonishment, that there could be intact stained glass windows all over Texas. I am astonished that anyone could break a stained glass church window but perhaps that’s my naivety. My rose tinted illusions about the USA are getting shattered daily. Doesn’t everyone have friends of different ethnicity, religion and color? What’s wrong with the world?

Catholic Masons.

Catholic Masons.

I think I could get smitten for that… For those who don’t know, the Knights of Columbus are not dissimilar to the Masons. At one time Catholics could not join the Masons, so they had their own society. I don’t approve of Masons, Knights or Sororities but I was one of the Drama Group Geeks who always felt on the outside. I was so shocked when I discovered my paternal great grandparents were both Masons. WHAT! I didn’t even know they were Protestant… 👿

Masonic Sphinx

Masonic Sphinx

I loved this Sphinx in front of the Masonic Hall – just trying to balance things. 😇