As I've mentioned before, this blog supposedly serves as our digital journal for the trips we did. Emphasis on the words OUR and WE. Which means, the stories in this blog should be about us, things that we did, we experienced, and how we felt about it. I’ve been writing most of the articles from my point of view. I asked Nico to at least contribute a post or two from time to time because I’d also love to see our adventure from his POV. For example, I could’ve asked him to write about our visit to the vintage hacienda-turned-into-restaurant called Hacienda San Pedro Ochil in Uxmal. But, Nico is not a man of words, he’s more like a man of facts and pictures. He takes good pictures, in fact, 99% of the photos in this blog are his craft, but he is also very let say, very savvy in words. In his defense, pictures say 1000 words. Well, he’s not wrong, but he’s also not helping. So, if he would be the one writing about the hacienda, it’d mostly turn out like:
«Hacienda SPO, built in 1700, located at KM 175 off the road Uman, 40 minutes away from the city of Merida. Nice architecture, strong in Moorish style, accented by local culture. The restaurant serves authentic Yucatan food. Good food at a good price. »
-tons of beautiful pictures-
Factually correct. Visually representative. Incredibly boring impersonal.
Here is how I remember it:
Remember when we (thought) we almost got killed by a macheté because we picked up a hitch-hiker in the middle of a rural area on the way to Uxmal? Well, we survived. By the time we finished visiting the magical Uxmal ruins, it was already mid-day. The day was hot and muggy and I was famished!
Lucky for me, Nico has previously added a place to eat that is on our way back to Merida on his GPS; Hacienda San Pedro Ochil. We actually came across the name of this hacienda-turned-into-a-restaurant in Izamal, at the hotel San Pedro Arcangel, precisely right above our bed. The photo of this hacienda was hanging on the wall as decoration.
I don't know why it didn’t even occur to me beforehand to visit a hacienda while we’re in Mexico altho I’ve literally spent a chunk of my childhood binge watching telenovelas. Yes, while most kids were busy playing outside, I was rushing home to watch Carita de Angel, followed by La Usurpadora, Betty La Fea.. You catch my drift. BUT, as all telenovela fans know, the Thalia ones were the best and we watched them all (admit it, I know you did). Almost all of the telenovelas in the 90s shared common themes: lost love, rich world - pauper world collide, and after a tear-jerking, teeth-grinding, fist-fisting drama spanned over hundreds episodes, it normally ends up with a big wedding finale.
There’s only three different settings of any telenovelas of the 90s: random outdoor, a makeshift ghetto, and a HACIENDA. Well, mostly haciendas, because there were where all the interesting characters live (the Sorayas that forever changed the meaning of evil antagonist; the handsome, super-rich pricks that become the main interest of our pauper-but-extremely-gorgeous protagonists, and the old people who know secrets but refuse to say anything for the sake of drama), and also where all the drama happens.
Soraya, awaken your inner killer rage since 1990 by eating pasta
SO, being able to visit a real hacienda was a big deal for me. Hacienda Ochil was once a cattle ranch and a prosperous farm of henequen fiber (sisal). With the collapse of the sisal market, the hacienda was slowly abandoned and destroyed with time. It was then restored in 1997 and rebuilt closely to the original details of the hacienda. The restored hacienda now functions as a restaurant, a dreamy venue for weddings and celebrations, as well as a museum.
We arrived late for lunch and far too early for dinner, the big crowd from the tour buses slowly left and we managed to find a small table that was empty. The restaurant was all-you-can-eat style buffet, and there’s no service, no menu, nor waitress. I was too tired to make any important decision for what I wanted to eat so the idea to just roam around the serving table and pick what looks interesting was rather delightful and relaxing.
The restaurant served almost every typical Yucatan dish. I couldn’t really tell the name of each food we ate, but it didn’t matter, because, in the end, we devoured almost each dish and it was super good. We sat, full and happy.
Before I managed to doze off and fall asleep because that’s what I do when I’m full, Nico dragged me to visit the hacienda. We waddled out into the afternoon at the hacienda, taking photos of its romantic architectural features. You can really feel the opulent style of the hacienda with its huge open amphitheater that flows into a private pool with an underground cénoté at the background. Yep, ladies in gentleman, you read it right. This hacienda has its own cénoté!!
We walked slowly, and by the look of it, it was clear that Nico was trying to make sense of it all. Trying to imagine how life was in a hacienda. And I smirked smugly because I know better, I watched telenovelas.