Ruta Maya 8 – Great Balls of Fire

Ruta Maya 8 – Great Balls of Fire

It was dark before we hit 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 an earthquake. Bits of paint fell from the high ceiling. It measured 7.2 on the Richter Scale. Case slept right through it.

Casey would be in the attic of that house, snoozin' away!
Casey would be in the attic of that house, snoozin’ away!

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. 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.

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

We went for lunch and ordered too much food.

Mexican Food Merida
Too much food!!!

The road adjacent to the main square was closed off and bleachers were being set up – some event going on that evening.

Turns out “Merida” is Spanish for “utterly charming”.


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.

You don’t believe me, do you?



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

Mayan Ball Game Hoop
Have hoop, let’s play ball!


Mayan Ball Game, Merida
Mayans are also known for their ability to defy the laws of gravity.

And even a wedding!

Mayan Wedding, Merida
I want Mayan warriors at my wedding.


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

Graham Hughes Casey Turner Mayan Warriors
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 ice-cream…

Graham and Casey in Merida
Ice cream. GRABBED.

Checked these beautiful old churches…

Church Merida
Church Merida
I know what you’re thinking: this would make a great bar.
Church in Merida Mexico
Pretty imposing. Like, pretty yet imposing.

And ended up in this pub that had some incredible décor.

Bar in Merida, Mexico
All my Grim Fandango fantasies come true!

Nice one Merida!!

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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