casino Golden Island - Mérida - Wikimapia

[LORE] King Mario and Friends in "No Harm, No Fowl - Prologue"

Toothenny Beach, Coast Guard Lands
Naval Seaport 003
10 years ago
For some reason, when the nations of the world were reestablishing themselves, there were two organizations that rose back from the dead to govern its people: the US Department of Agriculture and the US Coast Guard. Of all the nations and departments and citizen-based communities in the USA, those were the two that were deemed worthy by some higher power to lead the people to success.
Or some attempt at success.
As it stands, those nations don't exist anymore. They've gone off to join the ranks of obscure nations whose relics will eventually join el Dorado's museums in one way or another. But that's the far future. This particular part of the story takes place 10 years ago during the final days of the Coast Guard. Built on the ruins of Louisiana and Mississippi, the shaky ground the government stood on (literally) served as a sort of forewarning to the issues they'd have to face only a few years after its establishment. While historians from el Dorado would have issues pointing to concrete reasons as to why the government institution would fall into ruin, the geographic location and lack of posts detailed instructions from their leaders couldn't have been a positive development. Stemming from that logic is the issue of resource allocation as the months went on. No explicit leadership probably meant resources couldn't get to the most vulnerable populations, thus creating some kind of frenzy to hoard instead of to invest.
Regardless of the reasons, many citizens found themselves facing something of an exodus as their fellow neighbors left everything (nothing) behind. What would they find on the horizon? Something better than what they had now, hopefully.
Samuel Sanders was only 15 when he remembered his own exodus from the chaotic island. While people were leaving at a steady stream for a while, it started to get worse when the country started staggering to a bloody civil war between civilian and splintered government groups.
He could remember the shouts his parents threw at one another, which had long replaced the hopeful and optimistic tones they shared over the diner table. And no matter how much they released their anger, their plates of food started getting smaller and the shouts only got louder. Even the food started to become more bland and grey as if to reflect the environment surrounding them. Normally Mrs. Sander's food would be flavorful and homely, as it was made from recipes passed down generation to generation. But the world around them had manage to take away the spirit of his food and family.
Samuel couldn't remember all of it but he did remember the day it all went lopsided for his own family.
It was early in the morning when he heard his father's loud booming voice just outside his house. He was telling some men that he had already paid protection for the month and it wasn't fair for 'them' to demand more when they were already pressed for cash. After a few more moments of arguing, a gun shot rang out and he heard his mother give off the most guttural scream he had ever heard. Samuel thought he knew what screaming was like already. He was wrong.
"Is there anyone else in this shack you call a house?" He heard one of the raiders outside ask. Followed by a loud echoing slap. "I asked you a fucking question."
"No! There's no one else in this house. You've taken everything from me now please leave."
"Well... not everything." Another gunshot. Definitely not the last one of the day but the final nail in the coffin for Samuel.
"You didn't have to do that you know. Now we can't collect anything from this house anymore."
"Yeah well. Tough luck."
"Now what?"
"Burn it. Let the cinders show anyone else in this block what happens if they try to make some stupid heroic stand."
"Dude, she's still alive." Sure enough, Samuel could hear the faint coughs and ragged breathing of his mom downstairs. The house was made of flimsy wooden material, sure, but her final breaths were so loud.
"Okay, great. Doesn't change my mind. Either you waste another bullet on her or burn her alive. Take your pick."
"Eh. Bullets are becoming more expensive."
"Smart man."
Samuel didn't dare to move until he saw the smoke rising up from above and the boots march away onto some other unfortunate soul. He couldn't cry. He didn't know how to. In just a few seconds that day, his entire life had been taken from him. Not even seeing the corpse of his dad and fading figure of his mom could make him emotionally react.
In the future, he would spend hours, days in mourning. The tears that would strike his face would age him quickly in the years to come. But right then and there, in that slowly burning living room, he could do nothing except place his mom's head in his lap as he sat down.
"Sammy. Sammy I am so sorry. Your father and I wanted so much for you. B-but now we can't."
"You tried. Every day you tried. And I'm not mad about that."
"Sammy, my son. Listen to me. Y-you have no special powers. You do not come from a line of special people... And there are no fantastic treasures you are owed. Cough. But all I can give you is something that not many of us were ever given. All I can give you is a clean slate. You are owed nothing. And you owe nothing to no one. All I can give is the promise that your future is yours. Over there," She pointed a shaky finger to the sink's cupboard. "Look in there."
Samuel already knew what was in there. His mom's recipes. Most of them were originals but a few were perfect replicas his mom made to preserve their instructions. Handed down from generation to generation, since the time of the Confederacy, these meals were a staple in the Sanders family. He knew he'd inherit them one day... but he didn't think it would be in these circumstances.
The boy looked back at his mom, hoping to hear a few more concluding words... but no. That was it. She held tightly to her husband as she too passed on to the next world. And Samuel was alone.
Aside from the crying and random memories of endless blue seas, Samuel didn't remember all too much of what happened in the following months. He knew he quickly ran around his burning home trying to get a few supplies for... whatever laid ahead. He also vaguely remembers jumping from ship to ship, trying to do whatever job was needed to earn his keep. That's how it was day in and day out for almost 5 years.
And then it seemed as though his fate would change again when his current trader's ship was docked in what used to be Mexico. He didn't mean to overheard the conversation between the two drunkards on the pier. But there he was, listening in.
"Wait, so the capital of this place and the country down south are named the same thing?"
"Yeah man. It's confusing. You think they'd change the name up but it's not like anyone is gonna go down there soon."
"Fuckin' pirates, am I right? I wonder how com they haven't tried to ransack it."
"This capital of that swamp Kingdom?"
"The swamp Kingdom. Just like in old times, right? A whole Kingdom made of gold. If it wasn't for the pirates blocking the way, I would do it myself."
"Anyone you know ever been there?"
"Nope. Hey maybe I'll be the first!"
"Please. The Spaniards couldn't find it the first time. You can't even find your ass with two hands and a map. You think you'll find el Dorado this time?"
El Dorado. A name and a dream that would haunt Samuel until he stepped foot on the lands of that Kingdom. After asking around out of pure curiosity, Samuel learned that (people weren't good at geography, constantly confusing the two el Dorados and) the 'swamp Kingdom to the south' was as much mythical as it was real. No one could agree on anything except for the fact that it had to be wealthy if it was run by a King and it called itseld 'el Dorado'. Streets paved with gold. Riches beyond anyone's imagination. Surely it was those damn pirates that were blocking the way for the golden allure of el Dorado to ensnare any fortune seekers. Hell, Guadalupe's cousin's best friend went looking for the treasure but he never came back. Pirates probably. At least that's what he was told.
After countless years of mourning and moping and doing whatever he could without much direction, Samuel got a small spark of determination in his mind. It was a small one, but it was a spark all the same. This was something he wanted to do. This was something exciting and full of promise that he would achieve on his own.
His mom was right. He owed no one anything and his life was what he made of it. And damn it, he was going to make the most of it by visiting el Dorado and claiming its riches.
Samuel was 25 when he finally reached the shores of el Dorado. Through more ship jumping and saving up money and building up connections, he finally was able to step foot on those fabled lands he had only heard rumors about.
Imagine his disappointment when he actually looked around and saw one of the most subpar nations he had ever seen. Hell, he even remembered the US Coast Guard being more developed than this in its final days. The streets were paved with dirt and the only semblance of civilization he saw were rail tracks that occasionally chugged along an ethanol tankard to its destination. There were a few curious stops he made on his way to the capital. The University of the Andes in Merida. The 'electric Casino' in Libertad. The overglorified and tacky fake-gold plated 'mansions' in the Bari National Park.
This wasn't the Kingdom of Gold. This was a scrappy land with second-hand people who served as little more than a living curio shop.
And Samuel nearly lost his mind with the revelation. Damn these people. Damn these lands. And you know what? Damn his mom, who put him on this sense of purpose. The only issue with creating a 'name for yourself' with nothing is just that: you have nothing. Samuel then spent the next days going back from the capital to the 'golden coast' in the Northwest part of the country. This place had so utterly dissapointed him and there was nothing else for him to do.
And his plan was to leave these lands behind. Forget about them. Never come back.
Until he came across the same issue unplanned (American) tourists do when they reach the end of their vacation: he had run out of money. His whole plan was to use the last of his funds to get here and make a name for himself. Now all he wanted to do was leave. But he couldn't.
Furious at the world, himself, his parents, and the dirt road he was traveling on, he took a moment to compose himself and think of something.
Alright. He needed to leave this God-forsaken country and he needed to do it quickly. Money. How would he get money quickly? Shoe-shining? No. Selling himself on the street? No, because apparently this wonderland of crazy people had unionized their prostitutes thanks to some woman named Ms. Dolly.
What could he- grumble. In all the excitement of getting out of there, Samuel realized he was hungry. And as his stomach decided to demonstrate the mating calls of a humpback whale, he found himself in a market in Valledupar. Yet another random, pointless city in this pointless country of excess and poverty.
He only had a few pieces of raw gold left in his pocket. He weighed his options but realized he didn't have enough to get off this land anyway. So with a shrug, he went about getting ingredients for a meal. Not just something bland or foreign like the arepas these people were selling. No, he wanted something homecooked and he would finally have the opportunity to use his family's recipe. Despite the highs and lows (mostly lows) of his life, Samuel still had a few things he took from home 10 years ago. The recipe was one such example.
It only took 30 minutes of haggling and understanding accents, but sure enough, he was sitting down with a hearty quantity of food he was ready to dig in. How he managed to find the spices his mom used was beyond him. But he wasn't ready to question a miracle.
He was, however, ready to question the two men standing in front of him.
"Can I help you two gentlemen?"
"You have a weird accent. But you don't look white. Are you half something? Native? Black?"
Samuel shrugged. "I'm not from here."
"Oh, okay."
"... I ask again. What do you two want?"
"Oh right. Well, we just came out here for a lunch break. And we couldn't help but smell the food you made. How much?"
"Excuse me?"
"How much for the food?"
Samuel looked around and realized that he had started eating on a vendor's table. There were no signs around his stall but based on the accidental way he laid out his spread, it definitely looked like he was trying to sell his food to the public.
And he already had two customers.
"We'll pay you. How much do you want?"
Samuel didn't know much about the economy of el Dorado but he knew the amount they were handing him was more than enough to cover the cost of the raw ingredients. He was about to shrug them off before he had a very random and intrusive thought. "That will be a fine amount, fellas." He looked at the large plate of chicken and sides he had cooked up and started... thinking. Maybe... just maybe his mom had been right after all. He absentmindedly patted the side of his satchel and the gears in his head stared winding ever so slightly. "I think we've got a deal, gentlemen..."
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One week in Yucatan - Review, Tips, Pointers

After reading a bunch of posts here and elsewhere about Yucatan and going on our trip, I wanted to give some feedback to help people's future trips.
Flew JetBlue from New York to Cancun because we got a good deal. Flight was delayed a few hours, but we got some travel credits, which was much appreciated. The original plan was to pick up a rental car from Hertz at the airport, but due to the flight delay, they were closed when we arrived. However we reserved the car through AmEx, and they helped move the reservation to pickup the next day. So when we landed, we went straight to the hotel through a cab at the airport. We chose the official partner (maybe SuperShuttle? Forgot to document this). The ride seemed expensive for what it was, but was ultimately fine.
We wanted to stay somewhere easy to get to, efficient, clean, and downtown/not in the hotel district, and chose Suites Malecon Cancun. This was a BIG MISTAKE. When we arrived and went into our room, whoever was there previously had smoked in the bathroom and it smelled horribly. Tried to steam/air it out, but only succeeded a little bit. There were stains on the bedspread and lampshade. The air conditioner was difficult to figure out, and ultimately made the room pretty cold. But all this could have been forgiven if the room had sufficient soundproofing. My guess is that the hotel was built in a hurry, and they did a shoddy job. Even though we were on the 14th floor, with the windows closed, metal window gates closed and A/C running, we could still hear the bars across the street. Even worse, there was some kind of fun run event that started before dawn across the street that featured loudspeakers blasting music to get the runners motivated. We could also hear other guests in their rooms talking and when they dropped things on the floor. It was very frustrating not to get any sleep after the delayed flight.
The next annoying hurdle was Hertz. Even though we reserved a car online, they said since we didn't pre-pay, they didn't have to honor the reservation for the car we wanted. All they had available was a Dodge Grand Caravan. It was much bigger than we needed, and ended up costing us more in gas than a regular car would have. But it drove nicely, and the A/C worked well.
The drive to Merida was mostly uneventful. Took the tollway most of the trip, which was fast and had no traffic. Got stopped on the Yucatan/Quintana Roo border by a federale. He let us go through without hassle (queue foreshadowing music). Stayed in Koox Art 64 Boutique Hotel in El Centro. Generally a nice place with very helpful employees and lovely pool. Room had good A/C, huge TV, cute patio, large closet, safe, comfortable/pillows, and ceiling fan. Downsides were that there was no bathroom door, not great soundproofing (birds, neighboring children), no fridge in room, and it seemed relatively easy for bugs to get in. The room was upstairs, and there was a shared kitchen and living room downstairs.
Checked out Merida en Domingo that day, which was really fun. Traditional dancing, tons of vendors and people around. Had a sopa de lima snack from one of the stands, which was kind of weak. Went for lunch to Manjar Blanco. Very tasty. Tried panuchos, papadzules, and relleno negro. Rest of the day was spent walking around, swimming and checking out thing around town.
For dinner, went to Tikin Xic on the north side of town. Food was good, cheap, and the staff was nice. Great botanas and ceviche. The namesake dish was good too. After, checked out the funk/blues jam at Dzalbay. It was decently fun.
I guess it's at this point that I'll also mention something that seems pretty obvious, and it's that Merida is HOT. Even in February, it was 90s during the day. And a lot of places don't have A/C, probably because most people are used to it.
Lots more walking around and city exploring. Had some breakfast tacos at Taqueria La Lupita. They were excellent. Amazing Cochinita and lechon. So much flavor and fantastic texture.
It's cool that Merida had kind of a heyday in the mid 1800s. Paseo de Montejo has a lot of beautiful, ornate old buildings that look like they should be an embassy or something. Checked out some of the large markets as well, at people's recommendations here. Had a hard time figuring out where the "best" places were. The hawkers were kind of aggressive and I wasn't ready for it. Ending up having some Poc Chuc, which was okay but left me wanting. Walked around some more and had some tepache and ice cream, both of which were fine but nothing special.
Walked around more, swam more to beat the heat and rested at the hotel. Had some fish tacos at El Fabuloso Pez. Nice presentation, though the place seemed pretty corporate/cookie cutter. Got a little bit sick from the food. Went to Golden Island Casino after, which was disappointing, as it was almost entirely video slots.
Took an Uber back to Centro and went to Pipiripau for a drink and it was totally dead. Then went to La Negrita. Bands were playing, people dancing, super fun scene. Had some ceviche, which was uninspiring, but didn't matter. Negrita was great.
Day trip to Uxmal for ruins. Walked around a bunch. Lots of tourists around obviously, but it was cool. Didn't pay for a guide or tour or anything. Just wandered. Saw some lizards get into an intense fight. Left to go to Hacienda Mucuyche for lunch and the cenote. Lunch was fine, nothing special. Had some salbutes, chips, water and other snacks. The cenote was done as part of a tour group. Kind of felt Disney-ified, but was super beautiful. Wish we had longer to swim around. Went to cenote Kankirixche after, which was also pretty, but the opposite experience. Instead of a guided tour and guides and stuff, you just gave the guy $30MX for a little laminated card. Then you give the card to the guy by the cenote and he just lets you do your thing. Very different experiences, both fun.
Got stopped again by federales getting back into Yucatan. They seemed perplexed that I didn't speak Spanish and let me go. Had reservations at Nectar for dinner, but wife got super sick either from lunch or accidentally drinking cenote water or something. Had to cancel the reservation. People at the hotel suggested Uber Eats for delivery, and figured why not. Wanted to see what the burrito was like, and ordered one from La Taque. It came on a paper tray, wrapped in plastic, which was weird, but was very tasty. And huge! No rice either, just meat and cheese wrapped up and grilled a bit.
Woke up for a taco brunch. Walked to Taqueria Yucatan. Good tacos! Great tortillas! Nice service even though they didn't speak any English, and my Spanish is very limited. The chaya con huevos was excellent. Checked out of hotel and drove to Wayan'e for more tacos. Loved the variety and amazing flavors. I'd read about green chorizo but never eaten it before. Really delicious. Didn't love that they charged me for 6 tacos and only gave me 5, and that the prices on the receipt didn't match the menu. But the food was great, so I wasn't complaining.
Started the drive out of Merida to El Cuyo for some beach time. Stopped by Federales, because of course. I booked with Mattias through VRBO, emailed back and forth a few times to confirm details, including within a week of our scheduled arrival, and everything seemed like it was going to be setup for a nice stay.
Got into El Cuyo, located the Hacienda, knocked on the door, and another guest let us in. They told me I should message Mattias or his assistant Magally via WhatsApp for the keys. So I messaged Magally and she told me that there were no rooms available. I sent her a photo of my confirmation, but she was not apologetic and offered no alternatives. VRBO had only one other place in El Cuyo, Cabanas El Cuyo. It was super bare bones. Wood plank room, bad lighting, sub par bed & pillows, no A/C, bad water pressure, luke warm shower. If there were neighbors, I would have heard everything the did. But Reyes, the guy running it, was nice enough. And it was right on the beach, so the breeze was great and the view was incredible.
Unfortunately, Reyes also suggested getting dinner at Loncheria La Lupita. Got some tacos, gringas and salbutes. I say unfortunately, because maybe it wasn't the cleanest place, because I got really sick from the food. Had a rough night.
Didn't sleep much that night. Decided that it would be nicer outside than inside and rolled around on a lounger for a few hours. Had some water. Ventured into town for some pancakes at Naia Cafe. Right on cue, more Federales show up. These ones were very interested in me and my passport. Took one of the other diner's passports and didn't seem to give it back. Pancakes were mediocre. Could have used some baking soda. Hung out more on the beach. Weather was mid 80s and beautiful. Maybe only two other people within sight on the beach. Totally chill.
Originally had an idea to get dinner in Tizimin, but after seeing the roads and lack of lighting, changed plans. Got dinner that night at Chile Gordo. It's run by a nice British woman and very cute. Food is central Mexican/Veracruz in style and good. Walked around El Cuyo some more. Kids were preparing for Carnival the next week. Watched them a bit. Star gazed. Had some night beach. Cooled off at night to upper 70s.
Packed up and left El Cuyo. Drove through Yucatan. Got stopped by Federales once again. This guy kept saying there was something wrong with license plates of the rental van. Wouldn't let us go. He said we had to go to Merida for some kind of inspection and similar nonsense. We said we could not do that. Eventually he asked for a bribe. Being that we had to catch a flight, ended up paying and then leaving. He said be careful.
Filled up the van, took it back to Hertz. Still waiting to see if they charge anything extra for damage that doesn't exist. Flight home was thankfully uneventful other than that the Direct TV/movies didn't work.
So that's about it! Tried to be concise, but got long winded. If you have any questions, I can try to help.
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