Of all the countries we have visited the greatest contrast by far is between Japan and Mexico. Design in the Land of the Rising Sun was meticulously crafted over centuries, it eliminates waste and strives for perfection where as Mexico has created style out of chaos, colour and imagination, the result leaves you begging for more.
I can’t think of a better way to show this than opening this blog with a few Mexican wall-master-pieces. They are everywhere, on every street in all the towns and the further out of town you go the more masterpieces there are. It was hard selecting which ones to photograph and harder choosing which to include.
I chose these few but every street across the Yucatan harbors its own treasures. I can’t help but make just two comments, first if we were in Western Australia they would have been heritage listed long ago and second, if you paid an architect or interior designer to craft a wall that looks like any of these accidental Mexican treasures it would cost a fortune.
Not sure if the Mexicans see the value of these masterpieces of chaos which adorn every street but a lot can be learned about colour blending, aging and how to funk-up or make groovy walls for trendy boutiques and bars.
As when you spend a day of wondering through the Louvre in Paris and your feet start to ache and you become immune to the works of art, the same happens in Mexico when looking at walls, there is so much to see.
By clicking on any picture they open up as large images revealing the detail in the fine work.
Some look like stunning film-sets but wouldn’t want to be caught wandering alone, they may be safe but have a true spooky feel to them.
From Cancun we did a ten day drive into the Yucatan peninsular. This is Mayan country and although the Spanish infiltrated many aspects of their world the Mayan and indigenous culture is very much the dominant which helped me understand how Mexico is what it is. It has a love for vivid colours, loud music and an absence of many western protocols like the skulls and skeletons that adorn their arts and many of their customs. How very non-Spanish it actually is!
Valladolid is the first town we visited with a population of about 80,000. Like many of the towns we saw it has a central square and streets mapped out in a perfect grid. In the middle of the square is a park surrounded by a church and arched buildings, some housing cafes and some shops, gov offices and the like.
The streets that criss-cross away from the center are colorful and well maintained, most western style advertising on shop fronts is missing making the streetscape a lot more pleasing to the eye.
We were told to visit a little village near by and see the church, we didn’t understand why at the time, Uayima has 2,300 inhabitants but how’s this for a wall?
The yellow town, we wanted to see this and were not disappointed. Izamal has about 20,000 residents and was an important Mayan city before the Spanish in the 1500s decided to build on top. You can still see the remains of the Mayan town, there are five pyramids in Izamal and the monastery at the center of town sits atop of another one.
Today the the whole town is painted yellow.
On our roof-top deck in our Izamal AirBnB, and a modified photo for those who have seen and enjoyed “Desperado”
The first evening we stumbled across the largest of the pyramids just a few blocks from the main square, it measures approx 200 meters on each side and 34 meters high. The only non-yellow structure, unfortunately many of its stone blocks were removed and used as building material for the new town.
The Yucatan is littered with Mayan pyramids and ruins, we visited some of the more spectacular sites which will very likely have a blog to themselves.