Well lubricated with tequila and sangrita, we wandered out into the square where hundreds of people were seated, dresses in their Sunday best, waiting patiently, staring at the enormous stage that had been constructed at one end of the street. Apparently, today was the day of the "Matrimonias Colectivas" a mass legal wedding ceremony performed free of charge for the poorer members of the outlying Yucatan villages who could not afford the process on their own. 250 couples, Mexican and Mayan, had traveled by bus and by foot from their pueblos to participate in this grand event. As they had opened the Cathedral of San Gervasio for the use of these special visitors, we took a quick peek inside, making every effort to be respectful to the worshipers inside.

We returned for a walk through the zocalo, sampled some marquesitas and watched the wedding ceremony take place. There was an "orchestra" of sorts entertaining the crowds and a raunchy stand-up comedy team doing an R-rated Mexican version of Desi and Lucy (maybe more like Dan and Rosanne). Judging by the lack of response from the crowd, I think most of the attendees spoke only Mayan. Maybe they were all just really uptight. I thought it was hysterical, but then again, I am a heathen.

Oh yeah. We blend.

Ceremonies concluded, the celebrants were treated to a toast of what would likely be their first and last taste of sparkling wine. We retired back to Las Campanas for a bite to eat. Plans for an early fishing expedition had been called off by our friends back in Playa and the decision was made to stay for the night and enjoy the festivities. We were close to the end of our meal when an explosion of some kind erupted from the far end of the zocalo followed by the distinctive "pop" of fireworks going off. Jody and I made off running for the far end of the park and were surprised to see another large crowd had formed along this street. As it turned out, we happen to be in Valladolid in time to celebrate the 465th anniversary. This was the first night of a week-long celebration and the big kick-off party! Caballeros on horseback, Mayan ladies in beautiful huipiles, costumed men with machetes and a small band of Spanish soldiers all lined up to play their part in the reenactment of the history of this colonial city. This was really too good to be true!

Thrilled but exhausted, we returned to Hotel Meson del Marques and checked into our rooms. We all took a quick dip in the pool to wash away the grime from the bonfires and fireworks (and some of the effects of the tequila) and retired to our rooms for a good night's sleep.


Our simple daytrip had turned out to be a full day of cultural immersion. We were in the right place at the right time with open minds and a flexible schedule. Not only was this an amazing experience for our friends but a real treat for us as well. Valladolid is charming and full of history and well worth a "daytrip", no matter how long it lasts.

Click here for access to all of our Valladolid pictures in our Photobucket album.