On this trip my friend Frank and I are not staying at a hotel. Instead I rented a two bedroom house. I knew that I would want to take some excursions again, so early in December I e-mailed Jaime to see if he would be available. I never heard back from him. Perhaps he is no longer working as a driver... perhaps he doesn't even live in Mérida anymore.
I tend to have everything organized well ahead of time when I travel... especially when I am playing "tour guide" to friends. So I was a bit concerned that I had no driver lined up to take us on our day trips. Of course I know that I could have booked guided tours to the places I wanted to take Frank. But I generally hate guided tours. I don't want to be herded around like cattle. When I play "tour guide" we visit places at a leisurely pace; there is plenty of time to take pictures or to just pause to admire something.
I wrote ahead of time to Paula, the lady who owns the house that I am renting, and asked if she knew of any reliable drivers. She said that there was a travel agency located just a few doors down the street, and that the owner of the agency could surely serve as our driver. I was still nervous that I didn't have any firm arrangements made.
It was all needless worry. When we arrived at the house, not only was Paula there to greet us, but the travel agent, David, was there to introduce himself to us. After getting settled into the house I walked over to David's office / home, and within a few minutes we had everything arranged.
David has turned out to be perfect. We have already taken two excursions with him and will go on a third day trip with him on Monday. On Thursday we went to the ruins of Uxmal, had lunch at an old hacienda, and visited a cenote (one of the natural sinkholes which dot the Yucatan Peninsula). Today we went to Izamal, a picturesque town where Mayan pyramids stand next to colonial architecture. On Monday's trip we will visit the lagoon at Celestún, where thousands of flamingos gather in the winter.
David has proven himself to be a very reliable, punctual, and safe driver, and his rate is extremely reasonable. He also seems to be a very nice fellow; we have had some great conversations during our drives. And what could be more convenient than to have your driver live just a few doors down the street!
David and Frank
In the future if I should take more friends to Mérida, I will definitely call upon David!!