Monday, December 1, 2014

Discovering Mérida

Various friends recommended that we visit Mérida, so we finally went. It may be the oldest continuously-occupied city in the Americas and it once housed more millionaires than any other city in the world. Today we saw lots of mansions and evidence of that former wealth, but on first glance the city looked pretty worn out. In fact, Alla decided last night that she liked our bed-and-breakfast much better than she liked the city and she resolved to hole up at home for our few days in town. I practically had to drag her a few blocks to the square where our landlord told us we’d find food vendors and music.

Alla complained of narrow sidewalks, empty streets and a general feeling of dread all the way to the square. Her concern increased when we got there before the vendors had finished setting up because things even there looked pretty desolate. Alla wanted to flee, figuring she could live on the avocados she had left from Cancun. I held out for something better to eat. As Alla reached the limit of her patience, a woman started setting out interesting-looking ingredients for tacos and Alla noticed.

I helped the woman string up her lights and she gave me my first taco free. We ended up eating many different kinds of tacos, and we liked every one of them. By the time we finished eating, we noticed musicians setting up on a stage. We stayed for the music, and finally went home with hopes for today.

After breakfast we set out to walk the main streets that had been blocked off for bicycles and pedestrians. We saw lots of mansions, plenty of people on foot and on bikes, and lots of interesting artists and vendors of interesting and delicious things. After our walk, we went to another park for more live music and more tacos. I met several American ex-patriots buying tacos from a vendor who speaks good English. My Spanish is coming back, but I was happy to talk with the taco lady in Englsih. Anyway, we really liked the music at this square and stayed a long time. I even got Alla to dance with me.

By now Alla’s impression of Mérida had improved dramatically and by the end of the day we even started talking about coming back next year. Especially after we discovered a beautiful theater with a free dance performance. We’ll go back for another free performance tomorrow evening. I hope it’s as good as tonight’s, which we both liked a whole lot. Actually, I think we both like Mérida a lot.

1 comment:

  1. What great pictures and what a wonderful development of events! You look like a native under this impressive monument of Mayan culture. Thank you for sharing.