Domingo en Mérida

“. . . company notwithstanding, it wasn’t long for the haunting nausea to overwhelm. Only steps into the Plaza and desperate for shade we were swiftly accosted by a plethora of eager vendors, each kindly waiting for the previous to be dispatched before advancing on their prey. This was, of course, of no surprise. The Mérida tactics do vary a little from my expectations, however, as much more care and investment is placed in massaging potential buyers when compared to other Latin American markets. I suspect that intentions are born of a genuinely friendly-natured society that may actually have at least a marginal interest in a visitor’s situation and not only their monetary frugality.

The first friend that exerted a tenacious fortitude greeted us in the plaza and was entertaining if not somewhat charming. He was quick to offer us a free walking tour of the square assuredly out of the kindness of his heart, and, since he had no merchandise on his person, we humored his wishes. His expertise was promptly on display as his Napoleonic boldness exceeded his meager stature. Apparently looking as miserable as I felt in the treeless square, I became the favorite target of his quick-witted drollness. “I can tell you two are married,” he jested, looking up at Amanda, “because he sweats and you smile.”

The beauty of the structures bordering the plaza is quite remarkable. The styles read like a history book of Spanish Colonial America. Simply circling the zócalo, every golden period of Spanish splendor from the last five hundred years is told, all the way back to the founding of the city and one of the oldest Spanish buildings in Mexico, Casa de Montejo. The conqueror of the Yucatán and founder of Campeche and Mérida, Francisco de Montejo, El Mozo, built this as his Governor’s mansion in 1549 and it remained in the family until 1970.”

One Comment

  • Aryan says:

    A hidden part of Mexico so few have heard about, but once you go there, then the exprsesion from the famous Mexican author Anita Brenner comes to a full realization: Once the dust of Mexico settles on your heart, you will find no peace in any other land. My wife and I got enchanted in this area almost 10 years ago. We love to travel and never went to the same place twice. The world is simply too big. There are too many things to see and not enough time to see them. Then we got to Merida; our hearts got dusted and the only time we feel settled is when we return.We’ve been to other places during this time, but we always return to Merida. We are years away from any possibility of retirement and simply don’t want to have to wait for retirement age to move there and wish we would have done it years earlier.As you have found out, there is so much to see and do in this part of Mexico. So much to explore and a culture so strong and different from our own to try to understand and make sense of. Then to experience the tranquility of the city. Almost a million people call Merida home. Yet the crime statistics for a city this size is so incredibly low it’s almost miraculous. Yes, there are problems. Many of them. Some of which you have mentioned, but through it all, these people; short in stature, but tall in heart get through it all and still walk down the streets smiling and always willing to say a friendly hello to anyone they may encounter.We now have a corporation in Mexico, and are able to work there through our business. We recently purchased and renovated an old colonial house. What does the future hold out for us? I’m not too sure about here in Canada. It’s beautiful too, but the drawing to Merida pulls at the heart strings just as powerfully, if not more.Many expats who have discovered this area and have settled there would prefer to keep it to themselves. They don’t say too much about it to other foreigners or even to their friends. However, when the subject of Merida comes up in conversation, they can’t shut up about it. The fear is that Merida would be taken over by expats and be forever changed like the expat group has done in other parts of Mexico. However, Merida has endured many onslaughts of invaders from different lands through it’s long history and always Merida has changed them. If not, they simply go back home. I don’t think we have too much to worry about this time.Keep travelling there. There is so much to see, do and understand that a lifetime would barely cover it.

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