“. . . 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.”

My Maya travel narrative: The Travel Companion from the Realm of the Maya

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