The 2nd of August, 2015
Today it is Sunday and Merida’s downtown will be closed off for traffic, to give pedestrians and cyclists the chance to explore the downtown area and the famous Paseo de Montejo (with it’s beautiful old mansions and monuments) in a very relaxing way. That’s the reason that my friend Liz decides to show me a little bit more of the city by car, as it will be quiet even on the outskirts of downtown this morning. So we drive from East to West and I get to see the 300.000 US$ homes, which is here the expensive neighbourhood, the gated communities, the shopping plazas and the middle class neighbourhoods.
We visit Itzimna, which was in the colonial era a separate village, just like the area where I am situated, Chiburna de Hidalgo. The church of Itzimna is simple, but beautiful. The houses around the park are old neo classical style mansions.
After our drive, we park the car in a designated parking area, close to downtown and first walk to the Museum of the City of Merida, which is in the vicinity of the Plaza Grande and in the former post office; a beautiful colourful building, with downstairs an exhibition of the past of Merida and upstairs a changing exhibition of a specific artist. A very helpful staff and free entree. After the cool air of the museum, we decided to visit the indoor market of Merida. I haven’t visited the market yet and it is a daily happening, divided over different buildings and just enormous! A variety of things for sale, from vegetables and fruits, to dogfood and animals, meat and chickens and shoes…..There is even a guy singing right in the middle of the stalls.
Somewhere in a corner we meet this cheerful lady, who makes little baby shoes. It takes her 4 hours to make a pair and she asks 50 pesos for one pair (around 3US$). I can’t resist to buy two pairs; one for Liz and one for myself. As a souvenir……I enjoy the smiles of the people and all those different faces. I definitely will go back! Remarkable is the lack of tourists or foreigners. Just nobody!
After our visit, we need to eat and drink something. The heat is hitting hard. There are little eateries set up for the Sunday, outside the market, close to Casa de Montejo on the Plaza Grande. Here we drink a Horchata (rice milk) and Jamaica (juice from the Hibiscus flower). We have some sopes, this time with pavo (turkey) and picadillo (minced meat).
A family puts their very small children down at a table. The parents are dressed as clowns and have to try to get some money with making funny balloons and just asking the people to help out. Later they all have a meal together. The mother was nearly fainting from the heat.
Everybody tries to earn some money here. Old guys are packing groceries at the supermarkets for the clients, who will give them 5 pesos a bag (or more). People have to, as often there is no pension. Also the people, who collect the garbage, get at least 10 pesos a bag. The only problem is that you never know when and if they will show up. Sometimes they come very late in the evening on a totally different date.
Liz and I decide to go to an exhibition in the Cultural Centre Olimpo. It turned out it is closed. Musea are closed on Sundays or Mondays or Tuesdays, so you better check on forehand, although you can’t always trust what is mentioned on the internet.
We decide just to stroll around and slowly make our way to the car again. I feel my legs and feet, as this heat is having an impact on the body. The thought of a dip in the swimmingpool makes us decide to “call it a day”.