Saturday afternoon and evening, I wandered about Merida with my camera. I recorded some good shots of the city bathed in evening light and a lot of scenes that I felt captured the city, some of the beauty, some of that lovely decay, and anything that would sit still long enough for a click.
And then I had dinner… at Chili’s, and the irony of it all… I had not had one meal where my server did not speak English. In my entire trip, I could count that at meal time, even if I tried to speak in Spanish, they’d realize I was native English and that would end that. I found myself near Chili’s and the night before had been a local dish, so I figured what they hey, and I get a server with no English…. and he apologized and I said it’s okay… and we muddled through… The funny part was, the menu I got (and I’ve no idea if they have separate menus) was entirely in English. It was obviously an American menu, the prices had little stickers over them with the pesos… And we did muddle through, I was able to ask for my coca light (diet coke) and pointed at my old timer burger (well, duh, it’s not like they had the item in Spanish, I’ve no clue how to translate that!), and when it came time for the check, I actually remembered how to ask for it. This was an important point because in Mexico they consider it rude to bring it without being asked. They will, and did, whisk my dishes away on more than one occasion and did not bring the bill until asked. I rather liked that. Not being hurried out as if I’m wasting valuable space…
And my day wrapped up more or less. I listened to the English music station while icing my knee (which ironically finally acted up on my last day, go figure). And I finally comprehended the meaning of “solo hits en ingles”. I’m sure no one else was concerned, but it was these little daily victories that made me feel like I made some inroads into the language barrier. I spotted a parking lot sign informing that there was a 30 minute limit for parking there… the word was solo… And then I clicked back to days earlier when I was asked if I was traveling with family and I said “solo” and the person I was speaking to got excited and said, “You know Spanish!” No…. solo = only… you could only park for 30 minutes, and 97.7 only plays hits in English. Now, I still have a bone with their choice of the word hits for some of what I heard, but it was an amusing station nonetheless. You could hear something from the 70’s stacked up against a hit from the 90’s followed by something playing right now in the U.S Reminded me of out little local AM station back in the day.
I woke up with no alarm this morning at 6:30am… my flight out wasn’t until 2pm… Merida’s “international airport” is very tiny with two gates. But being a different country and one with whom I have no experience with outbound security or immigration, I decided I shouldn’t dawdle too much. I had a leisurely morning at left close to 10am. I meandered down one of the main streets to a park I had been told had buses running to the airport. And I got there… and all the streets around the park were closed for some festival… of course… sigh… And this was why I didn’t dawdle. I saw a guy meandering off with a rolling suitcase. I started to join up since he seemed to know what he was doing. And then I decided that I just didn’t feel like trying to find the bus, or a collectivo or whatever might be had. I crossed the street to a big sign that said “Taxi” and asked the guys sitting under it about a bus or taxi to the airport. Now, it turns out they were just sitting under the sign, but give the people of Merida their due, they saw the guy in need and helped me flag down a taxi. The taxi was like most of the ones I saw in Merida… ambitious in its desire to be a taxi. my pack and me overflowed the back seat. But it was a $6 ride and I happily tipped him some on top of that leaving me just enough to grab lunch with my last pesos in the airport.
I sat for two hours waiting for my flight. In that time, and during the two and a half hour flight here, I began reading Kerouac’s On The Road which I had bought ages ago and been meaning to read forever. I’m a hundred pages from being done, but it’s quite a read. I guess every so often one should toss some literature into their lives that doesn’t involve pictures. It was a good way to end my own journey, which of course bears no real resemblance to Kerouac’s.
And then in the U.S., I got to endure the insanity that is our security… I’ll probably end up on some special big brother list for this, but wow…. I mean… this is out of hand. One and a half to two hours to clear passport control and customs and security is just ridiculous. And the way Hartsfield is set up, passengers going on are jammed into the same security lines as people who have reached their destination. I understand the reasoning because the end of security from immigration dumps you into the heart of the airport and since Hartsfield does not have separate security at each terminal, you have to screen people who could potentially get on a plane or connect with someone who will somewhere… But, and this is more of my sympathy for those people trying desperately to make a connection, they should not stand in the same line with me who has only to get out and into my car to go home. But there, we all stood together, being screamed at and treated like cattle. I have never been treated as inhumanely by any other country’s airport security as in my own home country. The last straw was when I FINALLY arrived at the security screening and put my backpack and flip flops in a tray, a TSA agent scolded me for wasting the tray (which has never happened before) and placed my bag and flip flops directly on the conveyor… okay, these flip flops weigh NOTHING, what do you think happened? Yep, lost in the machine somewhere…. I stood there while another agent fished in the machine to get them out and scolded me for putting them on the conveyor belt…. uhm… nope, that guy did it, I had them in a tray… he looked sheepish and handed me my shoes…. yep… I’m on a list now…
Anyway, I’m home now… one brief stop by the grocery just to get enough to survive as their is nothing in the cupboards. Tomorrow is laundry day and generally chilling…
Happy Memorial day to all my US friends!
I've always wanted to go to Merida. I've been to Cancun and Tulum and Cozumel and a few other places. I need a good vacation soon. 🙂