When traveling with friends and relatives around the Yucatan, I am often struck by the difference in ‘feel’ from town to Yucatecan town; Mani, while famous for its’ convent and history and of course the Tutul Xiu restaurant always gives me a neutral impression. Some people are very friendly, like the lady who embroiders dresses in front of the unfortunately closed-during-a-large-part-of-the-day convent; others are outright sullen and hostile. In Uayalceh, there are many suspicious looks and a kind of hardness in faces that is difficult to describe but perceptible.
Yesterdays excursion through the so-called ‘Convent Route’ had a similar result. The inhabitants of the tiny villages of Telchaquillo and Mama were indifferent and the towns themselves lackluster bordering on decrepit in spite of their attractions.
Tecoh was a different story altogether. Maybe it was because it was Sunday, everyone was dressed up, in church and feeling celebratory or maybe it was the impression you get from the moment you leave the highway and approach the town, noticing that there are trees and flowers planted along the way to welcome you. As what seemed to be the entire population of the town exited the church upon the conclusion of Sunday mass, Yours Truly and company got plenty of stares and a giggle or three from the kids but also many a Buenos Dias and a smile. Friendliness seemed to ooze from the pores of everyone we came into contact with.
The thought came to my neurotic foreigners mind that this might be one of those places that Yucatans reputation for friendly people, peaceful provincial life, comes from. It even crossed my mind that this might be a good place to retire.
Is the neurotic foreigner getting soft in his old age?