It seems, for some strange reason, that the rains this June here in Merida and the Yucatan in general, are never-ending and the humidity is threatening the paint and stucco on your restored colonial in el centro. And there is the mould that is sprouting on belts, shoes, handbags and the gear in your dungeon playroom; ugh.
Here is a short list of six things to do or places to go while this west coast (of Canada) weather continues to hamper your tanning, organic tomato-drying and other sun-related activities.
1. Trámites. If you don’t know what a trámite is, you are missing out. Trámites can be loosely translated as paperwork (usually) involving something to do with the government. The rainy season can be used as an excuse to visit some government agency and do some paperwork: perhaps you need a license renewed, which you can do at the Siglo XXI convention center and movie theater complex across from what used to be Carrefour. You can easily spend a half day there, asking questions, filling out a form or two, getting some photocopies made and generally enjoying the dry, somewhat air conditioned space. Reward yourself with some popcorn from the movie theater concession stand afterwards. OR, perhaps something to do with Hacienda? Hacienda has a modern office on 60 street near Sam’s and is fully air conditioned, has plenty of seating and there are lot of other people in there as well, so you can practice your Spanish and perhaps make new friends. I would not recommend doing anything related to immigration as their waiting room is tiny and you may end up waiting outside under a tarp in the humidity waiting for a spot in the air conditioned waiting room. There’s a lot of waiting in that last sentence.
2. Movies. Rainy season is a great time to catch up on movies. Go to a decent movie theater like the Cinepolis complex at Altabrisa, which will afford you the opportunity to also spend time in the mall. Head out early in the morning and spend the day watching all the movies, back to back. Barring any power outages, you will have a great day, seated in air conditioned comfort and watching potentially decent movies and overdosing on candy corn which is quite good at Cinepolis. TIP: Avoid the movie Maléfica, with Angelina Jolie. It is truly hideous and you will feel your toes curl in pena ajena embarrassment for her. What was she thinking? She actually produced as well as starred in this drivel.
3. Mall time. Great time to go to a mall! The best mall is Altabrisa, where you can spend the better part of the day, especially when combined with a visit to the Cinepolis movie theaters (mentioned in the previous paragraph if you’re just skipping through this). Figure for an hour or two at Starbucks, people watching and drinking expensive but great coffee. Visit the Haagen Dazs shop and eat an ice cream that will cost as much as a dinner for seven at any panuchería downtown. Another hour or two can be spent at the Sanborns magazine rack, reading through anything of interest there. A movie will kill an hour and a half as well. There is a grocery store if you are so inclined as well as several restaurants upstairs such PF Chiangs, IHOP, California Pizza Kitchen, among others.
4. Serious grocery shopping. If you are used to the hustle and bustle, the grime and the crowds of the markets downtown, a rainy day is a good opportunity to visit a big grocery store in the norte of the city. Perhaps Comercial Mexicana or Chedraui or, what the hell, Walmart. Please note that Walmart here is not the same as trashy Walmart in the US; it is a more upscale experience and you will not find the g-string-clad and balding 65 year old with his gym pants around his knees shopper here. You can also enjoy the interesting concept at La Comer, for example, of laying out raw meat on giant tables with a little ice underneath, the carne exposed in all it’s raw nakedness, edges curling, to the supermarket air and people sneezing, coughing and poking with fingers. Nevermind the science that has evolved over several hundred years regarding temperature requirements for the storage of raw meat. The store is air conditioned so that is enough, apparently. And while the meat is placidly rotting, notice the ham and cheese ladies who are obliged to wear disposable masks. Does anyone else think this is somewhat incongruous or is it just me? Hmm. Cruise the aisles and look for interesting items you may have previously thought were not available here, like the Spam, located near the Paté du Canard. A gourmet item, surely.
5. Museum time. You might spend a day at the new Mayan museum, built to honor all things Mayan with money that could have been better spent on actual Mayans still living in abject poverty to this day. But who am I to know about these things and the deci$ion$ made by the powers that be. It’s all about promotion. Keep in mind that a visit to the museum might be thwarted if some dignitary is visiting the convention center nearby and the entire area is sealed off by the state police and men in white guayaberas, khaki pants and earpieces. These guys are the estado mayor and take care of presidential level security, so don’t expect any sympathy from them when you try to explain that you came all the way from Santiago by bus and were really wanting to see the how the meteor killed the dinosaurs at the museum.
6. Stay home. A great time to read, clear up your email inbox, file and label those papers you have been stacking in a pile near the door. Of course if the CFE doesn’t cooperate you will need candles and reading glasses as the power will flicker out and you sit in the damp, warm darkness listening to the lovers quarrel, cats mating, dogs barking or the roosters crowing just below your window. At that point you might consider renting a room at the Hyatt, which is what the well-to-do locals are prone to do during a hurricane.
I hope this list comes in time for you, dear reader, to take advantage of it and enjoy the rest of your mouldy day.