Mérida is celebrating the arrival of P.F. Chang’s and California Pizza Kitchen in a new section of Plaza Altabrisa called City Hall. Starbucks inhabits one of the Paseo’s historic mansions, a stone’s throw from the Walmart. Burger King presides over one of the Centro’s most historically significant buildings near the main square. I’ve accepted long ago that this is the reality of our world today, and why shouldn’t a city of a million people have the latest of everything? A few years ago, it seemed more expats were chagrined at any signs of corporate steamrollering, but today this touch of the familiar is embraced, from what I gauge on social media. And if I can have a Taco Bell in my neighborhood in Connecticut, why can’t Meridanos have a TGI Fridays in theirs? We can’t preserve the old Mérida in amber.
But then there’s this. An Elvis and Marilyn Monroe impersonator opening a 1950s-diner-themed Johnny Rockets at the Mérida International Airport? Yes, there is already a Burger King there, so I’m not claiming that any kind of cultural purity has been breached. At the airport entrance, a jaguar sculpture, symbol of the Mesoamerican wilderness, was replaced by [Read more…]