Did a Broadway set designer come to Calle 47 at 64 and do this? If you wanted to paint a picture of an abandoned corner store’s artfully decaying wall, you couldn’t do a better job than nature. The sun-bleached peeling paint, exposed rocks, and a little graffiti tag for good measure, somehow form a perfect composition.
I took this picture with my camera phone on the way to the Showcase last week. I’ve been through this corner often. We all must have been — across the street is Mérida’s biggest tourist attraction! — but I would never get my friends back home to believe that this wall got this way through sheer benign neglect.
A few nights before, we were at shabby-ish Café Chocolate, and in the courtyard I started to imagine that the columns and arches, with (fake) orchids hanging from the branches, were designed for a Spanish opera. Outside and up the side street is that grand Familia Gonzalez Salazar house that appears to be crumbling around a defiant family proud enough to spray paint their name on the wall. I have an idea that every real estate agent is keeping an eye on that one.
Those two places benefit from the drama of dim light. The Coca-Cola wall, however, holds up to daylight. I’ll be very sad when gringo gentrification snuffs it out.
Yucatán’s Coca-Cola consumption is said to be the highest in the world, and that logo from Atlanta is ubiquitous here. The signs barely seem like a sign of globalism or American cultural dominance anymore. They just seem part of the landscape.