The problem is, I’m in Mérida, where I was expecting a tropical Thanksgiving. Right now, it’s 66F/19C, which would normally feel just fine! Why is 66 degrees so cold? No more joking about the locals overreacting to weather that’s only moderately warm. It really does feel cold! My blood couldn’t have acclimated in just a couple of days!
I shouldn’t complain. Back home, the weather’s been miserable, even by our standards. A cold snap hit the minute we left, which is pretty good timing. It’s been a glorious fall, and we escaped the first sustained icy plunge by flying to Mexico, where now we’re experiencing frente frio numéro 14, the cold front that has us alternating between pleasant warm days, chilly drizzle, and windy downpours. The changing weather has made our throats scratchy because our bodies do not like alternating weather conditions. When the sun comes out early morning to midday, it’s heaven. Cool drizzle can appear quickly and unexpectedly, however, and for some reason even 75 degrees Fahrenheit/24 Celsius feels nippy. Paradoxically, it’s sometimes too humid for my nylon, lined hooded rain slicker to feel comfortable. On only one occasion this week was it cold enough to wear it and believe me, it was an odd sensation when that nylon slicker felt warm and cozy while walking down Calle 47. I had to put away my sandals in favor of my “travel shoes,” too, which was a letdown and a healthy reminder that Yucatán weather isn’t sandal weather all the time. I’d put on socks if I had packed enough. I have one pair for the trip over and one pair for the trip back.
Yesterday in Tucul, they recorded record cold: 59F/15C. Not too far away, I was holding an umbrella touring our indoor-outdoor massive-airflow built-for-the tropics home wondering if we should have included a fire pit. I struggled to remember when it was ever hot in Mérida but reminded myself that it’s a healthy reality check to experience all the weather systems here before moving down with unrealistic expectations. I think by now we can check off every type of weather system short of Hurricane Wilma.
Really, I like this weather. It reminds me of “back to school” time up north. I arrived to the sultry, balmy, sweaty weather I had expected, but now I feel like I was smuggle back to New England while I slept. Heat-weary expats are delighted, but I’m not so sure about Meridanos, who pass out blankets at Red Cross stations when it gets not much cooler than this. Luckily, our hosts had a blanket for us, too, and we slept comfortably under it with no fan or air conditioning, just the window cracked open.
Anyway, I’ll count my blessings. A Canadian friend with American roots and lots of American friends was kind enough to include us for dinner today. We’re happy to be breaking bread, as we have since we arrived, with new friends and neighbors. Not that I usually like to see Christmas lights go up before Thanksgiving, but they push the season early here, too. It’s actually nice to see Christmas decorations start to appear. Tinsel was already hanging at the airport. A giant metal-framed árbol navideño is being assembled at the Remate de Paseo de Montejo, surrounded by Santa’s North Pole village. The lighting is installed over the streets and I wish the city would electrify it before we leave. That’s the holiday I really want to see here: Christmas! This trip, I’m getting a little taste of what pine trees and holiday garland look like in southern Mexico.
Photo: Union Yucatán.