In the last 19 months that we’ve been traveling back and forth to Mérida, we’ve noticed what differentiates fall, winter and spring. We’ve enjoyed picture-perfect weather (perfect to us, unbearably cold to meridanos), and have endured some difficult heat waves with high humidity. But up to now, we haven’t experienced the infamous rainy season.
Now, we’re booked to fly in during just that period.
We’ve been corresponding with our new next-door neighbor. Last week she wrote that “the rains are coming s l o w l y . . . an afternoon here and there.” In four weeks, I assume it will be a lot wetter, and buggier. We’re packing DEET.
The other thing we’re trying is renting a house, rather than unpacking at a hotel or guesthouse. The house is right next to our fixer-upper property, so we’ll get a taste of life in the neighborhood, and life as a homeowner. The conventional advice is to live in a rental before you ever buy a property. But we’ve been back and forth so much already, and I’ve never had a bad night’s sleep in Mérida. We’re confident enough to dive right in without testing the waters.
Now, about the rainy season. All I know about it is what I’ve read online. Like everything else, I think I have to really experience it to really wrap my head around it. Like during our first trip to Mérida, I had researched and researched, poring over photos and maps, but being there was just a little different. I suppose it’s like that everywhere I have been. Places have to be experienced at 360 degrees with all your senses.
Mérida’s tropical rainy season starts in June and lasts through October, although I suspect July and August are the rainiest. Normally, it rains in the afternoon for maybe a half an hour, followed by a return of sunshine. Streets will flood, but seem to drain before too long, but not before buses have a chance to splash that water in to your house. Locals don nylons (pictured above), which aren’t stockings, they’re plastic sheets. Rains bring cooler temperatures, but can make it more humid. Standing water breeds mosquitos, which spread dengue, a fever that can knock you flat. Everyone seems to have a dengue story. This is everything I’ve gleaned from others’ websites.
In my last five trips, I’ve seen hardly any rain and I can’t seem to shake the notion of Mérida as a bug-free paradise, although I really know better. Our very first night in Mérida, there we were sipping wine with Claudette at Casa Esperanza and sitting under the night sky, unwinding from our trip. It was a clear night, but with some puffy clouds. Then some faint lightning in the distance, a gentle rain shower that swiftly made its way over the casona, and then some owls flew overhead. It was the best possible introduction to Mérida, and first impressions are hard to shake. To this day, part of me thinks every evening will be like that.
This time we will certainly encounter mosquitos, especially since we’ll be staying at a rental house, not a b and b that’s staffed with people to keep things sprayed and swept. But you know where there are mosquitos? The mid-Atlantic and New England! I’m from New Jersey where the mosquito is the state bird. (Old joke; sorry Garden State.) I can’t even enter my lawn after mid-July; it’s just something I look at through my sunroom window. When the light hits the yard just right, you can see countless gnats, mosquitos and whatnot buzzing around. We’ve given up on eating dinner on our deck years ago, and only entertain there after some major chemical fogging, which worries me.
Anyway, after July, I’ll be able to write about Mérida’s rainy season with a tad more authority.