It was only five years ago that Parque Santa Lucia was a quiet little corner of the Centro Histórico. Its boarded-up L-shaped colonnade had no businesses, but there was, as there is now, live music and dancing on Thursdays, and arts and crafts on Sundays. But mainly, it was a little pocket park for lovers to hold hands.
More about bitters. I’ll keep this brief, I promise.
The advice to new expats is to go with the flow, eat and drink like the locals, and keep things simple. Abandon your old ways and adapt to life as it is lived in Yucatán.
As you can see on the Facebook forums, this is easier said than done. We all want our old foods and drinks. Familiar brand names comfort us. Aunt Jemima syrup, Twizzlers and Pringles are prized possessions. We packed Triscuits for our neighbors.
So don’t judge me too harshly if I shun Montejo beer in favor of the Rob Roy, an American cocktail that requires Scotch, with a splash of vermouth and a shake or two of bitters. I’ve been documenting my search all along. [Read more…]
We’ve sped by many times at 55 mph, not paying much attention to the activity along Long Wharf. Paul thought maybe it was a a group of souvenir hawkers or crafters. But when we were casting about in the Elm City on Saturday, disappointed in an art exhibit we drove in for, Paul suggested we park the car and explore before we enter the highway and head home. Wow! It was almost all taco trucks! For-real looking taco trucks, too. Serving up urban realness with a side of grit and a slab on concrete.
There were at least 12 trucks to choose from. Which one is the best? Being caught off guard, without [Read more…]
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…]
Every year I travel for a design conference that pops up in various places in the world. It could be Buenos Aires, it could be Cleveland. This year, it landed in Louisville, Kentucky, where I was floored to find The Mayan Café just 14 blocks from my hotel. Not since I met a fellow blogger under the arch in St. Louis have I allowed my Yucatecan imaginings disrupt my yearly conference, I had to set some time aside to explore.
The café’s website strongly advised reservations, and since I didn’t have any, I knew I’d have to arrive early. And since there was a fundraiser later that evening to attend, I got in at 5:15 p.m. on Friday for an early supper. There was only one other couple, and when they seated me by the kitchen door, I knew they were gearing up for a full house. In about a half an hour, that deduction proved correct. The dining room was filled. Starting as a food cart in the mid-1990s, the restaurant
Even when I’m in Connecticut, the newspaper I check online (after the New York Times) is Mérida’s leading broadsheet. Its content is usually pretty predictable, but today I got a jolt.
The Gastronomía section featured a recipe for Guiso de Iguana. Guiso is stew. You know what Iguana is. Yes, those adorable little dragons that do nothing more than eat flowers, and yet keep getting the short end of the stick in the Centro. These cute little lizards can’t catch a break, between hungry albañiles and ruthless cats and dogs. And now this latest indignity.
On balance, eating iguana is probably the moral equivalent [Read more…]