I won’t say too much about the latest Mérida “House Hunters International.” It’s the third one they’ve done over the years, and this one had the buyers with the biggest budget, plus cameos from Erich and Rob from the second in the series. I guess I have some thoughts on the houses, and on the show’s format, but I’ll save that for later.
One thing we got a chuckle out of was this very brief scene (above). Todd and Allison, the couple from Dallas, approach a youth to ask directions to the main square. The clip is meant to illustrate Todd’s poor Spanish skills. “Pardóney,” he asks the kid. But what struck us was how reticent the lad was. Was he shy? Untrusting? Did his parents tell him to avoid contact with gringos?
This happened to us, too. We were sort of turned around at Santiago Park and I couldn’t tell which was was east. We tried to ask a passing teenager, someone a bit older than this boy. He kept on walking like we weren’t there. We tried again, in Spanish. He never broke his stride. Everyone had been so sweet and polite, so we were shocked at what seemed like rudeness. We soon concluded he had been instructed not to talk to strangers.
What’s ironic is how forward some people on the street are once you approach that main square, when older men start to engage you in conversation about your urgent need for a Panama hat or a guayabera shirt. People selling hammocks, plastic Spanish hand fans that they pop open right in your face, anything at all. I dread those encounters. I become that little boy, avoiding eye contact and hoping the person approaching will just go away.