The newspaper says that the local obstacle course known as sidewalks will be improved in the historic center to make them safer for senior citizens. I think junior citizens like me will benefit as well.
We can’t do much about the sidewalks being narrow, but we can move poles and wires to make them safer. Why am I concerned about this? Because guess who’s coming to visit.
My Mom, at 82 and a little unsure on her feet, is insisting on coming down to see Casa Nana when it’s finished. She hasn’t been on a plane since she took me to Disney World in 1974, and that’s only the beginning of my worry. She falls down very easily. This would scare me if she were traveling to Palm Springs or Boca Raton. But she’s coming to Mérida. I don’t know how she’s going to survive the white-knuckle cab ride from the airport, but she probably will, and then she’ll want to walk. She’ll look up and ask a question about some charming hand-painted sign, and before she can say “cocina económica,” down she’ll go. Oy.
The newspaper said that in 2011, most pedestrian accidents (that went reported) happened when people were forced off the sidewalk and into the the street, and into the path of a bus. This has happened to me often, up until the part about the bus. Catastrophes aside, I don’t think twisted ankles in potholes even get reported, and I’m not sure how far slip-and-fall lawsuits go in this country.
Now my Dad, who’s about 87, hasn’t expressed any interest in going one way or another. But he’s become prone to lung infections, and a plane ride to anywhere is out of the question. Bingo at the senior center is even a risk, but he takes it.
We just spent the weekend at their house showing them YouTube clips of Mérida properties and neighborhoods, which were more prolific a couple of years ago. They got a taste of street life, seeing cars zip down narrow streets, seniors dancing in the parks at night, workers digging out pools, expats touring the markets. I was so grateful that the clips existed online. They help “sell” the city to expats, but they also help persuade those expats parents that this decision is OK.