We’re venturing further and further afield as we ease ourselves into Mérida life, conscious of course that we have three months here, so no point in trying to cram everything into the first few days! So this week is a week of orientation – wrapping our heads around the block grid layout with the Plaza Grande in Centro Histórico as our anchor point, with even-numbered streets running north-south and odd-numbered east-west. It’s a tad disorientating at first but we’re slowly getting the hang of it.
To make things slightly more challenging, Mérida has a unique and quite peculiar way of pinpointing an address, using mathematical equation symbols to denote the street, the cross street and the house number such as Calle 41 #558 x 80 y 82 with Calle 41 being the street (but there are also multiple Calle 41’s in the city….). 558 is the house number (though again, as we found when locating our house for the first time, there are several houses with the same number, only differentiated by the addition of another number or letter e.g. 558-1, 558-G etc and not necessarily in the same street), then it’ll be “x” (between) 80 “y” (and) 82 streets. Got that? And sometimes they’ll throw in a ÷ for good measure (also meaning between).
This may take some getting used to.
COVID, particularly Omicron, continues to take its grip on Mexico but I guess like the rest of the developed world, it appears to be in retreat, for now, with numbers dramatically dropping. In Mérida face masks are considered compulsory though there’s no government ruling – it’s more of a public participation drive. So almost everyone here wears masks out in the street and of course in all retail and enclosed building settings. And when it’s 35 degrees outside on another blazingly hot day, the last thing you want to be wearing is a face mask – but of course we do. It’s so tempting of course to slip the mask off when strolling down a quiet street with no one around, but then out of the blue a little old lady will appear and remind you sternly to put your mask on. “Ponte tu cubraboca”.
All stores, restaurants and museums are very particular about entrances and exit lines, hand-sanitising and temperature checks – you’re not allowed in without being masked and obeying these rules.
I’m reading today in the Yucatan Times (as you do…) that Yucatan State will shortly change to green status as official virus numbers have significantly dropped. This is also (not insignificantly) just at the moment when tourists return to Mérida, including us of course, though I’d like to think we’re not tourists but potentially prospective residents. Stay tuned on that one too.