After a brutally hot week here in Merida we had a fantastic downpour for an hour that evaporated all the heat and soupy-ness from the air, for about 6 hours. It was back to steamy conditions Saturday morning but I walked around the neighborhood and made my way over to a large American style shopping center called Altabrisa. It has a large Sears, Chilli’s, Subway, and other American brands but my primary goal was to see “Medianoche En Paris” (Midnight in Paris), a Woody Allen movie.
I love going to the movies in Latin America. Movies are a lot cheaper than in the States in general but it’s even more so on Wednesdays when all day long the tickets are half price. I remember paying no more than $2 to watch first run movies, including Senor y Senora Smith, in Costa Rica on Wednesdays. Here in Merida at a modern multiplex like Cinepolis, a movie costs just 43 pesos ($3.50) on Wednesday, matinees are 46 pesos (~$3.80) with a regular ticket costing 61 pesos ($5.00). They have a separate theater called Cinepolis VIP where for 100 pesos (~$8.00) you can sit in reclining leather seats and have someone serve refreshments (including sushi, beer, wine, etc) for you during the movie. The movie tickets may be cheaper they get you with the refreshments just like they do in the States! I paid less than $4 for the movie (it was a matinee at 11:50) but my medium diet coke cost me almost $3. I guess they have to make money somehow.
The theater was completely empty when I arrived but right as the movie was starting a couple came in and sat wayyyy in the back, so it felt as if I had the whole place to myself. This theater was modern with seats that were big and comfortable. Without any annoying teenagers or tall people, or anyone at all, around me it was perfect. When I was buying my ticket the woman behind the counter asked me if I wanted just one. “Si,” I said. I guess they don’t get a lot of single movie goers. Well, she should get used to my buying just one ticket because I plan to return there every week…
After the movie let out I wandered around the mall for a bit and then headed home to rest before my night out in the city. It’s incredible how Merida has so many free public events everyday of the week. On Saturdays they have two wonderful offerings. One is at the south end of Paseo de Montejo at Calle 47 called Fiesta Mexicana from 8:00 pm to midnight. The second event is downtown in el Centro where the streets are closed and there is different music on every corner. That event is called Corazón de Mérida and it happens from 9:00 pm to 2:00 am. Yes, that’s right. A public event that goes until 2AM! And that’s every weekend throughout the year.
Doña Gloria was nice enough to give me a ride downtown and along the way explained for me where I should go and what there was for me to see. I went out a bit early (around 8PM) so there weren’t so many people downtown yet but it was a beautiful night out and the lights around the plaza were charming. I circled the plaza a few times to familiarize myself with where things were and then headed over to Paseo de Montejo for Fiesta Mexicana. Because it was a long holiday weekend with the Independence Day celebrations still in full swing, the groups of dancers and singers were from all over Mexico. I watched a local group perform then a group from Puebla and another from Veracruz entertained the crowd. There were food stalls set up with all kinds of typical Yucatecan and Mexican dishes; they all looked so good that I kicked myself for having had dinner at home. Everyone was eating, laughing, dancing, and singing along. What a wholesome way to spend your Saturday night!
Next week in my morning classes we are learning about traditional Mexican and Yucatecan music. I look forward to going back to these outdoor concerts many more times in the next 7 weeks. Maybe I’ll learn to sing a song or two myself.
Cinepolis Altabrisa: Calle 7 No. 45, Interior Cine Colonia Maya C.P. 97134 Mérida, Yucatán
Fiesta Americana: Paseo de Montejo at Calle 47 (Thursdays and Saturdays from 8PM until midnight)
Corazón de Mérida: Main plaza in Merida (Fridays and Saturdays from 9PM until 2AM)