I used to dislike Sundays, especially Sunday nights when I thought about going to work the next day. But as my brother said to me when we were traveling together earlier this year, now everyday is like the first day of a long holiday weekend. I know I really don’t have any reasons for not liking Sundays anymore but here in Merida, I’ve come to love Sundays. It’s all about families, church, and wholesome activities. I usually get up a bit later and have breakfast with Doña Gloria and Don Jose Luis. I sit by the pool for an hour or two reading, and then walk about 2 miles over to Altabrisa to catch an early movie. By the time my movie gets out, the mall is packed with families and teenagers. Even though there is air conditioning and Mexican food (along with KFC, Burger King, and Subway) I can’t really bring myself to eat at the food court so I head downtown instead. There is an outdoor handcraft market and food vendors all around the Main Plaza on Sundays. Called Merida en Domingo, there are a ton of things to do around town on Sundays. In front of Plaza Municipal there are clowns for kids, stand-up comics, traditional dancers, bands, local artesania, and more, from 9AM to 9PM. Just a few blocks away along Paseo de Montejo, all vehicular traffic is off limits from 8 AM to 12:30 PM to allow bicycles free access. It always puts a smile on my face to see parents riding bikes up and down the street with their kids.
There are museums that waive entrance fees on Sundays, and many parks around town have live music and dancing during the day. I like going to Parque Santa Lucía to listen to live bands and watch people dance. It’s really very sweet to see older couples jump up out of their seats to get on the stage.
Some Sundays I just like to stroll around downtown looking at old colonial buildings. Merida has some buildings that appear completely abandoned and some look as if they’ve just been painted in pastel colors that you’d only imagine in fairytales or children’s books.
I find that most of the restaurants get their lunch rush after 2PM when everyone goes to eat after church service and they close by 6PM rather than staying open for dinner. It’s common for families to gather at home for on Sundays, including my host family the Cantos. All three of their daughters are married with children and live in Merida. They usually come over to the house, go to a park with everyone, or find a way to have a meal together on Sundays.
Today I got to have lunch with the Bennetts, whom I affectionately call my adopted/second family in Merida. They had me over at their beautifully renovated house in the historic center of Merida for a delicious homemade meal centered around sopa de lima. Who knew such a perfect bowl of chilled lemony chicken broth with all kinds of goodness existed?! Or such a big, airy, and gorgeous house sat behind small purple doors? It felt as if I were a typical Meridana a typical Sunday. Thank you Rob, Chris, Theo, Sage, and Nina for a wonderful afternoon!
I have a tendency to make a packed schedule, trying to see and do as much as I can. But in Mexico, I think I’ve been slowing down and learning to “forgive” myself for being so lax. I’m happy to say at least on Sundays in Merida, I’m spending them as leisurely as I think they were meant to be spent.
These museums in Merida are free on Sundays
Museo de la Ciudad (City Museum): Calle 56 between 65 and 65A
De la Cancion Yucateca (Yucatecan Music): Calle 57 #464-A por Calle 48
Museo de Arte Popular (Popular Folk Museum): Calle 50-A #487 por Calle 57 (west side of Parque Mejorada)