It is often hard to tell what’s behind the old walls here in the colonial town of Merida – could be a fabulous mansion, a car garage, a building supplies store, or a parking lot. And many of the houses in Centro are abandoned, decrepit, and falling down, perhaps waiting to be reclaimed.
Wanting to experience Merida en Domingo, the pedestrian friendly market and manifestation day in the historical centre of Merida, Ty and I jumped on one of the local buses down 61st.
After being dropped downtown, we waited while all the vendors set up their booths in the park.
Below is the Casa de Montejo, the house of the first governor of Merida, built in the 1500s by Spanish conquistadors.
Merida en Domingo sees all the local women out in their Yucatecan garb, illustrated in the photo below – very colourful, with floral patterns and lace.
Since the day was a bit overcast, it wasn’t as blazing hot as it otherwise might have been – only 40 rather than 45 degrees …
After having indulged ourselves in a couple of somewhat mediocre tortas, drawn by the outdoor sculpture display, we decided to check out the Macay Gallery, Merida’s modern and contemporary art gallery, featuring work by contemporary Yucatecan artists, none of whom I was familiar with.
The gallery is housed in a beautiful colonial building, with a sculpture courtyard in its centre.
We saw some interesting acrylic on paper works by a German artist depicting his vists to North Africa.
Some of the art pieces on permanent display were vaguely reminiscent of West Coast First Nations artists,
while others could have illustrated a science fiction novel.
I quite liked the work of the artist below, especially this mobile of tiny ceramic figures.
For Merida en Domingo, the streets downtown are blocked to traffic and people are encouraged to cycle; the family below took advantage of the opportunity to pile all five of them on a single stretch bike.
All that art viewing in the heat makes for a very thirsty couple of Canadians; naturally we had to stop for a cervesa or two.
After watching locals dance to Yucatecan trova music performed by an excellent one man band in the Santa Ana park, we finished off our Sunday enjoying the spectacle of Merida’s well-known troupe perform folkloric dances in the Zocalo.
Amazingly, even in the 40 degree heat, these folks looked cool and dry … unlike us.
See more pics here.