Back in peaceful Merida this week looking at social capital

Children performing in Merida's plaza

I am so happy to be back in Merida this week, to follow up on the article I wrote about the Other Mexico last month and to meet many of Mexicans and ex-patriates who wrote me with their comments about life here.  I will be blogging and tweeting during the week, meeting with some of the local officials, and giving a talk about the “soft power” of social capital and how it feeds Merida’s special brand on Wednesday.

It’s a beautiful Sunday morning, and the elegant Paseo de Montejo avenue is closed on one side so everyone can enjoy it.  There’s a wedding party starting in our hotel, families coming to brunch with their grandparents, and other families are riding their bicycles, joggers are passing by, and there are preparations for a big walk to raise money for hemophilia. Later we will head to the plaza central to see teenagers perform Yucatan dances and hear some of the fabulous musicians who are contemporaries of the Buena Vista Social Club in Cuba.  I can’t wait to show my husband the Museum of Yucatan Song today.

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2 Responses to Back in peaceful Merida this week looking at social capital

  1. Rob says:

    A hidden part of Mexico so few have heard about, but once you go there, then the expression from the famous Mexican author Anita Brenner comes to a full realization: “Once the dust of Mexico settles on your heart, you will find no peace in any other land.”
    My wife and I got enchanted in this area almost 10 years ago. We love to travel and never went to the same place twice. The world is simply too big. There are too many things to see and not enough time to see them. Then we got to Merida; our hearts got dusted and the only time we feel settled is when we return.
    We’ve been to other places during this time, but we always return to Merida. We are years away from any possibility of retirement and simply don’t want to have to wait for retirement age to move there and wish we would have done it years earlier.
    As you have found out, there is so much to see and do in this part of Mexico. So much to explore and a culture so strong and different from our own to try to understand and make sense of. Then to experience the tranquility of the city. Almost a million people call Merida home. Yet the crime statistics for a city this size is so incredibly low it’s almost miraculous. Yes, there are problems. Many of them. Some of which you have mentioned, but through it all, these people; short in stature, but tall in heart get through it all and still walk down the streets smiling and always willing to say a friendly hello to anyone they may encounter.
    We now have a corporation in Mexico, and are able to work there through our business. We recently purchased and renovated an old colonial house. What does the future hold out for us? I’m not too sure about here in Canada. It’s beautiful too, but the drawing to Merida pulls at the heart strings just as powerfully, if not more.

    Many expats who have discovered this area and have settled there would prefer to keep it to themselves. They don’t say too much about it to other foreigners or even to their friends. However, when the subject of Merida comes up in conversation, they can’t shut up about it. The fear is that Merida would be taken over by expats and be forever changed like the expat group has done in other parts of Mexico. However, Merida has endured many onslaughts of invaders from different lands through it’s long history and always Merida has changed them. If not, they simply go back home. I don’t think we have too much to worry about this time.

    Keep travelling there. There is so much to see, do and understand that a lifetime would barely cover it.

    • Edie says:

      What a nice comment. Thanks for sharing your own experiences. We feel exactly the same way. Today Kiplinger’s newsletter listed Merida as the top place to retire abroad. It’s not for everyone, but we are going back this winter for a month. Now others of our family want to come too.

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