Travel Journal: Mexico
Stepping off the bus, walking through the station, and walking through the wide doorways that the strong sun was pouring through—I was back. After spending five days in Cancún, I was very ready to be back on the busy, bright, and boiling streets of Mérida. After 30 minutes of walking with my luggage and backpack through the Centro, I caught a bus and was headed home. Relief.
For spring break, my father was able to fly into Mérida on Saturday evening. I spent that evening and the next day escorting him all around town trying to package what I've been experiencing in a compact handful of hours. An ultimately impossible task I hope and think I may have been somewhat successful at. I found most of our “must do” activities were all directly related to food—pollo con mole (chicken with mole sauce), nopal (cactus), and papas con chorizo tacos (potatoes with sausage) from a stand at Noche Mexicana; fruit cups and marquesitas (Yucatan crepes) at Domingo en Mérida; pan (bread), salbutes (open-faced Mayan tacos), and fresh fruit from the local mercado (market); and the main event—my birthday supper with my host family! All of the food was delicious, but the company with my family was remarkable.
Halfway through delving into our pollo con mole delicacies (my requested dish) with rice and plátanos fritos (fried plantains), I sat back and caught the moment. Smiles all around. A full table—Pedro and Gonzalo, my older host brothers; and Gonzalo’s girlfriend, Diana, had joined us. It was a splendid carousel of Spanish and English (the extent of my father’s Spanish stretches as far as “¿Cómo estás?” (How are you?); so much so, I'd turn to my dad to translate and rattle off in Spanish. The extension of their welcome of me to my father made me feel as if I was a true part of their tight-knit family. After my dad presented them with a two-pound box of the See’s candy my mama fell in love with, we said our goodbyes for the week and headed out the door.
As we headed out of Mérida the next morning, I didn't think I'd end up missing the city as much as I did. Then again, a fraction of the idea must have been in my head because I got out of bed early that morning and got lost on the streets for an hour and a half collecting food for our road trip as I found and ventured into the mercado. With mangos, pan, and salbutes, we stopped for a quick coffee stop and hit the road.
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