There’s a beautiful white-washed church right across the street from my house here. I’ve been hearing bells go off at seemingly random times of the day, and sometimes I can hear the bells of other churches ringing in the distance with them. I figured that since today was Sunday they’d be going off all morning; but today they woke me up with a choir of children singing. Very pretty.
Today I wanted to check out “el centro”, the downtown area. Tere was very helpful in explaining the bus system to me (in Spanish!), and even rode with me on my way there. She slid a note in my pocket with her address and phone number and where to exit when I came home, just in case. The bus system here is very reliable and pretty easy to navigate: get on any single bus in the city, and you WILL end up downtown. Then when you want to get home, you just hop on the bus that says the name of your Colonia, one of the 20-some-odd little areas the city is divided into. I actually exited a bit too early, but I saw a sign pointing to the church across the street and followed it right home.
El Centro was amazing. On the weekends the main roads are blocked off to traffic so its only bikes and pedestrians. I wandered around for a bit just taking in all the sights and sounds and smells. More food trucks than I’ve ever seen in one area, amazing architecture, street performers and live music.
The Cathedral of Merida is the oldest one in the Americas- the Spanish finished building it around 1598. They laid the foundation with bricks and stones from the Mayan temples that they destroyed. It’s awe-inspiring, giant, almost ethereal in the daylight. The inside was almost more breathtaking, but a service was in progress and I didn’t want to take a picture.
After eating a gordita in the shade of the church, I wandered into an amazing bookstore. Any bookstore can steal my time, but this one was amazing because it was so different and all Spanish. I bought a ton of postcards to mail home.
I start school tomorrow morning, and I can’t wait.