Week 1 in Mérida

Sunday Night
Scattered Clouds. Low: 66° F. / 19° C. Wind light.
Clear. High: 89° F. / 32° C. Wind light.
Monday Night
Chance of Rain. Partly Cloudy. Low: 69° F. / 21° C. Wind light. Chance of precipitation 20%.
Clear. High: 89° F. / 32° C. Wind light.
Tuesday Night
Scattered Clouds. Low: 66° F. / 19° C. Wind light.
Clear. High: 89° F. / 32° C. Wind light.
Wednesday Night
Clear. Low: 68° F. / 20° C. Wind light.


David, whose crumbling mind obdurately refuses to acquire any language (including inglés), is in Mérida, Yucatán for a month of Spanish lessons and Mayan tourist stuff.

Mérida is the capital of the Mexican Yucatán state.  David will be studying at the Spanish Institute of Mérida, website at http://www.simerida.com

As is always true, updates to  this web site depends on the health of the intervening network, the viability of the servers back home, and the integrity of David's tiny notebook.  Which, like David himself, is starting to rattle a little bit.

11 noviembre

Off to the aeropuerto at 3 AM.  Por favor.  Delta to Atlanta.  Then Delta to Miami.  Then Delta (partner) to Mérida.  Why isn't Delta's motto: "Delta makes a difference"?  Last math joke on this trip.

A comedy of errors at the crowded Mérida airport when David failed to find anybody with a sign "David" waiting for him.  When he asked a nice couple at the phone kiosk how to use the teléfono to call the school, after much fractured Spanish from David it turns out they were the ones destined to take him home!

Introducing Sagrarero and Valerio , who welcomed David into their casa, fed him and introduced him to three of their four sons, along with a newly minted daughter-in-law.  The sons are technophiles, have some English, and quickly got David hooked up with the household wi-fi system.  Bliss.  Tomorrow, it's work.


12 noviembre

Son Francisco escorted David to school via a bus that traveled all over the place.  Mérida is a big city, but it has the feeling of a huge town.  So far, very few buildings with more than one story, a lot of buildings with old ornate architectures.

The school is in the midst of it all, a nice building with high ceilings and lots of noise from the street.  At left the two bosses who run the place, and at right a corner of the school's garden.  They gave all 5 students a test, David couldn't remember anything, and as punishment they will give him his own teacher tomorrow.  At left below, profesora Mercy doesn't know yet how slow David is!

David walked back to the house in the Mérida twilight - more than an hour.  Está cansado.


13 noviembre

Muy difícil para David.  One-on-one classes can be very fatigando.  Plus homework.

In the afternoon, Rosa, a young student of francés and inglés, escorted David on a nice walk around the Centro of Mérida, all the time talking Spanish, descrbing landmarks like the Cathedral, which is termed a ""mistake"" because several hundred years ago, the Spanish architects mixed up the plans with those for Mérida, Venezuela. 

David gets mixed up at times, too.  Por ejemplo, he thought he was retired.



14 noviembre

It's not getting any easier.  Future perfect subjunctive???  ¿Porqué?

In the afternoon Rosa led David to the Museum of the City.  A nice museum, but the path was littered with broken Spanish, broken English, and broken dreams.  ¡Oh, por favor!  (David loves these upside-down punctuation marks.)


15 noviembre

Classes in the morning, what more to add?  When David got up in the AM, there was nobody around.  Son Francisco had prepared a dish of apples and bananas, some warm water for coffee.  After classes, a nice lunch catered by a tiny local restaurant, and when David returns home tonight, he will raid the refrigerator for dinner.  Mi sandwich es tu sandwich.

In the afternoon Rosa escorted David to the Monumenta de La Patria at left.  Here's a movie of traffic winding around the monument, with 15 milliseconds of fame for Rosa.  Afterwards, we went to the Museum of Anthropology, which was full of deceased Mayans and not-yet-deceased-but-it-won't-be-long gringos.



¡The last day of classes! For this week.  David still can't speak a sentence in Spanish.

There are a total of 6 students at the school now, although they say that in January the number will climb briefly to about 50 as US universities send students here.  Four of the students are as "mature" as David, with two younger folks around to help the old guys cross the street.  Four students are from B.C. in Canada, and two from the USA.  In toto: Judd, Kay, Edward, Rhonda, James and David.

David's afternoon guide Rosa had spent the previous evening studying for her psychology exam, and so was a bit tired.  She and David sat at a table outside an ice cream parlor and chatted for a couple of hours.  David told some stories and got a laugh or two, but is not sure whether it was because of the jokes or the mangled Spanish.

Rosa's father owns a small ranch in an adjacent state (Campeche).  Cattle and sheep mostly.  Rosa, who wants to become a flight attendant,  returns during school vacation to help her dad vaccinate the sheep.  The ranch has no electricity, and. of course, no radio, television or computer.  Rosa says that at night the stars light up the sky.



The host family mother had been away visiting a brother in Cancún until Friday, and this morning David had the opportunity to have a little chat with the señora.  Mexican families tend to have more structured roles than families in the USA.  Men are expected to be breadwinners, and women are expected to tend to the household and the children.  In this familia, three of the four sons have moved away, and the remaining one (the computer expert, ¡hola Franscisco!) is busy with work, school and friends.  The señora, who was married at 16, is suffering a little from empty nest syndrome.  David, who is at least 20 years older than this lovely mom, is no substitute for a dutiful son.

A long walk to the Centro for exploration and lunch with some classmates. These folks are from Victoria, British Columbia, and generously demonstrated the power of the Canadian dollar by picking up the tab!

  Afterwards, David dropped by the local Walmart Super Center to buy some sundries (algunos articulos).  A huge store, very busy, lots of friendly and helpful staff.

In the evening the familia mom and son invited David down for a bite of Mexican food and and interesting sweet drink, looks like milk but made of ground rice.  David, Francisco and his friends finished the evening and David's first week with an animated half-English, half-Spanish discussion about computer operating systems, device drivers, processors and architectures.