And here I am in Mérida, which I've always preferred to other cities in Mexico even though I've spent less time here. What's not to love? Tiny taquerias and tortillerias with names like "Gift of God" or "The Divine Child" sprinkle the city with that authentic goodness that's so hard to find anywhere else. Jokes are twice as funny when told in Spanish. Avocado are cheap, and fresh, and good, and limes grow on the tree in our courtyard. Don Jerman, the sweet, shriveled elderly man who's staying at our hotel, greets me with a kiss on the cheek and sends his daughter in search of his amiguita if I neglect to say hello. Hermana Isabel stands eye-level with my belly button and bustles about cooking vast quantities of deliciousness.
Then there are the sprawling colonial haciendas – beautiful reminders of an ugly past. There are the paintings of Mayans being burned alive for refusing to convert to Catholicism. I cannot forget the depths of our depravity, the injustices we're capable of committing. I cannot forget the One who knocks, the One who serves, the One who says "Come to Me, and I will give you rest!"
It's no wonder most Yucatecans sleep in hammocks – I do the same, smugly aware of my cultural adaptability - because most days the heat of the sun seems as oppressive as the conquistadores. But even the sun takes a siesta occasionally. On those afternoons, a sudden, ferocious downpour arrives without warning and stops almost as soon as it's begun, like a mother swooping in with a washcloth to scrub the grime off a squirmy little boy's face, even though it will be dirty again in no time. Mérida, too, will be cool and clean only for a moment, but it remains dimply and endearing even in its sweat and mischief.