Olimpo y Mercado 60

Sat. Nov. 27, 2021

This morning, Kimberly was scheduled to conduct a yoga session at Hostel Barrio Vivo, but nobody showed. Which isn’t surprising considering that it’s Saturday morning, and all these twenty-somethings were out partying last night. So we’ll try it again at a more convenient time for everyone.

After catching up on some computer work, we strolled into town to do some errands. At the top of the list was a visit to a chocolate shop that was pointed out to us by our tour guide on Thursday. It’s a gourmet establishment with quite a selection of exquisite bars to choose from, but Kimberly managed to narrow it down to one that she just had to have to satisfy her cacao jones for a few days. She has the plan of resurrecting the tradition of buying a bar in every country we visit, just as she did in Europe.

For Dennis, the mission was to find a decent pair of sunglasses, since he broke his good pair, and his backup is a tacky old pair that he found on the ground and rehabilitated months ago. As always happens, they are the ones that have endured forever, but the “good” pairs seem to meet with all kinds of freak accidents. But despite searching in a number of shops, including a 7-11 and a Circle K, he didn’t find anything satisfactory.

Another obligatory stop was an English language library — where, as it happens, a children’s program had just concluded. Dennis is terrified of running out of reading material — real reading material, not just something you see on a screen; there’s nothing like the feel of yellowing paper between your fingers. And since there’s theoretically a limit to how much weight you can carry when you’re backpacking, he had to restrict himself to bringing along just a few compact volumes on this trip, and now they’re just about gone already. So he was hoping this library would have a few books for sale, as libraries often do.

Lo and behold, they did! And amazingly, the selection, though small, offered a great deal of quality. It was hard to restrict ourselves to our self-imposed limit of 3 (Kimberly also saw one she wanted), as the library was offering a discount of 3 for 50 pesos (about $2.50). Now, the plan is to try to read those during our stay in Merida, and return to buy 3 more.

We dropped in at Olimpo Cultural Center, which has a free art gallery. It’s currently showcasing the work of a local artist, including some very impressive lithographs.

This evening, the scheduled activity which we were to lead was an outing to Mercado 60, reputed to be a hopping night spot. Two guests accompanied us, a couple of young German fellows, Tony (a former policeman) and Bjorn. The place was busy, but it turned out to essentially be a food court with a decent variety of restaurants and bars surrounding a large seating area, and a stage where live musicians played. Not quite our scene as neither one of is particularly keen on doing much drinking.

Short clip of the salsa dancers who commanded the floor at Mercado 60

The highlight was the assortment of couples who got up to dance salsa to the band’s accompaniment; there were some really good dancers in the lot, so that it was almost more like watching a performance than just watching people dance for fun.

After having a glass of wine (just one) and a nice chat with our companions, we decided to call it a night and walk back to the hostel — they, however, stayed for more. It probably won’t work to have a yoga class tomorrow morning, either.

The Quest?

To volunteer our services in communities all over the world: teaching kids English, performance arts and other forms of cultural enrichment, drawing on our three decades of experience teaching and performing for kids as Act!vated Story Theatre all over the U.S. With your help, we will be able to reach remote locations and engage children in under-served communities worldwide -- and to expand our creative online content. You can support our efforts on Patreon or make a contribution via PayPal if you are so inclined.

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