Saturday, July 9, 2011

Parque Mejorada

I got to know this area better over many internet-deprived days during the last few visits to Mérida. I'd sit on the slatted wooden benches until my butt got sore, or until the laptop ran out of power; whichever came first.

I grew to like this park, in many ways, better than the busy Parque Grande about half a dozen blocks to the west. No one pestered me relentlessly to buy inferior hammocks, or tested pick-up lines while I tried to work ("Hey that's a really small computer...where you from?") No aggressive panhandling, which I experienced in Parque Santa Ana. It seems in those parks if you sit around too long you attract uninvited attention, like mosquitoes.

I found myself hanging out more and more in Parque Mejorada. A smaller park with fairly busy streets on two sides, but otherwise peaceful. As an added attraction it's pretty close to our house.

On my first few visits I felt like Mejorada didn't have much going on. Perhaps that's because there are no sidewalk restaurants like the ones surrounding Parque Grande, or market food stands as in Santa Ana. It's also not a location for any of the regular public concerts.

Over time I got around to exploring beyond some of the striking facades. I followed the sound of music to find a school with a band practicing in interior courtyard of one old building. Another day I ducked out of the afternoon heat into the museum of popular art. It was holding a spectacular exhibit of work related to Day of the Dead. On earlier visits we toured the Museum of Yucatecan Song, which is dedicated to the icons and history of the indelible Yucatecan music that you hear in the public concerts and on the radio. I have yet to explore the school of architecture which stands next to the cathedral, or the ancient cathedral which is the source of much street activity. Of course the famous Las Almendras restaurant with its Yucatecan cuisine faces the park as well. One day I was able to peek into the expansive green spaces of the Centro Cultural del Nino Yucateco, which lies behind the imposing walls across from the southeast corner of the square.

I took a bunch of pictures of what I found behind some of the grand facades, but in my current state of disorganization can't seem to find most of them. Here are a few from the Museo de Arte Popular and the music school.

I also found this link with info about the park and a few of the places around it. I'm looking forward to discovering more about the neighborhood now that the initial busy-work of renovations is done.

9 comments:

  1. Now you have me intrigued. This area is going on my 'to explore' list for our next trip to Merida. I am also putting Las Almendras on our list. Thanks!

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  2. It's nice to see a post from you. Funny how things go, but in all the years I've lived here I have not visited any of the places you mention. I've had good intentions, heard about some of these places and made plans, but never got around to it. Gosh...it's so far...like nine or ten blocks away from the house...maybe that's why.

    Thanks for the post. I need to get over there...and look forward to seeing you around some time soon. Maybe we can run out to "el puerto" for a seafood lunch...

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  3. Debbie, we are thinking of flying into Cancun for Christmas vacation. Is it difficult to get to Merida? I would prefer to split the vacation between Cancun and Merida, so we can take everyone's interests into account.

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  4. Carlos and Pat, maybe we'll run into each other exploring the neighborhood. Tom and I still have a lot to discover, ourselves. Also, every time I return things have changed. For example I understand the grotty old railway lands behind the old train station/new art school have been cleaned up to create a venue for the Shakira concert next week, and people are now enjoying this new, usable public space.

    Marc, I have been a bit flojo on the blog these days, but really appreciate the latest posts from yourself and others. They keep me feeling connected to the place when it starts to feel so far away. So does the notion of a nice seafood lunch to look forward to.

    And hola Owen. It is easy to get to Merida from Cancun. It's a comfortable 4 hour ride on a first-class bus from the ADO bus station in downtown Cancun. You can get a bus to the ADO station from the airport (avoid the pricy shuttle vans that try to scoop your business). I hope you get to visit Merida. I think you'll really like it. Nos vemos el Martes en el grupo de conversacion?

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  5. Hi Debbie, We arrived here on 1 July and are in love with this city and plan to stay. I bookmarked your blog about a year ago and have been enjoying it a lot. I would love to see your house if the opportunity ever arises. We are currently renting on 53 but hope to find a place of our own soon so we can get our household goods out of storage and begin to feel a little more at home. I love your information about Parque de la Mejorada and now we plan to visit it and the surrounding neighborhood as well. Thanks for the great tip!
    ~gail w.

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  6. I love that area which includes Mejorada Park. A breath of fresh air!!

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  7. Mejorada Park is lovely. It's great that you have such a peaceful and relaxing place nearby. And, your nighttime view should be getting even better soon. A significant lighting project and mini-facelift is planned for Mejorada church at a cost of a million pesos! Wow!!!

    http://www.sipse.com/noticias/109824-avanza-embellecimiento-templos-catolicos-merida.html

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  8. Hi Debbie-

    Encouraging to read of your steady steps making Mejorada your home. I recently bought a house on 44th and plan to make it initially a winter home and then, a year round one. Your comments have done much to ease my mind.

    PS-My mother lives in Vancouver, BC and my wife and I live in Port Townsend, WA.

    -Stephen

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  9. Gail, it's great to hear you've arrived. I have found people here very warm and welcoming and I'm sure you will too.

    I'm glad other folks enjoy the park as much as I do, Jerry. And pleased to hear of new neighbors! I look forward to hearing more about your new place, Stephen. And Susan, thanks for the info on the new lighting and facelift for the church. That will brighten up the area at night.

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