My First BlogPost: Christmas Eve in Merida

It’s Christmas Eve in Mérida and, in downtown’s Centro Histórico, the shopkeepers are closing up and heading home to their families. In Mexico, Christmas Eve is when people celebrate, not Christmas Morning as we do in the United States.

Earlier today, I made my way down Calle 55 to a few favorite neighborhood shops for some last minute shopping: Artesanaria (corner of 55 and 60) for a handmade Nativity scene; into the tiny the chocolate store ki’Xocolatl (north side of 55, almost at Calle 62) for the latest confection from Belgian chocolatiers Mathieu Brees and Stephanie Verbrugge – dark chocolate with pink peppercorns; and finally, to Coqui Coqui Boutique (south side of 55 between 62 and 64) for a gift of original Yucatán perfume – I select Flor de Mayo, a delicate scent and perfect for a woman to wear in the evening.

At 6:30 pm tonight, I will go with friends to the San Ildefonso Cathedral, which offers a mass in English. I can’t wait to see who shows up: Catholic, Lapsed Catholic, Potential Catholic – the cathedral is a destination during the holiday season whether one is religious or not.

After mass, the best choice in town for dinner will be at Hotel Rosas & Chocolate (Paseo de Montejo and Calle 41). Tonight, there will be a special three-course menu (which will also be repeated New Year’s Eve): Appetizer – beets, lettuce, cranberry, nutmeg, honey and bleu cheese. Main Course: roasted turkey breast or Korobuta pork filet, fruit glaze, baked potato, green beans, asparagus, and gravy. Dessert: apple pie and vanilla ice cream. Plus, you get two glasses of white or red wine per person for $450 pesos per person (turkey) or $500 pesos per person (pork).

After dinner, I will walk through the Zócalo and watch the crowds come out of midnight mass at the cathedral. Somewhere, hopefully, there will be fireworks and I can watch them burst in the night sky.

Feliz Navidad to you, wherever you are!


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