Hospitality of the Yucatecans!
The Yucatecans are known for their hospitality. I would like to tell you about an invitation I received a week ago from a family I have never met in my life.
I was on Facebook when suddenly a friend of mine messaged me: “Nina, when do you have time to have lunch with a Mexican family?” I was confused and answered: “On Friday, but who is inviting me and why?” My friend Luis explained that he is friends with a really nice family from Merida who just wants to invite a lot of friends of his to eat at their house and have a good time.
So on Friday I took a cab with two Japanese girls, another German girl and Luis. It took us a while to get to her house because she lives at the other end of town and because the taxi driver stopped to get gasoline and cigarettes and really wasn’t in a hurry (Actually I think people just don’t like to be in a hurry here in Merida. I’ve never seen anyone who has been in a hurry – people here just take it slower and easier, which I think is one reason why many people enjoy the Mexican culture so much. Obviously they are also very hard working, but they know how to enjoy life to the fullest and get everything done at their pace.)
Once we got to her house, the lady (probably in her 40s) greeted us and invited us in. She was very friendly and seemed like she had never met a stranger. Her son and his friend moved the table and chairs so that we could get comfortable, and even though it was so hot she moved the fan to us, while she was sweating. She had prepared freshly squeezed Guayaba Juice, Sopa de Frijol, tostadas with pumpkin seed paste and chocolate pudding as a desert. She also brought us 3 different sauces, bread to dip, and pico de gallo.
Everything was delicious, but I couldn’t believe that someone whom I didn’t know would go through the trouble and just prepare such a big meal for me. The lady and her sons were very interested in all of us and we talked for a long time. My Japanese friend Asami, who was with us, told the lady that she was leaving Mexico soon to go back home. The lady got very sad and couldn’t understand why Asami didn’t want to stay forever. Then she offered to have a goodbye party for her (even though they had just met once before). She and her sons have a Piñata business (which you fill up with candy and hit with a stick until it bursts open) and she offered to make a Piñata Sushi roll for my friend Asami and decorate her house for the party.
Unfortunately, a few days before the goodbye party one of the lady’s sons got sick and she had to cancel the party.
This kind of hospitality is what the Yucatecans are known for. They are very helpful – e.g. one time I was at the supermercado and had my hands full with groceries that I wanted to put into my backpack. However, I was having some difficulties because my hands were full, and the zipper wouldn’t open. So one security guy saw me and immediately rushed to my help.
Once you are in Merida, you will see it’s true, starting with the friendly welcome at the airport, and the nice taxi driver who will ask for your whole story and will tell you everything about himself, so that you probably won’t get around knowing all of his relatives’ first names and stories.