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Encuentros aleatorios: Odds and ends, cafés and sexologists

¡Buenos días/Buenas tardes/Buenas noches, mundo!

Es el 19 de abril de 2015 y soy una escritora muy muy pésima. Aunque arrepiento por tardar, no lamento las experiencias a la vez tan cotidianas y ricas que he tenido aquí.

I am an incredibly tardy and shady writer, for which I repent and regret, but I am so glad to have had the plethora of little, satisfactory outings in El Centro and nearby Mérida—mostly involving delicious drinks and food, walking and sightseeing, snippets of golden and easy flowing conversations with all sorts of people, things to do that are at once everyday mundane and richly fulfilling.

So back in early March, I went out to breakfast with Bere, my very close Campechana friend (actually, Carmelita is a better term we discovered, since she is from just outside Ciudad del Carmen) and her friend Kari to All Natural (yummy health smoothies), where we were met by Kari’s former coworker Violeta from the private school where Kari does visual design, and friend Renán Solís, who turns out to be a gay sexologist. Link to his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ren%C3%A1n-Sol%C3%ADs-Sex%C3%B3logo/565613436885294?fref=photo and to a video in which he guest appeared for a talk show type video blog run by three women who invite guests to talk over coffee about summer loves: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x103f1r_amor-de-verano_shortfilms. He and Violeta, also a psychologist, shared their methodology for tissue placement in their offices, how to navigate patient relations, etc.—and as I am taking Sexualidad Humana and Psicología Educativa at Modelo, I was so excited to hear that Renán actually taught at Modelo, too, until a few years ago. Another cool twist of fate to bring me into the fold of Mérida’s interesting and progressive niches and networks.

Each musical, cultural, gastronomic experience of mine here tends to have an edgy flavor; when I visited the annual FILEY (Feria Internacional de Literatura en Yucatán)—a ginormous book fair/sale/cultural exhibition, with conferences by numerous amazing authors, workshops for all ages, and musical events, the opening act on the night of March 7 was Astrid Hadad (who is most famous for her song El Calcetín, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCgeFWqaXJ4), a politically fiesty singer from el D.F. (Ciudad de México) whose costumes, lyrics, animated style of performance, and biting satire were incredible to watch on stage. Her songs took us through a winding history of México desde la conquista hasta la revolución mexicana hasta la corrupción política de hoy, y las paradojas (paradoxes) siempre presentes en las vidas cotidiarias de los mexicanos tan fuertes. She mentioned after her parody version of La cucaracha that Mexicans must be las cucarachas (cockroaches) of the world for a GOOD reason—because no matter how many times the rest of the world, especially the Western world, tries to squash them and kill them, make them submit and give up, they never do. I am including a clip of “Altares de plata pura” which criticizes the exploitation of Mexican silver mines and native labor to construct the most outlandish silver altars all the way in Spain—and to serve what purpose? None, really. She opens up her elaborately ornate costume to reveal the skeletons and blood behind the seemingly benignly beautiful precious metals. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4B-wrzIdhGc&feature=youtu.be

So the main focus of my blog is to, little by little, map out where gay is chévere, o sea, the family-friendly places (fam in the sense of queer community!). I am including a large-scale and small-scale map of a few places I have been to that were on the gay map of Mérida that Miguel and I found at the beginning of the semester, that I have discovered from my time with Berenice, Kari, and that I have visited from other friends’ recommendations. Will elaborate in the next couple posts. Also back at the beginning of March when I was writing my first midterm for Modern Yucatecan Literature about this friar Fray Diego de Landa’s interpretation of what he interpreted to be Mérida and its natural/human/indigenous essence back in the 1500s, I went to Café Pop, a recommendation from el mapa gay de Mérida, on Calle 57 No. 501 x 60 y 62, en el Centro Histórico. You can see it as a little labeled star here! Open late, retro-cafeteria-dark adobe wall vibe, great service, recommend 9/10! Yummy capuccinos :)

Another DELICIOUS and totally gay-friendly, open-minded eating spot is el Rincón Vegano—Vegan Hideaway/Corner on Calle 19 entre 22 y 24, Colonia Miguel Alemán, which is súper close to Parque del Alemán near my house, a fantastic park with a mini-ferris wheel (rueda de la fortuna) and “roller coasters” (montañas rusas) for little kids, several marquesita stands (crunchy crepes with shaved sharp cheese), machacados and granizados (ice drinks soaked in various flavors, one of which is similar to oatmeal but in a lemony drink form, weird and good), a running track, free colorful arm and leg workout “machines,” a skate rink, basketball court, and a fountain. el Rincón Vegano has incredible vegan pizzas and burgers, truffles, fruit infusion drinks, and coconut milkshakes. Cannot go wrong.

Yet another café (this is the food and drink queer-friendly edition I suppose….!): Espresso del Arte Café, Centro Histórico again, Calle 62 #445 por 51 y 53. Kari recommended this to me—it’s like lencha-central because of the lady employees and the Frida-Kahlo, free-art vibe. Part art gallery (in which an 18-year-old’s spectacularly surrealist portraits and body details was displayed), part chalkboard-mania (lots of “before I die I want to…” chalking and “I love you ___”), part café, it is definitely heavily flavored with Frida influences and has great beverages, pretty good pasta. Can be located on my homemade starred map here too!

About a week before our spring break (Semana Santa and Semana de Pascuas, Holy Week and Easter Week) at the end of March, someone in my psychology class brought up a discriminatory incident that happened at a Valentine’s Day friendly competition in el Centro, la Plaza Grande of Mérida: http://www.informaciondelonuevo.com/2015/02/repudio-masivo-contra-la-gran-plaza.html . Even on that day of amor y amistad, love and friendship as it is officially designated here, a gay couple was prohibited from participating in the couples relay because of their sexual orientation. A great number of locals commented angrily against the blatant prejudice. Cool to hear this being talked about duing our sexual orientation unit in Sexualidad Humana, my psychology class.

Also, a few links about gay marriage status in México (Quintana Roo, the next state over to the east, is all legal, for instance!)

http://www.buzzfeed.com/lesterfeder/mexicos-quiet-marriage-equality-revolution#.hbdeK5E8yN

http://www.freedomtomarry.org/landscape/entry/c/international

Yes, one from Buzzfeed, why not…

Trying to break up my novels into bite-sized pieces, so hold on for a few more stars on the map!

Over and out xoxo,

Emily

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