Here we are in sunny Merida, Mexico, skin soaking up the luscious moisture and the warmth of the sun like a sponge. It’s easier to breathe here. Such a dramatic contrast to the cold dry air of winter in Canada; it’s almost a shock to the system.
It was a long line-up through Customs and Immigration in Cancun this time, and we had some hassles with the rental car, as usual, but after an hour got it all sorted out, and headed down the highway from Cancun to Valladolid. We know better that to drive at night here, but it was a nice wide highway with shoulders and reflectors that light up the lane as you’re driving. Starving when we arrived 2 hours later, we were happy to see that the hotel had a restaurant. The room was nothing special at the Maria de La Luz, but it was right on the town square with a nice view of the park and the church beautifully lit up at night, and the price was right at $55 US a night.
The drive from Valladolid to Merida the next morning should have taken about 2 hours, but we accidentally got onto the secondary highway instead of the freeway. We actually enjoyed it much better since it passed through many small Mexican villages with quaint palapa-style houses and ancient crumbling Mayan ruins scattered through all of them.
Of course our GPS did not work – again. We are ready to give up on GPS’s altogether, but I had printed out some Google maps that showed us the route through Merida, which, by the way, has over a million people, and we found our little home without getting lost once! Amazing.
Our host was waiting for us, but the cleaning lady was still working away, so we went for a walk around the block. Three houses down on our street is a little corner store so we went in to check it out, and within two minutes we met our new best friend and neighbor, Santiago, the friendly shop owner. He offered information, in half-English and half-Spanish, welcomed us and offered to help in any way he could. So kind. A small grocery store was further around the corner, and a few restaurants around the block, but most businesses were closed for Siesta in the afternoon.
After signing the rental agreement and asking our gracious landlady a million questions, we finally had our new home for the next four months to ourselves.
T went out to find a bank or auto teller to get some pesos, and I started unpacking. It was near dark when he returned so we sat outside in the courtyard and had a drink before going out for supper.
The door closed and locked automatically behind us, and as we sat down, T looked alarmed.
“Do we have the keys?!” He fumbled in his pant’s pocket. Yes, he had them.
15 minutes later, we got up to go in and started to unlock the door. It would not unlock. We tried the other 3 keys for the side door and the upstairs and the main gate. Nada. We tried over and over and over again. He tried unlocking the door. I tried unlocking the door. We were LOCKED OUT. My purse was inside, the phone numbers to our host were inside, and so was my cell phone, which did not work here yet anyway, as we had yet to buy a sim card. The laptop was also inside with the landlord’s email address. Now what?
“You must have locked the door from the inside.” T says.
“I never touched the lock.” I said.
“Well, something changed. Or else we broke the lock.”
So now we had no way to contact our landlord and no way to get into the house! Good start. We would have to sleep in the car! Not so bad at 25 degrees C; at least it wasn’t minus 30 degrees below zero!
T started looking up at the roof, but in order to get there he would have to climb a 10 foot cement wall, creep along it to get to the side of the roof, and then somehow hoist himself up to the flat upper deck surrounded by cactus plants. Hmmm.
“There’s no way,” I said, “You’ll kill yourself. That’s all we need now is for you to fall off the roof and break a leg, or worse.”
Of course he went up.
“Ok, take your time. Slow and easy.” I kept saying.
It was quite a struggle with only the wobbly little bench to try to get up the high cement wall, and then when he managed to get up the wall, he had to try and balance on the 6 inch wide top ledge of the wall, turn around, and try to get a grip on something solid to pull himself up to the roof patio.
What if the Policia had come by, and they see a man climbing up a wall to get into someone’s home? Or what if the neighbors see a stranger climbing up the wall? It would definitely look like they were trying to break-in to the house! No one knew us here, save the grocer down the street. With our luck the Policia would come, see T on top of the wall attempting to jump onto the rooftop patio and see me down on the ground as the “Look Out Man”. A fine thing that would be. It would be straight to a Mexican jail for both of us! I kept looking around to see if anyone was watching us.
T reached and groped and pulled, but nothing felt secure enough to pull on to heave himself up and onto the roof. Every time he twisted this way or that, I held my breath. He had very little mobility and was perched high on that wall like a cat on a spike. Finally, he grabbed on to something and hoisted himself up balancing precariously before he was able to land on the rooftop patio. Whew.
Problem number two. I had the keys, one of which would open the upstairs bedroom. It was now dark. I had to throw the keys up to the roof accurately enough for him to catch them.
“I’m not that good at throwing things…” I mumbled.
“We only have one chance at this, and I can’t see a damn thing up here. I can barely see you, so you have to throw them right to me.”
“But, wouldn’t be OK if they landed anywhere on the patio?”
“Not really – I could never see to find them.”
I hesitated. Better to throw them too far and they land on the patio, then stuck in between on the slanted clay-tile roof, or a crack in between.
“OK, here goes.” I said.
They landed close to him on the patio floor, and he found them. Another sigh of relief. After much fiddling with the bedroom door key, he got in, and I was never so glad as when he came down and appeared at the front door.
We decided not to lock that friggin’ door at all when we went out from now on. There was a padlock on the main gate. Hopefully, that would be good enough.