The “Lucy Arnez” of Merida, Mexico



We’ve travelled all over the world having many misadventures, but very few times were we ever been duped out of our money.


One day a lady named C, stopped by and introduced herself. She is a “Lucy Arnez” woman, full of spunk and energy, talking a mile a minute. She first asked if we had a cleaning lady. Yes, sorry, we did. She lived just a block away and said if we needed anything at all just to call her.


She dropped by again the next day with her 16-year-old daughter who speaks fluent English and we visited for several hours. They were a wealth of information about Merida and the whole area, so easily answered all our questions, but they also seemed to be snatching up any tidbit where Momma could make some money. She was separated from her husband for many years.


“Oh, your nails – I do nails! And Pedicures too! Only $120 pesos!” she said.


“That’s sweet, thank you, but I do my own.”


And a little later,


“Oh, I am a hairstylist too – I can do your hair!”


“That’s sweet, thank you, but I do my own.”


Each time she said she would come back “manana”, but wouldn’t come back for 3-4 days. This is simply the Mexican way of interpreting time.


One of her recommendations was homemade Cochinita, a special Yucatecan meal, which is basically a heavily spiced roast pork cooked in lemon and orange juice, and she told us it was only made on Saturday mornings in a house by the park. So off we went to try it. It was deliciouso! On the way back, we bought a gray-coloured hot drink, just to see if we liked it. It tasted just like it looked – muddy water. Half an hour later the cramps and black diarrhea started. I’ll spare you the details, but I was in bed day and night for 4 days without eating an ounce of food, only water. T, the bugger, was fine – he has an iron stomach.


The next time she came back, I told her I had been ill and in bed for the past 4 days. When she found out it was tummy problems, she said you must get Treta from the pharmacy and drink Manzanilla tea! She said she was on her way to the grocery store and would pick it up for me. No, I could pay her when she returns in an hour – 4 pm.


She returned at 8 pm and we sat at the table discussing in half-English, half-Spanish, the use of the pills and tea, and finally the price. For some reason, I just couldn’t get the price she was saying; it was either too high or too low. She picked up her cell phone and called her brother, who came to the house almost immediately. He spoke perfect English.


“I apologize for my sister – she is crazy!” he said. We all laughed and I said, “Me too!” as we exchanged hugs and kisses on the cheeks.


He was a handsome man in his late 30’s, a little shy and much quieter than his sister. He explained that the cost of the tea and the medication was only 20 pesos. Two dollars? We could hardly believe it. I started looking for the money in my purse thinking I would give her $5 for her kindness and trouble to go and get it for me. At first I couldn’t find the right bill. T started to look for change in his pocket. Everyone was talking at once. Finally I found a 50 peso note and gave it to her. Her eyes got very big!


“Oh, I bring you cambio (change) manana.”


“No, no” I said, “You went to so much trouble. It’s fine.”


She smiled.


After they left, T says,


“Did you realize you gave her $500 pesos ($50)?”


“No, it was 50 pesos.” I said.


“No, I’m sure it was 500.”


“What?! That can’t be. Really? Why didn’t you say something?! OMG!”


“I thought maybe that’s how much you wanted to give. She swindled you quite nicely, don’t you think?” he said. “She is a bit of a Confidence Artist.”


“Huh! Dammit. I can’t believe I did that…. Well, (trying to justify now) it was very kind of her to get the stuff and bring it here, and it is so helpful to have a local to advise you about where to go to buy things, or best places to see, and she does seem to desperately need the money. So I guess we won’t starve giving away $50, and maybe it would be helping her tremendously!”


“Yah, they’re probably having a Mariachi Band party tonight with your money,” T says with a smirk.


“Yah. Dammit!.. She is quite delightful though.”


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Originally posted 2015-01-23 09:50:31. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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