The “Lucy Arnez” of Merida, Mexico



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


One day a lady named C, stopped by our rental house in Merida, Mexico, 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 she 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 I 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.”


essdee1_cover (8) Dec 13 FINAL COVER

*If you’d like to learn more about little-known inexpensive countries and our crazy adventures, click the link below on Amazon to get the book, Travel To Little Known Places.
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5 Responses to The “Lucy Arnez” of Merida, Mexico

  1. mashoud says:


    How about this one to match ?

    Some years ago, we flew from Montreal to Mexico City enroute to the Coast. As luck would have it, our suitcases went to Spain and our bodies to downtown Mexico to await our luggage.
    So, we are sitting on a bench at the City Park in the Main Square late evening when crowds are thinning and a pesky little kid selling Roses is hounding me to buy some for my lady. Please , please Senior….!!!!
    I agree, take out the money, find only large bills, he has no change,but no problemo, he will be back with the change and leaves behind a bucketful of roses for me to guard.

    Ten minutes go by, 20, 30, 45…no show. What a predicament ? I am entrusted with a bucketful of Roses…What now?

    A couple is walking by and I ask for help. They listen to my story and ask how big a bill did I give the brat. I tell….They burst out laughing.. I am feeling small… Senor, you bought all the roses. He is not coming back.
    At 1.a.m., I walk back to the hotel with a bucketful of roses and the management is sizing me up and down…what kind of looney is this?

    Anyway, next morning, I was the most popular man with every Senorita I could lay my eyes on….Roses for each one with love from a crazy Canadian.

    • travellittleknownplaces says:

      OMG Mashoud! That is absolutely hilarious! I love it. You’re a good writer too. If you have any other crazy adventures in little-known places, I would love to have you write a Guest Post on my site. If not, all the best, and thanks for taking the time to comment with this priceless little story.

    • Wendy says:

      That’s an awesome story too! I’d probably do the same thing, if given the chance lol

  2. Wendy says:

    Haha 🙂 that was a great ending!!!

  3. travellittleknownplaces says:

    Thanks Wendy!

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