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Feeling the effects

Normally, on a Friday night, Mérida is crowded, at least the downtown surrounding the Plaza de Independencia. Calle 60 is closed to automobiles and the restaurants compete for passerby’s patronage with music, their tables full of revelers eating and drinking. The tables spilling out into the street and dancers taking up what space is left. Last night was different. The restaurants were uniformly empty, while I realize it was still early by Mérida standards, it wasn’t that early. My walk home at around 9 pm also took me past several carriages stationed near the Peón Contreras Opera House where I over heard $100 mxp quoted as the price for a carriage ride. Never before have I heard a tourist being offered a ride for just $100 mxp! Normally they start at $250 and sometimes settle for $200. I wanted to urge the tourists to take it before the driver changed his mind. As I cut across the plaza, I noticed ...

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