Mexico City’s Grand Zocalo

by Beryl Gorbman

The Templo Mayor ongoing excavation

Last weekend in Mexico City, I had an opportunity to hike through the entire Templo Mayor excavation project, the ancient Aztec buildings right in the main zocalo, just next to the grand cathedral. The archaeologists have removed a number of the old colonial buildings in the last thirty years, as the extent of the Plaza Mayor revealed itself, but I think they are done tearing things down and they are reconstructing what they have. These are the remains of the grand Aztec city of Tenochtichtlan, constructed in the 14th century.

An extensive and well-constructed wooden catwalk takes you, by twists and turn, through the entire site. I might mention that there are lots of up and down stairs that can wreak havoc on the knees of those of who are no longer young. That, combined with the thin air of Mexico City, suggests that you allow plenty of time to get through the site.

At every turn, you are treated to views of the ancient buildings juxtaposed with colonial splendor (the cathedral) or the more modern buildings of downtown Mexico City. Unlike our ruins in Yucatan, the Templo Mayor project is right in the middle of downtown and the contrasts are spectacular.

Of course when Hernan Cortes arrived in the 16th century, he did his best to level the old city and construct the grand colonial structures that are in today’s zocalo. These buildings include the government palace and the spectacular Metropolitan Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary. 

The reconstruction is an extraordinary project, exposing temples, sacrificial chambers, sewage systems, and residences. Just next to it is a spectacular museum containing objects from this site and others. For a single admission price, you can hike for hours – through the ruin and the four-story museum.

Spillway to carry "black water" out of Tenochtitlan (Where to, I wonder?)

Quetzalcoatl, I suppose

Tenochtitaln ruins against the colonial skyline


The Templo Mayor Museum

This large new museum in the ancient complex is a fascinating building. Although it is a dull sandy square from the outside, a lot of thought went into the indoor architecture, full of grand internal vistas, educational cubbyholes, good standard glassed-in displays, and best of all, huge structures standing here and there, designed to surprise you as you round a corner or step off of a staircase. I actually gasped when I suddenly encountered a massive god figure standing in my path as I got off the elevator.


Aside from the contents themselves, the thing I like best about this museum is its masterful lighting. The objects weren’t just illuminated, they were enhanced and made even more beautiful by the plays of light and shadows. I have a few pictures of some of these displays, but they do not do them justice.

I was so captivated, I didn't read the signage on this or any of the others.

Massive animal head

The god figures seem more literal than the Maya ones.

The Cathedral

The cathedral, which took over 250 years to complete, was one of Cortes’ first projects, which he had constructed directly on top of the old city. It is unbelievable to behold, the largest and oldest cathedral in the Americas.

Main entry to the grand cathedral

No matter how much of a heathen you are, you’d have to be made of ice not to feel the power and beauty of this place.

Main altar

Here’s a photo of the whole cathedral, courtesy of Wikipedia.

The general area 

We got around the area by what I call tuk-tuks. They are pedi-cabs with electric motors that supply 20% percent of the power.

Pedi-cabs with motorized assistance

If you’re looking for skilled workmen, they are set up in front of the cathedral.

Masons, plumbers, whatever you need...

This figure, located in a public building, defies explanation and I didn’t ask. My friend Bob said he was “hot.”

Who might this be?

We also saw the Palacio des Belles Artes, Alameda Park, and had lunch in the original Sanborns (House of Tiles.) Mexico City is endless fascination. I was there for only two days, with only a few hours to myself. I look forward to my next trip, but may need an oxygen tank.


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Pictures of the Week

Beryl Gorbman

Please feel free to use my photos, but I would appreciate it if you would credit them.

Seattle Krispy Kremers

Each guy is eating a full dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. Look at them! Who needs anti-depressants?

Krispy Kreme rules
Keith and Richard’s Garden

Capitol Hill Garden

Thanksgiving turkey, poor thing. 

Doomed turkey BEFORE

This turkey, raised by my brother in Seattle, weighed 42 lbs. dressed and unstuffed. At least my bro lost the nerve to slaughter him himself and took him to a butcher who quickly dispatched him for $10.

Turkey met doom.

As if he'd never lived...

One of the World’s Cuter Dogs

Curry Irvine-Geller

Face With a Thousand Stories

Thank you for letting me take your picture.

Black Friday, Northgate Mall, Seattle

Fashionable Thanksgiving OD

Houston Airport 12/27/11

Rocky and his person waiting for a flight

Home Sweet Home


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Police Brutality in the US

Beryl Gorbman

Generally, I’ve been a police fan. I like having them around. But thanks to the Occupy movement and other incidents, my feelings about the Seattle Police have changed.

Today, Richard Pauli sent me this YouTube video of an officer in California needlessly pepper spraying a group of silent, inert demonstrators – and the video goes on to righteously ridicule the officer. Here is the link.

Since the US populace has been complacent since the early 70s, and there have been few public outcries about anything, I haven’t given much thought of the ability and proclivity of some officers to wantonly abuse power.  We (me included) have satisfied ourselves with writing piercingly clever editorials and letters, displaying our artful use of words on websites, and having intellectual discussions when social issues have raised our yuppie ire. Speaking for myself, a person who made noise and marched in the 60s, we have relaxed. Too much. Now, at last, a young, energetic mass of people have risen, as if from nowhere, furious with the outrageous status quo and not holding back their opinions, which have taken an active, visible form. Good for them and it’s about time.

The pepper spray video shows just how far behind the police are in dealing with spirited crowds. I imagine police training in recent decades has not included much emphasis on how to work with non-violent demonstrators. I hope that gets remedied very soon.

The mistreatment of the Occupy demonstrators all over the country has underlined a general  misuse of police power that should have shocked us (me) into action before this. In the last few years, in fact, Seattle Police have fatally shot so many civilians, that they are under federal investigation. The most apalling case was the fatal shooting of well-known Native American woodcarver John T. Williams, as he was walking downtown carving a piece of wood. Officer Ian Burke approached him from the rear, and from a distance of about twelve feet, shouted at Williams to drop the knife. Williams didn’t and Burke fired multiple shots, killing the elderly man.

John T. Williams (photos from Seattle Times)

The Seattle Times, 12/17/2010, reproduces the narrative from the Officer’s microphone/recorder.

Officer Birk: “Hey, Hey, Hey. Put the knife down, put the knife down, put the knife down.”

(Shots fired) Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang.

Officer Birk radios in: “Unit 33. Shots fired Boren and Howell. Subject wouldn’t drop the knife.”

Dispatcher: “Shots fired. Boren and Howell….”

Further radio transmissions can then be heard.

Then, a faint woman’s voice can be heard saying, “He didn’t do anything.”

Officer Birk can be heard saying “Ma’am, he had a knife and he wouldn’t drop it.”

The radio dispatcher asks for a status report.

Officer Birk answers, “Under control. Subject is down.”

Dispatcher: “Copy. Subject is down.”

When other officers arrive, Birk can be heard saying:

“He had the knife open. I approached him. I asked him to drop it multiple times. He wouldn’t drop it and he turned towards me.”

Other officers can then be heard talking among as they deal with the scene.

Then, in response to an officer asking if he’s ok, Birk says:

“Yeah, I’m fine.”

The officer asks “he just had a knife?”

Birk: “Yeah, he had it out. He was carving it up, carving up that board, with it open. I approached him, and the tool (?), I instructed him to drop it multiple times. He wouldn’t do it.”

Other officer: “Good job.”

Birk: “Yeah.”

The knife appears to be only three inches long, and I believe the illegal length for an open knife blade in public is six inches.


Furthermore, John T. Williams was as deaf as a post and did not hear the officer calling him.

Last week, the SPD pepper sprayed an 84 year-old woman who had come downtown on an errand and decided to join the demonstrations. I can’t imagine that Dorly Rainie was enough of a threat to warrant this treatment.

Dorly Rainey (photo from Seattle Times)

By the way, one of Dorly’s two rescuers was an Army sergeant named Caleb, who I had featured in an article about Occupy Seattle recently.

Here is an excerpt from an article called America Has Become a Facist Police State by a writer named Carl Gibson on Reader Supported News.

In the early years of public school, or in public addresses by politicians, America is touted as the Land of the Free, or the Land of Opportunity, or the Greatest Country on Earth. We’re taught from near-infancy that this country was founded on the right to say what you want, whenever, wherever, to whomever. We’re told we have the freedom to assemble peacefully, to petition our leaders for a redress of grievances. We’re taught that if you’re apprehended by the law, you have the right to a fair trial and legal representation.

Yet, today we live in a country where government aids the corporate takeover of elections. Here, banks who fraudulently took Americans’ homes for profit can get bailed out by the taxpayers, and use the money to pay themselves 12-figure bonuses. This is a country where even US citizens can be detained without due processtortured, and even assassinated overseas.

Today, in the Land of the Free, nonviolent political protesters using their First Amendment rights to speak out against all of the above can be beatentasered, and maced by heavily-militarized police forces, using military-grade equipment, without any provocation.

Here is the link to the entire article.

I’ve tended to think that writing like Gibson’s is extreme and that if you behave well and put one foot in front of the other, the system will protect and help you. I’m afraid one thing I’ve learned from the Occupy movement is that I am wrong about this and I find it terrifying.

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A Gentle Death

Beryl Gorbman

Merida, Yucatan

Yesterday I had the privilege of spending some time with a friend who was dying. I realize this sounds corny, but it was, for me, a profound experience.

Teetering on the brink of death is a sacred time for the dying person, no matter who they are, and for those who share it, it can be a sacred time too. It is an overwhelming concept that very soon, this human being will cease to exist. It is like distilling a whole life into a pinpoint of consciousness, and then releasing it.

My friend, who died this morning, was in her late 70s and she wasn’t well. She was in pain and her husband had died within the last year. She made a decision to stop eating and she just lay down in her bed and waited.

When I held her hand, I felt her deep despair and sorrow. She was weak, but her desire to die was strong. I was sorry she was leaving this way instead of on the pink cloud described in much of the literature, where people come to terms with death and are ready and accepting, and sort of float out into the tunnel of light with smiles on their faces.

None of the deaths I’ve witnessed have gone that way. They have all been sorrowful, or painful, or in one case, screaming angry.

We’re so tuned to extend our lives – lose weight, exercise, think positive, do yoga – that until you’re directly confronted with it, it’s hard to wrap your head around the fact and finality of physical death. To see a gentle death, to be involved in it, can give spiritual perspective to our view of things. An entire life extinguished.

People who are dying know that although we who remain are sorry and mournful of their passing, that soon we will get over it and they will be dim memories. That’s all that will be left of them. Dim memories, getting dimmer by the day.

Coming to terms with your own death probably means letting go of your concern about being forgotten. My friend who died today had come to those terms. Relatively few people were involved in her last days. She just wanted it to be over.

Courage takes many forms. Usually courage means striking out bravely and accomplishing something, standing in the face of danger. My friend’s courage was the opposite. What she had decided to do was NOT fight for her life, NOT try to stop death, but instead, to let nature take its course without interference.

It was her decision, to stop eating and not sustain herself. She felt she had accomplished everything she wanted to accomplish. She said good-by to her family and friends. She meticulously prepared her records and paperwork. Everything was in order.

We will miss her.

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I’ve taken these pictures of meat and fish, cooked and raw, over the years at markets, restaurants, and homes. Some are appetizing and some are not. The pig head picture is my personal favorite. A few years ago I put it on a photo site and it was censored.

Carne in wating, King County Fair, WA, USA

This is what I got in a town near Mt. Fuji, Japan, when I asked for an “American style” hamburger. It’s in sauce and there is a hard-boiled egg on top.



Japanese style burger

Waiting for the butcher, Teabo Yucatan

4-H kid and his beloved protein, USA

Ill-fated piglets, Yucatan

Walking the piggies

Moo. Yucatan

Peek-A-Boo, Oxcutzcab Yucatan

Slaughtered deer, in home of a hunter, Merida

Japan restaurant display - plastic replica

Hacienda Misne, Merida

Pike Place Market, Seattle

Chicken stall at market

Doggie cleanup

sushi with fish eggs

Lechon, Taqueria La Curva, Merida


Carnaval, Merida

Vietnamese to-go, Seattle

Sisal, Yucatan


Heavenly Cuban goat stew





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The Expat Phenomenon

Beryl Gorbman

Expats are making an increasing impact on countries around the world as baby boomers are retiring and looking for warmer, less expensive places to live out their days. The presence of expats in other countries is increasingly dramatic. It’s okay.  The world changes.

Many foreigners have moved to Merida in the past ten years and now there are between 3,000 and 5,000 expats, many of them in the downtown core. The immigration has changed the nature of the city. Depending on who you talk to, the change is for the better or for the worse.

Whatever arguments people might make that the foreign influence has negatively impacted the city, it is a fact that the appearance of downtown has gone through a miraculous revival. Years ago, many of the colonial homes were piles of rubble. Now they are transformed into lovely, colorful, inviting homes, probably close to their original condition. Meanwhile, the City of Merida has made important changes in intersections (La Hermita) and upgraded the parks, so at this point, the city looks pretty spiffy. The City of Merida has also been re-doing the elegant colonial facades of many of the old buildings. And how many cities have wi-fi in their public parks? The City has not looked this good in many years.

Before the bulk of the foreign influx, giant colonial homes were available for under $15,000 USD. They have increased in value at least ten times. If a local middle-class person wanted to buy one, he probably wouldn’t be able to afford it. Instead, Mexicans are moving to new suburban areas. It seems that lots of Mexicans prefer the new suburbs, with new, clean construction, good roads without gridlock, better air, proximity to schools and shopping, consistent electrical power and underground waste disposal systems. The foreigners fall in love with the romantic older homes, so they rehab them (providing employment), and upgrading downtown.

What are the effects of the expat influx on the nearby Maya villages and towns? The social structure has morphed in the last ten years. Fewer people are home during the day as the men go to their regular work (or new work as masons, tilers, painters, plumbers or gardeners) and many of the women work as domestics for the foreign population of Merida. They are busy. Some ride the bus to work in the city for over an hour each way. No more huipiles. No more chicken coops. No more litttle gardens and hanging herb pots.

When is the last time you’ve seen a house like this?

The extra income in the households has afforded people better nutrition, and more access to education for the children.

In 1980, a film was released called The Gods Must Be Crazy. It was set in Botswana. A glass Coke bottle falls from an airplane and Xi, the headman of a tribe of bushmen wandering in the Kalahari, finds it.

Here is a summary from Wikipedia:

Xi and his tribe of San/Bushmen relatives are living well off the land in the Kalahari Desert. They are happy because the gods have provided plenty of everything, and no one in the tribe has unfulfilled wants. One day, a glass Coke bottle is thrown out of an aeroplane and falls to earth unbroken. Initially, this strange artifact seems to be another boon from the gods—-Xi’s people find many uses for it. But unlike anything that they have had before, there is only one bottle to go around. This exposes the tribe to a hitherto unknown phenomenon, property, and they soon find themselves experiencing things they never had before: jealousy, envy, anger, hatred, even violence.

Since it has caused the tribe unhappiness on two occasions, Xi decides that the bottle is an evil thing and must be thrown off of the edge of the world. He sets out alone on his quest and encounters Western civilization for the first time. The film presents an interesting interpretation of civilization as viewed through Xi’s perceptions.

Are there parallels between the film and the spread of expat populations to poor countries all over the globe? Does the presence of foreigners change the local cultures? You bet it does. Do people from the villages see new machines, new kinds of clothing, new ways of cooking? They make decisions about which parts of our culture they wish to integrate into their lives  and which they want to throw away, like the offending coke bottle.

Recently I’ve been reading non-commercial expat blogs from around the world. Again, these are written by people who moved south for less expensive homes and services and better weather.

I’ve read blogs from growing expat communities in San Miguel de Allende, Lake Chapala, Cuernavaca, and far away in Vanuatu, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Bali, American Samoa, Okinawa (!), Malta, Luang Prabang (Laos), Bangkok, Leon (Nicaragua), Ecuador, Panama, Colombia and Ruwanda. In each of these places, people write about their need to reach out to their own kind, to find some semblance of “home” to mitigate the dramatic change in location and culture.

The following points have been common threads in countries that are poor. The economic gap between the expats and the local indigenous populations is huge and it’s hard to prevent certain unhappy results, such as those below.

    • The indigenous population, friendly at first, dislikes the incursion of the foreigners.
    • Most of the contacts the expats have with local people is in some service capacity.
    • Relationships between local people and expats often lead to the local asking the expat for goods or money.
    • The expats alter the physical environments they move to. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good.
    • Expat influx results in a jump in property values in most countries, pricing local people out of the market.
    • Expat groups tend to form cliques, tend to learn the local language slowly, and live in a “bubble” with other foreigners. (called the “expat bubble” on some of the sites).

Most of the expat blogs were designed to bitch and moan or to provide practical information for new arrivals and people considering the move.  I didn’t find many sites that talked at length about the expat effect on local populations.

A notable exception –  a truth-telling website from a Canadian writer named Stan Combs who lived in several locations in Vanuatu. Vanuatu is a string of islands between Fiji and Australia formerly known as New Hebrides. Combs lived there off and on for years, working for NGOs. He learned the local language, Buslama, well enough to conduct fascinating interviews (on his site) with local residents.

Some of his words are sad, but telling.

Underdevelopment and the Real Vanuatu – My Conclusion

I have come to the conclusion that in the Vanuatu context, “underdevelopment”, or ni-Vanuatu loss of control over their situation, is the result of a giant culture clash between village cultures and the Western juggernaut, with “bewilderment” being the operative word on both sides.

Another blog I found and enjoyed was one called I Was An Expat Wife. The articles are insightful, and written with humor and clarity. Her article about 12 ways to become an ugly expat is wonderful.

Last week late at night, I was casting about for something to watch on TV and found Househunters International, a reality (?) show in which white people are looking for the perfect tropical paradise. On the program, they meet with a realtor, see three houses, and of course, buy one.  The one I watched was in some tropical paradise (hah) somewhere in the Pacific (they make them all look exactly alike). It showed the English-speaking realtor driving wealthy Brits down a third-world road complete with chickens and children, creating a terrible dust cloud, and not even seeing the little communities they were passing as fast as they could. They arrived at their destination – an area full of mansions with neatly trimmed lawns and lush plants and no chickens or children, and picked thier way through an obscenely huge house, criticizing the layout or obstructions to the water view. They did not see or care about the country itself. They saw the villages as places that supplied servants. They most certainly would never visit one of those villages or learn the local language.

I imagine the locals don’t think much of the expats in this place. As maids and servants, they learn the most intimate details of the expats’ lives, and many of those details aren’t pretty. The foreigners treat them like furniture and pay them as little as possible, expect them to do extra work, and come in even if a family member is critically ill. The gulf between the cultures couldn’t be wider.

This is happening all over the world. It will be interesting to see what the next stage is.



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Occupy Seattle

Beryl Gorbman

Seattle has its own version of Occupy Wall Street. We’ve visited it several times.

The first time was a quiet Tuesday late morning. The police had come through at 7 a.m. and removed all the tents, so many of the demonstrators had gone. There was still a large police presence. The Occupy group is in Westlake Plaza, in the center of the downtown business district.

She has been here every time I've gone.

There were lots of exhausted demonstrators and some real characters. Most of the crowd this Tuesday were young, some homeless, many pretty strange. By about 11 a.m., some of the organizers arrived. They were all tall, white, thin, and snotty. They wore casual but expensive clothing.

Party entertainer

Below are two pictures of Caleb, one of the demonstrators. He is active military. In the first picture, he removed his velcro name tag, but in the second picture, he decided to put it back on.

“I just got back from two tours in Afghanistan,” Caleb says. “”And when I look at it now, I think this country is fucked up.”

Caleb was holding an American flag. “Wanna help me burn this?” he asked. “Maybe later,” I said.


Caleb 2



When I returned a few days later, the tone had changed. It was a Saturday. There was a speakers’ podium with a lot of photos and signs about police brutality. I guess this is why people are confused about the goals of this movement. I had come because of the economic issues, and so had a lot of other people. There were several hundred police officers and the people screaming into the mike were trashing the police (who are far from perfect as we all know) and calling them murderers. I thought this was rude. If I had been a police officer, I would have been angry, but they are trained to not take things personally, I guess. I was annoyed because I thought there were bigger issues at stake than police brutality.

The general tone of the large crowd was a lot angrier too. Here is one of the angriest human beings it has ever been my misfortune to meet. His name is Robert.

He was yelling at the police. “I’m gonna kill all of you punks,” he shouted.

“But they have guns,” I pointed out.

“I don’t give a shit,” he answered. “I’m German. My people stacked Jews up like burnt cordwood at those concentration camps,” he said proudly. “That’s in my blood. Not that I think it’s good to murder Jews, but that’s how tough we are.” He said he had been run off of his property and the elderly relative he was caring for had been placed in a facility.

“They have guns, and I have God,” he said.

Then I had a couple of constructive conversations. The first was with Tabitha, a lovely and intelligent young woman who sincerely wanted to see changes in the lopsided economic structure of our country. She was carrying a clip-board and then went off to make signs.

“I am trying to fight the media slant on these demonstrations,” she said. “We are not disorganized. What we have done is make a group decision not to interfere with what anyone has to say and people here have different issues and points of view. But we are all deeply unhappy about the way things are headed in this country.”


Then I met Clint, talked about how corporations have more voice in the running of the country, how government and business is intermingled, and the greed of the banks. He said that Chase Bank had donated $3 million dollars to the Seattle police department to support them during the demonstrations.


Clint says that November 5 has been targeted as the date for people to pull their money out of commercial banks and put it in credit unions. (We have personally already initiated this process, and are migrating from Wells Fargo, which dreams up new fees every week, to a credit union.)

Clint says, “We are many groups with a common goal.”

These demonstrators are showing a police officer a photo of someone they said had been murdered by the police.

Showing one of many posters of people killed by police

Here are a couple of guys I thought were undercover police, but they turned out to be a father and son. The son (R) is in the army, stationed at Lewis-McCord and his dad is visiting from out of town.

“I don’t understand why they aren’t more focussed,” said the dad. “They have no organization.  But they do have a lot to be angry about – cronysism, corporate greed, the relationship between corporations and the government…Why did it take young people so long to figure out that there was a problem – that’s what I don’t understand. I’m glad to see them doing this.”

Father and son


A lot of people were wearing masks. “So I won’t be known,” said one middle-class looking man.

Napping on the job


I asked these young people why they were masked and wearing black. They said it was because they are anarchists.


The whole area was surrounded by police. There were police officers on bikes in the mall. At the big intersection just outside the square (4th and Pike) there was a wall of motorcycles. And around the corner, there were plenty of police cars. My favorites were the mounted police. They let me pet a horse.

And there were a lot of straightforward, serious people, carrying signs they believed in, willing to share their points of view, and glad to be there.

Marcia is a social worker.


Cute face, sad sign

Camera looks like a weapon


The demonstrations are like big parties – lots of earnest conversations, friends running into friends, expressions of beliefs. Only they have a dark and frightening overtone. At any moment, the whole thing could explode into angry violence. Some of this is because of the divergence of ideas, some of the darkness is due to random anger, and some to unreasonable police activities like removing the demonstrators’ tents on a cold morning.

There is no doubt, however, that there is a lot of anger out there – and that all sectors of the population are represented. All races, rich and poor, unemployed and professional. And all of us, including the police, are in the 99%, not the top 1% of the population in terms of wealth.

Musician with nice coat


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Finished cover for Madrugada

Posted in Getting EBooks Into Circulation Online and Paperbacks published, Merida Expat Life | 7 Comments

Bad Manners at La Choperia Restaurant


Beryl Gorbman

The other day, when 89-year-old Silvia Thomson, who is from England, went into La Choperia on Calle 56 y 51 with her daughter Sandra, they were told that they couldn’t order from the menu – that only the buffet was available. They were surprised as it was a weekday. Mrs. Thomson eats like a bird. She didn’t want the buffet.

So Sandra ordered the buffet, and took a modest amount of food. The first thing she did was slice off a tiny bit of beef for her mom, and give it to her on a fork.

To their amazement, a waiter rushed over and prevented the older woman from eating. He said that since there were two of them, they had to order two buffets. “You can’t eat that,” he said. “This is not for sharing.”

Mrs. Thomson said she was “extraordinarily surprised” and immediately put down the fork. She and her daughter got up, paid the bill, and left without eating anything.

Mrs. Thomson commented, “I have never been treated that way before in Merida. Perhaps a Mexican establishement would not have behaved that way.” (La Choperia is Brazilian.)

Sandra said that unfortunately, Flavio, the affable owner, was not there or this probably would not have happened. Both she and her mother have been there before. Her mother is a visitor, but Sandra, who owns a guest lodging in Holbox,  is a frequent patron.

“I’ll never go there again,” Sandra said. “It was unbelievable.”

According to Mrs. Thomson, there were only two other people in the restaurant at the time. She and her daughter asked the waiter whether he actually wanted them to leave rather than allow a bit of leeway for an older lady. “Those are the rules,” he said.

La Choperia


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Adorable Merida Dog Needs a Home



Beryl Gorbman

This beloved Merida pet needs a new home, as her owner, Vince Gricus, is moving to the USA. Vince says she is a sweetheart and despite being half pitty, she is gentle and extremely friendly. She enjoys walking with her person on a leash, loves polite conversation, quiet mornings at home, and is house trained. She doesn’t like cats much.

Chita is two years old, neutered, and well cared for by the vets at Planned Pethood. Please contact Vince if you would like to meet Chita. Email to

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