8 February 2006 LIVING, Interviews & Editorials, Art & Local Culture 6

No, it's not misspelled. The Spanish word around here for sweater is sueter, believe it or not. Pronounced the same way. It's one of those words they just didn't have in the language, at least not in the Yucatan.

Yes, Virginia, once in awhile it actually gets cold enough in Merida to wear a sweater. Working Gringa is wearing a sweater (okay, it's a cotton sweater) right now as she types. And long pants. And if the dog didn't have a penchant for taking them off of her feet, she'd be wearing the fluffy leopard slippers that her daughter left behind. We sleep at night without air conditioning and with a blanket... or two. For the last week or so, the temperature at night has gotten down into the 60's at least. Maybe even below 60.

Now to those of you living in the great Northeast or the Rocky Mountains, that may seem almost tropical. And it is, by definition, since this is the tropics. But when you've lived here for a while and you are used to the heat, the mid 60's feels cold.

Another thing we've noticed. While it slows them down a bit, the cold weather doesn't deter the mosquitoes.

We used to laugh when we saw Yucatecans wearing sweaters on a nice warm evening in January. Now we're them.


  • BruceC 14 years ago

    On the flip side -- I'm sitting here at work in MI on April 2nd. Just out of nostalgia/curiosity I checked the weather for Merida and it's -- 106 F! Uay! No way I'd ever adapt to that, I think...and what'll it be like in August?!?

    Sure would like some cochinita pibil, though.

  • sophie 14 years ago

    Yes, it is always interesting to observe the adaptation to the local temperature... we were just in Mérida about three weeks ago (to see your dentist, Jésus!): coming from wet and cool Vancouver, the heat of the city tempered with was seemed like constant breezes felt quite paradisey! But I was constantly shocked to see most locals walk around in jeans, left alone working or biking in the baking afternoon sun in them - while I could barely stand my light cotton shirt and skirt! Pfew... I would have melted like the witch in the Wizard of Oz if I wore jeans...

    Little tidbit this reminded me of: the French usually refer to a sweater as a "pull", pronounced with your lips in their trademark pout, from pull-over... which is weird for us French-Canadians, as we do have a french word for sweater: chandail. It's kinda this ongoing thing we have, where they will accuse us "colonist" of diluting the language with anglicisms, while we find we usually actually do use french words for such things as their WC (water-closet, but we say toilettes) or when they laugh when we say fin de semaine for weekend (they say veekend-dheuuu)... grrrr.

  • Working Gringos 16 years ago

    Well, Sergio, we should point out that Merida actually has quite a diversity of architecture. While many gringos tend to focus on the colonial homes in the Centro, you can also find anything from traditional Maya huts of sticks and thatch to 50's and 60's era "retro" designs, to beach cabanas, to modern houses with the same aluminum windows and screens found in Gringolandia. The only thing you won't find here much is wood framing and drywall - almost everything is executed in concrete and stone.

    Many people who renovate the colonial homes do install screens, either in the doors and windows themselves or as an addition over the doors and windows. This is usually done with either a hardwood or wrought iron frame. A notable exception are doors and windows facing the street, which seldom remain open and are often covered with double-pane glass to reduce noise.

  • Sergio 16 years ago

    Are there houses in Merida which have screens on windows and doors? Because of the architecture there, I would think they would be hard to install.

  • Working Gringos 16 years ago

    Thank you, Lee. The mosquitoes are seasonal, but we think they might have more than one season. Not day and night, no. Just dawn and dusk. And night. You're pretty safe from them during the day.

    Our daughter has bad reactions to mosquito bites too. She had a few bad ones. Our final solution was bug spray, coils (you burn them in the room like incense) and air conditioning (makes the mosquitos cold and allows you to cover up with blankets).

    The severity of the mosquitos also depends on where you are (city, jungle, beach) and how well insulated (and screened) your house is.

    There are definitely more of them here than back home in California!

  • Lee Malloy 16 years ago

    First, let me tell you how much pleasure my wife and I receive reading your website. We have been thinking about moving to Mexico for some time now and if every area had someone as dedicated to information sharing as you, what a wonderful world it would be!!!

    My question is not about sweaters, but the mosquitoes you mentioned. How bad are they in Merida? Day and night? Seasonally?, The reason I ask is that I am very allergic to their bites! Well more than most. We just came back from Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan and that was tolerable. We want to come to Merida in the fall to explore. I notice that some of the homes advertised have screen doors and windows, something I did not see on the west coast. What is your opinion as to severity!

    Many thanks,

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