Adopt the Mexican Approach to Hot Weather
This is quite simple advice really. Stop walking around in the middle of the day and just go with the flow. You really don’t see many Mexicans walking around in the midday sun, or even daylight hours. It’s just too hot. Where I am from, we walk everywhere. Being active is a part of being British and we actually really struggle to adapt to hotter weather. In Merida, one really must adopt this approach to get by. How? Change your daily schedule to fit around the hotter hours in the middle of the day. This might mean getting up earlier and doing your exercise before it gets too hot, taking siestas in the afternoon, staying indoors during the afternoon and drinking lots of water. Speaking of which…
Drink water or Aguas Frescas!
If you’re determined not to follow the first suggestions, then at least take water with you everywhere you go so that you don’t collapse or make yourself feel ill while doing your daily activities. And even better, invest in a water bottle that keeps the water cool. You’d also be using less plastic (an issue that Mexico is struggling with) and doing your bit for the planet. For those of us who come from countries with not-so-hot summers or cooler parts of Mexico, it can actually be a real effort to remember to drink enough water. Sometimes I don’t remember until I have a headache and then it’s too late. But this is absolutely essential. If it’s not yet a habit, you can follow a plan in which you drink a glass of water in the morning or before you go to bed and then set alarms throughout the day to remind you! Also in Merida you can drink lots of fresh ice cold juices they call "aguas frescas" too.
Embrace the Sweat
I recently learned (thanks to a Swedish friend here in Merida), that sweating is what sets humans apart from animals. Yes, we can communicate with complex language, we’ve developed technology and we’ve travelled to the moon, but sweating is almost a uniquely human function. This is what gives us endurance! So basically, as uncomfortable as it can make you feel, it’s an essential part of what makes you human, embrace it, roll with it and maybe you’ll even learn to appreciate it.
There are so many food and drink options to cool you down but let’s be honest, ice-cream (and its close relatives sorbet, milkshakes or bolis (ice popsicles) is the perfect way to get refreshed on a hot summer’s day. That is, if you consume it fast enough that it doesn’t melt and drip down your fingers creating a sticky mess. There are many great ice-cream spots in Merida. But if you’re not a huge fan of ice-cream, we’ve found a solution for you. Pop into Korean Grill and Ice-cream on Paseo Montejo. They make huge sundaes filled with super fluffy ice-cream which is like eating snow. Topped with fruits, sauces and other delicious toppings, eating this dessert will make you forget instantly how hot it is outside! Yes, it’s still technically ice-cream but it takes refreshing to a whole new level. If you haven’t seen our video about Asian places in Merida then take a look here: http://www.midcitybeat.com/four_great_asian_restaurants_merida_yucatan.html
Go to Cooler Places
I’m from the UK and we don’t really do inside shopping malls or shopping centers and so the concept of visiting one regularly is bizarre to me. But these are by far the coolest places to be in Merida. You can even embrace the Mexican tradition known as ‘pasear’ – basically the act of walking around a mall even if you aren’t interested in buying anything. Here it’s actually very Yucatecan to dress up smartly for your day at the mall. And the malls are prepared for this. The new giants La Isla and the Harbor have plenty of seating, some top notch food options and even live music in the center of the mall. It’s actually a really nice place to be for a while. Mercado Norte on the top of the Harbor is also really lovely in the evening. As it’s higher up, it’s cooler and breezier - perfect for a warm summer’s evening. They even have hammocks and a lovely view of the north of the city. Check out our Facebook page to see what bands are playing here throughout the week.
Get a Hammock
My life changed forever when I bought my hammock. My first English teacher paycheck took me down to a small store in the center of town where I didn’t have to haggle, all the prices were clearly displayed on foreigner-proof documents and I could choose from pretty much any colour I wanted. I’ve never looked back. And while I still don’t sleep in a hammock every night, this has made siesta time so much nicer. Swinging in a hammock is so much breezier than taking a nap in a bed!
BONUS Get out of Merida
Indeed, it’s sad for us to recommend leaving our beautiful city but in the center of Merida it is really hot, so head to the coast on your days off or at the weekend. While Merida sizzles, the coastal towns like Progreso, Chelem, Sisal and Celestun (to name a few), remain fresher and generally more bearable. This is what all the locals do to escape the heat! But remember to take sun cream! The sun is extremely strong along the coast and it’s easy to only realise this when it’s too late… I’m not just talking to the foreigners. We recently spent a weekend in Holbox and my wonderfully Mexican other half came back with a very sunburnt back!
We hope our advice helps you during these fiery months. Remember to adopt a Mexican approach to life and be safe while exploring Merida and the beautiful Yucatan Peninsula during the hottest hours of the day!
By Harriet Sleath
Six Ways to Stay Cool in Merida during the Hot Summer Months
It’s that time of year again. The cool winter months of December and January are a distant memory once again as we enter the hot and humid months of the dry season. This is the time when you hop from air conditioned vehicle to air conditioned building, when you come out of the shower and you’re sweating again within minutes, when you put ice in your drink only for it to melt in seconds. So below I have come up with some official Mid CityBeat advice on how to stay cool during this toasty time.