My Life In Mérida Is Going To Improve Greatly

(Post 212 of 263)

September 20th, the government announced that after much talk, ground has finally broken on what will be Mérida’s answer to Bosque de Chapultepec, Central Park, Parc Lafontaine, Stanley Park, a large park called El gran parque de la plancha that will provide a much needed oasis in a poorly planned deforested heat island of a city.

Also this week, there was confirmation that Mérida’s three electric tram lines are officially a go and will be breaking ground in about a month.

One of these tram lines will stop almost right at my door and take me directly to the new park. In total, the tram lines will cover about 85% of the “long distance” travel I do in this city.

My top two complaints about life in Mérida are the inaccessibility of green spaces and the poor public transportation. Both issues are getting sorted. Life here is about to improve greatly and I’m excited for the future!

My Huge Filling Is Giving Me Trouble Again

(Post 211 of 263)

Saturday night, I was having some yogurt and granola when I realised that I had a giant hole in one of my molars — the filling had fallen out and I’d presumably swallowed it!

This filling’s history could fill a long novel. I don’t know how it got started, but it probably got as bad as it was because of how I was treated by Canadian dentists, and also, of course, by the fact that dental care is such a luxury in Canada that a common mortal can’t afford it. By the time I had to get it fixed circa 2005 or 2006, it was already huge, and I was treated to a lovely one hour of getting drilled with no anesthetic because Canadian dentists a) would not believe I was not numb/thought I was just a wimp and b) are on the clock and wouldn’t stop to wait for extra anesthetic to work anyway.

By 2013, I had a big hole again, so while I was staying in Port Lavaca, Texas, I took the opportunity to drive to Nuevo Progreso, Tamaulipas, and have it repaired again. My thoughts on what dental care is changed immediately. I’d never been cared for so well.

Unfortunately, the repair didn’t last long and I had to have it done again in Mazatlán in 2015. At that time, I was told the next step is a crown.

I messaged my dentist yesterday morning, Monday, and asked for an appointment that afternoon if at all possible. They could fit me in at 4PM. After removing all of the previous filling, the dentist, one I didn’t know, said that she was pretty sure that we were beyond a standard filling. She asked a specialist (reconstructionist, I believe, is the term she used) to come and evaluate. They also took an X-ray right there and then with a portable machine.

The news was surprisingly good. While I have a huge amount of the tooth missing, the root and nerve structure is fine. I was proposed something I’d never heard of before, an “incrustation,” which I’ve since learned is an “inlay” in English. What they do is essentially create a prosthesis for the tooth to fill in the missing part — imagine someone 3D printing a chunk missing out of a turtle’s shell. This is considered a better outcome than going with a crown because the healthy part of the tooth is not covered. The lifespan of an inlay is also much longer than of a filling.

It’s a two-part process. I have to go back next week to get a mould and prep done, then they will have the inlay manufactured, then I have another appointment to install it.

The cost for my emergency visit yesterday was $400 (about 20USD) and the cost for the inlay will be $2,650 (about 150USD). I’m so glad I’m here!

First Long Bike Ride!

(Post 210 of 263)

Yesterday was Independence Day, so most of the city was in Centro watching the parade. It was cloudy and only about 26 degrees, so the perfect time to try again to do a long bike ride. I did about 20KM in about 2 hours!

Honestly, that was almost more than I should have done, though, on my first outing out — the last kilometre or two were brutal and I was very stiff when I got in! It took me a good 15 minutes more than Google thought it would to reach the Paseo Verde, so before I attempt to ride the whole length of it, I am going to work at shortening the trip there.

There were three main segments to the trip, the ride west through my neighbourhood, the ride south down Avenida Mérida 2000, and then the ride west on Avenida Jacinto Canek.

My neighbourhood was quiet and easy to ride through. Lots of pot holes and obstacles, of course, but you just have to be vigilant.

There was a brief section on a busy road to be able to turn left on to Avenida Mérida 2000 that is going to require some practice. I could not figure out how to safely turn left on a bicycle to end up in the correct bike lane. I may have to walk that intersection. But a bike lane! Avenida 2000 is a fairly new road, so it was designed with bike lanes on either side. They are in depressions so I sometimes came across lakes, but, generally, the bike lanes were in good condition.

To my surprise, Jacinto Canek also has a bike lane, but it is faintly marked and doesn’t have little “bumpers” along it to remind drivers to stay in their lane. The stretch was fine with yesterday’s traffic, but I doubt I’d want to do it at rush hour. By this point, there were signs guiding us to the Paseo Verde, so where I had to turn left/south was a well designated pedestrian crosswalk that is like a very high tope. Had to walk that one. And then, I was in nature!

The Paseo Verde felt like another world, very lush and green after all the rain we’ve had. I was already tired and the path is quite hilly, plus there were a lot of muddy gravel sections, so I didn’t get very far, maybe a quarter of the way down it before turning back.

I made one stop on the way home, for a cold drink, and discovered that because I’m rarely going to encounter a proper bike rack, I need a much longer chain.

As I said, I was really tired on the way home, but it wasn’t a slog and I enjoyed seeing my part of the city in this way. It felt much smaller than it does on foot and much more accessible than it does by car. I can’t wait to go out again! Next trip, I think I’ll be a little less ambitious and stick to my quadrant, exploring the new bike lanes in Francisco de Montejo.

I’m pretty sure I haven’t come home this muddy, exhausted, sore, and happy since my trek to Wuthering Heights!

No Biking Adventures Yet

(Post 209 of 263)

I was so disappointed on Sunday morning that I had gotten up early, slapped on sunscreen, packed a bag, and was ready to head out for a ride around 7:30 only to discover I had a flat tire!!!

Monday, I knew I had to sort this out ASAP by finding myself a local bike repair place. Thankfully, there was one just around the corner from me, a 3-minute bike ride! I figured that I could pump my tire and it would stay inflated just long enough to get me there. Just!

When you arrive at a business in Mexico, you should greet everyone, which I did. A waiting customer said hi back, but the owner just looked up to acknowledge that he knew I was there and then ignored me while he finished what he was doing. Once the previous customer had been sent on his way, I finally got a pretty rough, “What do you want?” I explained (ineloquently) that I thought I had a flat tire. He said he could look at it right away, promptly flipped the bike over, and got to work!

I love seeing experts at work. He released and was checking the inner tube in no time, finding the leak quickly by running the inner tube through water and looking for bubbles. He said it was just a pinhole and he could patch it. As he worked, I started to engage him, knowing that he’d get warmer once I knew I was a pretty long-time resident of the neighbourhood and would be a repeat customer. It worked! Before long we were chatting and joking pleasantly.

He had me back on the road in 15 minutes for 30 pesos!

Queen Elizabeth II Has Died

(Post 208 of 263)

I’m surprised by how upset I was by the news that Canada’s head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, died peacefully today at her beloved Balmoral Castle. It is not necessarily her I mourn, but what her death signifies, the true end of a world and way of life that has been in death throes for nearly two decades now.

I thought I would share my memory of the Queen. June 27th, 1998, I was in Edinburgh, Scotland, and about to climb Arthur’s Seat when I turned back to look at the commotion at Holyrood Palace only to see a tiny familiar person dressed in bright colours climb into a car! I changed my plans and ended up getting pretty lost following the royal procession.

(I can’t believe my journal doesn’t say what colour she was wearing. I was such a crappy journaller back then!)

Here is the Queen at Uxmal, Yucatán, in 1975 (I could not find a photo credit):