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Mérida's Fair

Merida, Mexico

What luck! I found myself in Mérida during the annual fair (held just outside of town), so went there with Wes, an English dude from my hostel. Honestly it wasn't really that different from K-Days, the Ex or the Stampede. Well, there were subtleties.

For starters, the rides had more rust. And they were much smaller, but that's expected cause Mexicans are a much shorter people. Hey oh! Aw, it's a shame none of my Mexican friends will read that. But seriously folks, the ferris wheel was only 3 meters high. With the right sneakers you could slam dunk your toddler into the highest chair. Although, hindsight tells me that maybe unlike Canadian adults, Mexican adults just don't like being whirled around in all directions at ridiculous speeds.

Another thing different is that the carnies aren't obviously carnies. I mean, back home a mullet or gold teeth will give away who's the carnie and who's not. Nope. Not in Mexico. And just to mess with ya they don't wear tacky vests or name tags to identify themselves. Although they do have fannie packs for the tickets and money, but that doesn't help cause so does everyone else. So you gotta wait until you see someone else buy a ticket before asking for tickets to see the world's smallest woman. ....then again, maybe Mexicans don't have a bad stigma against carnies.

Mexican food is generally fatty. Vegetables are scarce and fruit more so. The diet is tortillas, beans, rice, corn, cheese and meat. Oh yeah, and chilies! If you can fry something that's better, but usually it's good enough to just grill it. How you mix em together varies from region to region, but my stereotype says that generally this is the basis for Mexican diet. Now you gotta imagine a food at the Stampede in comparison to regular Calgary food. The same ration applies to Mérida's fair. Deep fried hot dogs with french fries topped with mayo and chili. Or a small bag of Dorritos topped with cheese and jalepeños. Or pork rinds with cheese, corn and chili. Or a churro (deep fried batter that taste like elephant ears) drizzled in chocolate sauce. ....okay, so I exaggerated. It's no different than street food readily found in Mérida.

Side note. According to the World Health Org here is my list of the fattest countries in the world (at least the countries you and I will recognize) as of 2008:
1-7: All southeast pacific island countries
8: Kuwait
9: USA
13. Argentina
14. Egypt
17: New Zealand
19: Mexico
21: Australia
35: Canada

Alrighty, a classic favourite of mine from ol' K-Days was seeing the half-something half-woman illusion. Ya know, the Wasp Lady or the REAL Ladybug. I dunno why they were always part insect. Here's the hook: the ridiculous illusions aren't the best part. No sir. Once you enter you ask them digging questions about their lives like, "What's it like being larva?" or "What sort of names did the other kids call you growing up?" Before seeing Maria, who had an alligator body and woman's head, I forgot to think of a question. That turned out to be no big deal cause she was submerged at the bottom of a tank, so wouldn't have been able to hear me anyways.

The carnie who took my money (at least I think she was a carnie) opened the curtain for me and I got nervous as I walked up to see Maria. Walking up I noticed the illusion had her submerged in water, but figured she would just pretend the pretend the illusion's physics don't apply and answer my question. Suddenly I got nervous being that I was about to talk to such an important person and quickly lost confidence in my Spanish. I panicked.
Ryan: "Puedes sonreír?" (Can you smile?)
Maria: [puzzled look]
Ryan: [hooks corners of mouth with fingers and pulls up]
Maria: [smiles and nods, then one-piece alligator body dances separate from head]
Ryan: [happy tension is over, but still can't think of another question and slowly walks back to the curtain]
In hindsight she prolly just couldn't hear me or understand me. I bet alligator women have a hard enough time with Spanish, let alone my accent. Ah well.

The next thing I saw were the freaky animals - a two headed rabbit, a chicken with 4 legs, a dog with 2 tails and several others following that theme. They were all baby animals in jars of formaldehyde.

The final freak show I went to was Carla, the woman with three breasts. Logic tells me three are better than two, so I was intrigued. The carnie - it was obvious this time as she was perched on her own stool - told me I had to wait 5 minutes until I could see Carla. All I could think of is why the guy before me needed 5 minutes. Just like that I had no desire to see Carla.

I also missed Anna, the world's smallest woman. Carla had spooked me and I didn't even see her. So Wes and I wandered through the isles of fake watches, belt buckles and tattoo parlors. Woh woh woh!! Tattoo parlors?! Yeah, tattoo parlors! Well, Wes and I dared each other, but by this age double dog dares aren't effective peer pressure. Instead we took a stroll through the cattle show. That stunk and we went home.

permalink written by  ryanmyers on December 4, 2009 from Merida, Mexico
from the travel blog: Ryan's First Sabbatical
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