Merida is a very friendly place. While most locals may be somewhat shy, they are warm and welcoming, as noticeable in the frequent smiles and greetings extended to visitors walking the sidewalks. This is rather refreshing to those who have ever lived in New England, for example, where people tend to avoid eye contact, pretending others scarcely exist, as a safeguard to personal privacy and security. Yes, Merida has its hawkers in the heart of downtown who will try to engage you in conversation to lure you into a nearby shop for a commission. But they’re mostly harmless, and the shops are easily overlooked, but fascinating. Yet the majority of those sidewalk smiles are genuine, without ulterior motive. So, don’t clam up!
A recent article has studied our practiced reserves, and noticed that those who are willing to engage with strangers are likely to be happier than those who remain silently immersed in their devices. Come to Merida and practice talking with strangers who are eager to use their English. Merida is also a great place to study Spanish. You might find your spirits lifting thru such encounters. Maybe you’ll discover from whence our phrase being happy as a clam derives. (What do clams share with each other?)