On Monday I started at the Spanish Center Mérida language school, where I’m doing a 4 week course for 5 hours a day.
The school is in an area of the city called Itzimna, which is just to the north of the city centre. Alma’s house in Pacabtún, in the east of the city. Each morning I take a bus to the school which takes about 20-25 minutes. The first few rides on the bus I had to really pay attention so I wouldn’t miss my stop, but now the route is more familiar.
The school is pretty quiet at the moment since it’s the off season, which means I am the only student in the class (there is one other student in another class). I suppose it’s like a free upgrade to private tuition (which would have been a lot more expensive).
The classes have been good so far, but very intense, there is a lot to take in and remember. We have been covering the basics – numbers, days of the week, months of the year, etc. – and a lot of conjugating verbs, which is pretty straightforward in Spanish. It’s difficult to try and read words using Spanish pronounciation, having to train my mind to see the letters differently, especially trying to roll the r’s. I feel like I’m at the reading level of a 5-year-old, having to break down the words into their sounds, but once a word is familiar it becomes easier, and I’ll get better with practice. Luckily the pronunciation of letters in Spanish is pretty consistant, which makes things easier.
On Monday night I went to the city centre with Alma and we saw some traditional local dancing. They closed off a section of the street for the and put out chairs and we managed to get front row seats. The dancers were all very young, I think they must have been part of some dance school or something.
A lot of the dances seem to involve holdings your hands in the air like in the picture below (and some of the boys tried to click their fingers while they did it. There’s a statue along my bus route of a Mayan woman in the same pose (I’ll have to take a picture sometime).
For one dance they had a maypole!? They did mention something about England when the introduced the dance, but I’m not sure what they said. I don’t think I’ve even seen people dance with a maypole in England before.
We also walked though a new corridor between the cathedral and the museum, it’s looks pretty impressive. There’s quite a few sculptures along this corridor, which look to be made by the same artist.
They must have been very newly installed since most of them were still wrapped up.