I recently visited Cancun, Mexico, with relatives and in-laws. It was my first time in Mexico. I speak a little Spanish (Español), my “little” Español described by a Mexican vendor as “un poquito.”
My hit-or-miss Spanish was praised and surprisingly understood by most of the Mexicans with whom I tried to converse. Being in a country in which one is not proficient with the language spoken in that country was an adventure and a lesson in how to communicate in other ways.
One of the most memorable experiences in Mexico was a trip to Chichén Itzá, a pre-Colombian abandoned Mayan city with pyramids. While my sister and I were waiting in line to buy tickets to enter Chichén Itzá, a busload of Mexican school children lined up across the street from where my sister and I stood.
They appeared to be around 9 years old. They stared at my sister and me and smiled. My sister and I concluded (perhaps erroneously) that they had not seen or been in the presence of black people before. We smiled back at them.
While we were touring Chichén Itzá, a bad storm came up. Mexican vendors invited my sister and me to take shelter under their canopies. One vendor offered my sister a chair and me a stool to stand on when the storm caused a torrent of water to rush through the vendor’s stall. In appreciation of the vendor’s kindness, I bought one of his goods, a great souvenir.
Although I sometimes found the heat in Mexico oppressive, I thoroughly enjoyed being in Mexico and interacting with Mexicans in their own country.
“Muchas gracias” to my daughter and her husband for giving me this wonderful Mexican experience.