Taylor Explores the World

LA68 Casa de Cultura Elena Poniatowska

Location: Calle 68 #470  corner of Calle 55, Merida

Hours: 8:30-2:00

LA68, Casa de Cultura Elena Poniatowska, was around the corner from our hotel, Ko’ox Art 57.  One night Leroy ran out to grab some beer for us from CerveFrió Cervellama Kukulkan and decided to check it out.  He walked in and looked around but was not sure what it was, there was a group of people chilling in one of the rooms but no one said anything as he stood there.  After a while he figured it was not open and left.  He came back to our room and wanted me to go with him to see what the deal was but I was exhausted and wanted to wait.

On Friday afternoon we were walking passed, Leroy suggested we stop and have a beer.  I hesitated but could sense he was deeply intrigued.  After passing through the entryway, whose windows look onto little rooms now sell curious objects, you enter a shabby chic modern oasis.  An open air courtyard formed by a wall coated in vines and shrubs, some even creeping across forming a roof.  The brightly colored walls are decorated with a variety of shabby chic style antiquities.  A drink station sits at one end and at the other sits a coffee bar, complete with sophisticated expresso machine.  Table sets made of non-matching pieces filled the left over space.  We were the only ones there but we were a little early for the typical Mexican lunch time.

Our waitress, Vane, quickly approached us offering us any table, menus and the specials of the day.  We took the menus to browse, even though we were still stuffed from El Cangrejito.  We were only drinking but wanted to see all they had to offer for the next time we were in town. Leroy told our waitress about the night prior as we ordered 2 Sols ($30MXN per beer), she apologized and went to get our beers. 

Vane brought our beers and some bar mix.  She then returned to erecting their Dias de los Muertos altar by weaving string lights, marigolds and strawflowers into the vines that formed a faux roof over the courtyard.  

Soon another woman, I believe the owner, came in and began to help Vane decorate the altar.  Vane must have told her what Leroy experienced the night prior because she approached Leroy apologizing profusely.  She then asked Leroy if he would be willing to be videotaped saying what had happened, adding that it would make confronting the person easier.  He agreed and repeated his recollection of the events of the night before as she filmed.  She thanked him and apologized again, you could tell this was extremely unsettling to her and was not how she wanted her business ran. 

A few moments later Vane came to our table with a gazpacho “on the house”.  It was wonderful, one of the best I have ever had.  We finished every drop despite being stuffed from our last meal.  We ordered another round of beers and sat enjoying the quiet oasis while watching them string flowers everywhere. As we sat, of course the employee from the night before came in.  The owner instantly confronted him; he tried to deny it and said he did not know Leroy had come in.   He quickly made excuses and got to work, also helping with the altar.    

As we sat more customers came in, ordering dishes that sounded and looked delicious.   As we finished we paid a $120MXN for the 4 Sol beers we had.  We asked Vane if we could wander the grounds.  “Yes”, she said as she explained that there was a library, two movie theatres and several rooms of trinkets for sale and where each were located.  

We wandered through the large building, a former colonial home, and saw the brightly colored movie rooms and shopped the little rooms of goodies.  LA68 is a wonderful oasis tucked away from the chaos of the city, we will definitely be returning on our next trip – and hopefully will get to see a movie and take a yoga class.


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