With our Spanish proficiency only slightly better than our Mandarin Chinese, we appreciate efforts that people in Spanish-speaking countries make to accommodate visitors.
A few years ago while traveling in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, we had the good fortune to visit Merida, the beautiful capitol of the region.
Since most of our traveling is independent, we don’t often have the benefits of translator on our “tours.”
It’s not unusual to see uniformed soldiers on the street carrying big guns in some of the cities. Merida was no exception.
On one perplexing corner in Merida one day we puzzled over the route to a museum we wanted to visit. While we were waiting a short man in uniform walked up to us. Instead of threatening us with imprisonment, he threatened us with help. The City of Merida had hired him as what they call “tourist police.” He was there to help visitors like us.
After we returned to Winston-Salem we moved downtown. We made a habit of walking all over the city. Eventually, we got to know the street names and locations of attractions pretty well.
And, almost invariably some lost sole in a car or walking on the street would stop to ask us for directions. We were able to respond. We had become Winston-Salem’s tourist police.
Justice is compassion raised to an institutional level.