There is a whole side of life in Merida (and many other Mexican cities) that most visitors to Merida never see... It's what goes on above it all, up on the roof.
In the city block where our office is located, almost half the block is connected roof to roof. We've built a shaded terrace on our roof but mostly the rooftops are empty, with the occasional tinaco (water tank), air conditioning unit and various pipes and wires. Many of the roofs connected to ours are old (as are the houses below them) and some even have little volunteer gardens growing on them. When the sun isn't turning this area into a frying pan, this is a perfect place for a quick walk with the dog.
Wealthy, refined rooftops in Merida have pools and patio furniture, built in sofas and barbecue areas, potted plants and recessed lighting. In the low rent district rooftops are filled with hanging laundry, white plastic garden furniture and oftentimes, a rooftop dog.
What we love about the rooftop is the breeze and the view. In a city like Merida, where most gardens and landscaping are behind concrete walls and barricaded doors, a pedestrian or driver starts to get a rather narrow view of the world. But once you are up on the roof, you can see for miles. You can see the Cathedral in the distance, hear fireworks or music at night from distant parks, hear sirens and barking dogs from all over town, and best of all, watch the storms roll in.
When a thunderstorm is coming, standing on the rooftop watching the faraway lightning and the multicolored cloud formations is a special treat. In a flat city like Merida on the flat Yucatan Peninsula, rooftops are the only way for people who don't climb trees anymore to get a view.