A Travellerspoint blog

Last 10 days in Mexico for this season

LOS CABOS

sunny 28 °C

We spent another week helping my parents get various things done or sorted for them. We did manage to relax and enjoy the area.

I did get rather frustrated with my knitting of my latest project. I call it Jacaranda shawl; but my love for the tree does not have the same feeling for the shawl. I have never had to undo a project as much as this one. I was glad when it was finished. It still needs to be blocked and will get much larger when I do this

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Waking up early has a treat when at my parents home. The sunrises are so beautiful

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A walk along the beach here is quite different from the Progreso/Chicxulub The beach is much further out and the surf can't be seen from their home as it is down a hill. It looks like the beach is empty until you check it out on the other side

Enjoyed seeing this father helping his daughter play in the waves but not letting the son join in as it is quite rough and the undertow strong.

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There was also a cliff down to the waves and so I didn't want to take a feel of the water as I wasn't sure how I would get up again!! LOL

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There were a few cool evenings and so a dinner by the fireplace had two purposes: burn papers I found in my parents files and enjoy a fire while enjoying a BBQ fillet dinner!

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Every morning the birds would come and enjoy the bread my mom put out. There were fights with the larger birds

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I tried to get a good photo of the orioles that came everyday but they were quite fast!

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Not only do we get lovely sunrises occasionally we get a really nice sunset as long as the sky's have some clouds

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I made my favourite salad for my parents to enjoy and cooked some salmon to go with it not seen in any photo

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We got together with some longtime friends and went out for dinner. Erika is expecting a baby in July and will be getting married this time next year!

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Before we left Cabo Dara and I had an opportunity to go into town for a half day to do some shopping and walking around.

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We did have a great lunch as well. Mocajete is a lovely dish brought to the table in a very hot volcanic stone bowl and the food sizzles. We started with Queso Fundido and it too was prepared at the table. I have never had this happen before in the 30 years of coming here. It was great food!

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Our last evening was enjoyed with some new friends Pamela and Ana with a lovely pork tenderloin my Mom prepared

We decided to upgrade our seats to Plus on our Calgary flight and let me tell you it was well worth it.

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So we welcomed home by our lovely son Brendan and 20 cm snow! I thought it was supposed to be spring! Not quite what I was hoping for!
They keep assuring me it will melt but these photos are twelve hours after our return!! The front is just as bad as the back! LOL

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Which one do you think I prefer above or below!
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THAT'S ALL FOR THIS SEASON! Stay tuned until next year! I may write about Italy this summer, but not sure; as some know, this is a lot of work!

Posted by OhUiginn 07:58 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Week 13

Cuernavaca; Taxco and Baja!

semi-overcast 32 °C

After Yucatan,

We took a flight from Merida to Mexico City on Interjet. It is so nice not to have to do the four hours to Cancun. Many of our friends were lining up in the long queue for Westjet to Toronto.

Upon arrival in Mexico City after an almost two hour flight on Interjet we went to Alamo to get our car. As we expected it was not 16$ US for three days but 78$ but to make matters worse they didn't even have a car for us. Europecar piped up and offered us a VW or Prius for $62 for three days all included. We did have a back up plan with Budget for $ 112. Once we took car of the contract we were off and listening carefully to Siri on google maps to find our way out of the city. I am not sure what we did before GPS; got lost a lot more I guess?

We found our AIRBNB after a 90 min drive in the mountains. Alvaro was waiting there to greet us and show us to our apt. These grounds are quite impressive; 75 year old compound with multiple buildings with an incredible back yard. Did I take photos no when we looked at the place I didn't have my phone. Ah well. It had a ravine with two swimming pools and a pool table; table tennis and lots of old metal swings that most likely have been there the duration. Our unit was old but clean and complete with two bedrooms and two bathrooms; one with a tub, which I had planned to soak in this morning but completely forgot!!

We left the flat soon after and walked into town. It was all downhill knowing that the return would be all up was a bit daunting. We walked around looking at what the town had to offer. It was a bit disappointing as it was in need of a cleaning. I found the buildings dark and dingy. Not what we had been used to in Merida. Once at the Zocalo we found a few vendors and the palace. We stumbled upon the #3 restaurant right in front of the palace and decided with it being such a lovely evening to sit outside and enjoy the atmosphere of the place.

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On our walk back home around 9pm we wandered along this pedestrian street where we came upon several old shops all being of Mexican enterprises. Not one single foreign one in site. It reminded me of our old days 30 years ago when we came to live here.

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Check out the quinseañera dresses. (When the girls turn 15 they have a huge party, close to a wedding and some of the US "sweet 16"

Our next adventure was a drive to Taxco a little over an hour away in the hills. I realized that I had never been not that if I had been 30 years ago I would remember !!! Dara went once on a business trip many moons ago!

The narrow streets and lots of traffic make it rather interesting manoeuvring around so parking as soon as possible was done. As you climb the hill up you come upon this beautiful baroque church. Built in the 1600 and quite the interior as well.

The daunting task was to choose where to go to buy the silver I wanted. There are so many shops. The "Tiangus" is where the small guy sets up a stall. The selection here wasn't always what I wanted. I then came across a coop where I did find almost everything I was looking for. With a bit of bargaining we walked away happy on both sides. I still had one more item to find and so left Dara drinking a beer and went to another area and found in a Tiangus someone who was able to make what I wanted out of a bracelet and a necklace combine the two and add a few more balls for a necklace that is 66cm long and not clasp!

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With money spent we decided to eat tlacoyas in the market made fresh in front of us and a guava water! We were delighted with the flavours as we had not had one of these delights in many years. (Not found in the Yucatan)

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I realized that I had never been to Taxco before. I thought I had and just plain forgot but once I arrived there with Dara I would have certainly remembered such a wonderful place. It was a bit busier than I would have liked but that is the fault only of it being "Semana Santa" when there are many Mexicans on holidays! There was to be a special event that evening too so it had an added draw. This town built on a hill has a tremendous history. It goes back to colonial times and was a mining town. There are only a little over 52 thousand people living in this town. Tourism and silver is what has made this place famous. Silversmiths line the streets with their wares.

The city of Taxco lies on very rugged terrain and has steep, irregular streets. The streets are also narrow and generally lack sidewalks, making them picturesque but dangerous. Adding to the charm is that most streets are paved with dark stones, adorned with lines, pictures and even murals of white stone. Some of the pictures in the street are from the Zodiac and meant to indicate certain commercial activities in times past. One example of this is the sign of Taurus near the Church of Santa Prisca, which used to indicate the area of butcher shops. Buildings in the city typically have Spanish-style, red-tile roofs.

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After a full day we were ready for our lovely evening planned at Victor Martinez home where we found his delightful wife and her sister Maria Teresa. There home is built in a lovely area with stone floors and shaped to wrap the hillside. A place to stay sometime next trip! It was a relaxing engaging evening with getting to know them better. The last time I saw the was in Banff at a Newbridge Sales boondoggle. I remember when Victor and Dara went off snowshoeing in -35C and returned with ice all over their beards. It was extremely cold days for our Olympic games being..

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As planned we went to the Cusi homestead for a full day of relaxation and eating. Juana, Luis and their youngest Ana had waited for our arrival for a quick visit but had to return the Mexico for an apt. We got to meet the new additions to the family and were soo delighted with how it went. Seeing the new younger generation having fun in the pool and their parents watching over them brought me back to us with Brendan! The place is as relaxing as always

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The two Andreas
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Without a GPS I am not sure we would have been able to find our way there or even back. There are 5 valleys that converge into the city and mean a round about way to get places.

Arrived safely at my parents home and found them as we expected with all kinds of things for us to help them take care of! First off my mom helps some poor with an Easter hamper. Off we went to pick up 14 chickens from the local rotisserie place with included a helping of salad and some tortillas. This was added to the baskets we had prepared and off we went just handing them out randomly to locals in the "Viejo San Jose"; the poorest part of town. Once we had them all distributed we headed home. We too enjoyed one of these chickens.

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Our time here has been busy with sorting out doctors appointments; barber shave; dentists and lawyers. It is a slow process but we are getting there. We will see about having dad's physio therapist come to the house.

These are just a few of the lovely grounds at my parents place
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These eggs just appeared on the counter. There really is an Easter Bunny!

Hopefully we will have enough time to get all we need to do done. Time here is never enough for my mom but it is good to be here.

Posted by OhUiginn 21:32 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Week 12

Our last week in Yucatan

As we now start with the countdown in the Yucatan we know that some exciting things are about to start up in Chicxulub. There are Scientists gearing up to drill into ‘ground zero’ of the impact that killed the dinosaurs. http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2016/03/scientists-gear-drill-ground-zero-impact-killed-dinosaurs?utm_source=newsfromscience&utm_medium=facebook-text&utm_campaign=groundzero-2735

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We hope that this will bring well needed money to the area and help with some things such as a secondary school in the village! They currently have to go to Progreso where there are three high schools. Why they built a research lab in the middle of no where and not near the village boggles the mind. Dara has sent an email to the author of the above article asking them to invest some of the millions into something in the village.

After a last ditch effort at the dentist for a cleaning for the two of us ($84 for two can't beat that); Dara and I took a walk up to get my new custom made shoes! With the weather being at 45C we took our time and ended up lunching at a nice little cafe nearby that I love so much

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A coffee on the terrace of the loveliest Starbucks I have seen

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A collection of buildings on our walk around!

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This car is a working car believe it or not!

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Dara enjoying his apple tart for desert

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My shoes I love them!

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The bus ride home

Every year for the last language conversation class we meet in Chixculub for a dinner at Carolinas and bumper car fun, at the local Easter Fair. We gathered around a long table and enjoyed turkey soup, empanadas, salubutes and panuchos. After a long discussion with (her name escapes me) About the cost of rent rising by so many when our dollar is not better against the US dollar. I tried to explain that we should be paying in pesos and not dollars as this is how it is done in Canada.

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The last Muelle Market was quiet as was expected since a major exodus happened last Tuesday! There were still plenty of sales had by many. I think the produce vendors were the ones who didn't fair as well. I helped out the the Ladies of Chicxulub Cooperative with their booth! I managed to get a few sales with my walking around with items on me. I came away with two hats unsold! I will try and get them sold the next few weeks on my travels!

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Celebration of St. Patrick's day at David's Restaurant was rather low key but very nice evening. We were placed at a table with some people we didn't know but soon got to know them. One couple had recently retired from Vancouver Island and sold everything to come and live here for 4 years, never having been here before. That is bold thing to do and I am not sure I could do it! They plan to stay 4 years and move on to another place for 4 years. Sounds like a great way to be! Another couple were also retired ( surprise surprise ) They spend 3 winter months away from Oakville but so far have not returned to the same place. This is the first one out of four that they are considering returning. There is something magical about this place that is hard to explain. It is by no means fancy or beautiful but the atmosphere of people around us seems to bring us back year after year!

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Our good friends Denis and Louisette left to go back home. We slowly get to know them and are drawn more and more to them. We have more than just a friendship there is something spiritual going on too.

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Don't they look lovely sitting there enjoying the afternoon

We celebrated the end of the season at a restaurant that only opens on the Palm Sunday weekend (start of the Semana Santa). the influx of 'Meridainos' is quite amazing! The streets of Progreso fill up and the traffic from Merida to the beach was noticeably heavier upon our return after our International Women's Club. This month we had a guest speaker talk to us about the History of the settlers of this area and how the city had been decided up. George the historian kept us quite enthralled with his information. He is quite passionate about the area. I had heard him speak 4 years ago in Progreso at the Library and enjoyed it as much as this. Luckily he covered a different part of the local history.

The Spanish that first settled here were not nobleman but rather commoners and therefore the King of Spain at the time decided to send someone over to put them in their place and not let them continue pretending to be nobles. They were forced to live within the city boundaries set by the king of a small area. The outside of these wall was where the Atztec Indians lived protecting what the Spaniards wanted to keep under wraps. The City had only two sides walled in for some reason the others were never built. Let's see that is about all this little mind can recollect today! Oh how I should have recorded it (thought about it but didn't have permission so didn't).

Another season of IWC has come to an end for me. It is a different outlet for me from the beach!

La Recova was were we decided to eat with some friends. We had been here two years agon and really enjoyed it. Everyone tonight wasn't quite as impressed as we had been in the past. I enjoyed it despite the rest! I do agree that the one in Merida called La RUEDA surpasses them by a long shot for quality and cost!

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We had plans to eat lunch at our favorite fish restaurant with our landlord but that had to be cancelled as they aren't well so we shall see them on Monday to give them their deposit for next year! So with a new Norte upon us, I decided to start packing a day earlier in case we have better weather and less stressful. The weather continued to be windy and cool on our last day which is fine for packing but it is almost all done! Then what! Luckily friends have been stopping by to say goodbye and have a drink that helps kill the time.

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Nasty weather keeping it cooler. But great for packing!

We ended our stay here with a drink with William and Sharon and finished it off lovely dinner and conversation with William. I made this great desert with a combination of what was in the house. A cup of vanilla ice cream, 2 soft bananas, 1c purée of mango and last but not least about a cup of natural unsweetened yogurt. I put all of this in the blender and then froze it. William said I could sell this for sure! It was delicious!

Woke to the Norte continuing and so unable to enjoy the morning breakfast on the terrace. All packed and ready for Gustavo to pick us up for the airport. Stay tuned for the next two weeks adventure!

Posted by OhUiginn 06:30 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Week 11

Winding down

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It was so nice to have a relaxing day with the ocean inviting us in. There was a southerly wind keeping it quite hot. Hot enough for Dara to go into the pool. Not quite ready to go into the ocean. He says there are things in there that might touch him. He also says other things too but not going to repeat it in my clean blog! Use your imagination!!!

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We have had four very hot days with me spending an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon with the lovely Louisette next door. Our time in the water is when she and I open up to each other about our lives! It has become a very special time for us!

One of our regular knitters; Barbara went into the bin of donated yarn and worked hard over the past few months making a ten stitch blanket for the seniors. Sharon was delighted with her work.

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David had asked Dara about making an Irish stew for St. Patrick's day and invited us to come and taste it to see if it met with Dara's approval. It was delicious and just needed a few tweeks. Rather than a desert we were given a lovely Irish Coffee to finish off the meal. We look forward to celebrating the afternoon with everyone dressed in green. Stay tuned for an update next week on how it all goes!

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Another trip into Merida for my hand made sandals and a walk around taking more photos of the lovely town

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As we all approach departure due to Holy Week quickly approaching we start doing all those things we meant to do but haven't done yet! For us it was to go to a movie in the Platino (VIP) cinema with big comfy seats and beer served.

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There is a skating rink inside the shopping Center where the cinema is

We returned home in time to watch the light show going on for over two hours and just sat on the wall mesmerizing by the beauty of it all. Tried to capture it with my iPhone as it is the best camera I have. Not sure how great they are but here goes!

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Fewer euchre tables this week. With fewer and fewer people still around. It has been a great season in our new location. We made a few changes of ending at 3:30 and since we are just playing for fun to rotate every 20 min no matter whether the game if over. The changes seem to have been received very positively.

Saturday we woke up to a different morning with heavy rain and a northerly wind returning. Not quite what the party organizers were hoping for this afternoon. We decided to only go for the brunch at Natasha's and skip the big one put on by Barloventos Restaurant! The shrimp omelette with a side salad hit the spot! We met a lovely Canadian couple originally from Holland at a table with our wacky friend Suzanne and so we joined them for a lovely conversation; from books we are reading to shibori dyeing!

The weather continues to be hot and sunny. But laying about the house all day wasn't appealing anymore so off we went to visit Socorro and Doris to give them the tabs and cotton I had left over. Dara is a kids magnet and the little ones were stuck to him like glue! He taught them his favourite song " Pollito- Chicken". The one he had been taught over 30 years ago in Mexico City by a three year old Rafa! He found it on YouTube and played it for them. One little girl of almost 5 was mesmerized by it.

From here we jumped on one of the rickety buses outside their door and headed to Progreso.
The flat chickens were turning away in this heat. I stopped to watch them put another row of chickens with great difficulty as the heat was unbearable

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We continued walking towards the Chocolate Pier as wanted to see how the beach where the whale is buried was doing.

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No sign of anything here now!

Found them working on the second pier and Dara was mesmerized by the machines moving the piece of concrete into place.

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A new tourist shopping centre has been built for the cruise ship passengers that is all set and ready but not open yet

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A walk along the board walk is quite different on a hot weekend with everyone enjoying the day! The beach is a different scene from the weekdays. It will double in the next week when Holly Week starts and the kids are off school for two weeks. We are out of here just in time!

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We finish off the week walking along the beach to to help with the preparing of bags for the Dispensa (foodbank) in Chicxulub. This is my last time of the season and will not be able to help with the distribution tomorrow but we did arrange for tortillas to be handed out in our absence.

A few random photos from a previous trip to Merida that I missed putting in

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Street art is so nice to see notice the lamppost has been painted to match as well!!

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Lastly a photo of a yellow jacaranda tree in bloom on Cupules Street near Reforma!

Posted by OhUiginn 21:01 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Week 10 Yucatan

Dara's Birthday celebrated for three days

semi-overcast 27 °C

This should have been posted in the week before as it occurred on Sunday the 28th February; but since we thought it was just a tale we didn't investigate it further until we saw it in the paper.

Some residents helped move a beached Fin whale, Sunday in Progreso, in the state of Yucatan, Mexico, while others took pictures. This was the first incident of a beached whale in the area, though in recent weeks there have been several instances of beached dolphins. Which is why when we heard about a whale we thought it was just an exageration.
The whale measured about 12 meters long (39 feet) and weighed approximately 10 tons. We were unable to see it as by the time we heard they had already buried it. With plans to unearth it in a few years and display the bones in the museum! I would not want to be downwind from it!
It Futher reports have come out that the whale was ill.

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To read more about this in Spanish go to
http://progresohoy.com/noticias/necropsia-revela-que-la-ballena-que-recalo-en-progreso-estaba-enferma-10071023/The

After another Stitch and Bitch on Dara's birthday Austin and Lorraine arrived to take us out for lunch to celebrate his 64th birthday. We went where we had been trying to go for a few years; Xanantun Hacienda for a wonderful meal. It was all exquisite and the atmosphere of peace and tranquil on their terrace was such a lovely way to spend his birthday. We didn't end the day here off we went back to Grand Chapur for more fabric. The others met us there but no one else could decide on anything. I found a lovely lightweight cotton to make a top. From here we went to B&G to pick up my sandals but unfortunately they were not quite right. I also got another pair made from an old one that was need of repair. They will be ready in a week. A stop in Alta Brisa Mall was a must to get US cash for our landlord tomorrow. This mall is huge and full of many high end shops. This was my first time there. I found a pair of Prada shoes like the canvas ones I bought last week for 300$ instead of 24$! And I think I like mine better.

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Dara's birthday continues with a lovely lunch in Merida with our landlords to discuss next years plans and give them our deposit. Every year we make a few requests for improvements and they usually comply. We ate at this famous cantina called "Cantina la Mexicana" and since it was Dara's birthday we get to eat for half price. Usually it is the percentage of your birthday off with a max of 50% so.........
Around the corner from this place we spotted what looked like a Buddhist temple but, after Dara rang the door bell, it turned out to be someone's home. The temple was closeby so we headed there after our lunch.

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Found a lot for sale we could buy and build a nice house. I really like this neighbourhood

Again another day of celebrating Dara's birthday by walking into Chicxulub with our friends Nancy and Lee, for Panuchos in the market along with the freshly squeezed oj and I had the one with half carrot half oj.

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Then that evening we had Andy, Alexis and Phyllis for a BBQ steak dinner. It was delicious with a potato salad courtesy of Alexis and a brocoli salad! Just before they arrived our caretaker Maria came with her wonderful fried fish and so we had that as an appetizer along with the wonderful Claire de Lune cheese. We topped the dinner off with a trifle. I made this for the first time here not knowing how the ingredients found here would work. Since I brought Birds custard down with me I knew it couldn't go far wrong.
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Lovely Lucy the seamstress arrived with my dress she copied and I was thrilled with how it turned out. She is making me 5 more items for a total 8 new pieces to my wardrobe.
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Here is also Alexis dress that she dyed last week
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Some days the humidity is so high the patio is wet and all the floors inside the house are as well. You have to be careful not to slip!

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This Sunday was our last Symphony concert. We only bought 3 this year! We were joined again by our friends Ian and Sheila and it was all Mendelson today! There was a guest violinist Emanuel Salvador he played a wonderful piece called Violin concert in Mi minor Op.64. It was so wonderful he played an encore solo piece before the intermission. We always follow these concerts with a lunch in Santa Lucia square where we can watch the dancers. Today we were treated by some very good ones!

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Found these earrings and pendant made of paper on the hippy square that I had to have as they were a perfect match to my dress

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Intermission!
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My wonderful turkey burger at Ryan's Burgers was delicious. Yucatecan food uses a fair bit of turkey, which has been substituted with chicken in many places.
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Dara and Andy looking over their Chinese books they found in the market on the square! Go figure!
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Ladies enjoying the music off the stage!
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The wall outside the bathroom of the restaurant with the traditional pasta tiles on display
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As we were leaving the square we love so much!

To end the week I had a wonderful afternoon in Ada's home helping make the tamales we love so much, for the delayed party next door. (It was supposed to be on February 2nd but the host was unable to do it). I arrived as Lupe was shredding the chicken and Ada was slicing onions and tomatoes for the filling. I sat down and quickly went to work shredding the dozen chicken breasts. I felt so comfortable sitting in their home working away! Last year I felt a bit odd but this time it was like old friends gabbing in Spanish and having a few laughs. Once we were done this it was time to cook the masa. It had already been put through the blender and sived so ready to cook. She added the herb to the water and some of the corn meal.

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Once it comes to almost a boil you add the rest and the pork lard. Once you have done this you have to stir it constantly. I started doing this but once it started to thicken I could no longer find the strength to continue so she took over

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While this is cooling we prepare the banana leaves by washing; removing the spine; and cutting into the right size. Lupe is qualitified to wash but not cut. Ada has a particular size she must make it!

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While we are splitting the spine to use for tying we set the masa on the table with a fan on it to cool. Again Ada is the only one who seems to be able to split well but we can ties up eat smaller pieces to make sure we have enough for the 30 tamales. Now we are ready to start making them. I watched carefully and did one on my own which I marked with a bone so I could be sure to identify it later!

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Check out the video I posted on FaceBook. It was too large for the blog!

Later on once they are steamed for a couple of hours, my Rosie who had arranged for us to go last year and me this year, picked them up. What shocked me was the price for all this work was 9$CAD. That is 0.30 each! How can she do this for so little. 4 pesos is way too little when in the market they charge 10 pesos each for ones half the size.

We were delighted with the festivities next door. Traditionally these tamales are served with hot chocolate as it is a family event so alcohol is not consumed. The "Abuelita" hot chocolate is well known and has cinnamon flavour added to it. I showed the video of us making them to a few people as many had never eaten them or even heard of them. I must say in my 30 years of travelling to Mexico they have to be my favourites.

The delight on Marta's face says it all
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The sunset last night is perfect for ending my blog

Posted by OhUiginn 12:18 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

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