A Travellerspoint blog

Arrival of the Chawners!

Week 10

sunny

As I sit on my patio enjoying the gentle breeze and the sunset sky I feel so relaxed and blessed to be here . This is such a lovely place to be. There isn't the luxury of where my mom and dad live but this has a simple beauty. I think the magic of this place is it attracts like minded people. I know that everyone isn't my friend but I seem to be known by so many; I wish I had a better memory. I know faces but names escape me. If we all wore name-tags would that help? It would be weird; maybe tattoo our foreheads which would help in remembering our own names

We start off this week with the arrival of our friends Mick and Louise. I have known Louise for a very long time. Too many to count! Louise was one of my bridesmaids; and that wasn't yesterday!

We have now a little routine for our guests: they arrive followed by a lunch and relaxing drink on the patio. This is then followed by a walk along the beach and back to a cup of tea. Then later that evening we go to our local place for Tacos Al pastor! Do you think I will ever remember to take a photo of the menu to get the name of this place. I've called it now "Abierto". (Open). Since that is the only sign posted on the outside

A new revelation by Louise is was that we have penguins here! Yes she said she likes how the penguins dive! As Louise was saying this, she actually tried to correct herself and then said oh yes penguins! Pelicans to the rest of us. Mick of course will not go a day without mentioning them to her! There is a penguin in the pool next door maybe that is what got her confused. Old age is more likely!

A day of relaxing by the pool and swimming in the calm waters of the gulf was in order and this followed again the next day too. With no wind it is great to take advantage, as this isn't always the case.
It was time to show them a little bit of Progreso by going in and walking around at the end of a cruise ship day. With no buying in mind we just walked along the Melecon where we enjoyed the gentle breeze before heading to Faces for a delicious steak dinner.

One day of excursion is a must even if you are only here a week. We chose to take them to Mayapan with our trusty driver Carlos. Louise being a history major was quite intrigued by what our guide had to say. For the first time I was able to go up the pyramid and not have too much trouble breathing at the top.

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A visit to the Yucatan could not go without a swim in a cenote. We were able to get to two different ones before heading to a Hacienda for our lunch. The first one was a bit warmer but much deeper; can't quite figure that out as I would have thought it would have been the other way around. Jumping in off a platform was the highlight. Haven't been that brave in ages. Not sure what go over me and I did it twice!

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Following our swim we headed to a Hacienda San Pedro Ochil. What a beautiful site. Mostly just a ruin and they have set up a restaurant. The food was superb

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We bought Symphony tickets for them to join us in Merida for the Sunday routine. An early ride into town was a better idea as this allowed us to take them to Chaya Maya for a Mexican breakfast in this lovely spot.

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Chaya Maya restaurant is such a lovely setting!

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this lovely door was in the restaurant and I know how much Alexis loves doors. (I do too)

After hearing Beethoven's 5th played extremely well we ventured along Calle 60 to the usual Santa Lucia for a quick look at the dancing. It seems to be too loud for the old folks so a chocolate smoothie from the local chocolate shop was in order to take along with us for our walk to the bottom of the Paseo Montejo. Strolling along this wonderful boulevard in the heat of the day isn't so bad as there are plenty of lovely large trees to provide you with enough shade. A relaxing stop at the most beautiful Starbucks I have ever been to.

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the giant conversation chairs in Santa Lucia

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One of the lovely buildings along Paseo Montejo

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the lovely Starbucks

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Dara and I relaxing in Starbucks

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The regular conversation chairs!

A relaxing day at home was in order for the last day here! With the wind it meant the ocean was not quite as inviting. I ordered weeks ago a massage therapist that comes highly recommended around town. It has taken me until now to get an opening. Much to my surprise Louise has never had one and she thoroughly enjoyed it. She has a unique technique of massaging that I have not come across before!

Louise and Mick depart today and my cousin Val arrives for an 11 day visit on the same Westjet flight they are departing on!

Posted by OhUiginn 16:03 Archived in Mexico Comments (2)

Some time alone with Dara in Mexico City!

Week 9

sunny 29 °C

We started off this quiet week with a lovely dinner at the Alguire's home along with Jenny and Richard. Sharing their fall adventures made us look to what we hope to finally get to do this fall: Australia and NZ. A 60 day cruise from Vancouver and all around Australia, is certainly something to consider and then you stay a bit longer and pop over to NZ before flying home. I'll be looking into this option soon. We also heard of Kiwi express from several and that appeals to me with the Hop on Hop off bus from the North to the South.

Tamales Colados are the best kind. As mentioned in the past few years they take a lot more time to prepare but are well worth it. I have written the recipe down this time so as to replicate it this summer in Ottawa. I had been told to go an hour after Ada thought I was coming so the masa had already been prepared along with the shredding of the chicken breasts; even so it still took us 3 hours to make 55 of them. I wasn't quite sure why we were making so many for our group but as it turned out, Rosie had ordered 30 for the party, with the remainder going for herself and Poly! The afternoon was such a delight with these two ladies especially when I was invited to stay and have lunch. She prepared fajitas poblano. I didn't want to take a picture of it as this was their meal of the day! I did find the exact recipe; http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/marcela-valladolid/creamy-poblano-pepper-strips-rajas-recipe.html
She had used the filets from the chicken breasts she cooked for the tamales. I felt so honoured being included in their meal. They later drove me home so that they could show me a few things along the way. Once at the house I found a small bottle of maple syrup to give them. I had explained to them about the process of making it over our lunch.

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the masa all ready and cooling

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the leaves being cleaned

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the putting all together

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the final step of putting the sauce on top

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In the pot ready to be steamed

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this is the manta ray

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all steamed and ready to eat

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the beautiful end product

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The gang enjoying their tamales!

It was certainly another busy day at the Muelle Market. The popularity is spreading! I helped Carmita at 'Asociacion de Mujeres de Chicxulub' table with the the bags etc as there were plenty of people at the food-bank. I have sold enough stuff to finance my three families for the next year and so anything they sell now will go to another project within the foodbank. Did you check out the photos I shared of the event on FB.

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Dara in Mexico City! Having a great time with old friends. He didn't want me along to spoil his fun!

As I am heading out the door; to my surprise the lovely Ada comes to my door bringing this plate of grilled tamales; I just happened to mention never having tried them. Unfortunately even though they were nice and warm, I had already plans so they waited for the next night, to be shared with the 'New York Boys' on my terrace. I was going out early as I could not stand the digger two doors down going back and forth and the reverse noise they can't turn off over and over again. It is a form of Chinese torture I am sure. I guess when you are a construction worker you tune that out so that must defeat the purpose of this damn thing anyway. LOL. I am told this construction will go on until July! the house looks massive but hard to tell just yet.

Last year while sitting at this lovely Korean restaurant friends of mine from Ottawa, came around the corner and so when I was back at the Slow food market sipping on a coffee I thought to myself; I wonder if I might see Rosie and Leo again, this time knowing that they were due sometime soon in Merida! I get up from the table and go around the corner and there they were! This was meant to be our rendezvous place in this universe! Their friends are friends of the lady who comes to the Muelle Market, with her organic produce. We had a good laugh about this coincidence. They will soon be heading to the beach in Chelem and we shall have to meet up for dinner!

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The Sunday flea market in the Chuburna Hidalgo Market in Merida is always fun; and you never walk away empty handed. I now have four margarita glasses I wanted and a few pairs or earrings I really didn't need.

Walking to this flea market we came across all sorts nice shots! Because I had taken a photo of a house for sale this little lady thought she should point out all the others that are for sale along this calle 19!
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This play house was in front of the big house

We were done early and so grabbed an Uber to Plaza Angel to try out this new restaurant Merci. Being Sunday it was brunch menu but had plenty for anyone to choose. Linda's croque monsieur were quite interesting topped with two eggs!

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Linda has taken a shine to these new retro chairs seen all over the place called 'Acapulco chairs'. I wouldn't mind one or two of these!

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I look out into the lovely calm ocean today and to my delight I spot something in the water; half hoping it its the manta ray again as I had been told she had babies but it was three dolphins swimming along. They don't stay around as do the mantas. It is lovely to see the locals stop to watch the graceful performance as well as us.

Waiting for the arrival of our friends, Louise and Mick, from back home; and Dara is returning from 5 days in Mexico City!

Posted by OhUiginn 12:03 Archived in Mexico Comments (3)

On our own this week

Week8

sunny 26 °C

This has been a quiet week and well appreciated! Dara accompanied Toni to the airport and I just relaxed at home. It is lovely to have company and we will be soon having more arriving. A relaxing walk along the beach with so many more shells than the last walk with Toni. I came across this lovely shell but when I went to pick it up discovered that it still belonged to someone so I left it alone. While sitting at Lorraine's home I noticed someone finding it as well and throwing it back in the water. So when I was walking back I found it was out of the water again! I wondered if this poor guy had come to shore to die and we keep sending it back into the water! I threw him back as well ! Who knows??

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Our caretakers invited us to celebrate their wedding anniversary with them and so we suggested eating in our place as we have the space. Tony cooked aracherra and sausages and we provided some veggies and wine! It was such a lovely evening of stories and laughter. We feel honoured to share these times with them. They have become family to us! Another wonderful Mexican experience. We are always touched when we get included in their homes or celebrations.

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Every year the group in Chuburna puts on a lovely fashion show with gently used clothing donated by people here. I have not been able to attend since the first year I was here; then they had it at a lovely restaurant on the Malecon that no longer exists. The following years they had done it in smaller venues and sold out before I even showed up here! This year it was at a lovely venue that we had been also the first year here for a Red Cross fundraiser! The theme was 'Getting in the Groove and so everyone was dressed in 60s clothing. Along with 71 volunteers helping with all required there were several men who served us with our drinks and brought our lunch to us after the show. There was a silent auction with many items. I bid on a lovely elephant painting but it was not to be my lucky day.

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If I ever win at one of the bingo games you will surely hear about it.

Another Thursday came along and this means "Steak Night" at Faces. We included the lovely Massachusetts ladies next door in our reservation to get to know them a bit better. These two sisters are very amusing and quite different from one another.

No food photos as you all know what a steak looks like right? But next door there is a new painting on the wall worth showing everyone!
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While at this dinner Gord stopped by the table for a drink and invited us all to dinner at his house along with everyone else he met in the past week walking around. He has no idea of how many are coming. He was two sheets to the wind but we decided that it would be interesting to go for his famous chilli dinner! They have two dogs one the size of a peanut (dash hound) and the other the size of a small horse (a ridgeback something or other). All this has done is convince me more than I already feel that dogs are a pain to have around! I have not been around a dog lately that has made me wish I had one instead it has just enforced my dislike. The dog at this party just grabbed food out of my hand. With a tug of war I was not happy with this. I know that it is the owners that have created these monsters and I know that there are well behaved dogs out there whose owners have well trained them but I have not seen any recently.

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What interested me this evening was how many people we didn't know at this event. We are continuously meeting new people down here. This gentleman did some singing but after a bit we left as the buses don't run very late and so we ddin't want to walk home. We unfortunately missed the best singer who started right after we left. Ah well I understand he sings in various locations so we will have to check him out in one of those places.

Our lovely friend Linda invited us over for dinner and we got to eat at her lovely new table. (Photo gone missing!) I enjoy our one on one times with her! She has such a lovely new place but not as quiet as her old home or as much garden. With her lovely touch this place will be even nicer than the last place!

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When I am in Merida I love to take photos of the buildings as you have seen over the years. It was lovely to see this freshly painted in a different colour this year! The difference with Saturday in Merida and Sunday was amazing of hot 29C and very humid to 22C ( I know this isn't that cold! ) and light rain made it less pleasant for walking around. So we didn't stay too long in Merida after eating a quick 'taco al pastor' on the square and a bit of shopping!

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Having a day to relax at home and watch some Netflix is a welcome. The wind is still blowing out there and makes sitting out on the terrace a bit too cool. Another 22C day!
We were sitting enjoying the nothing day and get a call from Michel who tells us he is the owner of the house Louise and Glen are renting at home this winter. Glen had told us he thought they were visiting Mexico somewhere close to where we are; as it turned out very close, in Chelem. Since they have a car it was easy for them to pop by for a visit that turned out to be over two hrs of lovely getting to know one another. They live in Ottawa about 5 min walk from our place. This is their first time here and have fallen in love with the place, as most do. They have a place in Fort Myers Florida, where they know lots of people but there isn't the same friendliness as there is here. In a week they met more and socialized with more than they have ever done in Florida. They were quite interested in seeing the next door house for next years rental!

Posted by OhUiginn 07:39 Archived in Mexico Tagged merida progreso chicxulub Comments (1)

A visit from our friend Toni

Week 7

sunny 28 °C

The highlight of this week was the arrival of Dara's (and mine too) friend Toni Forsythe whom he met at his Irish language class a few years back. This was her inaugural visit to Mexico. (She did make a stop on a cruise in Cozumel but we won't count that) An afternoon walk on the Malecon was a must see!
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Our walk along Calle 60 to the Malecon turned out to be interesting as well!

Well this is quite something; 250 pesos (15$) for 5 people eating nachos piled high with chicken and a lovely gravy. More like a puttin! What a great combination!!!! did I take photos no I was too hungry to think of it. Will have to do it next time. We all had tacos al pastor 2-3 each. Guacamole that was just with lime juice and very good; 'queso fundido' made with manchego cheese. A simply delightful meal!

Where was my head no photos only the one of the pastor meat!!! LOL

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We introduced her to the lovely panuchos for breakfast in Chicxulub before joining me at the Muelle Market for a bit of a shop. I had done most of the purchases before they arrived and was able to give them the bag to hump home!

Inauguration doom's day party was held at our friends Brooke and Don; they had recorded the inauguration so that we could commiserate. A few came dressed in black as they were in mourning! We all had to bring an appetizer depicting the country you were most worried about. So there were USA itself Mexico and Canada.

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Dara and Toni jump off the bus early to visit the lovely Gran Mayan Museum; I really didn't want to miss the Solidarity "March" on Merida, at Hennessy's Irish Pub; as I felt it was an important event to be included in what was happening around the world. They had planned to go home after the museum but felt compelled to join us at the pub for a Guinness and a meal!
I am so concerned by what this man plans to do to women and their rights I have never participated in anything before yet I was compelled to do so this time. We cannot sit back and let him do as he wishes without a fight. We have a hard 4 years ahead of us but we can't become complacent. There was an anticipation of around 50-75 people to show up and that certainly was an underestimation; around 500 came between noon and 3pm. It was so wonderful to see the numbers of men who were there supporting women! Watching it live on the TVs there was just breathtaking. I wonder if this is the largest single protest participation held on all continents. It was an overwhelming turnout everywhere with the sea of pink quite noticeable in so many photos I did my part with the "pussyhat movement" I had made a few hats but should have thought of the headbands sooner so I could have made that many more; as it was a very hot day; but we were indoors with AC and so I did wear it. (The reason we did not march outside was to make sure we weren't perceived as making a protest; which is illegal for foreigners) The two of the three organizers wore my headbands. My lovely daughter did her part in Toronto. (Wearing the hat I gave her for xmas; who knew 'pussyhats' would be the in thing!).

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Woke up this morning and thought we were seeing dolphins but with a closer look with the binoculars we think it is shark; even Tony ( our Cuidador) thought it was as well but with a closer look in his 'lancha', it turned out to be a huge manta ray. Our estimates are about 3 meters or more. He came to shore and called me to take us out to see it. He made three trips with people from around to see this majestic beautiful creature. I so wanted to jump in the water with him but I didn't have time to put my bathing suit on!

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This show went on for a good two hours but we had to head to Mérida for our Symphony concert. Toni was well impressed with Merida and the caliber of this orchestra. We shall be enjoying this for the next few Sundays on our own and with our future guests.

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Another wonderful afternoon spent in Mérida. We are so fortunate to have this wonderful city so close to us making this place that much more enticing every year!
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This last building has recently been renovated to its original splendour! Notice the error?

Our visit with Toni is coming to an end. With the wind we might not do much except for a little walk along the Malecon and a beer at Crabsters. We hope that Toni enjoyed her visit with us as much as we did her company. I think she'll be back!

Posted by OhUiginn 13:30 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Over a month in Paradise

Week 6

sunny 32 °C

Here part of our entertainment is taking the bus to and from town. They come by frequently alternating with the combis. There are some that you wonder how they are going to make it without breaking down. The gears are grinding and there are holes in the floor where the large stick shift is. One day you think it is just going to fall through to the road! The other part are the different seats the driver has. Some being held up by jerrycans and whatever else they can find; some have wire chairs and others have a t-shirt decorating the seat! You just never know. There are times when the characters that are travelling with you are part of that entertainment value! You just never know what kind of ride you are going to get.

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Check out the drivers fan

I find myself doing things I never do at home such as playing euchre and bingo. I enjoy it here but wouldn't be caught dead playing bingo; here it is for charity. The cards are reused year after year and instead of stamping shells, black beans or the odd Canadian penny; for a series of 12 games. All a bit of fun. Sharon found a new location this year and the number of games has tripled to 6 a season. I believe we had a record number attend; it could be due to the lovely setting at the back of the 'La Antigua' restaurant, by the pool!

A new Thai restaurant opened between Chalem and Chiburna only a few months ago that is getting all the raves but it is an adventure in the dark to get there. Lorraine decided we should venture out and see what all the talk is about and hired our trusty driver Carlos to take 10 of us there for dinner! We were not disappointed. The owners are such a wonderful couple who moved here from Calgary only 6 months ago and opened this place originally just for take out but have expanded as a restaurant to four days a week and now with the help of locals have expanded to Tues- Sat . The biggest disappointment is that they are not closer to where we live. They are considering serving food in Progreso once a week at Silcer Beach Club. We will certainly be keeping an eye on that announcement. They used to own a restaurant in Calgary where her family still owns 7 in the area covering all sectors of the city without competing with one another! So if you are from Calgary I am sure you have eaten at one of her family's places.

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Plenty of food for 5

A few years back I discovered the Slow Food Market in Merida and to my surprise Lorraine had never been. So when said she wanted to go I jumped at the chance to go too and show her the way! I also thought it was a great chance to eat at the Korean restaurant there. We dragged Austin along to carry her purchases. By the time we arrived at 12:15 many vendors had run out or were scarce, but this didn't matter as our main search at this market was basil plants. Not only did we find two plants we also found someone selling homemade pesto. Dara had gone to the MEL for a lecture and called once he was done, just as we were getting off the bus, so he joined us for lunch! Younghee Korean restaurant. They are now open Wednesday to Saturday after retiring from their full time jobs.
We tried this date tea for the first time! Quite interesting and tasty.

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this is where I found the basil
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check out the hair long enough to pull back.
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Some of these vendors do come out to our Muelle market giving us the opportunity to buy their food. I am sure you are aware of the 'slow food movement'.
Slow Food is an international movement, based in Italy, which promotes local production of food, preservation of regional culinary traditions, and healthy eating. Slow Food Yucatán is an official chapter of the international Slow Food movement.

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I had seen these 'milpa' tomatoes in France before but never anywhere else; they are a creole variety. Here the Mayans call them 'molpec'. They existed here before the colonization of the Americas and are now being grown again.

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Dara's new girlfriend at the foodbank
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Posted by OhUiginn 11:49 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

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