A Travellerspoint blog

January 2013

Week Four

sunny 32 °C

I wake up every day around 6:30-6:45. Not sure why as I sleep in at home. I do enjoy the early morning with the sun light changing how my terrace view is; and the sea is usually very calm at this time. (Unless there is a Norte). On Mondays and Wednesday I also see the arrival of the Cruise ship at the end of the 5 km (muelle) pier. It is too bad they don't allow you to walk it. It is the longest pier in the world. It is so shallow here due to the Chicxulub Crater formed by the meteor that hit here and wiped out the dinosaurs all those years ago. What is strange is you still find pieces of the rock on the beach.

It is hard to believe that I am on the fourth week of my stay-cation. The day started off looking promising with the sun and calm waters. It did not take long before the wind picked up and the clouds rolled in. Dara and I went for a walk along the beach to Progreso. I took pictures along the way. Some of the houses have had some work done and others are even more run down than last year. Before 2008 there were far more of these houses looking in great shape. So many places have deteriorated since then. I took some pics along the walk

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our walk into Progreso along the beach

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Our third stitch along happened with Sharon joining us and Jackie not being here so there were still only 4 of us. I do hope it grows a bit bigger. While we where relaxing knotting Dara had gone in to Merida to buy a DVD player to replace theirs as it was not working well after the rain. Once Dara got into Progreso he called and walked to meet at Yacuna Hotel to listen to the jam session. It was rather entertaining but we were quick to appreciate how good 'the Garden of Weeds' band really is. We decided to eat lunch and really enjoyed the food.
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Today we woke to a lovely clear sky and calm seas. I took my new tommy bahama beach chair to the beach and sat there enjoying the comfort of this lovely chair and having my feet in the soft sand just the other side of the wall. I read my book listening to the waves lapping the beach and thinking of all my friends and family stuck back home in -40C weather and thank every minute that I am here in the warmer weather.

Later we walked up to meet Maggie and John then walk over to the Pig Roast dinner at La Lupita Restaurant. We were the second to arrive only minutes after Ian and Sheila and so this year we got really great seats for us and a few others who were joining our table. Manuel puts on a lovely feast and festivities of dancers. The quality of the dancing was much more professional than the last one we were at. Little Alexis came by to our table and took a picture of Dara with him. I will have to compare it with last years photo. He was quite the little man going around clearing the tables of their empties. He was so cute and always had a big smile on his face, we all melted and each one of us gave him a 10 pesos over the night he must have made a pretty penny. I hope he gets to keep it all for his hard work.

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After the dancing we were entertained with mariachis playing all our favourite tunes we are all associate with Mexico!! I am sure you know the ones I mean; no need to mention them.

I love the fact that we can walk home from everywhere. We can take a bus if we have bags of groceries.

I admire Manuel and his family planning these little soirees and inviting people to their restaurant for an evening of food and entertainment. This is very entrepreneurial of him. This winter they are going to do two evenings with hope those who missed it in January will get a second chance to attend.

I managed to sleep in to 8am for the first time. I was pleased to see another nice day was upon us. I was on the lounge chair outside thinking about how lovely my life is. I was listening to the waves lapping the beach the light breeze blowing; watching after the dancing we were entertained with the mariachis playing all our favourite tunes we are all associate with Mexico!! I am sure you know the ones I mean; no need to mention them.

At noon Carmita arrived at our home to discuss some ideas she had for Dara to help some boys in a school in the afternoon. ( Dara write about it)

We also had another task for today and that was to go and find out what was going on with a poor family that has not shown up at Dispensa for three months. We rode the bus as we had a heavy bag of their Christmas hamper to deliver. This family is at the end of the bus line right on the corner. calle 4 in Chicxulub. When we arrived at this small home where 5 people live. The mother along with a 19 year old Erik; 17 year old Juan Carlos; 15 year old Dora ; Hector 13 and 4 year old Edgar. Mom was on a job in Merida; Erik was off fishing.

The 15 year old was there taking care of her lttle brother. The conversation was something like this ... "Carmita would like to go with you, if possible to speak with Crisanta. It was her referral that got her on the roster. During the conversation I would like to know if Eric still wants to go to school (Tech in Progreso) and if he did could they manage on her salary? I have someone who is looking to fund someone to attend a program to improve his/her future and her oldest son might fit the bill. The couple need to know the costs for a year's program and if manageable they might help Eric get his degree in engineering and improve their future."

You come away from there not having seen inside their home this time, feeling good that we help families. Walking along the street with Carmita was interesting. She is a very intelligent woman who knows what needs to be done to help change things here but is powerless to make a big change. Her contribution to Chicxulub is the best thing she can be doing and hope that others will follow her example.

We were done in time for me to join the ladies at Bamboo beach for lunch before the bingo game.

This bingo is the only bingo I have ever played; ;last year and this time. It is interesting to see how the cards are reused by covering the numbers with shells; beans or pennies yes canadian pennies. (now that they are no valid why not) I was at a table of 6 women and it seemed to be the best table there; all but one won something with Maggie getting the jackpot with the the 50/50 draw of 1000 pesos. Most games were 200pesos winnings and two games of 500 pesos. Yes I was the only non winner at our table after 12 games. It was well worth the 16$ it cost me for the fun afternoon.

Walking home I searched for my earring that I lost the night before. I seem to have issues with earrings on this trip. Not so lucky with this second set. I will have to get Jorge to make me another one.!

The rest of the evening continued back to where I started my day on the lounge chair watching the sun set and continue my knitting with yarn I was donated at home by Emma and make a shawl to sell at the next bazaar.

Sunday
We ventured back in Merida today, with hopes to ride bicycles along the closed off route. We kept asking where to find the bikes and it was further and further away. At this church that was built in 1562 at L'Ermita. This is where they lend you bikes for free, it was 10:45 and there were no bikes left to use and they said that you had till 11 to borrow a bike but it had to be returned by 11:30. We waited to see if anyone showed up by 11 to use one but there was no luck. We looked around the church where there was mass being said and people were spilled out into the outside on chairs or the wall listening to mass. It was right at the homily when we happened to be walking by. What drivel he was saying about doing your homework was to please god!!!!

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I was perplexed at the bike situation and need to look into it further for next week. ( why didn't I do this before this knowing this was what we planned to do?????) I did see several bikes that say "se renta" or "rentme". Looking up on the internet I found an article about biking in Merida and mention of two places to rent them. So we are on for next Sunday!! I guess it was not meant to be this week. We knew John and Maggie were coming into town too so I called to see if they wished to join us for lunch at " Chaya Maya" restaurant that Alexis and I went to on our first trip to Merida.

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We continued our walk around to watch the dancing again on the Santa Lucia park and to check out our hotels for the Carnival.

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Maggie and I continued checking out the vendors while John and Dara went to check out the Cathedral but it was now closed. LOL I love to people watch in this Plaza Grande! It is not full of tourist yet there are several of them around it is the locals that come out and walk around on a Sunday. In front of the Governors Mansion there is usually some form of entertainment. It was nice to stay in town a little later than we usually do and take in the ambiance. The stalls are still set up at 5pm. When we got back to Progreso Dara decided to run home and the rest of us fools took the bus!!

Monday

As I sit on the patio and read noticing the two boats on the horizon. Knowing how both are so different one is a cruise ship full of tourists who aren't all that interested in where they are heading and another is coming home with his catch after several days at sea. His family waiting on the shore somewhere for their return. Fisher men's life is so uncertain. One turns left to the pier and the other turns right probably heading towards Chicxulub. My thoughts turn to Erik who could easily have been on this boat. His having to drop out of school he so wanted to attend, after his father died so that he could work to help support his family. But let's hope we can change that.

It is so nice not to have anything planned and just take int he light breeze and go for a swim in the lovely ocean. As I entered the water I was admiring the colour that so many people think as dirty is just churned up sand. It is just sand at the bottom; there were ripples on the ocean making a contrast the reflection of the blue sky and the sandy water looking an olive green. A picture will not show this very well.

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Posted by OhUiginn 16:44 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Week Three

Arrival of El Norte with a huge change in weather!

We started off the week with such lovely weather as it had been since I arrived and this continued on Wednesday as well. Keep reading to see more details of how it all changed

On the 15th of every month from 11:00-12:00, the Chicxulub Food Bank distributes food to 88 families called La Dispensa. Normally when you arrive at 10:30 there is a long cue to the end of the block but today for some reason there were only about a dozen people. This was a surprise to all and Sharon even asked the question "This is the 15th right?" What had happened was the day before the government had come and handed out 100 grocery bags to the needy families and we wondered if they then thought this "Dispensa" was not happening this month. But it seems that the word spread that we were there and only 6 families didn't show up! If a family misses three months they are removed from the list. They also must bring their card or they don't get the food. It is the only way to have some control over the situation.
I had the pleasure of distributing the vitamins to the families with kids under 10: drops for the infants; liquid for the toddlers and pills for the older ones. One of the first little girls to come up with her mother was a 4 year old. I asked her her name but couldn't hear her shy voice, then she said it louder and to my delight she is Andrea; what are the chances. She was so delighted that we had the same name. All but 6 families showed up for their food and 2 that had missed their christmas hampers got them but there are still 2 more. Dara and I might help out Sharon by going to see what is happening with these 6 families, as if they miss 3 in a row they are removed from the list. It feels so good to be helping these lovely friendly people just a little bit. Last year Jean had taken pictures and she decided to print them up and put them on a board for them to see and take theirs home. Some of them never get to have a photo of themselves. Seeing their eyes light up at the receiving of this photo makes you realize how little they have.

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This weeks Stitch Along had the same four people but a few more say they will be here next week. I would like to see it grow by at least a few more. It was still really nice chatting.

This evening we were invited to dine at Lorraine and Austin's home with their guest Nancy who is from Winfield BC, Debbie and Don from Newfoundland. What an simply delightful evening with such lovely people. The food preparation was shown by the caretaker who took them shopping for their goodies; we had sopes and chilles rellenos. The food was delicious. While sitting at the table suddenly we heard the wind start up. It was raining on our walk to the house but now it was coming down in buckets.
We called for a taxi to take us home as the rain was just coming down too hard to walk. When we got in to our house we found that the rain had come in through the top half of the window and covered the sofa and the TV with water.

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This of course now means it doesn't want to work. the box for the cablemas that was only just bought for us will not start and the TV that we worked so hard to get them to provide us with an HD TV only on this past Monday (yes two days ago) will not work anymore. We left the fan on overnight to see if that helped. We mopped up all the water on the floor (filled a whole bucket)

The next day we tried the TV again and still not working. But I discovered how so much rain came in; the widow was coming away from the frame and was ready to come crashing on to the floor. We contacted the landlords right away and 30 min later there was someone here working on both items. As when I went to have a shower this morning there was no water. To make matters worse when I went to make tea there was no gas in the tank I had bought a week earlier. I had to hurry and get ready to sell my wares at the Muelle Market. So not being able to shower or have a cup of tea was not going over very well with me!! Poor Dara was having to deal with an irate woman!! LOL He was getting the caretaker to check the water while I was having a sponge bath! Off I left with my three bags over my shoulder and caught the bus. Due to this weather Nola had thought it best to cancel the event as she thought no one would show up. Someone told her to keep it on as it was advertised all over the place. I said to her with the cooler weather and no sun people would come by as they had nothing else to do! Well sure enough it was packed. Reunion time for so many people as the first weeks of Jan is when so many show up. There were 16 vendors and half of us were expats and the rest were Mexicans. A nice mix of different things found around the interior of Bamboo Beach. I found some things to buy of course. I did well selling enough to feed a family next year. Nola was so delighted with the numbers that showed up from all over the area, because of this she decided to increase the frequency to every other week. Ian and Sheila had arrived the night before and were full of piss and vinegar as always. Dara was meeting these crazy people for the first time and joined John and Maggie for breakfast at Panteleones. I will have to get busy over the next two weeks to make enough more coasters for the future markets. The new additions this year were popular: the wine glass sets sold out. I also had iPad covers along with matching iPhone covers too. I was busy making a second one in a less bright colour.

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When we returned home we got someone in to fix the hot water heater and the window before it falls in. First the plomero shows up to fix the hot water heater but hasn't got the part. The Window guy then shows up and he doesn't have the parts to fix it or even the right size screws. Our caretaker has to go into town to buy the screw but this is only going to hold it in place till they show up tomorrow to fix it at 11am.

Smoked pork chops for dinner are in order. These are one of my favourites here. I have only found them once in Canada.

Well after waiting all day to see if the TV would miraculously work again we gave up and moved the DVD into the old bedroom TV. The owners have asked us to wait and see if it dried out enough to work again.!!!!

One thing after another. Lets see what happens next. It wouldn't be fun if all went well!!

By Friday the winds have died down a bit but not gone yet and the clouds are still hanging around with cold temps still lingering on. We waited all morning for someone to show up to do one of the repairs. Of course that never happened so after lunch we went for a walk to get out of the house. The caretakers went off to find another plumber to come and look at the hot waster tank and he came by to look at it and decide that there are two parts needed just as the other one determined too. He will be back "MaƱana" the problem with Manana is that it never comes!!!!

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The seas have calmed down a bit!

Tonight is Fish and Chip night so called the old couples to find out if they were going there. I hope John will play some music tonight. Well John and Maggie didn't come tonight so we ate alone with Ian and Sheila but there were so many others there. Bev from next door and her guests were there. Suzanne and her husband were there along with Brin and Nola. But they didn't have a good meal experience. Their fish was under cooked. Ours was fine Dara and i shared the "todo frito" together. We also shared a banana split this time.

We got a ride home as Ian had picked up my Tommy Bahama chair at Costco today. We had them come in to see our home and have a drink with us and gab a bit longer.
I did a demo on my chair and they we well impressed with the way it goes right down flat.

Another great evening was enjoyed by Dara and I. He is seeing what it is about this place that appealed to me returning here again. I feel that I may just come again next year! It is a cheap enough a place to live and have a fun social life and no snow!!

Another delayed day today waiting for the workers to show up and of course just as we give up and are set to go for a walk one of them comes along. He looks at what needs to be done and goes away again!! Not long after he returns with a car full; his kids carrying the tool box and the ladder. It was done in a few minutes but the plumber was a different story. He needed to get a different part than he has and will not be back until Tuesday!!! LOL

By the time we managed to get away for our walk it had warmed up significantly. I was beach-combing for treasures the sea might have left behind. I was a bit disappointed but didn't return empty handed. Dara was not satisfied with the one hour walk and so he kept on trekking to Progreso.

David and Conchita were having an opening of their restaurant and some traditional dancing so I went along there and met Dara there. This place has a long way to go to be a restaurant but the evening went well. The dancers were terrific with even a little 4 year old making a best effort; my eyes were fixed on her.

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The magaritas were flowing like water. They say they will be open in two weeks!! If they are it is only two blocks from our house so that will be great! Botanas (snacks) were to be brought by everyone and so when we ran out we just walked a block to OXO to buy more. I had made spaghetti sauce just before going to this event, to use on Sunday but decided to invite John Maggie; Ian Sheila and Diane to come over for an impromptu spaghetti dinner. On the way home was the bread truck so bought a few bollios (buns) to have with the dinner. Diane brought more pasta to use and the others brought some light beer knowing we don't drink that!!! LOL It was a great evening of laughs and all round fun. There is nothing like these spontaneous dinners.

Sunday is Symphony Orchestra Day in Merida, Ian and Sheila decided to join us and drove us into town. We went early to be sure to get tickets. There were only a couple of people in line as we got there just as it was to open at 10am but of course it wasn't open as why would you open when you say you would. We got our 4 tickets and I also bought two tickets for a March concert, hoping to find someone who would come with me then. I may have a guest staying with me at that time? We had some to kill before the concert started so Sheila and I went around the square looking at the vendors and their wares. I made note of the things I like and even took photos to know what they were. I love talking to the vendors about their work and what I like about their creations. I will be back!

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The symphony was lovely! In celebration of the 200 years of Verdi and Wagner the Orquestra Sinfonica de Yucatan played for us the following: Giuseppe Verdi - Obertura la Fuerza del Destino; Obertura La Vispera Siciliana and Prludio al acto 1 de la Traviata. Followed by Richard Wagner - Obertura Rienzi. After intermission they continued with more wonderful music Verdi's - Obertura Nabucco followed by Wagner's Preludio al acto 1 de Lohengrin; Preludio al acto III de Lohengrin and finished with Obertura El Holandes Errante!!!

As always the 'sinfonia' is followed by lunch. We went to Ian and Sheila's favourite pizza place; it was ok but I am not sure I would return. I am fussy about my pizza and it was not to my standards. Last year I met a couple from Texas who had moved down to live in Merida; they bought a house in ruins and were renovating it. After a year of hard work on all parts it is now finished and I got in touch with them to see what they had accomplished. The four of us walked on over to their home on 70 y 55. They have two very spacious and modern apartments that they rent out for $30/ night. I will have to keep that in mind!
All very nicely done with lovely bathrooms with pressure showers!! Wouldn't that be a treat. The kitchen had all lovely dark wood built in cabinets and so did the bathrooms. They have a nice sitting area and bar outside in the garage with a nice pool that has a rock fountain. The painter did some lovely murals to accent the walls in this area. The stairs going up to the two appt are the foundation for the rock waterfall. I didn't have my camera to take photos!!!!!!! and my phone was dead LOL

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this morning's sky and calm water

I say I can't believe how long it is taking to get our hot water tank fixed, but this is Mexico where things are rarely done with one try or in a day!! I was fed up with cold showers so went for a walk to Progreso along the beach. The tide was coming up by this time and so I walked along the road. Today being "Cruise ship Day" there were vendors along the Malecon. I walked by watching the crazy tourists playing voleyball on the beach. It reminded me of last year when they were still working on the new Malecon and workers had stopped working to watch this young lady with barely nothing covering her body. I had a good giggle! I discovered they were now working on the extension under the pier to connect to the other side where there is another Malecon.

I am pleased to tell you that we now have hot water and the old TV has returned to the table and the HD TV taken away for repairs. I won't hold my breath that it will return.

Stay tuned for more adventures

Posted by OhUiginn 19:39 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Week Two

Dara joins me in our home away from home

semi-overcast 33 °C

Without Alexis here to drag me for my walk I have not been doing as many as I should. With Dara arriving now, I will get him to be my incentive. the mornings are just so delightful. The water is calm and no wind. By the afternoon it can get really windy and too cool to sit out. This will be welcomed as the months progress. By the time you head to bed the winds have died down again and there is the need to put the fan on but with the windows open I hear the crashing waves and no dogs or traffic as I did last year.

Yes I did participate in the fashion show at the Bamboo Beach Restaurant. A fundraiser for the Chicxulub Food Bank.

As we expected things would not go quite as moothly as we had hoped. Olga's daughter showed up at 11:00am with our clothes and the show was to start at 11:15 so with a bit of scrambling we managed to get out there and strut our stuff. I was not in the least bit nervous and and had a hoot.
We had a bit of a traffic jam at one point but it all worked out in the end and we managed to show all our clothes in 30 min. I wore 4 outfits as the 5th one didn't look good with the tank top I brought.

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Me and the others on the runway!! LOL

There were some wonderful botanas and two glasses of wine included in the price of the ticket. These botanas are wonderful, there is a dip made from ground pumpkin seeds called "pepita molida" I loved it so much I brought some home with me to use as it is really good for your health but do you think I remembered to use it, most is still in my freezer at home. I guess it is something you eat more here. They also had "kibis" which I ate last year for the first time but it is a lebanese dish. Another item was this queens arm : http://www.yucatanliving.com/food/a-different-queens-arm.htm ) and last but not least fish empanadas; these were all filling enough as a meal. Door prizes and many raffle prizes were donated by the vendors of the Muelle Market; this included a set of glasses with my coasters.

I really enjoyed myself today and was quite touched when some people I didn't even know came up to me to say how fantastic I looked in the clothes I modeled. I do plan to buy some of what I wore. Another lady who is also a big woman, that I do know came up to me and thanked me for participating in the show and how nice it was to see that these clothes really look great on larger women as well as the skinny one. I felt the same way. Dunes clothes made in Guadalajara are definitely being designed to look great on many different women. I have found these clothes in Ottawa at Marianne's in Westgate shopping center.

Our fun came to an end around 2pm and boy was it ever a hot day. 7 of us departed and headed home on one of the combi buses. I suddenly noticed that he was not picking up anyone along the way as he normally does. I couldn't figure out why as there was still room in our bus for more people. Once we told him what corner we needed to get off at he decided to take up all the way to our home. The roads in this area are one way and so heading into Progreso we are two blocks away from our house and heading into Chicxulub we are one. So he drove us all the way to our town houses ( I live next door to the other couples in Leones town houses) So he received a generous tip from us for driving us to the our home. He turned around and returned to Chicxulub to start up his fares again! He just decided this on his own as we never even suggested it to him. This is why I like it here. The locals really are so willing to please everyone. There is such a nice easy going way of looking at life here. No one is in a hurry and everyone is friendly.

Dara joined us in Merida via the Ado bus to Alta Brisa, where Carole and I met him in her car and took him to our home. It was very nice of Carole to do this for us. It was a great saving of time. It certainly is nice to have Dara here to experience what this place has to offer.

The next day I hosted my first Bitch and Stich group. At first there was only Maggie and I wondered what I was doing but soon another lady came and a little bit later one more. I can't for the life of me remember names. I will learn them once we get together more. Maybe we need name tags. It was so nice to have two people I have not spent time with before join us. It was going outside the box of friends I have spent time with last year. Maggie being the rock and consistence is nice too. I also learned about there being a group of International Women in Merida that meet once a month and in addition have a high tea at someones home. I will try and join in on this group as 28 years ago back in 1985 I participated in this group in Mexico City. I enjoyed it so much back then that I now look forward to joining in again.

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We also discussed the play in Merida called "the love letters" being performed by someone known here in Progreso. This is happening on the 29th and just might go into town to see this.

While I had my group Dara walked along the beach to join John at the condo complex I was in last year. They had never met but hit it off as I knew they would, right away. After they left Maggie and I took the bus into Progreso to meet up with them at "Parlamento" Dara had called to tell me that this was where they were!! LOL It is also known as Barlovento!!! It is situated on calle 80 across from the Artenaneas Market open on "Cruise ship" days only (Mon and Wed) It is a very popular place with the local expats and where we watch the tourists from the cruise ships make total fools of themselves. Not that plenty of the expats tend to do that with all the drinking that often goes on by the late afternoon.

I tend to want to leave before they are too drunk LOL We had a call from our landlords saying they would be at the house by 2pm so off we went to catch the bus home. Of course they didn't show up till 3pm but who cares as I don't have any appt. You have to not let any of this ever bother you and then you will be just fine here.

On Thursday I had to go into Merida to see my dentist about my broken tooth. So we decided to take in the new museum " El Gran Museo del mundo Maya"
http://granmuseodelmundomaya.com/v1/
We had seen it under construction last year. The timing of the opening was good as it is the start of the new Mayan era.

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Gran Museo del Mundo Maya

I will get Dara to write about the museum:

Off we went on a old rattling bus to the museum. You can imagine the expectations - bits of old rock and the odd headdress awaited. But it was not to be like that at all. The Maya Museum is absolutely superb experience. Recently opened, a great mix of multimedia and real materials combined with one of the best architectural designs one could expect. Reminiscent of the Bird's Nest in Beijing it is modern and built with plenty of great stonework. The initial IMAX-like video was all about the little stone (giant meteor) that hit exactly where we are staying in Chicxulub. It was some 10Km across and resulted in the extinction of the Dinosaurs and more than a few other creatures. But out of the ashes came renewal and eventually a great Mayan civilization. Of course you cannot create such a thing but that some strangely dressed lads (Spaniards) come along and spoil the whole thing. The Spaniards really took the whole place to bits and had a field day killing and maiming and general mayhem. It has taken hundreds of years but now th eMaya are a growing people again and somehow managing to take their place as an integral part of the overall magic that is Mexico. The museum does a splendid job of the history and the tradition and stories of the Mayans and one of the best few hours I have spent in a good while. That is, of course unless you count the hours sitting idle in the heat and reducing the inventory of beer on the beach.

My dentist appt was at 1pm so off we went taking the bus to the Hyatt and walking over to the CMA. It was great to see a dentist who feels that not all work is necessary. He gave me three options: one to fix the inlay; two drill a post and put a crown; leave it alone. His recommendation was to leave it alone and just smoth it out a bit. The tooth is what is left and it is fine, no fillings or sharp pieces to catch on food or any pain with hot or cold; so for the time being leave it alone. There was no charge for this consultation. He also thanked me for referring Carole and Steve to him as they have had implants done . Carole is very pleased with the work he did for her. I will certainly get them done with him if I need them down the road. So for now leave well enough alone. We asked him for a recomendation of a restaurant in walking distance: La Pigua: http://www.lapiguamerida.com/
and to have the house specialty, the Sir Francis Drake salad for two, a large seafood salad prepared with the house vinaigrette. We did and were really delighted with the food and the lovely service; very attentive and professional. It reminded me so much of Mexico City restaurants. Apparently there is one in Campeche too that others we spoke to later had been to and were really delighted.

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Sir Francis Drake salad

When we got home we thought we would have a quiet night in but John called to ask us to join them at the Italian restaurant by the sea. We never got to it last year and so decided since it was a farewell to Carole we would go.

It was our first time at Elio al Mar Restaurant. We were the only guests at this place but who cares. A few people had mentioned they didn't like this place as the service was poor but hard to be poor when you are the only table there. Dara and I weren't all that hungry and so ordered a dish to split one of pecan pasta and a garlic fish filet. The fish was something other than grouper but do you think I can remember the spanish name so that I could look it up!! LOL
Dinner with such lovely friends is always so nice. These are the people that make returning here worthwhile. Carole will be missed but going back to work is essential for her at this time. Big changes are coming for her life! We are sure she will do well. She is in a good space at the moment and needs to do this for her. Janet at 85 years joined us and she has been coming here for 17 years now and the last three without her husband as he passed down here. I admire her for continuing to come here to get away from the cold winter days in Kenora. John and Maggie are who they are and we love spending time with them. They say it like it is. Dara is quickly seeing why I love it here.

Saturday Jan 12 is our son Liam's 27th birthday, so since I have a new iPad this year with the camera I thought it fitting to do FaceTime with him and Marianna. The quality seems to be better than Skype!

Walking in either direction on the beach will bring us to our village or the bigger one with 54K inhabitants. To Chicxulub it is a 30 min walk and to Progreso it is 50 min all the way in. We usually try to do a walk early enough in the morning but we were meeting our friends Lorraine and Austin for lunch. So walking along the beach towards Chicxulub was a bit hotter at 1230, but the breeze made it bearable. We were the first customers in the Petrullero restaurant but that didn't last for long. We had "pescado frito" as planned. The two fish brought to our table was 900gr. and there was plenty for four people. It is a good deal three beers and a lemonade along with the fish comes to 150 pesos which is only 12$ It was a delight sharing this meal with Lorraine and Austin. Lorraine is from New Orleans and Austin from Cornwall. Who would have thought they would connect. Back in those days Cornwall was where you were from but not where you went to. Austin was working in New Orleans where he met Lorraine but soon after they returned to Cornwall to the farm. Walnut Ridge. They grow black walnuts. We will have to check it out this summer.

Our plans to go into Merida changed to the following week. We had been going left and right too much and have a busy week ahead with the dispensa on Mon and Tues. We will go to the symphony orchestra at that time too. Dara just can't handle the pace!! Instead we walked into Progreso for breakfast at Sol y Mar. it is just 40 min walk into town where the Malecon starts. The restaurant is only a block in from the Malecon which is the water front walk. last year it was redone for the third time in so many years. There are showers all along for you to rinse off after a swim in the ocean. As we arrived the vendors were setting up their tables for the weekend sales. They had to fight to get to have their tables on this lovely delightful 500m walkway. The traffic moves nice and slowly in east to west direction. I did see Jorge setting up his table of jewelry. He seems to have a good business going. He pops up everywhere! It was getting too hot to walk back and so at the end of the Malecon we walked in to take the bus home.

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Dara eating his Huevos Rancheros

Here I was quietly sitting at the table writing this blog while Dara took a nap, the caretakers kids show up with a lovely plate of Pescado Frito for us what a delight. The platter looks so delightful. I am really impressed. I had to wake Dara to eat it while it was still hot. I guess we shall pass on dinner tonight. We watched them fishing for this fish but had no idea they would give us some of their catch. The generosity of the Yucatecas is so delightful. I had no idea as we watched them fishing that they would share their catch.

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fishing in front of the house

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Pescado Frito

Sitting on the patio enjoying the evening sky and listening to "the Bridge" on serius radio , listening to kids in the ocean playing in the waves; as the sun is setting; writing this blog and enjoying every minute. How great is this life! I am so fortunate to be here with my wonderful husband. I really hope we can make this a regular spot for the winter months.

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the sun set sky

Monday Jan 14th "Dispensa prep day"

A nice way to end the weeks blog: helping with the Chicxulub Food Bank prep day. It is nice to be back involved with the Food Bank. We have 88 families that are being helped once a month. It is nice to do a little bit every month but I would like to do a bit more. I need to find something to do on a weekly basis. I have now been here two weeks of vacation mode, now it is time to help give back to those in need. As some of you heard last year I crocheted coasters for your glasses and your beer cans to help with the absorption of the condensation. I hope to see more this year along with some other items I have made. We were about 12 people at Bamboo beach all helping with the filling of the bags with 8 items: 1kg rice 1kg beans; salt; sugar; powdered milk; 1l oil cookies and pasta. We also include a bag of detergent once we hand them out. It is a great proccess of making four piles of the 8 items then fill a bag and put them up against the wall. We fill them until we have 88 bags filled. There was a slight glitch this month with one of the bags having 2kg bags of rice instead of 1kg so we set those bags to one side to give to families we know are larger and could do with a bit more food. But this meant we were short 10 bags of rice so off we went to the corner store to pick some up. All sorted and finished in 30 min. Brin Dara and I stayed for a bite to eat which normally has more people but we were the only ones to stay on. It is so generous of the restaurant to allow this place to distribute the food to the most needy of their community. In the village of Chicxulub there are about 6,000 people. The main industry is fishing. Of course, this work is at the mercy of the weather and between the hurricane and the norte seasons often the port is closed so there is no opportunity to go out fishing. Therefore we have families who have limited resources to care for their families. We also have elderly people who rely on their children to care for them and help them on a day-to-day basis. I do realize this is just a drop in the bucket to what they need. It feels good to help them knowing that 100% of my donation goes to feed them. Sharon who runs this donates her time and administration to the program. There are not too many charities that can claim this.

Upon my return home I met a woman from Blackburn Hamelet who was saying to me that she had been in Wabi Sabi just before Christmas with her daughter and had seen the display of hand made items for sale; stumbleding upon the coasters, not knowing that they were mine, she said that she was caught off guard when she saw they were being sold for the Chicxulub Food bank. Her daughter bought a set!!

Tomorrow is the Dispensa where you will see this sort of scene

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Just as I was about to post this blog John and Maggie came up from the beach to have a drink with us. It is so nice to have them just walk here and sit with us on our patio enjoying a drink and my famous guacamole..!! I met another woman today at the food sorting and she just reaffirmed why I like it here. Last year they rented a place in Cozumel and came here for 4 days; where they met more people in that short time than the whole two months there. They also discovered that here has so much more to do than drinking and playing cards.

Stay tuned for more next week here in the Chicxulub Crater!!!!

Posted by OhUiginn 16:51 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Back in Mexico to escape the snow

First week on my own

semi-overcast 29 °C

This year Alexis decided to go to Hong Kong with Andy, as he was able to work there. I was not sure what I would do. I knew that I didn't want to stay home for the winter months. So in September I contacted my friend Sharon who runs the food bank to see what was available. She found me two places available one in her row of town houses and the other next door. I chose the one next door with it was a bungalow and therefore no stairs since my parents coming here to visit me this year. Sharon put me in touch with the landlords directly since I speak spanish. She sent me photos and I grabbed it right away.

Dara said he would join me for part of the time here. I got in touch with friends to let them know I had several bedrooms if they wanted to join me.
I booked my tickets and then waited to see who was going to come down. Dara then booked his flights and will spend 6 weeks with me along with my parents will spend 16 days in that time frame.

I chose to return here because I really enjoyed my time here last year. It is very laid back and a nice social life with other Canadians you would unlikely meet otherwise. What surprised me last year was the fact that not everyone was over 65 and there were others in my age bracket. They too have chosen to retire earlier on. While enjoying ourselves there is also the opportunity to volunteer to the small local community. Ever since I left there last year I have been working towards raising funds for the Chicxulub Food bank. I sold knitted items and my crochets coasters. I will now continue selling coasters so as to continue funding my three families

The attraction here is also the lack of resorts and a more local flair. I also like the fact that there is a bigger city closeby: Merida where there is all the stores I will need plus since the town is 470 years old so it has a lot of history; and cultural activities not meant for tourists.

My flight here didn't go as well as I had hoped but that is what it is. In my attempt to rush off the plane and get the 10:30 bus i stressed myself out and was forced to slow down when the red button was pushed. I had not had this happen to me in years. It would be unusual for everything to go in Mexico to go without a hitch. I should have taken the time to just relax upon my arrival and wait for the direct bus from the airport. I dragged three bags to Cancun Station. I only got there 30min faster in the end. I told Dara to not follow my crazyness and wait for the bus at the airport.
I had booked a car with Hertz and so thought it best to get there sooner but because I was late they gave my car away.

I arrived to my new home away from home at 6:30 only 1 hr late. But without all my groceries I thought I would have done by now.

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I was so excited to be back here that rather than unpack I drove over to my old Condo to see my friends there. It was like being home again. John had made sure to have my favourite beer in the fridge just for me. These are real friends. Catching up at what is happening around the place is great! I really feel loved here. On my way home I made another stop at my friend Brin's house knowing she is up late. I invited her along to shop in Merida knowing she doesn't get to go very often.

Since I had the car till 5:30 I invited friends to go with me to Merida for some shopping. If you had seen us you would think that I was never going to be able to shop again!! We were filled to the roof of the car. with three friends squished in with bags all around us!!

I also needed to find my favourite beer to supply my home with as it is only available at this time of the year. After going all over town for the beer I found it only two blocks from my home.

Carole was in town at our dentist with her sister Lucy, close to where I had to return my car. Just as I got into the car I noticed walking along the sidewalk this Mexican woman I had met last year. There is an interesting story that goes with this woman, whom I can't rememeber her name. I have to add something very odd. Last year Alexis and I met this lovely lady at Brin's home and had a lovely time talking with her. When we left on our last weeks adventure exploring the Yucatan, we stopped in a village to see the ruins that are right in the town square. It is the first stop on the 'Ruta Puc" well we were at the market and lo and behold there she was. Not sure of her name; and then drove her home with all her things. We were pressed for time so were unable to go into her home, which I regret not doing. Anyway that is the past and move on, I met up with Carole and Lucie, at the Fiesta Americana and got a ride home with them. But as we were pulling away on the Paseo Montejo I spotted this same ladie walking along the sidewalk. I opened the window and shouted hello. I just could not believe how I bumped into her again but in the big city!!!! There is something there!! Need to explore what that is! Apparently she is about to become a grandmother and so I will make a baby sweater set for her.

Check out my new digs!

Here is my first morning view from my patio

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View looking towards Progresso:

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View of the beach looking towards Chicxulub

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My neighbours

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looking from the beach to my bungalow:

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The house was bigger than I thought and so that was a real delight. They showed me around and explained this and that to me and then headed home to Merida!!

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A few more photos of the house:

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Kitchen views

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Master bedroom and bathroom

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Dara's den

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Carport from the front door

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Two guest rooms for all my friends and family

I am so glad to be back here. One of the things I really loved to do was walk into Chicxulub town along the beach to get fresh squeezed OJ. So I texted my friends to join me for my quest. It is such a pleasant walk along the beach where you don't come across anyone else except for a few fisherman tending to their boats. All along the walk are houses owned by rich Meridian people who use these in the same way as we do cottages. There are some that rent them out to Gringos like myself who want to get away from the snow. The request you leave at Easter so they can come for their 2 week "Semana Santa" This year it is the last week of March forcing us to return to our winte weather too soon
It is nice to be remembered not only by fellow Canadians, but the local Mexicans: the market guy; the juice man and other stores.

Fridays is often spent at Natasha's (aka Restaurant Panteleon) She is open for breakfast everyday and Friday nights there is a choice of fish and chips; todo frito which is f&c too plus shrimp and onion rings. Usually this place is hopping but tonight there were only 5 tables of people. There seems to be more competition with others doing a Friday night deal too. The nice thing is this place is only two blocks away. That will be good when my parents are here!

Who wouldn't want to have this as my morning view from their patio every morning

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Sharon came by to buy a few of my extra items from Costco. While sitting on my patio and catching up what is going on around here she happen to mention that she really needed more volunteers for her fashion show on Tuesday. I jumped in without really thinking about this clearly. They were heading to Merida in an hour to try on and choose the clothes for the fashion show. I took one look at the rest of the women and felt fine about how I look. We are all shapes and sizes. There was one particular person who just looked great in anything she tried on. It is not fair. I mentioned to Olga that the capri pants I had purchased last year ended up with holes after one wear each. She told me to return them to her for an exchange. I really appreciated this so contacted Dara to bring them down as I had of course forgotten to.

On that note I have been sending an email everyday of this and that, forgotten at home. This surely is the best way to do this; have Dara come a week later with all that you notice you need. It is hard to know what is missing in the home you have rented. So many people who return year after year have storage boxes full of their things. I might consider that if I return here again.

It will be really interesting to see how this fashion show goes after the massive confusion during rehearsal. LOL

Before I forget and leave it out again. There is this lovely fish restaurant only open on weekends; that the Meridians love to drive in to eat. It has the delicious pescado frito and coconut shrimp to die for. Last week on Sunday the Villa Del Mar gang joined me on my walk into the village of Chicxulub for a fish lunch. I had already had fish two days in a row and so chose to have the coconut shrimp as did Maggie, and Janet. John with his dislike to coconut chose a spicy shrimp dish which he tried to share with everyone as it seemed he had too much. I think his was a better shrimp value. Carole was the only one to get the pescado frito and we all eyed it wishing we had ordered it too. Not to worry I will certainly get it when I return with Dara.

My evenings are spent relaxed by on the patio listening to the waves crashing and the nice breeze keeping the mosquitos at bay! (only got bit the first night)

Posted by OhUiginn 19:48 Archived in Mexico Comments (2)

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