A Travellerspoint blog

February 2013

Week 8 last week with my parents

Dzibilchaltun

sunny 38 °C

We started off this new week with a visit to Dzibilchaltun Ruins. Getting my father to move in the morning is about as difficult as it must have been for the Mayans to build their temples one stone at a time!!! Our plan was to leave early but that didn't quite jibe with what my father had in mind. Eventually we were underway with a short 30 min drive. These are more extensive than Xcambo but it was better to progress slowly with them. I would have liked to take them to Uxmal. However, that will have to be for another time! Next year I want to go for more trips with Dara and hopefully Andy and Alexis.

In Xcambo the most famous structure is the Temple Of The Seven Dolls, so named because of seven small effigies found at the site when the temple was discovered under the ruins of a later temple pyramid by archaeologists in the 1950s. During the Spring equinox, (which I do plan to attend at the weeeee hours of the morning next month) the sun rises so that it shines directly through one window of the temple and out the other. This is a similar event to the descending snake of Chichen Itza designed to show the power of the gods. The temple is connected to the rest of the site by a sacbe, or "white road," so-called because they were originally coated with white limestone, built over stone-and-rubble fill.
(my father chose to not walk this road and sat under a tree)

Temple of the dolls

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The Surroundings

The other major feature of Dzibilchaltún is its cenote, Cenote Xlakah, located around the center of the city's ruins. It is thought that the availability of this source of clean drinking water influenced the builders choice of the location. Archaeological findings retrieved from the cenote by divers indicate that it was the center of a religious cult. These days the cenote is used as a swimming hole by local residents and tourists. Incredibly, I even managed to get my father to put his feet in the water and squat.. One end is very deep and crystal clear. Great for diving!
The end I got dad to go in was shallow but rocky. I swam in this warm water for at least an hour, while taking in the surroundings.

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This cenote was only a few feet away from the structures. What else might this water hole have been used for?
Dzibilchaltún also contains the ruin of a 16th century Spanish church built at the site after the conquest. Why oh why!!! STAY OUT!

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After a lovely three hours at this archeological site we headed home to find the restaurant my father so desperately sussed out yesterday. His choice was the Flamingo Restaurant, from where they had viewed the parade the previous week. It turned out to be a delicious choice; watching him devour his 8 oyster shells, that were covered in a béchamel sauce with cheese and bacon sprinkled on top, you knew he was in heaven. My mom had this lovely filet of fish made with achiote turning the fish red and steamed in a banana leaf:

(The shrub that annatto seeds come from is called achiote. Grown in Southeast Asia and introduced to the Spanish in the 1800s, the achiote fruit itself is not edible. The American Indians used annatto for body paint many years ago. Some parts of the achiote plant can be added to medicinal remedies to treat burns and headaches.) Here is the recipe for making this paste

http://www.chow.com/recipes/10554-achiote-paste

This certainly was a terrific way to end the days excursion.

I really had no idea how many people were going to show up for our Bitch and Stitch morning and just as I was about to give up Jackie came along and we enjoyed our morning of chit chat. I still have a cold but it is starting to improve. Forgetting completely that I wanted to take my parents to the jam session at Yacunah Hotel I took a nap (I never nap) so I guess I needed a nap more than remembering to go out. I think my parents enjoyed staying in that day anyway! The funny thing is I didn't even remember that I was going to go out until the next day when Sheila mentioned that they went and had a wonderful time. This was when I kicked myself for not going!

What seemed to be a slow day at the Muelle Market turned out to be as good as the previous one but nothing as great as the one in January. Unfortunately this one fell on a "Cruiseship Day" and the Mexican vendors are busy at their market in Progreso. Some had tables at both. I do think that being a hot day that many don't like to go far from their pools. I will have to decide if I want to do any more of these. Give me a week to think about it. I don't want to make any more of the coasters and don't seem to sell any of the other items I make so I should maybe pack it in for this year.

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Muelle Market

We decided we didn't want to cook so ventured to the new Thai Restaurant nearby: Thai Flash! They were a bit overwhelmed by the numbers in the restaurant and therefore the service was a bit slow, not that this bothered me all that much but my Father isn't the most patient man on this earth!!!! We asked Diane and her friend to join us, Diane can talk the hind legs off several donkeys in one sitting. I enjoy her but I could see my father getting a bit bored! I say thank goodness for them keeping us entertained than trying to have a conversation with my father when he can't hear very well especially in a crowd of people. The food was very good but I was full from my appetizer of the soft spring rolls and only ate half my chicken red curry. I will get to enjoy it another day after my parents leave!

My Mom and Sheila went into Merida for the day to go to the Mayan Museum and have lunch after at the great restaurant, ( we should have gone there when we planned to; ah there is always next year!) I on the other hand went into Dzitya with Jackie and her friend........

Yucatan's Main Stone and Wood Carving Town. Dzitya (DZEET-yah) is a tiny town located 10 km – 6 mi from Merida the capital city of Yucatan Mexico, on the road to Progreso Beach. It has a population of approximately 2,000.

You must be asking yourselves why I would I even consider writing about such a small town. Well, first let me tell you that this is no ordinary pueblo (town), it’s Yucatan’s main stone and wood carving town

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Dzitya Tiny Church

Your first impression upon arriving will be of another hot and dusty village, all one could see is small stone and mortar (mamposteria) houses with signs on the walls and a display of samples of their work in front of their houses, letting you know that they are artisans and that they work with stone, wood or both.

Keep going, make a few turns, and arrive at the main square, where you will see a quaint tiny church, a small park with some trees and benches and a not too small, empty main square with more traditional mamposteria homes and stores around it.

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shop on the square

These are small businesses, where you will find entire families busy working the stone and wood. You can look around and get the best price. after going to three shops and seeing the same family name we asked if they were related. He said that they were but at the next shop with the same family name she claimed that they were not. That it was a common name in this town!!! I guess there is a lot of inbreeding LOL!!!

It seems that any wood and stone worker in Dzitya is capable of developing any design from a drawing or a photo, and they have plenty of samples of their work to show you their skill and techniques.
The woods used for their handcrafts are mahogany, cedar, huayacán and chucum.

Stopping the second shop, we found someone who was willing to make us these napkin holders which we described to him. Jackie had seen some in Isla Mujeres and asked where they were made only to find out it was in this town so close to us in Progreso (half way to Merida) So we thought we would find them but after checking about 6 different shops where they are making them in the back of the house with quite nice tools

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He says he will have them ready for us by the 10th March and deliver them to Progreso for me.What service! I have his number and we gave him 50% deposit as a guarantee we to get them. .These crafters are usually very honest. Let's hope they turn out like we want them!!

He says he will have them ready for us by the 10th March. I have his number and we gave him 50% deposit so we should be able to get them. He said he would bring them to Progreso. Let's hope they turn out like we want them!!

I returned home to find my dad was resting; so I guess he did ok on his own. We ate lunch and relaxed on the patio chatting with Dara at home who is now questioning why he returned home so soon!! LOL I told him to stay! He now knows better for next year! All we have to do is convince Andy to come down too and we will be all set

I tried the fundraiser bingo game again but as last time I was the only looser at our table. I think I will skip it next year! By then I will have completely forgotten my loosing streak and likely will play again!!!!

My mom returned after a lovely time with Sheila at the Mayan Museum.
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When I returned I found Ian with Ian. It was hilarious; Ian came along the beach and came up to my dad who was sitting on the wall. He says do you know where this is? No not really it is my daughters house. We are just visiting and Ian says and your name is Ian. Oh how did you know? My name is Ian too! Then my dad realized who he was talking to and had a good laugh. So he got him a beer and the two Ians sat on the wall chatting. We decided to continue this lovely time with the Murray's and went out for dinner at the Casa del Faro, which is on the water. What a pleasant atmosphere! That plus the impeccable service and oh such delicious food. We all enjoyed our choices, including margarita to defy all margaritas.=== Brought back memories of the five I had a few weeks ago. But missing Dara to keep me company with all these old folks.

Twice today I was asked where my young man had gone. Some thought he was my younger brother and others thought he was my younger husband. I was shocked by all this and wondered how bad I looked to them all.

The last Saturday of the month is when the International Women's Club meet for their business meeting. I thought I would tag along with some ladies who were going there in a van. it was only to Merida; but this took us way longer than it should have, as no one seemed to know where to go. Yes, we came into town on the lovely boulevard but that was not the route the bus goes therefore Fran, the driver ot more confused. So, after driving around for an hour I suggested we park the car walk and walk to where she thought it was or even ask someone. Several tries asking on the street, we spotted the Tourism office. Thus precise directions. We had been looking on calle 57 between 66 and 68 but it turned out to be between 56 and 58 !!! (we left home at 8:30 and got to the meeting at 10:15 LOL!!!!)
Last week was the breakfast at the Hyatt Hotel and next week is coffee morning and following week is their high tea at someone's home as well. This meeting was to introduce the new board of directors and thank the outgoing board and present them all with certificates. These will all make their way into landfill sometime in the near future! They then spoke of what they would like to see happen in the future and what they didn't like that used to happen. This was all rather boring but was compensated with a delicious cake at the break. Yum! Yum! Our little group decided to leave before the meeting resumed. Jackie informed me that this meeting was not like most of them. I will try one more next month and maybe one of the coffees or teas before I leave. We got home early and I was pleased to do this as I had plans to take my parents to the fish fry restaurant I love so much "el portullero. This is an unusual experience, a kilo of deep fried grouper which has been artistically scored before being dumped into the pot of boiling oil.This is a meal you eat with your hands; pulling off the strips of scored fish and putting it on a tortilla with bit of onion and salsa and rolling it up. Each piece is so flavorful with crispy outside and very moist and tender inside. What a wonderful way to stimulate your tastebuds! We didn't quite finish it all as we were stuffed. I should have taken a photo of my mother crunching on all the crispy fins and tails of the two fish. I, of course, didn't remember bringing my camera until we are heading out the door.

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We returned home to just relax on the patio knitting and chatting away enjoying the warm afternoon as the breeze started to pick up it gave us a bit of relief from the heat of the day!

I just had the worst night sleep here. At 11pm there were four people who decided to party next door and on our wall between them. I didn't want to say anything to them as you never know if they decide to become violent, especially when alcohol is present; or come back at another time and break in as pay back. So I just walked outside and thought they would leave shortly after I made my presence known! I was wrong! At 12:30 I finally went out to see them and ask if they wouldn't mind going somewhere else to party as I was trying to sleep. They said they would.
However, they didn't so, when at 1:40am I was woken again by them talking so loud so I got up to talk to them again only to find they had moved but only two houses down the beach and therefore were still loud enough to bother me. I hoped that maybe the men of the next door houses would get up and say something. No, not a chance. Finally not sure what time it was I did get to sleep only to be awakened at 6:10 by a flock of flamingos flying over the house. I hadn't the energy to get up and look at them. It certainly sounded like a large flock. Once they left I thought I would try and go back to sleep but then several other birds started making too much noise so I gave up and just came outside. The fishermen two doors down were already out there putting out their nets, totally unaware of my plight. There is no wind this morning and so the splashing of the waves is just a little ripple. There is a light haze on the horizon making the end of the pier a little obscure. No cruise ships or even cargo today! As I am sitting on the patio a large flock of turkeys decided to visit the house next door making their usual squawking noise. At the same time two little dogs walking along the beach with their owners reminded me of my friend Louise back home as they were the same as her dog which I think are called Westies. One decided to come and say hello much to the annoyance of their owners!

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Turkeys next door

Sunday Merida

After a lovely traditional Sunday breakfast at home we headed to Merida again to see the dancers and have lunch as one last outing with my parents. It was all my dad could tolerate. Watching my dad tapping his foot to the music allowed me to know he was enjoying himself. He said he would have liked to dance but it was way too hot for him (36C) I would have liked to do more outings with my parents but that would have been too much for my father! I still have another month to get to see more items on my list! Also with plans to return next year I will have quite an agenda.

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love this colour on the houses here

love this colour on the houses here

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The Streets of Merida with such interesting buildings

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Mom at the Chaya restaurant

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crema de chaya soup my dad and I had

Monday Feb 25th my parents last day!!

While my mom was having her lovely facial with Laura, I went into the ocean for a swim as the weather and water was so inviting. I could not convince my dad to join me; he seems to have a new fear of the ocean. Not sure how this came about!

Later in the day we were joined by the delightful Ian and Sheila Murray; John without Maggie Wheeler and Janet.

(Maggie is still not well and has been going to the hospital for treatment with her breathing everyday this week. Let's hope this clears up soon)

What a fantastic lovely evening was had by all present. The weather was very hot today and when they first arrived there was no wind and I wondered how we would tolerate the temperature but sure enough the breeze started up just in time to make our evening more pleasant.

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The Two Ians bought matching shirts from Sharon with the logo for the Food bank!! Don't they look cute

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The two Ians in their matching Foodbank shirts

My friend Sheila is such a kind person, not only did she spend so much time with my mother; bought her a bracelet to match her top, for her to remember her by. My parents have seen why I love it here so much. The people are what make this place !

Stay tuned for my time alone!!

Posted by OhUiginn 18:06 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Week 7 in the Yucatan

Sotuta de Peon

sunny 25 °C

I fired my editor as I was told of several mistakes, I would have asked my Mother to do it but she had gone to bed.

I am sick and wanting to roll over and send everyone away! LOL

It was very disappointing to be sick when I had planned a lovely spot to watch the parade with my parents. Driving my parents and Dara into town I was feeling like I was letting people down, but we have no control over catching a cold.
After spending time buying meds to try and help me feel better I almost returned to join them but thought it best to return home and go to bed; where I slept an hour( which is a lot for me as I don't usually nap)

Super calm day with no wind and little ripple for waves. The peacefulness of the quiet with one lonely fisherman putting out his nets for the day. The sun is currently shinning and the odd person walking one way or another on the beach. There are isolated thunder storms in the forecast but we hope they don't start until after our day at the sisal plantation. As hoped the day was perfect for the tour at Sotuta de Peon. This plantation is over 200 years old. It was originally owned by the Peon family but when it was left to the youngest son he was not interested in keeping it running since he was a lawyer and had no interest in farming. After 30 years of neglect and ruin. the Hacienda Sotuta de Peón became part of the Shangri-la Group, They acquired the Hacienda Sotuta de Peón with the dream of bringing back to life the golden years of the henequén. Over the past 25 years they have painstakingly searched abandoned haciendas for machine parts, tracks, trucks and other items of historical importance in order to save them from the complete destruction of time.
Slowly, they cut away the weeds of over-growth and neglect to resurrect the Hacienda Sotuta de Peon and present this magical place as it was in the heyday of the Green Gold era. Working everyday in the Hacienda Sotuta de Peon are more than eighty Mayan Families, living in adjacent communities who depend on the jobs they have to raise their families. The most important person is Antonio who worked here as a teenager with his father, knowing how all the machines worked he was able to bring them all back to life. Four generations of Maya are employed in the Family enterprises. They produce four bails of raw sisal every day and the Banamex Bank buys it all to distribute free to local mayans to make what ever they wish and sell to the tourists. What a lovely initiative this bank has taken on.

While walking through the house you are taken back in time to when this plantation was in operation. The antique furniture may not be original to this house but it was strategically collected from all over the Yucatan's other planatations. Each room has a theme; Spain, Italy, and France. They were closer to the European countries than they were to the rest of Mexico as traveling over land was harder than by ship to Europe. Consequently this is why there is a strong European feeling to the place.

I forgot my camera and my cell phone had enough juice to take three photos and not very good at that! My Mom's camera is dead and she forgot to bring her charger and Dara's cell phone had also run out. What a bunch of ninnies!

When it came time to try out the twisting of the henequen fibres I volunteered Dara, knowing that he would get to take the finished product home!! Watching them do the first strand brought me to thinking of how this must have been the way they spun the sari silk threads which are picked up off the floor. ( I recently purchased ten skeins of this yarn and so far have made a beautiful handbag)

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My parents at Sotuta de Peon

Dispensa day always brings joy to my heart as when I see the smile on the faces of the people as I give them vitamins and lollypops after they have received their ration of food At the same time my heart aches for them being in such a situation as to need to come and get some food. I know it isn't much but every little bit helps these very poor. It was rather touching to see this one woman who had brought bags with gifts for the two families she was sponsoring. She wanted to meet them and it proved to be such a gratifying moment that I wonder as I witnessed this if I should meet with the families I have chosen to sponsor. I don't want to feel they need to show gratitude for my help but maybe they would feel better if they also met me.

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While distributing the vitamins a man on his bike selling fish poses for me to take his photo

Every Friday's fish and chips at Natasha's aka Panteleon Restaurant. So we decided it would be nice for a change to go over there. Since it is such a short distance, we could all walk over. John brought his guitar as per my request and played his country music. What a nice treat for my dad! He got right in with the songs and seemed to really enjoy this. However he tired earlier than the rest of us, headed home early and was lucky enough to get a ride home with the proprietor. Unbeknownst to me, Natasha had asked her husband to give them a ride home. What a sweetheart! Dara and I stayed awhile longer and believe it or not he asked me to dance again! What has gotten into him???? John sang this one song especially for me that he found that was very very country as he knows how much I love country music (NOT!) We really enjoyed ourselves again this evening with such great people how can one not?

Saturday changed it's name to Spaday!
I offered my home to Laura and Hugo to set up a Spa day using my large patio and invite customers to come here all day long. We panicked as, unfortunately, there happened to be a Norte that day and so we had to move it into the house. No problem really as we just used Dara's den for the two beds and pedicures were done in the living-room area. It was attended by mostly just my friends but the day was fully booked. People were arriving one after the other from 9am to 4pm. The day was filled with massages; facials and pedicures. Really wonderful as Laura and Hugo have a son that was born without an outer ear. They want to get the plastic surgery done for him but since this is considered cosmetic it isn't covered by the government insurance Thus the Spa day was a fundraiser for this surgery. How rewarding it turned out for me to have been able to assist in such a simple way She managed to raise 3500pesos which is about 300$ . I will likely have one more for them before I leave, in preference to the restaurant where they usually have the spas, since the owner takes 10% of their earnings.

Dara's departure day was an early morning drive to Merida airport. I was sad to see him go as I think he enjoyed his time here and I wont see him now till May 6th as he will be off to Japan on his pilgrimage mid March. This will be the longest we have been apart (12 weeks) At least some of this time is down here where I have some good friends to keep me busy. Once we bid our farewell to Dara my mom and I went into Merida for the "Sunday's in Merida". Since riding a bicycle around the boulevards really isn't my mothers thing we walked around instead. I took my mom to our favourite Mayan restaurant for breakfast; Chaya Maya. I have never had Mayan breakfast before and I must say I much prefer it over Huevos Rancheros. Have you ever heard of huevos motuleños? Think seriously over-the-top huevos rancheros—fried eggs over refried black beans on a fried tortilla, topped with salsa, and served with fried plantains, chorizo pork sausage, and crumbled Mexican queso fresco. They are a specialty of the Yucatan and originated in the town of Motul, a city rich with Mayan and colonial history. They’re not an everyday breakfast, more like a Sunday brunch.

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Chaya drink

our breakfast of huevos motuleno and chaya drink

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2j0XeF1sCAU
here is a video of how they make this chaya drink

Once we finished our delicious meal we headed to the lovely Plaza Grande. I love Merida on Sundays as it is so animated with so many people on bikes in the morning and
the children being entertained by clowns on the stage. How delightful watching them dance and sing. This pleased mom and I so much That we sat and watched them for quite a while enjoying themselves.
( This time I remembered my camera so took a few photos)

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into one of the stores along our walk we came across this chair and hammock making

It was a lovely sunny day with not too much heat and so taking a gentle stroll around the square checking out the vendors' wears was not a chore.
As my mom was looking for an embroidered top we made several stops looking at what they were offering. There are so many to choose from; some machine sewn and others made by hand. After a few looks she found one she liked. I wasn't sure she was ever going to find one that suited her. I finally purchased this dress I had been eyeing over the past several visits. I also placed another order for a dozen buttons with my coconut guy. My friend Lupita was there today and so I introduced my mom to her. She sells crochet tops that I have also been eyeing for quite some time, but they are just a bit too tight. I asked her to get her friend to make it two rows of squares wider and I will buy it. She also makes handbags our of the hammock 'silk' but I don't like hers as they are not my style. Last year I tried to get her to make bags that roll up and snap called 'envirosacs" at home and lent her one to copy but she decided she didn't want to do it. I will see her on Thursday she is in Progreso and will let me know. I went home last year wishing I had asked her to make me the top bigger and so this time I wasn't going to miss out. One more row would probably work too but I want it loose. I hope she will come through this year.

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around the Plaza Grande

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Here is photos of the new hotel I mentioned last week

On Sundays from noon to 3pm they have live bands and dancing in the Santa Lucia square. (as I have mentioned so many times before) My mom had not been before and thought she might like it and I was not wrong. We had a few laughs at one couple who were so awkward up on the stage. He was about 6'5" and his partner in the traditional huipil dress, was barely 5' tall, with them both looking like they were chewing their cud and no teeth! Her little old face was stuck in his bellybutton!! Happy as larks without a care in the world. It was fun to see "Pocket pal" (as Alexis called him last year) back today and enjoying himself as always. He hasn't a rhythmic bone in his body! One couple that moved around quite a bit last year are not as mobile this year. I guess age creeps up on us all. Power to them to continue coming back every Sunday. Last year they told me they had been coming there every Sunday for 30 years to dance. Also a couple of women were really 'cutting the rug' today! How nice to see them.

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The dancing in Santa Lucia square

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UmbLjVRu7tA
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My Mom watching the dancers

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our old friend "Pocket Pal" from last year

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taking a break from dancing

After leaving the dancing we stopped by the other Chaya restaurant to have a look. What struck me most was the original restaurant was full of Mexicans and this other one with all its decor and atmosphere was full of tourists.

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the other Chaya Restaurant

My Dad had stayed home alone and seemed to have coped. We found him sitting on the patio in the sun, happy and relaxed, although wearing a sweater since the temperature was not quite as high as it had been last week. T Thank goodness the Norte we had yesterday has gone as we couldn't even go outside; and the whistling is no more.We were starting to go crazy with the noise!!

We seem to be returning to normal with very little wind this morning and a clear blue sky but the temperature is cooler than we have experienced in the past few weeks but this made the walk a long the beach a little more pleasant.

This afternoon, I took my parents for a bit of a drive towards Chelem passing through the other side of Progreso to where the very large marina is. On the way we hunted for this new restaurant on that side of Progreso, that I heard had opened and wanted to see what was on offer. Before going there we had to first check out the restaurants along the Malecon for shell fish, as my father got it into his head that he had to have mussels or oysters. Since I don't eat them I had no idea which ones served them. So we painstakingly drove by the ones I thought were good and stopped so he could look at the menu. Not sure why he has this sudden obsession with finding a Mariscos restaurant, but once we he had satisfied his curiosity, we continued on our merry way! Driving over the large lagoon by this lovely bridge you can see all the big yachts moored in the marina along side a fleet of fishing boats that serve the very large fishing community here in Progreso. How astonishing to see such large fleet.

That's it for this week. Stay tuned for the last week of my parents visit.

Posted by OhUiginn 17:54 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Week 6 half way of my stay in Chicxulub

My parents arrive too

sunny 34 °C

Week 6 In Chicxulub

This week started off really slow with a Puente ( long weekend) called Constitution Day an nice calm warm day. Dara and I went for a walk along the road as it was high tide, to bring Maggie some flowers for her birthday and check how she was doing, I had picked up in the market earlier, for her birthday and on our walk into the town of Chicxulub we then checked out Brin's new digs. It is a bigger house but smaller yard, so not the right ratio for her. She still has a lot of planting to do. She had dug up everything from her old yard and moved it over two doors down. As she has allergies she does not use a mattress as they tend to get musty in the humid air. Unfortunately not only did they provide her with a bed in her new house but they decided to treat the bed-frame with kerosene undenounced to her. So no wonder she had been feeling really bad thinking it was because she had been near foreigners who use too much perfume.
As we continued to walk into town we could smell the fried fish and so thought we would check to see if our favourite restaurant was open and sure enough there were several Mercedes and even a Jaguar. We found the last two spaces available for us and had coconut shrimp and fish. and shared. Our original plan was to stop by the school again but since it was a "puente"

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Tuesday

Maggie had asked me yesterday to join her Beach Gals breakfast. These ladies meet on the first Tuesday of every month. There is a 200 peso and once a year they vote on who should get the funds raised and this year it is going to the Red Cross. I actually enjoyed myself more than last year but I think that is because I didn't know as many people as I do now. So Alexis you might feel the same way when you get back. The food is always really good there. I went back into town to buy some flowers for my mother. I wish I would remember to bring my camera with me as my phone is no longer taking good photos.

Wednesday started off early with a lovely massage outside on our terrace around the corner in the nook. She worked nice and hard for me as per my request. It was our weekly knitting group and we did get a few new people. Jenny from Terrace BC, Sheila came to learn how to make slippers for the ancianos, and Jackie joined back after being away. Right after our knitting I headed to Merida to pick up my car from Fiesta Americana hotel. I was fortunate to decide to take the combie into town as this one was going down the big boulevard saving me the three blocks of walking. I was delighted the weather has certainly heated up to over 30C every day. I am not complaining but when walking in the sun it can be hard. I like sitting on my patio looking at the ocean and knitting and simultaneously reading or watching a series on my iPad if my knitting doesn't require too much concentration.

As I had time to kill before picking up my parents at the airport I went to Costco to stock up on the items and have a cheap lunch . I still had more time, so I went hunting for the yarn shop called Punta Ingles, that Sharon had asked me to check out as it sold imported yarn, to see if she would carry the Bernat Cotton used for knitting the dishcloths. I think the Brazillian stuff I found in the Merida shop Saloman is just as good. It took me awhile to find this place and was still too early so sat in the car for the 15min. I was not overly impressed with her selection and it is all Spanish yarns. She said she would see what she could do but I am not counting on anything there. From there I went to the airport from there to pick up my parents. It was not the way I would have gone normally and the sun was setting. I wanted to get there before it got dark as finding somewhere new is always harder at night. I had to then figure out how to get home again and this was now in the dark. My parents arrived a bit early which was nice as I had been waiting a bit. My father of course was wondering where we were going and kept asking me this in the back seat. He finally shut up once I got on the highway, from there it takes 20 min to get to my house. I had prepared spaghetti sauce the night before for our dinner and Dara was kind enough to get the noodles ready and heat the sauce. This is one of my father's favourites of my cooking. It is wonderful to have my parents come over to this part of Mexico I have come to love. I know they are very comfortable where they are. I look forward to showing them some of the highlights of this area.

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Thursday is Muelle market day, it would have been nicer if it had been a week later as my mom had not quite settled in, but she is a trouper and accompanied me to the market. It was a bit slower than the last time but I believe it is because of the heat and many people veg by their pool in this weather. I did manage to sell around 500 pesos which is 45$ I will see how I do at the next one if I am to continue with this. I would like to sell all that I have and then be done with it.

While sitting sipping my cup of tea having finished my breakfast I heard what sounded like Canada Geese flying over the house and so jumped up to see it was Flamingos flying in a "V" formation. I wanted to show my parents a bit around the area and took them to Xcambo

X'tampu is what the signs say that guide you to the Mayan site of Xcambó. The "x" is pronounced "sh" (shtam-poo and shcam-bow). For many years, nearby villagers used the stones for their fences, homes, and churches. Today, this very large site is actually under reconstruction and renovation. Xcambó was a salt and salted fish distribution center it its day, supplying Chichén Itza, Uxmal and Izamal with this protein source. Its eldest occupation origin dates back to 150 BC to 300 AC.

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I like the peacefulness of this place and the lack of people, allows you to sit and reflect on what life might have been like here many moons ago. It was rather a hot day so we didn't spend too much time. We headed home first for a bite to eat before exploring Progreso with my parents. We walked along the Malecon and stopped in our favourite limonada spot on the beach and relaxed enjoying the lapping waves and the sunny day under a wonderful palapa. Isn't life wonderful! We had dinner plans to go to Marmex Hotel for ribs and dancing and were joining the Wheeler table that also included the lovely Janet. My parents were pleased with the ribs and the salad and once the music started we enjoyed that even more. Janet and my father got along like a house on fire as they both grew up in the same area in Montreal. My father grabbed my mother and kicked off his shoes and went dancing check it out on Facebook. I posted it there. I am also on the dance floor with him too. Believe it or not but so was Dara!! He keeps saying he doesn't dance but he had no problems moving around. I must say it was fun to watch my parents having such a good time especially my dad who used to dance so much and hasn't done it in a long time. This was also the latest I have seen my dad up in a long time. I guess when you are having fun time is irrelevant

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Saturday was Carnaval parade in Merida day. We packed up for the night as we were booked in at Maison del Embajador formerly known as Maison Lafitte. Meeting up for lunch with our lovely friends at a restaurant in Hidalgo Park where there was music playing. From here the ladies decided to go to the wool shops near the market and pick up more hammock cotton to send home with Dara. What a difference it is walking in this part of the city. This is where all the Mexicans are hustling and bustling along with their shopping and daily lives. A contrast from the Historical Area. I just love doing this.

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We had seats set aside for us in the front row and part of the animation of this night are the food vendors going by us offering us their food at a cheap price.. There was a little boy playing with his father and brother and a ball.

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The parade was spectacular as always. It took 2 1/2 hrs to pass by and what amazed me was how long my father lasted watching it. He only missed the last 30 min. Dara was right into the excitement of it all. It is so wonderful to be able to order a drink and a bit of food from the hotel while enjoying the entertainment

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Sunday

Breakfast was quite extensive and included. We took the opportunity of the quiet morning to stroll along the closed roads and visit the Cathedral where we met a gentleman at the end of mass who came to explain things to us. the cross above the altar is the largest indoor cross in the world; and made from yellow birch a gift from Canada and carved by a Spaniard in 1967 it is over 8 meters tall. This is the oldest church in mainland Americas other than the one Dominican Republic being on an island. Once we visited the Govenors Mansion and made a stop at the museo casa montejo with Dara and My mom while my dad and I went for a coffee in the Hidalgo square watching the world go by.

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I forgot my camera and missed so many great photos.

We spent a leisure time relaxing by the pool before we headed home via Mega and Costco. Dara decided to stay and watch the parade again during the noon version but with such a hot day we declined especially since it is in full sun. I believe only mad dogs and englishmen sit out in such weather.

Monday is my usual quiet day so I can get this blog done but it is not quite as easy to do when your parents are asking questions all day!!! LOL We were graced with quite the collection of dolphins in front of us for over an hour, just going back and forth. Making this week quite the one for wild life! Dara gave a lesson to Arisela who is the daughter of the caretakers and has a diploma in e-commerce. They set up a page on 'flash alerts' for her to use and update the information of what is happening around town. Lets see if this works out.

Stay tuned for more adventures with my parents and Dara tomorrow is Mardi Gras and there is a parade in Progreso we shall watch from the comfort of our restaurant table!.

Posted by OhUiginn 19:36 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Week Five in the Yucatan

sunny 26 °C

Week five in Chicxulub

My week started with a message from my princess in India. She was all upset as she thought she had been scammed with the booking of her flight to Kumb Mehla. It turned out to be just fine. She really seems to be enjoying her time there. What a fantastic experience she is having living there for two months and learning so much about a totally different culture than what you are used to. It certainly helps you appreciate what it is you have in life back in Canada. We really do live in one of the best countries in the world. I would stay there the whole year if I didn't have go out into cold temps. So my stay in Mexico for the three coldest months suits me just fine.

Today we met up with Jenny and Richard for lunch in Merida; our original plan was to eat at the museum but we changed our minds on route and ate at the Italian restaurant inside the shopping mall "Gran Plaza" It was a delightful meal shared with some equally nice people. We parted and went into the centre of town to search out some yarn shops and shops that sell the hilos for making hammocks. Of course the directions we had been given by a hammock guy were not quite the right ones but we did stumble upon a street full of piñatas and candies galore to fill them with. I don't think I have ever seen so many!!!!!!

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We continued searching around the area and we happen to find a lovely wool shop with cotton we can use to make the dishcloths instead of bringing them down, for about the same price as at home. They have a huge assortment of yarns of all kind. In one shop of notions they had a huge wall of zippers that looked like a flower arrangement. I asked to take the photo but they would not allow it; they also had a huge selection of ribbon and lace trim. A sewers delight!!

We were in the Old Post office area and the market; which I love to walk around, but Dara is not quite so keen on the crowds of people. I love to sit on a bench and watch them all walking in different directions trying to decide what to buy for their meal today!

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Once I found the cotton for the hammock and bought some we ventured back to Plaza Grande and had a look in the cathedral. It is the oldest Cathedral in the Americas.

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On Tuesday evenings I read in the Yucatan living that there was big band that started or I thought started at 7pm but after us sitting there watching them setting it up we finally asked someone; 8:30. It was only 7:30 and we didn't feel like sitting there like goons for another hour. We shall venture in on another Tuesday, maybe when my parents are here! Here is what is posted "This weekly dance has been held every Tuesday night since Valentine’s Day, 1984. Come out and enjoy the Big Band sounds of the 1940s, performed by members of the wonderful Jaranara Orchestra. Best of all, this is a great place to practice your chachacha and your mambo, or just sit and watch others enjoy dancing under the stars; 8:30pm"!!!!!

Wednesday January 30th
I sit here on my deck reading my book as I can't seem to sleep in, then I see my "cuidador" going out to get his fishing net. He has this small boat that he uses one ore at the back to go out I wonder how his catch was today. He doesn't go out everyday. His wife and daughter are raking the sea weed ( they just throw it back in the water!!)

My day was so nice and calm until I got a call from my mother. I just can't believe what she told me; my aunt Claire had a massive stroke and will not be recovering. I am so shocked as is everyone. She was to go to work today! I can't imagine Ottawa without her. She has always been there since I came back to Canada except for a few years when she was in Germany. This is not right. I just saw her on Boxing Day; where we had a lovely time with Paul, Wayne and his wife. I mentioned to Dara how nice it was just the few of us. I also called to tell her how much I enjoyed it. This is not supposed to happen yet. She was almost 81 She had at least another 10 years to go!

My knitting group was a bit of a distraction and I didn't share how I was feeling as I didn't want to bring everyone else down as it was a lovely morning of chatting about all sorts of things. We were only three people today. I do hope that more will come. For some reason others keep forgetting.!! How can I get the word out.

I decided to try and numb my feelings of sadness by going to meet Dara after her session at the elementary school; where he was helping them with their computers. We went to this new restaurant on the beach in Chicxulub. It is owned by one of the owners of Bamboo Beach from the US. He had an opening right before Dara arrived that I missed. He has happy hour from Noon to 4pm. I met a lovely friend of mine I knew from last year, from Terrace BC but originally from Edinburg. She is such a lovely lady and even bought me my first two margaritas. When Dara arrived we ordered more of them. I must say they are the best I have had down here quite close to mine!! The botanas are delicious there too. After 5 of these margs I we headed home. It didn't quite numb the pain though.
(My aunt did not pass until the 31st January at 6:44 She hung on a little longer than was anticipated. May she rest in peace.)

Shortly after we returned home another "el norte" started up again and with rain again but nothing like the one two weeks ago. It continued for another two days. We stayed indoors all Thursday as it was nice to just veg a bit. I knit and watched Netflicks finishing the two seasons of Nurse Jackie, why they don't have three posted as season 5 is about to start.

Yesterday the wednesday cruise ship arrived late 11:30 instead of 7:00am. It was very strange and all we could think of that they had mechanical problems. The evening came and they never left. This is a first for me to see; they were still there the next day too but around 4pm they did leave. We looked it up on the World Wide Web to see what they had to say about it. Nothing but there was an article in the Progreso Hoy. At the same time I found there was even a phot of the fashion show ladies, (that included me!! LOL) Anyway the ship experienced a turbine problem and had to get that repaired. When the vendors in the market didn't see the ship there some packed things up and returned to Merida but others were fortunate enough to hang around and get the benefit of tourists wanting to do something. They even continued the bus service off the ship until 10pm which would allow them to travel into Merida for a full day and possibly even take in some other tourist attractions further afar.

We were starting to get cabin fever and started to walk to town but the rain returned and so it was wiser to take the local transport. It was very quiet now that the ship was gone. The town turns into a sleeping fishing village. We like it both ways. We enjoyed a nice cappuccino not an ice cappuccino (Dara has had this problem a number of occasions !!)
On Fridays they have Euchre games at the Marmax Hotel between 1pm and 3pm so we thought why not go and join the group. Dara and I are beginners or rather I am more of one but I didn't do too badly this time. It is so nice to play with people who are just wanting to have some fun. There were three tables and it was a nice way to spend a rainy afternoon. It had stopped raining by the end and so were able to get a walk in today!

We ended the day at the new restaurant in Chicxulub for lovely hamburgers and margaritas. I forgot to ask for anejo tequila and they definitely were not as good as the other day. Dara concurred as it had nothing to do with the fact I had 5 of them. This new place is quite nice by the ocean with its two turrets that are washrooms, the wind was dying down a bit but still enough to need a jacket. The owner is out to please everyone as is looking for feedback on how it is going. He is really trying to please and I must say succeeding. These were the best burgers we have had so far.

Saturday: It was nice to sleep in for once. I woke to calm seas and no wind, not what sailors like but us beach dwellers prefer it. I went to check out what the beach had deposited and my oh my quite a lot of seaweed and shells.
I will have to comb the beach at a later time when I am not so busy relaxing on my patio. Enjoying breakfast outside again!!

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Sunday 3rd Feb

Our adventure in Merida continues. We returned as promised last week, to find bikes to rent. Once we got off the bus and started walking along a lovely street towards the Paseo Montejo to search for bikes we were amazed to see some incredible homes and then beside them were some falling down homes. This usually means that there is a dispute on who owns the house and therefore it is left to fall apart.

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photos of the houses along Calle Deportivas

I should have taken photos of the falling down ones too!!

As I continue to find new things to do here in the Yucatan. I had always wanted to ride the bikes along the BiciRuta on Sundays mornings and wondered where to rent bikes. As I mentioned last week, I tried asking those who work along the route but they sent us to the other end at the Plaza Ermita; and there were none left I looked it up on the internet and found an article in the Yucatan Living (which we all trust and read it at its word. They told us to go to the Monumento al Patria or to Burger King along Paseo Montejo but that wasn't the best place to find good bikes. They were barely working. I rode mine ahead of Dara to look and see if I could find a better bike. After asking a lady who had the a "city bike" where she got hers I went and found that there was one left; but this belonged to the owner and was not for rent. I waited a bit then decided to ask them to please reconsider; and they did. I left my crappy bike in their stands to pick up when I returned. RDBikes that are beside the OXO across from the Anthropology Museum. These bikes are really comfortable to ride. It brought me back to when I was a kid and had a bike with no gears and back pedal to break. I have seen these bikes at home and thought that they might be perfect for going shopping. We rode along the whole route from one end back to the beginning. It was such a nice day despite a few rain drops didn't stop me from enjoying it. I had to return the old uncomfortable bike after returning the city bike and I barely made it back; I was so close to just walking this crappy thing!!!!!

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Here are a few sites along the bike route

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Not only was it biciRuta time but also a big Zombie Walk along the route, making it hard at the end to bike by them.

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We ended our outing by trying the Hennessy Pub on Paseo Montejo. Dara got his fix of Guinness and I had a local beer on tap along with fish cakes which were grouper and salmon and Dara had the trusty hamburger!

Back at the home-front and sitting here on the patio the wind picking up enjoying the sound of the waves; but needing a jacket to stay out here. Along came four young ones with a case of beer and set up on the patio next door. Dara says they are harmless but I am not as sure as he is . I want to keep an eye on them and make sure there is no issue. He heads off to watch the superbowl at John's condo but I do not wish to partake in such a ritual!! Not my cup of tea.

Monday is blog posting day!

Here is something rather spooky. Yesterday I was mentioning to Dara that my watch was all scratched up and that when the battery stops I will just get a new one rather than replace the battery. Last night it seemed to slow down very drastically and I had to adjust the time by 2 hrs. Then overnight it stopped work precisely at the time a friend of mine in Vancouver died!

The cruise ship arrived on time today! So it is a day to avoid going to Progreso until they leave. 3400 people arrive in town to take over the place. The shop and restaurant owners; along with the artisans and tour operators, are hoping for a great day! It really is what keeps the town going during the off season. This place completely changes during the Easter week and again in the summer months. There are places that aren't even open at this time of the year. I sometimes think it would be great to see it in its glory, but at the same I am glad to picture it in the more relaxed laid back feeling I get now.

It is another nice sunny calm day at the beach, with not too much on the agenda. It is Maggie's birthday and we were to celebrate it by going out to the Hacienda Xcanatun but unfortunately Maggie isn't feeling well and hasn't been for a week. It is a little disconcerting as Maggie has not been doing well since her arrival in December. I think she has spent more time in bed than out. I hope she feels better soon.

Posted by OhUiginn 07:08 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

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