A Travellerspoint blog

March 2013

Week 12

Last week in the Yucatan and flight home!

semi-overcast 22 °C

As I begin my last week here I wonder what is it that draws me back home. I have to say it is mostly being back with my kids. They really inspire me and I love their company. They have grown up so fast and are leading their own lives but still include Dara and me in so much of it. We are very fortunate to have that and I would not want it any other way! Spending more time here and having them come to visit us here would be great. However, I would still go back to our lovely home in Ottawa. If the snow were all gone right now I might be a little more excited!

I started off with a relaxing knitting morning with Linda again and getting to know her even better. As we sat on her porch taking in the lovely breeze on this extremely hot day, I discovered we not only have the knitting interest but also the jewelry! At the end of our session she took me inside to see her collection of beads and pieces ! WOW! Years of collecting really interesting. I thought I had lots of inventory but nothing at all compared to her. It has been a passion of hers for so many more years. adorning her work/room, bedroom and whatever space she can fill in her home. one finds containers, bowls and baskets.of her collections of yarn, beads and whatever else needed for her crafts.Like the Mexicans, she sleeps in a hammock that hangs in the corner when not in use. I have to say it is a wonderful use of space. I left her home feeling really great about this new friendship I am developing with Linda. It has been so nice to have this opportunity alone with her to get to know her better. Regretfully, we hadn't done it sooner. It all happens for a reason and we have time next year to...................................???///

As we try to use up what food we have left gatherings of friends in their homes is happening more than in restaurants! I had 4 beautiful steaks from Costco that I shared with my dear friends the Wheeler's and the Murray's, as the latter have a little barbecue. On our list to purchase for next year.

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Wednesday evening I was entertaining the language class for "cena" ( dinner) Again it was an opportunity to use up some of my food and enjoy the whole group around my big table which accommodates 14, a small round table was needed for the three kids. I had spent the day preparing for this meal, (at lunch time I wanted to make a sandwich but didn't want to stop; suddenly Maria arrives with 1 1/2 fried fish for me!!!) for using the rest of my homemade spaghetti sauce with the addition of some more Perego sauce added to the half a kilo of fusilli; with half a kilo of grated cheddar cheese on top made for two great casseroles waiting to be put in the oven!. Needless to say no one went short of food. For desert I made the Pumpkin Ginger cookie mix I had brought down here with me.

I so enjoyed having mexicans participating in our dinner and not just the expats. The stories they told us were so delightful.

My set table

My set table

The language class for dinner

The language class for dinner

Packing didn't go as I hoped since there was no way I could get all I wanted to bring home in one bag even with by leaving a whole suitcase of things here for next year. Once a fair chunk completed, I went into town to get a few items at the Artisan's market, cruiseship day, always a good day to go. From there I headed to the "Muelle market" where I was to have a meeting with a few artisans for the posting on the globein website. It was busier than I thought it might be; I guess more people who live down here are taking advantage of there being so many great vendors from " Slow foods" etc.

We went ahead and decided that we would meet on Saturday morning at Nola's house to do the videoing of them individually. When we all showed up at Nola's she could not find her video recorder cord and her worker was chipping away at concrete that was not very conducive to us and a video so we packed up and moved over to Bamboo beach. They were very accommodating and let us in early. We did them on in one take, along with the few products we were going to sell for each person. Surprisingly, we were completely finished by 10am so I thought it best to go into Merida and buy the cotton for hammocks as promised.

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The gift I received for helping these lovely ladies: Socorro and Doris!.

Hammocks for sale

Hammocks for sale

Hammock yarn I bought

Hammock yarn I bought

Oh my god was it ever hot and crowded in town. This area is the market area and with the holidays starting you know how that is at home too!! I was happy to quickly buy this stuff and head home; not without a quick stop in the leather shop for a little red wallet I had been eyeing. The collectivos- combie bus back to Progreso was a block closer and I was not walking that extra block in 42C full midday sun weather. Thank goodness I left when I did as the line trippled in size.

I had plans to return home and eat a tamale I had purchased in Progreso when the Wheelers insisted I join them for dinner at Barloventos so since they were treating how could I refuse my last evening with such good friends.
Upon my return home our caretakers arrived at my door with a beautiful present for me; a shell handcrafted lamp, which they had made So kind!
I then returned to packing the rest of the stuff.

moving day:
On my last day here in the house I am taking the time to relax a bit and enjoy the peacefulness of the clear day with just a slight wind from the south and the sun rising! There is a cargo ship leaving the port and there are just a few seagulls flying around and stopping by the neighbours freshly filled pool; since our is chlorinated, they prefer that one to ours. All my neighbours are gone as well.
However, this peaceful, quiet place is about to be transformed, again, tonight, once the Meridians arrive for their two weeks Easter vacation! I certainly see why people choose to live here full time! There is a simplicity to your life!
The caretakers said they would help me move my bags and food over to my new digs with their trike but I thought he rode this thing. It turned out the pedals didn't work so he and his daughter Arisela walked it the three blocks in this sweltering heat, while I took the bus since it was hot and sweaty, packing. Seeing them walking that distance, made me feel terrible. Had I known I would have ordered a taxi.

I dropped off all my stuff as Jackie offered to unpack the food and I returned home along the beach to take a swim and shower before the owners arrive at 2pm. I felt so relaxed with all taken care of and not rushing to catch a flight right away. We loaded up the closet with all the items I was leaving behind and they gave me the key. They were fine with me not giving them a deposit right away for next year and just asked I send it some time in September. This of course was very fine with me.
They dropped me off with my last bag to Jackie's and we parted our ways for another year!

The view from Jackie's apt for my last four days

The view from Jackie's apt for my last four days


After a lovely dinner with Flora and Jackie we headed into Progreso for a free concert performed by the Symphony Orchestra of Yucatan in the cathedral. What an evening! The church was filled with 95% Mexicans all there to enjoy a wonderful free performance. Since this church was so huge, the ceiling must have been two stories high, the acoustics were great. What a surprise! The conductor sang the last piece. Oh! could he sing despite telling us he was not Placido Domingo.This orchestra has played with the likes of him; Sarah Brightman and Elton John. What a lovely way to end my busy day!

I could not get a response from Brin about dinner as her phone was not working; so I set off with a pound of shrimp some butter and garlic; beer and wine, to her house. How could she turn me down? She finished up her laundry which consist of using a spinner and then hangs it outside. The later part is fine but with such cheap laundry service I prefer to get someone to do the whole thing. I have managed to only pay 66 pesos (5$)each week .

Our lovely dinner consisted of my camarones al mojo de ajo - garlic butter shrimp a potato salad she prepared and an excuisite bottle of Castillo del diablo. Once we finished this delightful meal and conversation I left to go and bring the hammock cotton to Doris. I headed out in the dark night only just missing a bus. The frequency isn't as good in the evening. I stumbled upon some friends walking towards me on the street; they were worried about me walking alone at nigh. I am not concerned here. I feel very safe. Of course as soon as I started walking a bus came along so I flagged him although I was not at a corner. Wanted to get my cotton to this young lady and not have to deal with it anymore.
Walking home from Calle 6 to 44 was an interesting experience; this end of town is the poorest part of Chicxulub; with the lights on you get to see into peoples homes and so I did. It is the beginning of Semana Santa - holly week,the biggest family holiday.They get two weeks holiday and families usually gather at the beach. I came across one home with a huge gathering; someone playing the guitar and all were singing, I didn't hear a single correct note.
Interesting, peeking into everyone's home felt as though I was intruding into their lives. You see all sorts of decorations and levels of homes side by side. Everyone greets you as you walk along. I even stopped by Lupita 's, watched her cross stitching away while watching TV with her mother!

I came up to the town square that has been transformed into a fairgound; merry-go-round delighted kids everywhere. There is one ride shaped like a tea cup with this guy running along side and spinning the kids even more. Seeing this simple fair with kids having so much fun. No different from ours in our elaborate fairs .Couldn't wipe the smile from my face.

One guy invited me to try his game of small balls you throw in the hopes hopes of winning a large screen TV. If you get a number adding up to 100 you win. There were several choices of winnings.Had I tried it and paid the 50 pesos, I would have won a coffeemaker. Thank goodness I was running out of money or I might have been tempted try!
I have never seen so many cars several blocks of them lining both sides of the street. I continued my walk home saying hello to everyone as I passed them on the street.
My roommates certainly aren't party animals so when I came home at 10pm, I found them all asleep.

Sunday a day of rest and not too much else.
A full english breakfast and sitting on the terrace watching the comings and goings at the condo with my iPad while sipping a viva caramel ice coffee with Jackie, on her laptop, was a pure relaxing delight.

Not only has there been an increase in police and military presence but even the pelicans are seen in larger groups confirming all along that they are the Mexican Air Force.

It was wonderful to relax and do nothing all day just watch the ocean from the apt. balcony and take in the scenery. In the afternoon,Jackie and I ventured out for a walk along the beach so that we could say we got out. It was wonderful to see the beach houses filled with people and not so abandoned as we have over the past three months. Many were swimming in their clothes and happy kids making sandcastles .

Reservation is made for our dinner at La Recova Restaurant, for my last evening. I can't wait to try this place, in Merida, as it has a great reputation for Argentinian food It. only opens this weekend, here in Chicxulub due to Easter Week!
Monday last day!

Headed into Progreso to get a few last minute things and get in to see a dentist for a cleaning. Can you believe a cleaning is only 412 pesos - 32$ But before I headed to the dentist appt., I went all over town. I was on the bus at one point and saw a friend so I hopped off and walked all along a street I so rarely go on checking out some of the stores. One second hand furniture store (mostly junk) We found a rocking chair for Linda. We continued along till we came to a store that was at the front of their home, as so many are! This woman makes hand lotion with aloe vera and almond oil. I headed over to the market to see one of the English students and she gave me some food made with garbanzo beans and shredded chicken like a salbute but not made with tortillas; very tasty!

My second to last day view

My second to last day view

Building on my last walk in Progreso

Building on my last walk in Progreso

Malecon in Progreso!

Malecon in Progreso!

I could not believe my eyes on the bus there was this man in his twenties sucking his thumb?

As my last day draws to an end I start to feel better about going home to see my family. The day was not very nice spitting rain and cloudy along with a Norte. I guess it is time to go!

Our dinner at La Recova was unbelievable! Flora and I walked over to the restaurant to join Brin there and have drinks and appetizers while waiting for Jackie to arrive after her meditation class. As it was Happy Hour we of course were served doubles. We devoured the botanas that are free but the waiter said he had something we should try that was not on the menu yet; tuna fireball. Well this was delicious, cubes of raw tuna mixed with soya sauce shredded nori and sesame seeds. We devoured this in no time. The drinks kept coming as we waited for Jackie who was later than she had hoped. We were not the least bit concerned and continued to chat and eat. The waiter then suggested a salmon carpaccio. Unbelievably delicious; it had chopped capers and lemon on top. We thought we had died and gone to heaven. Luckily for Jackie there was some of this when she showed up. We then ordered our 300g filet of beef either blue; rare or med rare? By this time we were on our 4th round of gin and tonics so we didn't bother with wine!! We could not believe this beef; it was like eating butter. They had tried to convince us to order the rib eye but at 35$, it was not in the budget plus it was 500g and I could never eat that much. As it was I couldn't finish my piece! As we sat finishing our 8th gin and tonic we decided to try their famous chocolate tornado.

Missing my photo!

It took awhile to come as I do believe it was baked fresh to order! Thank god we shared one between the two of us.
It is one of the best deserts I have ever had; a brownie with molten chocolate in the centre. How decadent can you get? We made our way home around 10:30. We could not believe our bill only came to 60$ a head.
This was the best meal we had all eaten in ages. I hope I am around next year at the start of the Semana Santa - Holy Week!!!!

The return home was long but would have been easy if the last leg had not been delayed for an hour! It is a long way especially when you have a four hour bus ride to the airport, but luckily it is a very comfortable seating and I managed to sleep.

Sunset on my flight home

Sunset on my flight home

Liam and Marianna picked me up at the airport and brought me home to a house that was left in disarray! There is one thing that really pleased me and that was I was not cold with just the sweater I had on.

Waking up this morning was hard because I knew the big job that was ahead of me. I didn't want to face the mess. I have to tidy up the house just to make it untidy again when I unpack. Home sweet home! Time to get settled back!

Posted by OhUiginn 20:28 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

WEEK 11

FOOD BANK AND STREETS OF MERIDA

sunny 34 °C

I thought that Monday evening was going to include the consul general of Canada in Cancun. But when we got to the event at Flamingos he/she was a no show. She was in Merida only! That did not take away from our lovely evening put together by the Federal Tourism Board. We were given free drinks and snacks that were quite tasty. A change from what we had last night. There were also a few games to play one being the Mexican Culture game that I scored 100%. I left the event early as I host the language classes at my house. I got home just in time to find only two people showed up but despite that it was quite good. We got one on one discussion about Spanish with the German Lady and Gustavo had a few questions for us in English!

At the event!

At the event!

Tuesday there was a mexican knitting class hosted by Lynda at her home. I walked over, as it is only 6 blocks from my house, finding her lovely house just across from another friends house on the beach. Her cute place is owned by a Canadian lady; and Lynda has been living here since May full time. She used to live in Merida but, after travelling to Progreso often and loving it, realised that this was where she should be living. Her cute house is a one bedroom just across the street from the beach front houses, for a fraction of the price. $475/month is incredible! While sitting on her front terrace we could see the ocean between the two houses across the street and we could hear the waves without the high winds. She still has to deal with the sand and the necessity of a housekeeper, but this is not only great for keeping the house clean but also employs a local person.

After knitting just the two of us on her terrace and getting to know one another better, I went off to meet with Sheila and Maggie, Sheila, and Reina too and so it was harder to shop and see what we wanted as you have to take four people into consideration! It takes much more time as one or the other finds the need to stop in a shop that maybe the other three weren't really wanting to. Before you know hours have passed and not a lot accomplished!

I had arranged with the wood carver to meet him in Progreso at 5 pm but I was running short on time so I called Jackie to go to Barlovento to meet him and wait for me. I show up at 5:20 and he never showed. I found that odd as he called Sunday morning when he was supposed to come in and said he still needed a few more days to complete them. When I called him he said he still had two more that needed to dry and would we come to him to pick them up. Dytsya is not an easy place to get to but we said we would see what we could arrange! It is a bit frustrating when you think you
have everything arranged and it doesn't turn out as planned. Let's hope they are exactly what we hoped for otherwise that will not be great as we have ordered 8 of these things

Wednesday is Bitch and Stitch Day as always.
We were only two today and if it hadn't been Diane's last Wednesday I might have cancelled it. Sharon came by with my bag that Socorro's daughter made for me. I was very touched as there were several bags delivered to Sharon by Carmita but this one was just for me. It had flowers on it that no others did! Oh how it is fun to meet these artisans. This brought up the new site I found and how we should go about setting something up for the several artisans we have at the Muelle market. We decided that this was what we needed to do before I leave and meet with Nola to sort it all out. I am quite excited to be helping them get underway! Let's hope that this works.

In the afternoon there was two events happening back to back at Fran's apt in Costa Brava that I wanted to attend. I whipped up some salmon rolls to bring gathered up some wine and off I went walking. As I was strolling along the road (not on the beach due to the F..... wind) a car full of ladies stopped to ask me if I knew where Costa Brava was; I sure do as I am heading there myself! I hopped in and showed them the way. They were the authors of the book I was coming to hear about. I saved the day as so many others had been given wrong directions and showed up late. What an exciting group of ladies with their lovely ensmbles some in the traditional Hibil and one even in jeans and hightop runners with her binoculars around her neck.

Here is how Fran introduced them: Have you ever dreamed of pulling up skates and starting over in an exotic locale? That's what the writers of "Our Yucatan" have done, and their book is a charming collection of stories and poems about a vibrant new place and time in their lives. The Merida Writers' Group debut will appeal to armchair travelers with dreams of getting away from it all, as as anyone who loves a good story"
It was very interesting to hear where and how each and everyone of them happened to come to Merida. Joanna was the longest resident, she had come here in 1976 from Vancouver to start a family with her Mexican husband Jorge and founded a college: Tecnologia Turistica Total; where the IWC have their monthly meetings. She has another book of note published and one soon to be released. I look forward to reading her story.

me at the book signing

me at the book signing

The writers

The writers

me getting a book autographed by one of the authors

me getting a book autographed by one of the authors


Each Lady stood up and read an excerpt from their story to get you excited; there were ten of these delightful ladies.

This followed by the High Tea gathering of the IWC. This is a potluck and so my salmon rolls were added. Here I would say there were about 25 women all cramped into Fran's apt because of the wind. It would have been so nice to have it outside on the patio under this lovely palapa they have at Costa Brava. Alas! we do not have control on the weather. Maybe next year it will be a nicer day!

As the winds continue we decided to have the language class in my dining room again. This time we had three more people attending. Still small enough to enjoy the discussions. Since we only had Gustavo present we didn't do the english lesson planned on "to be" We continued with whatever was on each others mind. The American couple from Wisconsin share their meeting with the Mayor's office about the auditory testing device they had to donate for use in the schools.

The 14th of every month, is packing for the food bank and with so many people already gone it was quite a small group getting the 87 bags together! It always feels good to be doing this! Then this follows the next day with handing the bags of food out. It touches me so much to see the smiles on peoples faces as they receive their donations. I get to see the small children coming to me for their vitamins and the hope for a candy and this month we completely forgot to buy a bag to hand to them! There were a couple of ladies who had come to meet the family they are sponsoring; with a gift bag in hand the family were overwhelmed by their generosity!

On both days I walked home along the lovely beach between Chicxulub and my house. The breeze kept me cool in the hot sun! It gives me time to meditate and appreciate the beauty of this place!

I had been trying to eat up all my food so when I was invited to spend the evening at Natasha's Pantelones Restaurant I hesitated but went along as John entertained us with his guitar playing and singing of country music.

country music singers Maggie and John!

country music singers Maggie and John!

I visited Socorro again and told them about the website. I got Doris and Mirley to come by to the house so they could see the website we are going to put them on!

Saturday was an alone day in Merida walking all around finding places I had wanted to see since I arrived. Some ended up closed just before I got there. The Slow Food Market, held every Saturday, was interesting to see. It was the vendors at their best!

Slow food  Market in Merida!

Slow food Market in Merida!

slow food market

slow food market


I walked around taking photos of the houses I love old and new with colours and from all extremes. The large mansions on Paseo Montejo to the back streets with the walls falling down!

Go to the link below to see my street photos of Merida. This is one of the reasons why I love it here so much!

https://plus.google.com/photos/115188624754988109146/albums/5856304956172457153?authkey=CJ6u0qKXvM_vAQ

There was this one strange item I found in a shop while walking the streets

jeweled bugs

jeweled bugs

run down beside renovated homes in Merida

run down beside renovated homes in Merida

top of the paseo montejo

top of the paseo montejo

Sunday: With no rental car we decide to take a taxi to the monthly Funky Market in Chalem. I guess that wasn't the wisest choice as we could have done it for 14 pesos each instead of 50pesos!! It was a big of a disappointment to see so few people there and really nothing more than a few who aren't at the Muelle Market. Next year I will give it a miss.
90_D87EE4DA2219AC681765565EA3BA8971.jpgsecond baby, on the bus took a liking to Maggie!

second baby, on the bus took a liking to Maggie!

Sombrero Anyone!  well cover!!!

Sombrero Anyone! well cover!!!

I met up with Pauly a German Canadian woman, that I have recently become acquainted with in the language class, she was with another German lady. When suddenly I remembered who my text was from; a lady in Chicxulub square with a T shirt for me as they were talking about there being nothing that represented the crater for sale.
Chicxulub square where the meteor hit 65 million years ago and extinguished the Dinosaurs

Chicxulub square where the meteor hit 65 million years ago and extinguished the Dinosaurs

So off we went to meet her and along the bus ride I had a very interesting chat with Pauly. Her friends and kids back home were questioning her why she comes down here as they feel it isn't safe, especially a woman on her own. She said that coming here has actually given her a whole new lease on life. She felt stuck in a rut at home in Toronto where she had the same friends and did the same thing for over 30 years. They talked about the same things!! It was very conservative and boring. She discovered a whole new life here with all new people from so many other walks of life that she might never had had the opportunity to meet had she stayed in Toronto. Had she stayed at home she might have withered away to nothing and not experienced any of the new things in her life; not seen so many new places; and learnt so many new things not to mention another language. She is feeling so much more fulfilled. Our social life here is so much more active than back at home even when the weather isn't cold. People have their own lives and don't interact as much as we do here.
I totally agree with her. We are connecting on a whole new level with people of all sorts of different back grounds from the routine lives of home.

I continued to observe this later on when I went to a party for St Patricks Day. I found myself talking to people from all over Canada and of varying lives: one farmer from northern ontario, a former hockey player (not sure his name and not that it mattered), and a doctor and his wife deciding to live down here permanently. Others from Gatineau here for the first time and another couple from Chelsea. WE had a great time singing and celebrating this Irish holiday.
We bid farewell to so many who will be departing over the next week for their respective towns across our vast country of Canada. Knowing that we will see one another again next year gave us a lot of joy and comfort!

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The evening ended with a visit to the town square in Progreso where there are cultural activities every Sunday evening. Never made it down there until tonight. So many other Sundays were spent doing very little at home! It was quite entertaining. This is not put on for tourists but for the locals themselves. It was like a recital of folklore dancing children and guitar players of various levels playing one piece at a time from the smaller group of advance players; with the group growing as they made their way to the beginners. The parents were so proud of their kids and all of them had their cell phones or cameras fixed on their kids. The smiles of the proud parents as seen by all parents when their kids are performing all around the globe. They ended the evening with a skit performed by students of the drama group from the cultural centre! Laughs were seen all around us. Some of the subtleties were lost in translation! I likely understood more than my evening companions of the Wheelers and the Murrays!

Dancing in Progreso

Dancing in Progreso

Dancers in Progreso

Dancers in Progreso

guitar ensemble!

guitar ensemble!

the little ones!!

the little ones!!

Monday I was all set to go back into Merida to pick up my car as I was told by Hertz that there would be one for me early in the morning. Just as I was leaving I made a quick call; with keys and bag in my hand I find out there still is no car for me to rent!!! You can just imagine the words I had to say or was wishing I could say to them. I was to get a call as soon as the car arrived. I took this opportunity to reflect on my week here and work on my blog. Feeling a little down that nothing was working out for me just as I had convinced myself to rent this darn car. I relaxed the day by swimming in the beautiful ocean, letting all my troubles melt away. It was not meant to be and I decided to let it all go.

My week ended with a large class outside on my terrace in the lovely evening and invited all the students to return on Wednesday for dinner here on me. I chose this opportunity to use up much of what is in my freezer: my spaghetti and chili will do well with the 14 people and my dining table is large enough to accommodate us all. I am looking forward to that this coming final week. The evening ended with quite the show: a spectacular sunset with the sun and clouds giving a wonderful scene and at the same time there were dolphins jumping in front of us. This then followed by an incredible lightning show over the ocean that we took in while sipping on several glasses of wine with my lovely neighbours.

first part of the sunset

first part of the sunset

the lovely sunset

the lovely sunset

Posted by OhUiginn 14:45 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Week Ten in the Yucatan!

sunny 27 °C

Week ten

Last night I had company over for dinner. I had made a big batch of chili and needed to share it with people or I would be eating it for the rest of my stay here. Sharon brought over her company: her best friend and husband. Jean and Don came too with a lovely batch of oatmeal cookies. Jean loves to bake and we have had the pleasure of her cinnamon buns, luckily I don't live too close or I would not be losing the weight I am. The lovely dinner had to end early as my language class was coming here at 7pm. We worked on the differences between the uses of the verb ser and estar. I found that this was one of the best explanations I had ever seen. I too get them mixed up!

As I look over my emails on this lovely sunny but cool morning I spot a large flock of flamingoes overhead What a beautiful sight. The sun was catching the lovely colour as it rose up. I am so delighted the winds have left and the ocean is calm there are just small ripples of waves keeping it from being totally silent.

Wednesday is you know what day!!!

We had a good turn out today; Diane with her adventures to Palenque and Chiapas; along with Jenny and her news of soon to be a great grandmother; Jackie brought along her friend from home Sharon and Sharon of the Food Bank came to chat and last but not least Sheila with her one slipper that she started on a month ago!!! I got all my stuff together for Jean to sell for me tomorrow. Maybe with her lovely disposition she will sell loads!

Once a month Beach Gals have a Breakfast at the Yacunah Hotel and so I thought I would go this month as I missed it in February. I think I might join next year as they do inform you of what is happening around town and do use your dues for a worthwhile cause: Red Cross. After Sheila and I accompanied Maggie to the hospital for a treatment and walked around town. Maggie is doing better but not cured!

The Municipal office Progreso  I love the colours

The Municipal office Progreso I love the colours

view from the front

view from the front

Sheila and Maggie in the zocalo in Progreso; don't they look happy to be here!

Sheila and Maggie in the zocalo in Progreso; don't they look happy to be here!

The best Botanas (snacks) are had at the first beach front restaurant in Progreso; they give you enough free food that you don't need to order a lunch!

Botana's (free snacks) at Eliados Restaurant on the beach in Progreso

Botana's (free snacks) at Eliados Restaurant on the beach in Progreso

Off to Merida with Jackie and Sharon to seek out this new cafe and shoe store.
Well what a lovely little new discovery. Quiche with spinach and goat cheese was had by all and a lovely mille feuilles was devoured along with a capuccino. It was a great choice for cheating with!

view across from the Cafe Club

view across from the Cafe Club

One third of a mansion that was made into three homes!  First Violinist lives here!

One third of a mansion that was made into three homes! First Violinist lives here!

Boy Scouts of Merida!

Boy Scouts of Merida!

Doors Doors in Merida  the colours are so vibrant!

Doors Doors in Merida the colours are so vibrant!

Soriana grocery store beside the hammock shop!

Soriana grocery store beside the hammock shop!

the cathedral in Merida!

the cathedral in Merida!

after walking around in circles taking pictures and showing everyone where the yarn shops and craft shops are we hopped on a bus to Hennessy's Pub where we had tickets to the Murder Mystery. We made our way to the courtyard of this pub which had been set up with their lovely leather high back chairs in a rectangular fashion. This was my first Murder Mystery Dinner so I have none to compare it to. This is the 2nd annual Mérida Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre “Murder in Mérida: Love Hacienda Style”.
It is a dark and sinister evening in Mérida, and a group of travelers have found themselves drawn together in a strange and mysterious hacienda. Suddenly, there is a scream! Murder! Without warning, our travelers find themselves in the middle of a Murder Mystery.

The mayhem escalates when our brilliant Inspector Gustavo (Gary DeRose) along with Criminal F.B.I Profiler Marilyn Weatherbean (Andrea Fears) are called to task to solve the murder. All murder suspects must be detained and questioned.

Between acts a different course of the meal is served and the suspects mingle with the audience helping to make sense of the clues provided.

The cast was: a couple on their honeymoon; a Gustavo the mexican police detective disguised as a tourist; a pro golfer who was full of himself; an FBI agent who thought she had jurisdiction anywhere; and a Dolly Parton look alike country singer!!! In between acts we had a course from our meal and the characters mingled at the table answering the questions we had from our clue list. This went on throughout the evening and from this we were finally asked to figure out whodunit. Our meal consisted of a mushroom and onion soup followed by either chicken curry; lasagna; or chili con carne. Our final course was a wonderful brownie topped off with a scoop of icecream. I had figured out the correct murderer but not the correct weapon. At one point to really confuse us every person wanted to kill the victim but all claimed someone beat them to it. I don't know if this is how all of these Murder Mystery Dinners are presented or not? I had such a good time that I will be back next year!

As Sharon (foodbank) was going to be away on cruise ship day and a couple were wishing to do the humanitarian tour I was asked to do it for her. The tour starts with taking them on a local bus to the school. This can be an experience in itself if you get a doozie!! but this one was not so bad yet Pam still took a picture! Upon arrival at the school we come to a locked gate and a notice on the gate with names of those kids who have paid for the milk being crossed off and those still no out there for humiliation. This struck these baptist church goers heartstrings; so they asked if there was a way to pay for these kids. When I broached the subject with the principal he said that the gentleman from the "Comisaria" was coming by for the money collected at 11am (this was in 15 min) so we walked around to each classroom to say hello and take pictures. When I entered the classroom I would give them a big hello in English to get them to reply to us in English. Then I would speak to them in Spanish. I am sure they were disappointed we had no candy as most have a huge box with them to hand out!! They still had lovely smiles on their faces and were happy to have their photo taken by Pam. She will be presenting this to her church group when she gets home. Once Eric from the "comisaria" arrived we discussed with them the milk program. As it turns out 50 kids are part of this in grades 1 and 2 as mandated by the government to provide milk and cookies as a meal for the younger ones. The families are supposed to contribute part of the cost of this but many aren't able to even come up with the 7 pesos (60cents) a month needed. So the Edge family have paid for the month of April for these kids; 350 pesos ($30) They were shocked at how little this was. They were very moved by what they saw in the small library and are going to look into what they can do to help expand this library from their group at home. In Texas they have access to plenty of spanish books for kids and so will look into shipping some to them. I think Sr Slim should take this on himself. He has just been declared the richest man in the world beating out Bill Gates

walking along the streets in Chicxulub you never know what you will see!

walking along the streets in Chicxulub you never know what you will see!

Grade 6 class learning about computers!

Grade 6 class learning about computers!

Walking along the road from the school we passed stores selling construction materials and hardware stores that interested Don. I took them to see the Bamboo Beach Restaurant where the food bank distributes the food once a month and on this day it was Muelle Market day. I showed them around the different vendors and they bought one of the food bank bags that are made with can tabs and a hat! then the wood carver showed them the jaguar head he had completed; two weeks ago he was carving it at the market and I was admiring it. He was asking 2000 pesos for it ($166) Don didn't have enough to buy it yet he really liked it. So Miguel came to us and said he would take $60 for it. I was floored but he said to me that it isn't selling and he had not sold anything today so he wanted this sale and had made a connection with Don. So they bought it along with a bone carved crucifix. They would have bought more if they had known to bring more money. Left with only $6 we had a lemonade and headed on out. We wondered down to the pier in Chicxulub that is used mostly for strolling and fishing! It was 1pm when we arrived at the market so I was not hopeful for a lunch at my favourite spot but I was wrong! They had salbutes and I had a flauta! Oh they are good They sell salbutes and panuches that look the same but with a closer examination they aren't; salbutes are soft corn tortilla with shredded chicken and lettuce with a piece of tomato and avocado on top; panuches are a fried corn tortilla with black bean spread either on top or in the middle of the tortilla depending on if they make them by hand or buy them. A flauta is made with two tortillas (corn or flour) and then stuffed with chicken, rolled up and then deep fried, topped with cream, lettuce and grated cheese. YUMMIE! I had not had one since I arrived yet!

We parted our ways at the Artesan Market where I found the lovely Maggie and Sheila shopping. Thursdays is two for one cocktails at Barlovento; so I couldn't pass up having a couple of margaritas! Here the place was packed with expats that live here. It was quite amusing as new shirts had arrived and half the customers were wearing them making them blend in with the staff! I will get Dara one of them.

I received an invitation from John Wheeler a few days ago for a turkey dinner at their home on Friday.

all i got left on the Saturday from the turkey dinner!!!! LOL

all i got left on the Saturday from the turkey dinner!!!! LOL

One of the hosts at the turkey dinner!

One of the hosts at the turkey dinner!

We were 14 people at two tables. I ended up at a table with people I know and did not get the chance to get to know the newer people. I had spoken to one of the guests who had recently done an ironman and had the tattoo on the back of his leg. One of the ones he had done was Tremblant. It surely was a lovely dinner topped off by a game of bridge at one table and another of Farkle where i won both games !!! Yeah!!

A free lance reporter named Suzanne asked me to interview two Mexican ladies today I thought that this day was turning into a disaster when we got there and she too wasn't home; she had gone to check on her mother around the corner. We were given seats to sit on outside on there front patio and found out that two of her three daughters helped her make the bags. One daughter had decided to take initiative and add a flower to the pattern and so I asked that my bag be made as such. Upon asking the questions I discovered that she used to have quite a lucrative business going with her two girls churning out 40 bags a week. Then the woman who was buying them from her was in a car accident and stopped. The Food-bank decided to sell them after so many people asked Sharon where she got her large black bag. I then thought of a way I could get her bags out there. I recently found this new site called GlobeIn:" they created it to make a difference in the lives of local artisans by connecting them with the global economy.
They wanted to be a different kind of online marketplace. One with a focus on creating opportunities for all artisans. One that is not limited by technology but expanded by it. One that values not only the artisans’ crafts, but also their passion, their history and their culture." I have posted a couple of my new items there to see what kind of response I get. I will go around next week and see what I can put together for her. `

Socorro and her family at their home where they make the bags!

Socorro and her family at their home where they make the bags!

crochet bags

crochet bags


Dorian at her work!  Lovely cross stitch!

Dorian at her work! Lovely cross stitch!

Dorian's little shop in Chicxulub!

Dorian's little shop in Chicxulub!

Sunday is Symphony day in Merida! This week they had the Latinamerica Quatet that won the Grammy Award in 2012. I was not impressed with the first piece but luckily it was short. The composer was in the audience. Luckily the next piece made it all worthwhile. I had heard this tango piece before by Astor Piazzolla; the four seasons. I had heard part of this piece before and really liked it so I made sure I bought it in the lobby during intermission; I also purchased a DVD of the quartet for Dara! (his birthday present!!!)
After intermission we were entertained with the delightful Beethoven's 5th ! Need I say more. The Symphony did an impeccable job with it
the Cuarteto Latinoamericano in Merida

the Cuarteto Latinoamericano in Merida

The symphony taking a bow after their performance of Beethoven's 5th

The symphony taking a bow after their performance of Beethoven's 5th


http://www.sinfonicadeyucatan.com.mx/Temporada%20XIX%202013/audiosprogramas/Las%20cuatro%20estaciones.html

A group of us went out for lunch at the Chaya Maya before heading back to Progreso; where we had a "Partie's of Party" to go to at the Barlovento Restaurant. The Mayor's brother and the Head of the Tourism office here in Progreso were also in attendance. (The new mayor is a wonderful change from the useless one before) The proprietor, Francisco, is the most gracious and accommodating person. Whatever you want or need, Francisco has got an app for that. He wanted to gather everyone before they returned home to thank them so much for their custom and hand out prizes to those who practically live there!! Not my idea of a way to live while down here! I do enjoy the place but not everyday! The evening was delightful and laughs were frequent. The entertainment was really good and several people got up and danced!

Posted by OhUiginn 09:42 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

WEEK 9 ALONE

5 DAYS OF NORTE

sunny 24 °C

Not only did this week find me alone but with 5 days of Norte and some rain keeping me couped up in the house!!

This morning when the alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 4am it hit me that my parents were leaving here. I had mixed feelings. I have never lived in the same town as they since I left home. Consequently I see them in spurts and this isn't the easiest way to maintain a relationship. I know my mom agrees that it would be much better if we could see one another from time to time rather than in each others pockets for 2-3 weeks at one time. I have to say that I didn't get too frustrated as I guess I was not in my own home either. We each have our own way of doing things and I know my mom was very aware of this and did her best to not stir anything up. I love her dearly for this.
It even seemed my father was quite happy here too. He developed his own little routine of getting up having his coffee (which my mother made sure was ready for him) outside on the patio. Then off to get his breakfast checking first to what he was allowed to have that day!! Some days when we were out he was in heaven as he could do as he wanted!! LOL He would have his second cup of coffee and no more. Sitting on the lounge chair and looking out at the ocean and watching the birds placed him in another world of peace. Going out with us was not ideal as it usually meant an early departure, which had to be to beat the heat. That then gave him an excuse as he said to rest his eyes as he suffers from macular degeneration. Then he would get up looking for his lunch. After thatIt would be back to his
lounge chair until his eyes bothered him again and then another nap. like an alarm clock at 4:30 it was vodka martini time over at the wall just prior to the beautiful sunset On occasion he would take a dip in the pool. In hi own way, he was happy

Last night at one point mother cried as she wishes she would want to come to this side of Mexico as she feels I will never go there to visit them anymore. It isn't that I dislike Los Cabos what is there not to like? It is that there isn't as much to do and see.

A new Norte has arrived at 7:20am waking me with its noise. I closed a few windows and went back to bed to read!

Later on in the day Ian, Sheila and I had plans to go into Merida for dinner and watch the dancing in Parque de Santiago. We weren't sure where to go and eat as I had neglected to do the research planned so we just drove along the Paseo Montejo to see what struck our fancy. I had always wondered what the Cubaro Restaurant was like so we decided this would be a good spot for our meal. The location is spectacular with the outside table facing the Monument a la Patria or Bandera!! ( Monument to the Patriot or the Flag!) It certainly felt very European. The presentation of the food was exquisite , well worth photographing, thus see below.

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I was surprised at the end of our meal that my lovely friends Ian and Sheila were treating me to my dinner! From here we drove over to the Parque Santiago, since it was already 8:40 this meant finding a seat might be a difficult task as it was packed with dancers and observers. We were of course the latter. I didn't want to make a fool of myself on the dance floor. It was great to see so many of the same dancers here: pocket pal was there with his lady friend or wife not sure as they always look so angry! the couple with the straw hat that we admired last year at Santa Lucia park were here but this time he donned a black leather hat. We took the time to talk to them again telling them how much we enjoyed watching their skilled dancing, I even asked them if they remembered me telling them this last year with Alexis! She did but as usual the male species aren't quite as observant as the female!!! LOL
There was another couple who never said a word to each other and danced all night long. He in his guayabera shirt and her in her huipil; they danced and danced in front of us never saying a word or cracking a smile, not for lack of trying on my part!!

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Below is the video of a dance. Check out the couple in the foreground and the gringo on the right with the white shirt. You will see the woman walking over to find him and dance with him as she did quite a few times. I guess she liked his dancing too!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZQUp3l3g-nw

The music stops promptly at 10pm and everyone disburses to their homes again, some will be back next week or even to the Thursday night dancing in Santa Lucia. I must say as the days get warmer evening dancing I am sure will be more popular than the afternoons Sundays. I expected big band music but it turned out to be very similar to the ones we heard before except there was a big brass section to the band. Watching the paso doble dancing is quite something. For those who aren't familiar with it, is is one of the most dramatic of all the Latin dances, "the Paso Doble is a progressive dance. In the Paso Doble, dancers take strong steps forward with the heels, and incorporate artistic hand movements. The forward steps, or walks, should be strong and proud. The man should also incorporate apel, a move in which he strongly stamps his foot, much like a matador strikes the ground in order to capture the attention of the bull. All moves of the Paso Doble should be sharp and quick, with the chest and head held high to represent arogance and dignity." I did see some really good dancers and it was hard to stop watching their foot movements. There was no one that quite fit the bill as seen on "Dancing with the Stars" or "So you think you can dance?" I thoroughly enjoyed watching them

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A couple of houses near the Santiago Square

Wednesday is bitch and stitch day! But since I knew only one person was coming I thought it best to not do this and go into Merida! Like I haven't been in there much!!! Ha! !Luckily Jackie is usually keen to do anything! So off we went to Merida where our first port of call was Olga's dress shop. Here we had the full collection to try on and not just the few items she brings in to Bamboo Beach on Thursday. I of course found some things to buy. I really love the Dunes line of stuff. It looks good on and feels good as well. So chaching!!! NOT sure if that is the correct word) Still had before having to return my car to Hertz so off we went exploring the "Everything Store" on the big boulevard with a quick stop at Hennessy Pub to purchase murder mystery tickets!! Look for that update next week!
This ES is quite something. It is so full you can barely move. I did buy a few items and will be back again to riffle through more items. I would hate to have to do inventory here! I am sure they never do and have no idea how much stuff they actually have!!
Once we returned the car and I stopped crying we grabbed a cab to have lunch at this Creperie, only to find out that they no longer do crepes and only teach French!!! They did recommend this Cafe Club place only half a block away. To our delight it was really great. I would return here anytime for a lovely panini or a dinner special for 85 pesos. Soup meal and desert for 7$ can't be beat!!

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Café Club is a relaxed little daytime spot that serves quality breakfast, lunch and dinner at moderate prices in its two dining rooms and outdoor patio near Santa Lucia Park. On a typical day, you might see local business people having a meeting over coffee at the tablecloth-covered wrought iron tables, workers from a local hotel on their lunch break, or breakfasting out-of-towners staying across the street at popular Luz en Yucatan. Café Club is a good choice if you have a vegetarian in your group: breakfast options include granola with yoghurt and honey or a seasonal fruit salad. At lunch, soy burgers or enchiladas are available. Daily specials can be vegetarian or meat and include vegetable stew, seafood or chicken main dish with soup, bread and butter, a side dish, and salad for MX$85-90/US$8.50-9. The dining room's high walls are painted cool white and display a variety of small art works. Once we were finished our delicious paninis we headed to the corner two streets away 64 and 55, to catch our bus home

Sharon spotted me back home and came over to discuss a few ideas she had come up with. One was to start an advance english class next year for adults and kids and wondered if Dara and I might be interested. Then she thought of another way I could help her immediately and that was to take over her Mon and Wed class from 7-8pm while her son is visiting for three weeks. There go my evenings. I sat in on the class to see what it was like; they sit around in a circle and each takes à turnïû presenting something. This night they all presented themselves to me. The expats speak in Spanish and the Mexicans speak in English. We then correct one another as we go along. Quite informal and seems like fun. If one is caught speaking the wrong language they have to put 5 pesos into the jar which is used for a party at the end of the season!

I really am not sure I am cut out for this job but we shall see. I asked them to come up with ideas for what they want us to cover next week. I thought I would be starting this after Sharon's son arrives but she dropped me right into this and said I was taking over as of Monday at my house!! That is a whole week earlier!

Spent the day alone and inside as the Norte has stayed on! I enjoyed my time alone but that isn't something I like to do for long! So when I woke to find it still going on for the fourth day I was not that happy! I need to see people and no one is walking by the beach either! I guess Euchre it is for this afternoon! I had the best Euchre I have ever played. I even went alone and won us the game with the 4 points!!! Fun was had by all three tables. I guess I am ready to play the game with my kids when I get home!!

After playing cards I heard there was an event at Bamboo beach presenting the winner of the project to girls from the two elementary school in Chicxulub. The first prize was a bike. Carmita was the judge along with English teachers. the girls had to create a project depecting the history of the town and write their essay presentation of their project. The winner was the key was she had obviously interviewed her grandparents to ask them how the town used to be. It was lovely to hear Carmita telling the girls that they needed to be proud of their town as these Canadian people we so proud of being from Canada but were happy to be in their town. They needed to be proud of being from Chicxulub and being from Yucatan and Mexico.
If was lovely to participate in a local event amongst the kids of the town. Here is where the two countries come together. Some of the Canadians volunteer every week to teach these children in the two school english in grades 5 and 6. l think I might look into helping out next year!

There was supposed to be a photo here but can't upload it!!

Woke to the 5th day of this Norte but as the day progressed there is some sun coming through. The temp has not gone up all that much to 22C There is promise of sun for tomorrow and no wind. It will be a nice break.

Despite the wind I decided to get my act together and go into town and walk around to se if I knew anyone Ienjoyed my tranquility in town, taking a. stroll along the Malecon (board walk) and sipping my usual limonada! As I sat on the beach sipping my limeade I could see in the distance several yellow shirts in the water with red things. Wondering what or who they were I walked along the beach to check it out. They were lifesaver students practicing how to save one another. Let's hope they learn to save others too!! The real board walk is complete but not open to pedestrians yet!! Not sure why not???

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Life saving course and the new boardwalk

It was rather cool today and lots of people were buying white jackets with Progreso on the sleeve!! (like I did the last cold day) So when I got to Barloventos it looked like these jackets were part of some sort of uniform. I was quite comfortable without a jacket! But I did have a nice cappuccino. I only met up with one person I knew; Ian and he joined me for a drink and a chat. When I returned home I felt a bit disappointed I didn't have anyone to share the chiili I had made and so put it in the fridge for another day when I just might find some people to join me. For my dinner I just ate left over snack in the fridge and watched old TV episodes on Netflicks. I did try to do FaceTime with the family at home as they celebrated Dara's birthday;but they didn't answer me! I felt very alone and left out!!

Sunday

Last night I was again awakened by rain. This is highly unusual for this time of the year. When it rains the roof collects the rain and then sends it down the drain that is just outside my bedroom window creating a very loud waterfall sound. It was nice for a little bit but after two hours it started to drive me nuts and so I closed the window hoping to drown out the noise. Since the windows are jalousies, they don't quite manage to do that! The forecast was for the Norte to have ended by the morning but that isn't the case and the temp is hovering around 18 which is cold compared to what we had been having. I guess this turns out to be a great day to spend in Merida where it is usually too hot to bear!

It turns out the rain I thought I heard was no rain but a broken pipe leading to the water tank!! Carlos had to fix it at the wee hours of the morning. So what I heard on the roof really was someone and not just the wind!! I didn't want to think there was anyone on the roof and scare myself.

Sunday in Merida was as always wonderful. The concert today was one of the best I had heard. We had seats on the second row just in front of the piano. ( it would have been better one or two seats further over to actually see her fingers and not just her hand playing) When they played Mozart's Concert for piano No. 21 with Edith Peña on the piano; I quickly recognized it. I have it on my iPod and listen to it when I want to go to sleep!! Well I guess my brain remember this and starts putting me to sleep. I had to fight to stay awake! She was so good that she even gave us an encore! After the intermission they played Wagner Prelude and death of Tristan and Isolda and I didn't enjoy this as much but when the last piece was played I was transformed to a different place. Ravel's Suite No.2 of Daphnis and Chloe. I had never heard this piece before and felt taken to another world. It was as if there suddenly were birds flying around and chirping. I imagined a ballet being performed once I closed my eyes! Having now looked it up Wikipedia had informed me that it is one of Ravel's best ballet! I have to agree with what was said " The music, some of the composer's most passionate, is widely regarded as some of Ravel's best, with extraordinarily lush harmonies typical of the impressionist movement in music. Even during the composer's lifetime, contemporary commentators described this ballet as his masterpiece for orchestra" I must find this piece and listen to it again when I get home.

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The audience at Teatro de Peon Contreras

http://youtu.be/uLzT2xYh3x0

I had told Brin all about the Cafe Club and wanted to go there again for lunch but they were closed. Well not to be disappointed we went to where Brin was suggesting we go. Bierhaus on 60 just around the corner. It has the largest selection of beers. It reminded me of Pub Italia but with the German flare instead of Italian. We shared a plate of mixed German sausages and had a beer each! I have to say it was very delightful. The most interesting was the curry sausage! As the Germans are not known for their spicyness it was quite unique and very good. The bratwurst was also quite flavourful. We wondered where they get them from as these are not food we find readily here in Mexico!!

A must on a Sunday is a quick run around the Main Plaza to see the vendors especially since I had asked Lillian to get her sister to agree to make my top bigger for me. I first found Sheila shopping away and Brin was looking at items but quickly lost interest and decided to return home. With Sheila we met up with Lillian's sister Ana who told me my top was waiting for me!! i thanked her and moved along the plaza. I thought I should get some earings to go with the coconut necklace I bought, so when Eduardo saw me coming to his stall he asked me if I wanted more buttons!! I said I thought two dozen was enough for this year and maybe next I will get more! He laughed and I selected some leaf shaped earrings for 20pesos. ($1.60) I was now spending the rest of the time looking for the lady I bought my mothers top from last week. Chatting with someone while looking for something isn't the easiest thing to do. So once Sheila left to meet up with Ian I did find strangely enough. It was two stalls away but it took me having to go completely around the square again before I found it.

Posted by OhUiginn 18:52 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

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