A Travellerspoint blog

Mexico

Week two

The week before Christmas

sunny 29 °C

Week Two in Yucatan

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I said when i landed in Merida that it felt like I was home and that continues to be so. There are two places other than Canada where I feel at home that is Mexico and France.
I connect with the people in both places as well. Very different cultures but both so much part of my life!

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View from the beach looking in!

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Walking towards our home on calle 54


It is hard to believe that a wash cut; a pedicure and waxing my eyebrows upper lip; only cost me 20$. It is worth going weekly just to get your colour varnish changed as the pedicure alone is only 6$. The next on my list is a massage. I think I will have one weekly this trip. So I am behind on that one!

I woke up early today and thought I would go for a nice walk on the beach and a swim in the ocean but once Dara awoke and headed to the shower all my thoughts of what I wanted to do disappeared and I found myself in the shower and then it came to me what I really wanted to do. Ah well a walk along the beach can still happen and it did! I really enjoyed the supper low tide giving us the extra beach to walk along. Dara accompanied me without putting his big toe in the water! The quiet and peacefulness of the morning was such a delight! Went as far as the Hum's place and back which is just over 2K. It was warming up quickly. I think I should do this every morning before my breakfast! Get walking before spending time on the internet. I must try and do this early as once 9am hits it is too hot for a walk along the beach.

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The seaweed was incredible. Yet a few days later it is all gone!

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Here are the finds along the beach! Who knew red peppers grew in the sand!
It took me awhile to get the heron to fly off he kept running away! Can't seem to upload videos. My one minute videos are too large! Hello get wit the program!

It isn't just the expat community we spend time with it is also some locals. That's what I look for here.

High Tea in Merida: Every month someone hosts the International Woman's club in their home; from 5pm to 7pm.

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The house beside the big one was where we were!

The December one includes the spouses. It was to be held at the publish author Joanna Gracht ( https://writingfrommerida.wordpress.com/2016/12/19/los-alebrijes-a-new-restaurant-in-merida/) but it had to move to her daughter in laws home Jeanette De Rosado. It really was nice to see some familiar faces and a few new ones.
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Our friend Valerie Pickles was in attendance and informed us of her good news (for her not the rest of us) that she had sold her lovely bed and breakfast spot ( http://www.thepickledonionyucatan.com/) We loved going there in Santa Elena whenever we or our guests went to visit Uxmal. She will have a huge adjustment to make not having that to occupy her time. She has purchased a beach house in Celestun and hopes to rent a small place in Merida so that she can take advantage of the cultural life it offers.

The other big thing that happened as a result of attending this lovely evening I received an order for one of my sun hats and a bag made by the lovely Coop ladies of Chixculub; only to have that order increased to 15 pieces the following day!

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My friend that ordered the bags

I couldn't wait to tell Carmita the news as soon as I got to the foodbank. This month for the first time I had the honour of checking each family in. It wasn't as easy as it sounds. I had to try and remember those families who were missing at the Xmas party so as to give them their hamper and tell the four families that they no longer qualify to receive assistance. I didn't catch them all. It is so humbling to provide food to the really needy families.

Next on our list this week was The Barlovento Children's Christmas party for the "special needs" kids of the area. The school they attend has 180 kids and this year for the first time the area restaurants have decided to share in the hosting of a party. 20 kids are chosen for each location and donations come in for the kids from the community. Seeing the excited faces as Santa's helpers handed out their gifts. For many of these kids this is all they will get! One family we saw were also at the event we attended in Chicxulub last week.

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Followed by being invited into Carmita's family home for a beautiful Veracruz fish dinner. Silly me forgot to bring a phone for pictures. (So did Dara).

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For those who aren't familiar with this dish, It closely resembled this photo.

We were accompanied by a few other Canadians: Sharon and Kaye; a couple from Kamloops Linda and Larry (aka Lord and Lady Kamloops as David has christened them). It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. They had set up tables in there front terrace where Carmita, her husband Milo and one of her daughters Mali sat with us speaking Spanish and English. The other daughter had to take care of her little one. It was so nice to spend time with locals, especially this very giving family.

For a desert the daughter had made a lemon pie with raspberry coulis. It was almost like a key lime pie but not quite. Apparently they make pies and sell them so I know where we will be going to buy our next desert! (We have our caretakers birthday happening this Thursday so I think we'll get her something there).

It is a shame that all attending aren't fluent in Spanish so we were back in forth with the languages. Carmita has come along way but needs lessons. Dara hopes to get her here for that soon.

With the drop in oil prices there have been so many people affected by it here in Mexico. This family is one of them. Her husband, Milo had to take a 35% cut in an already low salary. How can they make ends meet? The sale of 15 bags will certainly help. Let's hope for a big sale at the Muelle market on Thursday.

We ventured into Progreso to find lights and a few things for our boxwood tree. I couldn't believe how much it had been picked over since the sale started on Saturday. I got 4 meters of lovely cotton for 3$. Yes you read that right. I tried to find a circular piece for my round table. No luck. It is starting to feel a bit like Christmas!

When I travel I alway take the three Inuit decorations I have representing my three kids. I've had them for over 20 years. I also brought along my new yearly Swarovski snowflake and the lovely hand made crossstitch 'partridge in a pear tree ', by Lauren, that Dara had on his wish list!

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Look how small our 'tree' is. It is a boxwood and will keep it going for awhile!

Posted by OhUiginn 08:17 Archived in Mexico Tagged yucatan progreso chicxulub iwcmerida Comments (1)

Return to the Yucatan 2016/17

Week One arrival direct to Merida!

sunny 29 °C

Week one in Yucatan

We are here on another adventure in the Yucatan. I really am disliking snow more and more so coming here for an additional month sounded like heaven to me. I am also only 6 hrs trip away from my parents.
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Our trip started with a flight the day before to Toronto and a visit with Adam and Sheena over dinner at Montana's restaurant. Quality Inn might be cheap and not far from the airport but they took an hour to pick us up in their shuttle. Next time we'll take a cab!

Arriving so quickly in Merida is such a nice change. thank you Westjet for adding flights to Merida directly from Toronto. My first comment to Dara was " I feel like we are home". Our trusty driver Carlos was there for us as always. He took us through the back roads never travelled in Merida to get to Costco where we loaded up with essentials for our 4 months.

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Our first morning view

We arrived early enough, for the first time, to help the Chicxulub Food bank with their Christmas hampers for the needy families. It was a very well coordinated process that Sharon has mastered over the years. Lorraine and I were comfortably sitting at a table making sure all 53 families bags were properly labeled and no family got forgotten. With such a large group present the whole process only took one hour! This meant I didn't have to sneak off to my dentist appointment as we were done in plenty of time for me to get to Merida.

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The dentists office

I am so glad that I had reserved tickets to a wonderful night of chamber music in the exquisite Hacienda Xcanatun only 27min drive away. Our friend Jackie joined us for the evening of dinning and music and we were taken there by our reliable driver Carlos.
Here in this beautiful location to hear music. Played by the Chamber Music Merida.: Jacque Ibert, Sir Arnold Bax, Claude Debussy and Eduardo Angulo. I didn't enjoy the second piece as much as the others. We shall be back for the next concert on Jan 12. Bought the tickets already!

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A walk into Chicxulub along the beach is mandatory for breakfast in the market, of Panuchos, and fresh orange/carrot juice in town. The walk wasn't as easy as much of the beach has eroded away.

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The beach disappearing

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Panuchos and juice

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Friday is Euchre day and there were almost 4 tables we were short one person to make the 4th. I never play this game anywhere else but do enjoy it
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On Sunday after a heavy downpour we managed to climb over some walls to get out on our street. I forgot to take a photo! Silly me! We headed into Chicxulub for the children's Christmas party. The location has changed for the Food-bank distribution and it is nice not for them to have to line up in the sun! At the party the families pick up their 'hampers' (plastic bags), and the children under 10 get a gift from Santa. Dara was almost asked to be the jolly old st nick but was he ever glad not to have to sit in that costume in this heat.

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Wouldn't want to be dressed like this in 30C heat!

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Santas helpers

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See no evil..........
I was too busy with checking off the names to get any more photos. I have to say I was a bit disappointed with the party. There is no music and no nibbles. "Times are tough in these here waters". This would be my suggestion for next year. They allow any kids to come and sit on Santa's knee and come by for a gift, which I thought was a lovely thing. On the 15th they will return to this same location for their monthly food bags. After this was done at noon most of the group headed to Capitan Flores for lunch but with it being Sunday and our favourite restaurant is only open on weekends we opted to got to the Patrullero! I love the fried fish there and their coconut shrimp. It was hard to choose but I went for the fish.

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We tried out one of the new Restaurants in Progreso; La Antigua, with our friend Linda. So since I had chosen the fish yesterday i opted for the coconut shrimp. It was beautifully presented and very good sitting on a bed of mango purée. I still like the other place best. Worth trying to see if it was also as good.

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Half way when I realized I hadn't taken a photo!

Walking along the Melcon in Progreso is always such a calm relaxing place. With the addition of a lovely sign at one end

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Today is cruise ship day and it seems that there are two of them. So it will be busy in town. I might have avoided it but it is the only day that the artisan market is open so I might go in and check out the new one that just opened at the beginning of December

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Two cruise ships today

Posted by OhUiginn 06:14 Archived in Mexico Tagged "yucatan" "progreso" "chicxulub" Comments (2)

Last 10 days in Mexico for this season

LOS CABOS

sunny 28 °C

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by OhUiginn 07:58 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Week 13

Cuernavaca; Taxco and Baja!

semi-overcast 32 °C

After Yucatan,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted by OhUiginn 21:32 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Week 12

Our last week in Yucatan

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

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

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

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

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A collection of buildings on our walk around!

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This car is a working car believe it or not!

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Dara enjoying his apple tart for desert

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My shoes I love them!

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The bus ride home

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

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

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

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

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Don't they look lovely sitting there enjoying the afternoon

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

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

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

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

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

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Nasty weather keeping it cooler. But great for packing!

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

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

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

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