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Mexico

Week 11

Winding down

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It was so nice to have a relaxing day with the ocean inviting us in. There was a southerly wind keeping it quite hot. Hot enough for Dara to go into the pool. Not quite ready to go into the ocean. He says there are things in there that might touch him. He also says other things too but not going to repeat it in my clean blog! Use your imagination!!!

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We have had four very hot days with me spending an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon with the lovely Louisette next door. Our time in the water is when she and I open up to each other about our lives! It has become a very special time for us!

One of our regular knitters; Barbara went into the bin of donated yarn and worked hard over the past few months making a ten stitch blanket for the seniors. Sharon was delighted with her work.

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David had asked Dara about making an Irish stew for St. Patrick's day and invited us to come and taste it to see if it met with Dara's approval. It was delicious and just needed a few tweeks. Rather than a desert we were given a lovely Irish Coffee to finish off the meal. We look forward to celebrating the afternoon with everyone dressed in green. Stay tuned for an update next week on how it all goes!

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Another trip into Merida for my hand made sandals and a walk around taking more photos of the lovely town

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As we all approach departure due to Holy Week quickly approaching we start doing all those things we meant to do but haven't done yet! For us it was to go to a movie in the Platino (VIP) cinema with big comfy seats and beer served.

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There is a skating rink inside the shopping Center where the cinema is

We returned home in time to watch the light show going on for over two hours and just sat on the wall mesmerizing by the beauty of it all. Tried to capture it with my iPhone as it is the best camera I have. Not sure how great they are but here goes!

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Fewer euchre tables this week. With fewer and fewer people still around. It has been a great season in our new location. We made a few changes of ending at 3:30 and since we are just playing for fun to rotate every 20 min no matter whether the game if over. The changes seem to have been received very positively.

Saturday we woke up to a different morning with heavy rain and a northerly wind returning. Not quite what the party organizers were hoping for this afternoon. We decided to only go for the brunch at Natasha's and skip the big one put on by Barloventos Restaurant! The shrimp omelette with a side salad hit the spot! We met a lovely Canadian couple originally from Holland at a table with our wacky friend Suzanne and so we joined them for a lovely conversation; from books we are reading to shibori dyeing!

The weather continues to be hot and sunny. But laying about the house all day wasn't appealing anymore so off we went to visit Socorro and Doris to give them the tabs and cotton I had left over. Dara is a kids magnet and the little ones were stuck to him like glue! He taught them his favourite song " Pollito- Chicken". The one he had been taught over 30 years ago in Mexico City by a three year old Rafa! He found it on YouTube and played it for them. One little girl of almost 5 was mesmerized by it.

From here we jumped on one of the rickety buses outside their door and headed to Progreso.
The flat chickens were turning away in this heat. I stopped to watch them put another row of chickens with great difficulty as the heat was unbearable

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We continued walking towards the Chocolate Pier as wanted to see how the beach where the whale is buried was doing.

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No sign of anything here now!

Found them working on the second pier and Dara was mesmerized by the machines moving the piece of concrete into place.

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A new tourist shopping centre has been built for the cruise ship passengers that is all set and ready but not open yet

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A walk along the board walk is quite different on a hot weekend with everyone enjoying the day! The beach is a different scene from the weekdays. It will double in the next week when Holly Week starts and the kids are off school for two weeks. We are out of here just in time!

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We finish off the week walking along the beach to to help with the preparing of bags for the Dispensa (foodbank) in Chicxulub. This is my last time of the season and will not be able to help with the distribution tomorrow but we did arrange for tortillas to be handed out in our absence.

A few random photos from a previous trip to Merida that I missed putting in

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Street art is so nice to see notice the lamppost has been painted to match as well!!

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Lastly a photo of a yellow jacaranda tree in bloom on Cupules Street near Reforma!

Posted by OhUiginn 21:01 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Week 10 Yucatan

Dara's Birthday celebrated for three days

semi-overcast 27 °C

This should have been posted in the week before as it occurred on Sunday the 28th February; but since we thought it was just a tale we didn't investigate it further until we saw it in the paper.

Some residents helped move a beached Fin whale, Sunday in Progreso, in the state of Yucatan, Mexico, while others took pictures. This was the first incident of a beached whale in the area, though in recent weeks there have been several instances of beached dolphins. Which is why when we heard about a whale we thought it was just an exageration.
The whale measured about 12 meters long (39 feet) and weighed approximately 10 tons. We were unable to see it as by the time we heard they had already buried it. With plans to unearth it in a few years and display the bones in the museum! I would not want to be downwind from it!
It Futher reports have come out that the whale was ill.

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To read more about this in Spanish go to
http://progresohoy.com/noticias/necropsia-revela-que-la-ballena-que-recalo-en-progreso-estaba-enferma-10071023/The

After another Stitch and Bitch on Dara's birthday Austin and Lorraine arrived to take us out for lunch to celebrate his 64th birthday. We went where we had been trying to go for a few years; Xanantun Hacienda for a wonderful meal. It was all exquisite and the atmosphere of peace and tranquil on their terrace was such a lovely way to spend his birthday. We didn't end the day here off we went back to Grand Chapur for more fabric. The others met us there but no one else could decide on anything. I found a lovely lightweight cotton to make a top. From here we went to B&G to pick up my sandals but unfortunately they were not quite right. I also got another pair made from an old one that was need of repair. They will be ready in a week. A stop in Alta Brisa Mall was a must to get US cash for our landlord tomorrow. This mall is huge and full of many high end shops. This was my first time there. I found a pair of Prada shoes like the canvas ones I bought last week for 300$ instead of 24$! And I think I like mine better.

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Dara's birthday continues with a lovely lunch in Merida with our landlords to discuss next years plans and give them our deposit. Every year we make a few requests for improvements and they usually comply. We ate at this famous cantina called "Cantina la Mexicana" and since it was Dara's birthday we get to eat for half price. Usually it is the percentage of your birthday off with a max of 50% so.........
Around the corner from this place we spotted what looked like a Buddhist temple but, after Dara rang the door bell, it turned out to be someone's home. The temple was closeby so we headed there after our lunch.

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Found a lot for sale we could buy and build a nice house. I really like this neighbourhood

Again another day of celebrating Dara's birthday by walking into Chicxulub with our friends Nancy and Lee, for Panuchos in the market along with the freshly squeezed oj and I had the one with half carrot half oj.

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Then that evening we had Andy, Alexis and Phyllis for a BBQ steak dinner. It was delicious with a potato salad courtesy of Alexis and a brocoli salad! Just before they arrived our caretaker Maria came with her wonderful fried fish and so we had that as an appetizer along with the wonderful Claire de Lune cheese. We topped the dinner off with a trifle. I made this for the first time here not knowing how the ingredients found here would work. Since I brought Birds custard down with me I knew it couldn't go far wrong.
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Lovely Lucy the seamstress arrived with my dress she copied and I was thrilled with how it turned out. She is making me 5 more items for a total 8 new pieces to my wardrobe.
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Here is also Alexis dress that she dyed last week
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Some days the humidity is so high the patio is wet and all the floors inside the house are as well. You have to be careful not to slip!

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This Sunday was our last Symphony concert. We only bought 3 this year! We were joined again by our friends Ian and Sheila and it was all Mendelson today! There was a guest violinist Emanuel Salvador he played a wonderful piece called Violin concert in Mi minor Op.64. It was so wonderful he played an encore solo piece before the intermission. We always follow these concerts with a lunch in Santa Lucia square where we can watch the dancers. Today we were treated by some very good ones!

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Found these earrings and pendant made of paper on the hippy square that I had to have as they were a perfect match to my dress

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Intermission!
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My wonderful turkey burger at Ryan's Burgers was delicious. Yucatecan food uses a fair bit of turkey, which has been substituted with chicken in many places.
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Dara and Andy looking over their Chinese books they found in the market on the square! Go figure!
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Ladies enjoying the music off the stage!
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The wall outside the bathroom of the restaurant with the traditional pasta tiles on display
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As we were leaving the square we love so much!

To end the week I had a wonderful afternoon in Ada's home helping make the tamales we love so much, for the delayed party next door. (It was supposed to be on February 2nd but the host was unable to do it). I arrived as Lupe was shredding the chicken and Ada was slicing onions and tomatoes for the filling. I sat down and quickly went to work shredding the dozen chicken breasts. I felt so comfortable sitting in their home working away! Last year I felt a bit odd but this time it was like old friends gabbing in Spanish and having a few laughs. Once we were done this it was time to cook the masa. It had already been put through the blender and sived so ready to cook. She added the herb to the water and some of the corn meal.

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Once it comes to almost a boil you add the rest and the pork lard. Once you have done this you have to stir it constantly. I started doing this but once it started to thicken I could no longer find the strength to continue so she took over

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While this is cooling we prepare the banana leaves by washing; removing the spine; and cutting into the right size. Lupe is qualitified to wash but not cut. Ada has a particular size she must make it!

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While we are splitting the spine to use for tying we set the masa on the table with a fan on it to cool. Again Ada is the only one who seems to be able to split well but we can ties up eat smaller pieces to make sure we have enough for the 30 tamales. Now we are ready to start making them. I watched carefully and did one on my own which I marked with a bone so I could be sure to identify it later!

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Check out the video I posted on FaceBook. It was too large for the blog!

Later on once they are steamed for a couple of hours, my Rosie who had arranged for us to go last year and me this year, picked them up. What shocked me was the price for all this work was 9$CAD. That is 0.30 each! How can she do this for so little. 4 pesos is way too little when in the market they charge 10 pesos each for ones half the size.

We were delighted with the festivities next door. Traditionally these tamales are served with hot chocolate as it is a family event so alcohol is not consumed. The "Abuelita" hot chocolate is well known and has cinnamon flavour added to it. I showed the video of us making them to a few people as many had never eaten them or even heard of them. I must say in my 30 years of travelling to Mexico they have to be my favourites.

The delight on Marta's face says it all
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The sunset last night is perfect for ending my blog

Posted by OhUiginn 12:18 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Week 9 in Yucatan

Can't believe it has been this long!

semi-overcast 24 °C

This week was quieter than most weeks.
The weekly B&S had to be moved indoors this week as rain started just as everyone was arriving.
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That evening 30 ladies were invited for a potluck dinner at Suzanne's lovely house. I was surprised to see how many ladies I actually know. I even met a woman from Stittsville. Diane from Montreal sang to us in English and French. I enjoy the diversity of people we meet here.

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Thursday morning I met up with Linda and Alexis in Merida at the corner where Tags, a shoe store found by Linda, is but as often the case it was not open yet so we killed time by walking around the area

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Look at this exposed root on this tree!

I just had to buy a pair of these delighteful shoes especially since they were only 24$ The pair in the top left corner are mine!
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I then ordered a custom made leather pair of shoes to be ready in a week! Where can you do that for $50. I think I will have to get more than just one pair.
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I just love walking around Merida and take photos of the buildings and doors. Discovering several street art pieces has been quite exciting this year!

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We have been experiencing a cooler and windier season this year. There has not been a lot of swimming being done but I can't complain as the alternative is not to be considered.

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This is me who never feels cold bundled up with a neighbour during a farewell Happy Hour for one of our NY friends!

Another creative day with some friends at Linda's house this time, produced some great things! I love shibori dyeing! I went a little crazy again dyeing anything I have white in site. I re-dyed my hat and large crochet centrepiece. They both turned out great! What a fun day with creative people.

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This shows how the indigo dye oxidized in the air.

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This is my favourite piece. I had Lucy a nearby seamstress make this linen dress that I then did shibori dyeing technique using a pvc pipe.

Lucy has been making me a variety of clothing with the wonderful fabric I have found in Merida. I can't wait to see what she finishes next. Once she is done I will post all of my collection..

Posted by OhUiginn 06:52 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Week 8 in the Yucatan

Dara is back

sunny 32 °C

With Dara back on the scene our week became very busy:

With Stitch and Bitch on Wednesday followed by the last Bingo Fundraiser for the Foodbank and the Muelle Market on Thursday morning followed by Manuels annual pig roast at his mother's restaurant "La Lupita". As always the entertainment and service by Alexis was wonderful.

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Triple AAA: Alexis; Alexis and Andea

But I knew we had the highlight of our visit this year was still to come on Friday. To Oxkutzcab


We were picked up in a combi, organized by our very knowledgable PEDRO. He is the official guide many of us use for our archeological trips and this one was surely very special for all of us. .

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We received special permission to visit the ruin at Kiuic and the Kaxil Kiuic Biocultural Reserve with
a group of 11 friends from around Progreso. Once in Oxkutzcab (Yes try and pronounce that one quickly) we met with Tomás Gallareta Negrón of Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, a co-director of the Kiuic ruins. He explained what they have been doing at the site and what they are trying to learn. There was an American graduate here working on her thesis. You are welcome to stay here in one of their huts for $50US a night. It is located close to several other ruins such at Uxmal. This place is not open to the public, it is an educational site. The compound here is lovely and you can come and stay in these lovely huts for 50$ a night including your meals.

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Once he had finished in the lab we headed to the site, which is 45min further away! Kiuic is locked up by two gates and you felt very honoured to be entering this site. At this site was also Kaxil Kiuic Biocultural Reserve, where we will be heading to after our ruins exploration..

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With not too many steps we come upon this incredible site of this pyramid in the middle of this dry jungle. I had anticipated long hikes to get to see this. With Tomas explaining the anthropology of this site we continued looking at the details of how the site grew and the details of each structure. What was so intriguing about seeing this unrestored site is imagining it on our own. Tomas had asked us to look around and try and place various pieces on the ground. Figuring this out was so intriguing and educational. One analogy made by Tomas was imagine this was Buckingham Palace and how it isn't just a home for the queen it has many other functions and this is what this site is like. The team is searching for signs that may explain how the ancient Mayans lived here and what caused the evacuation; was it disease or lack of enough water.

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We wandered through only a fraction of the site but our lunch was planned for noon and we were already 2hrs late!! It was hard to leave this incredible site! I can see why it was so late in the day! We left Tomas and his driver and headed off to the Kaxil Kiuic Biocultural Reserve, where we met up with James Callaghan , Reserve Director, to have lunch prepared by his lovely wife.

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Every aspect of our delicious lunch; Mole Verde hand made tortillas had been prepared by his lovely wife from a family recipe and the sour orange juice. (so good I filled my water bottle with some to take away with me). It was so good we had to ask her for the recipe along with the secret hot sauce.

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Once we finished eating we headed off with James for a tour of the compound . The serenity of this very enlightening place was a perfect way to feel relaxed and at peace with nature. James Callaghan ended our tour with him showing us this water reservoir called a "Chultun". They are made by the Mayans living in this area since it is higher elevation and the water table is low. As there are no rivers in the Yucatan they had to find a way to capture the rain. They dug a hole and lined it with clay and limestone and catch it in this large area and have it run off into the chultun.

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For more information on this site do check the many links through Google like this one
http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2013/01/24/kaxil-kiuic-a-model-for-conservation-in-the-yucatan-peninsula/

They also have an interesting program here of a free "smoke free" cooking stove to the women of the surrounding areas but must take 100 seedlings and plant them in their community in exchange. This will help with reforestation of the trees in this area.

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The nursery and potting shed!

It was hard to pull ourselves away from this wonderful spot but we needed to be on our way before dark as these back roads are not lit. We pulled away around 5pm for our 3hr journey home!

Saturday was Nuno Felting Day with friends. Dara had brought down some kits for us to play with. It was fun for Alexis and I to show the ladies how to work this. I also completed my cotton gauze shawl I started last year!

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A lovely few days of farewells with a dinners for those departing; at Austin and Lorraine's; followed the next day here for a BBQ. Maggie and john head home together with Alexis sister, Vannan and her husband David. It will be strange having the house all to ourselves. They will be missed but not the country music!! LOL

Peaceful morning with calm water

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Posted by OhUiginn 18:56 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Week 8 in the Yucatan

sunny 32 °C

Hard to try and make this week short but I will try and be concise

Week 8 Dara is back

With Dara back on the scene our week became very busy:

With Stitch and Bitch on Wednesday followed by the last Bingo Fundraiser for the Foodbank and the Muelle Market on Thursday morning followed by Manuels annual pig roast at his mother's restaurant "La Lupita". As always the entertainment and service by Alexis was wonderful.

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Triple AAA: Alexis; Alexis and Andea

But I knew we had the highlight of our visit this year was still to come on Friday. To Oxkutzcab


We were picked up in a combi, organized by our very knowledgable PEDRO. He is the official guide many of us use for our archeological trips and this one was surely very special for all of us. .

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We received special permission to visit the ruin at Kiuic and the Kaxil Kiuic Biocultural Reserve with
a group of 11 friends from around Progreso. Once in Oxkutzcab (Yes try and pronounce that one quickly) we met with Tomás Gallareta Negrón of Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History, a co-director of the Kiuic ruins. He explained what they have been doing at the site and what they are trying to learn. There was an American graduate here working on her thesis. You are welcome to stay here in one of their huts for $50US a night. It is located close to several other ruins such at Uxmal. This place is not open to the public, it is an educational site. The compound here is lovely and you can come and stay in these lovely huts for 50$ a night including your meals.

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Once he had finished in the lab we headed to the site, which is 45min further away! Kiuic is locked up by two gates and you felt very honoured to be entering this site. At this site was also Kaxil Kiuic Biocultural Reserve, where we will be heading to after our ruins exploration..

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With not too many steps we come upon this incredible site of this pyramid in the middle of this dry jungle. I had anticipated long hikes to get to see this. With Tomas explaining the anthropology of this site we continued looking at the details of how the site grew and the details of each structure. What was so intriguing about seeing this unrestored site is imagining it on our own. Tomas had asked us to look around and try and place various pieces on the ground. Figuring this out was so intriguing and educational. One analogy made by Tomas was imagine this was Buckingham Palace and how it isn't just a home for the queen it has many other functions and this is what this site is like. The team is searching for signs that may explain how the ancient Mayans lived here and what caused the evacuation; was it disease or lack of enough water.

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We wandered through only a fraction of the site but our lunch was planned for noon and we were already 2hrs late!! It was hard to leave this incredible site! I can see why it was so late in the day! We left Tomas and his driver and headed off to the Kaxil Kiuic Biocultural Reserve, where we met up with James Callaghan , Reserve Director, to have lunch prepared by his lovely wife.

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Every aspect of our delicious lunch; Mole Verde hand made tortillas had been prepared by his lovely wife from a family recipe and the sour orange juice. (so good I filled my water bottle with some to take away with me). It was so good we had to ask her for the recipe along with the secret hot sauce.

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Once we finished eating we headed off with James for a tour of the compound . The serenity of this very enlightening place was a perfect way to feel relaxed and at peace with nature. James Callaghan ended our tour with him showing us this water reservoir called a "Chultun". They are made by the Mayans living in this area since it is higher elevation and the water table is low. As there are no rivers in the Yucatan they had to find a way to capture the rain. They dug a hole and lined it with clay and limestone and catch it in this large area and have it run off into the chultun.

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For more information on this site do check the many links through Google like this one
http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2013/01/24/kaxil-kiuic-a-model-for-conservation-in-the-yucatan-peninsula/

They also have an interesting program here of a free "smoke free" cooking stove to the women of the surrounding areas but must take 100 seedlings and plant them in their community in exchange. This will help with reforestation of the trees in this area.

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The nursery and potting shed!

It was hard to pull ourselves away from this wonderful spot but we needed to be on our way before dark as these back roads are not lit. We pulled away around 5pm for our 3hr journey home!

Saturday was Nuno Felting Day with friends. Dara had brought down some kits for us to play with. It was fun for Alexis and I to show the ladies how to work this. I also completed my cotton gauze shawl I started last year!

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A lovely few days of farewells with a dinners for those departing; at Austin and Lorraine's; followed the next day here for a BBQ. Maggie and john head home together with Alexis sister, Vannan and her husband David. It will be strange having the house all to ourselves. They will be missed but not the country music!! LOL

Peaceful morning with calm water

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Posted by OhUiginn 16:46 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

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