A Travellerspoint blog

WEEK 5

FASHION SHOW AND TAMALES !

sunny 26 °C

WEEK 5 in Chicxulub

Rehearsal for the fashion show went well and I love the new venue with the higher ceiling and plenty of fans to keep us cool; a more spacious change area would have worked better.

Another successful year at the Chicxulub Fashion Show held at D'Mar events hall; a new great location. We showcased a local designer, whose clothing some people liked me in, but way too much polyester for me!

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nice but not for me

As always we had so much fun showing off these lovely cotton clothes. i couldn't resist buying another two pieces today! That is it for awhile as I have a closet full of these clothes. I have been buying them for about 15 years, and I think I like the designs from Abaca better than Dunes. I can't seem to get Olga to carry them here.

We managed to raise around 8,000 pesos (over 600$CD) on the day; plus the sale of the tickets, this is great news for the food bank.

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I am so glad we finally got to visit the Casa Museo Montes Molinas, after our dentist appt., as I have been trying to do for a few years. It was really lovely! We were fortunate to arrive just in time for the 11am English tour. This house was designed built in 1904 by the same architect who built the Opera House Contera de Peon; for a Cuban and his Mexican wife as a wedding present from her parents; and then sold to the current family after 15 years. It is still owned by and filled with the possessions of the second owners (Molinas family) . In addition to the beauty of the home and its interesting furnishings, provides some insight into the life of a very wealthy family in the sisal-driven heyday of the Yucantan. The home is still owned by the granddaughter of the family is still alive in Mexico City; who comes to the home about 5 times a year. So it is still a functioning home that is maintained nicely with the help of the great wedding venue in the back yard.

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Alexis and I love to check out Merida and made our way to the hammock shop where I buy cotton for my sun hats; as I have an order for two of them. Every time I walk around this area (one block from the main square) I feel like I am part of a bigger picture. There is so much life happening; the big old buses making their way through the narrow streets and the sidewalks filled with locals doing their shopping. This particular section of the streets could be called the "crafters heaven". There are endless possibilities of what you can find to make your Carnival Costumes coming up this month; with quite the selection of all manor of things from feather boas to lace trim of every conceivable colour and design; or glittery fabric. It can be overwhelming sometimes. Check out the wall of zippers!

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I finally joined the IWC International Women's Club. I have been going to various meetings over the years as a guest and the funds raised go to the Girls Scholarship Fund. The Friendship sub group some of which are the beach ladies, were hosting todays meeting, so I helped out with selling of raffle tickets and my sun hats; which I managed to sell three sold and two orders for different colours. So it is a good start. The discussion this month was about the website changes but the second half was talking about the kids cancer program (which I have contributed to with hats for the kids for a few years now) This subcommittee visit the children once a week with activity books; a stuff toy; and a knitted or crochet hat. It is great work being done by these ladies and the look on the children's faces when they are presented with their gift bags is priceless. I plan to help more with the hats at the Merida English Library, where they meet twice a month to share and teach how to make these hats; where I will strongly encourage only the use of only cotton or wool for their little heads to breathe better; but we can't be too picky when receiving donations.

Sheila and Ian finally made it down after being held back in Canada for family health reasons. We invited them along with a few others for a steak dinner; some were unable to attend as they were watching the Super Bowl (I am glad not all men watch it!) We had some great laughs and shared some stories. Dara always chooses a theme and asks questions of us all. It keeps the conversations quite interesting.

It has been quite the week and to end it yesterday I got invited to see how tamales are made. Last year on the Candelaria celebration we ate the most fantastic tamales. The best I have ever eaten. We asked Rosie if she could show us how they are made. Well we never heard back and then suddenly I get a phone call inviting me and I quickly invited Alexis along as she was just as keen. Well what a day to remember!
It was such an honour to be in her home as she prepared these lovely tamales coladas; there are different kinds of tamales but these are by far the best in my opinion. It all started with Anna blending white and yellow corn masa in a blender with water; she then proceeded to sieve it to only take the light liquid. After setting aside the lumpy part she would add more water to be sure she got all the starch out of it she could. Nothing goes to waste, the grains left on the second go round are fed to some nearby chickens. From here she put it on the stove in this gigantic pot over three burners that had water salt and a herb I can't remember what it is called; It is best done in a wide shallow pot to be sure it thickens evenly. To her mixture she added lard (pork fat) and stirred this constantly checking the taste and consistency of cream of wheat along with the glistening look she wanted. She makes 4 kilos at one time.. All the while the chayote broth that the chicken wings and thighs had been cooked in is reduced over the stove in a small pot beside. She demonstrated to us the sequence

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BbzNKedUUpQ

In the meantime suddenly once the this was ready to be assembled and the banana leaves had been washed we stopped. We weren't quite sure what was happening as they were setting up these large tables and several hundred loaves of baguettes arrived. They had an order that had to be completed by 3:30pm of 350 tortas (sandwiches). We set up and cut these loaves in half and then spread them across these tables creating an assembly line of mayo; lettuce; two kinds of ham; cheese; tomato; and onion. Once they were done each one was wrapped in a napkin and put in bags of 25. If we had not been there to help them I am not sure they would have been able to get them done in time.

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Once they were on their way we returned to our making of tamales on these same tables; 35 of them were put into a pot and steamed for 1:30-2:00hrs in the outside kitchen!

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Late that night, we assembled at Sharon's 'conversation class" where Rosie delivered the steamed tamales that were enjoyed by all in attendance. I think this is the largest group!

Posted by OhUiginn 08:43 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

WEEK 4

CHICXULUB

Walking into Chicxulub with Alexis to the bingo at Mamma Mia restaurant we stumbled upon this flock of birds trying to get whatever they could from the local fishermen as they clean their fish!

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birds on the beach waiting for the bits the fishermen throw at them as they cut up their fish!

I am proud to say I won my second ever bingo game. My enthusiasm was heard throughout the hall; it was a fun way to spend the afternoon all the while 6000pesos ($500) was raise for the foodbank; which will be used for the students field trip to the Science Centre. I will also be contributing to this with the sale of my hats back in Canada. Once I got here I added some fishing line to the rim of my hats to hold it out more so that some of them aren't as floppy I hope will help them sell better at the "Muelle Market" this week. I don't understand why they aren't selling like crazy as I managed to sell several of them at home. Here everyone should be wearing a hat and they don't fly off when there is wind walking on the beach. Alexis and I are the only one wearing and loving them.

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My winning face!!

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sereral of these hats now have fishing line along the edge!

Awaking to another morning of fog has such a eery feeling to it. The not seeing what you normally see everyday! I guess it would be worse if I couldn't see my neighbours but that isn't the case.

I will be glad when my visits to the dentist are done. This last one was really tough having four instruments in my mouth at one time made me rather uncomfortable. It seems like they were drilling for gold. They were close but the gold is found on the two molars on bottom not the top!

Vanan and David are getting close to their departure from here. We gathered for dinner to prepare them for their journey home. They have thoroughly enjoyed discovering what it is we love so much about this area of Mexico. Having never been to Mexico they had a bit of an adjustment when the first arrived but this quickly changed as they relaxed in the pool or floated in the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It is fun to listen to them with their first experiences here in this lovely place. (Our first visit goes back a long way to 1981 and we have probably been here 15 times since plus a 3 year stay) I think we may be seeing them here again next year for a longer visit??? This place tends to grow on you.
Stories that flowed at this party will stay at this party!!

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Dara and Maggie having a chat about life.

I first started playing Euchre down here 4 years ago with John and Maggie and have continued to join the Canadians at Marmex most Fridays. I never play it at home so when I come down I am a bit rusty and make stupid mistakes; when I do that it helps to be playing with people who don't take it too seriously.

El Faro Restaurant is celebrating year two of being open with a pig roast. and music. It is a tribute to how Ron treats his staff to see the same meseros working here since he opened.

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the local saxaphone playing some lovely jazz

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quite the turn out for this party

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checking to make sure the pig is being prepared right!

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Diane and Andy sharing emails!

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I prefered my lay on my head!!

It was wonderful seeing my friend Catherine's mother Marie-Claire, as the last time I saw her was in Toronto when I was still nursing Sheena. She is still her classy self and able to kick up her heals on the dance floor at 82.

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Catherine's lovely mother Marie-Claire

When the door prizes were being drawn we asked Dara what names he put on our tickets (6 of them) there was a pretty good chance he would win as they were his name only! I guess since he picked up the tickets he should have his name!! Sure enough he won and the minute I saw that his prize was a pair of shorts I said to everyone: " watch he will put them on his head" He kept them there even when we left to take the bus home and serenaded this poor young Mexican girl when I mentioned that he was a "payaso" (clown) Not sure how many of you know the "Soy un Payaso" song!!

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Yes this is the man I am married to!!

Our social life while down here is so much busier than it ever is at home. Eating out here is not expensive and getting together with our friends here is such a delightful time.

I wasn't sure if I was going to attend the day of remembrance for Rena at Marmex hotel. I didn't know her all that well but always enjoyed myself when she was around. Her strong Scotish brogue always knew it was her talking nearby. Dressed always in white and smiling with us all was such a delight. She will be missed around here. The turn out for this classy lady was phenomenal! She would have been delighted. I as did many dressed in white in her honour!

Thats all for this week! Stay tuned to next week when the fashion show is on! And YES I am in it again this year. I wouldn't miss it for the world.

Posted by OhUiginn 07:59 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Week Three

slowing down

sunny 29 °C

Week Three

The departure of the Frenchies was sad as they were such a lively bunch. I offered to help a friend go to Telcel and get a sim card for her ipad so now that I had no guests we met up after my dentist in the centro. It was a hot enough day now that they had left so a nice refreshing sorbet was in order. We headed to the Telcel only to discover when we got there that her ipad didn't have a slot for one. All this for nothing. Luckily I needed a few things from the Electronic Center across the street. We headed to Santa Lucia Square for lunch but I quickly remembered that there was a lovely little spot nearby that is not open on Sundays. I made a quick stop at the Teatro de Peon Contreras for tickets to a symphony. I only found one that interests me so bought three tickets with the hope Andy might like to go.

Our first time at Natasha's restaurant Pantaleones found us this week. The whole table chose to share a plate of fish and chips between each couple it was rather amusing. The soup starter was lovely.

Second week of bitch and stitch saw only 5 people. Two lovely ladies who were there last week didn't come but two different ones showed up instead. We decided to make it 9-12 and extra hour of bitchen seems to be in order along with that much more stitchen!! Another cruise ship day brought me in to town to check things out but really have no need of anything from there this year! I picked up another of the Indian tie dye dresses that I love to wear in the morning on my way home on Tuesday at the second market beside the bus depot. I am all set!

I awoke this morning early to a cool morning at 5:15 tried to get back to sleep for an hour and gave up once the light was there; came outside to find the calm seas since our arrival and fog. I can only see two houses away. The pier has disappeared. Last night my temporary crown fell out and so I need to get back into town to get that glued back. So much for seeing the families I sponsor; Dara will have to give them their bags of goodies. I made it back in time to hand out two of the bags to my families but Dara missed one early on but so did all the others. It is quite different at Mamma Mias but still very good. I have to say their pizzas are very good and I will eat there again. Sharon likes to encourage us to stay after to give back to their generosity of allowing the Food bank to sort and distribute from their premises.

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Dara buying the tortillas

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giving of the bags to one of our families

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Jackie handing out vitamins (she took my job)

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another family getting a gift from us

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Dara waiting to give a gift bag to the last family but we missed them!

Sundays are family day and the evidence is quite apparent on the beach many venture from the big city to spend it on the beach. Very few tourists or gringos are evident. So Dara and I checked out the new Mayan restaurant with friends before we headed for a walk along the malecon and the pier the runs beside the big shipping one. It is a mere fraction of it's mate.

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The Municipal Police gathered us at the Cultural centre this morning to talk to us about safety in the area. There had been a few break ins recently and they wanted to reasure us they were doing everything they can to stop this One they arrested the person yesterday in Merida trying to sell the TVs he has stolen last week. Dara felt he got more out of the last 10 min of talking directly to the head of the Police after everyone had left. Wandered around the streets of Progreso eating a "lechon torta" and checking out the local second hand store where I scored a lovely linen pair of shorts for 4$ But in reality they cost me 125$ as on this walk i lost my new christmas present of the Garmin fitness watch. I will see if I actually lost it in the store tomorrow and if so I will be happy.

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looking back at who arrived later at the meeting. Quite the turn out

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Met up with our friends Catherine and Rainer for a wonderful evening at Eladios. It was supposed to be just a drink but with the botanas (tapas) they brought us filled us up so that we didn't need dinner. They really are famous for them, all the way to my Mexican friends in Cabo, but not on cruise-ship day! It was a bit disappointing when we went to this little cafe for coffee that we had discovered last year with Alexis. They were only able to bring one coffee at a time and so by the time it was for my red velvet cappuccino I gave up. So our night continued with drinks at Sol y Mar

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With the hopes of finding my Garmin watch I ventured into town; but at 10am they were not open so I thought I would go for a nice hot cappuccino and watch the boat people come in off the buses! The local restaurants clamour their way to try and entice the tourists to come and drink their 1$ mini coronas and free tequila! It is amusing to hear them calling out to them to choose their restaurant over another one right beside one another! I took another gander over to the shop via a juice bar for the delicious fresh squeezed carrot and orange juice for 2$. But their was still no one to be found at the store. I then thought I would take this opportunity to go begging to a few local restaurants for gift certificates for the Food bank raffle. I managed to get three to commit but have to return for them later. One more try after walking 10 blocks to return only to find out that they have gone on vacation for two weeks but someone might be there later tonight.

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Posted by OhUiginn 20:05 Archived in Mexico Tagged beaches Comments (0)

Week Three

slowing down

sunny 29 °C

Week Three

The departure of the Frenchies was sad as they were such a lively bunch. I offered to help a friend go to Telcel and get a sim card for her ipad so now that I had no guests we met up after my dentist in the centro. It was a hot enough day now that they had left so a nice refreshing sorbet was in order. We headed to the Telcel only to discover when we got there that her ipad didn't have a slot for one. All this for nothing. Luckily I needed a few things from the Electronic Center across the street. We headed to Santa Lucia Square for lunch but I quickly remembered that there was a lovely little spot nearby that is not open on Sundays. I made a quick stop at the Teatro de Peon Contreras for tickets to a symphony. I only found one that interests me so bought three tickets with the hope Andy might like to go.

Our first time at Natasha's restaurant Pantaleones found us this week. The whole table chose to share a plate of fish and chips between each couple it was rather amusing. The soup starter was lovely.

Second week of bitch and stitch saw only 5 people. Two lovely ladies who were there last week didn't come but two different ones showed up instead. We decided to make it 9-12 and extra hour of bitchen seems to be in order along with that much more stitchen!! Another cruise ship day brought me in to town to check things out but really have no need of anything from there this year! I picked up another of the Indian tie dye dresses that I love to wear in the morning on my way home on Tuesday at the second market beside the bus depot. I am all set!

I awoke this morning early to a cool morning at 5:15 tried to get back to sleep for an hour and gave up once the light was there; came outside to find the calm seas since our arrival and fog. I can only see two houses away. The pier has disappeared. Last night my temporary crown fell out and so I need to get back into town to get that glued back. So much for seeing the families I sponsor; Dara will have to give them their bags of goodies. I made it back in time to hand out two of the bags to my families but Dara missed one early on but so did all the others. It is quite different at Mamma Mias but still very good. I have to say their pizzas are very good and I will eat there again. Sharon likes to encourage us to stay after to give back to their generosity of allowing the Food bank to sort and distribute from their premises.

Sundays are family day and the evidence is quite apparent on the beach many venture from the big city to spend it on the beach. Very few tourists or gringos are evident. So Dara and I checked out the new Mayan restaurant with friends before we headed for a walk along the malecon and the pier the runs beside the big shipping one. It is a mere fraction of it's mate.

675F6C019688780C993C762D2817E1FB.jpg90_675EE326C0A2EBAB68BD37F7976F1142.jpg90_675DC92ECF876BBC5B7D5D3240DA8718.jpg

The Municipal Police gathered us at the Cultural centre this morning to talk to us about safety in the area. There had been a few break ins recently and they wanted to reasure us they were doing everything they can to stop this One they arrested the person yesterday in Merida trying to sell the TVs he has stolen last week. Dara felt he got more out of the last 10 min of talking directly to the head of the Police after everyone had left. Wandered around the streets of Progreso eating a "lechon torta" and checking out the local second hand store where I scored a lovely linen pair of shorts for 4$ But in reality they cost me 125$ as on this walk i lost my new christmas present of the Garmin fitness watch. I will see if I actually lost it in the store tomorrow and if so I will be happy.

90_679C4EC9FDD4CEB2A64C998749A95A89.jpg
looking back at who arrived later at the meeting. Quite the turn out

67628437D2FBF485AD2C2989097B9FD1.jpg90_67605C69DD148EA30E48B7E3F01EAB25.jpg

Met up with our friends Catherine and Rainer for a wonderful evening at Eladios. It was supposed to be just a drink but with the botanas (tapas) they brought us filled us up so that we didn't need dinner. They really are famous for them, all the way to my Mexican friends in Cabo, but not on cruise-ship day! It was a bit disappointing when we went to this little cafe for coffee that we had discovered last year with Alexis. They were only able to bring one coffee at a time and so by the time it was for my red velvet cappuccino I gave up. So our night continued with drinks at Sol y Mar

676190CB99815D06CE8C90D3596BAA8E.jpg

With the hopes of finding my Garmin watch I ventured into town; but at 10am they were not open so I thought I would go for a nice hot cappuccino and watch the boat people come in off the buses! The local restaurants clamour their way to try and entice the tourists to come and drink their 1$ mini coronas and free tequila! It is amusing to hear them calling out to them to choose their restaurant over another one right beside one another! I took another gander over to the shop via a juice bar for the delicious fresh squeezed carrot and orange juice for 2$. But their was still no one to be found at the store. I then thought I would take this opportunity to go begging to a few local restaurants for gift certificates for the Food bank raffle. I managed to get three to commit but have to return for them later. One more try after walking 10 blocks to return only to find out that they have gone on vacation for two weeks but someone might be there later tonight.

675CC9F697A237670F40394BB7E701D7.jpg180_675BA09ECC15C93EE6E831D486864413.jpg

Posted by OhUiginn 20:05 Archived in Mexico Tagged beaches Comments (1)

Mexico 2015

French Invasion!

sunny 25 °C

How time flies when you you are having fun and entertaining friends from France. But all good things must come to an end. Today is their departure from us to a hotel near the airport as they have an early 6am flight in the morning. They started their visit with a stay in Merida and are ending it there as well.

We have had a great time trying not to be too busy with activities but the weather didn't cooperate too well for just sunning ourselves by the pool but was great for touring as it wasn't quite so hot.

New Years Eve and day were celebrated both at David's restaurant for a lovely meal and the first of the year we entertained our friends from France with a few of our local friends. One French tradition is to have foie gras and champagne and they so graciously brought this all the way over here Ann had made the foie gras herself. It is served on a piece of toast. The other hit of the evening is my favourite cheese from Quebec "Pleine Lune" which I had brought it down in my bag!
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On Saturday a walk along the beach into Chicxulub was in order upon the arrival of our friends we made it to the Pescado del Portullero in time to get a table for 10. We love this place for it's wonderful deep fried whole fish and the coconut shrimp we also discovered they make very good shrimp kebabs and garlic shrimp.

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It was a bit on the hot side for walking home so while the rest went to Xcambo I took a bus home. With the weather being nice I sat outside knitting on a sweater for Helene. I have to finish it by the 12th I hope I have enough time..

The finished 'amiga' cardigan
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Sunday in Merida is a must for all visitors as the Historical centro comes alive with the cycling on Paseo Montejo; the main square fills with artisans and food stalls and a few more blocks away we find the Santa Lucia square with the live bands and locals dancing away. A traditional Yucatecan meal can be found closeby at another one of our favourite "Chaya Maya"

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While our friends headed on a day trip to Becal to see the making of Panama hats and the chocolate museum near Uxmal I had a Dentist appt with Dr Ricardo Peniche who specializes in dental implants and travels around Latin America representing the procedure; I was only preparing for two crowns with the impressions taken and then the fun begins next week with 1 1/2 in the chair. It costs a fraction of the cost at home. So anyone needing work make it a dental holiday and come on down. Your flight and dental work will still be cheaper than at home.

Every Tuesday the Merida English Library (MEL) have a tour of three houses in the neigbourhood so I thought this might be something interesting for my visitors; but I forgot to take into account there would be a 30 min discussion in English that some would not understand. By the time we visited one home they were ready to quit. I managed to convince them to stay for at least one more; which did the trick; we even got to sneak in an extra house that has an open house from noon to one as the lady of the house is selling it as her husband just passed away. MEL is also known as the english community center since very few use libraries anymore, where there are small lectures and music gatherings on a weekly basis. A great place to catch up with friends. Upon our return home Catherine and Rainer were here when we arrive. Catherine and I have known each other since elementary school and lived on the same street on Ile Verte. We have lost touch every so often but have managed to reconnect recently when we saw them in their new home in New Brunswick. I had told them about how lovely it was here and found them an apt to rent for three months. Unfortunately upon their arrival here they found the building was under going major repairs and the noise would be. They have found another place but will have to wait until friday in the meantime they are staying at the new hostel that had been under renovations since Alexis and I first came here.

Various houses we saw on our tour

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Wednesday saw my first Stitch and Bitch at the house again. People forgot the time and showed up here at 9am but that was fine as I was already outside knitting away to get the Amiga cardigan done. We had two days on our own while our friends were away in Valladolid and Chichen-itza. We found the house so quiet and missed them. We walked into Progreso to check out Faces afternoon jam session and there was quite the crowd. We hopped to get them excited about the return of Adam but they were just a bit blaze about it. He will have to contact them himself.

A trip to the Yucatan isn't complete without a day at the Cenotes and what better place to go than one where a mule takes you to three of them from the village of Cuzama.

Cenotes are out of this world

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Later that evening we ventured into Chicxulub to see the annual 'Roscas de Reyes" put on by the local bakery for the whole town.

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I have always wanted to go into town on a Saturday to see the Noche Mexicana at the top of Paseo Montejo. So we took the bus into Merida and met up with those who took a trip to Sotuta de Peon Henequen Plantation. I thought it would be nice to walk along the Paseo at night with all the lights on the trees and the houses. We were invited to a lovely meal at a new La Recova restaurant on our favourite dancing square. I love it when their beach one opens right before Easter only 2 blocks from my house. We strolled back to the Montejo for the Folklore dancing and the artisans market. What a lovely evening ending our stroll back to the car whereby we stumble upon a little cluster of Frenchmen selling their wares. We took home a lovely bottle of wine. How could the French resist such a delight. Squeezing four into the back seat of the car was quite interesting as I was comfy in the passenger seat in the front. It sometimes helps to have a big backside!!

Another meal at the Patrullero in Chicxulub was the Frenchies choice as their last Mexican meal, how can you go wrong with fried fish or coconut shrimp! Rainer and Catherine joined us and were very delighted with this little treasure.

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Monday morning trailed as they got their bags packed up to leave. A quick run over to inflate a tire was in order before loading up the car too much; wouldn't want to have a flat on their way in to Merida. It was really sad to see them go as I had become accustomed to having them around. No more French to confuse myself with Spanish!!

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my dear friend Helene and her husband Willy.
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the four of them Ann, Jean-Michel, Willy and Helene

They will be thoroughly missed. I am not sure who will do the clean up after meals!

PAST HERE ARE MY ENTRIES FOR 2013

Posted by OhUiginn 14:22 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

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