A Travellerspoint blog

Week 7 in the Yucatan

Sotuta de Peon

sunny 25 °C

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


My parents at Sotuta de Peon

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

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

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

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

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

large_4F5D26DE2219AC6817B5BE16AB2090E8.jpgChaya drink

Chaya drink

our breakfast of huevos motuleno and chaya drink

here is a video of how they make this chaya drink

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


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

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

around the Plaza Grande

Here is photos of the new hotel I mentioned last week

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

The dancing in Santa Lucia square

My Mom watching the dancers

our old friend "Pocket Pal" from last year

taking a break from dancing

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

the other Chaya Restaurant

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

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

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

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

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

Week 6 half way of my stay in Chicxulub

My parents arrive too

sunny 34 °C

Week 6 In Chicxulub

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



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

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

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


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

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

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


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


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


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




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



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


I forgot my camera and missed so many great photos.

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

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

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

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

Week Five in the Yucatan

sunny 26 °C

Week five in Chicxulub

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

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


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Sunday 3rd Feb

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

photos of the houses along Calle Deportivas

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

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


Here are a few sites along the bike route


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


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

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

Monday is blog posting day!

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

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

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

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

Week Four

sunny 32 °C

I wake up every day around 6:30-6:45. Not sure why as I sleep in at home. I do enjoy the early morning with the sun light changing how my terrace view is; and the sea is usually very calm at this time. (Unless there is a Norte). On Mondays and Wednesday I also see the arrival of the Cruise ship at the end of the 5 km (muelle) pier. It is too bad they don't allow you to walk it. It is the longest pier in the world. It is so shallow here due to the Chicxulub Crater formed by the meteor that hit here and wiped out the dinosaurs all those years ago. What is strange is you still find pieces of the rock on the beach.

It is hard to believe that I am on the fourth week of my stay-cation. The day started off looking promising with the sun and calm waters. It did not take long before the wind picked up and the clouds rolled in. Dara and I went for a walk along the beach to Progreso. I took pictures along the way. Some of the houses have had some work done and others are even more run down than last year. Before 2008 there were far more of these houses looking in great shape. So many places have deteriorated since then. I took some pics along the walk

ED6350CD2219AC68178E5C49BB7A3F86.jpgED6FAF6F2219AC68173E5FD605E397DA.jpgED7729ED2219AC681746F11F31147DFD.jpgED8AA8892219AC68172019DBA42D5A8F.jpgour walk into Progreso along the beach

our walk into Progreso along the beach


Our third stitch along happened with Sharon joining us and Jackie not being here so there were still only 4 of us. I do hope it grows a bit bigger. While we where relaxing knotting Dara had gone in to Merida to buy a DVD player to replace theirs as it was not working well after the rain. Once Dara got into Progreso he called and walked to meet at Yacuna Hotel to listen to the jam session. It was rather entertaining but we were quick to appreciate how good 'the Garden of Weeds' band really is. We decided to eat lunch and really enjoyed the food.

Today we woke to a lovely clear sky and calm seas. I took my new tommy bahama beach chair to the beach and sat there enjoying the comfort of this lovely chair and having my feet in the soft sand just the other side of the wall. I read my book listening to the waves lapping the beach and thinking of all my friends and family stuck back home in -40C weather and thank every minute that I am here in the warmer weather.

Later we walked up to meet Maggie and John then walk over to the Pig Roast dinner at La Lupita Restaurant. We were the second to arrive only minutes after Ian and Sheila and so this year we got really great seats for us and a few others who were joining our table. Manuel puts on a lovely feast and festivities of dancers. The quality of the dancing was much more professional than the last one we were at. Little Alexis came by to our table and took a picture of Dara with him. I will have to compare it with last years photo. He was quite the little man going around clearing the tables of their empties. He was so cute and always had a big smile on his face, we all melted and each one of us gave him a 10 pesos over the night he must have made a pretty penny. I hope he gets to keep it all for his hard work.


After the dancing we were entertained with mariachis playing all our favourite tunes we are all associate with Mexico!! I am sure you know the ones I mean; no need to mention them.

I love the fact that we can walk home from everywhere. We can take a bus if we have bags of groceries.

I admire Manuel and his family planning these little soirees and inviting people to their restaurant for an evening of food and entertainment. This is very entrepreneurial of him. This winter they are going to do two evenings with hope those who missed it in January will get a second chance to attend.

I managed to sleep in to 8am for the first time. I was pleased to see another nice day was upon us. I was on the lounge chair outside thinking about how lovely my life is. I was listening to the waves lapping the beach the light breeze blowing; watching after the dancing we were entertained with the mariachis playing all our favourite tunes we are all associate with Mexico!! I am sure you know the ones I mean; no need to mention them.

At noon Carmita arrived at our home to discuss some ideas she had for Dara to help some boys in a school in the afternoon. ( Dara write about it)

We also had another task for today and that was to go and find out what was going on with a poor family that has not shown up at Dispensa for three months. We rode the bus as we had a heavy bag of their Christmas hamper to deliver. This family is at the end of the bus line right on the corner. calle 4 in Chicxulub. When we arrived at this small home where 5 people live. The mother along with a 19 year old Erik; 17 year old Juan Carlos; 15 year old Dora ; Hector 13 and 4 year old Edgar. Mom was on a job in Merida; Erik was off fishing.

The 15 year old was there taking care of her lttle brother. The conversation was something like this ... "Carmita would like to go with you, if possible to speak with Crisanta. It was her referral that got her on the roster. During the conversation I would like to know if Eric still wants to go to school (Tech in Progreso) and if he did could they manage on her salary? I have someone who is looking to fund someone to attend a program to improve his/her future and her oldest son might fit the bill. The couple need to know the costs for a year's program and if manageable they might help Eric get his degree in engineering and improve their future."

You come away from there not having seen inside their home this time, feeling good that we help families. Walking along the street with Carmita was interesting. She is a very intelligent woman who knows what needs to be done to help change things here but is powerless to make a big change. Her contribution to Chicxulub is the best thing she can be doing and hope that others will follow her example.

We were done in time for me to join the ladies at Bamboo beach for lunch before the bingo game.

This bingo is the only bingo I have ever played; ;last year and this time. It is interesting to see how the cards are reused by covering the numbers with shells; beans or pennies yes canadian pennies. (now that they are no valid why not) I was at a table of 6 women and it seemed to be the best table there; all but one won something with Maggie getting the jackpot with the the 50/50 draw of 1000 pesos. Most games were 200pesos winnings and two games of 500 pesos. Yes I was the only non winner at our table after 12 games. It was well worth the 16$ it cost me for the fun afternoon.

Walking home I searched for my earring that I lost the night before. I seem to have issues with earrings on this trip. Not so lucky with this second set. I will have to get Jorge to make me another one.!

The rest of the evening continued back to where I started my day on the lounge chair watching the sun set and continue my knitting with yarn I was donated at home by Emma and make a shawl to sell at the next bazaar.

We ventured back in Merida today, with hopes to ride bicycles along the closed off route. We kept asking where to find the bikes and it was further and further away. At this church that was built in 1562 at L'Ermita. This is where they lend you bikes for free, it was 10:45 and there were no bikes left to use and they said that you had till 11 to borrow a bike but it had to be returned by 11:30. We waited to see if anyone showed up by 11 to use one but there was no luck. We looked around the church where there was mass being said and people were spilled out into the outside on chairs or the wall listening to mass. It was right at the homily when we happened to be walking by. What drivel he was saying about doing your homework was to please god!!!!




I was perplexed at the bike situation and need to look into it further for next week. ( why didn't I do this before this knowing this was what we planned to do?????) I did see several bikes that say "se renta" or "rentme". Looking up on the internet I found an article about biking in Merida and mention of two places to rent them. So we are on for next Sunday!! I guess it was not meant to be this week. We knew John and Maggie were coming into town too so I called to see if they wished to join us for lunch at " Chaya Maya" restaurant that Alexis and I went to on our first trip to Merida.


We continued our walk around to watch the dancing again on the Santa Lucia park and to check out our hotels for the Carnival.


Maggie and I continued checking out the vendors while John and Dara went to check out the Cathedral but it was now closed. LOL I love to people watch in this Plaza Grande! It is not full of tourist yet there are several of them around it is the locals that come out and walk around on a Sunday. In front of the Governors Mansion there is usually some form of entertainment. It was nice to stay in town a little later than we usually do and take in the ambiance. The stalls are still set up at 5pm. When we got back to Progreso Dara decided to run home and the rest of us fools took the bus!!


As I sit on the patio and read noticing the two boats on the horizon. Knowing how both are so different one is a cruise ship full of tourists who aren't all that interested in where they are heading and another is coming home with his catch after several days at sea. His family waiting on the shore somewhere for their return. Fisher men's life is so uncertain. One turns left to the pier and the other turns right probably heading towards Chicxulub. My thoughts turn to Erik who could easily have been on this boat. His having to drop out of school he so wanted to attend, after his father died so that he could work to help support his family. But let's hope we can change that.

It is so nice not to have anything planned and just take int he light breeze and go for a swim in the lovely ocean. As I entered the water I was admiring the colour that so many people think as dirty is just churned up sand. It is just sand at the bottom; there were ripples on the ocean making a contrast the reflection of the blue sky and the sandy water looking an olive green. A picture will not show this very well.


Posted by OhUiginn 16:44 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Week Three

Arrival of El Norte with a huge change in weather!

We started off the week with such lovely weather as it had been since I arrived and this continued on Wednesday as well. Keep reading to see more details of how it all changed

On the 15th of every month from 11:00-12:00, the Chicxulub Food Bank distributes food to 88 families called La Dispensa. Normally when you arrive at 10:30 there is a long cue to the end of the block but today for some reason there were only about a dozen people. This was a surprise to all and Sharon even asked the question "This is the 15th right?" What had happened was the day before the government had come and handed out 100 grocery bags to the needy families and we wondered if they then thought this "Dispensa" was not happening this month. But it seems that the word spread that we were there and only 6 families didn't show up! If a family misses three months they are removed from the list. They also must bring their card or they don't get the food. It is the only way to have some control over the situation.
I had the pleasure of distributing the vitamins to the families with kids under 10: drops for the infants; liquid for the toddlers and pills for the older ones. One of the first little girls to come up with her mother was a 4 year old. I asked her her name but couldn't hear her shy voice, then she said it louder and to my delight she is Andrea; what are the chances. She was so delighted that we had the same name. All but 6 families showed up for their food and 2 that had missed their christmas hampers got them but there are still 2 more. Dara and I might help out Sharon by going to see what is happening with these 6 families, as if they miss 3 in a row they are removed from the list. It feels so good to be helping these lovely friendly people just a little bit. Last year Jean had taken pictures and she decided to print them up and put them on a board for them to see and take theirs home. Some of them never get to have a photo of themselves. Seeing their eyes light up at the receiving of this photo makes you realize how little they have.


This weeks Stitch Along had the same four people but a few more say they will be here next week. I would like to see it grow by at least a few more. It was still really nice chatting.

This evening we were invited to dine at Lorraine and Austin's home with their guest Nancy who is from Winfield BC, Debbie and Don from Newfoundland. What an simply delightful evening with such lovely people. The food preparation was shown by the caretaker who took them shopping for their goodies; we had sopes and chilles rellenos. The food was delicious. While sitting at the table suddenly we heard the wind start up. It was raining on our walk to the house but now it was coming down in buckets.
We called for a taxi to take us home as the rain was just coming down too hard to walk. When we got in to our house we found that the rain had come in through the top half of the window and covered the sofa and the TV with water.


This of course now means it doesn't want to work. the box for the cablemas that was only just bought for us will not start and the TV that we worked so hard to get them to provide us with an HD TV only on this past Monday (yes two days ago) will not work anymore. We left the fan on overnight to see if that helped. We mopped up all the water on the floor (filled a whole bucket)

The next day we tried the TV again and still not working. But I discovered how so much rain came in; the widow was coming away from the frame and was ready to come crashing on to the floor. We contacted the landlords right away and 30 min later there was someone here working on both items. As when I went to have a shower this morning there was no water. To make matters worse when I went to make tea there was no gas in the tank I had bought a week earlier. I had to hurry and get ready to sell my wares at the Muelle Market. So not being able to shower or have a cup of tea was not going over very well with me!! Poor Dara was having to deal with an irate woman!! LOL He was getting the caretaker to check the water while I was having a sponge bath! Off I left with my three bags over my shoulder and caught the bus. Due to this weather Nola had thought it best to cancel the event as she thought no one would show up. Someone told her to keep it on as it was advertised all over the place. I said to her with the cooler weather and no sun people would come by as they had nothing else to do! Well sure enough it was packed. Reunion time for so many people as the first weeks of Jan is when so many show up. There were 16 vendors and half of us were expats and the rest were Mexicans. A nice mix of different things found around the interior of Bamboo Beach. I found some things to buy of course. I did well selling enough to feed a family next year. Nola was so delighted with the numbers that showed up from all over the area, because of this she decided to increase the frequency to every other week. Ian and Sheila had arrived the night before and were full of piss and vinegar as always. Dara was meeting these crazy people for the first time and joined John and Maggie for breakfast at Panteleones. I will have to get busy over the next two weeks to make enough more coasters for the future markets. The new additions this year were popular: the wine glass sets sold out. I also had iPad covers along with matching iPhone covers too. I was busy making a second one in a less bright colour.


My purchases90_D7E464E42219AC6817CB43C4F94887D4.jpg

When we returned home we got someone in to fix the hot water heater and the window before it falls in. First the plomero shows up to fix the hot water heater but hasn't got the part. The Window guy then shows up and he doesn't have the parts to fix it or even the right size screws. Our caretaker has to go into town to buy the screw but this is only going to hold it in place till they show up tomorrow to fix it at 11am.

Smoked pork chops for dinner are in order. These are one of my favourites here. I have only found them once in Canada.

Well after waiting all day to see if the TV would miraculously work again we gave up and moved the DVD into the old bedroom TV. The owners have asked us to wait and see if it dried out enough to work again.!!!!

One thing after another. Lets see what happens next. It wouldn't be fun if all went well!!

By Friday the winds have died down a bit but not gone yet and the clouds are still hanging around with cold temps still lingering on. We waited all morning for someone to show up to do one of the repairs. Of course that never happened so after lunch we went for a walk to get out of the house. The caretakers went off to find another plumber to come and look at the hot waster tank and he came by to look at it and decide that there are two parts needed just as the other one determined too. He will be back "Mañana" the problem with Manana is that it never comes!!!!

The seas have calmed down a bit!

Tonight is Fish and Chip night so called the old couples to find out if they were going there. I hope John will play some music tonight. Well John and Maggie didn't come tonight so we ate alone with Ian and Sheila but there were so many others there. Bev from next door and her guests were there. Suzanne and her husband were there along with Brin and Nola. But they didn't have a good meal experience. Their fish was under cooked. Ours was fine Dara and i shared the "todo frito" together. We also shared a banana split this time.

We got a ride home as Ian had picked up my Tommy Bahama chair at Costco today. We had them come in to see our home and have a drink with us and gab a bit longer.
I did a demo on my chair and they we well impressed with the way it goes right down flat.

Another great evening was enjoyed by Dara and I. He is seeing what it is about this place that appealed to me returning here again. I feel that I may just come again next year! It is a cheap enough a place to live and have a fun social life and no snow!!

Another delayed day today waiting for the workers to show up and of course just as we give up and are set to go for a walk one of them comes along. He looks at what needs to be done and goes away again!! Not long after he returns with a car full; his kids carrying the tool box and the ladder. It was done in a few minutes but the plumber was a different story. He needed to get a different part than he has and will not be back until Tuesday!!! LOL

By the time we managed to get away for our walk it had warmed up significantly. I was beach-combing for treasures the sea might have left behind. I was a bit disappointed but didn't return empty handed. Dara was not satisfied with the one hour walk and so he kept on trekking to Progreso.

David and Conchita were having an opening of their restaurant and some traditional dancing so I went along there and met Dara there. This place has a long way to go to be a restaurant but the evening went well. The dancers were terrific with even a little 4 year old making a best effort; my eyes were fixed on her.


The magaritas were flowing like water. They say they will be open in two weeks!! If they are it is only two blocks from our house so that will be great! Botanas (snacks) were to be brought by everyone and so when we ran out we just walked a block to OXO to buy more. I had made spaghetti sauce just before going to this event, to use on Sunday but decided to invite John Maggie; Ian Sheila and Diane to come over for an impromptu spaghetti dinner. On the way home was the bread truck so bought a few bollios (buns) to have with the dinner. Diane brought more pasta to use and the others brought some light beer knowing we don't drink that!!! LOL It was a great evening of laughs and all round fun. There is nothing like these spontaneous dinners.

Sunday is Symphony Orchestra Day in Merida, Ian and Sheila decided to join us and drove us into town. We went early to be sure to get tickets. There were only a couple of people in line as we got there just as it was to open at 10am but of course it wasn't open as why would you open when you say you would. We got our 4 tickets and I also bought two tickets for a March concert, hoping to find someone who would come with me then. I may have a guest staying with me at that time? We had some to kill before the concert started so Sheila and I went around the square looking at the vendors and their wares. I made note of the things I like and even took photos to know what they were. I love talking to the vendors about their work and what I like about their creations. I will be back!


The symphony was lovely! In celebration of the 200 years of Verdi and Wagner the Orquestra Sinfonica de Yucatan played for us the following: Giuseppe Verdi - Obertura la Fuerza del Destino; Obertura La Vispera Siciliana and Prludio al acto 1 de la Traviata. Followed by Richard Wagner - Obertura Rienzi. After intermission they continued with more wonderful music Verdi's - Obertura Nabucco followed by Wagner's Preludio al acto 1 de Lohengrin; Preludio al acto III de Lohengrin and finished with Obertura El Holandes Errante!!!

As always the 'sinfonia' is followed by lunch. We went to Ian and Sheila's favourite pizza place; it was ok but I am not sure I would return. I am fussy about my pizza and it was not to my standards. Last year I met a couple from Texas who had moved down to live in Merida; they bought a house in ruins and were renovating it. After a year of hard work on all parts it is now finished and I got in touch with them to see what they had accomplished. The four of us walked on over to their home on 70 y 55. They have two very spacious and modern apartments that they rent out for $30/ night. I will have to keep that in mind!
All very nicely done with lovely bathrooms with pressure showers!! Wouldn't that be a treat. The kitchen had all lovely dark wood built in cabinets and so did the bathrooms. They have a nice sitting area and bar outside in the garage with a nice pool that has a rock fountain. The painter did some lovely murals to accent the walls in this area. The stairs going up to the two appt are the foundation for the rock waterfall. I didn't have my camera to take photos!!!!!!! and my phone was dead LOL

this morning's sky and calm water

I say I can't believe how long it is taking to get our hot water tank fixed, but this is Mexico where things are rarely done with one try or in a day!! I was fed up with cold showers so went for a walk to Progreso along the beach. The tide was coming up by this time and so I walked along the road. Today being "Cruise ship Day" there were vendors along the Malecon. I walked by watching the crazy tourists playing voleyball on the beach. It reminded me of last year when they were still working on the new Malecon and workers had stopped working to watch this young lady with barely nothing covering her body. I had a good giggle! I discovered they were now working on the extension under the pier to connect to the other side where there is another Malecon.

I am pleased to tell you that we now have hot water and the old TV has returned to the table and the HD TV taken away for repairs. I won't hold my breath that it will return.

Stay tuned for more adventures

Posted by OhUiginn 19:39 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

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