A Travellerspoint blog

Week Two

Dara joins me in our home away from home

semi-overcast 33 °C

Without Alexis here to drag me for my walk I have not been doing as many as I should. With Dara arriving now, I will get him to be my incentive. the mornings are just so delightful. The water is calm and no wind. By the afternoon it can get really windy and too cool to sit out. This will be welcomed as the months progress. By the time you head to bed the winds have died down again and there is the need to put the fan on but with the windows open I hear the crashing waves and no dogs or traffic as I did last year.

Yes I did participate in the fashion show at the Bamboo Beach Restaurant. A fundraiser for the Chicxulub Food Bank.

As we expected things would not go quite as moothly as we had hoped. Olga's daughter showed up at 11:00am with our clothes and the show was to start at 11:15 so with a bit of scrambling we managed to get out there and strut our stuff. I was not in the least bit nervous and and had a hoot.
We had a bit of a traffic jam at one point but it all worked out in the end and we managed to show all our clothes in 30 min. I wore 4 outfits as the 5th one didn't look good with the tank top I brought.

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Me and the others on the runway!! LOL

There were some wonderful botanas and two glasses of wine included in the price of the ticket. These botanas are wonderful, there is a dip made from ground pumpkin seeds called "pepita molida" I loved it so much I brought some home with me to use as it is really good for your health but do you think I remembered to use it, most is still in my freezer at home. I guess it is something you eat more here. They also had "kibis" which I ate last year for the first time but it is a lebanese dish. Another item was this queens arm : http://www.yucatanliving.com/food/a-different-queens-arm.htm ) and last but not least fish empanadas; these were all filling enough as a meal. Door prizes and many raffle prizes were donated by the vendors of the Muelle Market; this included a set of glasses with my coasters.

I really enjoyed myself today and was quite touched when some people I didn't even know came up to me to say how fantastic I looked in the clothes I modeled. I do plan to buy some of what I wore. Another lady who is also a big woman, that I do know came up to me and thanked me for participating in the show and how nice it was to see that these clothes really look great on larger women as well as the skinny one. I felt the same way. Dunes clothes made in Guadalajara are definitely being designed to look great on many different women. I have found these clothes in Ottawa at Marianne's in Westgate shopping center.

Our fun came to an end around 2pm and boy was it ever a hot day. 7 of us departed and headed home on one of the combi buses. I suddenly noticed that he was not picking up anyone along the way as he normally does. I couldn't figure out why as there was still room in our bus for more people. Once we told him what corner we needed to get off at he decided to take up all the way to our home. The roads in this area are one way and so heading into Progreso we are two blocks away from our house and heading into Chicxulub we are one. So he drove us all the way to our town houses ( I live next door to the other couples in Leones town houses) So he received a generous tip from us for driving us to the our home. He turned around and returned to Chicxulub to start up his fares again! He just decided this on his own as we never even suggested it to him. This is why I like it here. The locals really are so willing to please everyone. There is such a nice easy going way of looking at life here. No one is in a hurry and everyone is friendly.

Dara joined us in Merida via the Ado bus to Alta Brisa, where Carole and I met him in her car and took him to our home. It was very nice of Carole to do this for us. It was a great saving of time. It certainly is nice to have Dara here to experience what this place has to offer.

The next day I hosted my first Bitch and Stich group. At first there was only Maggie and I wondered what I was doing but soon another lady came and a little bit later one more. I can't for the life of me remember names. I will learn them once we get together more. Maybe we need name tags. It was so nice to have two people I have not spent time with before join us. It was going outside the box of friends I have spent time with last year. Maggie being the rock and consistence is nice too. I also learned about there being a group of International Women in Merida that meet once a month and in addition have a high tea at someones home. I will try and join in on this group as 28 years ago back in 1985 I participated in this group in Mexico City. I enjoyed it so much back then that I now look forward to joining in again.

http://iwcmerida.com/

We also discussed the play in Merida called "the love letters" being performed by someone known here in Progreso. This is happening on the 29th and just might go into town to see this.

While I had my group Dara walked along the beach to join John at the condo complex I was in last year. They had never met but hit it off as I knew they would, right away. After they left Maggie and I took the bus into Progreso to meet up with them at "Parlamento" Dara had called to tell me that this was where they were!! LOL It is also known as Barlovento!!! It is situated on calle 80 across from the Artenaneas Market open on "Cruise ship" days only (Mon and Wed) It is a very popular place with the local expats and where we watch the tourists from the cruise ships make total fools of themselves. Not that plenty of the expats tend to do that with all the drinking that often goes on by the late afternoon.

I tend to want to leave before they are too drunk LOL We had a call from our landlords saying they would be at the house by 2pm so off we went to catch the bus home. Of course they didn't show up till 3pm but who cares as I don't have any appt. You have to not let any of this ever bother you and then you will be just fine here.

On Thursday I had to go into Merida to see my dentist about my broken tooth. So we decided to take in the new museum " El Gran Museo del mundo Maya"
http://granmuseodelmundomaya.com/v1/
We had seen it under construction last year. The timing of the opening was good as it is the start of the new Mayan era.

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Gran Museo del Mundo Maya

I will get Dara to write about the museum:

Off we went on a old rattling bus to the museum. You can imagine the expectations - bits of old rock and the odd headdress awaited. But it was not to be like that at all. The Maya Museum is absolutely superb experience. Recently opened, a great mix of multimedia and real materials combined with one of the best architectural designs one could expect. Reminiscent of the Bird's Nest in Beijing it is modern and built with plenty of great stonework. The initial IMAX-like video was all about the little stone (giant meteor) that hit exactly where we are staying in Chicxulub. It was some 10Km across and resulted in the extinction of the Dinosaurs and more than a few other creatures. But out of the ashes came renewal and eventually a great Mayan civilization. Of course you cannot create such a thing but that some strangely dressed lads (Spaniards) come along and spoil the whole thing. The Spaniards really took the whole place to bits and had a field day killing and maiming and general mayhem. It has taken hundreds of years but now th eMaya are a growing people again and somehow managing to take their place as an integral part of the overall magic that is Mexico. The museum does a splendid job of the history and the tradition and stories of the Mayans and one of the best few hours I have spent in a good while. That is, of course unless you count the hours sitting idle in the heat and reducing the inventory of beer on the beach.

My dentist appt was at 1pm so off we went taking the bus to the Hyatt and walking over to the CMA. It was great to see a dentist who feels that not all work is necessary. He gave me three options: one to fix the inlay; two drill a post and put a crown; leave it alone. His recommendation was to leave it alone and just smoth it out a bit. The tooth is what is left and it is fine, no fillings or sharp pieces to catch on food or any pain with hot or cold; so for the time being leave it alone. There was no charge for this consultation. He also thanked me for referring Carole and Steve to him as they have had implants done . Carole is very pleased with the work he did for her. I will certainly get them done with him if I need them down the road. So for now leave well enough alone. We asked him for a recomendation of a restaurant in walking distance: La Pigua: http://www.lapiguamerida.com/
and to have the house specialty, the Sir Francis Drake salad for two, a large seafood salad prepared with the house vinaigrette. We did and were really delighted with the food and the lovely service; very attentive and professional. It reminded me so much of Mexico City restaurants. Apparently there is one in Campeche too that others we spoke to later had been to and were really delighted.

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Sir Francis Drake salad

When we got home we thought we would have a quiet night in but John called to ask us to join them at the Italian restaurant by the sea. We never got to it last year and so decided since it was a farewell to Carole we would go.

It was our first time at Elio al Mar Restaurant. We were the only guests at this place but who cares. A few people had mentioned they didn't like this place as the service was poor but hard to be poor when you are the only table there. Dara and I weren't all that hungry and so ordered a dish to split one of pecan pasta and a garlic fish filet. The fish was something other than grouper but do you think I can remember the spanish name so that I could look it up!! LOL
Dinner with such lovely friends is always so nice. These are the people that make returning here worthwhile. Carole will be missed but going back to work is essential for her at this time. Big changes are coming for her life! We are sure she will do well. She is in a good space at the moment and needs to do this for her. Janet at 85 years joined us and she has been coming here for 17 years now and the last three without her husband as he passed down here. I admire her for continuing to come here to get away from the cold winter days in Kenora. John and Maggie are who they are and we love spending time with them. They say it like it is. Dara is quickly seeing why I love it here.

Saturday Jan 12 is our son Liam's 27th birthday, so since I have a new iPad this year with the camera I thought it fitting to do FaceTime with him and Marianna. The quality seems to be better than Skype!

Walking in either direction on the beach will bring us to our village or the bigger one with 54K inhabitants. To Chicxulub it is a 30 min walk and to Progreso it is 50 min all the way in. We usually try to do a walk early enough in the morning but we were meeting our friends Lorraine and Austin for lunch. So walking along the beach towards Chicxulub was a bit hotter at 1230, but the breeze made it bearable. We were the first customers in the Petrullero restaurant but that didn't last for long. We had "pescado frito" as planned. The two fish brought to our table was 900gr. and there was plenty for four people. It is a good deal three beers and a lemonade along with the fish comes to 150 pesos which is only 12$ It was a delight sharing this meal with Lorraine and Austin. Lorraine is from New Orleans and Austin from Cornwall. Who would have thought they would connect. Back in those days Cornwall was where you were from but not where you went to. Austin was working in New Orleans where he met Lorraine but soon after they returned to Cornwall to the farm. Walnut Ridge. They grow black walnuts. We will have to check it out this summer.

Our plans to go into Merida changed to the following week. We had been going left and right too much and have a busy week ahead with the dispensa on Mon and Tues. We will go to the symphony orchestra at that time too. Dara just can't handle the pace!! Instead we walked into Progreso for breakfast at Sol y Mar. it is just 40 min walk into town where the Malecon starts. The restaurant is only a block in from the Malecon which is the water front walk. last year it was redone for the third time in so many years. There are showers all along for you to rinse off after a swim in the ocean. As we arrived the vendors were setting up their tables for the weekend sales. They had to fight to get to have their tables on this lovely delightful 500m walkway. The traffic moves nice and slowly in east to west direction. I did see Jorge setting up his table of jewelry. He seems to have a good business going. He pops up everywhere! It was getting too hot to walk back and so at the end of the Malecon we walked in to take the bus home.

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Dara eating his Huevos Rancheros

Here I was quietly sitting at the table writing this blog while Dara took a nap, the caretakers kids show up with a lovely plate of Pescado Frito for us what a delight. The platter looks so delightful. I am really impressed. I had to wake Dara to eat it while it was still hot. I guess we shall pass on dinner tonight. We watched them fishing for this fish but had no idea they would give us some of their catch. The generosity of the Yucatecas is so delightful. I had no idea as we watched them fishing that they would share their catch.

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fishing in front of the house

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Pescado Frito

Sitting on the patio enjoying the evening sky and listening to "the Bridge" on serius radio , listening to kids in the ocean playing in the waves; as the sun is setting; writing this blog and enjoying every minute. How great is this life! I am so fortunate to be here with my wonderful husband. I really hope we can make this a regular spot for the winter months.

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the sun set sky

Monday Jan 14th "Dispensa prep day"

A nice way to end the weeks blog: helping with the Chicxulub Food Bank prep day. It is nice to be back involved with the Food Bank. We have 88 families that are being helped once a month. It is nice to do a little bit every month but I would like to do a bit more. I need to find something to do on a weekly basis. I have now been here two weeks of vacation mode, now it is time to help give back to those in need. As some of you heard last year I crocheted coasters for your glasses and your beer cans to help with the absorption of the condensation. I hope to see more this year along with some other items I have made. We were about 12 people at Bamboo beach all helping with the filling of the bags with 8 items: 1kg rice 1kg beans; salt; sugar; powdered milk; 1l oil cookies and pasta. We also include a bag of detergent once we hand them out. It is a great proccess of making four piles of the 8 items then fill a bag and put them up against the wall. We fill them until we have 88 bags filled. There was a slight glitch this month with one of the bags having 2kg bags of rice instead of 1kg so we set those bags to one side to give to families we know are larger and could do with a bit more food. But this meant we were short 10 bags of rice so off we went to the corner store to pick some up. All sorted and finished in 30 min. Brin Dara and I stayed for a bite to eat which normally has more people but we were the only ones to stay on. It is so generous of the restaurant to allow this place to distribute the food to the most needy of their community. In the village of Chicxulub there are about 6,000 people. The main industry is fishing. Of course, this work is at the mercy of the weather and between the hurricane and the norte seasons often the port is closed so there is no opportunity to go out fishing. Therefore we have families who have limited resources to care for their families. We also have elderly people who rely on their children to care for them and help them on a day-to-day basis. I do realize this is just a drop in the bucket to what they need. It feels good to help them knowing that 100% of my donation goes to feed them. Sharon who runs this donates her time and administration to the program. There are not too many charities that can claim this.

Upon my return home I met a woman from Blackburn Hamelet who was saying to me that she had been in Wabi Sabi just before Christmas with her daughter and had seen the display of hand made items for sale; stumbleding upon the coasters, not knowing that they were mine, she said that she was caught off guard when she saw they were being sold for the Chicxulub Food bank. Her daughter bought a set!!

Tomorrow is the Dispensa where you will see this sort of scene

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Just as I was about to post this blog John and Maggie came up from the beach to have a drink with us. It is so nice to have them just walk here and sit with us on our patio enjoying a drink and my famous guacamole..!! I met another woman today at the food sorting and she just reaffirmed why I like it here. Last year they rented a place in Cozumel and came here for 4 days; where they met more people in that short time than the whole two months there. They also discovered that here has so much more to do than drinking and playing cards.

Stay tuned for more next week here in the Chicxulub Crater!!!!

Posted by OhUiginn 16:51 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Back in Mexico to escape the snow

First week on my own

semi-overcast 29 °C

This year Alexis decided to go to Hong Kong with Andy, as he was able to work there. I was not sure what I would do. I knew that I didn't want to stay home for the winter months. So in September I contacted my friend Sharon who runs the food bank to see what was available. She found me two places available one in her row of town houses and the other next door. I chose the one next door with it was a bungalow and therefore no stairs since my parents coming here to visit me this year. Sharon put me in touch with the landlords directly since I speak spanish. She sent me photos and I grabbed it right away.

Dara said he would join me for part of the time here. I got in touch with friends to let them know I had several bedrooms if they wanted to join me.
I booked my tickets and then waited to see who was going to come down. Dara then booked his flights and will spend 6 weeks with me along with my parents will spend 16 days in that time frame.

I chose to return here because I really enjoyed my time here last year. It is very laid back and a nice social life with other Canadians you would unlikely meet otherwise. What surprised me last year was the fact that not everyone was over 65 and there were others in my age bracket. They too have chosen to retire earlier on. While enjoying ourselves there is also the opportunity to volunteer to the small local community. Ever since I left there last year I have been working towards raising funds for the Chicxulub Food bank. I sold knitted items and my crochets coasters. I will now continue selling coasters so as to continue funding my three families

The attraction here is also the lack of resorts and a more local flair. I also like the fact that there is a bigger city closeby: Merida where there is all the stores I will need plus since the town is 470 years old so it has a lot of history; and cultural activities not meant for tourists.

My flight here didn't go as well as I had hoped but that is what it is. In my attempt to rush off the plane and get the 10:30 bus i stressed myself out and was forced to slow down when the red button was pushed. I had not had this happen to me in years. It would be unusual for everything to go in Mexico to go without a hitch. I should have taken the time to just relax upon my arrival and wait for the direct bus from the airport. I dragged three bags to Cancun Station. I only got there 30min faster in the end. I told Dara to not follow my crazyness and wait for the bus at the airport.
I had booked a car with Hertz and so thought it best to get there sooner but because I was late they gave my car away.

I arrived to my new home away from home at 6:30 only 1 hr late. But without all my groceries I thought I would have done by now.

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I was so excited to be back here that rather than unpack I drove over to my old Condo to see my friends there. It was like being home again. John had made sure to have my favourite beer in the fridge just for me. These are real friends. Catching up at what is happening around the place is great! I really feel loved here. On my way home I made another stop at my friend Brin's house knowing she is up late. I invited her along to shop in Merida knowing she doesn't get to go very often.

Since I had the car till 5:30 I invited friends to go with me to Merida for some shopping. If you had seen us you would think that I was never going to be able to shop again!! We were filled to the roof of the car. with three friends squished in with bags all around us!!

I also needed to find my favourite beer to supply my home with as it is only available at this time of the year. After going all over town for the beer I found it only two blocks from my home.

Carole was in town at our dentist with her sister Lucy, close to where I had to return my car. Just as I got into the car I noticed walking along the sidewalk this Mexican woman I had met last year. There is an interesting story that goes with this woman, whom I can't rememeber her name. I have to add something very odd. Last year Alexis and I met this lovely lady at Brin's home and had a lovely time talking with her. When we left on our last weeks adventure exploring the Yucatan, we stopped in a village to see the ruins that are right in the town square. It is the first stop on the 'Ruta Puc" well we were at the market and lo and behold there she was. Not sure of her name; and then drove her home with all her things. We were pressed for time so were unable to go into her home, which I regret not doing. Anyway that is the past and move on, I met up with Carole and Lucie, at the Fiesta Americana and got a ride home with them. But as we were pulling away on the Paseo Montejo I spotted this same ladie walking along the sidewalk. I opened the window and shouted hello. I just could not believe how I bumped into her again but in the big city!!!! There is something there!! Need to explore what that is! Apparently she is about to become a grandmother and so I will make a baby sweater set for her.

Check out my new digs!

Here is my first morning view from my patio

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View looking towards Progresso:

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View of the beach looking towards Chicxulub

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My neighbours

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looking from the beach to my bungalow:

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The house was bigger than I thought and so that was a real delight. They showed me around and explained this and that to me and then headed home to Merida!!

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A few more photos of the house:

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Kitchen views

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Master bedroom and bathroom

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Dara's den

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Carport from the front door

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Two guest rooms for all my friends and family

I am so glad to be back here. One of the things I really loved to do was walk into Chicxulub town along the beach to get fresh squeezed OJ. So I texted my friends to join me for my quest. It is such a pleasant walk along the beach where you don't come across anyone else except for a few fisherman tending to their boats. All along the walk are houses owned by rich Meridian people who use these in the same way as we do cottages. There are some that rent them out to Gringos like myself who want to get away from the snow. The request you leave at Easter so they can come for their 2 week "Semana Santa" This year it is the last week of March forcing us to return to our winte weather too soon
It is nice to be remembered not only by fellow Canadians, but the local Mexicans: the market guy; the juice man and other stores.

Fridays is often spent at Natasha's (aka Restaurant Panteleon) She is open for breakfast everyday and Friday nights there is a choice of fish and chips; todo frito which is f&c too plus shrimp and onion rings. Usually this place is hopping but tonight there were only 5 tables of people. There seems to be more competition with others doing a Friday night deal too. The nice thing is this place is only two blocks away. That will be good when my parents are here!

Who wouldn't want to have this as my morning view from their patio every morning

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Sharon came by to buy a few of my extra items from Costco. While sitting on my patio and catching up what is going on around here she happen to mention that she really needed more volunteers for her fashion show on Tuesday. I jumped in without really thinking about this clearly. They were heading to Merida in an hour to try on and choose the clothes for the fashion show. I took one look at the rest of the women and felt fine about how I look. We are all shapes and sizes. There was one particular person who just looked great in anything she tried on. It is not fair. I mentioned to Olga that the capri pants I had purchased last year ended up with holes after one wear each. She told me to return them to her for an exchange. I really appreciated this so contacted Dara to bring them down as I had of course forgotten to.

On that note I have been sending an email everyday of this and that, forgotten at home. This surely is the best way to do this; have Dara come a week later with all that you notice you need. It is hard to know what is missing in the home you have rented. So many people who return year after year have storage boxes full of their things. I might consider that if I return here again.

It will be really interesting to see how this fashion show goes after the massive confusion during rehearsal. LOL

Before I forget and leave it out again. There is this lovely fish restaurant only open on weekends; that the Meridians love to drive in to eat. It has the delicious pescado frito and coconut shrimp to die for. Last week on Sunday the Villa Del Mar gang joined me on my walk into the village of Chicxulub for a fish lunch. I had already had fish two days in a row and so chose to have the coconut shrimp as did Maggie, and Janet. John with his dislike to coconut chose a spicy shrimp dish which he tried to share with everyone as it seemed he had too much. I think his was a better shrimp value. Carole was the only one to get the pescado frito and we all eyed it wishing we had ordered it too. Not to worry I will certainly get it when I return with Dara.

My evenings are spent relaxed by on the patio listening to the waves crashing and the nice breeze keeping the mosquitos at bay! (only got bit the first night)

Posted by OhUiginn 19:48 Archived in Mexico Comments (2)

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