A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about yucatan

The End of a difficult year!

Lucky to be in the sun and heat! For a 4th week

sunny 32 °C

As we come to the end of a difficult year we hope this next one will not be too difficult to deal with considering who is entering the White House in a few weeks! We can only hope it will not be as bad as some are predicting.

Our friend Lorraine had been celebrating Hanukkah and so I decided it would be nice to have a dinner together on one of the 8 nights and make latkes. They brought their homemade menorah over and we celebrated with them but I didn't get a photo of the actual latkes. They turned out delicious if i may say so myself!


I walked along the beach to Linda's place and discovered that she is only 2.5km away! I must do this walk more often. I turned out to have walked 9.3 km in the end! I just don't do this everyday! I love walking around in Progreso and Merida as i am constantly finding new things. You'd think it would get boring but it never does!

Walking around Progreso and on calle 23 towards the end of this road (that i have never been to the end) we discover this lovely mosaic) Linda knew it was there from her daily walks and was keen to show it to me.
A new Oxxo opened and it is quite nice and big. there is an interesting story about this building. They bought this and started to take it down only to be fined as it was a historical building and they were ordered to return it to its original design and so now it is quite spectacular.


this is the story!

Normally, when a historic property is illegally torn down, the historic protection agency INAH files a complaint and at most, fines are paid. But when the convenience store chain Oxxo tore down this 117-year-old Casa Escalante to build a corner store, a federal judge issued a landmark ruling. Oxxo will be forced to rebuild a replica of this house.
The house, at Calle 76 and 27, was one of the first properties built in this port town. Oxxo leveled it in 2014, which INAH declared a criminal act.
The lawsuit was batted around in federal court for a little over a year.
The judge’s order to rebuild the home as it previously appeared was until yesterday unheard of in Yucatán, the local newspapers report.
Casa Escalante was the port city’s first shipping and customs agency, José Gabriel Escalante y Sucres, and remained in the hands that family’s heirs until 2014 when they sold the property to Oxxo.

My Huevos Motuleno
Arriving in Progreso after having a lovely breakfast at Davids it had been raining here but not where I was. It was a surprise to see so much water on the streets

After our weekly game of Euchre I said to Dara we should go for fish and chips and just as we are waiting for it to be time to go our caretaker shows up with a lovely plate of fried fish!


I sit here typing and suddenly there are runners coming along the beach and keep going back and forth. Oh wait this is an actual race as they all have numbers on them!


The funny thing is Facebook informs me that this is an annual race and I was just as surprised December 31st 2015! Told you I can't remember things!

Happy New Year in the Yucatan!
We celebrated at Austin and Lorraine's along with several other people. Don't ask me to remember everyone's names! I know Linda, Brooke and Don's name. I am sure there was a Mary as there are so many of you and let's see if I can put them all together. Well all I needed to do was to look up the fun game we played. It was a list of things each one of us did in our past and you had to go around and guess who did what by asking each other. This forced you to mingle and I love games that do that. So here are the names of the people on the piece of paper. I did manage to get them all in the time allotted. There was a Bud who kept a clean driving record by talking his way out of traffic tickets! Keith managed to drive a stock car at the age of 16. One that I didn't know and this is probably one of the only photos taken of Linda; she appeared on the cover of a magazine wearing a bikini! Yes our Linda! Maybe that is why she doesn't like her photo taken anymore! Another interesting one was Don hitch-hicked for months through Europe and North Africa but turned down going to India, instead returned to Canada to do him MBA! Did he make the right choice? Mine was the year on the 'hippie skip' (ship misspelled but of course understood) sailing on Sofia across the high seas! And last but not least was Dara's Shikoku Pilgrimage that he is about to repeat this year.


After dinner we did a fun 5 pin sand-bottles with coconuts bowling! After a few turns one of the coconuts started to leak and spew out milk all over the place . We had a blast!

The evening ended with the burning of the old man but not before we whacked it for our candy.


Another tradition that continues is the burning of the “old year.” The figure is normally a life-size image of an old man with used clothing, stuffed with cotton and firecrackers. It is placed outside of houses for several days before December 31st, to be burned at midnight as a symbol of leaving behind the past and everything that happened in the previous year. The families and neighbors usually get together to see him “go off” on the old night.
Some prefer having a piñata in the form of the old man, or maybe representing a political figure or famous character. it’s also burned at midnight on December 31st. (But we did it at 10pm)
The origin of this tradition is not known, but it is widely accepted and has a lot of symbolism, because the fire is a transition ritual burns and purifies and regenerates energy.
For those who don’t like firecrackers, the piñata can be without them and filled with candies to share instead. (As we did) In recent years we have also seen paper balloons rising to the sky during the night as a symbol of good luck and petitions for the year that is about to start.

A fun tradition that is easy to do here as we are able to be outside! Not something easily done back home! LOL

We will start off the year with a film Merida at the VIP theatre with Austin Lorraine and the lovely Linda I met at the Toronto Airport who is here for the first time! This is the way to watch a movie: leather reclining seats with a menu to choose from and get served at your seat! All this is only 6$ with our seniors discount! The choice was 'Snowden' or Rogue and since I am not a Star Wars fan nor are the others (except for Dara) you can see who rules in choices! I really enjoyed how they told this story especially since we knew what it was about. It made the whole thing quite clear! Too bad Obama hasn't pardoned him. He continues to live, happily with his girlfriend in Moscow!

A walk along the beach is in order today and then I'll meet up with Brin at Silcer beach club. The walk didn't happen due to lack of time and Silcer was closed! It will have to be for another time. I love the faces they have decorating their beach!

We wandered down to La Antigua for a beer. They have a lovely selection of artisan beer and for the season there is one nice bock beer that is flavoured with real chocolate from the region. My friend had the stout but said there is another one she prefers. Sheena and Adam will be delighted with these new beers!


After three hours of chatting and getting caught up with one another as it had been two years since we saw each other or even heard from one another! Hearing about her adventures of a year in Cuba and her trek around South America , over that time, made me want to do more than just coming here! I decided to walk home along the beach. It was 5pm so it had to be a faster walk as the sun would be setting soon. It was also challenging as it was high tide and so there was lots of walking in the water where the beach had disappeared but with the sand bags in the water it made for comfortable stepping stones. I did make it home before dark. It is about 50min from the start of the Malecon.


Posted by OhUiginn 06:39 Archived in Mexico Tagged yucatan progreso chicxulub Comments (0)

Week two

The week before Christmas

sunny 29 °C

Week Two in Yucatan


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

View from the beach looking in!

Walking towards our home on calle 54

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

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

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

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

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

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

The house beside the big one was where we were!

The December one includes the spouses. It was to be held at the publish author Joanna Gracht ( https://writingfrommerida.wordpress.com/2016/12/19/los-alebrijes-a-new-restaurant-in-merida/) but it had to move to her daughter in laws home Jeanette De Rosado. It really was nice to see some familiar faces and a few new ones.

Our friend Valerie Pickles was in attendance and informed us of her good news (for her not the rest of us) that she had sold her lovely bed and breakfast spot ( http://www.thepickledonionyucatan.com/) We loved going there in Santa Elena whenever we or our guests went to visit Uxmal. She will have a huge adjustment to make not having that to occupy her time. She has purchased a beach house in Celestun and hopes to rent a small place in Merida so that she can take advantage of the cultural life it offers.

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

My friend that ordered the bags

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Year in Paradise Begins!


overcast 24 °C

Here we go again on another winter in the Yucatan,
Welcome to my blog and I hope you enjoy reading about my stay.

It started with a 6 hour delay out of Ottawa due to weather; I am so glad we found out the night before as a 4am departure from home would not have been nice. As it was we left in a winter storm to the airport at 9:30am.

I have never seen such an empty Ottawa airport; there were only two flights departing this morning Westjet and a Sunwing. With just a little further delay due to de-icing we were on our way. Our plane was full and I would say about 25 people were heading to Merida after we landed; I did try and bribe the pilot with chocolates, to make a quick stop over in Merida to let us off but he was not convinced. I had arranged for a driver to pick up 10 of us at the airport. The others were having to take the bus and god knows when they were going to get away ( as it turned out they didn't get to their place until 3:00am). We arrived to our home at 10:30, our friends Austin and Lorraine were too late for their agent and so spent the one night with us.

Now if there is one thing I always try to remember and that is my key to the cupboard we store our things here. I have two of these damn things and do you think I brought either of them!! No such luck. I was sure I had packed one early on in my packing! I also had a dentist appointment at 10amthat I had to get to Merida for. So after throwing all I had out of their bags and strewn everywhere I ran out the door to get my bus. Luck have it a car stopped and offered me a ride to Progreso but since they were going all the way to the Casino in Merida I was fortunate to get all the way in to town.


The fun begins at the dentist. At home my dentist revealed that I had cavities under my crowns and one being my nice new one from last year! I also pulled out my other crown eating a tough toffee. A few more visits to Peniche will have me all fixed up for a fraction of the cost at home. I can fly and rent my house for three months for the cost of my dental work at home! Which would you choose to do?

A big trip to Costco is always a must when you arrive for the essentials and a few other items the other stores don't carry or charge way more. I buy local for most of the stuff I like. The new Costco has a 'cenote' (sink hole) in the parking lot


We decided as a group of 6 we would join our friend Linda and celebrate the New Year at Lizard Joes in Chalem ( Little Texas) just west of where we are! (Last year I said I was going to go to Barlovento, but I went with the flow). Well we had included in our VIP tickets transportation to and from the place. Our delightful jovial driver mentioned his son works there as a waiter! There was a bit of a confusion as we had two tables booked one in VIP and one not. After sorting this out we were brought our drinks in plastic cups and asked to choose from chicken pasta or 3 chicken tacos for dinner. This arrived on paper plates and plastic forks. I tell you this was not a good sign. The band was mediocre despite Linda's friend Bev' husband singing with some known singer from Texas who now lives in Puerto Vallarta. He should have stayed at his restaurant and performed there. I saw lovely pictures of proper dishes and cutlery at Barlovento: We did have unlimited drinks and champagne at new year for 68$ each. The party I would have preferred had a fantastic buffet with real plates for 24$ each with drinks at half price. I go with the flow and wish now I had spoken up. I have to let it go and enjoy the rest of my stay!



We ended our week with a trip to El Patrullero Fish Restaurant in Chicxulub


It didn't fail us again! After trying Dara's shrimp shish kabobs I think I will order them next time as they were very tender and had a lovely smoky flavour.

Posted by OhUiginn 12:16 Archived in Mexico Tagged yucatan chicxulub Comments (0)

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