Seeing With Different Eyes

15 Jul

When we first moved to Bacalar in 2013, everything was new and exciting and a bit unsettling (Can We Go Home Now?). I remember driving under the “Bienvenidos a Bacalar” sign after a five-day drive from Texas. We pulled a trailer with everything we owned and everything we thought we needed to start our new life in Mexico. Lisa and I were thrilled with every flower, mural and festival. In the beginning we lived in Bacalar proper, walking or riding our bikes to discover shops and people. (Explore Bacalar On Foot)

 

DBD05549-F52E-41B1-B87A-83F09C9AF563

New murals are popping up everywhere.

Once our house was built, the three mile ride along a busy highway to town got longer and more inconvenient. Our numerous utilitarian trips meant fewer for pleasure. Also our early to bed life means we participate very little in the day to day activities of Bacalar. (A Day In The Life)

 

This week we have Lisa’s brother and his partner visiting. We get to see our life through their eyes and fall in love with Bacalar all over again. It’s fun being tourists in our own village.

9DC004D5-9835-4196-B51C-6F945F13D9DD

Visiting the Cultural Museum in Chetumal.

417EA431-19CF-4CF9-BEAC-4045CAD432DA

Learning about Mayan influence.

6C1B2B78-F862-4BF1-B02D-EFBAD3716476

From our visit to Kohunlich in February.

We have lots more activities planned for the upcoming week. There is a trip to the wonders of Kohunlich and Cenote Azul. When living in paradise, it’s good not to become jaded.

DOS TORTAS 

004ED7A2-BD23-44C4-8EF1-88F58134C65E

 

Downsize Then Downsize Some More

8 Jul

Retirement and a new life in Mexico provided a much needed opportunity to dig through our stuff and get real about what to keep and what to get rid of. As we prepared for the big move five years ago, we had many garage sales, gave memorabilia to family and the rest to Goodwill. And I thought I was already a minimalist. NOT!

The Day Before We Left Austin, TX

Our son and his family hauled off furniture we didn’t need.

Part of the problem was that we were very unsure about what we would need. It took us two years to begin construction of our house. We also had never lived in a tropical region. People told us not to bring rugs to a humid climate. We did anyway and didn’t regret it.

8694EE63-FFCE-4478-9724-5E1C68CD1FF9

A lot has changed in three years.

I bought a fancy portable sewing machine because I wanted to make my own clothes and wasn’t sure I could get one here. I was wrong, Not only are there many lovely sewing machines sold here, I have hardly touched the one I brought.

1BC52B71-24A6-4036-9842-D869842C994A

A new fence. The trees have really grown.

Other people suggested that we get a storage unit and bring things gradually as we needed them. That might work for some, but it was a “hell no” for us. We were burning bridges and wanted nothing to weigh us down, especially a storage unit.

7AF91C06-36EF-45DD-9FD4-2E5405AFFEC4

Even our bodega got a makeover. The only thing we store is kayak equipment.

Our intention for a new life was minimalist living in a much smaller space. Packing, transporting, unpacking, storing, maintaining “stuff” takes its toll and has a price. Today, five years into living in Mexico, I find that I have had to go through my plastic bins and get realistic about the yarn, fabric, books, videos etc. that were once so important to me. On my last visit to Texas I schlepped back precious pattern books to give to friends. It was time to get real, there will be very little knitting or crocheting in my future.

Becomingminimalist.com

Truthfully I still own too much. Here’s some websites you might find interesting. Poco a poco, little by little… DOS TORTAS

AA215589-35A8-4FC5-82A4-8DB3BFE7B4E8

This Week In Mexico

1 Jul

Calling Mexico home quickly brought us up to speed with a very important international event called the Mundial (pronounced moon dee al) or World Cup (Just Don’t Call it Soccer) which happens every four years. The US Super Bowl looks like Friday night high school football by comparison.

37D956F3-3595-48DB-96D6-E052334B7A6E

Time Out sports bar, a fav spot for Mundial viewing,

Mundial 2018 is taking place as we speak in Russia, and believe me, the whole world is watching. The whole world except for the United States that for the most part does not understand nor care much about soccer. The US team did not qualify to compete in this world-wide event, eliminating whatever smidge of interest that might have existed.

927A872B-31FD-4917-A4D5-FF3E56911BCD

Kim, works hard to keep everyone in beer and breakfast at 9am.

Mexico won its first two matches causing explosive responses around the country. Mexico City measured the equivalent of a small earthquake with fans taking to the street in celebration. To say this is a huge deal in Mexico is an understatement. Do NOT try to get anything accomplished while Mexico is on the screen. People are huddled around their computer, tv and cell phone. Life is at a standstill.

1D236890-F850-4441-9E56-783F15980ADE

Even Mexican pups get in on the action.

Today Sunday is also Mexico’s presidential election. Late night comedian John Oliver recently made an attempt to explain the two main candidates. The reactionary candidate reflects all too well the current opinions of our own US politics. With Mexico as the US’s whipping boy, it is no wonder it’s citizens are fed up. Anyone who wants to “fight back” has citizen support.

1CC7ACFC-95A4-47E3-917E-A7AF43E9D294

Foreigners living in Mexico are prohibited  by law from participating in political activities in any way. We keep our opinions to ourselves and our fingers crossed. Until next week…

DOS TORTAS 
1AB0DD16-4884-4D02-8866-524885623C6C

Summer in Bacalar

24 Jun

It’s that time of year again here in southern Mexico. The rainy season is upon us in full force with almost daily showers. Our gardens and the jungle are lush, green and beautiful with new growth and flowers everywhere. There is something about the rain. We could water everyday but nothing is quite like a soaking rain. You can see the ferns and palms smiling. 

img_4802

I would love to walk around the yard and take pictures. However, the mosquitoes are the size of pterodactyls, no kidding! This morning I put on long sleeves and sprayed myself in a cloud of insecticide and they were undeterred. Dog walks are getting shorter and shorter.

image

Hibiscus are called tulipani here.

This is the time of year that most foreigners head for cooler climes. There isn’t a Canadian to be found. My brother in the hills of North Carolina has record flooding. Colorado has fires. Where on earth could we go? I guess we’ll stay right here.

The end of July I head to Northern California. Our daughter has been hospitalized with preeclampsia. She is thirty-one weeks pregnant on Tuesday and the goal is at least thirty-four weeks. This certainly wasn’t the plan. We are grateful for everyday the twins get bigger and stronger. Please keep her and her family in your prayers.

F2E1A047-3CE8-4A32-B487-D549066753D3

Even the fountain is getting overgrown. 

I am doing my best to hole up and knit baby socks and hats. One of my favorite pastimes. Until next week…

4C4B420D-900B-49F5-8764-C4CE1F7CD1B3

DOS TORTAS 
3AB4A40D-E938-4FB4-A245-B651D7E8BD50

Mal Tiempo In Bacalar (Bad Weather)

17 Jun

We returned from our trip to California Disneyland to Bacalar in the midst of a torrential downpour. Flying from the west coast to Cancun is always long and tiring. We had parked our car with a friend in Puerto Morelos, about a half hour from the airport. Having risen at 3:30 am Pacific Time we were ready to be home. The rain didn’t help.

1EAC04B9-E6A6-4BB3-B0CC-50F6BF8BD1C0

Princess Sophia with grandmas in Disneyland.

Showers, some heavy, continued off and on through Saturday when I had the Swim Marathon, three/quarters of a mile (1250m) across Laguna Bacalar (The Gods Were With Us). 1200 competitors took off in waves according to age and gender under gray skies and occasional thunder. Closing on the finish line, rain pummeled and waves swelled. This race would never have taken place in the US.

02D57297-94AF-44A8-8CF6-29F08669F8E2

Open water swim in Bacalar.

3D6A8EE9-1612-4B01-938C-9C0306D2FFC4

Prior to the race, coming out of the portable toilet I noticed a group of women with their timing chips attached in the wrong place. Striking up a conversation, they were from Austin, TX USA, my home town. They were four women swimmers in a group of eleven who had traveled here for the race. How fun to connect with them.

DB0F2675-0B6E-44B6-AA60-4B971BD50CF1

Managing to get in some training before leaving for California.

Today is a day of recovery. We have been busy! A shout out to Lisa’s great-aunt Edna who follows us from Alaska. She sent me the quote of the week. She is spot on. Enjoy!

 DOS TORTAS
A3120FCE-93C2-4509-88D5-1C01ED72B103

But That’s Not The Right Way

10 Jun

When we moved to Mexico almost five years ago, we rented the lower level of a house from a US/Mexican couple. They lived upstairs. Joe, the owner of the house, used to complain loudly that the housekeeper swept the floor “wrong”. 

734A64E8-8503-410B-9259-E94A1E17FAD6

This week the Tortas travelled to California and Disneyland to hang with our son and his family.

In this part of the world, people sweep by pushing a broom away from them. Joe insisted that it destroyed the broom which he had to replace frequently and no matter how many times he explained the “right” way, the housekeeper did it HER way.

78FD882D-28DE-4DB2-B9EA-97CC52137DCA

Grandma and Sophia.

So if you are considering a move to Mexico, remember that your way just may not be the right way to other people. I have found this to be true for my children, friends and neighbors as well. For some unknown reason they rarely see the practicality of doing things MY way.

 

And yet I persist. The last time I saw my oldest son, against my better judgment, I made a suggestion.  Nope, it has never improved our relationship in the past and I’m not sure why I thought it would this time.

45F5125E-7306-4ABB-BA6C-8E457311918A

Birthday dinner with Cullen.

Accepting people exactly as they are, wherever they live, however they sweep or do anything, goes a long way to producing harmony, both theirs and mine. Actually, this revolutionary practice just might change the world.

DOS TORTAS

Please add my daughter’s family to your prayers. She is in the hospital with preeclampsia. We need to keep the babies in for a few more weeks. Think four more weeks!

A9DADDD6-BCAD-4FFC-BDC2-8310E3F9F72C

Rethinking Adventure

3 Jun

Life rarely turns out the way one expects. Lately, The ADVENTURES of Dos Tortas have consisted of walking the dogs, taking Lisa’s mom to physical therapy and recuperating from la gripa. 

32D78CF0-F827-4100-AF15-9A737D1BE338

Alice has her cast off and is working to regain use of her hand and arm.

Our recent travels have been to visit family and the VA Clinic in Austin.
ACFA1F62-0155-4B36-887C-DF0FEE1A6568

Our youngest son showing off his new glasses.

Next week we go to Disneyland for a week with the grandchildren and in August our daughter in Northern California is expecting twins, a different kind of adventure.
3D2F74A8-3846-45F6-AFA8-2EB2603102B0
One of the first rules of blogging is to narrow your subject and STICK TO IT.  Life in Mexico is looking more like life in the airport.
84A4979F-92AF-4D73-9E8C-43BA711BB5B2
No complaining, we feel extraordinarily blessed. This week I made the mistake of noticing that the blog post Held Hostage In Mexico has had 938 views. People are suckers for sensationalism. My boring blogs have far fewer hits. So a note to you faithful readers, life is taking some twists and turns. I hope you’ll hang with me. Perhaps adventure is a bit overrated.
DOS TORTAS 
0C3D1EAD-2868-40E1-9536-40FD186F1E3E

The Week In Pictures

27 May

I never get sick! But this week I’m down for the count. I’m not sure if it’s allergies or a spring cold but I have fever, drippy nose, sore throat and sinus headache. Consequently you will get the week in photos. Until next time. 

DOS TORTAS 
54F4474B-C934-48C5-84D3-9BC482EB28F6

My MIL Alice getting her cast off. Yeah.

F64F5A7E-0612-4A81-A49C-25F64D759497

Rainy season has begun.

9581C78C-74B7-4FFC-AFD0-F4BA4CAAADE4

Art Of The Week – Let There Be Light

84DFCB0F-0D67-4CFE-8CC7-AAF35B45DBE8

Everything blooms when it starts raining. Hibiscus/tulipani

E87995AF-D0BC-4E87-9F2D-B80F35D22EA5

Last night’s view from the roof.

F37B875B-6138-44DE-BE94-9ACCAB7D93E5

Thanks to my friend Gabriel for getting me out of the house this morning. Feeling better.

0CDDCB4B-1E4F-4DF1-AA21-65E72EA9FB10

 

 

Sometimes Life Is Like That

20 May

 

After a weeklong visit to Texas, we are home in Bacalar. Mother’s Day was spent with our youngest son and family. 

2BA5F221-6C7C-4A4D-AC89-D8F141DEC24A

Lisa, son Dylan, step-mom Terry (our wife-in-law) and myself.

Lisa had a visit with her doctor at the VA (Veterans Administration). The results of medical tests performed in December were finally discussed. The bottom line is another visit needs to be scheduled, probably in August. Let’s not get into it.
570FDD9E-9A34-4573-A846-DEC98E964866

Sophia making silly faces with Grandmas.

We had a happy hour with Austin friends who came to hang out with us. I wish I had taken pictures, but unfortunately did not. It was lovely to visit with folks, some of which drove as much as an hour to see us.  Also a shout out to blog followers Laurie and Ryan who visited us in Austin. Good luck on your plans to move to Mexico.

 

We also saw the movie RBG which I highly recommend. I doubt it will ever come to our local theater in Chetumal so we took advantage of a free afternoon. GO SEE IT!
2AFEFAC0-1BF9-4D61-93E5-B998A01A45DC

A most inspirational and uplifting movie.

We had a relaxing week and are extremely happy to be home in Bacalar. Visiting with family and friends is always fun.
E8023446-BEEC-4C85-A465-7B599F708947

San Fernando Cathedral light and sound show, San Antonio.

Air travel really takes it out of us. This trip we had long layovers and late flights. It’s time to get swimming in preparation for the Laguna Bacalar open water maratón on June 16. I have been doing some serious slacking. (The Swim Across Laguna Bacalar).
This year is far busier than usual. Sometimes life is like that. Stay tuned and remember to check us out on Instagram at dos_tortas and Facebook @theadventuresofdostortas
DOS TORTAS 
C70932BD-2EF4-4FD6-9E3E-19C956B6219A

A Visit To Mexico City Airport

13 May

Many people come for their first visit to Mexico by flying into Cancun and staying at an all inclusive. The hotel staff meets you at the airport and you never have to step foot out of the compound. It may be “safe” and convenient but you’ll have a very sterilized visit to an exciting, colorful country. For the adventurer among you, I’m suggesting a more diverse vacation. Fly through Mexico City. 

03BAEDF9-46FF-40A6-B4E6-D63B4F087521

Flights to and from Mexico City connect the world.

The airport is big, modern and many airlines fly here. US airlines – Southwest, Alaska Air, Jet Blue and United to name a few.  Mexican airlines are Interjet, Avianca and Mexicana. There’s probably a dozen more I’m forgetting.
7F8EAD55-152B-4C94-AC95-D50BC2A1EA00

Restaurant, hotel, taxi? Follow the signs.

All signage is bilingual English/Spanish and there are information kiosks with English-speaking assistance. Surprisingly, the average person has enough English to help you find your way. Everyone is extremely helpful.
C2718E19-8F29-4575-A2E3-7646060B2EC1

Helpful bi-lingual information kiosks.

There are food courts that might look a bit familiar. At the same time, most Mexican restaurants have an English or bilingual menu.
F9012951-47A3-4F48-B410-6D76FFC02C13

This is Mexico?

0D586708-A3A0-4436-AE9A-76D6EA401678

Look familiar? All but the cheaper prices.

There are stores with tempting treats to pass the time if you have a layover.
5ED123E4-30C6-4061-9C24-57FC990C006A

Candied fruit, a local treat.

50F24F34-D5BB-4245-A83B-41A3E227D901

A gift shop for those last minute purchases.

An IMPORTANT thing to remember, no matter your airport, find an ATM and take out as much money as you think you’ll need for your entire trip. Let your bank know you’re traveling. If you estimate your budget and add 50%, you’ll be good. ATM fees can add up. Although if you never leave Cancun, you can usually pay in dollars.
3E5652D7-8B97-4EE3-B7EA-579092C9ECF9

Make sure your ATM gives pesos. 

From Mexico City you can travel on connecting flights to exciting destinations like Merida, Guadalajara, Oaxaca or Chetumal which is 30 minutes from our house.
8EB3DA75-9306-47FD-9E96-AF563D186FFD

Our house is on the north end of Laguna Bacalar. Chetumal is to the south.

However you enter Mexico, by air, car, boat, bicycle or bus, come for a visit. Mexico is the ninth most visited country in the world, and a great place to retire.
DOS TORTAS
FFD5D810-F75F-46A5-997F-8252DED98743
Hokett Would Work

A premier maker of fine weaving tools and equipment

The Soulful Word

Woo-woo words for heart-centred women, spiritual leaders and goddess warriors on a mission to impact millions

View From Casita Colibrí

gringa musings from a rooftop terrace in Oaxaca

Your Hand in Mind

Musings of a human factors engineer after her brain was released...

Our House In...

Living where we are

Creative Hands of Mexico

Handcrafts, folk art and more

Surviving Yucatan

Smoothing out Mexico's rough spots.

A Boy and Her Dog

Traversing the Border between Butch and Transgender

Surviving Mexico

Adventures and Disasters

emilievardaman

travel and random thoughts

Just Another Moment in Paradise

Snippets of an Adventure's Life in Cozumel, Mexico

Perking the Pansies

Jack Scott's random ramblings

Mexico Retold

There's more to Mexico than meets the media

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

The Amazon Express

From the most distant source to the sea.

Compass & Camera

Travel, Culture, Life

Biketrash Holiday

Adventures on Two Wheels!

%d bloggers like this: