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A Car Chase in Bacalar Taxista #29

12 Aug

While we are preparing for the twins to come home from the hospital and chasing down a two year old, The TORTAS have been busy. Please enjoy a look back into our adventurous life in Mexico. DOS TORTAS 

via A Car Chase in Bacalar Taxista #29 

What You Won’t Find In Bacalar

5 Aug

I have spent over five years describing retirement life in the far reaches of the Mexican jungle. There are blog posts on murals, mercado’s, pyramids, dogs and small town living. For the next few months we are in Northern California, USA taking care of our daughter’s family as they integrate two new members. 

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Our granddaughters born July 11, Sara and Analise

Some things I’ve noticed that we DON’T have in Bacalar:
Hot Air Balloons

There is a local festival here every June so it’s no surprise that we’ve seen balloons overhead the last few mornings. What better way to see the wine country? Unfortunately the sky has been hazy due to the fires burning north of here. Maybe we could get some balloons over Laguna Bacalar. I’d be up for a ride. How about you? https://youtu.be/C6-mO46u9hc

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Wild Geese

I’ve been seeing geese overhead and grazing on the lawns of the high school when out for an early walk. They’re so majestic and noisy.

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Cherries

We might occasionally get cherries at the grocery store in Chetumal, but not like those that are available in Northern California. We’re going to the farmer’s market later today. Cherries are number one on my shopping list.

Our Kids

It’s wonderful to be retired and able to help our daughter and her family. It really does take a village.

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Enjoy your life today. It’s the only day you get.
DOS TORTAS
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Go For A Walk?

29 Jul

I was raised in rural New Jersey. For the most people, the Garden State evokes images of spaghetti bowl freeways, Atlantic City and miles upon miles of town after town. It’s hard to tell where one ends and another begins. (Rocks In My Head)

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Our three hundred year old farmhouse. My mother wanted it because it had three fireplaces. It burned to the ground shortly after my father died and she had sold it.

When I was in fifth grade we moved “out in the country”. The road was paved from our little town of a thousand people to my family’s driveway. From there a dirt road continued a mile or so to a working dairy farm. Today those small farms are long gone and housing developments take their place.

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Fourth and fifth grade in the same classroom.

It was a common occurrence, on a balmy summer’s evening for my father to stand and declare, “Go for a walk?”. It wasn’t really a question. The TV was turned off and five kids, dogs and even the cat ambled across the lawn and up the road. The best times were when there were fat juicy wild blackberries ready for picking along the way.

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The trout stream that flowed behind our property.

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The view from the bridge on the corner of our property the last time I visited.

These sweet memories came flooding in as the dogs and I stepped out of our gate this week and walked along our jungle road. Five years ago when we first arrived in Bacalar, there was no road. Now there are two houses that we pass on our daily jaunt. Land is being cleared all around for god knows what. The only thing we can really count on is change. Our hearts break to see the jungle cut down and the animals disappear.

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Out the front gate.

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We leave in the morning for California. Off to care for my daughter and her family which includes newborn twins Sara and Ana. Another summer in Bacalar will be gone when Lisa and I return. I won’t miss the mosquitoes but I do love it here.

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The babies are thriving.

DOS TORTAS
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Gallery

Grocery Shopping in Mexico–a bit of a quest

22 Jul

I hope you enjoy this blog from a woman I follow in northern Mexico. I am preparing my immigration papers and leaving for California soon to be with my daughter. Pictures of the twins next week. 👶🏼👶🏼😁

Surviving Mexico

You can get groceries at a variety of stores. In fact, depending on what you need, you may need to stop at several stores to find all the items on your list.

The smallest corner store is usually called abarrotes or tiendita or miscelanea. There’s typically a small selection of necessities including soap, canned goods, and chips. Usually, there’s quite a large selection of chips and soda. Even with the sugar tax, these items remain best sellers and are what probably keep these little stores in business.

If it’s a store you frequent, you may be able to request certain items. For instance, peanut butter is available at some stores but not part of the Mexican diet. If you let the store owner know you’ll be buying it regularly, it just might appear on the shelves.

The next size up is the mini-super. There’s a little more selection…

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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)

 

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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.

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Visiting the Cultural Museum in Chetumal.

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Learning about Mayan influence.

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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 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 
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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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…

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DOS TORTAS 
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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.

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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.

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Open water swim in Bacalar.

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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.

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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
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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”. 

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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.

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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.

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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!

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