A Quiet Week In The Jungle

22 Apr

While I was off visiting the grands last week (USA Here I Come), all was quiet on the home front in Bacalar, NOT!

1C4FFD55-AFEE-40BE-990A-AB26A7C3ECE7

Wrist broken in multiple places.

My sweet mother in law was tripped by her kitty and went down hard on her right wrist. Surgery, pins and a cast oh my.

46359094-2CC7-4B15-929A-683C667CB980

Jubal the culprit

96419D75-43B0-4063-93A2-753769397AB5

Alice needed an artistic cast.

And if that wasn’t enough, the dog with nine lives is down by one more! (The Adventures Of Frida The Mexican Street Dog)

4EF18F00-A812-41D4-B704-DC4601A6D578

Frida

I wasn’t here of course, but story has it that a large swelling appeared under her chin and obstructed her breathing. No time for photos. Poor Lisa having to deal with non-English speaking doctors and veterinarians. She is a trooper.

Frida has visited two vets and we’re still not sure what the problem is. She’s on anti -inflams and has a follow-up on Monday, fingers crossed. We’re ready for a quiet week but then again you can’t pick and choose your adventures and that’s the life we’ve chosen.

DOS TORTAS

9AA5BE11-A187-488F-8D55-0D1600247E6B

USA Here I Come

15 Apr

When looking for a retirement location in Mexico, proximity to an airport is an important consideration. We had grand designs of easily zipping NOB (North of the Border) to visit family, as well as traveling the world. The tiny Chetumal airport, forty minuets from our house, does the trick. It beats a five hour bus to Cancun which adds two days of travel on the front end. The trouble is, the connections are not always that great, resulting in longer than we like layovers in Mexico City. Sigh. Life is not perfect.

153465E4-12EC-41EB-B6E6-F3D5EA29FE97

Chetumal airstrip top left of the page. The plane did a wide loop over the city before heading north.

I decided last minute to take a trip to Texas to visit my kids. I procured a well-priced flight and jumped on it,  leaving Lisa to walk the dogs and hold down the fort. I did not, however pack warm enough clothes brrrr. There was hail last night outside San Antonio!
790797E1-525D-4780-BC97-26B3D47586EE

A stunning view of the volcanoes outside of Mexico City. Popocateptl smoking above the clouds.

So I’m in Texas for a brief week-long vacation enjoying grandchildren and celebrating our oldest son’s 35 birthday. I have no idea how he got so old.  Until next week…
DOS TORTAS 
6BB6EB3F-8C2D-4422-A09F-F174D11CABFF

Held Hostage In Mexico

8 Apr

For seven and a half hours, over two days we were held, not at gun point but at pen point at our bank in Chetumal, Mexico. Sign here, and here and here. I felt like I was buying a house. And all because of a TYPO!

79EE5796-4E98-4AF8-8EA0-B1F961859041

Four years ago after retiring to Mexico from Austin, Texas , we opened a Mexican bank account. Once we had our green cards, it was the first things we did. Mexico has a very clear path to legal residency. If you have retirement income, a job or a familial connection, you can apply and obtain residency. The process is clear, electronic and takes about a month. Imagine that.

F145773E-F978-40E1-B6E7-64DB4B07D361

No, not our mug shots.

What we didn’t known until now is that there was a typo on our original account application. The bank’s simple solution, cancel the old account and open a new one. Easy right? Au contraire.

Following Spanish tradition, Mexicans have two last names or apellidos. The father’s first and then the mother’s. On any application there is a box for both. Since we have a different tradition and our passport have only one last name, for some unknown reason, the person who processed our original application put an “X” (or equis as in the beer Dos XX) in the box where my mother’s name should have been. We’re unsure as to why this finally caught up to us and had to be rectified immediately.

83640635-DF4A-4139-AE69-09D7EC5C3138

Don’t you love signing documents you can’t read?

Mind you the entire 7.5 hour process was conducted completely in Spanish. My head was swimming and there’s no bathroom in a bank. Our green cards and the fact that we had done thousands of dollars of business with this bank in the last four years did not seem to count as adequate identification and proof of residency. Did I mention the bank holds the title to our property? But that’s another never-ending story.

To our frustration, we could not find our most recent electric bill. Note to self and you who are considering retirement in Mexico, the CFE (Comisión Federal de Electricidad) bill is right up there with your green card as proof of residency. Keep the most recent original in your car at all times.

54317759-7D01-47CD-A945-2AA6FBC49204

In that case, did we have a…
Water bill? Nope, we have a well.
Phone bill? Nope, we pay month to month. ($16 a month unlimited talk and text to MX, US and Canada)
Internet? Cable? Nope and nope. We pay cash to a private server and no cable.
Mexican drivers license? Never saw the need.

4EF18F00-A812-41D4-B704-DC4601A6D578

It’s a good thing we left the dogs home for what we thought was going to be a quick trip to the bank.

This went on for seven and a half hours over two days. I must admit, I’ve never met more patient people. We did get it resolved after lots of signing and sighing. They had new software…blah, blah, blah and I’m sure the paperwork for international money transfers contributed to the hostage situation. After all, we could be drug smugglers laundering our millions. We were exhausted but extremely glad to have this straightened out. It might be relatively easy to get a green card in Mexico but it sure isn’t easy to open a bank account.

DOS TORTAS

167F75C6-09A1-479D-837F-700B726C16FE

 

 

Festival de Body Paint

1 Apr

Living in small town Mexico, I wrote this blog three years ago as I longed to find an artists community in Bacalar. Wow have things changed.

The Artistry That Is Bacalar

E6DAD9EE-10A1-4773-BE37-600FFA513082

Even Frida got in the picture on our Free Walking Tour of Bacalar.

In three years since my post, our sleepy village has grown considerably. New hotels and restaurants pop up daily. There were two articles in the international news this week that mentioned Bacalar as a vacation destination. I cringe. Please stay home.

The Safest Places To Visit In Mexico

Visitors on yesterday’s walking tour were from Spain, Ireland, Australia, and Canada. Rarely do USers come here. It’s too far from Cancun and people do not have enough vacation time.

Yesterday in the Centro there was a Body Painting Festival. It was put on by a group I sketch with on Thursday evenings.

63AA7860-CA79-409E-B07C-1B75D2157E62.jpeg

9AFEAB21-2D1C-4919-A688-52375FF344FE

My friend and full-time resident and artista extraordinaria Yolanda

8E086CA9-D6D7-41C0-9169-E3A6EC527AC5.jpeg

The phases of the moon over the Laguna.

B2B19CB1-D781-415D-B957-79253F2BB1D6

The body as canvas.

E598557E-6224-45E9-A02C-33A4113BEEE0

3E524A98-0F9D-4520-89A9-B05AA0F517C4

So much detail. Very Mayan.

CA69CA96-1082-4B71-A0D2-6D0441F38355

A great time was had by all. I love hanging out with these folks. We make art together. As Bacalar grows, not all things have to be a drain on the community and the environment.  People coming together to express love and art has to be a good thing right? DOS TORTAS

A20307ED-A26F-4EAF-83FE-5F259376D1C2

 

A Tiny House in Mexico Revisited

25 Mar

via A Tiny House in Mexico

I thought I’d update a few pictures of my mother-in-law’s tiny house. It’s been one of my most popular blog posts. 

445E15F0-733B-4E08-8DBC-3408B94A2205

 

646CBAD8-5D4D-42B2-B742-2468F05EFAB7

Entrance

All is well. Just a stumble. 😂 I even predicted it.

7251B677-D334-49AA-A1F8-E916A6A4CA82

Tiny House Plans

Alice has been visiting California and missing her cozy nest. Her kitty is also missing her.  I think I know more of what it feels like to be a house sitter as Lisa is away as well. Whatever you do this week, make it an adventure.

DOS TORTAS

D5CDB61D-BE4C-4CBE-85E6-53370CEC04BD

 

 

Lightning Strikes Twice

18 Mar

I have experienced typhoons in Japan, hurricanes in Texas and lightning in a snow storm in New Jersey, but nothing like the electrical storm we had this week in Bacalar, Mexico. This was a doozy.

184CFCB3-79B2-46FD-9E97-A352F1C6281D

The evening started with quiet flashes and increased breezes coming from the north. Only because we had just installed hurricane curtains on our screened-in porch, did we close up the house and head to bed. Might as well give these puppies a go. Lord were we in for a night!

2FD8FB90-AEE8-4D76-97AB-334FF4A6A90D

An example of some of the storms that roll across the Laguna.

It wasn’t long before the storm hit. Blinding flashes exploded one after another followed immediately by ear splitting sonic booms which told me that the storm was stalled right over us. My father had taught me to count, one-thousand one, one-thousand two, between lightning and thunder claps to track the storm’s movement. It was right on us and I was glad for the concrete bunker that we live in and our newly installed protection.

CED4F8E7-B07B-42A4-B9B4-DCB013F0E025

Just in time.

I badly wanted to go up on the roof to watch the storm, but frankly I was scared. Mexico leads the world in death from lightning (National Lightning Safety Institute) and I wasn’t about to be stupid. The lack of grounding wire in many homes in Mexico is likely the culprit, not to mention the spaghetti bowl of dangling wire that can be seen all over most cities.

I checked on the dogs who seemed to be doing quite well considering, battened down the hatches some more and climbed into bed. I fell asleep counting one-thousand one, one-thousand two, as the storm slowly moved away.

A611F89B-80A8-4AA5-ABA0-5B74D3AF936F

NOT taken during the storm.

The next morning our yard looked like it had been through a spin cycle. Two banana trees came down with their top-heavy load of green bananas, lots of leaves, and a few big branches was all. We had gotten a much needed drenching and overall faired pretty well. It took a few days but all is back in order. Next time I will take pictures.

DOS TORTAS

74F33106-31A8-4AD2-91C1-860F952AA21B

A Mayan Exploration

11 Mar

About an hour and a half drive from Bacalar is the town of Xpujil. Like many Mexican villages, it is situated on a major highway. Highway 186 connects east (the Bay of Chetumal) and west (the Gulf of Mexico) at the base of the Yucatan Peninsula and in the heart of one of the most advanced ancient civilization on the planet, the Mayan people. 

37154EC5-E967-4F09-8C3E-923F94CCFA7D

FF4AC4A0-3905-450B-BABA-77B91BEC4493

One of numerous sites in the town itself. The similarities to Tikal in Guatemala are evident.

I can’t imagine what it’s like growing up with pyramids down the street. Many children in Bacalar have never been out on the Laguna. Do the children of Xpujil study their ancestors? One can only hope.

0082BB81-7408-4A34-BD80-ED950C3440B5

Calakmul is a huge site. We drove forty miles down a bumpy road. Tour buses are not allowed.

We spent three days and traveled to four amazing sites in close proximity. There is so much to be learned about the massive civilization that connects Mexico with Guatemala, Belize, and Honduras. We truly live in an area rich in culture and history.

FF83AAAD-4C99-4315-A403-94C9DC488AD0

Wild turkeys that looked more like peacocks, air plants and passageways to the underworld. Monkeys were swinging overhead.

A86DFF85-401B-44CA-BC4E-70E7E6E033CE

These three-dimensional friezes were well protected. I could have spent days studying them.

We would like to return to this area in the future. There was way more to digest than three days allowed. Also scroll down to see the bats! A genuine bat cave where a vortex of bats headed into the jungle at sunset to consume mosquitoes. They gave the Austin bats a run for their money. Truly an awesome experience. DOS TORTAS

4FAC8BAD-D0FE-41E9-AA81-9A9D38F55A00

 

 

Moving To Mexico Questions Answered

4 Mar

I was recently asked to contribute my experience living in México to help benefit women who are newly arrived. There are the retirees who move here by choice and those evicted from their residential country. Both need a period of adjustment.

Where do you live?
Bacalar, QR Mexico

img_5619

A small band of women gather for solidarity with the US women’s march in January 2017 (I am second from the right and Lisa next to me in orange)

How have you created a life worth living here? What did you do? How long did it take?
We were able to create a retirement life in Mexico by living a simple life in the US. For years we used public transportation, ate out rarely, and saved consciously. We used the book YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE. (Retiring To Mexico – Is It In Your Stars?)

88D4FA6A-4246-493D-A15E-6D594649B199

How do you follow your passions?
My passions have changed considerably since retiring. I have become a homebody. I paint in watercolor and acrylic which was unexpected.

B58D311C-7D16-4DC2-98B5-33566FBB8816

A watercolor painting from Rendezvous 2018, Merida, Yucatan

I have two rescue dogs which is a completely new experience. Be open to surprises, life will change. (A Funeral For Myself)

1D6B6292-FEBB-47ED-AA9B-194471A61CB2

Frida and Luna

Are there safety concerns where you live? What do you do to minimize risk?
I have no fear for my personal safety. There are robberies which will always occur where there are poor people. We have a security camera at the entrance to our property because it is a distance from our door. I refuse to live in fear.

 

 


La Virgen de Guadalupe is a main factor in nearly all sections of Mexico. Have you adopted any part of this? Are there other Mexican saints that you have discovered an affinity with?

289E962C-67B5-4F4A-B54B-561F7B8CB31F

Guadalupe has a prominent location in our house.

The Virgin of Guadalupe played a role in my life way before moving to Mexico. Last summer we visited the Basilica in Mexico City. It was a very moving experience. My collection of her images has gotten a bit crazy. She is my protector and guide. (My Fixation On Guadalupe) I also like the Catrina skeletons.

B5679068-0ABA-47E3-A8C9-8FC6EF718C06

She Decorates Our Kitchen

What would you tell a woman who recently arrived in Mexico?

Mexico is a very fun and polite country. Make eye contact, slow down, learn to greet people in Spanish, buenos días, in restaurants, on the bus, in the market. If a Mexican invites you to a party, go! Even if you don’t know a word of Spanish. Expect to be hugged and kissed a lot, even by people you don’t know.

A4AD7FB3-71D1-4D07-820C-46374AD1C1E3

Dance Like Nobody’s Watching

Challenges I’ve overcome to create the life we have.

Probably the biggest challenge has been being away from family, children and grandchildren. Travel is not as easy as it once was and the world political climate is not improving any time soon. Our family is spread out, so living in Mexico or the states, is almost the same, at least that is what we tell ourselves. Sometimes I feel sad and I wish things were different, but most of the time, our children are living their lives and we’re living ours and that’s just fine.

0F69060A-79B5-4F32-8C6F-3141BF32D263

FaceTime with our two year old grandson.

Life is good and we are extremely blessed. Is it hard? Sometimes. Did we realize that traveling meant house sitters for our dogs? Not really. Did we foresee the growth in our little village and the repercussions to our beautiful laguna? Nope. Will we spend the rest of our lives here? Who knows. We WILL be happy today, give thanks and love life. Until next week…DOS TORTAS

CECA0AFD-21EC-4770-9ECB-D2F7CC3AE57D

Happy Birthday To Me

25 Feb

My memory of childhood birthday celebrations is family dinners, with my mother’s lasagna always being my meal of choice. One lean year when I was in middle school I received a pair of oxfords as a gift. No penny loafers for me.

16C83C72-EAF1-408A-97D6-1594A389551D

Leaving Austin, Tx in September 2013 for our move to Mexico.

CC05C52D-C0F1-45B1-B12A-4B2F34CA26B8

The last garage sale before we left. Our sons and their dad and my DIL and grandson. Bittersweet.

To make up for my lack of childhood parties, I guess it wasn’t a thing in the stone age, I planned my own fun adult parties.

E27D39F7-3887-44A1-A9D8-B1FE0B1B10D5.jpeg

Family portrait for my big 6-oh. A lot has changed in six years.

My annual celebrations included a kite-flying picnic in the park and glow-in-the-dark bowling which was a big hit. We had musical performances on the patio in Austin and even a poetry reading. But the absolute best was my sixtieth birthday in a hardware store!

9891B3CF-4562-4204-AEC8-7AD433E61505

Treehouse Hardware in Westgate Mall, Austin, TX.

Formerly a Boarder’s book store, Treehouse is an upscale, swanky hardware store. In 2012 it had just moved into its current space and wasn’t doing that great. I approached the staff about having my party in their large central workshop area during store hours. I wanted to promote the store because I liked having it within walking distance of my house. Staff looked a bit confused but seemed willing to humor me. My good friends The Therapy Sisters performed and we served a large sheet cake to all comers. It was a blast and the best birthday party ever.

C17575DC-F847-451B-BE97-C6C2447B5CE4

Not your daddy’s hardware store.

Today is my birthday and Lisa and I have slipped off to a jungle B&B for a few days R&R. No electronics allowed. I’ll be back next week with some great pictures.

DOS TORTAS

F3283D21-8670-49E7-8C66-11B7F10ADD85

Merida, City of Wonder

18 Feb

Merida is the capital of the state of Yucatan, and a colonial city of over two million people. The Spanish influence can be seen everywhere as can the Mayan people who inhabit the city. 

C301FA1C-FFAB-4696-8475-A8148F910194

Mayan flower vendor in traditional dress.

The tropical climate, endless cultural events, and low cost of living make it attractive to expatriates from all over the world. Within a few hours drive you can visit several magical cities, flamingo nesting sites, and Mayan pyramids.

01C862F1-D80F-4768-90D3-1346C9C9F419

The ancient Mayan city of Mayapan.

And then there’s the pristine beaches. It is no wonder that Merida is one of the fastest growing cities in Mexico.

9D86C329-B790-449D-8007-138F5C0A14A3

Isla Holbox sunset. Not far from Merida.

 

A0E5A4F5-833E-450B-9FE2-F490549E750B

Renovated Hacienda Santa Cruz, come for dinner or a luxury stay. Painting by Teresa Bland.

There are many wonderful museums.

0E7952E1-F9D6-4C6F-9B96-2791E3FE975E

Elegant Mayan woman.

53F3AD2B-EC1E-412D-8427-7F32FC32ADF5

Campesino-Mayan Farmer 

Whether coming for a visit or to renovate and create your own Mexican home away, Merida is a gem.

F51D28C6-CEA8-4A41-B2F7-69A1B6132234

My friend’s courtyard art.

A busy place with Uber to help you navigate. Do let us know if you’re visiting. Bacalar is a four hour drive in a first class bus. We just might join you.

DOS TORTAS 

D9CAE6F4-122C-4256-923D-77DF3624A538

 

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: