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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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. 

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 
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My MIL Alice getting her cast off. Yeah.

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Rainy season has begun.

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Art Of The Week – Let There Be Light

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Everything blooms when it starts raining. Hibiscus/tulipani

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Last night’s view from the roof.

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

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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. 

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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.
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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!
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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.
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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
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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. 

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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.
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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.
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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.
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This is Mexico?

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Look familiar? All but the cheaper prices.

There are stores with tempting treats to pass the time if you have a layover.
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Candied fruit, a local treat.

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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.
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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.
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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
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México Surprises Once Again

6 May

We are not people who surprise easily, but Mexico never ceases to amaze. We have traveled throughout this large beautiful country visiting massive pyramids built by intelligent ancients, walked with our mouths open through churches painted in gold leaf…

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A cathedral outside San Miguel de Allende.

We’ve been delighted by spontaneous parades who’s meaning was lost on us. We’ve attended colorful festivals, watched amazing dance performances and swum in crystal clear waterfalls. But nothing prepared us for the catacombs of Tizimín.
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Sulfur mud baths in Rio Lagartos.

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Agua Azul, near Palenque.

If you’ve been following along, you know that last week we took Lisa’s mom to the coast for a bit of a distraction to help her heal from a broken wrist (A Quiet Week In The Jungle
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After a few days at the beach in sleepy Holbox, we checked in to a lovely vacation rental outside of Valladolid for some day-tripping. We headed to Tizimín to show Alice a 1563 Franciscan monastery Lisa and I visited three years ago on our Yucatan meander (The Yucatan Meander Continues.
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We happened upon a video the night before featuring catacombs in Tizimín. Lisa was excited and with very little information, off we went.
We explored the church, asked directions to the catacombs and confidently headed in the direction we were given. After a half hour of asking more directions and driving in circles, “three blocks, turn left…”. We finally found it.

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I’m not sure what we expected but this wasn’t it. Under a private home, handed down four generations, were caves. The area had been solid rock, and was carved out as a quarry of sorts to build local houses. Artists decorated the walls and wrote on the ceilings. It was big and it was not a burial site.
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Down we went.

 

As often is the case, my limited Spanish left us with more questions than answers. With the difficulty in locating the area, it is certainly not a tourist hot spot, but definitely worth the effort.
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There are animal stone carvings throughout.

So if you ever get tired of sparkling beaches, snow covered volcanoes and deep, cool Mayan swimming holes, head to Tizimín. Be prepared to ask directions and be patient because GPS will not help.
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Mexican Roadtrip

29 Apr

What does one do to rest while recuperating from a broken wrist (A Quiet Week In The Jungle)? Why go on a road trip of course!

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We have the services of a wonderful house sitter and decided to head out. Alice, my 74 year old mother-in-law with a broken wrist, is not able to do anything very strenuous.  What better place to visit than the the sleepy island paradise of Holbox.
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The island of murals.

 We visited Holbox three years ago (Isla Holbox) when our house was under construction. It’s hard to believe it’s been three years. The weather was perfect albeit a little toasty. This time, the island was hit with monsoon-type rains right before we got here. Walking is muddy, slippery and dangerous. We are availing ourselves of the numerous golf cart taxis that provide cheap transportation.
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Alice is agog with so many things to look at. We are here for a few days so no need to hurry. We’ll probably rent a golf cart and tour the island on our own.
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The center square surrounded by shops and restaurants.

There is also a boat tour to see birds and maybe a flamingo or two. Alice will be thrilled. Weather report says no rain for the next few days. Fingers crossed.
DOS TORTAS
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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!

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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.

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Jubal the culprit

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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)

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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

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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.

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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!
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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…
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