Archive | November, 2013

Tortas on Holiday

24 Nov

Hola Dear Followers,

The Tortas are on a new adventure, traveling from Mexico to the US and back. We are spending a couple of weeks with family in Florida (another jungla!) hoping for some sunshine and fun.

Here’s an earlier blog entry for your reading, Starry Starry Night. We haven’t had many starry nights recently with all the rain. I’m hoping to get my star chart out when we get back.

Blessings to all as you gather with family and friends to remember what’s really important. Love one another and show it.

Feliz dia de Gracias

Feliz dia de Gracias

Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude

Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude


Machete – Tool of La Jungla

17 Nov

Herramientas or tools is a mouthful for most English-speakers, but a necessary word to master for living in Mexico. In order to manage our lawns in the US we have mowers – riding, push, electric, gasoline, and human powered. Then there are edgers, hedge trimmers, clippers, rakes, blowers and you can probably think of more. In Mexico there is the all-purpose machete. Our half acre of property was cleared in half a day by two men wielding blades. There is historical kinship to the sword. Revolutions have been fought and roads built by armies swinging a machete.

This week I purchased my very own machete. I figured that it would come in handy working on our property. With the upper body strength of a flea, I bought the smallest and most light-weight machete I could find. I then turned to that trusty educational source YouTube. I learned more than I could have imagined about the usefulness of this handy survival, self-defense, multi-tool. I’m off today to get it sharpened and then will attempt to not cut off any limbs, mine or anyone else’s. Wish me luck.

Ain't She Sweet?

Ain’t She Sweet?

Property Cleared

Property Cleared

Monday's Sunrise

Monday’s Sunrise

Another Tool of La Jungla

Another Tool of La Jungla

Ah Retired

10 Nov

Two and a half months and we’re beginning to feel the edges of what it’s like to be retired. After a lifetime of “chop wood, carry water, repeat” days begin without an alarm clock or schedule. This week we returned to Chetumal, as my persistent rash is defying usual treatment and we are on to Plan B. We live in such a sanitized world in the US and acclimating to a new environment is a rite of passage for expats here. For some reason the skin really takes a hit. I will never need lip balm again, nor lotion for dry skin, and I will adapt.

Chetumal is the capital city (pop 140,000) of the state of Quitana Roo. It is the source of all things city for those of us living in quiet Bacalar (Walmart, Sam’s, movie theaters, medical, immigration, and live music). It’s a thirty minute drive and Lisa and I are learning our way around as streets are rarely identified and the city layout defies logic.

After a quick visit with Dr. Quintanilla, we headed downtown to El Centro.

Museum of Mayan Culture

Museum of Mayan Culture 

The museum houses both a permanent display of the great Mayan cities and visiting free exhibits. I really enjoyed the Day of the Dead exhibit by artista Carmen Vazquez. Visit our Facebook page to see pictures of her amazing art.

Replica Mayan Village

Replica of a Mayan village


Model of Tikal, Guatemala

Model of Tikal, Guatemala

Mayan Columns

Mayan queen

After our museum visit we discovered a great little Turkish restaurant across the street and treated ourselves to coffee.

Turkish coffee is beautiful little china cups.

Turkish coffee beautifully served in tiny cups.

And now for the best part…we went to our first movie in Mexico…Gravity in 3D (tres day) with Spanish subtitles. With my old person card, we paid about $10US for us both. There were seven other people in the theater. Free museum entry, discounted movies…not bad, and we even enjoyed the movie!

Last night we also stopped to enjoy live music at a restaurant where we are making friends with the staff. Do you believe it, two dates in one week? Ah, we are learning to enjoy the retired life.

Que padre!

Date night with Lisa.

Date night with Lisa at El Pargo

A chance to practice Spanish.

A chance to practice Spanish.

When the mind is like water, calm and peaceful, it reflects the beauty in the world. When it is agitated, you can have paradise in front of you and not see it.

“Es la Hoon-glah!”

3 Nov

“Es la jungla Alex!” (It’s the jungle) says Violeta, the housekeeper here in Bacalar, when I tell her about the bites that I have acquired and the itchy rash covering my body as a result. Es la jungla!

Very Itchy Rash

Very Itchy Rash

So I trot myself off to a doctor who looks at the rash and tells me essentially the same thing. When people are new to “paradise” they don’t have the antibodies to the mosquitos and various insects that creep, crawl and sting.  So I leave the office with crema and allergy pills and the promise that it will get better and I will acclimate.

Living in the jungle is definitely a new way of life. There are the beautiful lush flowers and plants growing everywhere. Most of them we see in little pots as house plants, but en la jungla are growing wild and huge.

Another thing about living in la jungla is that it gets very dark VERY early. I can be talking on skype to the U.S. in the same time zone and it is quite light there. Here, it is completely dark, pitch black. It’s like someone throws a switch and the lights go out.

This week we were invited to a pizza party at the home of a friend who lives back in the jungle three miles off the main road. To us newbies it seems odd to start a party at 3pm, but when you consider the ride home in the dark it makes sense.  So on Wednesday, we enjoyed our pizza and left the party for home and promptly got lost. I do not recommend back-tracking in the jungle, in the dark, and trying to find your way out.  It took four of us keeping our wits to figure out the right route and reach the highway for home.

One thing for sure, life en la jungla (hoon-glah) is never dull and we are quite glad to be here. And my rash is much better and I will live.

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