Archive | May, 2014

Healing a Not Broken Leg – Isn’t Life Amazing?

25 May

Memorial Day weekend 2013, our daughter was getting married. Life was busy with selling our home, getting rid of most of our possessions and winding down our jobs. We went from crazy busy to retirement life in the jungle of southern Yucatan.

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Life here is not for everyone. We did not want a large English speaking community with all the amenities of the US. Our nearest city and the capital of the state of Quintana Roo (Row) is about a 40 minute drive. Chetumal (pop 260,000) sits on the boarder with Belize and the Bay of Chetumal. It is not a tourist destination in spite of efforts to make it so.

Museum of Mayan Culture

Museum of Mayan Culture

Chetumal is where we go for medical care. Friday was three weeks since my fateful bike accident and time to return to the traumatologist. Don’t let appearances fool. While the buildings look right out of the 1950’s, the care is top notch.

Clinica Independencia

Clinica Independencia

My experience thus far with medical care has been that it’s low tech but very hands on. Doctors take time. It’s not that high tech isn’t available, MRIs, etc are reserved for more serious situations. Dr Diez-Torres removed my cast, gently manipulated my knee, assessing pain and range of motion. He explained using a model what was going on. Our conversation was in both English and Spanish. We looked at the X-rays again and agreed that my leg probably wasn’t broken. He told me to return to normal activity as I was able and use light weights to do leg extensions to build muscle strength. I felt like I was talking to an equal.

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My knee continues to heal. I look forward to swimming and no pain. While life in this corner of the globe is not for everyone, the lack of stress and beauty that abounds makes it perfect for us.

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Today’s Spanish Lesson ¿Dónde está el baño?

18 May

When out and about in the US, one rarely thinks twice about bathrooms, unless you’re at an outdoor venue and forced to use a port-o-potty.

In Japan I once stumbled into a unisex bathroom which was a surprise to say the least.

Japanese Unisex bathrooms contain stalls and urinals.

Japanese Unisex bathrooms contain stalls and urinals.

In the airport bathroom in Istabul there was a sign asking people to please not wash their feet in the sink. International bathrooms are full of cultural experiences.

Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul, Turkey

You can’t miss this sign at a roadside Mexican restaurant.

Outside a roadside restaurant.

Pull over I gotta go.

Living in Mexico in the 70’s gives me a point of reference for baños. It was so much worse then. Public restrooms were hard to come by and toilet paper, as we know it, was not common (newspaper, comic books). A lesson my grandmother taught me, and every woman in Mexico knows, never leave the house without tissues.

In Bacalar.

In Bacalar.

Today, there are clean functional toilets (most of the time) in Pemex stations where you stop for gas. The trouble is, they charge $3-5 pesos, $.25-.40 per use. It is a clear discrimination against women, since men have no trouble peeing on their tires. I’m not sure what’s up with the whole peeing on the tires thing, but you see it everywhere, pull over and pee on your tires!

Then one day I came across this –

They can't refuse you service.

They can’t refuse you service.

Handing a few coins to the bathroom attendant in the bus station, restaurant, government building, grocery store or hotel is the norm. I figure that I can afford it and it’s a way to circulate money to people who’s income it is. It’s the same for the people that pump your gas, sack your groceries or help you park your car (whether you need it or not).

So when looking for the baño in México, remember to bring your tissue and always have a pocket of change, or you too could find yourself peeing on your tires.

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A Favorite Laguna Bacalar Picture

A Favorite Laguna Bacalar Picture

L’chaim To Life – To A Dear Friend Adiós

11 May

While laid up this week mending a broken leg, I have little of our usually active life in Bacalar to share. No photos, but lots of sadness. Life can be very, very unpredictable and I’m not talking about a broken leg.

Last December I posted Familia Nueva About two good old gals from Texas that Lisa and I met here in Bacalar. They were retired and living in San Miguel de Allende taking a six-week Yucatan holiday.

Who would have imagined that we would meet another couple with the same age spread (12 years) and history (20 years) together AND a blast to be with. Not only did we hang out and visit the sights and sounds of Bacalar, on our return trip from Texas in January, we visited them in San Miguel and got the royal treatment. We stayed in their newly remodeled home, saw the sights of SMA and made plans, over morning coffee, for future joint travels and visits to each other’s homes. Lisa and I returned to southern Yucatan looking forward to seeing them again.

Last Saturday, we received something we never ever expected, Judy’s Facebook obituary. She had died in her sleep Thursday night of a brain aneurism, as near as anyone can tell. She was 51 years old.

One thing we enjoyed while visiting SMA was Nancy and Judy’s wedding video. They had traveled to California last September to make their relationship legal. Lisa and I will be following their footsteps in July.

Life is precious and we only have today. Nancy and Judy lived life to the fullest. Nancy has wonderful memories to sustain her and good family and friends to remind her she is loved. All that other stuff of life suddenly seems not so important – Love each other and God bless.

By the lake in Bacalar.

By the lake in Bacalar.

Judy's beloved rooftop view.

Judy’s beloved rooftop view.

You will be so missed.

You will be so missed.

Feliz Cinco Ya’ll – Take Two

4 May

Due to a mishap over the last few days, I’ve decided to repost my Cinco de Mayo blog from last year. We sure have come a long way in our relocation to Mexico.  On Friday I  went down hard on my bike and have a hairline tibial fracture behind the right knee. I will be in a brace for three weeks. This morning I’m on pain medication and not thinking too clearly. A handsome traumatologist got me seen, xrayed, diagnosed in and out in two hours for less than $200 Xays, brace and medication.

 

Immobile for three weeks.

Immobile for three weeks.

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A Repost From 2013

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Austin by waving green, white and red Mexican flags. So much so that I once heard someone point to a Mexican flag and refer to it as a “Cinco de Mayo” flag. It’s a day for family, friends, eating tacos, listening to conjunto and drinking cerveza. Few know what the holiday is really about. When living in Mexico, I visited the Fort de Puebla where a fight for independence took place in 1864. The French, with their highly trained forces thought they had a cake walk in taking over Mexico. A rag-tag militia of about 500 strategically placed Mexican soldiers proved them wrong. Mexico’s independence took years of battles with French, Spanish, US, and British troops. It’s no wonder everyone celebrates a win by the underdogs.

But Cinco is a celebration of much more than the Battle of Puebla. It’s the celebration of a strong, proud, independent people who love to celebrate just about anything. As a youngster from New Jersey, I was wary of a picnic in a cemetery for Day of the Dead. It was a delightful day that allowed me to experience another culture in a very personal way. There are birthdays, saint days, quinceñeras, religious holidays, Sunday picnics, and many more events that I hope to learn about and participate in.

We continue to pack containers, take books to Half Price, have dinner with friends and plan our escape. There are no “final” goodbyes. Just about everyone is invited to visit. So if you think that southern Yucatan may be a vacation destination in your future, get your passport, practice your Spanish and bring a “celebration state-of-mind”, and remember your hammock.

Alex Enjoying a Sunny Lake Bacalar Day

Alex enjoying a sunny Lake Bacalar day

Sunset on the Bay of Chetumal

Sunset on the Bay of Chetumal

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