Archive | October, 2014

Cobá Center of the Mayan Universe

26 Oct

Since moving to Mexico, Lisa and I have wanted to visit the pyramides of Cobá. It is north, turn left at Tulum and follow the signs. There was a tropical storm predicted but we were unfazed. The weather in Mexico is much like Texas, wait an hour and it changes.

Entrance

Entrance

We arrived early to beat the crowds. Tour buses can empty out and make even a spacious site such as Cobá (almost 50 sq miles which housed 50,000 people at its peak population) feel crowded.

Walking through the jungle.

Walking through the jungle.

We spent $20US for a tour guide. Ixmael, a local guy who taught himself English. He made our trip fun and answered our endless questions.

A great guide shows us around.

Lisa with Karen Flowers, our friend  from Tulum.

Pedicabs made the trekking easier after climbing the highest pyramid in the Yucatan peninsula.

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Nohoch Mul is 138 feet tall. It will be closed to climbing in 2015.

130 steps to the top.

130 steps to the top.

View from the top with rain cloud.

View from the top with rain cloud.

Cobá has wonderful carvings, columns and early Mayan ball courts.

Put a leather ball through the ring without using hands or feet.

Put a leather ball through the ring without using hands or feet.

Stone columns.

Stone columns.

Carving of a Mayan king.

Carving of a Mayan king.

Watching over a grisley ritual.

Watching over a grisley ritual.

They jungle itself was also amazing.

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Shopping opportunity outside the gate.

Shopping opportunity outside the gate.

Driving home, the sky amazed as always.

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The pyramids of Mexico give us added respect for a country with an ancient history. You’re welcome to ride shotgun with the Tortas as we work our way around the Yucatan. See you next week.

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Sunrise of the week.

Sunrise of the week Laguna Bacalar.

The Many Faces of Laguna Bacalar

19 Oct

The fall brings the rainy season to Bacalar. The wind picks up and the palm-frond palapas begin to rustle. The room gets dark as the clouds block the sun. Time to close the persianas (slatted windows).

The Laguna transforms minute-to-minute with the changing weather.

Monday Morning

Monday Morning

Just as the sun pops above the horizon.

Just as the sun pops above the horizon Tuesday.

Some mornings a pink hue lights up the bedroom and sends me running with camera in hand, to capture another amazing sunrise.

Big sky.

Big sky.

Other days the lake is gray and hauntingly beautiful.

Thick fog.

Thick fog.

Sun sparkling through the clouds.

Sun sparkling through the clouds.

Last night we were able to witness one of those evenings that continue to mesmerize with each passing minute. Cameras were clicking all around us as children threw rocks in the water and were oblivious to the changing beauty of the sky.

 

Perfect for panoramic shots.

Perfect for panoramic shots.

I don’t think I will ever tire of watching and recording the Bacalar sky. You can now follow us on Instagram at dos_tortas. This week we get our first visitors from Austin. We’re excited to be able to show off our town and beautiful Laguna Bacalar.

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Healing Treatment Mayan Style

12 Oct

Moving to Bacalar, Mexico has meant that I haven’t had the resources of the healing community found in my hometown of Austin, Texas, or so I thought.

Let me back up. I have had a series of health challenges that have snowballed due to the use of antibiotics to treat a recurrent urinary track infection. From there, I began having red raised welts all over my body that came and went. Next was the abdominal pain that kept me awake at night. There is nothing more maddening than symptoms that come and go and can’t be pinned down. I have been to four doctors and had numerous tests, blood, urinalysis, CAT scan, ultrasound, even a colonoscopy. Nada, nothing, zilch, nary a polop was discovered. I’ve also had lots of prescriptions, more antibiotics, steroids, creams, and intestinal drugs. We won’t even talk about the expense.

It’s so easy to blame health problems on living in Mexico. After all I was never sick in the US. Ha, I was too busy to be sick and I refuse to fall into that rabbit hole.

This week Lisa made an appointment with our friend and health practitioner Irlein. She and her husband Marcos moved to Laguna Bacalar about this time last year. Irlein has trained for years with a Mayan healer to learn traditional herbs, massage and ancient healing treatments. The experience was amazing.

Soaking in a hot herbal bath.

Soaking in a hot herbal bath.

The day-long process began with lots of preguntas about my symptoms, my self-assessment, what I’ve tried etc. We moved on to a limpia, cleansing with herbs, smoke and chanting. I soaked for hours in a hot herbal bath and periodically jumped in the laguna. Irlein scrubbed my body with course sea salt. The time was spent listening to my inner wisdom, to the messages on the wind and from the laguna. The sense of peace I experienced was deep and profound.

Massage room with a view.

Massage room with a view.

When I was finished soaking Irlein gave me a relaxing massage. The day was filled with love and connection, silence and prayer. A voice told me that I try too hard. It’s time to let life unfold and not push it. Hmmmm.

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So how am I feeling three days later? Natural healing is not like taking a pill. The body takes time to right itself. The rash has disappeared ninety-five percent. My stomach is lots better. I am also on my second week of a juice fast, but that’s another blog. I am happy to find a natural healer in Bacalar. Sometimes it takes a village to think outside the medical box. Thank you Irlein for moving to Bacalar.

Sunrise of the week.

Sunrise of the week on Laguna Bacalar.

Think Global Shop Local

5 Oct

In the mid-1970’s when I lived and traveled in Mexico; there were no grocery stores. Large open-air mercados showed up predictably, one or two days a week and were the norm. We took our woven bags and baskets to bring home purchases. Bulk items such as frijoles were wrapped in newspaper. Plastic bags were non-existent.

Saturday Farmer's Market in Chetumal

Saturday Farmer’s Market in Chetumal

Coconuts in season. Open with a machete.

Coconuts in season. Open with a machete.

Then there were little corner stores where one could exchange an empty bottle and buy a coke. There were a few non-perishables sold and kerosene for the hot water heater.
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Today there are large grocery stores much as we have in the States. Some are familiar such as Walmart and Sam’s Club. Others are Mexican – Chedraui and Soriana.

The little corner stores are still the backbone of Mexico. When I first arrived a year ago, I saw abarrotes and didn’t know what it meant. Pulling out my handy pocket dictionery, I found “groceries”.

A busy little store.

A busy little store.

There are also mini-supers, tiendas and bodegas. Some are small enough to be operated out of a living room. The role that they play for low income people is invaluable. Where else can you buy one aspirin or one roll of toilet paper? Occasionaly there are eggs on the counter or tortillas warm in an insulated container. Mostly the tiendas are full of chips, candy, soda, alcohol and other processed foods.

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Like the U.S., Mexico has its problems with obesity and diabetes, and the shelves of five liter bottles of coke abound.

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This store expanded to include fruit, clothes and plants.

This store expanded to include fruit, clothes and plants.

Every block has its little store. They function as a social center where gossip is exchanged and neighborhood news reported. The other day we bought thirty sheets of copy paper and ten paper clips. Bacalar is truly a world apart, even for Mexico.

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Sunrise of the Week.

Sunrise of the Week.

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