Archive | December, 2014

Help Promote My Blog

30 Dec

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,600 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

En Bacalar It’s El Parque (The Park)

28 Dec

In the colonial cities throughout much of Mexico, the town square is called the zócalo. The zócalo is located in the old center of the city and is a multi-purpose destination. On one side is usually the cathedral. Government buildings such as the governor’s palace or a museum flank another quadrant. Many are resplendent with portales, arched walkways with outdoor cafes to nosh and people watch. They are the place to see and be seen. I remember sitting on the zocalo in Oaxaca watching the teens circle, boys in one direction, girls in the other. The aunties on benches served as chaperones. Lord are those days gone forever! Welcome to our humble park.

The gazebo houses dance classes, tai chi, health fairs and games of tag.

The wonderful gazebo, in the center of the park houses dance classes, tai chi, health fairs and games of tag .

Bacalar’s town square is called el parque. On Friday night it is hopping. Families come to let the kids play, buy a treat and mingle with the tourists.
imageThe parque is also where children put on school presentations and holidays are celebrated.
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A walk around the outside of the park starts on the north where several small restaurants attract mostly tourists with regional cuisine and hamburgers.

Notice the bilingual sign.

Notice the bilingual sign. Bicycles provide transportation.

In the northeast corner is an office building devoted to tourism. It is newly painted with colorful murals.

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To the east is the pirate fort overlooking the Laguna. Young Guatemalan girls sell their wares in its shadow. These two wanted “three dollars” to take their picture. With lots of giggling, they got five pesos each.

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View from the fort and museum 

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On the southwest corner, local artists sell wonderful jewelry and wind chimes made from shells found in the laguna. I love to visit to see their latest creations. Shop here to take home that special keepsake.
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Continuing around the park you pass the ATMs and on to the municiple offices. It’s time to pay 2015 property taxes. If paid by the end of December there’s a 25% discount!
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I hope you enjoyed our little walk in the park. It’s our favorite place to hang out. Did I mention it has wifi? Love our little town.
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Our First Year in Bacalar – 2014

21 Dec

I love getting Christmas cards. I decorate with them around doorways and across the mantle. As sending cards becomes old school, I have saved them for reuse. Several friends have asked for our mailing address. If you’d like to see how long it takes for a Christmas card to get to Bacalar Mexico, you can mail us at:

Alex Fisher
Apostado #16
Bacalar, Quitana Roo 77930
Mexico

I will let you know when they arrive, probably by June.

It is hard to believe that this is our second Christmas in Mexico. The end of the year is always a time to look back and ahead. One way to measure the passing of time is with events. Here are some of the highlights of 2014 for Dos Tortas:

January - The birth of our granddaughter Sophia.

January was the birth of our granddaughter Sophia.

In April we closed on our property.

In April we closed on our property. Construction of our house will begin in the new year.

We got married in July in Petaluma CA.

We got married in July in Petaluma CA after twenty years in love.

We have also grown in relationships, not only our own but new friends in Bacalar. Yesterday we spent the day with Gabriel and Monica, seasonal visitors from Mexico City. Sitting on their dock, talking and being in awe of the beauty of the laguna was one of those capstone days to our year.

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Our blessings have been too numerous to count. The new year brings the promise of our new house, visits from friends and family, and joy in the life we have created.

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We are sending our love to all of you. Feel free to contact us. We love getting comments on the blog, calls and emails. Happy holidays and happy New Year.
Dos Tortas

Holiday Minimalism

11 Dec

In the 1980s I was at home with three young children and a big house. My mother wasn’t the best housekeeper and to say my skills were lacking is an understatement. As I struggled to stay on top of “things” I came across the book, Clutter’s Last Stand by Don Aslett. Don had worked his way through college cleaning houses and upon graduation discovered a far more lucrative business than his original degree provided.  His ideas about having less to clean and organize resonated strongly. I also belonged to a Unity Church which taught the principle of flow. If you own something that you don’t need, let it go and what you DO need will come to you. Between the two, I started on the road to a minimalist lifestyle, or so I thought.

Sunrise of the week.

Sunrise of the week.

Moving to Mexico provided an opportunity to downsize in a big way. We sold our house and reduced everything into a 6×10 trailer pulled by an over stuffed truck. Two bicycles, two kayaks and a living room rug were strapped on top. They were all things we thought we needed to begin life anew.

Pulling out of the drive in Austin Texas to live our dream in Mexico.

Pulling out of the drive in Austin Texas to live our dream in Mexico 2013.

We had multiple garage sales and shipped “family heirlooms” to adult children, took loads to thrift stores and learned to let go, let go, let go. And still we hauled away more possessions than we needed. For the past year most of them are still stored in the trailer. We don’t even remember what we own any more.

The house we are building is about 900 square feet, larger than I originally envisioned, huge by some standards, impossible by others. We are still challenged by acquiring “stuff”. It’s the American way and deeply ingrained. And so easy to do.

The clouds enchant.

The clouds enchant.

I recently came across a website that encourages minimalism and was reminded of the original book that started the “less is more” way of thinking for me. So whether an international move is in your cards or a desire to free up your life, time and money, I suggest turning off the TV ads advertising the latest deal and try buying less, or NOTHING this holiday season. Trust me, it can be done.

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On a recent trip to Cancun we met Mercedes and Ramon, owners of Bed and Breakfast Poblenou in Barcelona Spain. They sat at our table in a crowded dining room and were visiting Mexico for a little vacation. Who’s up for a trip to Barcelona? Me, me, ME!

Our new friends from Barcelona.

Our new friends from Barcelona.

Jardín (Garden) De Venus

7 Dec

This week Lisa and I are settling into our new place. Yesterday I took off for an afternoon kayak. The laguna was calm. The sky was blue. Big white clouds had gray under bellies with two rainbows splitting the sunshine from the impending shower. As soon as I hit the dock to tie up, the sky opened with big raindrops pummeling everything. So much beauty to be grateful for.

Sky after a brief shower.

Sky after a brief shower.

As a blogger in paradise, I have been receiving inquiries as to places to stay in Bacalar. What a great excuse to explore some of the many hostels and hotelitos available. Visitors to Bacalar range from European back packers to weekenders from Mexico City.

Garden of Venus

Garden of Venus

The Garden of Venus is a delightful little get-away for the economically minded traveler. It is within walking distance of central Bacaler. Meet Olga, owner and operator extraordinaire.

Meet the Goddess herself - Olga.

Meet the Goddess herself – Olga.

Small rooms, a camper and tents are available for about $25us per night. There is a communal kitchen, bathroom and shower.

The kitchen is a place to make friends and tell travel stories.

The outdoor kitchen is a place to make friends and tell travel stories.

There are kayaks and boat tours and a lovely little beach for swimming.

Beach

Beach

You also can’t beat the ever changing view from the dock.

One of the many changing faces of the laguna.

One of the many changing faces of the laguna.

Bacalar has new hotels popping up every day. What fun to explore and take my followers along for the ride. The Garden of Venus is a small word-of-mouth operation that can be found on Facebook.

Sunrise of the week.

Sunrise of the week.

 

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