Archive | June, 2015

So When Will The House Be Done Already?

28 Jun

The Tortas are in Tulum visiting our Austin friends Karen and Skip. We are on a hunt for items for our house, tile and light fixtures mostly. Options have increased over the last few years in our outpost of Mexican living. We now have a Home Depot in Chetumal which is thirty-minutes away, woohoo. The style of our house is rustica or pueblo. There are rounded corners, thatched overhangs, concrete floors, stuccoed walls and niches. Mass-produced furniture, lighting and all things made in China are not what we’re looking for. The hope is that Tulum and Playa del Carmen will offer more options.

Ok, so there are some exceptions.

Ok, so there are some exceptions. About $135

We stopped by the property for a progress update on our way out of town. There were a dozen workers trying to beat the rain clouds hovering overhead. Progress over the last six weeks has been amazing.

Front entrance.

Front entrance.

The molds have been made and the concrete will be poured for the arches above the door and windows. Construction out of concrete is a whole new world for us.

Rounding corners with concrete blocks.

Rounding corners using concrete blocks. Amazing!

The workshop aka Lisa’s she-cave is waiting on a part to install the garage door. A carport will be added to provide an indoor/outdoor work space.
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The arches have been poured over the doors and windows in this section. To the right is the entrance to the main bedroom and bath. The interior window will allow an open view into the bedroom and close for privacy when desired.

All rooms open onto the porch with views of the Laguna.

All rooms open onto the porch with views of the Laguna.

The stairs leading down to the Laguna from the porch will also provide security allowing the house to remain open to the night breezes.
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The trip to Tulum and Playa del Carmen afforded the purchase of decorative tiles for a yet-to-be determined location. It also gave us ideas, like these clay sconces for the porch.

Which do you like best?

Which do you like best?

I liked these. They can also be painted.

I liked these. They can also be painted.

The roof will go on in the next week or so. After that begins the interior detail work of building counters, installing sinks, adding lighting and pouring floors. There will be many trips to Chetumal. And the projected completion date is…the end of August, four months as predicted. Forgive us David if we didn’t really believe you. House construction is the very definition of delays and unforeseen problems. Add Mexico to the mix and many projects languish. To say we are excited is an understatement. Lots of work left to do, but definitely light at the end of this two-year tunnel.

DOS TORTAS
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The Swim Across Laguna Bacalar

21 Jun

Lisa and I came to live on beautiful Laguna Bacalar for quite different reasons, she for a boat, and I, to SWIM. Yesterday was the tenth annual open-water swim across the Laguna. With over eleven-hundred participants competing in two days of events, Bacalar is overflowing with energy and people from all over Mexico, Belize and the U.S. The weather was perfect with water temperature in the low 80’s.

#637

Getting marked #637

I have been training for weeks building up to the three-quarter mile event. My friend Polly and I did a practice swim last week and I felt relaxed and confident.

Colorful vendors plying their wares.

Colorful vendors plying their wares.

Of course we had cheerleaders.

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Fellow expats Pat and Rick make up the Bacalar cheering section.

Boats ferried participants across the Laguna to swim, on mass back to waiting family and friends. It’s not my first open water swim. All those churning bodies and kicking feet can be a bit disconcerting.

Making my way out of the water and through the crowd.

Making my way out of the water and through the crowd.

34:25 not bad

My time 34:25.

My biggest supporter.

My biggest supporter.

Later in the evening there was an awards ceremony. I was hoping for a trophy, but the competition in my age category was stiff and I did not place. First place winner finished in 22:37. Wow! Lovely to see so many older participants.

My competition.

My competition.

Local children put on a dance performance to much appreciation from the crowd. The show stopper of the evening was my friend and fellow bacalareña Polly who won in the female over seventy category. Beside her was the first place winner in the Paralympic group AND oldest man. He’s eighty years old and a double amputee from Mexico City. image It was a great day and I’m not even half dead today! I promise an update on house construction next week. With walls going up and the roof just weeks away, it’s time to go shopping for tile, lighting fixtures and everything else that goes into a new house. As always, your comments are appreciated. DOS TORTAS

The Adventures of Dos Tortas

The Adventures of Dos Tortas

Show And Tell – Art Purchases

14 Jun

Life rarely turns out the way we plan. Sometimes it is way cooler. Our three-week road trip to explore the Yucatan was originally conceived to search for repurposed doors, windows, and hardware for the home we are building along the Laguna of Seven Colors in Bacalar, Mexico. The design for the house is Pueblo or village style. It has stucco walls with arched wooden doors and lots of rounded corners. There are palapa overhangs for shade and a large screened porch. We like the look of concrete floors and persianas, (louvered windows) and open indoor/outdoor living. It is small compared to the mansions being built along the laguna, less than a thousand square feet. Perfect for Dos Tortas.

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We managed to find old wood doors, but unfortunately they were made of soft wood and not the hard woods needed for building in the jungle. The purchases we did make were local art for decorating our home. So much fun!

In Valladolid we found a “bazaar” which means – used items. We spotted this wooden panel deep in the back of a room. She spoke to us and was the most significant purchase we made. I have a collection of Guadalupe’s. She will get her own wall in our home.

This piece is made of wood by a local artist.

The panel is made of wood by an artist from Tizimin.

A mestizo mother and baby will be a garden piece, when we have gardens someday LOL.

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An iron sun will be incorporated into a roof railing to welcome the daily sunrise.

Here comes the sun.

Here comes the sun.

Next were hemp baskets. Before synthetics, hemp was a major industry in the Yucatan. I bought a colorful tortilla basket in the convent store in the magical city of Izamal. Perfect for keeping the tortillas warm on the kitchen table.

Basket of many colors.

Basket of many colors.

I broke my own rule and purchased this basket in a tourist shop. The price was right and I hadn’t seen another like it.

I paid less than $20 for this 9" tall basket.

I paid less than $20 for this 9″ tall basket.

No one traveling to the Yucatan can resist the beautiful pottery. I know we will return to Ticul after the house is complete. At the moment, we have nowhere to store the really big pots that I adore.

Mayan Goddess

Mayan Goddess

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I was told that this small replication was a bruja or witch. Usually women who were known as witches were midwives or healers. Needless to say, she had to come home with us.

Bruja.

Bruja.

The last small pot was made by ceramics artist Roger Juarez. Visiting his Mayan studio was a highlight of the trip. By this time the truck was quite full. Only promises to return kept me from blowing the budget.

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We were happy to get home to Bacalar. House construction is now in full swing. It is hard to be patient at this point, but knowing I have such lovely pieces to decorate the house…will be worth the wait. DOS TORTAS

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The Great Yucatan Meander – Final Leg

7 Jun

Traversing the Yucatan in a big-ass truck is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Once our house construction is complete we will be purchasing a more  economical, easier to park vehicle. But for now, it’s perfect! So we set off for three weeks to meander, shop, swim and explore our way around the Yucatan.

Fun with pyramids.

Fun with pyramids.

No tour de Yucatan would be complete without visiting the pyramids of Uxmal (oosh-mahl).

Impressive city.

Impressive city.

Uxmal is a large fascinating site and one of the most visited in Mexico. Record heat insured there were no crowds to contend with. Even arriving early did not keep us from mucho gratitude for our air conditioned ride.

The attention to detail is staggering.

The attention to detail is staggering.

Walking through the city, we were transported through time. It’s hard to imagine what life was like. People spent so much effort simply surviving in this dry climate. Catching and storing water was paramount. And yet decorating their temples seemed equally important for survival. Chac the rain god was everywhere.

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Here is evidence of the thatched-roof Mayan homes still seen everywhere in the Yucatan. Their thick walls do an excellent job of insulating. Hang a hammock and you’re all set.

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Like cenotes, you would think after awhile, ancient sites would get boring. Not for Dos Tortas.

imageWe were wishing to make off with some of the stonework simply laying around. Ha!
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There was so much to see and do. Three weeks flew by.

imageWe’d like to incorporate some of these images into our house design. Construction is finally underway. For house pictures visit our Facebook page. Next week we’ll have show-and-tell for the purchases made during the Meander. See you then and as always your comments are appreciated. DOS TORTAS 

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