Archive | June, 2016

The Gods Were With Us

26 Jun

Watching a wall of rain barrel across Laguna Bacalar is a breathtaking experience. There’s barely time to batten down the hatches before the tormenta strikes. During the rainy season we close up the house before any outing, no matter how clear the sky or the weather predictions. You just never know.

Last weekend was the maraton or swim across as we fondly call it, across Laguna Bacalar. It’s a three quarter mile swim with hundreds of flailing bodies. I saw three boats almost run into each other trying to get to a swimmer requesting help. People were panicking in water that wasn’t even over their head.

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Over a thousand registrants.

The weather was perfect and the Laguna calm. The sun even peaked out as the race was beginning. After days of torrential downpours, the gods were with us.

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Checking out our medals.

Swimmers come from all over Mexico, Central America and the US to participate in this open water, fresh water event. There were many young people who left me far behind, some old people too. My official time was 37m 33sec. Not bad for not having trained. I was experiencing residual pain from the kayak marathon.

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Team Bacalar – Shawn, Alex, Jim, Polly and myself

I know so many people that say that they hate to exercise. I don’t go to the gym because I love going to the gym. I go because I can sleep better, walk further and lift more without hurting myself. I go because it helps me live in my body in a way that nothing else does. DO TORTAS

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Blog follower Emily came from San Miguel to swim!

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Swan Lake – Lago de Los Cisnes

19 Jun

A ballet in Chetumal? It was a student production with 40 peso tickets ($2.50). I had extremely low expectations. If you have read previous blogs, you know that even though it is the state capital, Chetumal is not exactly the cultural center of Mexico. But we take what we can get from our sister city to the south and off we went our little group of four gringos.

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The theater itself was a nondescript building. We took public transportation which was a good decision. There was only street parking available.

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Constitution Theater

As with all ballets, the audience was peppered with little girls dressed in their Sunday best.

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The doors opened and everyone filed in and got settled. Out came the cell phones. I think some people actually recorded the entire production.

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The theater attendees were not well versed in ballet etiquette, which is understandable given the dearth of opportunity in Chetumal. Our little band of gringos led the applause at every opportunity.

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Selfies with honorary Torta and neighbor Teresa.

I wish that I had read the synopsis prior to attending. The program was in Spanish of course. With the low lighting and these old eyes, there was no figuring it out. I simply enjoyed the set, costumes, recorded music and performance.

 

The surprise was that it was wonderful! I was in awe of the young dancers and the professional lead (I am making assumptions here). They got a standing ovation from our little band and none other was more deserved. We chattered all the way home in our taxi how amazing the performance was. The best $2.40 I ever spent! DOS TORTAS

 

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Belize – Part Two

12 Jun

When we last saw the intrepid Tortas they had sweet talked their way across the Belize boarder not knowing if they would be allowed back into Mexico. No drama here!! (Belize – Amazing Race Style)

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The newly installed Belize sign.

First things first, we are indeed home in Bacalar. Crossing back into Mexico was easy-peasy. No questions asked. Alice got a 180 day visa, viola.

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Peacock Palm on Caye Caulker is common in Belize.  They are extraordinarily.

During our three day visit to Belize, we took a tour of the sites which included the Belize Zoo. I had heard good things about it and was not disappointed. It is worth adding to your bucket list of things to do in Belize. For a very small zoo, that’s saying a lot.

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It looks like we were close because we WERE.

Belize Zoo

“A non-governmental, non-profit organization focused on wildlife conservation through wildlife rehabilitation and environmental education.”

 

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Rarely seen in the wild tapir. National animal of Belize.

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This macaw was putting on quite the show. He came out of his cage to say hi.

The zoo provides educational programs to thousands of Belizan children and educators annually. Teaching children about the animals of their country gives them an understanding of the environment and why it is important to take care of it.  Making even a small donation to support the zoo will make a huge difference. DOS TORTAS

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Belize – Amazing Race Style

5 Jun

Lisa and I are big Amazing Race fans. We even applied once with a stellar video, but never got the call. On Thursday we crossed the border from Mexico into Belize. It’s a good thing we held onto the taxi. They wouldn’t let us in!

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Our Belizian taxi driver who helped us get from the border to Belize City.

Lisa’s mom is visiting Mexico on a 180 day tourist visa which is about to expire. We decided that a vacation to Belize would allow her to leave the country and start another 180 days ticking. We hired a dog sitter to stay with Luna. Off we went.

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Pick up point, a lovely hostel in Bacalar.

After boarding a bus in Bacalar, we settled in for the drive to Chetumal and then across the border to Belize City, where we would catch a water taxi to Caye Caulker for some island snorkeling. Sounded like a plan.

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Adios” from Lulu at the Quetzal Hostel

We arrived at the Belizean border and hit a snafu. They wouldn’t let us in! We went round and round with the woman wearing the badge behind the glass box. She refused us entry into Belize because we didn’t have confirmed hotel reservations (hotels are always cheaper when booked in person). Our bus driver tried to help, but eventually left us at the border.

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Lisa and her mom about to board the water taxi to Caye Caulker, BZ

A supervisor looked at our passports and confirmed that we could NOT enter Belize with Alice’s soon-to-expire visa. He directed us to return immediately to Mexico to get an extension.

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Boat ride to Caye Caulker off the coast of Belize in the Caribbean.

In true Amazing Race style, Lisa ignored his directive and went back to the original agent and apologized. We would get the hotel reservation she requested, which we did. AND SHE LET US THROUGH! Apparently there is no communication at the border, surprise, surprise.

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View from our hotel balcony. You can see the Caribbean in the distance.

As I write this we are still in Belize. To our knowledge, no All Points Bulletin has been issued for three “older women” trying to overthrow the government. No security risk here. The trick of course is to get Alice BACK into Mexico. I guess we’ll cross that border when we come to it. To be continued…DOS TORTAS

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