Archive | July, 2016

Don’t Pour Gasoline

31 Jul

I try to keep my life chill. When a problem arises, too often the pull is to pour gasoline rather then step away from the ledge. I make problems bigger and scarier rather than talking them down. This week I had the ultimate test of my resolve…a car accident.

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Pulling out of our drive in Austin, Texas

The Tortas drive a large Ford F-150 truck that was perfect for hauling our possessions to Mexico but does not work well maneuvering in a small town like Bacalar.

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A busy mercado with limited parking.

During a quick stop at the mercado to pick up some veggies for dinner, I found a taxi double parked in front of my little fruteria and leaving me little room to maneuver. I squeezed through but did not leave enough room to pass the car parked on my right. I clipped the bumper and tore it off completely. My stomach began to flip flop and I was in a panic before I even got out of the truck. We all know what’s it’s like having a car accident, not fun at best and a complete life-altering disaster at worst.

A man and his wife and adult son emerged from an older sedan.  They circled the car, pointing out damage and shaking their heads. My fear was that they would call the police. It’s not that I’m afraid of the police, but the more people that get involved, the higher the price goes.

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Local police.

I didn’t know what to do. They began discussing mechanics. I was pouring gasoline.

When I asked what they wanted to settle things, the man meekly asked for two thousand pesos which I did not have and was an outrageous price. I pulled a 500 peso bill from my wallet and offered it as compensation ($30us). The woman looked me in the eye and said, “we’ll take it”. I handed her the money and we shook hands. When I came out of the store, they were gone. To put this in perspective, most laborers make about 250 pesos a day for hard manual labor.

It took me hours to get the adrenaline out of my system. How often do I create problems where there are none, but there “could be”? Valuable lessons were learned, among them, always deal with the woman. DOS TORTAS

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A Day In The Life

24 Jul

Living on Laguna Bacalar, three kilometers (2 miles) from the pueblo of Bacalar makes for a vida muy tranquilo

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We didn’t know about the magnificent sunrises when we moved here.

Up with the sun about six thirty. Lisa starts the day making coffee while Luna and I walk down to the dock to photograph the sunrise. It’s been our ritual since she was a puppy. She waits at the back door impatiently every morning.

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We watch the fish, listen to the birds and watch the day come alive.

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Our rickety dock.

Meditation and exercise play a daily part of the routine. On this day it was an exercise video with Alice, Lisa’s mother. Luna likes to join in.

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On alternative days we’re off to the gym. This week we had a visit with blog follower Heather and son Jonathan. What a treat when people travel to Bacalar after reading the blog.

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A trip to the pirate fort and picture in front of the mural is a must when visiting Bacalar.

We visited shops featuring local art and sampled snow cones shaved from a block of ice right before our eyes. We had our choice of homemade tropical fruit toppings, pineapple, lime, tamarind, nance and more.

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Light and refreshing, not like the syrupy sweet snow cones we’re used to.

What day would be complete without a parade!

I’m not sure what the parade was for, but we never need a special reason to celebrate life in Bacalar. DOS TORTAS

Be sure to follow us on Pinterest and Instagram at dos_tortas.

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Real World Peace

17 Jul

It’s been a heartbreaking week, month, year. Sometimes I feel guilty that I concern myself so little with world violence; as if watching the news, talking about it and worrying could make a difference. I live in a safe place on Laguna Bacalar in Mexico and feel very blessed and privileged to do so.

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Sunrise This Week

I do my best to be genuinely happy one day at a time. No complaints and gratitude, gratitude, graditude. I figure it’s my best contribution to world peace.

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Garden Delights

Some days all I can do is make dinner, clean the kitchen and love the person in front of me.

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Always Curious Luna

I fool myself into thinking that I actually connect with people through social media and blogging. This week I commit to making three phone calls to have real conversations. How about you? What will you do to connect? DOS TORTAS

www.reallove.com

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By Matt Haig

No Stone Left Unturned

10 Jul

When we dismantled our 1900 square foot house in Austin, Texas to retire and build our dream home on Lake Bacalar in Southern Mexico, no stone was left unturned. We emptied every drawer, closet, and box. The garage, garden shed and attic were swept clean.  It took eight months from making the decision to pulling out of the drive. 

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6×10 trailer, kayaks and bikes

We made decisions about family photos, books, clothes, furniture, appliances, tools, kitchenware, art supplies, exercise equipment, artwork, rugs…and the list goes on.

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Lisa and me with our Sons

We had garage sales. Lord, we had garage sales, and gave our children their photos and whatever furniture, tools and plants were left. A local preschool took bags of yarn. There were multiple trips to Half Price Books and Goodwill. The house got bigger as our stuff got less.

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Our house in Austin

We put our hands on ever “thing” that we owned. I thought I was a minimalist, HAH! Three years later and it’s time to do it again. We have less but we also have a much smaller house. Not everything we brought works for this climate. I will never wear these winter scarves again no matter how much I love them. We have bartered many of Lisa’s tools and the trailer with our contractor.

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Cielo hangs out on the Front Porch

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Front

When I look around at where we have come in three years, I can hardly believe it. It’s time to go through our stuff again. The other part of retiring is that it can make you lazy. Time to get to it.  Life is amazing and beautiful if you choose to make it so. DOS TORTAS

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Retiring in Mexico – Is It In Your Stars?

3 Jul

Enjoy our most popular blog post. – There are many videos on the web celebrating and promoting retirement and tourism to Mexico. There are thirty-six Magical Cities of which Bacalar is one. Each individual Mexican state invites you to visit with stunning scenery, colorful fiestas and beautiful children (Quintana Roo). Even TV personality Anthony Bordain raves about Mexican cuisine and culture.

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Facebook has many pages, Expats Living in Mexico (4,700 followers), Traveling Around Yucatan, On the Road in Mexico, and many city-specific group pages, where you can ask questions and plan your getaway. There’s even an Adventures of Dos Tortas Facebook page and follow us on Instagram at dos_tortas.The 2010 Mexican census counted a million foreigners living here. If you hope someday to be one of them, Lisa and I have put together a few suggestions:

LEARN SPANISH
Even if you didn’t get those high school language credits in Spanish, and are of a certain age, (older than three), start today. Your life will be so much richer and easier if you understand rudimentary Spanish and can navigate basic living functions – grocery shopping, restaurants, and travel. It’s challenging to learn a second language, and takes commitment and perseverence, just ask Lisa. Another option used by USers is to throw money at problems. You can hire people to do all the work of finding you a place to live and shipping your possessions. They will navigate the immigration process and all you have to do is show up for fingerprinting. It depends on your resources and how you want to spend them.

Local market.

Local market.

START PREPARING TODAY
Even if retirement is years down the road, there is much that you can do and need to do today. Whether you will be living on social security or in a condo on the beach, have a plan, talk about your priorities, dream and take action.

Casa de Los Venatos, Villadolid

Hacienda  Los Venatos, Villadolid, Yucatan

COME HAPPY
Living in a foreign country is hard. Our biggest challenge is that we don’t know what we don’t know. We have exchanged one set of stressors for another. People who succeed in creating a life here must be resilient. It is so easy to carry a satchel of unrealistic expectations. Do not expect Mexico to save your marriage, be the laid back country it was in the seventies or make you happy.

Sunrise of the week.

Sunrise of the week.

Don’t get me wrong, we are very happy and glad we came. Do we wish we had done things differently? Some days, yes. Have we learned things we couldn’t have learned any other way? Absolutely. Is our experience everyone’s experience? Not even close. Do you love adventures and are willing to take risks? Then just maybe, Mexico is perfect for you too. DOS TORTAS

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