Archive | December, 2016

Encounter Of The Amazing Kind

25 Dec

When moving to Bacalar, Mexico in 2013, our heads were filled with pyramids, mercados, artesanías, cenotes (crystalline natural wells) and colonial churches. We forgot that sometimes the best part of travel is the people you meet along the way.

Last week during our birthday getaway to the small Costa Maya town of Puerto Morelos (Mexican Expat Life) we were reminded of that other, wonderful aspect of living in Mexico.

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As we enjoyed our rooftop birthday meal before heading out to a special treat, Cirque du Soleil, we were lovingly attended to by the manager of the restaurant La Sirena. As Lisa and I finished dinner and were hurrying to catch our taxi, we made the most amazing discovery.

Last year Lisa had a visit from her long lost friend, Michelle. Off they went to Valladolid to celebrate Michelle’s birthday and experience a taste of Mexico. Along the way, they met a bedraggled traveler who volunteered to carry their luggage from the bus to the hotel. A lovely lunch followed, their treat, as this young man had clearly not had a square meal in awhile.

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Ian, from Ireland, with his lovely brogue had asked at the time how he could repay their kindness. Lisa told him to pay it forward. There is always someone who needs help now and then.

Imagine our delight in meeting up again with Ian in Puerto Morelos. Catching up the next day, we discovered “the rest of the story”. He had met the girl of his dreams, married and now has a six-month old daughter, who’s pictures he lovingly shared. He was as thrilled to connect again with Lisa, as she was with him. Isn’t life a hoot? Happy holidays to all from…

DOS TORTAS

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Mexican Expat Life

18 Dec

Sometimes adventure is not WHAT you visit, pyramids, churches, mercados, etc. but WHO you meet along the way. Join the TORTAS as we venture out from our home in Bacalar along the Costa Maya to explore parts unknown (at least to us).

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To celebrate a Torta birthday this week, we visited the pueblo of Puerto Morelos nestled between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Little did we know that this cozy fishing village is an exploding tourist town and expatriate destination.

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Guatemalan boys walking the beach looking for tourist pesos.

Something lacking in the far reaches of southern Mexico that we call home, is an English language bookstore. What a surprise to find Alma Libre Bookstore. 

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Rob and Joanne Birce

Not only are Rob and Joanne long time residents of this sleepy little town, Rob went to school with our friend and fellow Bacalar resident, Mitch! We were immediately family and Joanne told us all the best places to eat in Puerto Morelos.

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Visit their website for all things Puerto Morelos.

At Joanne’s recommendation we dined at La Sirena and met the owner Anthony Chalas from my home state of New Jersey. Greek food in Mexico, yum!

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Great artwork for a photo op.

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Caribbean sea turtle mural.

On our two day tour of Puerto Morelos, we got to visit the local mercado and meet Ann Trépanier, French Canadian and artist extraordinaire.

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Making art from recycled plastic. My kinda gal!

Ann makes “fabric” from heating together layered plastic bags. She is passionate about the environment and the changes she sees in her precious little town due to unregulated tourism.

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I wish I’d bought all her bags. Contact her at welovepuertomorelos@yahoo.com

There was one more astonishing encounter with a restaurant manager, but that is a story for another day. Travel in Mexico is full of opportunities. Do venture out of the all-inclusive hotel compounds. Not only will you meet lovely Mexican people and fellow fearless travelers but expats from around the world who live, love and fight to protect Mexico’s resources. Do tell them “hello” from

DOS TORTAS

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Researching Your Escape To Mexico

11 Dec

There are many online resources available for folks considering the move to Mexico. One of the best is Mexperience. Their blog, newsletter and ebooks provide a broad source of information when exploring a budget, housing and immigration requirements. 

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Sunrise from our porch on Laguna Bacalar in southern Mexico.

Finding Your Place in Mexico

by Matthew Harrup Pathway
It requires a good deal of courage to emigrate and start a new life in a foreign country, and moving to Mexico is no exception.

The things you need to live well, to live comfortably, and to live simply are here. They probably aren’t in the shapes and forms that you are used to seeing; and how they manifest themselves might be different and, at first, alien to what you are accustomed. This journey of discovery is one that you’ll have to undertake consciously if you are going to transform your life situation and create a distinct lifestyle for yourself in Mexico.

Full adoption of any foreign country requires compromise, acceptance, and understanding. Moving to Mexico will oblige you to change habits, surrender whims, accept life for what it is—not what you wish it or demand it to be. In return, Mexico could gift new dimensions to your life, for example, by encouraging you to see beyond your current horizon, and connecting you to friends of the kind you never thought possible.

You will witness the kindnesses and wickedness of human nature as Mexico’s well-documented contrasts present themselves regularly. It will frustrate you, it will annoy you; sometimes Mexico will tease you and play with you for no apparent reason. Mexico can also fill you with an energy and joy that will remain in you always. It’s this impulsive tapestry that creates the almost mystical allure which has brought foreigners to live here, and live out their lives here, for better and for worse, for centuries. And when—perhaps more accurately, if—you can find peace with all that Mexico is and all that Mexico is not, you will begin to find your place in these lands. If you don’t (or discover that you can’t) adapt and tread that testing path to adoption, Mexico will surely break your endeavors, and send you back whence you came.

You might choose a big city, or a colonial town, or perhaps you’ll find a small place to live beside the ocean. You might even take to establishing your own eco home in Mexico. The diversity here offers ample choices in respect of physical locations.

Whichever you choose, your true place, when you find it in Mexico, will be founded in the spaces which you will come to adore but which you cannot easily define, and in the feelings you hold about Mexico which are not easily articulated.

It has been said that Mexico deposits a certain dust on visitors’ shoes that will cause them to return: for good, or never again. The allegory fits well with the contrasts, but it would be foolhardy to encapsulate that thing—that indefinable attendance which attracts and repels so many to these complex and absorbing lands—in such black-and-white terms.

For those who choose to return to Mexico and make a home—and for those who came and have not left—it matters not how many other foreigners are living here. To adopt Mexico, you’ll need to turn up with an open mind, with courage and with tenacity, and be prepared to craft your own story here, on Mexico’s terms.

If what you’ve seen about Mexico on your TV screen scares and keeps you away, your perceptions have been hijacked before you allowed yourself an opportunity to better understand these lands, and see what others here see: a country in transition, a country which is, by and large, less violent than those places where stones are so readily thrown from glass houses.

Finding your place in Mexico necessarily requires due course. There are no shortcuts, no tricks or cheats to download, no App to give you instant answers. It doesn’t matter how rich or how poor you may be. And you can never understand how irrelevant all those things, and more besides, are to become in your life as Mexico simultaneously encourages and obliges you to find your peace amid its many facets.

If you come to truly know Mexico, as its closest friends who are foreign-born to its lands do, it will most likely be through a baptism of fire that will test your character, your mettle and your heart; through a journey of preparation and discovery that brings you to being in Mexico and the knowing within that here is where your life belongs.

DOS TORTAS

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The Kayaker Or The Photographer

4 Dec

I knew a professional photographer who wanted to take his own fiftieth birthday portrait. He set the scene with a throne, crown and regal cape to mark his auspicious anniversary. Setting up to take the shot with his foot, he expressed frustration. When taking the picture, he became the photographer and was no longer the king. He had to get someone else to capture his royal essence.

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This morning I set off early to enjoy the sunrise from one of my favorite places, my little blue kayak floating peacefully in the middle of Laguna Bacalar. The morning was cool. We had rain overnight and the sun was beginning to show on the horizon.

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Love the clouds ☁️

I pushed off as quietly as possible. Sound carries and everyone was still asleep.

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Our house as seen from Laguna Bacalar

As much as I wanted to capture the beauty that I was experiencing and share it with you, I had to put the camera down and simply be. We are so used to seeing the world through a lens and “sharing” it through any number of social media sites that it’s easy to miss the experience entirely.

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I hope you enjoy the pictures I did take, but the seabirds soaring overhead, the changing colors and the breeze will be stored forever in my memory. Make your own memories today.

DOS TORTAS

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