Archive | July, 2017

You Win Some You Loose Some

30 Jul

On Wednesday this week, I lost and found my diamond necklace and had my iPad stolen from my luggage, both on the same day. Travel has its perils.

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Winery beauty Northern California.

Sitting on the plane as we landed in Mexico City to start our U.S. vacation, my hand went to my throat and my necklace was missing. With an attempt at no drama, we looked through the plane seat and sent messages to our house sitter and friend who drove us to the airport. No luck. There wasn’t much else to do, so we continued with our travels.

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Petunias

Hours later, Lisa pointed incredulously at my foot, “what’s that?” and there was the necklace tangled in my shoe laces! It must have fallen and in my 3 a.m. stupor, I tied it into the bow! How crazy is that? I was feeling pretty smug at not having gotten upset at the possible loss of my beloved necklace. Not so fast, the day was young.

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Blooming artichoke.

Any way you look at it, travel these days is getting more stressful, especially international travel. There’s the luggage, fees, passports, immigration paperwork, security, finding your gate, layovers, delays etc. etc. In our case, all is negotiated in Spanish.

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Who doesn’t love goats at a winery ❤️ she looks pregnant.

We landed without further event in San Francisco. The plane arrived thirty minutes early. We slid through immigration and ran to catch an earlier shuttle than we expected for the two hour ride to my daughter’s house. Things were clicking along until I reached into my suitcase to retrieve my iPad. I had it stowed in my checked bag due to newly released security warnings. Drum roll….

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The cover was there but no iPad. Our very long day just got longer. Fast forward to today, I have a new iPad and thanks to that mysterious thing called the cloud, my old pad has been erased and a new one restored. I wish I could say that there was no drama. I understand in my head why people steal, but it’s hard not to take it personally. Replacing a device is an inconvenience, not to mention a pain in the ass and an expense. Lesson learned, nothing of value in checked luggage. When we moved to Mexico we had visions of zipping north to visit the grands. Not as easy as we though and one more thing to consider when making plans to retire in Mexico.

DOS TORTAS

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A Much Needed Vacation

23 Jul

Travel in Mexico in the 70’s took little planning (In The Beginning). There was no Airbnb. You showed at the station and took the next bus to wherever you were heading. Schedules were flexible which means nothing left on time.

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And there were trains! They were cheap with little difference in cost between second class (bench seats) and first (individual recliners, that rarely worked).

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The train from Puebla to Oaxaca circa 1973.

The train stopped frequently along its route allowing vendors to board selling fruit, avocados, tacos and lots of mysterious looking snacks that I was afraid to try. Today there are almost no trains running. It’s a shame really although there is talk of high speed rail between Mexico City and Guadalajara.

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The switchbacks were scarey at times. 😱

There were also many cheap hotels and each trip further enhanced my love affair with Mexico. We are off soon for our much needed vacation. I will introduce Lisa to my old stomping grounds in central Mexico, including Mexico City, Oaxaca, Puebla and Cholula. I have dragged out some old photos that I hope to recreate. Vamos a ver (we’ll see). Wish us buen viaje!

DOS TORTAS

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Watch Your Feet But Occasionally Remember To Look Up

16 Jul

Anyone who spends time in Mexico knows that you HAVE to watch your footing. Uneven urban sidewalks can mean a skinned knee or a broken bone if one gets distracted for a minute. I’ve seen openings in the sidewalk that could swallow a child, never to be seen again. In the jungle a tree root, stump or half-buried rock can take you down.

There are also the delights of looking down. There is a nance tree along my morning walk with the dogs. Tiny yellow fruit litter the ground and are quite tasty. They’re like a soft apple, not particularly sweet with a large seed. Not much to it really but worth trying if you see them in the market.

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I’ve been reading about the importance of biodiversity in our gut. These little fruits are seasonal and local. Children sell bags of them along the highway.

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The occasional snake or tarantula can also be observed if one keeps their eyes peeled during a morning walk.

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Neighbor kids found this beauty caught in our fence last year.

Of course life can not be lived only watching your feet. It’s important to look up at the beautiful sky or miss the rainbow, tucan or storm clouds. Here in Bacalar, we are never at a loss for a beautiful sky. Even during a restless night last night, the half moon glistened across the Laguna at 2 am.

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So find your balance, whatever it looks like, even if it changes every day.

DOS TORTAS

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A Quiet Sunday In Paradise

9 Jul

The front gate is almost complete. It’s not only beautiful but it adds another level of security, dogs in, unwanted people out.

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Pouring a foundation. Materials delivered.

We’ve been reminiscing of our early visits to this property four years ago. The non-descriptive turn off the highway gave us access to our lake-front lot. One day, out of curiosity, we drove past Teresa’s, our neighbor to our north and the trail ended in the jungle 100 yards away. We had to turn around. It was quite primitive and isolated, just the way we liked it.

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The stonework is a lovely detail.

Today, that primitive trail is a well travelled lane where we walk the dogs and guests and workers arrive to visit the houses popping up along the Laguna. We brought in electricity from the highway and sold it to our neighbors. And the games began.

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The blue wall is a great contrast to Alice’s orange house that sits behind it. 

Development is always a double edged sword. We want services such as trash pick-up and pharmacies that carry more than hair dye and nail polish. For this we need to grow the population. Hotels and tourism is booming. Everyone loves Bacalar.

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The ironwork and lights have been installed. We must clean up and do some landscaping to finish.

Which of course leads to an increase in crime. Our friend’s rental property was broken into this week while guests slept. All their electronics were stolen. Crimes of opportunity are on the rise in Bacalar as they were in Austin when we lived there. I guess we thought we could outrun it.

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Luna loves the new gate. Eventually it will open by remote control.

Our solution is to make it harder on the thieves and not to be afraid. We have house sitters for our extended times away. The dogs, as annoying as they are, do their part in alarming us of unusual activity. It’s only stuff. There is little violent crime. Living in paradise comes with a price we’re willing to pay.  DOS TORTAS

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Not Another Mexican Dog Story

2 Jul

Life in Mexico is never dull. Some days I wish it were. Oh, and did I tell you we now have THREE dogs? It’s probably due to those Rocks in My Head.

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Who could resist this face?

Two weeks ago in A Mexican Dog Story, I talked of Cielo, our doberman and how he was recently diagnosed with tumors. After his second trip to the vet for chemotherapy, he was so traumatized that he quit eating. He even walked away from his favorite food,  pollo asado, barbecue chicken, that I thought would surely entice him. A week passed and he was positively skeletal and I was planning to ask Dr. Joel to put him down. Cielo could be found curled up in various corners of the yard and I thought for sure he was a goner.

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Here’s where the rocks in my head come in. Someone posted a picture of a disabled street dog in need of a home. He had rescued Mapacha, aka Raccoon and gotten her spayed. She needed a forever home since he already had four dogs.

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Meet Chacha. She prefers the breezes on the roof and nimbly slips through the gate. I think she has hypnotic powers.

Thinking that we were going to loose Cielo, I brought Chacha home for a trial run. Yeah right. She has bonded to me, loving to sit in my lap for endless snuggles. Luna is not sure about the whole thing but seems accepting. The amazing thing is that Cielo began eating as soon as Chacha showed up. He is now putting away bowl after bowl of food and clearly not going away anytime soon. How did this happen?!

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Chacha the roof dog.

So we now have three dogs. Be prepared. Living in Mexico does crazy things to you. At least it did to us DOS TORTAS

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