Archive | April, 2018

Mexican Roadtrip

29 Apr

What does one do to rest while recuperating from a broken wrist (A Quiet Week In The Jungle)? Why go on a road trip of course!

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We have the services of a wonderful house sitter and decided to head out. Alice, my 74 year old mother-in-law with a broken wrist, is not able to do anything very strenuous.  What better place to visit than the the sleepy island paradise of Holbox.
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The island of murals.

 We visited Holbox three years ago (Isla Holbox) when our house was under construction. It’s hard to believe it’s been three years. The weather was perfect albeit a little toasty. This time, the island was hit with monsoon-type rains right before we got here. Walking is muddy, slippery and dangerous. We are availing ourselves of the numerous golf cart taxis that provide cheap transportation.
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Alice is agog with so many things to look at. We are here for a few days so no need to hurry. We’ll probably rent a golf cart and tour the island on our own.
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The center square surrounded by shops and restaurants.

There is also a boat tour to see birds and maybe a flamingo or two. Alice will be thrilled. Weather report says no rain for the next few days. Fingers crossed.
DOS TORTAS
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A Quiet Week In The Jungle

22 Apr

While I was off visiting the grands last week (USA Here I Come), all was quiet on the home front in Bacalar, NOT!

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Wrist broken in multiple places.

My sweet mother in law was tripped by her kitty and went down hard on her right wrist. Surgery, pins and a cast oh my.

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Jubal the culprit

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Alice needed an artistic cast.

And if that wasn’t enough, the dog with nine lives is down by one more! (The Adventures Of Frida The Mexican Street Dog)

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Frida

I wasn’t here of course, but story has it that a large swelling appeared under her chin and obstructed her breathing. No time for photos. Poor Lisa having to deal with non-English speaking doctors and veterinarians. She is a trooper.

Frida has visited two vets and we’re still not sure what the problem is. She’s on anti -inflams and has a follow-up on Monday, fingers crossed. We’re ready for a quiet week but then again you can’t pick and choose your adventures and that’s the life we’ve chosen.

DOS TORTAS

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USA Here I Come

15 Apr

When looking for a retirement location in Mexico, proximity to an airport is an important consideration. We had grand designs of easily zipping NOB (North of the Border) to visit family, as well as traveling the world. The tiny Chetumal airport, forty minuets from our house, does the trick. It beats a five hour bus to Cancun which adds two days of travel on the front end. The trouble is, the connections are not always that great, resulting in longer than we like layovers in Mexico City. Sigh. Life is not perfect.

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Chetumal airstrip top left of the page. The plane did a wide loop over the city before heading north.

I decided last minute to take a trip to Texas to visit my kids. I procured a well-priced flight and jumped on it,  leaving Lisa to walk the dogs and hold down the fort. I did not, however pack warm enough clothes brrrr. There was hail last night outside San Antonio!
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A stunning view of the volcanoes outside of Mexico City. Popocateptl smoking above the clouds.

So I’m in Texas for a brief week-long vacation enjoying grandchildren and celebrating our oldest son’s 35 birthday. I have no idea how he got so old.  Until next week…
DOS TORTAS 
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Held Hostage In Mexico

8 Apr

For seven and a half hours, over two days we were held, not at gun point but at pen point at our bank in Chetumal, Mexico. Sign here, and here and here. I felt like I was buying a house. And all because of a TYPO!

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Four years ago after retiring to Mexico from Austin, Texas , we opened a Mexican bank account. Once we had our green cards, it was the first things we did. Mexico has a very clear path to legal residency. If you have retirement income, a job or a familial connection, you can apply and obtain residency. The process is clear, electronic and takes about a month. Imagine that.

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No, not our mug shots.

What we didn’t known until now is that there was a typo on our original account application. The bank’s simple solution, cancel the old account and open a new one. Easy right? Au contraire.

Following Spanish tradition, Mexicans have two last names or apellidos. The father’s first and then the mother’s. On any application there is a box for both. Since we have a different tradition and our passport have only one last name, for some unknown reason, the person who processed our original application put an “X” (or equis as in the beer Dos XX) in the box where my mother’s name should have been. We’re unsure as to why this finally caught up to us and had to be rectified immediately.

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Don’t you love signing documents you can’t read?

Mind you the entire 7.5 hour process was conducted completely in Spanish. My head was swimming and there’s no bathroom in a bank. Our green cards and the fact that we had done thousands of dollars of business with this bank in the last four years did not seem to count as adequate identification and proof of residency. Did I mention the bank holds the title to our property? But that’s another never-ending story.

To our frustration, we could not find our most recent electric bill. Note to self and you who are considering retirement in Mexico, the CFE (Comisión Federal de Electricidad) bill is right up there with your green card as proof of residency. Keep the most recent original in your car at all times.

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In that case, did we have a…
Water bill? Nope, we have a well.
Phone bill? Nope, we pay month to month. ($16 a month unlimited talk and text to MX, US and Canada)
Internet? Cable? Nope and nope. We pay cash to a private server and no cable.
Mexican drivers license? Never saw the need.

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It’s a good thing we left the dogs home for what we thought was going to be a quick trip to the bank.

This went on for seven and a half hours over two days. I must admit, I’ve never met more patient people. We did get it resolved after lots of signing and sighing. They had new software…blah, blah, blah and I’m sure the paperwork for international money transfers contributed to the hostage situation. After all, we could be drug smugglers laundering our millions. We were exhausted but extremely glad to have this straightened out. It might be relatively easy to get a green card in Mexico but it sure isn’t easy to open a bank account.

DOS TORTAS

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Festival de Body Paint

1 Apr

Living in small town Mexico, I wrote this blog three years ago as I longed to find an artists community in Bacalar. Wow have things changed.

The Artistry That Is Bacalar

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Even Frida got in the picture on our Free Walking Tour of Bacalar.

In three years since my post, our sleepy village has grown considerably. New hotels and restaurants pop up daily. There were two articles in the international news this week that mentioned Bacalar as a vacation destination. I cringe. Please stay home.

The Safest Places To Visit In Mexico

Visitors on yesterday’s walking tour were from Spain, Ireland, Australia, and Canada. Rarely do USers come here. It’s too far from Cancun and people do not have enough vacation time.

Yesterday in the Centro there was a Body Painting Festival. It was put on by a group I sketch with on Thursday evenings.

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My friend and full-time resident and artista extraordinaria Yolanda

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The phases of the moon over the Laguna.

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The body as canvas.

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So much detail. Very Mayan.

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A great time was had by all. I love hanging out with these folks. We make art together. As Bacalar grows, not all things have to be a drain on the community and the environment.  People coming together to express love and art has to be a good thing right? DOS TORTAS

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