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Lightning Strikes Twice

18 Mar

I have experienced typhoons in Japan, hurricanes in Texas and lightning in a snow storm in New Jersey, but nothing like the electrical storm we had this week in Bacalar, Mexico. This was a doozy.


The evening started with quiet flashes and increased breezes coming from the north. Only because we had just installed hurricane curtains on our screened-in porch, did we close up the house and head to bed. Might as well give these puppies a go. Lord were we in for a night!


An example of some of the storms that roll across the Laguna.

It wasn’t long before the storm hit. Blinding flashes exploded one after another followed immediately by ear splitting sonic booms which told me that the storm was stalled right over us. My father had taught me to count, one-thousand one, one-thousand two, between lightning and thunder claps to track the storm’s movement. It was right on us and I was glad for the concrete bunker that we live in and our newly installed protection.


Just in time.

I badly wanted to go up on the roof to watch the storm, but frankly I was scared. Mexico leads the world in death from lightning (National Lightning Safety Institute) and I wasn’t about to be stupid. The lack of grounding wire in many homes in Mexico is likely the culprit, not to mention the spaghetti bowl of dangling wire that can be seen all over most cities.

I checked on the dogs who seemed to be doing quite well considering, battened down the hatches some more and climbed into bed. I fell asleep counting one-thousand one, one-thousand two, as the storm slowly moved away.


NOT taken during the storm.

The next morning our yard looked like it had been through a spin cycle. Two banana trees came down with their top-heavy load of green bananas, lots of leaves, and a few big branches was all. We had gotten a much needed drenching and overall faired pretty well. It took a few days but all is back in order. Next time I will take pictures.



Merida, City of Wonder

18 Feb

Merida is the capital of the state of Yucatan, and a colonial city of over two million people. The Spanish influence can be seen everywhere as can the Mayan people who inhabit the city. 


Mayan flower vendor in traditional dress.

The tropical climate, endless cultural events, and low cost of living make it attractive to expatriates from all over the world. Within a few hours drive you can visit several magical cities, flamingo nesting sites, and Mayan pyramids.


The ancient Mayan city of Mayapan.

And then there’s the pristine beaches. It is no wonder that Merida is one of the fastest growing cities in Mexico.


Isla Holbox sunset. Not far from Merida.



Renovated Hacienda Santa Cruz, come for dinner or a luxury stay. Painting by Teresa Bland.

There are many wonderful museums.


Elegant Mayan woman.


Campesino-Mayan Farmer 

Whether coming for a visit or to renovate and create your own Mexican home away, Merida is a gem.


My friend’s courtyard art.

A busy place with Uber to help you navigate. Do let us know if you’re visiting. Bacalar is a four hour drive in a first class bus. We just might join you.




The Road Less Traveled

7 Jan

I recently read that dogs need two thirty minute walks daily. As a result, I am now doing for the dogs what I haven’t been doing for myself, exercising.


Hurry Mom lets go!

The road in front of our house runs parallel to the Laguna and is sparsely traveled. Luna and Frida can run off-leash and have a blast sniffing and peeing to their hearts content. Luna is afraid of strangers which makes her act all crazy and aggressive toward anyone we meet. Frida gets stupid around vehicles, so our little Mexican country lane is perfect.



Lately there’s been holiday guests at the hotelitos up the road and more construction. As a result, walking became less fun. So when I found a trail through the jungle which avoided both, off we went to explore. I do not know who cut this wonderful path or why. Perhaps the nearby campground thought its guests might use it. I have not met another hiker in the two weeks we’ve been walking and the dogs are safe chasing squirrels, agouti, or wherever their nose takes them.


Entrance to the trail. Luna knows the way.

For me the hike is a chance to be in the moment and relish the beauty of my surroundings. I hear birdsong, my dogs and quiet. Some days I amble, others I walk hard, using my trekking poles to avoid a twisted ankle. The dogs sleep better and so do I.



Jungle selfies.

Here’s hoping you have a place of peace and renewal and visit it often. If it’s outside and gives a sense of adventure, that’s icing on the cake. On the other hand, if you’re huddled indoors trying to stay warm, you have my blessing. Come to Bacalar.



Happy Tropical New Year 2018

31 Dec

Self-reflection and the start of a new year seem to go hand-in-hand. Goals, intentions, plans, resolve, diets and exercise programs are a part of many people’s annual tradition. Not so for me, at least not this year.


Blooming succulent.

For many years I had the tradition of making two lists.  One was my accomplishments from the past year (courses, travels, projects, books read, etc), which I would compare to my list of intentions written on that January first. The other list was my intention for the coming year which I would then review the following January. It was surprising to compare the intentions and the accomplishments on the first of each year. Something than never made either of those lists was moving to Mexico.


The entrance to our property completed.

I have been a very driven and goal oriented person my entire life. I never thought I would simply let it all go. There are no more lists, timelines, tracking, or weighing. At least very little. Could it be because I live in Mexico? The tropics? Or because I’m retired? Probably all three.


Daily showers and everything blooming.

This lovely Mexican culture has definitely influenced the amount of time I spend hanging out in the hammock. Don’t get me wrong, there’s much I enjoy, daily jungle walks, kayaking, painting, gardening and my new found past time, weaving. There are very few deadlines, self-imposed or otherwise, unlike having worked a government job for many years.


Afternoon showers.

So if I were going to give a few suggestion for 2018, hey, why not? They would be – do less, relax more and spend more time with a puppy sleeping in your lap, hammock recommend but optional. Happy New Year 2018.




The Artist Next Door

1 Feb

“Art has so many sides, so many possibilities.” These wise words posted by one of our blog followers inspired me to continue sharing the artistry that is Bacalar. Christmas Eve we met our neighbors Abraham and Isabel. Abraham is a stone and wood sculptor with his work currently on display at a local resort. We spent a fun day recently oooing and ahhhing and generally being inspired by Abraham’s work.

Abraham Illescas

Abraham Illescas

The pieces are viewed best by walking round to experience all sides. Clearly this is not the perfect venue. The stone makes you want to caress the coolness, smooth and rough. Abraham “finds” stones, or maybe they find him and works to release the beauty within.

Abraham is working on an installation for the Modern Art Museum in Mexico City in a few months. At the same time, all pieces are for sale, a common struggle of all full-time artists.

Wouldn't this piece look wonderful in your garden?

Wouldn’t this beauty look wonderful in your garden?

This is my favorite piece, carved from a stone found holding open a door in a small Yucatan hotel. Maybe its forever home is my yet-to-be built house, displayed with the perfect lighting in my living room .
Abraham and Isabel sat with us at dinner last weekend. They wave when they see me out on my bike. It has been really fun getting to know them and continuing to open my eyes to the artistry in Bacalar.


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