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Mexico City Day 2

20 Aug

Our second day in La Ciudad we explored the Anthropology Museum and the castle of Chapultepec that offers an amazing vista of Mexico City. Chapultepec Park itself is larger the Central Park in New York. We could have spent the entire week here and not seen it all. There was a lovely lake with paddle boats and of course many vendors.

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The Anthropology Mueseum. The two story fountain was closed for cleaning.

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Chapultepec Castle.

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The French had a big influence on Mexico, not to mention rulership. Lisa loves castles.

Part of the goal of this trip is to revisit my old stopping grounds of 1973-74. A lot has changed in Mexico and the world, not to mention ME. Forty some years later at 65 years old, I am still in awe of this amazing country.

I am having trouble with internet, so the post on the historic district and Teotihuacan will have to wait.  Have a great week.

DOS TORTAS

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Mexico City Dreaming Day 1

13 Aug

We arrived in Mexico City at 11:30am Thursday. The city was rain-soaked from the aftermath of tropical storm Franklin. The plane landed smoothly and we zipped through immigration quickly. A thirty minute taxi ride to our hotel to drop off our luggage cost about $12us. The hotel was clean and located in a lovely neighborhood. I found Casa de la Condesa on hotels.com. Score! You never know what you’ll end up with, but I’d recommend this little hotel any day.

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Clean, quiet and great shower!

The hotel called us a taxi to travel to Coyoacan to meet friends for a late lunch. The Coyoacana was exquisitely delicious. Score number two.

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I met Paty and Maria at the swim competition in Bacalar. Dear women.

With light rain, we walked the neighborhood and waited in line to visit the Frida Kahlo museum. It was my second visit and Lisa’s first. I love imagining Frida sitting at her easel. She is an inspiration.

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After the museum we wandered around this hip little Coyoacan neighborhood. Honey, we’re not in Bacalar!! Every town square in colonial Mexico has a church and the cathedral of Saint John the Baptist was quite beautiful.

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Excuse the blurry picture.

We also managed a quick walk through the Mercado before it closed. Meeting up with our taxi driver was a snap and we were back at out hotel ready for a good night’s sleep and quite pleased with ourselves for managing a wonderful first day in Mexico City.

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Mexico City is a huge metropolis with lovely neighborhoods and green parks. It is sure worth the visit and we will continue with our week long visit. Stay tuned.

DOS TORTAS

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A Diós Cha Cha

6 Aug

The TORTAS are off on another adventure with a quick trip to the U.S. and then four weeks in Central Mexico. We were only gone three days when I received a message from our neighbor that Cha Cha, my new little dog got out of the yard and was hit by a car and killed.

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Before she came to us after being spayed. Looking sad and skinny.

We’re not sure how she got out. I’ve been feeling sad and even now it’s hard to write about it. I only had her a month, but time really doesn’t matter. I took a risk and opened my heart. How often do we really get to do that in our lives?

 

Adiós Cha Cha. Vaya con Diós. Go with God.

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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Rocks In My Head

25 Jun

Writing a blog about life in Mexico seemed like a good idea when I started in 2012. As we near the end of our fourth year of living in Bacalar, I did not expect my time to be filled with dealing with my aging body. Two weeks ago was the first time I missed an entry due to illness. Having always been healthy, and I admit, judgmental of others’ aches and pains, I feel the need to tell the truth about what’s been going on. I’m a mess.

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Sunrise from my hammock.

I thank God for the healthcare system here in southern Mexico and the excellent doctors. My motto has always been that a doctor’s is a second opinion since mine is the first. Lately I’ve needed second, third and fourth opinions.

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Isn’t he a cutie? Our internist Oscar Rosaldo.

Back in February I had a sudden and severe headache that took me out. After a day in bed, it resolved itself and I went on my way. Several months later, as we were leaving for Texas, it hit again. Time for that second opinion.

My doctor Oscar sent me for a CT scan which he reviewed with a worried face. There were white spots on my brain that he said were calcium deposits and sent me to an arterial doctor. The arterial doctor did a sonogram of my carotid artery and declared it normal and sent me to a neurologist.

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Painting to stay awake.

The neurologist sent me for an EEG which was a most interesting experience. I had to stay awake all night before the 8:30 am test. It’s been many years since I stayed awake all night and I had concerns if I could do it. It turned out not to be terribly difficult after all.

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The test involved wires attached all over my head which read brain activity during waking, sleeping, lights flashing and numerous other instructions. It turns out that I actually do have rocks in my head and it’s thought that they’ve been there a long time and are not responsible for my headaches. Sigh.

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So I came away with a prescription for migraine medication, having eliminated a tumor and seizures as the cause of my headaches. That’s the way it is with headaches, process of elimination. Since then I’ve had a virus with fever followed by strep throat. I am now on antibiotics and coming out of it. At least I have a comfy hammock to recover in. Gratitude abounds. DOS TORTAS.

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A Mexican Dog Story

18 Jun

Monday we took Cielo, our outside dog to the vet. Cielo adopted us about two years ago, moving into our construction site and living in our house before we did. We tried our darndest to get rid of him but he persisted and we relented.

He is a doberman with cropped tail and natural ears.  He is a free spirit and even though the yard is fenced, he finds a way out and comes and goes as he pleases. Truthfully there’s been times we’ve been afraid of him. He’s gotten aggressive when we’ve tried to examine his foot that was causing him pain. We give him a wide birth. Mostly he’s a big goof and loves his head scratched more than he likes to eat.

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Lisa getting to know Cielo.

Two years ago when we decided he could stay, we took him on his only car ride, to be sterilized. I think he’s never forgiven us. Lately we have noticed a discharge from his penis tinged with blood and have been wanting to get him checked out. He also needs his vaccinations. It’s been low on my priority list and I’ve been hoping it would just fix itself. Well, it didn’t.

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Floppy ears.

So I made an appointment and Monday was the day. He took one look at something strange in my hand, the leash, and took off running. With the help of our neighbor, we cornered him. I thought a treat would help, but he was having none of it. We managed to get him in the truck and off we went to see Veterinario Joel.

Dr. Joel had a muzzle which I suggested we use. Thank God. Cielo was not a happy camper. The diagnosis was tumors. Don’t ask me where they were located. The bloody glove had been inserted somewhere I didn’t want to see. So he’s now on chemo therapy, one treatment a week for four weeks. Monday’s bill was $33us. Each additional week is $22. The vet and I both scratched our heads at the origin of said tumors since they are sexually transmitted and Cielo has had no interest in that department for two years. Some things I just don’t have the Spanish for and frankly don’t need to comprehend.

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Cielo means sky. My original painting.

I know we are bad pet parents for not taking care of this sooner. I saw Cielo after we returned and he came up to me with his little helicopter tail going. So I guess he forgives me. At least until tomorrow when we get to do it all over again. Treatment number two here we come.  DOS TORTAS

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It’s All About Relationships

11 Jun

Making the decision to move to Mexico required many considerations. One of them was Lisa’s mom, Alice. Lisa left her California home at nineteen and only returned for the occasional family visit. Alice made a few forays to Texas but their relationship was not close. What to do?

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Lisa and Alice. They’re relationship has blossomed.

Alice was feeling increasingly isolated and her capacity for self care seemed to be diminishing. We felt like she would have a more vibrant and varied life with us and decided to invite her to live in Bacalar. After a rocky adjustment, life has settled into a new normal. I decided to ask her a few questions about her decision to move with us. It was a fun chance to connect and get to know her a little better.

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Alice’s 300 sq foot house on our property.

What made you decide to move to Mexico? – First and foremost to be near my daughter. I never really liked Bakersfield and I was ready for a change. My siblings all have their families and I was ready to do something different.

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A secure front door, media room and tiny kitchen.

How has Mexico surprised you? – I had visions of donkeys and huts. People are poor but they work hard. I am always amazed how kind they are. I like that people are not stressed. It’s such a peaceful environment.

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A porch makes the house feel spacious and comfortable.

What do you like here? – I love my house. I also get to see things I’ve never seen before like pyramids, villages, churches and markets. I would like to do more traveling.

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One of the few tubs in Bacalar, a colorful bathroom and cozy bedroom. A design all her own.

What do you miss? – I really miss driving. (we both laughed, as her driving was a problem in CA) I miss going out at night. Sometimes Bacalar is a little too sleepy for me. Truthfully I don’t miss much. I’m really happy here.

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Saving a visitor stuck in the fence and corralled by the dogs.

We talked awhile and agreed that it’s hard to connect with other foreigners here. People live their busy lives in Mexico much like the US. The responsibility is ours to reach out. It’s not easy but very worth it.

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