Tag Archives: bacalar mexico

This Is Your Assignment

21 May

As I sat and pondered a topic for this week’s blog, I was approached on Facebook by Camille E. Torok de Flores for inclusion in a series she is putting together on Blogs About Mexico Worth Reading. I expressed interest so she sent me a list of questions to complete. While I have blogged in the past on most of these topics, I realize that four years into our life in Mexico perhaps it’s time to revisit the answers.

IMG_6086

Why do you blog? What is the purpose of your site? For whom do you write? In the beginning of the whole move to Mexico process, the blog was a response to the questions asked by family, friends and strangers, why and aren’t you afraid?

Then there was the retiring, planning, packing and never ending garage sales. My brain was spinning and the blog was an opportunity to process and share.

When we arrived in Bacalar, everything was new and exciting. We were adjusting to a new life and every aspect was intriguing. There were endless blog topics just walking around town.

The next few years were occupied with jumping through hoops to begin construction of our home, the construction itself and its completion. Mixed in were our various travels both within Mexico and to the States.

Where do we go from here? It’s a good question. September 2017 begins our fifth year in Bacalar. I do not know my readers well. I would love to hear from you what you get out of the blog?

Where can you be found? (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc)
I am on Instagram at dos_tortas Pinterest at Bacalar, Mexico and on Facebook at The Adventures of Dos Tortas.

What is your favorite blog post? Why? No favorite stands out for me, although my readers clearly have a favorite, First of All Have Fun (February 2017).

What has been the most difficult for you to blog about? Why? My most difficult blogs have been the ones that I share the pain of having left our family or the death of friends. Being vulnerable is required to live an honest life. But it’s hard.

What advice do you have for those planning to move to or travel in Mexico? I can see that it’s going to take more time than I have today to answer these questions. It’s time for a personal reassessment so look for future blogs to cover these topics.

What has been the best experience you’ve had in Mexico? What did you learn from it? To be continued.
What has been the worst experience you’ve had in Mexico? What did you learn from it?

DOS TORTAS

IMG_6401

A Story Like The Wind

5 Feb

When our children were young, I read them bedtime stories. Little Women, The Indian in the Cupboard. I love to read aloud. Maybe it’s because my dad did too. He read the Sunday comics with a different voice for each character. He should have been a voiceover actor.

img_5709

My dad like to read, travel and he liked parades.

For twenty-three years we have continued with the bedtime reading ritual. I read aloud, Lisa listens. I wish I had kept track of all the books we’ve read.

img_5710

The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings Series, the Harry Potter books, the seven Chronicles of Narnia, the Eragon series by Christopher Paolini (I highly recommend them although we’ve never read the fourth book.) and two of my favorites, A Story Like the Wind and it’s sequel, A Far Off Place by Laurens Van Der Post to name a few.

img_5708

If I had to pick my favorite book of all time, it would be The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye. I think I’ve personally read it three times. And many, many more in twenty-three years. Why did I not write them down? I don’t think I imagined I’d be reading for so long.

img_5706

Presently we’re reading the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith.

img_5707

Not all books lend themselves to being read aloud. Choosing from the adolescent section is a good bet. We’ve slogged through many books that should have been retired early on. We’ve also shied away from anything that might prevent pleasant dreams.

This week I will be in Merida for Art Rendezvous, so no reading before bed. We’ve tried reading over the phone, but it’s not the same.

img_5711

So you might try reading someone a bedtime story, a child, elderly person or your spouse. It is the absolutely sweetest experience. And who knows, it could create a lifelong habit.

DOS TORTAS 

img_2544

Can You “Plan” Adventure? But Of Course

15 Jan

We have been in our little house along the coast of beautiful Laguna Bacalar in the tropics of Southern Mexico for a little more than a year. The walls have been settling around us. Our gardens are bursting with color from a long rainy season. Life is good.

img_5538

Waking every morning to an amazing sunrise.

We left our life in Austin, Texas and made this extraordinary move in 2013 with certain pre-conceived ideas that were completely subconscious. Traveling and living in a foreign country is a great way to hold up a mirror to one’s assumptions. Here are some things that surprised us about our new life.

img_5291

Orchid like flowers blooming in the jungle. 

img_5414

A stone cross found in Valladolid, Yucatán. 

It’s not as easy to take off for the weekend and travel as we had imagined.

This may be a no-brainer for you but dogs are a lot of work. When we adopted Luna, our first dog ever, she was a throw away street puppy. We didn’t really think through all the ways she would impact our lives. Everyone told us, you HAVE to have a dog. Of course we adore her, but like every other relationship, there are inconveniences.

img_1821

A sad little puppy who needed a home.

img_5329

Lisa and Luna enjoying tour of the lake.

Leaving our house unattended for more than a day or two is not a good idea. There is crime of opportunity, much like in the US or anywhere else in the world. An empty house is a big opportunity. Since we have chosen not to live with bars on the windows, having a house sitter is the way to go. Finding the right someone takes time. Travel is less spontaneous than we had hoped. Another inconvenience.

img_3961

The front of the house.

We have also turned into the proverbial home bodies. The view from the porch is to die for. We can swim and kayak in our back “yard”. The food (my cooking) is the best and our bed is supremely comfy.

img_3956

So the “Adventures” of Dos Tortas has been looking more like the laid-back, staid life of Dos Tortas. We are not complaining.

As of today, I am happy to report there are adventures in the planning. Can you “plan” adventures? Stay tuned. We’ll try to step it up a bit.

DOS TORTAS

img_5564

A Friday Night In Smalltown Mexico

30 Oct

What is there to do for a retired expat on Friday night in a sleepy little Mexican town, far from the nightlife of Cancun and Playa del Carmen? While my wife was enjoying an evening of gringo poker, I thought I’d take myself out for dinner and a walk around the park to see what’s shaking in Bacalar.

img_4867

The gazebo in the heart of downtown Bacalar.

It was early by Mexican standards. Families would be out as soon as the sun went down and the evening cooled. Vendors were setting up shop, probably looking forward to the Day of the Dead activities next week. Memorial alters will be on display around the park featuring candy skulls, family photos and lots of marigolds. It is an annual competition and a huge draw that brings people into town to participate or view. There were few tourists about this evening and sales were slim pickings.

IMG_4868.JPG

The first vegan restaurant in Bacalar.

I ambled over to El Mango y Chile. I very much want to support local entrepreneurs who try new things that bring flavor to Bacalar. Dani and Jesús, the owners, are go-getters and the food is yummy. They also have a food blog mangoychile.com with lots of healthy Mexican dishes.

img_4869

A lovely patio overlooking the Laguna.

img_4872

Someone out on a sunset sail.

img_4871

A street dog with sweet eyes and a thumpy tail was under a table. I want to take them all home.

img_4885

The classic “burger” that come with the best fries in Bacalar.

My dinner was yummy. The location is perfect and I hope the restaurant thrives. No walk about is complete without a stop at one of several new heladerías that have popped up around the square.

img_4876

A must stop for any and all visitors. The owner is Mr. Personality and fun to talk to in English or Spanish.

Cappuccino ice cream was the choice this evening before I caught a taxi home. There is probably more action in some of the bars if one is looking for it. I do wish that there were live music and a dance venue, but that would require us to stay up past 9:00. I would consider it, believe me, except in Bacalar, nothing starts until 9:00. Ah, for a night of youthful energy once a week. I don’t think it’s asking too much, do you?

DOS TORTAS visit us on Instagram at dos_tortas

img_2383

Home Sweet Bacalar

23 Oct

Returning to Bacalar, the Laguna of Seven Colors, along the Costa Maya of southern Mexico after two and a half weeks in Northern California has been bittersweet. I loved seeing our grandson daily. His eyes lighting up when he saw me was wonderful beyond words. We read books, went for walks and ate Nana-made concoctions for lunch. It is a grandparents’ lament whether you live in the States, Mexico or anywhere the young ones are not.

img_4732

Blueberry smoothie for breakfast, yum. Even this picky eater couldn’t resist. Score one for Nana.

Returning to Bacalar has been noticeably quieter than a home with an eleven month old. Residents have a reprieve before high season brings tourists and snow birds. There is less income for locals, restaurants and hotels, but more peace.

img_4828

Favorite restaurant El Manatí got a facelift while I was gone.

Weather is divine, upper 60’s (20C) at night and 80’s (31C) during the day with an afternoon shower to keep the garden green with splashes of color.

img_4800

Blooms start out white and actually turn pink! Amazing.

Cutting from a cactus that will get very tall.

img_4802

Bird of paradise in bloom.

September completed our first year living in our lovely home. We are enjoying the tranquility and continue to marvel at the life we have created. What is in our crystal ball? A family reunion in November and trip to Texas in the spring. For now we are loving everyday from striking sunrise to breathtaking sunset.

DOS TORTAS

img_2076

A House Full Of Goddesses

18 Sep

After spending my junior year attending college in Mexico (In The Beginning), I became enamored of goddesses. It was clear that they played an important role in Mesoamerica. They were the bringers of rain, corn and yes, babies.

image

Coatlique – Aztec mother of the gods. (Stock foto) This is an immense statue I visited in 1973 at the Museum of Anthropology, Mexico City.

In the nineties  Lisa and I visited Isla Mujeres, the Island of Women, off the coast of Cancun and the site of worship to the goddess Ixcel (E shell). Young Mayan women travelled by canoe to ask for her blessing in pregnancy and childbirth.

image

The site of the temple on a great cliff overlooking the Caribbean.

In 2014, while on our honeymoon, we went to Cozumel and the temple of Ixcel to petition on behalf of our daughter, who now has a beautiful son. The temple was a pilgrimage site, sanctuary, and school of midwifery for the ancients. (Home Sweet Home Bacalar MX)

image

Our lovely daughter carries son Max on a trip to New Orleans

image

The goddess Ixcel carrying her youngster sits on our kitchen counter in Bacalar.

Our art collection has grown during our travels (Show And Tell Art Purchases) and filled our house with goddesses.

image

A high born Mayan woman holding an obsidian mirror. The original is quite diminutive.

image

You needed a goddess on your side when birthing in ancient times.

image

The goddess of sexual indiscretions. And I thought she was the goddess of weaving haha.

Painted by our friend Jo Mann.

Our history rarely includes herstory. Goddess images are labeled fertility icons, as if that is all women are concerned with. On every continent, strong, powerful images of women have been uncovered. It’s fun to invite some of them to share our home.

DOS TORTAS

image

Don’t Battle The Ants

4 Sep

If you have never read 100 Years of Solitude (Cien Años de Soledad) by Colombian Nobel Prize winning author Gabriel García Márquez (1967), you have missed a magical story that takes place in the remote village of Macondo, in the jungle of the Columbian rainforest. It is one of the best books ever written. Seriously.

image

I first read 100 Years of Solitude as an international student in Mexico in the seventies. It had just been translated into English. It is a tale of seven generations of the Buendía family who among other things, have the habit of naming their children variations of the same names. It’s enough to make your head spin trying to keep track of the various players.

image

Hibiscus also known here as tulipani.

Eventually I gave up trying to follow who’s who and found that it made little difference. I would never give away the ending other than to say it involves ants.

image

The video would not upload.

In the jungle a battle with the ants is a battle you will loose. There’s more of them than us and they never quit. No matter how clean your house, they will scurry across the kitchen counter looking for a nibble or a bug to carry off.

image

Volunteer papaya tree growing out of the compost pile.

This week I was sitting on the couch and twice found an ant on my leg. I looked up to see a highway of ants coming from under the dog crate. What the…!!

image

Bird of paradise blooming this morning.

They show up quickly having decided that something I thought was mine is really theirs. It’s a wonder they haven’t made off with the dog! Time to get out the trusty vacuum cleaner. The best I can hope for is to discourage them. So far, it’s not working.

DOS TORTAS

image

Don’t Pour Gasoline

31 Jul

I try to keep my life chill. When a problem arises, too often the pull is to pour gasoline rather then step away from the ledge. I make problems bigger and scarier rather than talking them down. This week I had the ultimate test of my resolve…a car accident.

image

Pulling out of our drive in Austin, Texas

The Tortas drive a large Ford F-150 truck that was perfect for hauling our possessions to Mexico but does not work well maneuvering in a small town like Bacalar.

image

A busy mercado with limited parking.

During a quick stop at the mercado to pick up some veggies for dinner, I found a taxi double parked in front of my little fruteria and leaving me little room to maneuver. I squeezed through but did not leave enough room to pass the car parked on my right. I clipped the bumper and tore it off completely. My stomach began to flip flop and I was in a panic before I even got out of the truck. We all know what’s it’s like having a car accident, not fun at best and a complete life-altering disaster at worst.

A man and his wife and adult son emerged from an older sedan.  They circled the car, pointing out damage and shaking their heads. My fear was that they would call the police. It’s not that I’m afraid of the police, but the more people that get involved, the higher the price goes.

image

Local police.

I didn’t know what to do. They began discussing mechanics. I was pouring gasoline.

When I asked what they wanted to settle things, the man meekly asked for two thousand pesos which I did not have and was an outrageous price. I pulled a 500 peso bill from my wallet and offered it as compensation ($30us). The woman looked me in the eye and said, “we’ll take it”. I handed her the money and we shook hands. When I came out of the store, they were gone. To put this in perspective, most laborers make about 250 pesos a day for hard manual labor.

It took me hours to get the adrenaline out of my system. How often do I create problems where there are none, but there “could be”? Valuable lessons were learned, among them, always deal with the woman. DOS TORTAS

image

Real World Peace

17 Jul

It’s been a heartbreaking week, month, year. Sometimes I feel guilty that I concern myself so little with world violence; as if watching the news, talking about it and worrying could make a difference. I live in a safe place on Laguna Bacalar in Mexico and feel very blessed and privileged to do so.

image

Sunrise This Week

I do my best to be genuinely happy one day at a time. No complaints and gratitude, gratitude, graditude. I figure it’s my best contribution to world peace.

image

Garden Delights

Some days all I can do is make dinner, clean the kitchen and love the person in front of me.

image

Always Curious Luna

I fool myself into thinking that I actually connect with people through social media and blogging. This week I commit to making three phone calls to have real conversations. How about you? What will you do to connect? DOS TORTAS

www.reallove.com

image

By Matt Haig

The Gods Were With Us

26 Jun

Watching a wall of rain barrel across Laguna Bacalar is a breathtaking experience. There’s barely time to batten down the hatches before the tormenta strikes. During the rainy season we close up the house before any outing, no matter how clear the sky or the weather predictions. You just never know.

Last weekend was the maraton or swim across as we fondly call it, across Laguna Bacalar. It’s a three quarter mile swim with hundreds of flailing bodies. I saw three boats almost run into each other trying to get to a swimmer requesting help. People were panicking in water that wasn’t even over their head.

image

Over a thousand registrants.

The weather was perfect and the Laguna calm. The sun even peaked out as the race was beginning. After days of torrential downpours, the gods were with us.

image

Checking out our medals.

Swimmers come from all over Mexico, Central America and the US to participate in this open water, fresh water event. There were many young people who left me far behind, some old people too. My official time was 37m 33sec. Not bad for not having trained. I was experiencing residual pain from the kayak marathon.

image

Team Bacalar – Shawn, Alex, Jim, Polly and myself

I know so many people that say that they hate to exercise. I don’t go to the gym because I love going to the gym. I go because I can sleep better, walk further and lift more without hurting myself. I go because it helps me live in my body in a way that nothing else does. DO TORTAS

image

Blog follower Emily came from San Miguel to swim!

image

View From Casita Colibrí

gringa musings from a rooftop terrace in Oaxaca

Your Hand in Mind

Musings of a human factors engineer after her brain was released...

Our House In...

Living where we are

Creative Hands of Mexico

Handcrafts, folk art and more

Surviving Yucatan

Smoothing out Mexico's rough spots.

A Boy and Her Dog

Traversing the Border between Butch and Transgender

Surviving Mexico

Adventures and Disasters

emilievardaman

travel and random thoughts

Just Another Moment in Paradise

Snippets of an Adventure's Life in Cozumel, Mexico

Perking the Pansies

Jack Scott's random ramblings

Mexico Retold

There's more to Mexico than meets the media

The WordPress.com Blog

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

The Amazon Express

From the most distant source to the sea.

Compass & Camera

Travel, Culture, Life

Biketrash Holiday

Adventures on Two Wheels!

%d bloggers like this: