Tag Archives: Bacalar MX

Life’s Little Delights

6 Jun

On Thursday this week, I was driving along the main highway toward Belize, on my way to have brunch with a friend. She lives alone and is quite isolated. With both of us vaccinated, we had made plans to meet up for some huevos divorciados. I left home later than I intended for our appointment at ten. While mindlessly zipping along, I noticed that the sky was studded with lovely big pillowy clouds against a blue blue sky.

Love these clouds as seen from my hammock.

Up ahead, I saw a motorcycle on the shoulder. It’s headlight was on and facing towards me. I thought it odd and swung the car wide to give him plenty of room.

What I saw next caused me to laugh out loud. The motorcycle was a bit wobbly, as the man tried to set off with an ungainly load. There was a child on the front, the driver and two young women behind him. One of the women was carrying a goat!

Not quite the same but you get the idea. Stock photo.

I have no picture on my phone but a delightful memory. It reminded me of Lisa and my 2005 trip to Thailand. It was our first introduction to scooter culture. It is a fine art, but absolutely anything can be carried on a scooter.

The colors of my art.

So that was my excitement for the week. It’s not much, but I’ll take it.

DOS TORTAS

Life Is A Bloody Inconvenience

4 Apr

Of course we are all living through the biggest inconvenience of the century. For that reason alone, surely we should be able to control SOMETHING! A seemingly quiet day of bread making, art project, and exercise can go in a completely different direction fast.

I have been wanting cinnamon rolls. So I made them!

I can always lock myself in my studio, or escape to my hammock with headphones. Interruptions can be many, boohoo.

Don’t let the sweet face fool you.

I find that living with people, dogs, neighbors, the weather, you name it, can all have unforeseen consequences. Some days I’m ok with it, others, it’s a challenge.

Studio time.

On the scale of introverts to extrovert, I fall somewhere off center to the introvert side. I like being alone. In life before Covid, I scheduled a yearly retreat with paints, knitting, journal and a good book. Long walks, sans dogs are such a luxury.

How can I be so cranky living in paradise.? It’s an art I guess.

Today I make the decision to put my plans aside and do what needs doing, a quick trip to the doctor and pharmacy for my mother-in-law. Bladder infections come on so quickly at a certain age. I’ve managed to swim and the bread is rising. Complaining of any sort is such privileged behavior. If you celebrate Easter I hope it’s a good one. Weather here is lovely. Hammock here I come.

DOS TORTAS

Quarantine Penpals

7 Mar
Sunday Sunrise

I had a pen pal in fifth grade. I wish I could say that we still write to each other. I would have a story worthy of the evening news. Truth be told, I don’t remember much of our penship, not even where she lived or how long we corresponded.

Letter to my father.

When attending college in Mexico in the seventies, I wrote a letter to my father. I found it among his things when he died. A keepsake for sure. He had written a letter to me that I responded to. I wish I still had it.

Do we even know how to write?

For awhile I lived in Okinawa, Japan. It was the eighties, before smart phones, computers and instant communication. I hand wrote letters on blue, tri-fold airmail paper. They took awhile to arrive stateside but the fifteen hour time difference made phone calls challenging.

In the time of Covid I have nurtured a few pen pal relationships. One is with a guy I met on our cruise to the Panama Canal a year ago. He and his wife hung out with us on board and we knew they would be good travel companions. Dan likes to write. He sends missives that are entertaining and detailed. He is a good storyteller and together we exchange our lives in lockdown.

Panama City

Someday they will come to Mexico. Perhaps when we are all vaccinated, when Covid cases are manageable and when we can hug each other and go out. Won’t that be grand?

DOS TORTAS

But That’s Not The Right Way

10 Jun

When we moved to Mexico almost five years ago, we rented the lower level of a house from a US/Mexican couple. They lived upstairs. Joe, the owner of the house, used to complain loudly that the housekeeper swept the floor “wrong”. 

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This week the Tortas travelled to California and Disneyland to hang with our son and his family.

In this part of the world, people sweep by pushing a broom away from them. Joe insisted that it destroyed the broom which he had to replace frequently and no matter how many times he explained the “right” way, the housekeeper did it HER way.

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Grandma and Sophia.

So if you are considering a move to Mexico, remember that your way just may not be the right way to other people. I have found this to be true for my children, friends and neighbors as well. For some unknown reason they rarely see the practicality of doing things MY way.

 

And yet I persist. The last time I saw my oldest son, against my better judgment, I made a suggestion.  Nope, it has never improved our relationship in the past and I’m not sure why I thought it would this time.

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Birthday dinner with Cullen.

Accepting people exactly as they are, wherever they live, however they sweep or do anything, goes a long way to producing harmony, both theirs and mine. Actually, this revolutionary practice just might change the world.

DOS TORTAS

Please add my daughter’s family to your prayers. She is in the hospital with preeclampsia. We need to keep the babies in for a few more weeks. Think four more weeks!

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Sailing The Laguna

21 Aug

Living in the southernmost part of Mexico does not lend itself to many visitors. The little village of Bacalar where we live is a five-hour bus ride south of Cancun, nestled along the coast of one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. Add to that the fear of Mexico that is actively promoted and it is no wonder why people choose to vacation in Costa Rica, the Bahamas or a cruise to anywhere.

This past week, our friend Karen who lives in Tulum, jumped on a bus to escape the deep jungle heat where monkeys fly through the trees, to hang out with Dos Tortas and enjoy lake breezes.

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As always, having a guest is a good excuse to do something we’ve been putting off for forever…like going for a sail with our neighbors Teresa and Paul.

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Climbing aboard the Gabriela.

It was the first time my MIL had ever sailed and she had a blast on our three-hour tour.

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Lisa and her mom

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Eco Lodge Kuunich Kaanil.

Kuunich Kaanil

 

It’s been on and off raining and threatening to rain. The weather cooperated to give us enough wind and not too much sun. A fabulous time was had by all.

DOS TORTAS 

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On Laguna Bacalar starts the sky.

 

A Matter Of Perspective

14 Aug

A year ago we were up to our eyeballs in the construction of our house in Bacalar, Mexico, a small town near the southern border of Mexico and Belize. We had bought lakeside property in 2012 and then returned to our home in Austin, Texas to turn our lives upside down and retire to Mexico. Eight months later we kicked off the Adventures of Dos Tortas. And what an adventure it’s been!

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Our bright functional beautiful kitchen today.

 

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The floors were newly painted. Sept 16, 2015

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Building the center island. Lots of sanding. Aug. 24, 2015

Our followers can’t seem to get enough pictures of our house, so I thought I’d post some before, during and after photos. It gives us perspective on how far we’ve come. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.

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Counter on the east wall. This morning.

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One year ago.

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Pantry off the kitchen. During and after.

Here are a few more pictures. Some days we have to pinch ourselves.

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The mistress bathroom. 

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Guest Bath. Building a stub wall.

Pictures of the outside will be in a future post. Thanks for this little walk down memory lane. As you can see, we’ve come a long way baby. DOS TORTAS

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A Day In The Life

24 Jul

Living on Laguna Bacalar, three kilometers (2 miles) from the pueblo of Bacalar makes for a vida muy tranquilo

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We didn’t know about the magnificent sunrises when we moved here.

Up with the sun about six thirty. Lisa starts the day making coffee while Luna and I walk down to the dock to photograph the sunrise. It’s been our ritual since she was a puppy. She waits at the back door impatiently every morning.

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We watch the fish, listen to the birds and watch the day come alive.

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Our rickety dock.

Meditation and exercise play a daily part of the routine. On this day it was an exercise video with Alice, Lisa’s mother. Luna likes to join in.

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On alternative days we’re off to the gym. This week we had a visit with blog follower Heather and son Jonathan. What a treat when people travel to Bacalar after reading the blog.

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A trip to the pirate fort and picture in front of the mural is a must when visiting Bacalar.

We visited shops featuring local art and sampled snow cones shaved from a block of ice right before our eyes. We had our choice of homemade tropical fruit toppings, pineapple, lime, tamarind, nance and more.

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Light and refreshing, not like the syrupy sweet snow cones we’re used to.

What day would be complete without a parade!

I’m not sure what the parade was for, but we never need a special reason to celebrate life in Bacalar. DOS TORTAS

Be sure to follow us on Pinterest and Instagram at dos_tortas.

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Rainy Day Sunday on Laguna Bacalar

18 Oct

It seems Mother Nature decided to make up for this year’s lack of a rainy season on Laguna Bacalar, all in one week.The birds love it and lord knows we need the rain. The sky is grumbling and showing no signs of letting up. Gotta love it.

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Our ramp turned water slide.

It’s been a good opportunity to see how all the landscaping in our new house manages runoff. But mostly it’s been a forced stay-at-home opportunity to relax. We’ll have to do some tweaking on the landscaping, but all in all, it looks pretty good. The big challenges living here are wind and rain. It comes with the territory in this most southern part of North America.

The carpintero came yesterday to install an interior door. His progress is slow since most of his work is done outside. The door is stunning, so we don’t mind waiting. This week we will have kitchen shelves installed. ¡Gracias a dios!

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Jose Lewis master carpenter.

We also managed to get some artwork on the walls. Lisa and I bought a lovely wooden wall sculpture in Valladolid on our Tour de Yucatan this past June (2015). The colors match perfectly don’t you think?

Our Lady of Guadalupe, sacred Catholic icon.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, sacred Catholic icon.

I was raised Catholic and The Virgin of Guadalupe has always been the female expression of God to me. It actually seems like our house was built just for her.

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View including the porch.

Another piece that we bought on the Yucatan trip was a mother and child mestiza woman. She sits in our little rainy-day bamboo garden.

The bamboo explodes with growth in the rain.

The bamboo explodes with growth in the rain.

While we are enjoying the cool weather and adjusting to life in the jungle, we continue to heal, Lisa from back surgery and me from chikengunya (see We Plan God Laughs) All is well, just very wet.
DOS TORTAS

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The Day After Christmas

11 Oct

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I call it the day after Christmas syndrome because when I was a kid, Christmas was the biggest deal in my life. My dad would wait until we kids were asleep and work all night to create a huge “wow”. We tip toed down the stairs at five a.m. to a sparkling tree where none had been the night before. Bicycles had been assembled, trains circled the tree, roller skates, and sleds. Of course it wasn’t all at the same Christmas, but it feels that way in my childhood memories.

Early picture looking up from the lower stairs to the Laguna. Before.

Before.

After.

After.

Christmas changed over time. As I became older and more jaded, the day after a much anticipated event was always a let down. My expectations were bigger than the thing itself. The “stuff” I acquired  became my happiness along with the adrenaline that came with it; happiness with a bow and sprinkles.

Before

Before

After

After

This week could have been one of the largest “Day After Christmas” events in our lives. More than two years in the making, we moved into our dream home AND we got electricity! We could easily see how much work there is left to do. Instead there’s been nothing but gratitude, gratitude, gratitude. No Day After Christmas disappointment here. Just peace and joy in success. We were happy all along.

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We Plan God Laughs

4 Oct

We planned one back surgery and ended up with two! After days of severe pain and numbness, following spinal fusion, the doctor reopened the surgical site to clean out the wound and remove the spacer he had inserted five days prior.

We stayed in the hospital a few more days. Any plans of returning to Bacalar over the weekend were shot to hell. While Lisa was in surgery, I got a clear-sky hospital view of the lunar eclipse.

Forgive my goofy photo. It's what happens with no sleep and high stress.

Forgive my goofy photo. It’s what happens with no sleep and high stress.

We had so much unexpected support during our eleven days in Merida. Our Airbnb hosts visited the hospital with flowers and food. Our friends Gabriel and Monica left a family reunion to be with us in the hospital. The love was overwhelming. The owner of a little hotel we’d stayed at showed at the hospital and took me to dinner. I can’t even describe what it was like to be so cared for.

Now here’s the kicker. I’m sick. I came down with a mosquito born illness called chikengunya. The main symptom at the moment is fatigue. It’s taken me hours to write this blog. So I will post a few exterior house photos and call it quits.

DOS TORTAS

Our lovely entrance. I looking for a bench.

Our lovely entrance. I’m looking for the perfect bench.

The path around the front.

The path around the front.

North side with our little stand of bamboo.

North side with our little stand of bamboo.

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Emilie Vardaman

travel and random thoughts

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