Tag Archives: bacalar

When The Dog Ate Chocolate

24 Jul

Have you ever have a day that started off one way and ended up in quite an expected place? That was our Friday this week, in spades. We had an appointment for Covid tests in preparation for the trip Monday to the States. Off we went to Bacalar with our house sitters in tow. The plan was to drop them off at the mercado, get our tests and then meet up to show them our favorite shops and explain some of the unfamiliar fruits and vegetables. That was the only part of the day that went according to plan.

We returned home to a peculiar and unfamiliar sight. There were bits of foil wrapping torn up all over the living room. Mmmm. Had someone gotten in the trash?

It seems our house sitters had some lovely good quality chocolate, unopened and wrapped in plastic at the bottom of a backpack, a perfect treasure hunt for a highly food driven, blind pug with an exceptional nose for trouble.

Who knew such a little dog could get in so much trouble.

Poor Luna who we later surmised had nothing to do with the caper, but got caught up in the tsunami of activity that followed. A quick calculation of the amount of chocolate consumed, weight of a tiny pug and the possible consequences, had them both bundled into the car and off to the veterinary clinic.

Luna said she was innocent.

The doctor was in the middle of another emergency and had us leave the dogs for observation. What a crazy day.

Stella and Luna spent the next few hours crated at the clinic and then home, with Stella passing chocolate diarrhea and vomit for the next few hours. The worst part was her inability to settle down, wandering in circles, disoriented and running into things. (Reminder, she is blind). It took until far into the night for her to finally quiet enough to sleep. This from a dog that sleeps most of the time.

We are so grateful that it was not worse. Dogs can die from chocolate poisoning. With two days until we leave! At least our sitters were not trying to find a vet, handle a sick dog and google translate, “damn dog ingested chocolate” in Spanish.

The good news is that the Covid tests came back negative. And I thought I wasn’t going to have anything to blog about this week. A shout out to our sitter who acted quickly and insisted we go to the vet. Disaster averted and two very scared moms relieved.


Te Quedas En Casa (Stay Home)

12 Apr

The Adventures of Dos Tortas has been retired for a year and a half. Up until today, I had not seriously considered continuing our saga. I began the blog in 2012 with the intention of keeping family and friends apprised of our decision to retire and live in Mexico. I was tired of the endless questions all beginning with, “is it safe?”


The blog evolved from chronicling the move from Austin, Texas, to the building of our house on beautiful Lake Bacalar. 


The View From Our Yard


Our House Completed 2015

We continued with our world travels and day-to-day small town Mexico life. Everything felt new and exciting. Eventually we settled into a routine and the search for interesting stories grew tiresome. When I got few Comments or indicators of interest, I decided after six years to retire the blog. There were at least a gazillion blogs at that time offering how to retire and live in Mexico and I felt like mine offered nothing new. Little did I know that I would continue to meet people who had been devoted followers and related how they missed my weekly musings. Who knew?

So for some unknown reason, I feel compelled to share our new boring life in the time of a pandemic, social isolation and lockdown. I read somewhere that it is our responsibility to keep a record of this crazy experience caused by Covid19.

Lord how the world has changed.


In 2019 we lost our beloved Frida to a car accident.

and added Stella, a blind pug to the mix.


Stela is a Gift from the Goddess

I still share photos on Instagram at dos_tortas if you wish to catch up.


If you are new and stumbled onto Dos Tortas, know that there are no politics here. I am completely committed to living a happy life no matter what. So come along from wherever you are holed up and join us to wherever the hell we are going.

Comments encouraged. 



A Tootle To Merida

3 Apr

Living in the U.S. gives one a certain perspective on automotive travel. It probably has as much to do with traffic, ability to find parking and one’s genetic makeup of hating or liking to drive.


One of the Pitfalls of Driving in Any Country

While living in Mexico is not so different, it really is. For one thing, bus travel is far more convenient, comfortable and cost effective. Five hours on a bus allows you to catch up on your reading and possibly make a new friend. We took a tootle this week and visited Merida, a four hour drive by auto, just down the street and an ungodly distance by my old life perspective.


Sunrise Outside Our Room in Merida

We stayed in our favorite Airbnb, visited Lisa’s surgeon and SHOPPED. I can go to the dark side when visiting a big city like Merida. Shopping is very limited where we live in Bacalar, Mexico’s southern frontier. Although, when Home Depot opened in Chetumal, thirty minutes away, the old timers pointed out how easy we had it building our house now, as opposed to “way back when”.


Finally Found the Illusive Costco!

We got quite lost driving in Merida and spent way too much time in traffic. Remember, when asking directions in Mexico, make sure the person you ask knows how to drive. The little man in the taco stand can not likely give directions, unless he pulls out his iPhone and Google maps.


We Didn’t Overdose Too Badly

After Costco we drove to Progresso, on the Gulf, just for the heck of it. Lunch on the beach proved entertaining; watching people and seagulls.


Lisa Checks Out the Seafood Menu

For the week after Easter, things were pretty quiet in this little beach town.


A Favorite Way To Beat the Heat in Merida

We were both glad to get home. There was a lovely birthday party next door on Friday evening for our neighbor Teresa. Happy seventieth Darling. A relaxing end to a very busy week. DOS TORTAS



A Non-blog Blog

23 Feb

Lisa and I have moved into a new location where we will live for the remainder of time until our house is built. At this time it has no wifi which makes daily communication challenging and blogging nearly impossible. While we will be remedying the situation shortly, everything takes a bit longer in Mexico.

My MIL returns to California this week, and hopefully things will settle down a bit. It has been a whirlwind two months of traveling, moving, sightseeing and either being or having company.

Last night we went to Carnival Bacaler. What fun! I think everyone in Bacalar was there. There was a parade, vendors, a huge pachanga. I will know this is my community when I recognize people who are non-English speaking friends. Soon, very soon.

Thought for the day.

Thought for the day.

Sunrise this past week.

Sunrise this past week.

Worth getting up at 6 am.

Worth getting up at 6 am.

Morning visitor.

Morning visitor.

“Es la Hoon-glah!”

3 Nov

“Es la jungla Alex!” (It’s the jungle) says Violeta, the housekeeper here in Bacalar, when I tell her about the bites that I have acquired and the itchy rash covering my body as a result. Es la jungla!

Very Itchy Rash

Very Itchy Rash

So I trot myself off to a doctor who looks at the rash and tells me essentially the same thing. When people are new to “paradise” they don’t have the antibodies to the mosquitos and various insects that creep, crawl and sting.  So I leave the office with crema and allergy pills and the promise that it will get better and I will acclimate.

Living in the jungle is definitely a new way of life. There are the beautiful lush flowers and plants growing everywhere. Most of them we see in little pots as house plants, but en la jungla are growing wild and huge.

Another thing about living in la jungla is that it gets very dark VERY early. I can be talking on skype to the U.S. in the same time zone and it is quite light there. Here, it is completely dark, pitch black. It’s like someone throws a switch and the lights go out.

This week we were invited to a pizza party at the home of a friend who lives back in the jungle three miles off the main road. To us newbies it seems odd to start a party at 3pm, but when you consider the ride home in the dark it makes sense.  So on Wednesday, we enjoyed our pizza and left the party for home and promptly got lost. I do not recommend back-tracking in the jungle, in the dark, and trying to find your way out.  It took four of us keeping our wits to figure out the right route and reach the highway for home.

One thing for sure, life en la jungla (hoon-glah) is never dull and we are quite glad to be here. And my rash is much better and I will live.

The Jungle

A Restaurant in Bacalar

All the things you want to do

Fear And Loathing in San Miguel

1 Sep

San Miguel de Allende is a destination vacation for USers and Mexicans alike. It is near the top of the “Retire to Mexico” list for just about everyone, certainly for our hairdresser in Austin. SMdA is a quaint little colonial town, narrow cobblestone streets winding around beautiful churches, antique shops and artisan markets, nestled in the mountains north of Mexico City. Something that you don’t know until you’ve accidentally found yourself lost in SMdA is that the quaint narrow streets were built for donkey carts, NOT the traffic that clogs due to all those damn turistas and retirees. There are automobiles parked nose to tail along every high walled street with taxis and buses passing slow-moving, truck drawn remulques at unbelievable speeds. Lisa quit breathing when we pulled into town.

We learned so much from this trip of 1800 miles and endless speed bumps (topes). When Google told us that point A to point B would take us five hours, it took more like 8.5 which is quite descriptive of the entire moving to Mexico process. Lisa’s Spanish grew by learning road signs, “No tire la basura” (don’t throw trash). I learned that we should NOT drive for eight hours in Mexican traffic and then look for a hotel where we can park securely and not have to back up a trailer.

Most of all we learned that this has been TOTALLY worth it. We arrived in Bacalar on Friday and have been taking it easy ever since. It feels like we’re on vacation, which of course we are, a permanent vacation.

Snow topped volcano in the rearview mirror.

Snow topped volcano in the rearview mirror.

Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day

Have fun * learn stuff * breathe * repeat

28 Apr

The Adventure of Dos Tortas has required endless planning, list making, scheduling, re-scheduling; it’s mind boggling! My Excel spreadsheet is long gone, replaced by a calendar on the dining room table. BTW, in case you haven’t noticed, it’s almost May! With a goal of leaving town by September 1, vamanos muchachos.

This past week saw two HUGE checks off of THE LIST (at least in my head). I found an outfit for my daughter’s wedding! Planning a wedding in the middle of our “adventure” hasn’t been the easiest. I am thrilled for my daughter and she and her fiance are doing all the work themselves. Finding the perfect outfit had me more stressed than I could have imagined and my goal is “NO STRESS”. So, wedding outfit, CHECK.

Actually, the biggest and most stressful, at the top of our to-do list and the least under our control has been the sale of our house in Bastrop, TX. This week we got an offer with a contract. Selling this house has required much faith and breathing and frankly not much fun. We learned that all the best planning still didn’t come out the way we expected. It’s been a real nail biter and a lesson in living with uncertainty. Even though we don’t close until June, it’s a huge CHECK off of my list.

…and now, reminders of why we’re doing all this:

Large tree along the lake.

Large Tree Along Laguna Bacalar.

Big lush bromeliads

Big lush bromeliads – Casita Carolina

Growing everywhere

Yellow Flowers Growing Everywhere

Blooming Succulent Hummingbird Attractor

Blooming Succulent Hummingbird Attractor

Trip to the Mercado

24 Mar

I’m especially fond of Mexican mercados. It is one of the things I am moving to Mexico for. Growing up in NJ (the Garden State), I was accustomed to stopping at roadside stands to purchase corn, watermelons and especially those fabulous Jersey tomatoes. Visiting my home state a few years ago, I was amazed to find that there was not a roadside stand to be found. I guess those small farms are long gone. In Texas, I frequent the farmer’s markets looking for that connection to fresh farm-grown food. It’s a special experience for me.

My memory of Mexico in the 70’s was of visiting the mercados, big and small. They were a cross between a farmer’s market and a flea market, made up of temporary stalls, in large open areas or closed off streets. The mercado was usually held once or twice a week depending on the size of the community.

I remember the fruit tasting like nothing I had ever eaten in the US. Whatever was in season was piled high for several weeks, only to be replaced by the next seasonal fruit. I made myself sick on mangos, bananas and avocados.

In Bacalar, I searched eagerly for the mercado. Pineapples and papayas were especially good in December. The market is housed in a permanent building and is open every day. Of course there are also other small stores in town that sell fruits and vegetables and a supply of packaged goods that would rival any 7-11. I look forward to getting to know the vendors and inquiring about the possibility of bulk buying. One thing that did surprise me was finding green grapes from California for sale. The world really is getting smaller.

Mercado 2012

Mercado Bacalar


Mandarins & Pineapple

Please share your thoughts or experiences in the comments section.

Cenote Azul

8 Mar

There were many things about Bacalar that attracted us to living in this beautiful little corner of Mexico. Cenote (Sen-OH-tay) Azul is a beautiful circular natural pool about a mile south of Bacalar along the laguna. Centotes are ancient sinkholes. More than likely they were once underground and over time the roof caved in creating a limestone well. Cenote Azul is said to be the largest in the Yucatan at 300 feet deep and 600 feet wide. The pool is free to the public. There is a restaurant at it’s edge where we had a snack after a wonderful swim with our realtor Steven and his partner Claudia.

I loved swimming in Lake Bacalar, but the water of Cenote Azul was liquid light. It felt like swimming in an ancient Mayan site sans the sacrificial virgins.

Cenote Azul

Lisa relaxes

Claudia & Steven

Snacking after a swim


28 Dec

On Wednesday, Lisa and I had a road trip and took our calendar to discuss and document the departure timeline for our move to Bacalar, Mexico. There are so many details involved in selling dos houses, purchasing a trailer and possibly a camper shell, packing, purging (garage sales & trips to Goodwill), arranging Mexican residency (renew Lisa’s passport, visit the Mexican consulate) and not to mention throwing a big fiesta to say adios to our friends and neighbors. As a state employee and project manager, I am accustomed to using timelines, benchmarks and deadlines. It helps keep me sane, reduces stress and keeps us on target. For the past six months, we’ve been looking at everything in terms of “goes to Mexico” “doesn’t go to Mexico”. We’ve already had two garage sales. I always thought I was a minimalist. Hah! We have so much crap.


  • research selling our house ourselves;
  • clean out the office/art room to prepare for painting;
  • shop Craigslist for a camper shell;
  • start planning the party (Feb. 23); and
  • talk to my son about his timeline for moving out.


  • paint office;
  • visit the Mexican consulate;
  • renew passport; and
  • make the first payment on the property in Bacalar.

We will revisit the timeline on January 19th. Dos Tortas are having a blast. We are doing our exercise workout and counting in Spanish! Mexico here we come.

Dock at Casita Carolina guest house.

Dock at Casita Carolina guest house.


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