Tag Archives: Laguna Bacalar

Culture Clash

3 Apr

As a US citizen, I find that living in a foreign country (Mexico) is educational, stimulating and often times humorous. At first I thought it was a Bacalar thing, but having visited other towns in Mexico, I know that’s not the case. This week it happened again to my surprise.

Also add the ability to wait.

I remember the first time I went into Parisina, a fabric store in Chetumal. Figuring out how to make a purchase was complicated, confusing and time consuming. I later discovered that the process is the same in the local hardware store and in the art supply store I found in Oaxaca.

This week I stopped to purchase fabric to make a blanket for a dear friend who is expecting baby number five. To my surprise, the store had no cotton fabric. With rows and rows full of bolts of fabric, there was NO 100% cotton. Scratching my head, I wandered the aisles until I found the perfect alternative.

They have a pug!

I took the bolt of fabric I wanted to purchase to a male worker. He took out a hand held device and produced a ticket that I was to take to a cashier. I waited in line to pay the bill. I returned to original guy with the stamped receipt and he then measured and cut my fabric.

This is the same process at a hardware store. An employee pulls your requested item from the back of the store. You receive a ticket which you take to a cashier. The stamped receipt allows you to pick up your purchase. The entire process requires you to wait in three lines, first to be waited on, second to pay and third to retrieve your purchase. As a USer I think I don’t like to wait.

I’m not sure if this process is the norm anywhere else in the world. I love Mexico but it sure does make me scratch my head sometimes.

DOS TORTAS

Persevere

26 Mar

Watching the US Supreme Court nomination hearings this week of Judge Katanji Brown Jackson has been both inspirational and emotional. She gives hope to all women, young people, and anyone who has dreams for a better more egalitarian world.

Reading today that Ginni Thomas, wife of sitting Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas tried in December 2020 to influence the overthrow of US elections made me sick to my stomach. What the heck!

Every day is a new beginning.

My personal takeaway this week is what an anonymous passerby whispered to Katanji Brown as a young, confused Harvard student, “persevere.” I’m so glad Judge Brown did.

We must all persevere. Life is hard.

DOS TORTAS

Grief And Gratitude

27 Feb

Two years ago we adopted Stela, a blind pug. I had never been around a pug and had a lot to learn about their quirky nature. One skill she has is to be asleep on the couch, snoring loudly and on her feet a moment later when someone says one of the magic words, outside, potty, snacks, or walk. She’s a zero to a hundred in the blink of an eye kind of gal. Sometimes life is like that too.

Stela loves her pillow.

Last weekend I was blissfully returning from kayaking on Lake Bacalar, Mexico,where we live. I was anticipating the week leading up to my seventieth birthday, and in one misstep, I was sailing off the dock, landing on a pile of rocks, and screaming for my life. No bones were broken but doctor’s orders has me off my feet for 2-4 weeks. Zero to a hundred, but not in a good way.

I fell to the left of the kayak.

On Tuesday, our housekeeper of six years announced that she is pregnant with baby number five and could no longer work for us. While we completely understand it is the loss of a relationship that we were totally unprepared for. As much as I think that the people who work for us are not friends, the flood of tears said something different.

The husband of a friend and former neighbor from Texas lost his battle with cancer on top of the loss of our dear friend Suze the week before (Death Knocks) also to cancer.

On Sunday Lisa went to a celebration of life for her dear poker buddy Steve who died suddenly from Hepatitis C two years ago. He was a good guy.

Steve, Lisa’s Bacalar poker buddy and our friend.

I guess the only way we can be prepared for loss is to live every day fully. Many people don’t make it to seventy. I have a feeling that sadness and gratitude are a part of the aging process no one much talks about. I think fondly of Delmy, Troy, Suze and Steve as I grieve their loss. As for me, I think youth is vastly overrated. My bruised body will heal. None of us will ever be younger than we are right this minute, so enjoy today, live life to the fullest and above all be grateful.

DOS TORTAS

AFTER YOU DIE
Just so you know
after you die
I will not wonder
why you didn’t do
your dishes or
how long it’s been
since you
cleaned your
oven or microwave or
mopped your floors
or why there were
dust bunnies under
the bed and
behind the door

After you’re gone
I will not wonder
how you could
have allowed the
piles of old mail to
accumulate or
why you saved so
many bits and pieces
of this and that or
why you weren’t
more goal-oriented and
well-organized or
why your refrigerator
contained so many
expired condiments

When you are
absent from all your
familiar places
I vow to avoid wondering
why you didn’t
eat less and
exercise more or
why you waited so
long to stop smoking
or drinking or
whatever else was
simultaneously
soothing and
deadly or
why you took
whatever risk may
seem to have hastened
your exit or why
you left so much unsaid
unfinished or
unresolved

I will only wonder
if you knew how much
you mattered to me
just as you are
as you were when we
met in our temporary
human disguises and
laughed in the
dressing room of the
world at how funkily
our skin suits fit
at times

I will wonder and
hope you knew
you were beloved

I will wonder when
we last hugged
and whether you
felt how our
heartbeats
converged
and our bellies
bumped like boats
and then we
both sighed

Marva Lee Weigelt


A Not So Fine Line Between Stubborn And Stupid

20 Feb

Yesterday I was determined to pull my kayak out of the laguna myself. I had been out for a tootle around the neighborhood and was heading in for an anticipated massage, I was having an internal conversation completely ignoring the Four Pillars and acting the fool. “Asking for help” seems to be the one I ignore and has the greatest consequences of late.

A lovely morning to go kayaking.

I lost my balance playing tug-a-war with the kayak and fell off of the meter high dock into a couple of inches of water and a lot of rocks. I’m surprised you didn’t hear me screaming from wherever you are. I am bruised and a bit swollen. We’ll head to get an X-ray tomorrow just to be sure. Fingers crossed I didn’t break a bone. It’s not how I planned to spend my birthday that’s for sure.

About ten minutes before my accident.

I know it is said that an accident is an accident but my own stubbornness contributed. Nothing like learning the hard way.

DOS TORTAS

Addendum: No broken bones. Two weeks of rest, then I can start back swimming. I believe my trips to the gym have really helped. At least if you’ve got to hop around on one leg, it had better be strong.

Just Don’t Look In The Mirror

13 Feb

Somewhere I read once about a woman who had no mirrors in her house. She felt like spending time looking at ourselves was especially hard on women who are pressured to look beautiful, young, thin, etc. I thought it would be a good idea when we built our house in the Mexican jungle, until my wife put the kibash on that idea. Sigh.

We have a mirror in each bathroom. They only reveal our upper torso. You can imagine my shock when going to the gym and seeing myself in a large floor to ceiling. My self image was completely shattered.

My gym outfit.

Looking down I look pretty damn good for almost 70. I’ve lost fifteen pounds (6.8k) since November. I’ve been working out at the gym and in less than two months I can already see definition in my arms. I got my bloodwork back today and I lowered my LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) by 45 points into the normal range. I raised my HDL by 20. My doctor is very pleased. I am thrilled.

While I’m never going to look like the sweet young things in the gym, I am having a wonderful time and I feel great. As long as I remember not to look in the mirror.

DOS TORTAS

The Four Pillars

9 Jan

I read on CNN that Hillary Clinton had co-written a mystery book with a famous Canadian author I had never heard of, Louise Penny. Hillary’s book got mixed reviews, but the first of many books by Ms. Penny was exalted.

I have taken to audiobooks to encourage me to spend more time in the kitchen cooking, baking and cleaning up. With my chief dish washer still in Texas for a few more weeks, I need all the encouragement I can get. Cleaning up is not my forte.

I have not finished Still Life, but I’m enjoying it immensely. A few days ago, the main protagonists said something I had to replay several times. It was one of those lessons I needed to hear.

Of these four noteworthy statements, “I need help” seems to be the most difficult for me, followed in close second by, “I don’t know”. I freely admit that if we know everything, we learn nothing. I grew up in the time of women’s liberation and as a lesbian, asking for help, especially from men, was frowned upon.

Since taking note of this foible of mine, I have caught myself several times saying, “yes” to offers of help. The roof did not cave in, no one thought me less capable and I didn’t spend a lot of time trying to figure out something that was outside my realm of expertise. It also felt good to be vulnerable.

So which is your Achilles’ heel? They’re pretty easy to remember,

<I need help,

<I don’t know,

<I’m sorry,

<I was wrong.

DOS TORTAS

Every day,

What A Year What A Year Adiós 2021

2 Jan

I fell into 2021 which required a cast and a lot of inactivity. An indication of what was in store perhaps?

Some of my blog posts for the year included among other things, recipes for garlic soup, spaghetti sauce, broccoli slaw, and dog food.

I renewed my passport in an adventure to Playa del Carmen.

Taking the bus and being careful.

Shared my quilts and my art.

Lone Star

Had dog adventures which included a trip to the vet after much chocolate consumption.

They look so innocent. I think Luna was, but not the evil pug.

Reviewed a few Netflix movies.

Provided some tips for dealing with emotional trials and tribulations.

And documented two trips to the States which included Lisa’s back surgery.

What a year, what a year! Here’s to 2022!

Much love from DOS TORTAS.

No Muddling

26 Dec

A friend recently commented on Facebook about muddling through in 2022. I had to give it a think and decided, “no muddling for me.”

I want to live a happy life. There’s something about getting older, I’m less willing to put up with bullshit, I mean muddling. I want clear communication, peace and connection. None of these things comes easily or naturally to me. But I’m willing and continually work at it.

This sweet video is an absolute inspiration. Maybe you’ll find something in it for you too. Enjoy and Happy Holidays.

DOS TORTAS

Pave Paradise And

19 Dec

put up another hotel.

Three new apartments across from us. They’ve been sitting empty and unfinished for a year.

We bought our property in 2012 in Bacalar, Mexico. The town is situated on a pristine lake, the second largest in Mexico. At that time the village of Bacalar was small and not particularly memorable. I always thought that if not for the Laguna, no one would give Bacalar a second glance.

A new Private Property sign and fence near our house. The jungle has been cleared by two men and a machete.

During the Covid shutdown, construction was booming in Bacalar. There are new hotels on every corner, sometimes two. The president of Mexico is pushing the Mayan Train project, a tourist train that will connect the major cities and ancient pyramids of the Yucatán. We’re talking 8,000 additional visitors a day. Those tourist dollars and jobs are hard to pass up.

A hotel has blocked our street. We can no longer walk the dogs along the lovely Laguna coast road.

One of the reasons that Bacalar has been so attractive to foreign residents is the lack of US tourists. A four hour drive from Cancun keeps people with a week vacation in the all-inclusives in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum. The addition of a fast train will change all that.

Tourists will be funneled to many of the quiet Mayan villages.

Not only will the construction of the train tear up the jungle but it will overcrowd the ancient sites of Palenque and Calakmul. Bacalar may be building hotels like crazy but the rest of the infrastructure is sorely lacking. More tourists means more boats which means more pollution in the water. Seasonal floods are already washing pesticides and fertilizers into the Laguna. The striking blue colors near our house are slowly dying.

Crystalline water that is threatened by development. (2012)

What does the future hold for Bacalar and Dos Tortas? We talk all the time about what will be our Plan B. For now we stay put. If and when the train goes through, we will have to make a decision. Stay tuned.

DOS TORTAS

Allergic To Breathing

11 Dec

Austin Texas aka the allergy capital of the world has cedar fever. Ask anyone who is afflicted. You’d better book with your allergists a year in advance. Burning eyes, drippy noses and yes, sometimes fever make winter a time to be dreaded in Central Texas. Also it is intermittent. One year I’d feel smug as everyone else suffered and the next year I’d want to do myself in.

If you’ve ever heard the saying, “wherever you go, there you are,” well this moment I’m in Bacalar and the sugar cane is in full bloom. I thought I had escaped allergy season in Texas. Not so fast.

This week, on our way to Chetumal, the fluffy sugar cane flowers were waving in the wind. Sugar cane pollen is a known allergen causing runny noses and all the other symptoms I’ve been experiencing this week. If there’s anything in the air to be allergic to, it finds its way up my nose.

Certainly one option.

So I’m feeling a bit under the weather and trying to stay rested. One suggestion is to stay indoors as much as possible. For one, I practically live outdoors as our house is very open to the elements and second, my dogs just don’t cooperate. Maybe I’ll start wearing a mask!

DOS TORTAS

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