Tag Archives: mexican adventure

Traveling Tortas

13 Dec

Crossing the border at Agua Prieta, across from Douglas, Arizona was the easiest crossing into Mexico from the U.S. we have made yet. The Tortas have been on an epic journey to California to attend the birth of our grandson and bringing Lisa’s mom Alice to live with us in Bacalar. The guards took one look at my white hair and packed truck and said, move along. Gracias a Dios. The ability to speak Spanish always helps. 

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Sunset south of Phoenix, AZ.

Immigration did not make us offload our truck which would have been a major inconvenience.

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Packed to overflowing with “just one more thing”

There have been long days driving and we are so ready to be home in Bacalar. The odometer noted  five thousand miles driven, a few days ago. We’ve been gone almost six weeks.

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Looking south near Bisbee AZ

The mountains of Chihuahua have been beautiful. We have seen lots of Mexican terrain, but none of the culture, museums or people. Lisa and her mom have head colds. We have been pedal to the metal, hotel to hotel and getting lost following outdated maps. We’ll be home to our little house on Laguna Bacalar in a few days. Until next week, stay warm. Peace from DOS TORTAS.

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The End of The World As We Knew It – September 2013

30 Mar

We were going through some of our things in storage this week and came across our trusty 2013 calendar. It was the “month-at-a-glance” tool that we used to coordinate our busy lives in Austin and ultimately our escape to Mexico. Having worked for the government for many years, I am a planner, coordinator and timeline kinda gal. The calendar which held our to-do lists (camper shell for the truck, paint bedroom, make appointment to get new wills written) has now become a journal of sorts. We were so impatient to get the house sold, pack and be on our way. The details of appointments, purchases and goodbyes seemed endless. We sure were busy.

If it were the end of the world and future archiologists were digging through the rubble and came across this calendar, it would be clear that something important happened in September 2013. The record of a very busy life seemed to mysteriously end the first of September. That of course was when we hit the road, Mexico bound.

It’s good to look back to get perspective as our ability to be happy in the present moment continues to be challenged. Granted, as we wait to close on our property and begin construction, we ARE living in paradise. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.

So what exactly is the complaint you might ask? It seems silly, but we are kinda bored. When living in limbo it is difficult to start long term projects. Getting to know people has proven more challenging than we thought. Everyone here seems just as busy in paradise as we were in the States. I guess it’s time to pull up our big girl pants and figure this out.

So if you’re considering a trip to visit us. Now would be a good time.

The. End of the World As We Knew It

The. End of the World As We Knew It

Ain't It The Truth

Ain’t It The Truth

Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.

Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude.

Harvesting from our property

Harvesting from our property

Waiting in Texas

12 Jan

The Tortas have been recovering from our adventurous drive from southern Mexico to central Texas. We’re hanging out with our youngest son and his family waiting on the birth of our first granddaughter (Sophia). Lisa’s mom arrived and will be driving back to Bacalar with us at the end of January. I remember playing the waiting game, with babies who refused to be born on anyone’s time but their own, and with a move to Mexico over four months ago. Actually, we’re still waiting to close on our property in Mexico, build and move into our home there. The builder has been selected and first payment made, so we wait some more.

The computers are fixed and the IPad replaced. We are working our way through the purchase of items that are difficult to find in Bacalar – yarn to finish a project, a battery for my watch, new running shoes, lube for my bike chain that rusted from three months of neglect.

I think this week will be pretty low key. Lisa came down with a bug yesterday and we’ve been dealing with fever and other bodily fluids that need not be mentioned. A challenge is visiting friends in Austin, over an hour away, while waiting on Sophia. We’ll probably arrange a get-together on short notice and hope folks can come.

The challenge is always to appreciate the present and not constantly look down the road to some better time or situation. Thanks for visiting with the Tortas. What are you waiting for to be happy?

The Newest Torta

The Newest Torta

Hunter and GrandmaLIsa

Hunter and GrandmaLIsa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So much for waiting.

So much for waiting.

Electronic Hell

15 Dec

I have a brother who has no email address. He has never Googled nor ordered anything from Amazon. He doesn’t know what a Kindle is. I booked his recent flight to our family reunion while he was on the phone feeding me credit card information. I can’t send him pictures from our vacation, and he’s never read my blog. He takes great pride in not participating in a much bigger world, preferring his life on simpler terms. No passwords, I get it.

I remember when I got my first cell phone. I didn’t like the idea of being tethered to anyone who had my number. Then like everyone else, I quickly couldn’t live with out it. I purchased an IPhone to keep up with my kids and feel like technology wasn’t passing me by. Without my laptop and internet, I couldn’t have spent hours researching “retiring to Mexico” from the comfort of my lap. It would have been old school library and books.

Since coming to Mexico, we have heard of many ways to stay plugged in. For the past few months we have used wifi (in Spanish weefee) to access the web and Skype to the States. I believe there is a data plan in Mexico that can be used with an IPhone which will allow people to reach us via Skype and can also serve as a Mexican phone, all in one. Probably when we get back from the States in February, we will look into it.

This week Lisa had a liquid explosion which dumbed coffee on her laptop and I lost my IPad, both on her birthday. The laptop was rescued but the IPad is gone. It took me about 12 hours to pull myself out of a pity party and get my head on straight. The IPad allows me to take the lovely sunrise pictures that I post to Facebook daily. Sometime during the sleepless night following our disaster, I had a vision of a Bush man of the Kalahari Dessert. He was wearing a loin cloth and carrying a spear used to provide food and water. No laptops, I-this and that, charging cables, internet woes, error messages, and above all no passwords. While I will likely get another IPad, the freedom from electronic hell does sound appealing. I’m just not sure about the loin cloth.

Easier Than You Think

Easier Than You Think

Revisiting Some Favorites

Revisiting Some Favorites

sunrise10

First Sunrise Living in Bacalar

First Sunrise Living in Bacalar

Feliz Dia De Gracias

1 Dec

The Tortas are off on holiday to Florida visiting family. Here’s an earlier post from our preparation for the move to Mexico. It all seems so long ago. Have  a wonderful holiday.

Date night with Lisa.

Date night with Lisa.

I met Lisa on September 16,1994 in a lesbian bar. That’s why last night was such a perfect send off for our last weekend in Austin. We had spent the day packing the trailer. Looking from our pile of stuff to that tiny trailer had caused me some exceedingly restless nights. Lisa’s history of packing 18-wheelers gave me some hope, but I still had little faith. The end results were amazing. We had help from our sons, their dad and Lisa’s cousin. I was in charge of recording where everything was put in the trailer, writing furiously as they squeezed things into every nook. If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I would never have believed how much we fit in that trailer.

Friends had told us of a fun sounding event happening last night. It was a reunion of folks who used to hang at a bar named Rusty’s, long gone the way of lesbian bars in Austin. We took naps, dusted off our only pair of clean shorts and headed over to Maria’s Tacos for an old fashioned lesbian soiree and drag show. We had a blast. A last chance to dance a little two-step, run into some old friends and visit the time capsule of our past. It was absolutely the best send off possible. Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed we could step back in time, except of course for the cell phones, gray hair and extra weight LOL.

An end to a perfect day.

A Room Full of Stuff

Fit this in the Trailer? OMG

Packed

Packed

Find Something? I doubt it.

Find Something? I doubt it.

Grandson, Lisa, DIL, Sons & their dad.

Going to Miss You Sweeties

Maria's Tacos

Maria’s Tacos

Great Drag Show

Life is a Cabaret

Refrigerator Magnet

Thought For the Day

Xcalak – Mexican Frontier

27 Oct

This week the Tortas headed out for a two-night visit to the Caribbean coast. We have been living in Bacalar, Mexico almost two months and not done any, “sight seeing” choosing to spend our time acclimating to our new home.

Xcalak is a frontier town wedged between Laguna Xcalak and the Caribbean, at the end of the line on the Mexico/Belize boarder.  It is small (300 habitants) and has a distinct frontier feel. People come here to snorkel, dive, fish, bird watch or just kick back. There is a nudist hotel, Playa Sonrisa (Smile Beach) with day passes available for those who hate those pesky tan lines.

Fourteen Cuban refugees managed to find their way here a number of years ago, and their escape boat sits on the beach paying testament to desperation.

Cuban Refugee Boat

Cuban Refugee Boat

In this jungle town you would not expect to find a restaurant the likes of The Leaky Palapa. It is world class dining and folks drive hours to eat here. We were lucky enough to spend an evening with the owners Marla and Linda. They exchanged Canadian winters for life on the beach in sunny Mexico. We enjoyed a lovely dinner sitting on the roof trading travel stories, laughing and learning about life off the grid.  Their reservations for New Year’s Eve are filling up fast. Better get your name on the list.

We stayed at the Flying Cloud Hotel, not very relaxing during off-season renovations. We did get a chance to check out the dive shop next door and will return in the spring to check “learning to dive” off our bucket list. The wild weather made for a night of intense storms and no electricity in the morning.

Stormy Skies

Beautiful Stormy Skies

Lisa did manage to get in some snorkeling while an ear infection kept me beached.

Lisa Snorkeling

Lisa Heading Out To Snorkel

The coastal road proved to be a challenging choice for our trip north toward home. I volunteered to check the depth of the washed out road.

How Deep Is It?

How Deep Is It?

A Slippery Step

A Slippery Step

After a good laugh, we continued our way to Mahahual for lunch and then home. We will definitely be back to enjoy the friendship and beautiful reef in this out-of-the way town that was worth the trip.

What Could Go Right

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

If I Didn’t See With My Own Eyes

18 Aug

I met Lisa on September 16,1994 in a lesbian bar. That’s why last night was such a perfect send off for our last weekend in Austin. We had spent the day packing the trailer. Looking from our pile of stuff to that tiny trailer had caused me some exceedingly restless nights. Lisa’s history of packing 18-wheelers gave me some hope, but I still had little faith. The end results were amazing. We had help from our sons, their dad and Lisa’s cousin. I was in charge of recording where everything was put in the trailer, writing furiously as they squeezed things into every nook. If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I would never have believed how much we fit in that trailer.

Friends had told us of a fun sounding event happening last night. It was a reunion of folks who used to hang at a bar named Rusty’s, long gone the way of lesbian bars in Austin. We took naps, dusted off our only pair of clean shorts and headed over to Maria’s Tacos for an old fashioned lesbian soiree and drag show. We had a blast. A last chance to dance a little two-step, run into some old friends and visit the time capsule of our past. It was absolutely the best send off possible. Had I not seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t have believed we could step back in time, except of course for the cell phones, gray hair and extra weight LOL.

An end to a perfect day.

A Room Full of Stuff

Fit this in the Trailer? OMG

Packed

Packed

Find Something? I doubt it.

Find Something? I doubt it.

Grandson, Lisa, DIL, Sons & their dad.

Going to Miss You Sweeties

Maria's Tacos

Maria’s Tacos

Great Drag Show

Life is a Cabaret

Refrigerator Magnet

Thought For the Day

The Mexican Consulate and hitting the Salvage Yards

11 Aug

The skills you acquire when turning your life up-side-down and moving to another country are varied and numerous. This week we visited the Mexican Consulate to apply for residency in our adopted country. A residency visa will keep us from having to cross a border every 180 days in order to stay in the country. Mexico has recently rewritten its immigration laws and the process must be initiated in our home country. When we get to Mexico we will have to prove adequate income as retirees and hope and pray we have enough. The exact amount is sketchy and imprecise, as are so many things in Mexico. We were photographed and finger printed. Visas acquired. CHECK

On to the job of transportation. The truck and trailer have new tires and have received a complete once-over by Jason and his crew at Leonard’s Automotive. I can’t say enough about these guys. AC has been juiced and brakes repaired. We are ready to rock’n roll. CHECK

So what about the salvage yards you ask? When we got the truck, we were missing the jack and important levers to lower the spare tire. Riding around Austin, it is easy to be reckless, but not when driving 30 hours and crossing a border. I visited five male car parts heavens on the south end of Congress Avenue. Each time there was head shaking and pointing me up the street to their compadres. What to do? I returned to see Jason who referred me to David at the local dealership. It pays to have connections and after $100 (gulp) we were ready to go. CHECK

Getting out of the glass tower of state government and moving among mortals has proven to be fun and productive. The coming week is filled with packing and loading the trailer. I think some practice in backing it up is in order. Another skill I hope never to need again.

Mexican Consulate in Austin

Mexican Consulate in Austin

Residency Visa

Residency Visa

Thought For The Day

Thought For The Day

UpDate of the Tortas

14 Jul

As we prepared this week for the FINAL garage sale, it was helpful to be inspired by a TED talk “Get Rid of Your Crap” by Adam Baker. It provided the perfect attitude adjustment that kept me in a mood feliz while watching a steady stream of shoppers haul off our crap for a pittance of what we paid for it.

At noon, we loaded the remaining crap into the back of our truck and headed off to our favorite AIDS services thrift store Top Drawer. On the way we stopped at Texas Truck and Trailer to order the camper shell and tow package for our south of the border adventure. This was a huge CHECK off our to-do list. Next stop Half Price Books, where we waited almost an hour to sell three boxes of books and CDs to net us $12. Woohoo! Lisa spent $3 on a Twilight vampire book, and it was the first time we ever got out of there with $$ in our pocket.

After unloading at Top Drawer we scurried home to meet a potential Craig’s List buyer for my beloved scooter. The man was a federal judge who’s eyes lit up when they saw her. After a spin around the block, we sealed the deal. I’m so happy she’s gone to a good home and I will miss her. Now for the house to sell as easily. Our income for the day covered almost to the penny the cost of the camper shell and tow package. The credit card remains at zero balance. That’s really good.

I was reminded this week by my friend Terry that perhaps the house will not sell when WE want it to, but when we NEED it too. Wise man.

Last Garage Sale

Last Garage Sale

Digging Through Crap

Digging Through Crap

Off to the Thrift Store

Off to the Thrift Store

Gonna Miss Her

Gonna Miss Her

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