Tag Archives: retire mexico

The Road Less Traveled

7 Jan

I recently read that dogs need two thirty minute walks daily. As a result, I am now doing for the dogs what I haven’t been doing for myself, exercising.

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Hurry Mom lets go!

The road in front of our house runs parallel to the Laguna and is sparsely traveled. Luna and Frida can run off-leash and have a blast sniffing and peeing to their hearts content. Luna is afraid of strangers which makes her act all crazy and aggressive toward anyone we meet. Frida gets stupid around vehicles, so our little Mexican country lane is perfect.

 

 

Lately there’s been holiday guests at the hotelitos up the road and more construction. As a result, walking became less fun. So when I found a trail through the jungle which avoided both, off we went to explore. I do not know who cut this wonderful path or why. Perhaps the nearby campground thought its guests might use it. I have not met another hiker in the two weeks we’ve been walking and the dogs are safe chasing squirrels, agouti, or wherever their nose takes them.

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Entrance to the trail. Luna knows the way.

For me the hike is a chance to be in the moment and relish the beauty of my surroundings. I hear birdsong, my dogs and quiet. Some days I amble, others I walk hard, using my trekking poles to avoid a twisted ankle. The dogs sleep better and so do I.

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Jungle selfies.

Here’s hoping you have a place of peace and renewal and visit it often. If it’s outside and gives a sense of adventure, that’s icing on the cake. On the other hand, if you’re huddled indoors trying to stay warm, you have my blessing. Come to Bacalar.

DOS TORTAS 

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Happy Tropical New Year 2018

31 Dec

Self-reflection and the start of a new year seem to go hand-in-hand. Goals, intentions, plans, resolve, diets and exercise programs are a part of many people’s annual tradition. Not so for me, at least not this year.

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Blooming succulent.

For many years I had the tradition of making two lists.  One was my accomplishments from the past year (courses, travels, projects, books read, etc), which I would compare to my list of intentions written on that January first. The other list was my intention for the coming year which I would then review the following January. It was surprising to compare the intentions and the accomplishments on the first of each year. Something than never made either of those lists was moving to Mexico.

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The entrance to our property completed.

I have been a very driven and goal oriented person my entire life. I never thought I would simply let it all go. There are no more lists, timelines, tracking, or weighing. At least very little. Could it be because I live in Mexico? The tropics? Or because I’m retired? Probably all three.

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Daily showers and everything blooming.

This lovely Mexican culture has definitely influenced the amount of time I spend hanging out in the hammock. Don’t get me wrong, there’s much I enjoy, daily jungle walks, kayaking, painting, gardening and my new found past time, weaving. There are very few deadlines, self-imposed or otherwise, unlike having worked a government job for many years.

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Afternoon showers.

So if I were going to give a few suggestion for 2018, hey, why not? They would be – do less, relax more and spend more time with a puppy sleeping in your lap, hammock recommend but optional. Happy New Year 2018.

DOS TORTAS

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It’s That Time of Year

29 Oct

It is that season in Bacalar, cooler temperatures and beautiful sunrises. It’s the time of year that those who reside here year round, live for.

 

The Canadians and other part-timers usually show up about the first of December through April. The hotels are full and the restaurants busy.

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In the four years since we moved here, we’ve seen a lot of growth. There are many new hotels and a wider selection of good places to eat. I’ve heard there’s even a Japanese restaurant although we haven’t been able to find it. Lol

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Lisa really appreciates the new Time Out sports bar run by our friend Kim. We get to watch football and the World Series and eat some good food in Bacalar! Imagine that.

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Love love love Mexican murals.

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We are learning to enjoy the Bacalar of today and smile at the “do you remember when…?” reminiscings of those who moved here before us. The only thing you can bank on is change.

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So enjoy whatever is here and now for you. Love whoever is in front of you. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude. DOS TORTAS 

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The Crying Tree

10 Sep

Just to be clear, the tree wasn’t crying, I was. Day one of our visit to Oaxaca in Central Mexico, about five hours south of Mexico City, we joined a tour with a bi-lingual guide to visit the archeological site of Mitla, a place I had visited over forty years ago.

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The step-fret designs are individually cut stones. No mortar is involved.

We took a couple of tours while in Oaxaca. They were cheap, $20 each for the entire day, cold water provided. The guides were very knowledgeable. We stopped for lunch at great local restaurants and the groups were small, maybe eight people. It helps that we were visiting during the slow season.  It rained most days, but it never slowed us down.

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I kept forgetting to bring my “before” pictures with me.

When I visited Mitla in 1975, it was located off a dirt road in the high dessert. I was in awe as I walked the archeological site. The site hasn’t changed much but boy have the surroundings. It is now situated in the middle of a large community that services the many bus loads of tourists arriving daily. I can’t even imagine it during high season.

On the way to Mitla we stopped at the Tule Tree. I had never heard of it. It is the tree with the largest circumference in the world, 137 feet around!

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Located in the Zapotecan village of Santa Maria del Tule, Oax.

For some reason I was overcome with grief looking at this beautiful 2,000 year old tree. She knew the ancients, saw the slaughter of the indigenous people, lived through revolution after revolution, and now stands witness to the insanity of our times. Maybe it was me, but I sensed sadness and wept. I wonder if she knew an earthquake was coming to her land two weeks later that would kill many people?

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Feeling emotional.

One more stop to see a petrified waterfall. We didn’t quite beat the rain, but it was worth the  trek.

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Sulphuric spring pools to the left.

We had a full day with eight more to go. There was so much more to see and do. Stay tuned. DOS TORTAS

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Lovely Oaxaca

3 Sep

Saying adiós to Mexico City, we headed for the next leg of our tour of Central Mexico, Oaxaca. Part of the goal of this trip is to visit places I loved while in college in Mexico in 1973, I used to travel by train from Puebla to Oaxaca for long weekends to this magical city. Unfortunately the trains no longer runs. Such is progress.

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Santo Domingo Cathedral. Weddings, funerals and quinceañeras.

 

We checked into our AirB&B after a seven hour bus ride from Mexico City. The hotelito was a bit primitive with a hard bed, lumpy pillows and lots of mosquitoes. The location was perfect however, right downtown and the price was right. I felt like I was back in college. Oh well, we survived.

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Botanical Gardens

We explored the city mostly on foot. It was mind blowing and I could write a month of blogs just on Oaxaca. Replicating my old photos has been so much fun.

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This fountain has changed considerably and is now the centerpiece for an amazing museum.

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Courtyard of the Museum de las Culturas

Probably the least attractive area of Oaxaca is the Zócalo. This beautiful park where teenagers came to check each other out under the watchful eyes of chaperones is now a campground for political protesters. I don’t know the details of their complaints but the area is a mess.

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Balancing a basket of watermelon, a young woman plies her wares. Circa 1973

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Another balancing act.  Note her long braids wrapped in ribbons, very typical of the times.

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Today, political protesters have taken over the Zócalo.

The Zocalo is crowded and dirty. For some reason I am having difficulty posting after the video below, so I will end here. Please scroll down and see the photos of the Zocalo today. Lots more on Oaxaca to come. DOS TORTAS

Teotihuacán – The Valley of the Gods

27 Aug

In September 1973, having arrived in Mexico only a few days prior as a foreign exchange student, I joined classmates on a field trip to Teotihuacán, an ancient Aztec city of enormous pyramids in a valley outside of Mexico City. The day was spent in awe for this twenty-one year old girl from New Jersey and began my love affair with Mexico.

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The view from the Pyramid of the Moon September 1973

Today, living in Mexico full-time as a retiree, I got the chance to revisit Teotihuacán.

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We traveled from our hotel in Mexico City via metro to the bus terminal for the one hour ride to Teotihuacán. Having downloaded Bill Bell’s On-Site Guide we had the confidence and information we needed. Recreating the photos was fun. Some of the photo angles are different since there have been renovations to the pyramids.

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Willing to offer my heart as sacrifice after the strenuous climb.

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The biggest change has been the growth of the many towns around the pyramids due to the income from tourism. We arrived early. There were very large crowds later in the day when the tour buses arrived.

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La Gruta

We even ate dinner at La Gruta, an immense cave turned restaurant. I hadn’t thought of the place in years. We ate lunch here as a table full of students in 1973. It was much as I remembered.

We spent two days huffing and puffing up and down pyramids. It was truly a wonderful experience. DOS TORTAS

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You Win Some You Loose Some

30 Jul

On Wednesday this week, I lost and found my diamond necklace and had my iPad stolen from my luggage, both on the same day. Travel has its perils.

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Winery beauty Northern California.

Sitting on the plane as we landed in Mexico City to start our U.S. vacation, my hand went to my throat and my necklace was missing. With an attempt at no drama, we looked through the plane seat and sent messages to our house sitter and friend who drove us to the airport. No luck. There wasn’t much else to do, so we continued with our travels.

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Petunias

Hours later, Lisa pointed incredulously at my foot, “what’s that?” and there was the necklace tangled in my shoe laces! It must have fallen and in my 3 a.m. stupor, I tied it into the bow! How crazy is that? I was feeling pretty smug at not having gotten upset at the possible loss of my beloved necklace. Not so fast, the day was young.

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Blooming artichoke.

Any way you look at it, travel these days is getting more stressful, especially international travel. There’s the luggage, fees, passports, immigration paperwork, security, finding your gate, layovers, delays etc. etc. In our case, all is negotiated in Spanish.

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Who doesn’t love goats at a winery ❤️ she looks pregnant.

We landed without further event in San Francisco. The plane arrived thirty minutes early. We slid through immigration and ran to catch an earlier shuttle than we expected for the two hour ride to my daughter’s house. Things were clicking along until I reached into my suitcase to retrieve my iPad. I had it stowed in my checked bag due to newly released security warnings. Drum roll….

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The cover was there but no iPad. Our very long day just got longer. Fast forward to today, I have a new iPad and thanks to that mysterious thing called the cloud, my old pad has been erased and a new one restored. I wish I could say that there was no drama. I understand in my head why people steal, but it’s hard not to take it personally. Replacing a device is an inconvenience, not to mention a pain in the ass and an expense. Lesson learned, nothing of value in checked luggage. When we moved to Mexico we had visions of zipping north to visit the grands. Not as easy as we though and one more thing to consider when making plans to retire in Mexico.

DOS TORTAS

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You Know You’ve Made It When…

7 May

Lisa and I have always been very self-sufficient women. When we retired to Southern Mexico in 2013 there were many tasks to be accomplished that needed more language proficiency than we had at the time. We got assistance with the initial immigration process, opening a bank account and all of the federal and local permits required for building our house.

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There are some tasks that are worth figuring out ourselves. It improves language skills and confidence. This week we bought a car.

In Mexico, there are two types of residency cards, temporary and permanent. We are quickly approaching our permanent status. As temporary residents we are permitted to drive a car with US license plates. Not so with permanent residency. Besides it was time ro get rid of the truck.

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Mexican green card.

Our trusty Ford 150 pick-up not only carted all our possessions to Mexico, and made two long trips NOTB, but hauled endless building supplies for the construction of our house. With 158,000 miles, it has served us well and we are so grateful. She is however, too damn big.

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Pulling out the drive in Austin 2013.

City driving in our truck has been a nightmare. Mexican cities are old and streets are narrow. Parking is a whole other story. Buying gasoline is our biggest monthly expense. Our plan all along has been to return from our US vacation and begin car shopping.

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Registering the car and ordering our Mexican license plates.

While on our trip, a car was posted for sale to the Bacalar Yahoo Group. It was exactly the size we wanted, a 2008 Chevy Captiva, merlot red, little wagon with ridiculously low mileage.

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Meet Lolita, the newest Torta!

We struck a deal this week. On Friday we managed to get the car registered in our names and purchase insurance all in about three hours. Feeling quite proud of ourselves we headed out for a road trip to Tulum. It’s nice to feel that we can manage basic tasks in Spanish. Our hard work has paid off.

DOS TORTAS

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Turn Here

26 Feb

On our way to Merida for the watercoloring adventure, Rendezvous 2017, our little band of travels got hungry and began looking for a place to stop. It is a long drive and we had set out early from Bacalar. Casually making a turn off the highway in search of a little village eatery, we were quite astounded at what we found.

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The pyramids of Mayapan were not 100 feet off the highway. We had all traveled the route to Merida many times oblivious that this ancient village was hidden behind the trees.

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Mexico is like that. Make a wrong turn or a right turn and step into a whole other world.

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A winged bird-human.

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Posing with a giant carved mask.

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My friend Yolanda made the climb to the top of the largest pyramid. We were so amazed at how many times we’d unknowingly passed these pyramids.

We spent a brief time climbing the pyramids and taking pictures, with promises to return when we had more time. I never tire of learning about the Mayan people who lived in the Yucatán so many years ago.

DOS TORTAS

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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 

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