Tag Archives: retire mexico

Telling Travel Stories – Belize

30 Jul

In 2003, Lisa and I tootled on down to Belize. I had perused a book at Book People in Austin that touted Belize as the perfect retirement location. Why not? We planned our vacation to check it out.

It was quite an adventure getting to our selected hotel, the Black Rock Ecolodge. Belize City was a quick flight from Houston and surprisingly affordable. We hailed a “chicken bus” (third class, no AC) to San Ignacio on the Belize/Guatemala border. The lodge was another seven miles down a pitted, winding, dirt road. We found out later that the taxi driver had a rifle under his seat. The Belize border was not the safest place in those days.

The following morning at breakfast we met a couple of USers who were getting ready to venture back into San Ignacio to join a tour group across the Guatemala border to the pyramids of Tikal. We immediately dropped our non-existent plans, changed into our hiking boots and joined them. Best decision of the trip!

Tikal is an amazing Mayan site. The closing scene in the original Star Wars was filmed here.

The folks that we joined were from across the US and a very interesting bunch. Belize is a small country and we bumped into them more than once and enjoyed their company immensely.

A sunset/full moon sail around the island of Caye Caulker with our new friends.

One of the solo travelers in the group was Joe. He would soon be off to start his tour in the Peace Corps and Belize was his last hoorah. He was partaking of the Belizean rum as if they might run out. I found him to be entertaining and when he talked about his blog, I was eager to follow. I had always dreamed about joining the Peace Corps in my younger days. Following him was my first experience with a blog. After all, it was 2003. He was funny and I looked forward to each post.

Caye Caulker in 2003 and today.

Joe was assigned to Bangladesh and his blog was riveting. He described the poverty and something he abhorred, the violence against animals. However, it didn’t take him long to meet someone and was smitten. She was also assigned to Bangladesh. The blog took a lighter tone as they planned a wedding, in Thailand, in December 2004. If you don’t remember your history, look it up. Their wedding affected us in ways we couldn’t have predicted. Next week I will continue the story of how we followed in their footsteps and traveled to Thailand in 2005 and the surprises that unfolded.

DOS TORTAS

Some People Don’t Live To Seventy

24 Jul

How on earth did I live to seventy? I remind myself frequently that many people don’t get here. You can read everyday in the news where people fall off mountains, piss off the wrong crazy, or just wind up in the wrong place at the wrong time. Living to seventy is definitely a blessing and a gift I don’t take lightly.

Michael on my right. My hand is on the surgical scar where his scull was cut open and stapled together again.

My brother didn’t make it. He had a damn brain tumor.

I do my best to not leave life up to chance. I eat salads, go to the gym and not live in…you know, Croatia, Panama, Sri Lanka, or the US.

On Thursday a rapid home test came back inconclusive.

I know death will catch up with me eventually. This week I had a fever and was certain I had Covid. It’s hard not to be paranoid these days when absolutely everyone I know, including my four year old granddaughters has it. Breathe, relax.

My negative test results.

I’m doing my best to be peaceful and live in the moment, and praying for everyone, including you.

DOS TORTAS

I Hate Scary

17 Jul

My mother-in-law loves scary movies. If you walk past her house in the afternoon, it sounds like someone is being murdered. Well, they are, only on Netflix.

Alice’s little house.

First off, the volume is so loud, due to her hearing, or lack thereof. It’s a good thing we live out in the jungle. Mexicans really crank their music anyway so I think most of the country is already deaf. She fits right in.

Stop in and sit a spell.

We have headphones for Alice when she comes down the hill to watch movies with us. She can adjust her personal volume so our ears don’t bleed.

Alice on her way to vacation in California June 29. Puerto Morelos, Mx.

This week Alice almost died of Covid. She is in California with Lisa. She contracted the virus after a family 4th of July (American Independence Day) picnic. The doctor at Urgent Care declined to prescribe antivirals for this petite seventy-eight year old. Why? We have no idea.

Alice and me during lockdown.

Alice had severe diarrhea which shut down her kidneys. She became septic and critical. I’ve always said that medicine in the US is crappy at prevention but at its best in an emergency. She went from critical to discharged in two days. She is up and able to walk unassisted with a walker and feeling much better.

Lisa cheerleading her mom.

Alice is an amazing, resilient woman. All those trips to the gym paid off! I look forward to hearing screaming coming from her house again soon. Gratitude gratitude gratitude.

DOS TORTAS

Please, please WEAR A MASK

Taking Cold Showers

10 Jul

“Cold showers are any showers with a water temperature below 70°F (21.1C). They may have health benefits. Water therapy (also called hydrotherapy) has been used for centuries to take advantage of our body’s tendency to adapt to harsher conditions. As a result, our bodies become more resistant to stress.” (Google)

I’m not sure the water temperature coming out of our shower is below 70 degrees, but compared to the sweaty jungle temps of Bacalar, Mexico, it definitely feels cold.

Danskin sprint distance triathlon back in the day.

When I was training to run the Austin marathon, our coach suggested sitting in an ice bath. First sit in enough water to cover the legs, then have someone slowly add ice. Amazingly, the process helps tremendously with recuperating from muscle soreness and strain, and wasn’t as painful as it sounds.

Capital of Texas Triathlon May 2003

I recently watched this Netflix documentary called The Ice Dive. A fascinating world record that I have no wish to challenge.

https://youtu.be/0_QWamRowc0

Laguna Bacalar never really gets cold, in spite of what the locals think. Winter is actually my favorite time to swim, as the water feels too much like soup most of the year.

Preparing for the Bacalar open water competition.

Weird as I am, I’ve come to like my “cold” showers. Give it a try. I think the benefits will amaze you. Let me know how it goes.

DOS TORTAS

Just Another Week In Paradise

3 Jul

With my wife off to the US visiting family and taking care of business, I am home holding down the fort.

The side of the house and entrance to the outdoor shower.

I’ve been glued to the hearings on the January 6, 2021 attempted coup and attack on the US capital. This week was a doozy. You can’t make this stuff up!

The weather had been lovely and the dogs are behaving. What more could I ask for?!

A little trip around the house.

DOS TORTAS

Something our former president and his cronies know nothing of.

These Dogs Are Not Going To Walk Themselves

26 Jun

As a child, we always had dogs. However, I was never given the responsibility to walk, water or feed them. As an adult, when we expanded our family to include (Princess) Luna, I was puzzled by her barking, anxiety and difficulty sleeping. A quick toodle on YouTube and I found trainer Zak George and his helpful suggestions of taking dogs for daily walks, duh!

You may or may not know that once you do anything a few times with a dog, it quickly goes from a one off, to a habit, to a demand. Their internal clock tells you when it’s time to eat, walk and snack. Once a dog is allowed on the furniture, it takes a LOT of persistence, aka an act of God to break the habit. Our dogs have nothing better to do but wait us out. And they have far more patience.

Royalty

This week on Thursday we had an an arms’ long list of errands to run in preparation for Lisa’s trip to the US. By evening I was so tired that I fell asleep on the couch at 6pm. Of course Stela jumped on me at 7 for her final potty and snack. That dog will kill for food.

Stela the trouble maker.

Come Friday I declared a day of rest. No gym, no swimming, no leaving my hammock ALL DAY. It was a wonderful idea, until around 8am when I felt two pairs of eyes on me. It was time for the morning walk. I was loathe to get to my feet, change into mosquito-proof clothing and pull on my shoes. It’s a good thing I love these dogs, that’s all I have to say. And besides they’re awfully cute.

DOS TORTAS

Checking Privilege At The Door

12 Jun

Life is slowly returning to pre-Covid days which for me includes Thursday night drawing class. This week we had a group of about eight meeting on the second floor over the Pirate bar. We draw with our non-dominant hand, left handed for me, which helps to develop hand/eye coordination.

Left handed drawing.

The evening started out delightfully with a shapely model. All too often we have young, skinny models with no hips or butt. During a break someone turned on music that was louder than I liked. Then the model, while posing for a longer sketching period, began reading aloud in Spanish. With the reading and the music, it was hard for me to concentrate. Then someone lit a cigarette! Yikes.

My head began to spin. Needless to say I’m the oldest artist in the room. I know how old people are labeled cranky or finicky. While I didn’t want to come across that way, it was exactly how I felt!

An enjoyable evening turned into an internal dialogue with the teacher, requesting that the class suit my needs, turn down the music, and NO smoking. I was clearly no longer having fun. So I gathered my things and left.

During the days that followed, I have realized that it is not the responsibility of the group to meet my needs. If someone smokes, I am quite capable of asking them to go outside. I will also bring my earplugs, as I do in the gym, to protect my hearing.

I am so privileged in many ways here in Mexico. An older, white (from the US) educated, wealthyish woman is pretty much at the top of the heap. Time to check my privilege at the door.

Naked reading.

So I give myself permission to leave the class if I need to, without the angst and self recrimination, and I realize that privilege means that something that is a problem for me is not necessarily a problem for anyone else.

DOS TORTAS

Tropical Storms, Mosquitoes And Mud

5 Jun

What a week, what a week filled with windy downpours and cooler temps. Walking the dogs meant wading through a river of potholes in inappropriate footwear.

After leaving us, hurricane Alex headed to Florida.

Back-to-back tropical storms threatening to become hurricanes provided a welcome reprieve from the heat. We hunkered down and mostly enjoyed the sound of rain and the peace.

A second wave of storms finally moved off providing a beautiful weekend.

When finally venturing out, the mosquitoes made an unwelcome appearance. You must either stay moving, cover up or completely douse yourself in poison, or all three.

Sitting on the dock o the laguna.

Saturday evening saw the first rays filtering through the clouds to provide a stellar sunset. Life is good even in a squall.

DOS TORTAS

Brown Jays 2 Grackles 0

29 May

A lazy quiet week is not a bad thing, even when that still small voice in my head tells me that I should be accomplishing something. Sigh.

This morning there was a smack down between the brown jays and the grackles. No, they’re not soccer/football teams, but the birds of our yard. Lisa and I were meditating when the screeching started.

View of the zapote tree from our porch.

We have a large wild zapote tree on the Laguna, out our back window. It attracts black squirrels the size of small monkeys, birds and our dogs who also love the small, brown fruit it produces. Zapotes, also known as sapodillas are unusual tasting, sort of like a cross between a pear and a kiwi in texture. Our tree is quite prolific and huge.

Our zapote is wild and the fruit doesn’t grow as large as cultivated zapote.

Lisa and I meditate every morning. The birds began making a racket this morning like I have never heard before. If I’d known I was going to write a blog on it, I would have recorded them. It went on for almost twenty minutes.

When I got up to investigate, I saw the large zapote tree full of irate brown jays chasing the grackles out of “their” tree. It was hilarious. Brown jays are bigger than grackles and very, very loud.

I finally put on headphones. This is life in the jungle, peaceful but certainly not always quiet.

DOS TORTAS

Walking under the zapote tree to go for a swim.

Dodged A Bullet

21 May

Right before I left for California to see my daughter and her family, the US lifted the requirement for wearing masks on airplanes. I wore one anyway, as did most people.

We walked into this show four minutes before the curtain went up. It was amazing,

As a matter of fact, I wore a mask at all indoor events, shopping, museum visits, theater and a K.T. Tunstall concert. The only place I didn’t wear one was at home with family.

Fun at the Blue Note in Napa CA

The vacation was a lot of fun. Last Monday when I landed in Mexico City on my way home, I received a message from my daughter that my son-in-law had tested positive for Covid. Shit. He had driven me to the airport and hugged me goodbye.

This week I have tested negative twice after wearing a mask at home as a precaution. I’m getting back into routine and recovering from the change in time zones. You wouldn’t think two hours could make such a difference. Getting old sucks.

A big shout out to blog follower RudeinNewYork who sent me a box of Covid antigen rapid home tests. They are not available in Bacalar and frankly it never occurred to me to bring some back.

One of the nicest things anyone has ever done for me.

My doctor advised that if I tested positive to start antivirals. I found an agency that would deliver the medication to our door in four hours for a mere $950 us. We decided to pass. It seems I dodged a bullet. Please be careful out there.

DOS TORTAS

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