Tag Archives: travel

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

Embarrassed To Be Happy

17 Apr

With so much pain and suffering in the world, is it super privileged to be content? There are no broken bones, the car is running, we have food and shelter.

I am grateful, and I don’t want to jinx things. I’m not saying that life is perfect. I still struggle with not sleeping. It’s just the way it is. My body hurts from gym work outs, but it’s a good hurt and I’m thrilled with the muscles. Lisa and I have been having date-night once a week. Sometimes it’s the little things.

Moon over Laguna Bacalar.

I’m leaving for California a week from Tuesday and I’m actually excited. Not much really excites me these days. Soon I will be checking the weather, hauling out the suitcase and getting a Covid test. Hi ho hi ho.

Going for a swim.

Until then, I will try to keep the bubble from bursting, however I did buy travel insurance.

DOS TORTAS

Let’s Book A Flight

10 Apr

When we retired to Bacalar, Mexico from the United States, we took so many things into consideration. I was working a job that gave me time to spend researching. Bacalar was thirty minutes from an international airport. We would be able to travel back to the US easily for holidays and visits with family. We had direct buses to Cancun where we could get flights to anywhere in the world. There was one caveat that we didn’t consider, couldn’t have possibly known.The world of 2022 is no longer the world of 2013.

Nine short years. How time flies. I’m not suggesting that we should not make plans because of an uncertain future. The future is always uncertain.

Sitting on my couch looking at travel search engines makes my head spin. Lisa said something his morning that is so true. “You should go. When you get home you’ll never want to do it again.” How right she is. I hate flying. Flights are long (there are fewer route options), expensive and involve crazy people. I also drop my cell phone and loose my headphones. The stress makes me crazy.

I will persist however. I miss my kids. Wish me luck.

DOS TORTAS

It’s Good To Be Home

5 Dec

I left Austin via magic carpet this past Wednesday on the first flight out scheduled for 8:30 am departure. I had a rental car to gas up and return. International flights require arriving at the airport three hours ahead of time. My sleep was restless so I got up and was at the airport waaaaay too early. Oh well.

I arrived to a rainy Cancun which made locating the car a bit of a challenge. Our house sitter had left it for me ten days prior. I prayed it would start, and it did! Much gratitude.

There was bumper to bumper traffic leaving the airport and construction along the Playa del Carmen highway. My gas tank was getting low and I planned to stop on my way out of Tulum. Way too many travelers had the same idea. There were long lines at the gas pumps so I crossed my fingers and kept going. True to the season I hit a thunder storm which slowed my progress. By the time I made it to the next gas station, I was feeling nervous and coming up with contingency plans.

I made it home to Bacalar safely and spent the first few days putting out fires. One of them was no internet and thus the tardiness of the blog. I’m sitting here watching large, fat, black squirrels prance on our coconut palms. Their antics make me laugh, breathe, and relax. It’s good to laugh. Welcome home.

DOS TORTAS

https://youtu.be/zJ6VT7ciR1o

Just Take The Next Step

5 Sep

We have been NOB (north of the Mexico/US border) for almost six weeks. It has been a full on vaca which includes dodging Covid, eating favorite foods and hanging with the grands.

Up very early for a flight out of Austin.

There’s nothing terribly profound to share. We’ve been enjoying the amazing produce that abounds in Northern California. Figs are in season and are able to be picked off a neighbor’s tree. Heavenly.

One of my favorite fruits.

Temps are a bit lower than Lisa likes, but I am quite content. I just didn’t bring enough warm clothes. Living in the tropics, our wardrobe is limited in that department.

The local farmers market is always a treat.
My art journaling continues. Produce inspires.
Stela has put yoga on hold. Rainy cool weather in Bacalar has her ready to snuggle.

It is such a strange time we’re living in. Lisa’s mom got very sick with the flu. Thank God she didn’t have Covid but there was certainly a lot of anxiety until test results came back. Hang in there. Somehow we’ll make it through.

DOS TORTAS

On To Another Adventure

29 Aug

Our time in Austin, Texas has been renewing for our spirit and relationship. Lisa and I haven’t spent time alone in several years. Do you believe it?! Between Covid, her mother, and the dogs, well, it’s probably a lot like your life.

Morning on the Sunset Valley Greenbelt.
One must be up early to beat the Texas heat.
I love the majestic trees of Central Texas.

With the help of family, friends and Uber, we had a comfortable place to stay and transportation. Our house sitters have taken care of hearth and home and the dogs.

Back in Bacalar, Stela has taken up yoga. Resting pensive pose.

We are very grateful as we move on to the next part of our adventure, visiting California.

Bald Cypress

I miss the trees when we are in Mexico. Then again, Austin doesn’t have Laguna Bacalar.

Thank you sitters Dino and Lei for the updates and photos.

Time to pack.

DOS TORTAS

Painted on the overpass along Ladybird Lake hike and bike trail.

Mexico City Dreaming Day 1

13 Aug

We arrived in Mexico City at 11:30am Thursday. The city was rain-soaked from the aftermath of tropical storm Franklin. The plane landed smoothly and we zipped through immigration quickly. A thirty minute taxi ride to our hotel to drop off our luggage cost about $12us. The hotel was clean and located in a lovely neighborhood. I found Casa de la Condesa on hotels.com. Score! You never know what you’ll end up with, but I’d recommend this little hotel any day.

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Clean, quiet and great shower!

The hotel called us a taxi to travel to Coyoacan to meet friends for a late lunch. The Coyoacana was exquisitely delicious. Score number two.

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I met Paty and Maria at the swim competition in Bacalar. Dear women.

With light rain, we walked the neighborhood and waited in line to visit the Frida Kahlo museum. It was my second visit and Lisa’s first. I love imagining Frida sitting at her easel. She is an inspiration.

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After the museum we wandered around this hip little Coyoacan neighborhood. Honey, we’re not in Bacalar!! Every town square in colonial Mexico has a church and the cathedral of Saint John the Baptist was quite beautiful.

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Excuse the blurry picture.

We also managed a quick walk through the Mercado before it closed. Meeting up with our taxi driver was a snap and we were back at out hotel ready for a good night’s sleep and quite pleased with ourselves for managing a wonderful first day in Mexico City.

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Mexico City is a huge metropolis with lovely neighborhoods and green parks. It is sure worth the visit and we will continue with our week long visit. Stay tuned.

DOS TORTAS

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Stressing About Being Stressed

24 Jun

I detach myself from preconceived outcomes and trust that all is well.
~Anita Moorjani~

This is not the sexy part of the Adventures of Dos Tortas. Lisa got out of the hospital on Wednesday with a diagnosis of IBS (Irritible Bowel Syndrome). The combination of less than stellar eating and stress equals severe abdominal pain for her. For me it translates into chest pain and heart palpitations. This is NOT the fun part. At this point, all we can do is TRUST. We have no control, none, zilch, zippidy-doo-dah on the control. We KNOW the house will sell. We don’t know when or to whom. Our rental house is sold and closed. The FOR SALE sign on our present house is out on the curb and we’ve already had a serious looker. They’re bringing a contract. We’ll see.

If you’re considering selling all your possessions (or giving them away) and moving out of the country, here are some things I suggest:
~ Either do it by yourself or have an amazing partner who is “all in”. We have a solid relationship and by that I do not mean the absence of conflict. We have each other’s backs and are numero uno, each to the other.
~ No matter how much time you set aside to prepare, the end will be loco. There will not be enough massages, positive affirmations, meditations or meltdowns that will get you through this process unscathed. We have an incredibly supportive family and friends and that has helped so much.
~ It really helps to have a job that allows you some flexible time to search the web, write a blog or communicate with realtors. (It helps if it pays pretty well too.)
~ Be frugal…rarely eat out, invest in your future, be driven and committed. I mentioned it before, but the book YOUR MONEY OR YOUR LIFE (Robin & Dominguez), played a big part in getting me to this place.
~ Even if you would NEVER sell all your posessions and move out of the country, start today downsizing, simplifying, and being more frugal. All this STUFF takes up a lot of life energy. It must be bought, maintained, stored, disposed of, passed down, cleaned, and organized by you or someone after you’re gone.

Pictures of our house.
There’s also a detailed description on Austin Craig’s List that I posted last night. Please pass this information on to your friends. Maybe their dream is to chuck it all and move to Austin.

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