Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Yes, I say Merry Christmas and not Happy Holidays. "Happy Holidays" is as offensive to me as "Merry Christmas" is to others. I had a whole big rant about that typed out but decided it was better left for another day. I've been feeling all Christmassy this year and I don't want to ruin my day with a rant.

I normally don't get the tree up until about a week before Christmas but I've had it up for 2 weeks already. Did a boatload of baking this past Sunday. YD even commented on my Christmas spirit. I have no idea what came over me this year. Maybe it was that milestone birthday I had last month. Maybe it's cyclical because I've felt this way before. And maybe it's "just because". At any rate, my family has been enjoying it all.
Excuse the detritus around the tree. The blue bin holds the firewood for the woodstove, the hearth of which you can just see on the bottom right. And excuse the plastic bag on the hearth. And the extension cord for the tree lights. I'm not a photographer. I usually just point and shoot and hope for the best. Although, now that I'm typing, I'm thinking that, after listening to Marc at the blogger's conference, I could have done a better job. Oh well. There it is, anyways, for you to enjoy.

Is it a bad thing that I have enough decorations to decorate 2 trees? Last year I did it up in gold and clear ornaments. This year, I used the cutesy ones. My angel doesn't really match the cutesy theme but it's the only topper I have and I truly love her, so she gets to grace the tree each year, no matter what decorations go on it.

It's weird to think that I'll be putting up a tree only 4 more times after this year. Señor B and I will retire early 2015 and plan to winter in México. I'm surely not dragging all those decorations down there with me.

We've had a series of bad events happen in our little town...several high profile deaths, a bank robbery and the burning of the old hotel. The deaths have especially bothered me...all good people who had the misfortune of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. It's given me pause to speculate how precious life is, how precious the people in our lives are and how it can all be taken away in an unanticipated instant.

I hope we all take the time to let our loved ones know how special they are and to let them know, always. Not just at Christmas or year's end.

Wishing eveyone a peaceful and love-filled Christmas.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Kodak Moments

Don't you hate it when you get a great Kodak moment and you don't have your camera ready? That happened to us twice, on our way to the airport in Cancún.

Along the toll road between Cancún and Mérida are signs with a drawing of a person riding a bicycle, with the red circle and line through the picture. Meaning no riding bicycles on this road. Seems pretty straightforward, right? Well, apparently this sign doesn't apply to those nifty 3 wheeled bikes with the carrier on the front. We saw plenty of those each time we travelled the road. The Kodak moment? Seeing a dude riding one of those bikes directly below one of those signs.

Driving towards the airport, there's an overpass that looks like any other. We're in several lanes of traffic with signs indicating various terminals. We're very close to the airport. We never noticed the lack of traffic on the overpass...until we saw an airplane driving on it.   !!!!!   A big blue airplane. And no camera ready to take the pic of a lifetime...for us, anyways. It was the oddest danged sight. I told Señor B that nobody would believe us.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

We're Home

We made it to Cancún without incident. Took all the right turns. We wanted to fill the car up before we returned it because they charge you a premium price if they have to do it. Señor B thinks they charge double what it is at the pump but we couldn't find a gas station to save our souls. We drove around a bit but we didn't want to get too far away. There was a major traffic jam on the road going out of Cancún. We overheard someone saying there was some kind of protest. Señor B had thought about going towards Playa del Carmen to find a station but we were concerned about not being able to get back because of the jam. I told him we should just suck it up...that paying an extra charge for gas was worth not getting lost and not missing our flight. So that's what we did.

We had lunch at TGIFriday's. The meal was tasty and there was a lot of food on the plate but we had gotten so used to the low prices in Progreso that we had a bit of sticker shock when we got the bill. Add to that the fact that airport food is more expensive anyways. Our 2 cokes and hamburgers with fries came to 336 pesos or just over $27 US.

Our flight was on time and uneventful. We had to clear customs in Toronto which meant we had to claim our luggage and then re-check it. We had time to grab a quick bite and then back onto the plane. Again, our flight was on time and uneventful. No funny or can-you-believe-that stories to relate.

We arrived to our home airport shortly after 11pm. Temp was about -11C but there was a strong north wind blowing. A bitter wind that will chill you to the bone even if you haven't just arrived from the tropics.

It's a long drive home from the airport so we stayed in a hotel for the night. It was a new one for us so we drove around a bit until we found it. By the time we went to bed it was almost 2am Méxican time. We'd been up since 6am so we were beat. The room was chilly and the continental breakfast wasn't anything to write home about. When we mentioned, at check-out, that the thermostat didn't work and the room was cold (the room was only 18C this morning) we thought we'd get a break on the price but we didn't. I'm not sure that we'll stay there again. Yes, we could have mentioned it last night but it wasn't until we were in bed that we realized how chilly the room was. When you first come in out of the cold, everything seems warm. Who knows how long it would have taken a maintenance guy to come and we were so tired, we didn't feel like changing rooms at this point, so we just sucked it up.

Señor B got lost leaving the town. We normally stay in another one that's close by so he wasn't quite sure which road we needed. But, as always, he figured it out. High winds with blowing snow wasn't a very pleasant welcome back to Canada and makes driving slow and difficult. But we made it home, safe and sound shortly before 1pm.

Suitcases have been unpacked (I'm so sick of dragging those things around) and laundry is on the go. Phone calls to the kids to say we're home and to catch up on the news.

I went uptown to pick up a few groceries. Half a century of winters etches the chill in one's memory. Even though we just got home and the weather was decent when we left, the wind and cold were so familiar that it felt as though we'd been dealing with winter for a spell, instead of less than 24 hours.

Supper tonight is good old fashioned comfort food...homemade beef barley soup from a large batch I'd made a while back and froze portions. It was so nice to not have to cook after 2 very busy days. It's bubbling on the stove right now and smells divine.

Came home to some sad news. YD works with the daughter of an aquaintance of mine. This daughter and her younger sister were out driving and got hit by a drunk driver. The younger sister was killed. The funeral is tomorrow. According to YD these 2 girls don't drink, at all. Why does it always seem to be the innocent who are killed by drunk driving? Why can't it ever be the drunk driver? Not that I wish for anyone to die but the irony is so unjust and unfair. Poor little girl. Gone at 15. A family has been shattered and dumba$$ will probably only get 3 years.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Our Last Day Here

Today was another day at home. After breakfast, we decided to go down to the beach. The ungroomed one that's only a 2 minute walk from the condo. We don't give a rat's rump about the tourist beach. Señor B tried snorkelling but he said the water was pretty cloudy. We met the couple that is renting the condo next to ours. Nice people. He teaches over the internet, so he can be down here and still make an income. Sounds like a great plan!

When we got back I cleaned the place up, did laundry and packed whatever items I didn't need for today and tomorrow morning. After lunch Señor B made a coke/beer run because we had people coming over to watch the Grey Cup. Then we headed down to the pool for one last sun soaking. Too bad the sun didn't know our plans. As soon as we got down there, it went behind the clouds and stayed there.

Our company, D & S, came over around 5pm. I don't understand football and have a general dislike of most sports so I didn't enjoy it as much as everyone else did but it was still nice to hang out with D & S. I was embarrassed that I could only offer snacks and not a real meal. We told them we were leaving tomorrow morning so our fridge was pretty empty. They completely understood. Still, it goes against how I was raised and it was uncomfortable for me.

We were cheering for the Rough Riders. Alas, they lost.

S checked out my new bedroom furniture and loves the headboard. She might get one the same. She took me up to her place to see if I thought it would match the wood in the room she wants to put it in. Me?! Gawd! I have no eye for that sort of thing. That's one of the reasons why I wanted L to help me pick things out. Anyways, the headboard is almost the same colour as the wood in her room so I think it'll work.

She showed me the paintings she had done by a gentleman from Mérida (I think) and they're gorgeous. When I'm ready to put paintings up I may get in touch with him.

I can't believe how quickly 3 weeks have gone. I'm so not ready to face the cold and the snow. Señor B and I were saying how, a week ago, we'd been laughing at the girls because they had to go home and we got to stay. Yeah. Who's laughing The good news is that, when we get home, it won't be -30C like it was for the girls.

One thing I'm not going to miss, though, is the constant stickiness of my skin. I just never feel clean. I shower the sunscreen off but it always feels like I'm still coated in it. Give me that dry prairie air. I know how to deal with that and I feel clean after my shower.

I hope I haven't bored everyone to tears with my postings and I hope that I've provided some useful tidbits for anyone coming to México. Between now and our next trip down, I'll be putting up some pics and explaining some things further. Don't expect daily posts, though. Our holiday wasn't exciting enough for me to be able to add 300+

Hasta luego, México.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Another Fine Day

Today was another do-nothing day. Señor B didn't get much sleep last night, thanks to Señor Montezuma, so he slept until noon. Poor guy.

Later on we hung out at the pool, soaking up the sun and visiting with whomever showed up throughout the afternoon.

We had supper with L & M. M is a bbq-er extraordinaire. We had his chicken wings a while back and they were to die for. The ribs he made for tonight were equally delicious. He concocts his own basting sauce and it's far superior to anything available in the stores. L made a potato salad and we also cooked up the shrimp Señor B and I had purchased from the fish guy a couple weeks ago. We did half as garlic shrimp and half as cold ones for dipping in cocktail sauce. Dessert was tiny cinnamon rolls from Costco.

In the courtyard, beside the pool, is an area with a boardwalk type floor and covered with a large palapa. There are 2 picnic tables and 3 or 4 solar powered lights. It was a beautiful evening with almost no wind so we decided to eat there.

We ranted about political injustices, the economy, stupid people, people who come to México thinking they can change the culture, people who think México should be exactly the same as it is in whatever country they came from, about the changing workforce and the sense of entitlement the younger workforce seems to have, how companies seem to pander to these young people and ignore the older, long time loyal workers, and a great many other things.

A fabulous supper with like-minded friends was a great way to end the day.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Furniture, Food and Father

My furniture arrived. On time! They said they would be here by 10am and they were. Those who live here, in México, know what a big deal this is.

I love my furniture. We have a real bedroom now. It doesn't look so much like a bachelor's The headboard is massive! It's about 5.5 feet tall but with the very high ceiling, it totally works. There's an oddity about the furniture that, when I'm able to post pics, I'm curious to see if anyone can spot. I just laughed. I consider it another one of the interesting and amusing quirks of living in México. The stain isn't completely set yet so we can't use the dresser. No worries. We've managed without one to this point.

Señor B got the bathroom mirror hung with a minimum of colourful language. It went very smoothly. So smoothly that it was scary. Things are never as simple as they first appear and our projects are usually fraught with difficulties and frustration, resulting in sailor-style language.

It was another hot day so after lunch we went down to the pool for the afternoon.

For supper, we decided to go to Los Compadres down at Centro, here in Progreso. At the meet and greet the other day, someone had recommended it so we thought we'd give it a try. We each had one drink and a dish called Tobi. It's a mixture of beef, ham, mushrooms, cheese, onions and cilantro with some kind of sauce. Served with tortillas and a little bowl of beans on the side. It was delicious but holey moley. It was a lot of food. We could have easily shared one plate. Total bill was 157 pesos.

Senor B seems to be sensitive to the local cheese. It does bad things to his innards. Imodium becomes his close friend. I questioned him about his choice for supper but he figured he'd be ok. He was wrong.

I'm still getting chewed alive by some kind of bug/s. Señor B got a few yesterday, too. I got some yesterday as well as today. They've swelled up but I'm taking chlortripolon so it's not as bad as they were at the beginning of our trip. I seem to be the only person getting bitten this badly. As far as I know, nobody else in the complex is suffering like I am. I have one on the side of my left forearm and the swelling is starting to make me look like I have a Popeye arm.

Yesterday was the 7 year anniversary of my dad's passing. I had meant to blog about it yesterday but forgot.

My dad was one of the smartest people I know. There wasn't anything he couldn't fix. He was a quiet man...the clichéd man of few words. When he spoke it was because he had something to say and so people listened. He was long on patience but heaven help you if you passed his point of tolerance.

A tall man, he was already slim when cancer struck him. He had little extra weight to lose when the treatments took away his appetite. He had been given 3 months. He made it to 7 and left us shortly after his 63rd birthday.

We made the 5 hour drive to see him as often as we could. My last words to him were to thank him for being my dad (he was my stepdad but was the only dad I'd ever known) and to say I loved him. His smile is the last memory I have of him alive.

The night he passed away, I was awake and felt a sudden warmth, like I was being hugged. I could feel love surrounding me. About half an hour later, my brother-in-law called to say Dad was gone. I believe, firmly, that the warmth I felt was Dad saying good bye.

RIP Dad.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Girls Day Out

Today I spent the afternoon shopping in Mérida with our neighbour, L. Señor B isn't very mobile so we haven't gone out much other than to do the necessities. I was starting to get bored so it was really nice to get out of the house and to hang out with another female.

We went to Costco and Walmart for a few groceries and to look for some household items. I found a couple of comforters for the other bedroom. Too bad the girls didn't get to enjoy them. I also picked up a few kitchen items I needed.

There's a gentleman who sells furniture and pottery from a roadside stand and I picked up a beautiful Televera mirror for the bathroom. It's oval and the frame is painted with a sunflower design. I got it for 600 pesos. That might sound like a lot for a mirror but it really isn't. Everything is done by hand...the frame, the painting and the glazing.

Then we went to Rustico, a wonderful store that sells handmade wooden furniture in what I consider Méxican style. It's rustic, as the store's name implies, and is the style I've chosen to decorate the condo. For this trip to México, I decided to get furniture for our bedroom so I picked up 2 nightstands, a triple dresser, a king size headboard and 2 lamps. I also got 2 lamps for the living room. Total cost was 7600 pesos. It's handmade and solid wood. I have no idea what it would cost back home but I know it would be a whole lot more than what I paid. They'll even deliver and said they'd bring it tomorrow morning. We'll see.

It was HOT today. The thermometer in L's truck said it was 39C. The last time I lived through 39C was about 12 years, or so, ago...the year of El Niño. L and I about melted but the Méxicans didn't seem to be even breaking a sweat! Today is the first time since we arrived here that we had to use the AC in the condo. The good news is that the repairs that were done to them are holding up. No more leaking.

This morning I went back to see the doc about my foot. It was still a bit swollen but she was more concerned about the skin on the back. She told me to see a dermatologist when I get home. Yeah, like that's going to happen. I'm not sure if she knows how hard it is to see any kind of a specialist in Canada.  For my non-Canadian readers, we can't get in to see a specialist without a referral from our regular doc. Maybe it works that way in most other countries? Anyways, I'm pretty sure my doc will take a look at my leg and tell me I don't need to see a dermatologist.

Doctora Castillo didn't take my BP this time nor did she check out the swelling in my foot. I asked her if I would be ok to fly home next week and she said no problem. Something I've noticed...if I sit too long, my foot swells. As long as I'm up and about, the swelling is reduced. By the time I got home from Mérida, my foot was back to normal size. Guess I'll have to make sure I get up every now and again throughout our flight home.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Low Key Day

Today was a relaxing day. We didn't do much of anything. I did a load of laundry after breakfast and then we went down to the pool for a couple hours, visiting with everyone there.

We came back up for some lunch and then took a siesta. After, Señor B watched some TV while I surfed the 'net. He sure is enjoying having satellite TV.

There is a man named Roberto who comes around regularly, selling seafood from the back of his car. We had bought some sea bass and shrimp from him shortly after we had arrived here. So cheap! We got 3 or 4 kilos of seafood for 300 pesos. We decided to cook some fish for supper but we were out of vegetables so we had to make a run down to the store.

I'm not real big on fish but this sea bass is delicious. Rice and mixed vegetables (we cheated and bought frozen) rounded out supper.

The swelling in my foot is about half what it was yesterday. I'm keeping it somewhat elevated and that seems to be helping.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Fun Afternoon

I went to see a doctor this morning. She poked and prodded my foot, asking several times if I'd had a fever. No, I hadn't. She asked a few more questions and then took my blood pressure. Apparently it's high. 120/100. At home my BP is on the low end of normal. I find it odd, though, that if it is a BP issue, why both feet wouldn't be swollen.

She asked if I was nervous as that can affect BP. I told her I wasn't. But it was really muggy today and I was hot when I saw her. I have no idea if heat and humidity can affect BP. I did some reading and allergy meds can raise BP. I've been taking some allergy pills but didn't take any today. I have to see her again Thursday morning so I'll mention the allergy pills.

About all she told me was to not eat too much salt, which I don't. I don't add salt to my cooking and I don't eat much for salty foods. But I've been drinking a bit more coke than normal and it's got a lot of sodium in it.

Going to the doctor here is a very different experience from back home.

I walked into the clinic and told the receptionist I wanted to see a doctor. I waited for about 5 minutes and then was invited into the examination room by the doctor herself. After her examination, she wrote out my prescription (cream for irritation and tablets to reduce the swelling) on an official piece of paper along with my name, age and BP reading. As far as I can tell from reading different blogs, this is my medical file and it's up to the patient to keep track of their own info. I went to the front desk and paid the 300 peso fee. Then I had to take the paper she gave me and try to find my meds.

It's a good thing that I've done a lot of reading on Yolisto and many blogs. It came as no surprise to me that I had to go to 5 different pharmacies to get what I needed.

This afternoon a couple who live in the complex hosted a meet and greet down at the pool. It started at 2pm and went until 11:30. Yes, we were among the last ones to

They provided hamburgers and hot dogs, some side dishes and some liquor. The invitation said people could bring food as well. There was a ton of food, all delicious. There are quite a few residents that we hadn't met yet, so it was nice to be able to put faces to names we'd heard.

The couple who hosted teach tango lessons, so they did a few dances for us. Great food, great weather, great music and friends, both old and new, made for a very enjoyable afternoon and evening.

Monday, November 22, 2010

They're Gone

The girls have left. It sure is quiet around here now. And tidy. No towels and bikinis drying over the back of the kitchen chairs.

We left here shortly after 8am. Missed the turnoff to the airport and had to turn around. It was another 5 or 6 minutes to the next retorno which wasn't really a retorno. It was an asphalt road but it was quite overgrown. Didn't matter. We were just happy we didn't have to go back 100km to the toll booth.

Got to the airport about 1.5 hours before their flight. Got them checked in and then said our goodbyes at the "Passengers Only" gate. They were going to try to grab a bite to eat. I hope they succeeded. YD is an extremely slow eater. I told them to make sure they got themselves some snacks for the plane.

We had lunch at the airport and then left. Señor B's amazing sense of direction failed him again. I told him we needed to head back to Playa del Carmen to find our turnoff. He disagreed. Long story short, he finally decided to turn back since we weren't seeing any signs to Mérida and try the Playa route. It worked. Man, I like it when I'm

Then we missed the turn off to Progreso but we managed to get turned around and on the right road. We got home just before 6:30. We figure we drove close to 800km today.

It spit rain off and on the whole day and we returned to Progreso to see some pretty large puddles. They must have received a lot today. This is the first rain we've seen since we arrived 2 weeks ago.

The satellite TV has been turned on so Señor B is in heaven.

I've been keeping track of their flight status online (a mom never quits worrying) and their connecting flight left on time. Hopefully they were on it.

I'm going to see a doc tomorrow morning about that bug bite. My foot is still puffy. I did some googling and I learned some things that have me concerned. I know google isn't always the final authority but I'd still  like the peace of mind.

Despite México's reputation for being a third world country, they really do have excellent medical care. Many of their doctors train in the US and can speak English. I'm not the least bit concerned about anything going wrong.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Girls' Last Day

Good news about the bug bites. The redness and blue colour were gone when I got up this morning. The swelling in my leg has gone down a lot. But now my foot is a bit puffy. Nothing alarming, just enough to be noticeable. Keeping an eye on that.

The girls wanted to spend their last day here at the tourist beach this morning. The sun was warm and the breeze off the gulf was refreshing. Listening to the waves on the shore is so soothing. I love it here. I wish I didn't have to go home next week.

The tourist beach is along the malecón, a brick walkway that runs for many blocks along the shoreline. On one side of the malecón is a street lined with restaurants. On the other is the beach. Several of the restaurants have palapas with tables and chairs beneath them. They'll serve you drinks right on the beach. I'm not sure about food, but I expect they do.

We chose to sit near some palapas so we could hide in the shade if we got too hot. A bunch of local birds (some scavenger type similar to our seagulls) swooped down to join us. They were looking for handouts. YD decided to play a trick on them. She tossed a small shell up in the air and one of the birds caught it. And promptly spit it out. She did this several times and each time a bird would dive in for the catch. Stupid birds. We had fun imagining what they were saying. "Mine! Mine! Mine!" "Hey. I saw that first." "Yuck. What's this crap she's trying to feed us." We're easily

We decided to have some lunch at Los Arcos. We all had chicken fajitas which we enjoyed. Too many green peppers and onions for my preference but tasty enough. I picked out the peppers and onions and gave them to Señor B.

Off to the store for a few things and then back to the condo. We did some housecleaning and then headed down to the pool for the afternoon.

I had planned on ham steaks for supper but the girls didn't want that so they and Señor B went to Domino's and picked up a couple of pizzas. They were very tasty. I don't know what they use for a sauce but it wasn't tomato based like what we're used to. I quite enjoyed it as did YD. They also picked up some potato wedges that were really good and something that smelled like apple pie. It was a surprise to open the box and see a loaf of sugared bread instead.

As we were eating, our neighbour, L, stopped by with some strawberry cheesecake that she'd made, as a farewell offering to the girls. It was delicious. Even Picky Chicky liked it.

Tomorrow we're driving the girls to Cancún in the morning and then coming back after. It'll be a long day. They both said they enjoyed their time here but YD said it would have been more fun if they'd met some younger people. But she did acknowledge that we had warned them they were coming to a place with mostly "old" people.

It's been around 30C the whole time we've been here but it's supposed to be something like -27C when the girls land at home. I hope YD's car will start.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Trip to Merida

Señor B and I went to pick up a few groceries this morning. You can buy liquor in the grocery stores here. The store we frequent has a whole aisle dedicated to it. It's just so weird to see booze along with the groceries. But they're not allowed to sell it before 11am so if you're planning on picking some up, you have to make sure you're checking out after 11. Just another one of those cultural differences that makes us smile.

Something else you can buy here...3 litre bottles of coke. I'm in heaven!

Then the girls and I took the AutoProgreso bus into Mérida. We wanted to buy some authentic Mayan items, not any of that tourist dime-a-dozen crap that you can find just about anywhere. Our neighbour told us where we could find a market that was Mayan vendors who come from out of town every weekend, but we didn't see them.

We stopped at the tourist information centre and the gal there seemed less than happy to help us. Her surly face and complete lack of enthusiasm was quite off-putting. She sent us to some bazaar but it was all that tourist junk.

So we went back to the Gran Plaza which is the main square in Centro, the area of Mérida that we were in. Some guy started talking to us and took us to a store that sold Mayan stuff. We thanked him and looked around but didn't see anything that we wanted to buy.

So back to the Plaza. Another guy took us to another store. He said that, for the opportunity to practice his English, he wasn't going to charge us for taking us there. We were a bit dumbstruck. Were we supposed to tip these guys? The first guy was still so very gracious when he left us, even though we didn't give him anything. Knowing when it's customary to tip is still a challenge to us. We don't mean to be rude by not tipping. We're just not always sure when it's expected and when it's not.

Anyways, we still didn't see anything we wanted and we were getting hungry, so we went for lunch. We went to the same restaurant that I went to for the bloggers conference. Las Vigas. Good food and the owner speaks English. I had the Tex Mex enchiladas and the girls both had lasagne. We got a pitcher of lemonade to share. Total cost was 184 pesos, or a bit less than $18.00 For the 3 of us!

Then we took the bus back to Progreso. It was a wasted trip, shopping wise, but it was an outing. I'm so disappointed we didn't find the market we had hoped for. I know that I had said Monday was Méxican Revoltion Day but today is actually the day. In México, when the holiday falls on the weekend, they tend to make the Monday just prior, the day off. There was to be a big festival in Gran Plaza tonight so I'm wondering if the vendors weren't allowed to set up today. Our neighbour had said the vendors are there until late in the evening but if there were other things going on, maybe they couldn't be there. I have no idea. I'll have to ask her.

My bug bites... The one on my thigh is ok. The one on my leg...well...I might go see a doc tomorrow. The chlortripolon that L gave me has worked wonders for the itch. The swelling is down a bit but the redness is increasing. My entire calf is red from my knee to my ankle and it's wrapping itself further and further around my leg. Plus, I have a blue-ish area at the top of my calf that looks like a bruise. It's just so weird that it might be worth having it looked at. We'll see what it's like in the morning.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Of Beaches and Bugs

Yesterday morning, the guy came to paint the repairs. He even touched up some smudges that had happened through normal wear and tear. There were a few brown smudges on the pale yellow wall from when we'd had the closet made and put into the closet space. He painted over those and the room looks so much nicer. I snagged a bit of paint from him for doing touch ups later.

Adriana, the lady who was coming to look at the blinds, had said she would be at the condo by 3pm or earlier. We left her an email saying if we weren't home she could get a key from L & M.

The area we're in is called the Flamingo Coast so we took the girls for a drive to go see them. Unfortunately, there weren't many out so we didn't get good pics. We found out, later, that there are tours so we might do that on Sunday.

We arrived at the condo just as Adriana was leaving. The blinds work now. They still stick a little bit but at least we can open them now.

Señor B and I spent the rest of the afternoon down at the pool visiting with L & M. Then we went up to their place and had a bite to eat, as well as a few drinks.

Today, Señor B wasn't feeling too well after his partying last night. Poor guy. He didn't have very much to drink but the older he's getting, the less he's able to hold his liquor.

We had promised to take the girls to the tourist beach today but he wasn't feeling up to it so we girls walked over. It took us about 35 minutes. We decided to have some lunch once we got there. Then YD wrote "México 10" in the sand and got BF to take some pics of her. BF didn't want her pic taken. She was cold and had herself wrapped up tightly in her towel.

A norte (cool winds from the north) blew in yesterday and, though the sun was shining today, the wind made it cool. The girls decided it was too cold to hang out at the beach. So we walked over to the pharmacy to get some cream for the bug bites I got last night and then walked home.

I wore my sandals which are very comfortable but they're not designed for walking as much as we did. I have a blister on the pad of my foot near my big toe. We're planning on going in to Mérida tomorrow to do some shopping. I hope my blister doesn't give me problems. I'll be smarter and wear my sneakers, this time.

About those bug bites I got last night. omg! I don't know what kind of critter is playing such havoc on my legs. This morning they were swollen and warm to the touch. The one on my thigh is bad enough but the one on my calf is horrendous. It's so swollen the skin is taut and feels like it wants to split. The redness and swelling covers my entire calf and wraps about halfway around my leg. I can barely bend my leg tighter than 90 degrees. Oddly enough, it's only itchy at the perimeter of the swelling. L gave me some Chlortripolon and some cream that worked well for M. If it doesn't start looking better in a couple days, I might go see a doc.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Well, our luck seems to have run out regarding the repair people. One guy was supposed to be here at 9am to do some painting. Never showed. No email. The guy to fix the cupboards was supposed to be here at 10. We waited until almost 11:30 and decided to carry on with our day. L & M, our neighbours who look after our place when we're gone, said they'd let them in if they came. So we left a note on the door for them to see L & M when they arrived.

When we got home, we noted that the guy who was supposed to do the painting hadn't come. It seems that some of the cupboards have been secured but the countertop in the bathroom is still loose so I think we'll have to contact the builder again.

We went out to a cenote this afternoon. Cenotes are these marvelous underground caverns with natural pools. México has hundreds of them. We chose to go to the San Ignacio cenote. We didn't want to drive a long way and this one is about an hour from Progreso. We found the turn off to San Ignacio easily enough. Drove through a small town. Eventually, we could see that the street was going to turn into a gravel road, the kind that has grass growing between the ruts. When we got past all the houses and trees, and just before hitting the gravel road, a magnificent church came into view. It was stunning. Guess what was written on it? That's right. San Ignacio. We weren't at the cenote, at all. We took a wrong turn. Again. We haven't figured out if the town is called San Ignacio or if the sign was intended to point the way to the church.

So back to the highway we went. We found the cenote fairly easily once we got to the right It's in Chochola. Chochola is a picturesque little town that, despite having paved roads, didn't look as though it saw a lot of vehicular traffic. We saw lots of people on peddle bikes and those 3 wheeled bikes with seating on front. But we saw very few cars or trucks. The streets were in very good condition so my guess is that many people work elsewhere, making it appear as though there were few vehicles.

We were surprised that the cenote was right in town. We expected it to be out in the country. If it wasn't for the signs, you'd never know it was there. The place looks like any house and yard with nothing to distinguish it as being anything but another place of residence. Inside is a yard with a restaurant, playground, bathrooms and a petting stable. There were goats and sheep grazing right out in the open.

Some cenotes have to be entered by climbing down a ladder but this one had stairs. Very steep stairs. And narrow. I had to go down sideways. They had installed a very sturdy handrail which I made good use of. Señor B was able to manage it without his crutches. The cenote is much smaller than the photos online suggested. There were about 12 of us down there and it was a bit crowded. One of the guys there told us that there is another area that can only be accessed by wearing scuba gear. He said it was massive. We'll have to take his word for it. It was also very hot down there. The temp today was 33C. As we climbed back up the stairs, we all commented on how much cooler the air felt up top. Wonder how hot it was at the bottom.

I took some photos but I'm not able to post them from the laptop. At the blogger's conference, I learned a better and safer way to post pics instead of using Picasa. But it requires an email address and the laptop isn't associated with one so pics will have to wait until we get back home. Sorry.

We stayed there for about an hour and then went to Mérida for a bite to eat. Macdonald's. Ugh. We only chose it because it was 4pm and we were too hungry to do a sit down meal. The girl who took our order didn't speak any English. Or if she did, she chose not to use it. But we still got what we had ordered so it was all good.

We spent the rest of the evening just relaxing. It's almost 11pm and the temp in Mérida is 24C with a humidex of 35C. It's usually a bit cooler here in Progreso but it's still a beautiful night. There's a slight breeze but it's a warm one. Paradise!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Pool Day

This morning the girls and I went shopping in downtown Progreso. There is a huge market place where you can buy just about anything. They have everything from fruits and vegetables to a shoe repair place. The girls would really like to go to a market where the wares are produced by the vendors but I have no idea where to find such a market.

We spent about 3 hours shopping at the market as well as going to some of the local stores. YD found a cute little party dress that looked great on her except it was too long in the body for her. It would have been a difficult alteration so she had to put it back.

Señor B stayed at the condo to wait for the guy who was supposed to come at 11am and do some more work so we took a cab back to the condo. When we got back, Señor B told us he'd received an email saying the guy wasn't coming until 5pm.  It's annoying when people don't come when they say they will but at least we got an email letting us know. We did appreciate that. It allowed us to go hang out at the pool all afternoon.

It was really hot today. Someone said it was about 86F. No idea what that is in Celcius but I know it's hot. The girls sure enjoyed the floaty pool mattresses I bought for them today. We talked to Eldest Daughter today and she told us the windchill back home was -22C. She didn't feel too sorry for us when we told her we were so hot we felt like

The girls had planned on going to what I call the tourist beach, this afternoon. The beach close to the condo is ungroomed and, apparently, not good enough for them. The "tourist beach" is up near the pier and is groomed up all pretty for the folks who come in on the cruise ships. 'Course, when I was 20-something, I probably would have preferred the groomed beach, too. The plan had been that Señor B would drop them off and they would walk back, since we had to be at the house for the repair guy. It's probably about a 30 minute walk. But we were so hot when we got back from shopping that they decided to do the beach another time.

I've been getting bug bites all over my lower legs and I look like I've got some horrible skin disease. Nobody else is getting bitten, though. Tonight, I realized that I'm the only one drinking Coke. Wonder if it changes my blood chemistry and makes my blood tastier. Even if that's the case, I'm not giving up my Coke. I just need to remember to bug spray my legs whenever I go out in the evening.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Another Day in Paradise

Today we had a guy come and install a satellite dish for us. His name is Edel Sosa and I think he's from Mérida. We got his name from the Yolisto forum. Members there spoke highly of him so we thought we'd give him a try. We just need to get hold of the satellite company in Canada to get it set up with them and we're good to go.

We also had the builder of the condos come by to look at some repairs that need to be done. We have a one year warranty on the condo that expires the end of November so we wanted these things taken care of before we leave the 29th. The AC in the girls room still leaks. This was a problem when were down in Jan and it was supposedly fixed. We'd had a repair done in Jan and it was supposed to have been painted but it wasn't, so that needs doing. The bathroom vanity is pulling away from the wall, as well as the kitchen cupboards, so the cupboard guy is scheduled to come Sat.

Those who have lived in México know how slowly things move here. Just because someone says they're coming tomorrow morning doesn't necessarily mean they will. It could be later in the day or it could be in a day or two or not at all. Today is Méxican Revolution Day, a major holiday in México, so we weren't holding our breaths that these guys would show up. We were delighted that not only did they show, but they showed up when they said they would.

Of course, we did tell them that we had plans for the afternoon and that if they didn't arrive by a certain time, we'd have to re-schedule. I have no idea if it made any difference. When we were down in Jan we felt like our time was being held hostage by all the different people who had to come by for various things. Often, they wouldn't show up when they said they would and we'd spend the day waiting around for nothing. This time, we're taking control and not putting our plans on hold for someone who may not even show up.

So, this afternoon, we went to Chelem, a small town about 15 minutes from Progreso. There was a one day market going on that we wanted to go to. We were expecting it to be indigenous people but it was mostly expats selling their crafts. Not saying there's anything wrong with that. It just wasn't what we were expecting. I bought a bag made from oilcloth and lined with fabric. The bags are made by a group of local women and the money goes back to their community. You can read about them here  and here

When we got back to Progreso, we stopped for a few groceries. Señor B and the girls made me wait out in the car. Today is my birthday and they wanted to get something for me. When we got home, I was given strict instructions to keep my nose out of the fridge. So every time I wanted a coke, someone had to get it for me. Didn't seem like such a bad deal to

It was hot again, so we hung out at the pool for an hour or so.

We went to Flamingoes for supper. I had the Yucatecan chicken. It was much tastier than yesterday's. Señor B had a fish dish. The girls both had grilled chicken. We all enjoyed our meal, even YD. She liked hers so much that she brought the extra home. Four meals, my drink, Señor B's beer and two lemonades came to 408 pesos or a little less than $40. This would easily be $100 at home.

We came home and they pulled out a cake and stuck some candles in it. Eight, I think. I blew out all but one. Good grief. I'm getting too old to blow out 8 measly For a store bought cake, it was surprisingly good. Chocolate layer cake with a light (not heavy) chocolate icing that wasn't all greasy like Sobey's icing.

We watched a movie after supper and that was our day.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Today we went to Uxmal. After taking a couple of wrong turns. Anyone seeing a pattern here?  lol. It's supposed to be about a 70-80km trip. We drove 150km to get there. First we missed the Ruta Puuc turnoff and had to turn around in Mérida. Then we got confused about another turnoff we were supposed to take. The sign pointed left but there was no road to drive onto. So we kept on going. And going. And going. I had mentioned to Señor B that perhaps we were supposed to make a retorno and make the turn that way but he didn't seem to think so. Finally we decided that since we weren't seeing any more signs to Uxmal, we'd turn around. Sure enough, had we made a U-turn at the next retorno, we would have been on the right road. It seems that Señor B's amazing sense of direction works better in the city than it does on country

It was about 11:30 when we got there so we decided to have some lunch before we ventured out. Señor B and I had Yucatecan chicken which is my favourite dish down here. It was ok. Not great but it was edible. The girls had sandwiches and fries. They both had some sort of spread in their sandwiches that they didn't like so they didn't eat all their lunch. They didn't eat all their fries, though, so I think they were ok.

Uxmal is amazing. There's a huge pyramid as soon as you enter. I couldn't imagine anyone being able to climb all those stairs. A large courtyard is surrounded by buildings that are still so beautiful it's hard to believe they're centuries old. The masonry is phenomenal. The blocks of stone are so smooth. I'm sure the experts know how they managed to get the surfaces so flat but, as lay people, we have no clue and we were amazed by the skill. The architecture and the carvings were incredible. To think they did all of that without today's tools. There were rooms that were open for people to go into. The green mold and mildew on the walls told of how the site had been hidden away for so many years. It was all so mystical.

Further along is a cluster of what appears to be houses. There was only one shack standing and around it were short (as in no more than a couple of feet high) walls. The walls all seemed to join each other so it was hard to picture what it would have looked like back in its day. The girls and I climbed up some stairs to another level that had another large building on it. And then we climbed the stairs of the building. Those folks who know how afraid I am of heights would be impressed that I did this. It sure impressed YD.

From this vantage point we could see even more buildings farther out but we girls decided to call it a day. Señor B wasn't able to climb up with us due to the steepness of the stairs. He was a trooper for managing as well as he did but we girls decided that the other buildings were way too far for him to hobble to on his crutches. Plus, it was a very hot day, around 30C with no breeze, and we'd all had enough of the heat.

We had planned on hitting the pool when we got back but there was a party going on down there and we didn't want to crash it, so we just hung out in the condo for the rest of the night.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Some Catching Up

I'm slacking on my posting. I had high intentions of posting something every day but it isn't working out so I'm going to try to do better since the purpose of this blog was to keep everyone up to date on what we're doing while we're here.

On Thursday we hung out at the pool for the morning then went for a late lunch at Le Saint Bonnet's. I've never been particularly impressed with their food but it was really good this time. Both the girls had chicken parmesan and both loved it. YD is a very picky eater so this says a lot about the quality of her meal. I had chicken cord en bleu. It was served with a tomato-y type sauce. It was delicious but the sauce kind of threw me for a loop. Señor B had a fish dish (the name escapes me) with a garlic sauce. He also enjoyed his meal. For drinks we had 2 daquiris, 2 waters (all water is bottled so I'm not sure if they charge for water at restaurants) 2 kahluas and one beer. The total of our bill was 550 pesos. The exchange rate is around 12 to 1 but we calculate it as 10 to 1 for ease of conversion. So supper was a bit less than $55 for all of what we had. Plus they serve snacks, called botanas, before your meal. They're very generous with those. They're practically a meal on their own.

While we were out, the cleaning lady came and cleaned all our windows. Our big ones face the gulf and get very dirty very quickly what with the salt and sand blowing in. She also did the smaller windows in the girls' room. Total cost for that was 100 pesos, or about $10. They were so clean that YD almost walked through the big The cleaning lady also tidied up, washing up the few dishes that were still in the sink, folded the towels and did a general straightening. It was an unexpected and pleasant surprise.

On Friday, we didn't really do too much during the day. Mostly hung out at the pool. Such a rough life we In the evening Señor B and I went to the meet and greet for the bloggers' conference. We had to go to Centro, in Mérida. Centro is the downtown area and we'd never been there before. What an adventure. Not only was it a new area but we had to find it in the dark. We took a wrong turn and somehow ended up on the street we were looking for. Took another wrong turn and, again, ended up on the right street. Señor B has the most amazing sense of direction even when he doesn't know where he's going. He always manages to get us to where we need to be. Going back to Progreso went much smoother.

Today I went to the conference. Getting there was another adventure but it went much better than last night. I had such a great time meeting many of the authors of whose blogs I read. We had speakers on various topics. I'm in awe of all these folks. They take their writing much more seriously than I do but many of them are, or have been, professional writers. Me, I'm writing this blog in place of sending a bazillion emails to everyone, so my writing is far more informal.

Poor Señor B was so frustrated this morning. I kept telling him I could take the bus home. He kept saying no. But by the time he dropped me off he was mucho agreeable to the idea. So that's what I did. One of the ladies gave me a ride to the depot for which I was grateful. It was a bit of walk and the road split. I know, without a doubt, that I would have taken the wrong road.

The bus comes straight to Progreso with a few stops within Mérida along the way. Cost me all of 14 pesos for a one way ride and I only had to wait about 10 minutes. One of the ladies at the conference thought the bus left about every 20 minutes during the summer and 40 minutes in the winter. I was glad I didn't have to wait 40 minutes.

Once I got to Progreso, I took a cab back to the condo. That was 35 pesos. The cabbie spoke about as much English as I speak Spanish, which is precious little, but we understood each other enough to get me home.

So there's another long-winded post. I'll try to be more diligent with my posting to spare you any more novels.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

We Made It

Figured it was time to post and let friends and family know that we made it. We have wifi here at the condo, but had to pay for it at the resorts so I didn't post while we were there.

I also need to say a belated Happy Birthday to our Middle Daughter and my Youngest Sister. Happy Birthday, girlies!

We took a red-eye Sat night and made it to Cancún around 1:30pm Sunday. We stayed at Grand Coco Bay all-inclusive resort for 2 nights and then went to Blue Bay Esmeralda for one night. Both are in Playa del Carmen.

General review:

Coco Bay is small, about 280 rooms. Food choices were limited and, while edible, wasn't fantastic. I doubt that I could have stayed there for a week. But we do prefer smaller resorts. Everything is close together and you didn't have to walk long to get to anything.

Blue Bay is freaking huge! It has almost 1000 rooms. Unless you're into walking lots, you need to take the shuttle to get around. Since Señor B is on crutches, we took the shuttle. They had a larger selection on the buffet and there wasn't anything we didn't like. Everything was delicious. Even YD, who is a very picky eater, enjoyed the food there. But the sheer size of it would keep me from spending a week there.

The girls went swimming with the dolphins on Tuesday and had a blast. Señor B and I just hung out at the resort since he's not mobile enough to go.

We took the toll road between Cancún and Mérida. The first toll closer to Cancún is 225 pesos and the second one is 130 pesos. We stopped and had lunch at the gas station/rest stop at the halfway point. Food  and service were good but a little pricey, I thought. But it's the same way in Canada...a little price gouging for convenience.

We made it to our condo late Wed afternoon. Picked up some groceries at Aurerra, which is a sister store of Walmart. We picked up a couple blankets for the girls' beds. Well, more like bedspreads, actually. Washed and dried them. Big mistake. I should have read the care labels first. They had some sort of backing that melted in the dryer. The care tag said "Hang to dry." So I had to toss them. Ugh! It honestly never occurred to me that they wouldn't be able to go in the dryer. Luckily it's pretty hot at night and they haven't needed blankets.

We have a one year warranty on our place that is up the end of this month. We arrived to discover that the vanity is pulling away from the wall and there's a big crack in the wall behind it. There's a hole in the back of the vanity, beneath the counter. You have to open the cupboard door to see it. That's where we can see the crack in the wall. So then we checked the cupboards in the kitchen. Same thing. So we have to get in touch with the builder and get it fixed.

We've been surprised by how much a few things have suffered some corrosion since we were here in Jan. The hinges on the screen door, pot handles, the cutlery and the bolts on the director's chairs. When we came in Jan, we had been told to bring down stainless steel cutlery from home but didn't. We bought what was available here but I had noticed some pitting before we left so I made sure we brought down some decent cutlery this time.

I still have so much to say but I'll end with our shopping trip to San Fancisco's, a grocery store here in Progreso. When we entered the store, we were given a numbered ticket but had no idea what to do with it. The guy didn't speak English and he could tell we had no idea what was expected of us. He finally snagged someone who explained in his limited English. We still weren't sure but we did know that it had to be accompanied by the till slip. So we gave it to the clerk who gave it back to us, along with our receipt. We decided that it must be like at Costco, where you have to show your receipt to the person at the door. But there was no one at the door, so we just left. When we went to drive out of the parking lot, we noticed that the exit was gated. That's when we realized that the checker wasn't at the store's door but at the exit of the parking lot. We gave him the ticket and the receipt. He took the ticket, gave us back the receipt and let us out.

While we had been packing the groceries into the car, I saw someone getting their ticket from the same man, as they entered the parking lot. He must have chased us down to make sure we had our ticket. Poor guy. He must get annoyed at us foreigners who don't follow the rules.

Lots of things are done differently here and it's always an adventure and learning experience. Sometimes the adventure is amusing, other times it's frustrating, especially when it seems so inefficient. Today's adventure was in the amusing category.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Latin American Bloggers Conference

From Nov 12-14th there will be a conference for Latin American bloggers hosted in Mérida. At first I wasn't going to attend because I don't live there yet and will probably only be there for 2 or 3 weeks per winter. But one of the attendees invited me and I thought what the heck. It'll be a great way to network and Señor B and I really want to meet some fellow expats this trip. Plus, I truly admire, and aspire to, the writings of the bloggers who will be there. I sheepishly admit that some of the bloggers are new to me so I haven't read much of their blogs. But I will. I have to. I don't want to look completely clueless about who they are when I meet them.

I used to write. Not professionally. In school. I used to write elaborate stories. Then I grew up, got married and had a family. I stopped reading as much. Reading lots is crucial to keeping one's literary skills honed. I'm afraid my skills are as dull as a rock. Flat as a Saskatchewan highway, even. I need to read more.

Some of the folks going to the conference are professional writers. I enjoy reading a well written, professional piece. I also like reading the more folksy ones. I'm not sure what my style is. Mostly I just write the way I talk. Except writing allows me to

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dia de los Muertos

Also known as Day of the Dead. Sounds grim and gruesome, but it isn't. It's a 2 day celebration in which the Mexicans remember their deceased. Nov 1st is the day to remember the children and Nov 2nd is for the adults. Altars are prepared and decorated, sometimes quite elaborately. Pictures of the deceased and offerings of their favourite food and drink are typical. Some of their favourite activities are often included, too. Things like toys for the children or cards and tobacco for the adults. I came across a picture recently that showed a couple of rifles at an altar. I'm guessing the person liked to hunt.

I've seen photos of altars at the cemetary, on the streets and in private homes. I don't know why there is such a variety. Personal choice, is my guess.

Many families will bring a picnic to the gravesite, which has been spruced up, to enjoy a meal with their loved one. Candles are lit to help guide the spirits to their gravesite. Stories are often shared about the departed. It's a big celebration, sometimes including dances and special foods, often shared with passersby in the streets.

I couldn't find any information on how many altars a family builds. Do they make just one and put pictures of all their relatives on it? Or does each person get their own altar? And at what point do you stop building an altar for someone? When you're young enough that you never knew the person when they were living?

I don't know about you, but I think their way of celebrating those who have passed on is far more pleasant than the solemnity that is typical of our culture. And I love that they have a special day for it. We tend to remember the day a person died and think of the person on that day, but it's really just in passing. We don't do anything to celebrate that person's life. And that's a shame.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Correction

Well, it seems I did use the wrong term. A blogger buddy who has lived in Mérida for quite some time and who actually speaks Spanish, tells me that La Muchacha means "the girl" and is the term Yucatecans use to refer to their household help. As we would say "housekeeper", they would say "the girl". While Daughter does help around the house, she doesn't help enough to have earned the title of La So now I have to come up with a new name for her.

There's the ubiquitous DD...Dear or Darling Daughter, to which I would add a 3 to denote which DD. I have 3 girls, so she would be DD3.
Or YD...Youngest Daughter.
Or Hija, which my friend tells me is daughter in Spanish.

Now here's a little funny about how to say that. In Spanish, the "h" is always silent. "I" is pronounced as "ee" and the "j" is pronounced like an English "h" but it's said in the back of the throat. So it sort of comes out sounding like ee-hah. Which is remarkably close to Yee-haw. Daughter is a born comedian and we joke a lot in our family, so I'm going to get lots of mileage out of

So which one to use? I'm going to go for YD. It'll be quicker and easier to explain later on, should I have to.

Eight more days

In 8 more days, Nov 6th to be exact, we'll be flying down to México. Myself, Señor B, our youngest daughter, whom I shall refer to as LM3, LM being short for La Muchacha which I'm pretty sure is Spanish for daughter (someone correct me if I'm wrong) and her best friend (BF). Both girls are 20-somethings. BF has never travelled internationally and is excited beyond words. She tells me that she has been counting down the days since we booked the tickets several months ago.

Being typical girls, they both wanted to pack their suitcases full "in case they wanted to wear this or that item." Living 5 hours from family and making the drive once or twice a year, I've learned how to pack light. I *used* to be one of those women who overpacked. Not anymore.

They were both agreeable to me making a packing list for them. We talked about taking clothes that will co-ordinate to increase wearing mileage. We have a washer and dryer at the condo, so I told them they really only need to take a week's worth of clothes. Told them they only need one flat iron between them and discussed a few other things. And then I made the list.

Apparently my list sucked...LOL. So we went over things and I explained why I made it the way I did. We negotiated a few extra add-ins. They both have their suitcases about half full which was the goal. Our condo still needs some things and I need the girls to mule stuff down for me. Señor B and I will be sharing a suitcase. He had a hip replacement this past June and needs the other one done. He was told it would be shortly after the new year, so keep your fingers crossed for him. Because he gets around on crutches, he's not able to haul his own suitcase, so we have to share, leaving no extra room in ours to bring anything down.

Some people have asked why we don't just buy what we need down there. Wish it was that easy. Not everything that NOB'ers (North of the Border) are accustomed to is available there. Or if it is, it's not always in stock. So you might go to a store, not see what you want and assume they don't have it. But it might be there next week. When we're only there for 3 weeks, we don't really have time to fiddle around with that. Also, things aren't always of the same quality that NOB'ers are used to. So we're taking some things with us.

I have a box in the basement that I've been adding to, according to a list I made up a year ago of things needed to stock a house. We took some things with us in Jan and also bought when we were down there. We were focussed on the essentials so the kitchen is still pretty spartan. Now we can add some extras. I'll have to go through the box to see what I think we'll need the most.

Well, that's it for tonight. Hasta luego.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It Snowed

OK. So. Seems I can only upload pics from Picasa Web albums. This should be an

It snowed today. My back yard this morning.

Our view of the gulf.

Need I say more.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I'm Joining The Blogging World

OK. So. I read lots of blogs but this is my first attempt at creating my own. I'm not very tech savvy so this thing will take a bit to figure out. I see some buttons on the post bar thingy (yes, that's a technical that I don't know how to make work. Yet. The site is pretty basic right now. I'll figure out how to jazz it up later. Please bear with me, and forgive my mistakes, as I stumble along.

I've started this blog so that friends and family can keep up with our travels. I don't do Facebook (has there ever been a more vile, privacy invasive creation?) but would still like to share our holidays. This seemed a logical arena in which to do that.

Señor B and I bought a condo in Progreso, Yucatán last Oct. It was everything we were looking for...close to the beach (there's one row of houses between us and the beach), 2 bedrooms and well within our price range. We even had to check with the realtor to make sure it wasn't a typo.

It's brand new. In fact, it was still being built when we went to check it out. You know, to make sure there was actually a condo to buy. It's about 850 sq ft and looks like a typical apartment. Two bedrooms, one bathroom, kitchen, living room and small storage room that doubles as the laundry room. The deck extends the full length of our unit and we can access it from both the living room and our bedroom. It has 9 foot ceilings (I think). Maybe they're 10. High ceilings are typical in México. This is so the hot air can rise and help keep things a bit cooler lower down. We have a view of the Gulf that would be better if the neighbour across the back alley didn't have that danged tree in the way. Wonder if they sell Round-Up in México? Just kidding!

Purchasing it was uneventful. Because it's a new dwelling, there were certain details we didn't have to concern ourselves with. Buying a previously owned home entails different paperwork. For instance, if the previous owner has a handyman to whom he owes money, that handyman can come after you, as the current homeowner, for back wages. So it's important to have a paper stating that said handyman has been paid and is released from the property, so that you're not responsible for his wages. Weird, I know, but it's not Canada and we can't expect another country to have the same laws that we do. There are other things involved with purchasing pre-owned homes that aren't typical in Canada. This is just one example.

Having a condo means no yardwork. Who wants to do yardwork when they're in paradise? Not us! Our condo fees include the yard guy, pool maintenance, wifi in the condo, gas, and tap water (which they say is safe to drink but we're not that brave yet so we get our drinking water from the truck that drives through the neighbourhood). The fees also go towards the wages of the administrator, the guy who collects the fees and is in charge of looking after the complex. Property taxes are...get this...$23.00 a year. Makes one wonder how the city can function. But they do. Obviously, they have other methods in place that work for them. Again, it's not Canada so we can't expect things to be the same.

Señor B and I will retire in 2015 and plan to be snowbirds to Progreso. For now, our little place is our destination for our annual winter getaways. I hope you enjoy reading along.

Hasta luego.