Monday, February 28, 2011

Last Day

Today is our last day for this trip. We so don't want to leave. We enjoy México so much.

After breakfast, D came downtown with us to help us pay our power bill and our taxes. She's fairly fluent and is a godsend to most of us here. We still had a credit at the electric company but I topped it up some, anyways. Here, you can prepay your electric. I suppose it can be done in Canada, but I don't know of too many people who have that kind of extra money lying around. It's so cheap here. I had an 800 peso credit sometime last year and still had a credit of 439 pesos.

The taxes went smoothly. We had all the appropriate paperwork and the name change from the builder to our trust company had already been done. We thought the taxes had been paid last year but the lady said it hadn't. Taxes for 2 years was 456 pesos, or about $40. For 2 years! Incredible.

A couple, M & J, who are staying with S & D upstairs expressed an interest in renting our condo so they came to take a look at it. I mentioned, in passing, that I'd been trying to find a doorstop for the laundry room door. We've been using a sandal stuffed underneath it.

We went back to the condo and had some lunch. Then down to the pool for one last day of sun. It was hot today. Forecast was 35C and I'm sure it was. I even spent most of the afternoon in the pool. Same for yesterday. As I mentioned in a previous post, you know it's hot when I go in the pool.

It's freaking cold at home, though. For the next week, the highs are in the minus mid teens, Celsius, of course. The lows will be in the -30C range. We'll get in to the airport at about 11pm so it's going to be somewhere near that -30. Lord have mercy.

S & D and their friends had gone into Mérida to do some shopping. They all joined us at the pool later. J came to me and said he had a gift for me. He holds out a book. I love reading but thought it was odd that he was giving me a book because I hadn't ever said anything about reading. Oh no. That wasn't the gift. Tucked into his hands, underneath the book, was a doorstop. I've looked around in México. I had even looked in Canada, to no avail. I was so excited. Unless you live here, it's hard to understand how much such little things mean.

We stayed at the pool until the sun was behind the building and we were in full shade. Then we made our way to our place to make supper.

It was hot enough today that we actually turned the AC on. Only the second time this trip. We get such a fantastic cross-breeze through the place that it rarely gets hot enough to use the AC. Tonight, there's almost no wind. Señor B has already gone to bed and said to leave the bedroom window open to get some airflow.

It's strangely quiet tonight. There's almost no traffic. Even the transit bus that sounds like a low flying airplane has only come by a couple of times, or so it seems. It's as though México is mourning with us about our impending departure.

I've only killed 4 ants tonight. Owen and Bindi have been invaded. They found a bunch in their blender, in the space between the base and the pitcher. They also found a bunch inside their oven. I also killed some weird bug that I've never seen before. I thought it was a cockroach but the pictures on Google don't look anything like what I killed.

Those ants are some tough critters! You can't do a gentle squish in hopes of avoiding a mess. If you don't step on them hard enough, they can still motor about. I had one on the wall that I swept off with my flip flop. I accidentally broke it in half. Be darned if the head half still didn't go running!

My feet are still puffy so I'm thinking it musn't be the Chlor Tripolon causing it. You'd think, after 4 days of not taking it, the swelling would be gone. There are some other possibilities that I'm going to try to rule out next trip.

Tomorrow is going to be an early morning so I'd best get to bed. We'd like to be out of here by 7:30am. It should be illegal to have to be up that early when you're on holidays.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


For complete lack of creativity, several of the last few posts have been titled by the day of the week. Boring, I know, but I usually post so late at night that my brain can't come up with any captivating titles.

Today was a pretty laid back day. This morning, we put gas in the car and picked up a few groceries.

I used some of the crab meat I bought from the travelling fish guy to make crab salad sandwiches. They were really good.

It was hot today, around 32C, so after lunch we went down to the pool for the afternoon.

A bunch of us went to Los Compadres for supper. We all had a great meal.

Los Compadres is right across the street from the main square where I went to watch the crowning of the Carnaval queen last night. It's a charming open air restaurant that faces the square. While we were waiting for our orders, there was a minor fender bender involving 2 cars. We got to watch the law in action.

Vehicle accidents are handled differently here than in Canada. My understanding is that both parties have to wait until both the police and an insurance agent arrive. The insurance agent determines who is in the wrong. Their job is not the same as insurance agents NOB. After much talk, and gesticulating by the young lady of the rear vehicle, a ticket was handed out to said young lady. At least that's what it looked like. The other person may have received a piece of paper as well, but he was out of our view so we didn't see what happened with him.

Because of the Carnaval event that was going on tonight, the traffic was very heavy. It had to be re-routed around the accident. It would have been absolute chaos had it not been for a couple of officers directing traffic. We thought we were going to have a difficult time pulling away from the curb but we lucked out getting a break in traffic.

We came home and spent the evening relaxing.

No ants this morning or tonight. My feet are still a bit puffy, the left one a bit more so than the right. My left one is the one that swelled up so badly in Nov.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Friends, Food and Festivities

This morning I went uptown with Bindi and J, a lady who's renting one of the condos in the complex. J got a haircut and Bindi got some lowlights. While Bindi's colour was processing, J and I went looking for boric acid to help in the fight against the carpenter ants. We went to 5 or 6 pharmacies but nobody had any.

While I was gone, Owen came over and helped Señor B with a few things that needed doing. He added a little latch to the screen door, changed the lightbulb in the laundry room and added the sweep to the bottom of the door. Owen and Bindi are great friendly and willing to lend a helping hand. We couldn't have gotten better neighbours if we'd asked.

Señor B and I went down to the pool in the afternoon. I came up early to prepare the dish I was making for the potluck that had been planned. I made a fish stir fry that was pretty good, if I do say so Someone had cooked up a couple of fish from the excursion the other day. I'm not a big fish fan and I'm already about fished out from Señor B's catch. Someone else had brought chicken burgers for which I was grateful.

Supper finished up early because several of us wanted to go down to the town square to watch the crowning of the Carnival queen and king. Afterwards, there was onstage entertainment. During one of the songs, 3 young girls were brought onstage to dance with the female entertainer. One of the girls, who couldn't have been more than 5 or 6, completely stole the show with her booty shaking dancing that is typical of Latin America. The singer asked her where she had learned to dance like that and the girl replied, "From the tv."

I bought some churros from a street vendor who was at the square. Churros are soo good. A while back I found a recipe online. They call for regular ingredients so I can make them myself.

I spoke too soon about the ants. Last night, I killed a couple before I went to bed and Señor B said there were about a dozen in the condo this morning.

Re the bug bites; I bought some lidocain at the pharmacy this morning. It's supposed to help with the itch. Oddly enough, the itch is worst in the morning and in the evening. During the day it's almost a non-issue. My feet and ankles are still a bit puffy even though it's been 48 hours since I took that one dose of ChlorTripolon. Weird.

Friday, February 25, 2011


Today I had the pleasure of spending the day with Marc from An Alaskan in Yucatan . Señor B and I picked him up at the bus depot and we all decided to go for lunch. We went down to the malecón and walked until we found a place that didn't have loud music. We wanted to be able to actually visit, without having to yell over "background music".

We ended up at Le Saint Bonnet and we all had very good meals. I had chicken cordon bleu that was way too much for me to eat, so I shared it with Marc and Señor B.

After lunch we went back to our condo, had a good, long visit and showed Marc around the complex. Late afternoon, we took him back to the bus depot.

Marc is an excellent conversationalist and we talked about many different things. We sure enjoyed spending time with him and look forward to seeing him the next time we come down.

After returning from the bus depot, we went down to the pool for a quick dip. Well...Señor B dipped. I just enjoyed what was left of the sun.

A group of us decided to go to Natasha's for supper. I had the BBQ chicken that I had the last time I was there and it was just as tasty as the other time.

We haven't had any ants in the condo for the last couple of days. It seems they've migrated to our next door neighbour's. While I'm happy for me, it sure does suck for them.

I got 4 bug bites last night. My fault for not wearing long pants when we were sitting outside. I've started doing this, following the advice of expats who live here. It seems the little critters are more active at night and long pants keeps them at bay. The repellant that comes highly recommended smells positively toxic so I want to avoid using it, if I can.

I popped a ChlorTripolon last night to help relieve the itch. This morning my feet and ankles were a bit puffy. Last trip down, my left foot became quite swollen and I went to a doctor about it. I didn't have the puffiness after being bitten, on previous trips, so it would seem that the antihistamine is the culprit for the swelling. Guess I'll have to find something else for them.


We had planned on going in to Mérida this morning to pick up some papers from our lawyer but guess who showed up? Glass Guy!

He and his partner got the new shower door installed and it looks great. The old frame had been placed against the wall so there's a gap between the tile in the shower stall and the tile they used for the baseboard. We'll have to patch those up next trip. Hopefully the plaster doesn't get too much water damage before then.

After he got it installed, he said he had to go get the silicone. Why didn't he bring it with him? Because this is Mé So many things are done so oddly here that you just have to laugh. We told them they could take the old doors and frame. What are we going to do with them? So he and his partner loaded them up on their vehicle which just happened to be.....a scooter. LOLOL Oh man. I wish I'd had my camera handy to get a picture of that. They laid all the pieces sideways between them and off they went.

We had no idea how long he was going to be. We figured he'd be back in about half an hour but it was more like 2.

We finally made it to Mérida. We tried to find the lawyer's office but we couldn't remember exactly how to get there and I didn't have the map that we'd been given a year ago when we came to finalize the paperwork. We drove around but gave up. So we went to Sam's Club and got a taxi to take us there and then back to Sam's where we had parked the car.

Mérida is divided into many colonias, or subdivisions. The streets are numbered but each colonia has their own numbering system. You can be driving on 23rd Street but as soon as you enter another colonia the street number changes. This makes it really easy to get lost.

After the lawyer, we went to Home Depot to pick up a few things. Then to a couple of pottery places to see what they had and then home.

Just outside of Progreso, we saw a woman on a scooter with a large cardboard box, the shape reminiscent of something one would put a large picture in...more flat than cubic shaped. The box was upended in front of her face. We thought she was driving the scooter and wondering how the heck she could see to do that. As we passed her, we saw that she was actually the passenger. That gave us a good laugh, especially after Glass Guy.

We didn't get home until about 5:30. I took some fish out to thaw and Owen showed up. And then Bindi. So I decided to ask them to supper and took another package of fish out. We didn't eat until probably close to 10pm, but I've read that late suppers are typical in México. Perhaps because it's cooler then.

The power was out briefly a couple of times yesterday and today. But only about half an hour instead of most of the day.

I've received my first bug bites of the trip. I hadn't posted about it earlier because I didn't want to jinx myself. ChlorTripolon to the rescue.

But no ants today!

Thursday, February 24, 2011


The internet was out all day Wednesday, so I'm posting this one a day late.

I had made arrangements to meet up with Theresa from What do I do all day? . I took the AutoProgreso bus into Mérida, getting there a half hour late. Poor Theresa was waiting for me. Theresa took me to several fabric stores. She is a kindred spirit. She and I were looking at different fabrics, touching many of them. Anyone who sews knows the allure of a beautiful piece of cloth. One of the perks to being an adult is that you're allowed to look with your fingers and not just your

Fabric shopping is a very different experience from NOB. You tell a clerk how much fabric you want and they measure it off the bolt, right there. The clerk gives you a piece of paper with your purchase and price on it and then takes your fabric to the pick up area. You pay your "bill" at one counter and then go to the pick up area to get your fabric. I've read that this is fairly typical for many types of stores.

I bought 3 pieces to make myself some shirts for work and a couple of pieces to make DGD (Dear Granddaughter) some dresses. They have fabric that is smocked on the top and not on the bottom. The bottom is even finished. Making a sundress is just a matter of sewing a seam up the back and adding straps, if desired. It just doesn't get any easier than that.

We shopped until Theresa dropped. Well, not literally, but we had to take a break from all the walking. So we went and sat in the Gran Plaza Square and visited a while. We had a lady take our picture but I promised Theresa I wouldn't post it. She was feeling all self-conscious about her appearance, though I don't know why. She's a beautiful lady, inside and out. I had a great time hanging out with her. Thanks for a wonderful day, Theresa.

Took the bus back to Progreso and fell asleep on the way. I'm as bad as a baby for that...put me in a moving vehicle and I'm out like a light. I took the van home and got back about 3:00.

Glass Guy had come shortly after Señor B drove me down to the bus in the morning and told the neighbour that he'd be back at 3:00 but he never showed up.

At 4:00, a bunch of us from the complex went to a Méxican Fiesta which featured a pig roast. There were traditional dances from the states of Jalisco and Yucatán. A mariachi band entertained us after supper. The food was very good but insufficient. Many folks were still hungry. It was supposed to be all you could eat but nobody could figure out how to get a second plate. I'm not sure if anyone asked.

We all left around 8:30. It felt so much later. I was so tired I was even in bed before

I had looked for some ant killer while in Mérida but couldn't find what I was looking for. There haven't been any ants in the condo for a couple days, touch wood.

The light in the laundry room is blown out. We bought a new bulb but, with 9 foot ceilings, changing out the old one could be an adventure.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Quiet, Peaceful Day

Today is Señor B's birthday. He's officially over the hill. Last year he crested it. This year he's over the I had bought him a card before we left Canada but I couldn't find it when I was doing the last of my packing the night before. I didn't have time to get him another one so I guess I'll have to do that when we get back.

He went on a fishing excursion with a few other folks from the complex. They thought they'd be back around 2pm but they didn't get in until 5:30. They caught lots of fish. Between that and what I bought from the fish guy the other day, we won't need to buy any meat before we leave. We'll be eating fish for the next week. I'm not a big fan of fish. I'm going to have to find some recipes so I'm not eating the same taste for the next 6 days. Señor B has no idea what kind of fish he has so this could be

I spent the day puttering around the condo. I swept and washed the floors, did a couple loads of laundry, the dishes, washed out the fridge and just did a general deep clean. Spent some time online and worked on my Spanish lesson.

I also took some "nice" photos of the condo for some friends who want to see it. I removed all the detritus, trying to make it look as if nobody was here. I moved all the extra stuff, like the suitcases, from each room, took the photos and then returned everything back. That wasted about an hour of my

The wind was from inland again this morning so it was pretty warm in the condo, but not hot enough to run the AC. Shortly after lunch, it switched directions and the place cooled off nicely. I didn't go down to the pool today, though. I just hung out in the condo.

We didn't bother with supper tonight. Señor B said they had ceviche near the end of their trip so he wasn't hungry and I had made myself a sandwich shortly before he got home. We had some ice cream a bit later and we've spent the evening just relaxing. He's watching a creep show and I'm trying to ignore it.

A Hot Day in Paradise

Woke up early this morning. I was up and rolling shortly after 7:00. I don't get up that early at home, even on work days. Sheesh! But it was just one of those days where I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep.

After breakfast, Owen, Señor B and I went uptown. We stopped at the glass shop to remind them that we wanted them to come. "Twenty minutes," we were told. So Owen made one more stop and then we went back to the condo to drop off Señor B so he could wait for the glass guy. Owen and I both had to get groceries so we did that after dropping off Señor B.

We agreed that whoever was done first would wait outside the doors for the other. I got there and waited a few minutes. Then I noticed that it looked like the rear lights on Owen's truck were on. I figured he was waiting inside with the AC on, so I toddled on over. He wasn't there so I just stood at the back of his truck and waited for him. I waited about 10 minutes and felt like such a fool.

In México, they have guys who help you put your groceries in your vehicle and help back you out of your parking space. These guys are a godsend when the traffic is heavy. It's customary to tip about 5 pesos. So there I am, a red-headed white chick who is clearly a foreigner, just standing there getting gawked at. I felt like people were thinking, "Oh, look at the Princess...waiting for someone to help her." Ugh.

When we got back to the complex, Señor B said the guy hadn't come yet. Whatever. If he comes, he comes. If he doesn't, he doesn't.

Massages had been arranged for the afternoon and we had decided to get one. We were down at the pool waiting our turn when we heard Owen talking to someone who was speaking Spanish. The front balcony/walkway overlooks the courtyard so it was easy to hear them. It was Glass Guy and friend. They measured up our space, saying they would return Wed am to install the glass. We shall see.

The massage was just as fabulous as the other one. I had a different girl and she did some things a bit differently. Because of my job as a hairdresser, I bend to the right a lot. The muscles on the right side of my body are contracted because of it. This gal must be somewhat experienced because she really worked the right side of my body, digging right in with her arms.

She also massaged my belly...?!  This was a new one on me. Not sure what she expected to accomplish by rolling (because, seriously, how could there be any massaging involved here?) my middle-aged, overweight, birthed-three-babies waterbed belly around. I'm so glad there weren't any guys around at the time. The only man allowed to see that gelatinous, stretchmarked mess is Señor B.

Monday is water day at the complex. Because we can't drink the tap water, we get our water in 5 gallon jugs, just like at home. It costs 20 pesos. You leave the money in the jug and leave the jug outside your door. The water guy replaces the empty with a full one. We leave him a 5 peso tip because we sure appreciate him hauling those heavy jugs up the stairs. I saw him carrying two of them, one in each hand. He must have very strong hands.

It was hot today. The wind came from the south which is inland. It's much hotter than the more typical wind that comes from off the Gulf. I actually went in the  pool. I hate water. I hate getting wet. So you know it's hot when I'll actually choose to get wet. It's supposed to be hot all week so I expect I'll be in the pool quite bit.

It was L's birthday today, so a bunch of us got together under the palapa for supper and drinks. We ordered pizza from Dominoes and it was just as good as it was when we got it in Nov. It was a fine ending to a fine day.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Day in Mérida


The power went out again at 8am but nobody knew about it. We were making eggs and toast for breakfast (yes, I was actually up that We have a gas stove so no issues with the eggs. The toaster, of course, uses electricity. The first batch of toast was almost done when the power went out so we had to share the 2 slices. Hopefully the power related repairs are done soon.

After breakfast, Bindi and I went in to Mérida. There's a van that picks up a block over so we took that downtown and took the AutoProgreso in to the city.

On Sundays, several streets downtown are shut down for foot traffic. It was so cool. Lots of vendors set up in the main square and free entertainment, too. While we were there, there was a puppet show happening. It would have been fun to watch had our Spanish been up to it. I could pick out the occasional word and it sounded like it was something about the environment but I could be waaaaay off base. It was so neat to see families out and about enjoying the day and each other.

We came across a beautiful church. I would have liked to take some photos of the interior but there were people inside and, although there was no sermon, they were clearly observing their faith. I thought it would be disrespectful to take pics while they were there.

We met up with 2 other couples from the complex and they took us to some places they like to go to. We went to a market and one of the ladies in the group took a photo of one vendor's display of oranges. The vendor threw something at her, a bottle cap perhaps, and said something we didn't understand. But we did understand that she didn't like the idea of the photo being taken.

Then we went to the Hyatt for supper. We all had the buffet and a limonade. The waiter had told us that the buffet was 180 pesos but the bill said 225. In hindsight, I think the waiter may have added the tip in but I don't know that for sure. Anyways, the meal wasn't worth the price, in my opinion. The food was just ok, nothing spectacular. The limonade was really good, though.

We had purchased a round trip in Progreso and the Hyatt was on our way back. When we boarded the bus to continue our trip home after supper, we had to pay another 15 pesos to get home. We had hoped to be able to use our ticket stub showing that we had paid for a round trip but it wasn't to be. I was tired from walking around in the sun all day (yes, I used sunscreen) so I slept on the way home. I don't even remember the

Bindi had called her husband to let him and Señor B know that they were on their own for supper. When we got back, the guys weren't home. We figured they had gone for supper. They had. I didn't have a key for the condo (we really should get another set cut) so I had to hang out at Bindi's place until the guys got home.

After a short visit, we came home. Only killed 2 ants tonight.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Another Day Without Power

The power got turned off this morning, as promised. Señor B told me that it went out at 8am instead of 7. I was still asleep. I didn't get up until...umm...err...ahh...9:15. And even then I had to drag myself out of bed. And I went to bed early! I'm a night owl, going to bed between midnight and 12:30 as a rule. Last night I hit the sheets at about 11:50. That's early for me.

Señor B took a walk along the beach while I was snoozing. I would have liked to have gone with him but you know the saying...You snooze, you lose. Well...I snoozed and

After breakfast, I took the plastic bottles down to the recycle bin and Roberto, the travelling fish guy, was in the alley. I bought some sea bass and some precooked crabmeat. I forget how many kilos of sea bass was in the package, but there are 4 good sized fillets...enough for 2 meals and I got 3/4 kilo of crab. Total was 225 pesos, so ballpark...probably about $18 - $20. I'm looking forward to cooking up the sea bass. We sure enjoyed it last time we were down.

D & V were down there and got some, too. Then Bindi showed up. She was telling us about a fishing trip she's trying to get set up for anyone who wants to go. So we all went over to her place to try to arrange things.

V is a handyman type of guy and helped us fix our sagging vanity, this morning. He had some extra pipe at his place and we had purchased hardware yesterday. He lifted up the cupboard while I set the pipe underneath. Then he shimmed up the countertop and caulked the corners. He still has to come back and screw the metal ring to the cupboard. Señor B is completely unable to get down on the floor right now, so we really appreciate V's help. V also told us how he fixed some other issues in his place. Next trip down we'll probably take care of some of the same ones we have.

After lunch, Señor B and I went to pick up a few groceries. Not too much, though, because of the lack of power. We picked up a roasted chicken, like the ones we can get at Sobey's. Sobey's could take lessons on how to roast theirs. The one we got was so juicy and tender. Puts Sobeys' to shame.

When I paid, I could tell that I could get rid of some change from my purse but I don't fully understand their system yet. Plus, numbers and I are NOT friends. So I dug out a fistful of change and held it out to the cashier to take what he needed. There's always someone to tip so it's good to keep a supply of change, but my purse jingled whenever I set it down. It was time to lighten the load. I'm going to start handing out those centavos, along with my regular tip amount, whenever I tip. Those things are useless to me.

D came by and told us about a practical joke he wanted to play on his cousin, J, who is here visiting. D had mistakenly told him that there would be a Carneval parade this weekend. When J learned that there wouldn't be a parade, he was giving D a hard time about it, whining and pouting in a good-natured way.

We were all sitting down at the pool and D came along and gave us all noisemakers. He had a few Canadian flags that he had brought down with him. When J came down to the pool, D told him that since he couldn't be here for the real parade, we'd give him one. So we all started blowing our noisemakers and waving flags and did a loop around the pool. It was pretty funny.

Supper was the roasted chicken along with some vegetables. We spent the evening at home, relaxing.

No Glass Guy and no ants today.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Small Stuff

How do I title a day that's made up of small, miscellaneous comings and goings? Most of our days are like that and I never know quite what to put for the title.

Today started out pretty slow. Breakfast, housework and then some time in the sun on the front balcony.

After lunch, we were just hanging around the condo and D & V, residents who live on the floor above us, came by. They were headed into Mérida and invited us along. We picked up a hinged doorsweep to try to keep those pesky ants out, as well as some hardware to prop up the bathroom vanity. It still hasn't been fixed so I guess we're on our own.

D had to pick up a painting she'd had done and I looked through the artist's portfolio to see if I wanted him to do something for us. He can make any changes to the pictures that a person wants. Prefer blue tones instead of orange? He can do that. Want the picture divided to make a set of three paintings instead of one? He can do that, too. He said it would take a week to finish and we felt that was cutting things too close to our departure date. He has some beautiful pieces so we'll pay him another visit when we come back in Nov.

After we got back, we had planned on picking up a few groceries because our cupboards are bare. We had intentionally kept things sparse because of the impending power outage. Then we remembered that we'd heard earlier today that the power will be out again tomorrow. So we decided against a grocery run. We do need a few dry goods (and coke. We're out and I'm going through so we'll get those tomorrow since we won't be able to do much at home. I've filled jugs and buckets with water and have a load of laundry in the dryer so we can have clean towels for tomorrow.

Owen & Bindi stopped by and, over a few drinks and snacks, told us all about their trip to the cenotes. They did "the 3 cenote tour." I'm not sure where it is but apparently there are videos on YouTube. They were gone all day and quite enjoyed the trip. When Señor B is off his crutches, we might have to go.

So far, no ants on the floor but I found 3 in the kitchen towel drawer. Señor B pulled the drawer out and I saw the inlet for the gas for the stove. I wonder if they might be coming in that way. I have 4 drawers in a vertical row and the ants only show up in the towel drawer. Maybe Owen can take a look for us. Señor B is unable to get on the floor and I won't have a clue what to look for, being a girl and

The Glass Guy still hasn't shown up. Or if he did, we weren't home. We'll have to get hold of him again and see what's up. Back home, this failure to show would be unacceptable and I'd be stinking mad. But here, it's just the way things are. One has to be able to go with the flow to live here. When we first bought the condo, we were so frustrated by how slowly things move but we've become used to it. It can still be frustrating, especially when we only have a certain amount of time in which to get things done, but there's no way we can change an entire culture. So we're slowly adapting to the mañana philosophy.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Our Day Without Power

Well, the power outage wasn't as long as originally planned. It went out at 8am instead of 7 and came back on around 3:30pm instead of 4. I didn't see the guys working but one of the condo residents was telling us how the guys climb up the pole with a rope or strap around them. He was also telling us that they have the holes for the poles dug. Big, deep holes with no covers over them. Big enough for a small child to fall in. Lord, I hope that doesn't happen.

I slept in this morning so the power was already off by the time I got up. I had cereal for breakfast but there was only about half a cup of milk left. I thought it would be ok, but it wasn't. Cereal with only enough milk to make it wet doesn't taste too great. Milk is typically sold in tetra packs and I didn't want to open another one and risk it going bad. The fridge stayed cold enough that I could have opened one. Oh well.

Señor B and I enjoyed the sun on the front balcony for a while and then decided to head uptown. Remember my post about the San Francisco store involving the ticket guy who had to chase us down and how we figured it was run similar to Costco? We decided to go to that store.

We remembered to get our ticket before entering the lot. Señor B waited in the car while I walked a block over to get some cash from the bank. The guard checks your receipt and ticket when you leave the parking lot. We were supposed to get the ticket stamped by the cashier. But she never asked for the ticket.  After the guard was satisfied that we knew what to do next time, he let us go. Truly, those poor guards must get tired of us foreigners messing with the system.

Señor B suggested going to the malecon for lunch but, because of the power outage, I wanted to finish up the taco salad from last night. So we had lunch at home instead.

Our neighbour, Bindi, replaced her sliding shower doors with a thick piece of glass and we loved it so much we decided to do the same. The tracks are so hard to keep clean. While she was uptown earlier, she went to the store and told the guy to come see us. He said 3:00, so we waited. The gate is usually closed so we watched for him but we never saw him. When we saw Bindi later, we told her and she was surprised. She said the dad knew to call from outside the fence but if it was the son, he may not have known to do that. Hopefully he comes tomorrow.

While we waited, we sat on the front balcony again. That sun sure feels nice. Everything in moderation, however, so we had to come in before we burned to a crisp. Señor B had a siesta and I worked on the lesson book for the correspondence Spanish class I enrolled in. We waited until 6:00 for Glass Guy and then went to the malecón for supper.

What an ordeal that is. They're redoing the malecón and it's very difficult to get around there, at the moment. Most of the streets here are one-ways so it can get very confusing. We finally made it to Flamingos where we both enjoyed the Yucatecan chicken. It's my favourite dish and I like Flamingos' the best. A beer and a Kahlua along with the delicious meal cost us 195 pesos, so probably around $15 - $16. For the both of us. Not $15 each. Back home, that would cost about $45. It's unbelievable how inexpensive it is to eat out. While we were out, we also stopped at a liquor store to replenish the rum.

There were a lot of carpenter ants in the condo tonight. Usually we only see 2 or 3 but I killed a dozen tonight. Wow. Talk about hard bodies. Those suckers are tough. You have to step on them really hard to kill them. They're coming in through the door so I sprayed a line of Raid on the floor along the doorway. Does that stuff ever stink. Ick! I'm heading to bed right away so I don't have to breathe too much in.

I guess tomorrow's project will be to do a thorough check for any nests.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Quiet Day

Today was pretty uneventful. After breakfast, we sat on the balcony that overlooks the complex's courtyard. This one gets sun. Our deck that overlooks the Gulf doesn't get any sun so we don't sit out there too often. We had some lunch and then went down to the pool for the afternoon, visiting with whomever was there.

We learned that the power is going to be off tomorrow between 7am and 4pm. Hopefully it's not any longer than that. So we've had to make sure we don't have a lot of perishable food in the fridge. I also filled up the mop bucket and the plastic jugs with water for flushing the toilet.

For supper, I made taco salad and it was pretty good. Later, I went next door to pick up the computer cord from Owen, who's had to borrow ours because he forgot his back home. He invited us over for drinks and we had a good visit, solving all the world's political problems as most who inbibe

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Meeting and Massage

This morning Bindi and I, along with a few other condo residents, went to a meeting downtown. The Canadian consulars from Cancún and México City were there to get an idea of the issues Canadian expats are facing and to address their concerns. They were then taking those concerns to a meeting with local authorities in the afternoon.

We took the little local bus, which is really a converted van, there and back. Cost is 4.5 pesos per trip. Because Progreso has a lot of one way streets, we had to walk a block to catch the downtown one. The one coming home stops right at our corner.

Yesterday, Bindi had arranged for some gals to come to the complex to give massages. There was enough interest for 4 girls to come. They set up their tables under the palapa down at the pool. Señor B and I both partook. Cost was 200 pesos each for one hour. It was very nice and was all done without the privacy of an individual room, like we have NOB. They have a technique for taking off your shirt and bra without compromising your modesty. I was quite intrigued.

Afterwards, a bunch of us got talking and decided to go to Natasha's for supper. Her little restaurant has a real name but everyone just refers to it as "Natasha's." Señor B had sauteed shrimp and I had the BBQ spiced chicken. Both meals were delicious. He had a couple of beers, I had 2 drinks and we both had dessert. The bill came to 370 pesos, so probably in the neighbourhood of $32. The salad was especially delicious and I had meant to ask her what dressing she used and if she had some we could buy, but I forgot. Pretty sure it's the fault of the second drink I had. Holey moley. It's a good thing I didn't have to drive after.

Then we went back to Owen and Bindi's for more visiting.

It's been a bit chilly since we got here. I've been wearing my jeans in the evening and taking a jacket when we go out. There's lots of heat in the sun, but the wind is cool, coming in off the Gulf. I know, I know...wah, wah, cold can it be? It's certainly much warmer than back in Canada, but one thing to know is that they don't have central heating here. When it's cold, there's no way to warm up except to add layers of clothing. I had to add an extra blanket to the bed last night and will use it again tonight.

We Made It

On the first leg of our trip, a lady collapsed on her way to the washroom. The flight attendant had to page for a doctor or nurse. A couple of people came forward to look after her. It took a while for her to come around and I heard the one tell her to have some juice...that she needed to get some sugar into her. So I'm guessing her problem was diabetic related. In all the flights I've been on, this is the first time anything like this has happened. Señor B slept through the whole thing.

I was soooo tired from being up since 6am but, even though we were on the red eye, I had a hard time getting to sleep. Thank goodness for Gravol. Took one of those and I was out cold. We had a 3.5 hour layover in Toronto and I even managed to sleep in the waiting area despite the firmness of the seats.

The second leg of our journey was uneventful. Or, if anything happened, I was asleep and missed it.

We went to the car rental place to pick up our vehicle. They were going to give us a medium sized car and then offered us a Jeep I-don't-know-what-model for an extra $20 for the 2 weeks. The Jeep is easier for Señor B to get in and out of so, for the extra $20, we took it.

We made it out of Cancún and through Mérida, to Progreso, with no problems. Unlike last time where we went round and round and round.

We rolled into Progreso around 7pm and went to pick up a few groceries. I've mentioned that you can buy alcohol in the grocery stores here. So we put some beer and Kahlua into the cart. The cashier informed me that we couldn't buy alcohol after 5pm. So she had to take it away.

We weren't sure if this only applied to that store, so we went to an OXXO to see if we could get some beer there. OXXO is like our 7-11. The young man started to ring it through and the lady there (middle aged, so likely his supervisor) started giving him heck. I didn't understand a word but her tone said, "What are you doing? You can't sell that!" I pointed to the wristwatch I don't wear and asked, "Cinco?" He said, "Si." And then he said, "Sheeeeeet." He was somewhat embarrassed. The lady gave him a friendly bop on the head with the small notepad she was holding and we all laughed. Fortunately, we still had a small stash of liquor from our last trip so Señor B wasn't completely without.

Our neighbours, Owen and Bindi came over shortly after we arrived. Owen brought some beer with him so Señor B was a happy

We had a few ants in the condo and Owen and Bindi warned us to watch out for ant nests. Carpenter ants like to nest in dark places and can do a lot of damage to wood. Before I went to bed, I was putzing around, putting a few things away. I opened a drawer on the TV stand and discovered the inside swarming with ants. I slammed the drawer shut. Señor B was asleep so I told him about it this morning. He asked if I had seen a queen.

Is he serious?! Everybody knows I'm a bugophobe. I'm not the least bit interested in knowing whether or not there's a queen. Just get rid of the danged things! So Owen came over, took the drawer outside and sprayed it with Raid. I'm so grateful. No way, no how was I going to pull the drawer out, take it to the deck and shake out the contents. Those ants can run like crazy! They're fast little critters! Iy yi yi. And there's no way that Señor B, who's still on crutches, could move quickly enough nor bend down far enough to have done this. We bought Owen a case of beer for his efforts.

A couple of times I've found an ant in the towel drawer in the kitchen. We're going to have to watch for a nest in that area. Blech!

This morning was spent sleeping in a bit and unpacking the rest of the suitcases. Then we sat outside with Owen and Bindi, enjoying the sunshine, a couple of drinks and some lunch.

Last night's grocery trip was for just a few essentials for breakfast. We did a bigger shopping trip this afternoon. When we got back, we went down to the pool and visited with everyone down there.

Six of us decided to go out for supper so we headed on over to The Bamboo Restaurant in Chicxilub. The service was incredibly slow. The one couple said this was typical of this place but the food was good and that's why they kept returning. Señor B and I both had chicken fajitas. He had a beer or 2 and I had a Kahlua. Our bill came to 195 pesos which is roughly $15. We both enjoyed our meals. We might go back. It helps to know, ahead of time, that you can't go there if you're in a hurry.

We've been told that the power company is doing some work in the area and that they may have to turn the power off. They've turned it off a couple times in the past few days. Everyone is hoping they're done and there'll be no more power outage. But nobody is holding their breath.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Packing List

Erica's request to see my packing list gave me the idea of creating a post about it. Veteran travellers likely won't find any new information in it, but it might help out those who don't do a lot of travelling and perhaps feel overwhelmed.

I'm a list maker. Always have been. I tend to forget things. A lot. If something isn't on a list, I'm not likely to remember it. I created my Packing List after getting frustrated too many times about things that were forgotten and not easily purchased at our destination. The list would accompany me on our travels and whenever I thought, "I wish I'd brought _____," I'd write it down.

I started when our kids were little and, as they've grown, the list has evolved. I no longer have to worry about packing diaper rash cream and colouring books.

I'm not going to post my actual list because my wants and needs aren't going to be the same as someone else's. Rather, I'm going to give an outline of it.

Pants, shorts, shirts, socks, jacket, footwear, jammies, undies. Everything you wear. The length of your stay, and whether or not you'll have laundry facilities, will determine how many of each item. When and where you're travelling will determine whether you choose the shorts and tank tops from the list or the toque, mitts and scarf.

All your hair stuff and personal care items. I don't use a curling iron or a flat iron so they're not on my list. If you do, write them down. Even something you use every day, write it down. It's easy to forget a commonly used item when you're busy packing for several people. Moms, you know what I mean. I forgot my deodorant, one time. Who forgets to pack deodorant?!

Medicine Cabinet
This is all the medicine stuff you might need. Band-aids, antihistamine, vitamins, cough syrup, anti-diarrheal, anti-nausea, Purell, etc. I put sunscreen and bug spray in this section, as well as my prescription cold sore ointment because, sure as anything, I'm going to pop one while I'm away. Personal wipes are a good thing to have should you get hit with diarrhea. TP starts to feel like sandpaper real quick.

This is pretty much self-explanatory. If you have your own headphones, bring them for on the plane so you don't have to purchase theirs. Don't forget the chargers for your phone, camera, etc.

This is everything else. I have an extension cord on my list because I need one for my blow dryer at one particular destination. Whenever I pack to go to there, my list reminds me that I need to bring it. Any activities you'd like to do...knitting/crocheting, books to read. Ziploc bags and plastic grocery store bags for short term storage of wet items and separating the dirty clothes from the clean ones. I don't like to fold my pants so I bring hangers with clips on them to hang the pants by the hem.

Make a list for each person
For the kids, you can probably just use your master list for clothing. Unless your child has a specific clothing need, like diapers, for instance. Making a separate list for each child, for everything else, ensures that you'll remember each one's specific wants and needs. Susie needs her inhaler and Johnny is happiest when he has his train engine to play with.

The secret to making this list work is to write down absolutely everything that you think you might need and to revise it periodically. Add things as soon as you realize you need something. Delete things you no longer require.

My list has changed a lot over the years, partly because the kids are now grown, and also because Señor B and I are doing more international travelling. Just today, I realized that I didn't have "passport" written down. It's there now. My list is in a plastic page protector and lives inside my suitcase so I don't have to hunt for it each time we go somewhere, last year's loss notwithstanding.

So there you have it. Hopefully someone finds all this useful.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Packing Begins

Last night I hauled my suitcase up from the basement and started putting things in it. When we came down in Nov, the week prior had been extremely busy for me.

I have a microbusiness selling soap and other bath and body products that I make. I had a major show Nov 6th and we were flying out late that night. Between getting ready for the show and packing, that whole week was complete and utter chaos.

I have a box that is dedicated to things I want to bring down. I had put the girls in charge of adding those items to their suitcases. There were a few things that absolutely had to come down, so I set those aside and told the girls to make sure those items went in. Well, that's what they did. But they didn't add in anything from the box. Which I didn't find out until we were in Progreso. Argh!

After the show, I brought my products home, threw the suitcases into the truck and we headed off to the airport. I didn't have time to see if the girls had packed everything. I thought they had understood my instructions and had packed what they could of what was in the box. But they hadn't.

This coming Sat, I'm selling my products at a show and we leave Sat night. This event isn't as big so I don't have as much prep work. However, I'm being better prepared for our trip this time. I don't want a repeat of last time. 'Course, this time I'm the one doing all the packing rather than relying on someone else so if anything gets forgotten, it's my own

So I've got my suitcase sitting open on the couch and I'll work on it all week instead of scrambling to get it done in an afternoon. I don't know how other people can pack quickly. It takes me all day, even with my packing list. Which I happened to find yesterday. Hurray!!

I have a list that I started way back when the kids were small. I was always forgetting something so I started writing down everything I needed, adding to it as I discovered things that I wished I had thought of. So now I have this very comprehensive list that I pick and choose from, based on where I'm going.

It went missing after we got back from holidays last Jan. I didn't have it when we went in Nov. And, true to form, there were things I forgot. Like a visor. I have 4 or 5 of them because I keep forgetting to bring one and end up having to buy another. It's kind of a running joke between me and Señor B.

I've already put my visor in the suitcase, along with my bathing suit and sandals. Can't think of much else I

Six more sleeps. I can't wait!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I finally figured out how to create separate albums! I said I needed a 12 year old. Does the fact that I sometimes have the humour of a 12 year old boy count?

BF has a birthday coming up soon and YD decided to make her a collage of some photos from our trip. I saw one with the two of them together and it reminded me of our morning routine. They don't want me to post any pics of them, so I had to pinch this one from Google.

Every morning I would braid their bangs like this. The braid would stay in for 2 days so we alternated days...BF one day and YD the next.

First, we'd eat breakfast and do the dishes. Then I'd do a braid and, while the girls were getting ready for the day, I'd sweep the floor.

I couldn't believe how much sand would blow in. Our big windows face the beach (from which came most of the breezes) and we left them open most of the time. Sweeping the entire condo daily was a necessity.