Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Time, Gentlemen, Please

Well, the party's coming to an end. We've thoroughly enjoyed our time here and can't believe it's over already. For the past couple of days I keep doing an "I Love Lucy" WAAAHHHH!!!! throughout the day. I'm so sad that we're leaving.

The power went out last night so I wasn't able to post. Not that there was anything of much note. Jorge, a handyman who does quite a bit of work for the complex, came by to install a dryer vent for us. It'll be nice to have all that lint go outside instead of accumulating in the laundry room.

It was almost midnight and there was about 15 minutes left to the show I was watching when the power went out. It was so dark you literally couldn't see your hand in front of your face. I was sitting on the couch and had to feel my way to the lighter in a bin by the fridge. Then the darned thing wouldn't light. It finally did and I made my way back to the candles that are on the end tables by the couch. Got ready for bed, hit the sheets and the power came back on shortly after. I had forgotten to shut off the lights so up I got. Grr!

It's been cool and windy since Sunday. Today was a bit warmer and we thought we might go for a final swim at the pool but it was still too chilly, so we went for a walk at the beach instead. Sunday's storm took some of the beach. The erosion has created several drop-offs that are a good couple of feet high. We were wishing that we had donned our rainslickers, courtesy of Xel-Ha, and gone down to witness Mother Nature's power that day.

There's an abandoned building where the soccer field is, so we went and poked around there. It looks like it might have been a beach club but you can't tell that from the front. In back are two pools, one of them for kiddies. There's a kitchen, showers, bathrooms and storage areas. Another area looks like it was a bar and there's a large open space that must have been used for tables. There are holes in the ceiling where fans would have hung.

I always wonder about the stories behind abandoned buildings. Who owned them? Who were the people who lived there? Why did they leave? Was this beach club someone's dream that didn't work out? Or someone's get-rich-quick scheme that was more work than they had anticipated?

Tomorrow we'll be leaving here at 7am. Gustavo, a local taxi driver who has earned himself a good reputation at the complex, will be picking us up and taking us into Merida to catch the ADO bus into Cancun. We'll stay at a hotel overnight and then we fly out Friday around 1:30pm.


Monday, November 28, 2011

Mish Mash of Stuff

This morning Senor B and I went uptown to run a few errands. First, we went to a store called Bolom Balam. It's on Calle 80 and just off the malecon. Two gentlemen, Richard and David, operate it. They also collect school supplies and Christmas toys to distribute to those who are in need. We've brought school stuff down on previous trips and did the same this trip. Unfortunately, the store was closed so we had to bring the supplies back here. Friend S knows a lady who collects school supplies so we're going to give our stash to S to give to her friend.

Then I wanted to stop at a little store that Liz and I went to the other day. I had seen a wooden wall ornament I liked but didn't purchase at the time. Sadly, they were also closed.

Then to the bank to cash in some American money that we had left over from Cancun. That's an experience! First of all, you have to take a number. There's a machine at the door with several options to choose from. I chose the "Caja", or "cashier", button. The machine dispenses a small piece of paper with a number. Instead of waiting in line, there are padded chairs to sit on. A digital display tells you which number is being served and at which counter. I knew, from reading somewhere, that I would need my passport, so I brought that with me. It took quite a while for the transaction. The teller was deep in concentration while he was typing away on something. He typed, then wrote, then typed some more. I had to sign my name to a piece of paper as well as writing my Progreso address and my home phone number on this paper. He handed my passport to someone who scanned it. At least that's what it looked like he did with it. They're all behind glass and there are cameras all over the place. I didn't want to look too nosey and make it look like I was up to no good. More typing and writing and, finally, the question. "Would you like that in large or small bills?" Small, please. One can never have enough small money in Mexico.

Then we walked to the small mall where the ADO ticket office is to buy our bus tickets to Cancun for Thursday.

A quick stop at a liquor store to buy a liquer that we had been served at Casa on the Malecon the other night and then onto the combi to bring us back to the condo.

I decided to keep my dentist appointment for this afternoon. S&D were going into Merida and had planned on shopping at the Altabrisa mall which is right across the street from the dentist, so I caught a ride with them. I ended up getting a new guard made. I guess my gag reflex made it difficult to get a good mold impression. The new impression went much more smoothly and now I have a guard that fits well. After the impression, they told me that the guard would be ready in 45 minutes. They knew that we're leaving in 2 days and they wanted to save me having to make another trip into the city. Is that service, or what?!

I came home to discover that Liz and Marty had made chili and sent some to our house for supper. I didn't get home until 7:30 so it was nice to have supper already made. All I had to do was heat it up.

Called my favourite granddaughter tonight. That she's my only granddaughter is We had us a good chin wag. My goodness, that girl can talk. *grin*

It's still breezy and it's chilly. We had to close the windows. I know, I know. Wah, wah, wah. How cold can it be if I can still wear shorts. Actually, I had to put a sweater on and, if we'd kept the windows open, I'd be wearing my jeans. It really is cool, even by northern standards.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Crazy Day

Today we attached the mirror to the dresser. What a difference it makes! The one in the bathroom is ok, but it's an oval shape and always felt too small whenever I did my hair or applied makeup. The bedroom is also brighter, a definite advantage if I don't want my makeup to make me look like a streetwalker.

There's a soccer field across the street and there's a game almost every weekend. Today was game day. About mid-afternoon, the wind suddenly started blowing hard. It came out of nowhere. One minute it was calm and the next, it was practically gale-force winds. The chairs on the deck started blowing around so we had to bring them in. It was spitting rain for a while and then, suddenly, it was a torrential downpour. I mean, it was POUR. ING. And the soccer game continued!! Our kids in Canada have had to play in the snow so I suppose I shouldn't have been too surprised that they would continue their game but if you could have seen how hard it was raining, you'd be surprised, too. Perhaps the clincher is the same as at home...unless there's lightning, which there wasn't today, the game goes on.

Senor B decided he needed to do a "novelty swim." What's that, you ask? Well, that would be a swim in the pool during the torrential rains. Doofus. I chose to stay dry inside and worked on my Spanish course.

S&D from upstairs came over to watch the Grey Cup. S was cheering for BC so their win made her happy. I don't really understand football but I know enough to realize that Winnipeg pulled off a pretty amazing feat near the end of the game.

The wind is still howling. Our gulf-facing windows go from floor to ceiling and are in 3 sliding sections. The wind is literally whistling through them. It's banging them hard enough that it sounds like someone knocking. Might be tough to sleep tonight. The online weather site says the winds are 22km. I beg to differ. I'd bet money that they're stronger. I think the nearest weather station is Merida. Since it's not right on the coast like Progreso, the winds may not be as strong there, hence the 22km reading.

I have an appointment to see the dentist tomorrow afternoon but my teeth didn't hurt nearly as much this morning so I think I might cancel the appointment. I'll see how things are in the morning.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Did Some Decorating

Today we got the rug hung on the wall. We have a very long wall that has nothing to break up the expanse. No light switches, no corners. Nothing. And with the walls being 9 feet high, we have a huge area to try to cover. The rug hangs longer than it does wide so it fills up a good deal of vertical space. It looks good. I still have a lot of space to fill in the kitchen area of that wall, but that'll come.

We also hung the picture that Theresa gave me. I put it on the short wall between the washroom and our bedroom. You can see it almost as soon as you walk into the condo. That area needed a bold splash of colour and the painting is perfect there.

I might have to go back to see the dentist. My guard is really tight against my front teeth. When I took it off this morning, my teeth felt like they'd been hyper-extended all night. It wasn't until late this afternoon that they felt normal. I have an appointment Monday afternoon. If the guard softens up and stops hurting by then, I can cancel my appointment. I'm really hoping I don't have to go back. I'd rather be spending my last few days at the pool than in the city.

Tonight we went for supper with S&D who live upstairs. We went to Casa on the Malecon, the same place we went to with Marc. We had heard that they offered more than just fish, so we asked. They have chicken cordon bleu and something else that I missed the name of. They're not on the menu, though. You have to ask for them. I had the chicken and it was very good.

I would have liked to have gone down to the town square to check out the action. I've heard that there's almost always something going on there on Saturday nights. But everyone else was tired and, since I didn't want to go by myself, I came home.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Another uneventful day. Not having a vehicle means we don't get out much. Means I don't spend much,

Neighbour Liz had to go uptown this morning and invited me along. I bought some hooks for hanging the rug when I finally finish sewing it. I also picked up a ceramic floor decoration...a couple of lizards on a rock. We went to the grocery store and I picked up a few things we needed. I'm trying not to buy too much at this point because we're leaving soon. But we needed bread and garbage bags. And Coke. Always need Coke. I keep those guys in business.

Pool time in the afternoon. Spanish course and laundry in the evening.

It was 8 years ago, today, that my dad went to wherever it is that awesome fathers go when they pass. RIP, Dad.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Slow, Boring Day

I wish I had something exciting to write but it was a pretty slow and boring day.

The other day, I bought a woven rug to hang on the wall. To hang it, I've decided to turn one end over and stitch it in place to make a rod pocket. Not having a sewing machine means I have to do it by hand but it's actually moving along fairly quickly. Still, I have to sit hunched over and it hurts my back so I can only work for short periods of time. I should get it done tomorrow.

Went to the pool this afternoon and worked on my Spanish course tonight.

One of the condo cats has been curled up outside the screen door almost all evening. He looks pretty content there. One of the other cats showed up and they had a standoff. They growled at each other a couple of times and Cat #1 reached up to swat #2. He didn't even bother to get up. Just did it from his lying down position. Lazy thing. I think he must be Alpha because the other cat gave up right away and mosied off.

The cat fight that wasn't was the most exciting thing that happened today. Well, except for calling Middle Daughter tonight on Magicjack but that's a different kind of exciting.

Yaawwwnnnn.  See? Told you it was a slow day.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Seeing the Dentist in Mexico

First, I forgot to mention that when Theresa came to visit yesterday, she brought me a birthday present...a lovely painting she had done and that I had admired on her blog. Isn't it beautiful? The colours are perfect for the condo. Now I just have to figure out the perfect spot to showcase it. Check out her blog for other paintings she's done. She's quite talented.

Ok, on to my experience with seeing a dentist here. Here's the website.

I got the dentist's name and website from some folks, J&L, who are staying in the complex. I needed a  nightguard because I grind my teeth at night. I sent the dentist an email and set up my appointment that way. I emailed Sunday evening and was able to see him today. Wow!! Back home, I'd be waiting *at least* a month.

Since we don't have a car rental, I had to take the Autoprogreso bus in. I needed to get off at Chedraui, a box store here, but wasn't sure where to get off the bus. In my very poor Spanish, I asked the young lady sitting beside me if this was Chedraui and she said no and then started chattering away and gesticulating directions. I told her my Spanish wasn't very good so she said she would tell me when. I actually didn't understand her words but her tone and watchful eye told me what she had said.

J&L had said I would need to get a cab at Chedraui so I told the two customer service guys standing outside, that I needed one. I expected that they would call one for me but instead the young man pointed to the street and said, "yaddayaddayadda...senale...yaddayadda...avenida...yaddayadda." Two words I understood. Ok, gotcha. I need to go out to the avenue, stand near the big sign and flag a taxi down.

Got a cab and gave the driver the paper with the address. The drive took about 20 minutes and cost 56 pesos, just over $4. Four dollars!!! That would have been at least $30 at home. I'm constantly amazed at how inexpensive so many things are here.

I got to the dentist about 10. My appointment wasn't until 10:30 but he took me almost as soon as I got there. Javier, the dentist on the website, looked at my teeth and then Ricardo, another dentist, did the actual work. Both dentists introduced themselves by their first names. It felt odd addressing them that way instead of as Dr. So-and-so.

I'm a high maintenance patient. I don't want to be, but I am. My dentist at home says my nerves are wired differently and it makes freezing very difficult. I've had as many as 3 shots in one sitting and yet didn't freeze.
I also have a weak gag reflex. A trip to the dentist is always an ordeal. Today was no different.

Ricardo put too much mold product into the tray. It squished out and it went too far into the back of my mouth. Thankfully, I didn't do more than gag but the mold had to come out. The second attempt worked.

I was all finished with that part by 10:30, my original appointment time. Ricardo said the guard would be ready at noon and I could come back then. Seriously?! I was gobsmacked that it would be ready so soon.

J&L were also there so we went to the mall across the street and had some lunch, after they took care of some business they had. Then it was time to go back to get the guard.

Javier and Ricardo both speak great English, as do a couple of the girls who work there. The office is clean. His set up, at least the chair I sat in, isn't quite as modern as I'm used to. Remember those little bowls for spitting into, on the side of the chair? That's what my chair had. I haven't seen those in quite a while. But that doesn't matter. I was only concerned about getting a guard that fit and that's what I got.

The very best part? My dentist at home had quoted me about $525 for this. Our insurance company would have paid for half, making my cost about $250. My cost today was 850 pesos, about $63.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Theresa Comes to Visit

Today, Theresa from What do I do All Day? came to visit me. I met her at the bus depot and we walked the 3 or 4 blocks over to St Bonnet's for brunch. At her recommendation, I tried eggs with machaca, which she said was similar to beef jerky but better. She was right. It was very tasty. So now when I see this ingredient in the store, I'll know what to do with it.

After brunch we stopped at Parasina's, a fabric store, where I bought some heavyweight thread I needed. Theresa is a very proficient Spanish speaker so I was glad to have her with me. A transaction that would have taken me quite a while to do with my very limited Spanish was accomplished in mere minutes.

We went back to the condo for more visiting. She regaled Senor B and I with tales of her experiences and mishaps between the Spanish she knows and the Spanish that's spoken in Yucatan. Not all words are created equally and some words that seem harmless will have a very different (and occasionally vulgar) meaning the way it's used here.

Theresa does a lot of cooking and was impressed by a Mexican cooking magazine I had picked up at a drugstore in Canada and brought down with me. She gave me some helpful pointers about some ingredients. I was going to leave the magazine here but I think I'll take it back and study it some more.

Originally, Theresa's husband was going to come out to Progreso, too, but he was a little under the weather and couldn't make the trip. Hopefully he gets to feeling better soon and that we'll have the opportunity to meet him in the near future.

Theresa and her husband live here year round and she found today to be quite pleasant, but Senor B and I felt like melting so, after she left, we went down to the pool for a dip and some visiting.

Supper was leftover soup from last night which I had made using a recipe in the cooking magazine. It was delicious last night and even more so tonight. Soup is one of those things that tastes better the next day.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Condo Critters

Technically, we're not allowed to have pets in the complex but we've all kind of adopted a beautiful yellow short-haired female dog. Chica does a good job guarding the place. She chases other dogs away and isn't fond of new people. She also chases the big bad motorbikes and cars/trucks away. I hope she doesn't end up getting hit. Her vigilance earns her the regular meals that she receives. Chica has gotten used to seeing me and Senor B and has learned that we give scratches behind the ears. I'm sure she was abused in the past. If you say "No" to her in a firm voice, her whole body droops and she looks so disappointed to have done something that would make you raise your voice.

We also have 3 cats. I'm not sure if they have names. They get fed but I think they're feral. I haven't seen anyone cuddling them and they're extremely wary whenever we get near them. Earlier tonight I heard some scratching outside the front screen door. I looked over and there was one of the cats using the doormat as a scratching post. He finished doing his thing, then sat there and watched me. He had his neck stretched up in the way that cats do when they're being curious. I talked to him from where I was sitting and he listened but I'm sure that, had I stood up, he would have been off like a shot.

People have said that since the cats arrived, there have been fewer geckos so it's assumed that the cats are eating them. I know that geckos are a good thing because they eat mosquitoes, but they kind of creep me out so I can't say that I miss them.

I'm more of a cat person than a dog person (sorry, dog lovers). I find cats endlessly amusing. I wish our condo cats were more sociable. Ah well. I guess they're being paid (fed) to do a job (get rid of mice, etc) and they don't like to socialize while at work.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Food and Friends

This morning we went to Taco Maya, in Chelem, for brunch with S and D who live on the floor above us. We all had breakfast burritos. They're huge and, at 50 pesos each, an excellent bargain. We all had a hard time finishing our meals. The orange juice was freshly squeezed and as delicious as the burrito.

Taco Maya is a cute little hole-in-the-wall kind of place. There are about 10 tables beneath a rustic cover. The kitchen forms the front wall. The two side walls are concrete for about 3 feet up and the upper part is made of twigs joined together by rope or wire. I'm afraid I didn't take close note of that part. The back wall is formed by some hanging vines behind which are the washrooms and no roof. On the twig walls are paintings and other crafty things. I didn't ask if they were for sale but this is Mexico. Almost anything is available for a price.

Our neighbours, Liz and Marty, invited us over for ribs for supper. We had already taken some shrimp out so we took those over and cooked them up there. We spent a very enjoyable evening on their patio. They're a very funny couple and we laughed until our guts hurt.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Colour Me Happy

The mirror I was having made was supposed to be ready today. Neighbour Liz was taking me in to Merida to pick it up. We decided to get an early start on the day and beat the heat. We arrived at the furniture place about 11am and the guy told us the mirror wouldn't be ready until 3pm. Liz didn't want to drive back to Progreso and then back to Merida so we decided to go shopping. Again. Rough life, eh?

I hadn't yet been to Alta Brisa so we went there to check things out. It's like pretty much any other mall NOB. Lots of NOB retailers and the typical bright and shiny look of modernity. (That's actually a word! I googled it to be sure). Soriana's, which is similar to Walmart in that it has a little bit of everything, is one of their anchor stores and Liz hadn't been there before, either. They have products that her other regular stores don't, so she was excited to find new things. We still had lots of time to kill until 3pm, so we decided to go down to Centro and then come back to Soriana's. We didn't want to leave stuff in the hot truck all afternoon.

Liz doesn't like driving in Centro, so we got a cab. Cost was about 60 pesos. I didn't time the drive but I'm sure it was a good 20 minutes. We had the cab drop us off at a market that Liz said was good. I have no idea what the name of it is and I wouldn't be able to find it again. I picked up a rug/tapestry/woven thing to hang on the wall. Then we went for lunch at a great little restaurant, the name of which I didn't get.

Cabbed it back to Soriana's and picked up a few groceries and some things we needed for the condo. Then on to the furniture store where the mirror was ready. We didn't get back home until about 6:00. Not bad for wondering how we were going to kill 4 hours, eh? lol.

Roberto, the fish guy with the Jay Leno jaw, comes by the complex on weekends. He came today and Senor B picked up some sea bass and shrimp. I'm not a fish fan but I do like the sea bass. That's what we cooked up for supper and it was delicious.

The "colour me happy" part of the day? This evening there was a knock on our door and a friendly "Buenas tardes." It was a relative of the owner of the condo above us. Remember the leak in the bathroom ceiling? She and her young son had come to take a look at it. Of course, Murphy's Law being what it is, it's been dry for the past couple days so there was nothing to see. But...! I had taken a picture of it to document its progress. I showed it to them and the lady had an "Oh my goodness!" kind of reaction. She didn't speak any English but her son, who told me he was in grade 5, did. She makes a phone call and the young man and I chat a bit. We both taught each other a new word...ceiling and mancha. Through her son, the lady tells me that they'll have a plumber come out within the week.

I've read enough posts on other blogs to know that it may, or may not, happen. I really want to believe that they'll take care of the problem. I hope the fact that they even came to look at it bodes well for its repair.

As they were leaving, the boy apologized for his bad English. Is he kidding? I told him that his English is much better than my Spanish. And it is. I'm doing well with my lessons but he's been studying English longer than I've been studying Spanish. Anyways, I imagine he'll be pretty excited to tell his teacher that he got to use his English in a real life situation with someone who didn't speak much Spanish.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Tummy Woes

This morning I woke up not feeling well. I felt kind of weak and my tummy wasn't quite right. I had some toast and went back to bed, not because I was still tired but because I just didn't have the energy to be up. Hardly ate anything today and even had a rare afternoon nap. My innards were roiling all day and I thought maybe I'd picked up some bug from eating out yesterday. By suppertime, I was so cold I had to put on a sweater and jeans. Senor B heated up some leftovers and I just had toast. I started thinking I was coming down with something.

As the evening wore on, I started feeling better and better. Now I feel great.

I have no idea what caused me to feel so icky all day but I'm glad it's gone.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I Didn't Have to Cook Today

The highlight of today was spending time with Marc from An Alaskan in Yucatan . I met him down at the bus depot this morning and we came back to the condo to hang out for a while. For lunch, we all went to a fairly new restaurant called Casa on the Malecon, located on the east end of the malecon. It's strictly a seafood place. We had planned on going there for my birthday but it was closed that night. Lucky for me because I'm not too big on seafood.

We had the usual botanas and we also each got a cup of shrimp broth that was surprisingly good. We all had fish filetes, each with a different sauce. All were tasty but one of them wasn't fully cooked on the inside. The prices seemed reasonable enough for this area.

The restaurant appears to be an older home that's been converted. There were tables on the patio as well as on the grass, which is where we chose to sit. Lots of trees on the lawn gave it a park-like feel, yet the Gulf vista let you know that you were still at the beach. It was a unique and pleasant experience.

Marc is a wealth of information and we learned about different plants and some history about the area. Sadly for us, he had business in Merida and, all too soon, had to leave.

The Bamboo Beach in Chicxulub hosted a Welcome Back, Snowbirds supper tonight so a whole gaggle of us from the complex went. The first drink, as well as tacos, was on the house. The tacos were very tasty and the service was very good. There was a live amateur band that played music from our era. In English, too. The supper wasn't very well attended, though. I'm not sure if it wasn't very well advertised or if there were conflicting events that kept expats away. It's unfortunate for the folks who missed out because it was an enjoyable evening.

I think we have a rogue mosquito in the condo. I've had hardly any bites since we got to Mexico but I've sprouted several over the past 2 or 3 days. Poor Senor B has one of those huge bites that I usually get. While I feel bad for him, I'm glad it's not me this time.

Another norte has blown in but it's not as wildly windy as it sometimes is. The cooling breezes are very welcome.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Another Roasty, Toasty Day

Last night was so hot that we decided to sleep with the AC on. We usually get such a great cross breeze that we rarely use the AC. But yesterday the breeze was from inland instead of off the Gulf. Inland breezes are what give us the very hot weather.

I can tolerate more heat than Senor B can. (I'm convinced that the stork delivered me to the wrong country). But neither of us can take the humidity. We're used to 20-30%, not the 80% we had yesterday. So on went the AC for Senor B and on went an extra blankie on my side of the bed for me.

We lost power for about half an hour later in the evening and it went out again during the night. I woke up hot enough to have to kick off my blanket. I listened for the AC but it wasn't going. I thought Senor B had turned it off. Then I noticed that I wasn't feeling the breeze from the fan, either. The clock was dark and the lights in the back alley were out. I had to open the window to get some air in the room.

Senor B figures the power was out most of the night. Fortunately, we didn't lose any food.

Today was another scorcher. Liz and I went to Merida and it was much hotter there than in Progreso. Now I understand why the folks from Merida come out here during the summer.

Happy Birthday to Me

Actually, it was yesterday and I had a post all typed up but we lost internet before I could publish it.

Yesterday was hot, hot, hot! We went uptown in the morning because I was starting to feel a little shack whacky and needed to get out of the house. We only rented a vehicle while our friends were here. For the last 3 weeks of our stay, we're without wheels so that means we haven't really gone anywhere.

We took a dip in the pool when we got back and another one after we had lunch and a siesta.

We went to Flamingo's, my favourite restaurant and I had the Yucatecan chicken, my favourite dish. Senor B told Vincente, our fabulous waiter, that it was my birthday. The lights in the restaurant dimmed and the traditional Mexican birthday song started playing. Then he brought me a dessert with a candle in it. I had to make a wish and blow out the candle, same as we do in Canada. The two gentlemen at the table next to us applauded. I guess that must be traditional? The dessert was kind of like cheesecake but it wasn't that. Maybe it was flan? It was ok but it wasn't delicious.

After we got back, we went for another splash in the pool. This was about 9pm and we were the only ones there. It was so quiet and peaceful.

Our neighbour Liz brought over a beautiful bouquet of chrysanthemums with a bird of paradise. I got emails and ecards from friends and family. Senor B and I don't generally buy gifts for each other anymore. I took a photo of the 32C showing on the thermometer and of our vista of the Gulf and tried to post it. Being able to spend my birthday here instead of with the snow back home is gift enough for me.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Being a Ginger Sucks

On my family tree there is a branch that leads directly back to the First Nations people. My mom and one of my sisters have the colouring...the dark hair, eyes and skin. My sister can have tan lines within 15 minutes of being in the sun. I hate

Me? I inherited the Celtic part of the tree. Blue eyes, freckles and hair that was reddish when I was a kid. These days the red comes from a bottle. I don't have the typical translucent white skin of the Celtic folks, though. Mine has a slight olive tinge, thanks to the aforementioned tree branch. Still, if I'm going to be out in the sun, SPF 60 is my best friend. Going without it is not an option, not just because of skin cancer but because I'll crispy fry. And that really hurts.

I hate wearing sunscreen. There's the whole ritual  involved of making sure no exposed skin is missed. A line down each arm and worked in. For the legs, a big glob on the ends of my fingers, other fingers rubbed over it to flatten the glob and pat, pat, pat all over the legs so that it spreads more easily. Ditto for the chest, neck and face. Don't forget the ears. When my hair was shorter, I even put it into all the ear crevices. I forgot to do that once.

If you don't wash your palms after applying, and then get itchy eyes...hoo boy. Stings like the dickens. It's sticky. Everything, from your clothes to sand to bugs, sticks to you. I'm convinced that the occlusive layer over my skin makes me sweat more. It feels gross, as if I haven't showered in days. Washing it off involves using one of those nylon scrubbers.

I like being in the sun. I just wish it wasn't necessary to don full body armour to do so.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Slow Day

Being awakened at 5am by a car alarm is not a fun way to start the day. Fortunately, the alarm wasn't because a car was being stolen. The lady who lives across the back alley accidentally set hers off. I was able to go back to sleep and didn't wake up until 9. Surprised the heck out of myself. I haven't been able to sleep much past 7:30 since we've been here.

Today was another slow day. Did a couple loads of laundry and cleaned and organized the shelves in the laundry room. Oye! They were a disaster. Dusty and messy. Things had been tossed willy-nilly. I guess it's to be expected when you share your place with other people. We rent out our condo and there's a cleaning lady who cleans it between renters. It took me an hour to straighten things out.

Lots of pool time this afternoon that included plenty of socializing. I also spent some time catching up on some of the blogs I read.

Carpenter ants haven't been an issue this trip. There have been quite a few smaller ones but they haven't inundated us. I did squash one tonight that looked suspiciously like a carpenter ant so I'll have to keep an eye out.

The condo above us has a leak in the bathroom. There's a wet area on our bathroom ceiling. I contacted the condo administrator to see if he could contact the owner who happens to live in Mexico City but has family in Merida who uses the place periodically. I'm really hoping it gets taken care of.

And that's about it. A much shorter post than yesterday's.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

A Very Long Update

This is gonna be a long post, folks, so pour yourself a tall one and settle in.

We (Senor B, myself and our friends Dave and Marny) arrived to Cancun on Oct 30th after an uneventful flight. We were an hour late leaving but the pilot put the pedal to the metal and, combined with a strong tail wind, we arrived only 20 minutes behind schedule.

Senor B had booked a van to take us, and our luggage, to a quaint boutique hotel in Playa del Carmen called The Aventura Mexicana* where we spent 3 nights.

The first day there we shopped along Fifth Avenue. Marny got her hair braided and got a henna tattoo. I passed on both. Eventually, we ended up at Senor Frog's* and had a blast there.

The second day we went to Xel-Ha.* The weather was cool and rainy in the morning but by noon it was warmer and sunny.

The next day saw us switching to Kin-Ha Villas* in Cancun. We got another van to take us there. Marny ended up being sick enough to see a doctor which the receptionist at Aventura was kind enough to call. Our friends were amazed that doctors here make house calls. Poor Marny ended up having bronchitis. On the way to the other hotel, our van driver stopped at a couple of pharmacies so she could fill her scripts and went in with Dave to translate and to make sure everything was good.

We spent that day just relaxing at the hotel so Marny could rest up. The next day we went to Isla Mujeres. We rented a golf cart and went motoring around. We stopped for lunch at the little restaurant at the south end and then made our way back to the ferry. We had brought bathing suits in case we went to the beach but we all decided to pass on it.

We had planned on doing the pirate ship excursion in the evening but we had a big mixup with the bus getting back to our hotel and got back too late to be able to go. It was just as well. Some wet weather moved in and Marny still wasn't feeling well. The wet and the wind wouldn't have been good for her so it was just was well that we were late.

The next day, we left for Progreso, stopping at Chichen Itza* on the way. We pulled into Progreso late in the afternoon, stopped to get groceries and then went the condo. Aaahh...home sweet home!

The following day was the Blogger's Conference.* Before leaving Canada, I had Google Earthed the street view from the Autoprogreso station to where the conference was. It was within walking distance and I had no problems.

The next day was Sunday in Merida. Several streets around the big square (Grand Plaza?) near the bus depot are closed to traffic to allow people to walk around. There are many vendors, both food and handicrafts, around the square. We ate street food and I introduced Marny to churros, which she loved. I wanted to take her to the big market, Mercado de Galveraz (?) but I couldn't find it. By this time it was late and we were tired so we decided to go home.

Monday we had a down day and just chilled at home. That night we went to Le Saint Bonnet* for supper. It was ok. Not great but ok.

Tuesday we went to Uxmal* and spent a great day there. We also stayed for the light show which was pretty spectacular. Senor B had booked a room at the Hacienda Uxmal but when we went to check in, they sent us to the sister hotel, The Lodge at Uxmal*. We got a free upgrade which was pretty cool.

Las Grutas de Loltun* was our destination the next day. Of course, Senor B didn't ask for directions before leaving Uxmal and he turned left instead of right. We drove and drove and drove and ended up on a one lane back road. We finally found someone to ask where the caves were and discovered that we had gone the wrong way. We'd gone a long way so it was a very long way back to the caves.

It was late by the time we got back to Progreso so we got pizza at Domino's. There was a hair salon across the street so I stopped in to buy some shampoo and conditioner. I had forgotten mine at home. Can you believe it? A hairdresser and I forgot the most important thing a woman needs! I did have a travel pack of curly-hair products that my boss had picked up and wanted me to try, so I had brought that to try in Mexico's much more humid climate. Still, there wasn't enough there to last me 5 weeks with this mop of hair that I have.

Thursday our neighbour, Liz, took me and Marny in to Merida to do some shopping. Marny has a good eye for decorating and I wanted her to help me add some flourishes to the condo. She gave me some ideas and, as much as I hate shopping, I did manage to spend some money. Got some new lamps and a big floor vase with some stick things in it for the living room. Also new placemats for the kitchen table. We stopped at the store that made our bedroom furniture and I ordered a mirror. I didn't like the ones they had there so I'm having one custom made. I'm just waiting for a quote.

For supper, we took our friends to Flamingos for their last supper here. It's my favourite place to eat. I had my usual there...Yucatecan chicken. It was as yummy as ever. Theirs is the best of any I've had. Everyone had a good meal and I was happy about that. Marny was having a hard time finding things that she liked.

Friday we took Dave and Marny back to Cancun to catch their flight. It was an early day and a long one. We returned the van we had rented for this past week and rode back on the ADO Platina.* Senor B had planned out how to get from Cancun to Merida but he hadn't figured out how to get us from Merida to Progreso. A guy at the ADO station showed us where we could catch the Autoprogreso across the street. We just had to wave it down. Easy enough to do in the daytime but very difficult in the dark when you can't tell which bus is which until it's whizzing past. A security guy must have been watching our failed attempts because he came and asked us if we were trying to catch the AP bus. When we said yes, he showed us where the actual bus stop was, over on the next block...where a bus was just pulling away. Luckily, the buses run every 10 minutes or so, so it was no big deal to wait for the next one. We finally made it home.

We tried to give our friends a variety of experiences, both touristy and "the real Mexico". We showed them how some of the very poor live and showed them some very nice homes that rivaled many back in Canada. We took them to places they said they never would have gone to had we not been with them. We took them on the combis and the Autoprogreso during the day as well as in the evening. We took them uptown at night. We made them try new foods.

Today was a much more relaxing day. We just sort of hung out. I did a bit of housecleaning that had gotten away from me. Went to the pool for a couple hours and one of the guys mentioned an event that was happening tonight in Chicxulub.

Some locals had decided to share Hanal Pixan with us foreigners. There was an explanation on what it was and of some of the customs that go with it. We then had the opportunity to view a couple of different alters that had been set up. Some dancers did several perfomances and one had dance steps that were remarkably similar to those of the native people of Canada. After all this, we could buy food that had been prepared for the event. The money raised went to support the food bank. I had tamales which I'd had, and enjoyed, in Merida on Sunday for the first time. They also served pib which was delicious. Both would have been better if they'd been hot but they were still good cold. I even tried some atole nuevo. It tastes like very thin cream of wheat. It was tasty but I think I would have enjoyed it more if it had had a bit of sugar to sweeten it. It was a very enjoyable evening and we were both glad we went.

Now that our friends have left, I'll be able to blog more often. It just seems very anti-social, to me, to be on the computer when other people are around.

*These will all get separate posts later.