Tuesday, December 10, 2013

More Shopping

Yesterday we went in to Merida with upstairs neighbours I and N. We went to Costco and Sr. B and I finally!! got ourselves a membership.

Back in Canada, we live about 3 hours from the nearest Costco so we've never bothered to get a membership. Although plenty of folks from our town will make the drive, we can't be bothered. But the Costco in Merida has some things we like and, since the store is very accessible and a membership costs less here, we decided to go ahead and get one. It's funny how having this small card that says Mexico on it makes us feel more like part of the local community.

Today, neighbour Kris and I went uptown to the tourist market. I picked up a cute little summer dress for our g'daughter. She likes those ones with the shirred elastic top. I just hope she likes the colour I chose. She's 13 and a bit fussier than she was when she was younger...lol.

In March, I bought a beautiful salad sized bowl and a matching botana sized one. There was only the one small bowl at the time but today I found another one, so I picked it up.

I noticed something interesting at the market. As soon as Kris and I told the various vendors we dealt with that we lived in Progreso, their demeanor changed just a wee bit. They became warmer, friendlier. Not that they weren`t friendly in the first place, but there was a slight shift in how they interacted with us.

I also bought myself a couple of knit dresses that are styled like a tank top at the shoulders. Washed them up and put one on. Oh my goodness! They`re the next best thing to being naked. These are going to be great when it`s beastly hot.

Speaking of which, a norte is apparently in the forecast. The breeze picked up a bit late this afternoon, its chill portending the upcoming storm. The cooler temps and rain will be a nice respite from the heat of the past few days.

Last night we had a mosquito in the bedroom that we couldn`t find and murder. I awoke to a half dozen bites on my arms. The good news is that Ì seem to have finally developed a degree of tolerance to their bites. I don`t swell and itch anywhere near as badly as I did when we first started coming down. Tonight`s breeze will help keep them at bay. Fingers crossed that one didn`t sneak into our room during the day.

I've tried to post some photos but our internet connection is too slow and the page to load pics onto won`t come up.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

An Evening in Merida

Well, I didn't succeed in posting before 3 days had passed but that's ok. Not too much has happened.

Tonight we went into Merida with neighbour Bindi and W and S, who also own a unit on our floor. They've recently purchased a new-to-them house in Merida so we went to see it. Lots has been done in the courtyard and it's gorgeous. The kitchen is being worked on and it's going to be fabulous. The house is built in a U shape with 4 bedrooms on one side.  Each bedroom has a door leading into the next bedroom, as well as a door to the outside. I found this flow-through odd but I suspect it's actually fairly common in older homes such as theirs which was built in the 1920's.

We stopped for a drink just outside Teatro Peon Contreras. I mentioned having gone to the symphony there in March. S and Bindi have never been but would like to so S, who is a native Spanish speaker, is going to find out if there's a symphony in the next few days. If so, we're going to go get ourselves cultured.

We went down to the park that's at the end of Paseo Montejo. S told me the name of it but I've forgotten. The big Christmas tree was being lit and we made it with just a few minutes to spare. They did a 1 2 3 countdown and then played a trick on the crowd by pretending the lights weren't working. They did this a couple of times. Well, karma and all that...it turned out the lights really didn't work. After fiddling with them for a few minutes, the lights came on. The tree is gigantic! This is probably only about a third of it.

Then we went to the Cafeteria Impala, which is also located at the end of Paseo Montejo, for a bite to eat.
Good food at a great price. I couldn't eat it all so I brought home leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
It's been very hot out here at the beach so I was expecting it to be even hotter in Merida but I found it to be quite pleasant although Sr B, who happens to be half polar bear, said it was too hot.
It would have been nice to stay longer but the last bus to Progreso is at 10 so we had no choice but to leave.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Quick Catch-up

Whew! I've finally got a good enough connection to get on here so I figured I'd give you all a quick update.

Sunday was a pretty quiet day. We had planned on going down to the main square in the evening for the tree lighting but we just didn't feel like going out. So we didn't.

Monday afternoon I went with neighbour Kris to go wrap Christmas presents for the food hampers, at Sharon Helgason's place. This year's toys were much nicer, and more plentiful, than last year's. I think there will be some very happy kiddies at Christmas. There's another wrapping session tomorrow afternoon that Kris and I will attend.

Tuesday morning I went to a monthly meeting of The Beach Gals Club. They're involved in all sorts of good things in the community. I decided to pay my dues so I can receive the newsletter to know what's going on so I can be more involved. Neighbour Bindi, along with her dachshund Queenie, spent the afternoon visiting.

This morning we went uptown for groceries, bright and early. Well, bright and early for this non-morning person. We left about 9:00 so we could get back home before it got too hot. It's about 2pm and, according to our thermometer, it's 30C. A far cry from back home where those poor folks are suffering through -30C.

And that's it. Hopefully I don't have to wait another 3 days before I can post again.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

We're Here!

We flew down on Thursday, American Thanksgiving, and you know what? It wasn't nearly as hairy as we had expected. Apparently the day before was the hairy day. Due to a fortuitous twist, Sr. B and I ended up with 3 seats to ourselves. Other than being an hour late leaving from our home airport, the entire trip was uneventful, just the way we like. We arrived at the condo about 11. Maybe it was 11:30. I was too tired to make a note of the exact time.

Yesterday, Friday, was spent getting settled in. Neighbour Liz was going into Merida and asked if we wanted to join her. She had to stop at Scotiabank...was that ok? Heck yeah! We also had to go to Scotiabank, to pay our fideicomiso. How lucky for us that we were able to take care of that our first day here! We set it up to be automatically charged to our credit card so now we don't have to worry about getting to the bank every year.

Liz took us to a grocery store where we stocked up on a few days worth of grub. The first grocery run of our stays always makes me cringe a bit. It's costly re-stocking from zero.

The evening was spent at Liz's, visiting and catching up over a few drinks.

Today, I went to the state fair with several neighbours. I see the name Xmatkuil but I haven't figured out, yet, if that's the name of the town/city or of the fair itself. Sr. B partied a bit too much last night and wasn't feeling up to coming along.

One of our party was also husband-less so the two of us decided to do some shopping instead of going to any shows. It was a lot of fun being able to do some girl shopping without having to worry about a bored spouse.

I have some photos of the fair but I'll save those for another post.

Our internet is pretty patchy, so, for my readers at home, don't be alarmed if I don't post daily. I promise the bad guys haven't gotten hold of me...lol.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Save the Date(s)

Nov 28th to Dec 16th.

Our next trip down has been booked. Unfortunately, this is a quick trip, just under 3 weeks instead of the usual 4-5.

Sr. B had rotator cuff surgery the middle of Sept and the lengthy recovery time threw a bit of a wrench into our vacation plans. The upside is that he's rolling some of this year's earned vacation days into next year so next November we plan on being there for 6 weeks.

Looking forward to seeing our friends in Mexico again!

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Well, I've Gone and Done it

Several months ago an old back injury came back to haunt me so, as of today, I'm officially retired.

The last few weeks have been very emotional, saying good bye to my clients, many of whom I've had the pleasure of serving for many years. Just as difficult was saying good bye to clients I haven't had very long, folks that I was just getting to know.

This job isn't just about the paycheck. It's also about the relationships that are built over time. I know personal details about some peoples' lives that I'm pretty sure they don't share with just anybody and I feel honoured to have been entrusted with this information. Telling my clients that I was leaving felt like I was breaking up with them and each telling felt like a knife in my heart. Many clients were visibly shaken when I told them and some cried. It was very humbling to know I meant that much to them.

I have a darling lady who comes every Friday morning for her weekly set. This lady is my hero. She celebrated her 87th birthday this spring. She still lives in her own house, drives, is mentally sharp and pretty darned spry for being 87. She had told me, several times, that she hoped she died before I retired because she just couldn't imagine anyone else doing her hair. She loves me and I adore her. Telling her I was leaving is right up there as one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do. As if the knife wasn't in deep enough, her sigh of resignation was the death twist of the blade.

I've shed many, many tears since making my decision to leave the job I love; the job I wanted to do since I was 6 years old. I feel very blessed that I was able to fulfill my dream of being a hairstylist. It all seems surreal; that the career I wanted from such a young age and worked so hard to achieve, going to school and working part time while raising my eldest daughter on my own, is now over.

I've had days where I wanted to stay home because I had things to do, or because it was too nice a day to be cooped up inside, but not once did I ever have a day that I didn't want to go to work because of the job itself. I can honestly say I've loved every minute of it.

Friday, September 6, 2013

How United Almost Lost my Suitcase

I know this is awfully late. Sorry. Life and all, ya know?

Our trip this past spring was only our second time with United Airlines so we're still getting used to how things work going through the US instead of our regular connecting terminal in Canada.

While we were arriving to Houston, the flight attendant came on the intercom with instructions as to what to do regarding our luggage but it was all very confusing and we weren't sure if we were supposed to pick it up at the carousel or if it would be sent forward to Canada, as it had been the trip before. So we decided to check, just to be sure.

Well! Good thing we did. There was my suitcase, merrily riding around the carousel. But where was Sr B's? We hunted up a hey-you (expression courtesy of my late sister-in-law for an employee from whom you require help) to see what the deal was.

We found out that any luggage with a green sticker was automatically flagged to get sent on. Mine did not have a green sticker so it got let off in Houston.

Since we didn't know about the green tag, we weren't watching the guy in Mérida to make sure it was put on and so we don't know if he forgot it or if it fell off in transit.

It makes me wonder how often this has happened to other folks...that the suitcase wasn't actually lost, that it simply lost its tag and got dropped off at the connecting airport. If we hadn't checked in Houston, we would have assumed that United had lost my suitcase.

Now that we know, we'll be sure to see that the sticker gets put on and we'll also check the carousel in Houston. Just in case.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Time with Friends


Monday is our last day here so today was spent packing up our personal items, start packing my suitcase, laundry, sorting out the foodstuff...what stays and what goes to the food bank.

I also spent some time at neighbour Deb's helping her set up her own blog. I'm not very tech savvy so, while it wasn't quite a case of the blind leading the blind, it was definitely a case of me leading a blind person without wearing my own glasses. I set mine up ages ago so there were a few things I'd forgotten how to do. We finally got things figured out so she'll be blogging soon. I'll give her a proper shout out in a future post.

Neighbours Liz and Marty had us over for a farewell supper. Roast beef, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and salad. Cheesecake for dessert.Yummm!!!

After supper we chatted and listened to some of Liz and Marty's favourite comedians on You Tube. It was hilarious. We laughed until we cried. Of course, we'd had plenty to drink and funny always seems so much funnier when one's state of sobriety is in question.

We're going to miss them when we go back home.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

At the Beach

Today the Gulf was the prettiest colour we've ever seen it. We've been told that it's almost Caribbean coloured in the summer but during the winter it's pretty murky and that's the Gulf we're familiar with.

Here's a shot from the third floor of the complex. Unfortunately, my little point-and-shoot camera didn't really capture the intense colours that my eyes saw.

It was high tide so a lot of the beach was underwater. There was an extraordinary amount of seaweed both on the beach and in the water. There's always some on the beach but as a rule, there's usually very little in the water.

We found this little guy near where we were standing, watching us warily.

We think he's a sand crab because about 4 feet away was this hole. We didn't see him come out of it but we assume it's his home.

And just for fun, Sr B put his hat on the crab.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Busy Day

My tooth is doing much better today. I did have to take an Advil just after lunch but it's been fine since. Yesterday, I was so wiped from my appointment that I had to have a nap. I'm a night owl as it is so taking a two hour nap at 4:00 really screwed me up. I didn't get to bed until 2am. The young people in a nearby unit partied all night, waking me up at 6:30am. I reeeeally wanted to take a nap this afternoon but I knew the cycle would repeat so I toughed it out.

This morning Sr B and I went to see D and V's little house that they recently purchased. They've had some workers there the past couple of days. We had seen the place when they first bought it and we were really surprised at how much the guys had accomplished in just a couple of days. Such hard workers. Three of them were hauling big rocks on their shoulders. Others were digging. A couple others were making the fence higher. Not a power tool amongst them. And no whining. Try and find that NOB.

After visiting D and V, we went uptown to run a few errands. We want to start leaving a few more things here each time we come down so we needed a couple of totes to store our personal things in, out of the way of the people we share our condo with.  We leave in 3 days so I got started on sorting things out this afternoon.

Later, I went to the dentist's to pick up a new, more specific receipt. D had called them bright and early this morning and they said to come between 3 and 5. Gotta admit, it's kind of an odd feeling being the only white chick on the bus headed to Timbuktu. You get a few stares, as though people are wondering why on earth you're on *that* bus, one that's clearly not headed to where other white foreigners live.

For supper we went out with D and V to La Parilla, a restuarant on the road to Chicxilub. I believe they're only open during Semana Santa and the summer months. They cater to the wealthy meridanos who come out during those times, not to the typical local, so the prices reflect that. Four meals and four drinks cost 650 pesos. Not expensive compared to NOB prices, but pricey for the area. The food and service were both excellent and we would go there again.

A nightcap at D and V's and then it was back home.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dentist Update

Well, I survived it.

Dr Rivera doesn't speak a lot of English and neighbour D is fluent in Spanish so we arranged to have our appointments together. She went first and I took my relaxant then, since her appointment would be an hour long and he had recommended taking it an hour prior to my appointment. Oh my. It affected me much more this time. I could feel a bit of a buzz happening and when I stood up for my turn, my knees were pretty wobbly. Good grief. I was stoned!

I had asked D to tell him not to diddle around with just one freezing, hoping it would be enough, and to please just give me 3 right off the bat. So he did. But it still wasn't enough and he had to give me one more. The pain of the drilling had totally cut through my buzz and now I was "sober". So as I'm lying in the chair, waiting for the 4th freezing to settle in, I'm giving myself a pep talk.

"Ok, Barb. Relax. He said freezing takes better if the patient is relaxed. And you know that once the freezing takes hold, you won't feel anything. Relax. Turn your head the other way to unkink the muscle on that side so it doesn't block the freezing. Relax. Do some deep breathing. Relax."

The 4th freezing did the trick but that didn't stop me from holding my hands on my tummy, fingers entwined in a white knuckle death squeeze. Finally I was done. And when I went to stand up off the chair, my legs were wobbly again. From the relaxant? From the relief of being done? I have no idea. But it made me and Dr Rivera chuckle.

A small piece of my tooth had broken off and caused a cavity beneath an old filling. Dr Rivera drilled out the cavity and replaced the old metal filling with a white one. My cost was 1700 pesos, or $140 CDN. I don't know what the cost would be back home but just a cleaning costs more than that.

D had the secretary write me out a receipt to submit to our insurance company but I didn't realize, until we got home, that it doesn't specify exactly what he did. It just says "Dental Treatment" and the amount paid. I have my doubts that that'll be good enough so I'll have to get another one. I'll also have to get a translation. Sr B doesn't think the insurance company is going to accept it, even with the procedure and translation. Even if they don't, what I paid is probably in the neighbourhood of our co-pay, anyways. All we can do is submit it and hope for the best. And I was in pain. It wasn't like I could wait until we got back to Canada. Even if we don't get reimbursed anything, it was still money well spent.

Dr Rivera is a very nice gentleman. Soft spoken and with very gentle hands. I would have no reservations about seeing him again.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

This n That

We leave in a week's time so we did our last grocery store run yesterday at Bodega and noticed how much fresher the produce was from usual. Did the produce truck just come in or is the new Soriana's, with their very nice produce, giving them a run for their money? Whatever the reason, we're happy for it. And Sr B found spinach there. He was a happy man!

Neighbours Liz and Marty go away for 3 or 4 months during the winter. They returned late Sunday night so, last night we spent the evening together, enjoying their photos while they regaled us with tales of their stay in Puerto Escondido.

Today, the handyman that most of us use came and took our hot water heater to service it. We haven't had any problems with it but we felt it was time to have that done. An ounce of  prevention kind of deal. He took it this morning, saying he would bring it back either this afternoon or tonight, depending on how much build up he had to clean out. It's still not back. So no hot water until then.

Sochi, our fabulous massage gal, came this morning. Her routine includes telling us to relax when we get on the table.  Well, Sr B took her at her word and fell asleep. Sochi and I shared a couple of giggles at his expense when his snoring got particularly loud.

Today was another hot one, 38C in the shade according to our thermometer, so Sr B and I went down to the pool in the afternoon and visited with all who were there. Many of the residents and renters have already gone home so it's a lot quieter down there now.

The body of the young man who fell off the pier the other day was found. So, so sad but at least his family can have closure.

I have my next dentist appointment tomorrow. I have a kink in my neck which might affect the freezing.  According to my dentist at home, I'm part of a small group of people who have an extra nerve for the lower jaw. Everyone has one that runs along the temple but a few of us also have one that runs from the neck. It's a major reason why I need extra freezing. In the past, a kink in my neck has completely blocked the freezing, so I'm a little concerned about tomorrow. I guess I'll just have to see what happens.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Supper and Sadness

Tonight we went for supper with neighbours D and V to a restaurant in Chicxilub. I'm embarrassed to say that I forget the name of it but it's just around the corner from the Bamboo Beach. Ron, a gentleman from Florida, converted a house into a restaurant that overlooks the pier in Chicxilub.

V and I both had the BBQ chicken breast while D had baby back ribs and Sr B had garlic fish. V and I had to send our chicken back to get it cooked more. His wasn't too bad but mine was still raw in the middle. When they brought our plates back, they had replaced the vegetables and fries with fresh. We appreciated not having cold veggies and fries. Everyone enjoyed their meals. Even mine and V's were good once the meat was cooked.

We felt the prices were a smidge high for the area but not so much that we wouldn't go again. My and Sr B's bill, for two meals, 2 beers and 2 pina coladas was 390 pesos. They automatically include a 10% gratuity and this is stated on the menu. The service was very good so we didn't have an issue with the automatic tip.

D and I had noticed a pole in the water with a couple of black flags on it and wondered what it was about. During our meal, Ron told us that someone had gone over the pier and was believed to have drowned. I looked at D and said, "That's what those black flags are for." There were an awful lot of boats in the area, searching. Ron thought, but couldn't confirm, that it was a young man, about 20-ish. What a horrible thing to have happen, especially on a holiday weekend. Our condolences go out to this poor family.

After supper we wandered around the main square. There was a small midway, of sorts, set up. Bounce houses, mini roller coaster, bumper cars, mini ATV's for the kids to drive and a couple of spin-til-you-puke rides. There were also lots of vendor booths set up. D and I both bought new bathing suits. We all stopped at an ice cream store and picked up a small cup each to enjoy. Then it was back to the complex for a quick nightcap at D and V's.

It was a gorgeous evening. Warm with just a slight breeze. Great supper and we enjoyed watching all the kids having fun at the square. The only mar was hearing about the young man's presumed drowning.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Marc Comes to Visit

Marc drove out from Merida today to have lunch with us. It was so nice to see him again.

We visited here at the condo for a bit and then made the trek uptown, destination...Sol y Mar. Sr B and I hadn't been there before but it came highly recommended by several folks here at the complex so we thought we'd give it a try. We only knew that it was on C78 and across from Niplito, but we didn't know where Niplito was. We ended up driving past it and had to get turned around so we could park near it.

We ended up all the way at the malecon. omg! I've never seen so many people at the beach! We'd been told that it was wall-to-wall at Easter time but this is our first Easter here and we were just gobsmacked at how many people there were.

We finally got parked and walked a couple of blocks to the restaurant. Sol y Mar is just a little hole-in-the-wall type of restaurant. Inside, the seating capacity can't be more than about 8 or 10. There were also a few small tables outside on the sidewalk. I didn't take note of how many there were but they fit 2 people each and I think there were 4 of them.

Menus are available in both Spanish or English. I had the chicken cordon bleu, Sr B had a fish stuffed with shrimp and other seafood and Marc had garlic fish. Portions were very generous and all of us found our meals to be delicious.

Marc introduced us to limonada con agua mineral. What a wonderful, refreshing drink! I think this may become my usual beverage instead of coke.

Our 3 meals, a coke, 2 limonadas and a Sol came to 350 pesos which we felt was reasonable. Maybe that's a lot for Mexico. I don't know. Sr B and I always compare costs to what it would be up north and, up north, the bill would have been much more. I didn't take any pictures of our meals. I always feel weird doing that.

After lunch, we came back to the condo for a bit more visiting, introducing Marc to a few of our neighbours who were out in the walkway.

We had a great visit with Marc and hope to see him again when we come back in November.

Nothing to Report

Not much happened today. We went for a walk on the beach. I was surprised by how little beach there was, until Sr B told me it was high tide. Ah, that would explain it.

We chatted with various folks in the complex, down at the pool and in the hallway. Made a coke run to the little store across the street. Did a little housework. Honestly, that was it. It was a very low key day.

We had to use the A/C one night last week when it was so hot and I've been battling a cough since. It's getting worse and I'm a bit concerned it might be bronchitis. We'll see how it is next week.

Other than that, truly, nothing going on.

Oh, I'm armed with a fly swatter and Raid again.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Food Fun

Today's focus was on food.

We went uptown to pick up a few items I needed for a couple of recipes I wanted to try. We discovered a little produce store that had almost everything on my list...ancho, guajillo and serrano chilis and limes. They also had radishes that looked fresh so we got a bundle of those, too.

Our next stop was the big mercado for the rest of my list. Sr B loves his spinach and it's been a real adventure finding it. The only place we've found it is the new Soriana's. A couple of vendors told us it was only available at the supermarkets, Soriana's being one. So we decide to get some chaya instead. I told Sr B that I'd read it was really healthy.

When we got home, I decided to check online to see how it compared to spinach. OMG! You can't eat it raw! It's toxic. It contains glucoside that can release cyanide. It has to be cooked a minimum of 20 minutes and not in an aluminum pot. It'll react with aluminum and give you diarrhea. BUT...when cooked properly, it's full of all sorts of good stuff. Good grief. I'm sure glad I took the time to look it up. Sr B would have used it in his smoothies and I would have made a salad with it.

For supper, I made a pot of beans using this recipe. Sr B and I consider ourselves pretty adventurous when it comes to food. We try not to have preconceived ideas of how things should taste. We had it without any of the garnishes so we could see what it tasted like without the extra stuff.

It was ok but I'll make some changes next time. Neither of us cared for the beer or the lime juice. We could still taste them. Next time I'll sub tomato sauce for the beer and omit the lime juice. I think I would also add a bit of brown sugar. I know...this will make it more like what we're used to NOB and perhaps less like Mexican beans. Some might call it cheating. I call it adapting it to our tastes. We did like all the other ingredients, though. I wasn't so sure about the cocoa and cinnamon but you really couldn't taste them. I had read that serrano chilis were "fiery hot" and it *did* add a tiny bit of heat but it was a mellow heat, if that makes sense. You can feel the heat while the beans are in your mouth but as soon as you swallow them, the heat is gone. Grated cheddar cheese would be a great garnish on this and a dense, hearty, savoury bread would be the perfect accompaniment.

I've never seen any of the chilis in our store NOB so this will be something I only make down here.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013


When we first started travelling to Mexico I was agog at seeing locals wearing parkas when the temperature was 22C, give or take a couple of degrees. Twenty-two Celcius is a lovely summer day up in our Canadian neck of the woods. Shorts and t-shirt weather.

Last week was very hot. The weekend saw temps of 38C. The past three days have been 21-25C and I've been freezing my tail off. I've been wrapped up in long pants, long sleeved shirt and a vest since Monday. Tonight we actually turned the ceiling fan off and closed up the sliding window in the living room.

I think I've acclimated.

Oh, The Noise!

I've learned to tune out the barking dogs and the pounding music at bedtime. It's become the equivalent of white noise. But the wind. Oh, the wind.

It hurls itself against the sliding windows, making them bang in their aluminum tracks like a drummer with no rhythm. It howls through the cracks, alternately shrieking, screaming like a banshee and growling like some beast from the underworld. It's loud. It's quiet. It's silent.

At least with the dogs, it's the same dogs, same pitch. The music is a constant BOOM-boom-boom BOOM-boom-boom. There's a predictability to the sounds. But the wind is up, down, loud, quiet. It's constantly changing and unpredictable.

I haven't slept well the past two nights because of the wind. It's finally settled down some. Tonight, the only sound I'll have to try to sleep through will be Sr B's snoring.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Chilly Day

After surviving last week's brutal heat today's 25C and breeze, courtesy of a Norte that blew in overnight, was a welcome reprieve. Until about noon. Now I'm just cold. Even Sr B, whom I swear is half polar bear, said he would have appreciated having a pair of slippers.

It was too cold to go out and about. Yes, I know how odd that sounds coming from a Canuck...lol. As much as Sr B is half polar bear, I remain convinced that the stork dropped me off in the wrong country. I was never meant to live where it snows. It doesn't take me long to acclimate to the heat here.

The day was spent inside, doing a bit of housework, working on a knitting project I brought down, some reading, net surfing and watching TV.  Pretty much what I would be doing at home when it's too cold to go out.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Dinner Date With Friends

This afternoon Sr B and I headed into Merida for supper at fellow blogger Theresa's . She had also invited the lovely Joanna, Joanna's sister and their respective husbands. The elusive Husband was also in attendance. The amiable Mr. Dog wandered around, checking up on everyone and enjoying the occasional ear scratch.

We started the evening with Hemingway margaritas. At least that's what I think they were called. They're made with grapefruit juice instead of whatever it is that they're usually made with. I'm afraid I'm not a margarita aficionado so I can't really offer up any more info other than that they were delicious.

Theresa cooked a typical Cuban meal that was yummy, yummy, yummy! We started with tapas of boiled baby potatoes with two sauces, one tomato and one creamy. Salad was avocados and pineapple. Pork with garlic onions, black beans and rice (or perhaps it was couscous?), pickled beans and sugary plantains comprised the main meal. My previous experiences with plantains have left me underwhelmed but Theresa's were very tasty. Dessert was flan which, like the plantains, previous experiences haven't been that great, but Theresa's was fantastic. That gal can cook! Husband is a lucky man.

It was such a great evening. Good conversation flowed with the wine. There was plenty of Spanish spoken which I really enjoyed. My listening skills are much better than my speaking skills. Even though I wasn't really able to converse, I understood much of what was said.

We all agreed we'd have to get together again, taking turns hosting. I'm going to have to dig out my best recipes. Theresa has set the bar pretty high.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Another Toasty Day

Today was unbelievably hot. Our thermometer said 38C in the shade. We heard it was 47C in Merida. I know it's hotter in the city but 47 just doesn't sound right.

We stayed home during the day. Sr B spent much of the afternoon the at the pool. I'm still nursing that sunburn so I stayed inside and did a bit of housework. It started peeling today so now I'm itchy.

A bunch of us went down to the Yakunah again and I'm still questioning whether or not there was any alcohol in my pina coladas. I don't think I'm going to order them anymore. Supper was delicious and the live band played a lot of music from the 50's and 60's.

I finally figured out that my trip to the dentist aggravated my TMJ issues. My jaw is stiff in the mornings. It takes me a few stretches to be able to open my mouth enough to eat breakfast. It's uncomfortable all day and I have a constant headache that runs down my temple to my jaw joint. I remember these symptoms when it was bothering me many years ago but it's been so long that I had forgotten.

There's a bleeping mosquito in the condo and it's decided that I'm on the menu tonight. Canadian mosquitoes prefer Sr B's blood. Mexican mosquitoes prefer mine. It's weird. Anyways, I'm sitting here armed with a fly swatter and a can of Raid. That thing WILL die before I go to bed.

HA! I just got it. Victory is mine!!!

Oh crap. Spoke too soon. There's another one.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Orquesta Sinfonica de Yucatan - Part Deux

The symphony came to Progreso tonight so a bunch of us went down to see it. It was held at Iglesia de la Purisma Concepcion y San Jose church beside the main square and, like so many events in Yucatan, it was free to attend.

It was just as fantastic as it was the other day. They played different music that I actually enjoyed more. Considering I know next to zip about classical music, this surprised me. Most of it sounds the same to me. That doesn't mean I don't enjoy it on occasion, though.

The last song on the program was a piece called Solamente una vez, written by Agustin Lara from Tlacotalpan, Mexico. The conductor, Mtro. Luis Luna Guarneros sang while the orchestra played without his guidance. My goodness. Dude can sing! Part way through, he invited the audience to join him so I'm guessing it's a well known song.

For the encore, they played a fun, toe-tapping song with a definite Latin tone. The conductor invited us to clap our hands so we did. How can you not when it's such lively music?

In unrelated news, we had our massage gal in this morning. Soooooo wonderful. We close the front door for privacy when she's here, so there's not much air flow. Unfortunately, the power went off which meant the fan stopped. Poor Sachi was starting to sweat. But luckily it wasn't out for too long so she was able to cool off some.

We've had a massive amount of snow back home, so my readers from there won't be too happy when I say it was hotter than Blue Blazes today. The local online weather site said it was 37C and that it's to be the same tomorrow. My kind of weather!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

A Good Day

Today was a much better day, pain wise. My shoulders are still sore but my mouth didn't hurt anywhere near like it did yesterday. I'm still getting the occasional stab of pain but it's much weaker than yesterday's and doesn't last as long. It hasn't been enough to require painkillers.

Oddly, when I woke up this morning, the right side of my jaw (that I had the work done on) and the upper muscle that runs from my neck to my right shoulder were stiff. I can understand my jaw but the neck to shoulder muscle has me baffled.

Sr B and I ran some errands this morning. We finally paid our taxes, all 211 pesos of it. Seriously. It costs us more to go out for a nice supper with a couple of drinks. Picked up a syringe to shoot some calcium remover into the kitchen faucet. Exchanged some big bills at the bank. Got some groceries and headed home.

Sr B hit the pool when we got back but I'm still pretty pink so I'm still staying out of the sun.

The couple that is staying in the unit beside us is going home tomorrow so another neighbour hosted a going away party tonight. It was a fun get together and we met a new-to-us couple. Many of the people who stayed in the complex this year are planning on returning next year so it'll be nice to see them all again in November.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Painful Day

I sunburned a bit more than I had realized, the other day, so I've stayed out of the sun as much as possible since then.

My mouth has been in excruciating pain today. It comes and goes but when it's here, I just want to rip my jaw off. Sometimes the pain is so sharp that it causes my upper body to have something similar to a mini convulsion. I figured it was just an after effect from yesterday's drilling so I toughed it out.

Tonight, I couldn't take it anymore so I went upstairs to see neighbour D. She tried to call the dentist but there was no answer. She's going to try again in the morning and ask if he can see me in a day or two. She thought I might need a root canal. omg. I hope not.

Between the mild pain on my shoulders from the sunburn and the horrendous pain in my mouth that just sucked the life out of me, I didn't do too much today.

Dental Visit

Here's the promised update on my dental experience.

I took my relaxant about an hour before my appointment. It got rid of the massive tummy butterflies but I still had to do some deep breathing before the dentist started. I was expecting to be stoned and out of things, but I wasn't. A crazy buzz might have been fun but I'm actually glad I was still cognizant.

Neighbour D came with me to translate and told him that I always need at least 2 doses of freezing. I don't think he believed her/me because he only gave me one and then checked on me, asking if my lip was frozen. Things felt a bit prickly, but frozen? No. I still had about 80% sensation.

This is my biggest complaint with new dentists. They never seem to believe me. My dentist at home has it figured out and automatically gives me 2 doses right off the bat. He also understands that I may need one or two more.

So he gives me another shot and we wait. I'm more frozen but I'm not feeling confident that it's enough. He starts poking around and my feelings were confirmed. I gasp and he stops. In goes the third dose.

Finally I'm frozen enough for him to start drilling. A couple of times he hit a nerve that still had some feeling but the pain wasn't enough to warrant yet another shot.

Apparently the cavity is quite deep and requires more work. He put in a temporary filling and covered the top of my tooth with what looks like white tape. I don't think it's going to be possible to floss between that tooth and its neighbour at this point. And I can only eat soft food, though that didn't stop me from very carefully eating a couple of tortilla chips.

I have to go back for the permanent filling which will be ceramic. I'm not so sure of this. Google tells me this isn't always a good choice for a molar. We shall see.

I'm past due for a cleaning and he wants to do this at my next visit, as well. My total cost for all of this will be 2000 pesos. We have dental coverage through Sr B's work but it's not full coverage. I'm guessing two thousand pesos will be quite a bit less than the portion I would have to pay back home.

Next update in two weeks.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Taking Care of Business

This morning was spent taking care of errands.

First up was to pay our property taxes. I forget when the due date is but I know that we're past it. We paid late last year but I don't think we got penalized. Even if we did, we only paid about 230 pesos, so we're not too concerned about paying late this year. Unfortunately, the building was closed because today is a holiday so we'll have to do this another day.

Then it was off to see the doctor. Sr B has had some irritation in one of his eyes. We went to the hospital across the way from the tax building. The doctor spoke very good English. He said he lived in California until age 12. Turns out Sr B has a bacterial infection so the doctor prescribed him eye drops and ointment.

There's a pharmacy in the hospital but they didn't have what we needed so it was off to another. We lucked out and were able to fill both prescriptions at the next one.

The last time I got money from the bank, it spit out all 500 peso bills. I wanted to go to the bank to break some into much smaller money. I'm almost out of small bills and I'm running low on bus fare. The bank was also closed. This is when we figured out today was a holiday. (For my readers back home...many of the smaller, independant retailers don't have much money in their till. Paying for a 20 peso item with a 100 peso bill can send them into a tizzy. More than once the cashier has had to go to another store to get our change. Hence the need to break some of those 500's).

So we picked up some Sarralit (spelling?) to help get rid of calcium build-up, a bottle of Kahlua and headed home.

It was hotter than Hades today so we hit the pool when we got home. We were just going to cool off but a few folks we hadn't seen in a while showed up so we ended up staying longer than we'd planned. Since the plan was to only be down there for a short time, we hadn't sunscreened. Two hours later I decided it was time to leave. I could see Sr B turning red so I shoo'ed him out of the pool. We're not too badly burned but I'm glad I brought the aloe gel.

We heard that it poured in Merida this afternoon, complete with thunder and lightning. We could see a dark cloud to the south but it missed us. We heard thunder but didn't see any lightning and not a single drop of rain fell here, though I can smell rain in the air now.

Orquesta Sinfonica de Yucatan

Neighbour C was given a couple of tickets to the symphony, Orquesta Sinfonica de Yucatan, and she invited me to go with her since her husband was involved in something else today.

We only knew that it was at the Teatro Peon Contreras, near the Plaza Grande. We had no idea where it actually was.

We inadvertantly got off the Autoprogreso before getting to the depot. Several people in front of us got off the bus so we thought we all had to. Um...nope. So we had to ask for directions to the theatre. We'd go a couple of blocks and then ask someone else. Then a couple more and ask again until we got there.

The show was magnificent! The music was mesmerizing. I felt like I was in a trance that wanted to put me to sleep. Not because it was boring but because it transported me to another place where the music could only be fully felt without the cumberance of being awake. It's hard to explain.

We had a great seat but, honestly, there aren't any bad seats.

When Alina Komissarova, the violin soloist, came out to do her encore, there was a little girl of about 5 dancing in the back,  right hand corner of the stage. Just as I got my camera focused on her and was about to snap the photo, someone backstage called her off the stage. She was adorable and I was excited at the prospect of capturing her enjoyment and obliviousness to where she was. Ah, well.

The lady in the centre of this pic has the most beautiful white hair. She was sitting in the middle of the orchestra and there seemed to be a light shining right down on her. She's surrounded by a sea of long, black sleeves which made her stand out all the more. Unfortunately, my camera didn't capture the scene the way my eyes saw it.

Here's a view of one side of the auditorium. (And look at this. Blogger has decided my type needs to be centered. I have no idea how to fix this. Sorry.)
The chandelier. Isn't it stunning?! It looks like it's about 10 feet from top to bottom. We were told that it can be lowered in order to change the light bulbs.
The lobby.
Looking up from the landing where the flowers are.
Stained glass on the ceiling. It's flanked by two medallions, one of which you can see.
It's a lovely old building, built between 1900 and 1908. You just don't see architectural details like these anymore.
I thoroughly enjoyed the symphony and I hope to attend more events. 


Sunday, March 17, 2013

What We Got Here is Failure to Communicate

"You wanna go get groceries?" he asks.

Yeah, sure.

"You wanna try the new Soriana's?" he asks after we get downtown.

Um, ok. (It's across from the Bodega and we've never taken the bus there but we figure it out).

"We should stock up on some things and take a cab home," he says.

Um, I only brought 2 bags because I thought we were going to our regular store downtown and we only take two bags when we go there.

"I should get a bottle of rum," he says.

No, you can't. I only brought as much money as what an average shopping trip costs. Had I known the plan was to buy more than usual, I would have brought more money.

He looked like a little kid who had been told he couldn't have a candy bar and I felt like his mom. GAAHH!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Another Repair

When we arrived, we discovered that the screen on the front door, as well as the big slider in the front room, had some tears along the edges. We went uptown and bought new screening and tools so Sr B could replace the old screens. He started on the big slider.

First things first...remove the handle so he could remove the old screen. Uh oh! The handle is riveted on, not screwed on. Without the proper tool, he was hooped.

So he got in touch with the screen guy that another resident here has used and recommended. Mario came yesterday afternoon to give us a quote and said his guys would be here today at 10am. Ten thirty is close enough...lol.



The upper and lower screens were replaced, 3 "hip check" bars added, a new clip and a new latch put on (we have no idea what happened to the old latch. It was gone when we arrived). The screen on the slider was sagging, like someone had leaned into it, and this has caused the tears along the edge. The guys were able to tighten it up instead of having to replace the screen.  It took the 2 guys about an hour and a half. Our cost? 400 pesos.

Sr B forgot to tell Mario that we already had screening. If they'd used it, our cost likely would have been a bit lower.

I only have one minor complaint, and this was our fault for not saying anything at the time. Those hip check bars? Yours truly is short. When I use my hip to stop the door, it hits about 2 inches below the lowest bar. Oh well. The door has stood up to 3.5 years use, so I'm sure it'll be fine. I *could* get them to add another bar or two, but then it'll look like a prison door. I figure by the time we need to replace the screens again, it'll be time for a new door and then I can get the bars placed where I need them.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Go Us!

When we were uptown yesterday morning, we met up with another couple from the complex and told them about our washing machine being on the fritz and that we were trying to find someone to repair it. The husband told us about a place he had seen on C 35 that had washers on the sidewalk. He hadn't used them so he couldn't vouch for the quality of their service. We decided to give them a try so off we went in search of them.

They were exactly where he said they were. C 35 between 78 and 80. We stepped inside and the adventure began. Nobody there spoke any English. But, " Mi lavadora. Agua caliente, si. Agua fria, no," was understood. In extremely broken Spanish, I was able to ask if they could come to the condo to take a look at it. Yes, they could. At 3:00 that afternoon. Please write our name and address on this paper.

Then the boss asks me, "Que marque?" (I think that's the right spelling. I can't find it in my dictionary) It took me a couple of minutes to figure out what marque meant. Finally the light bulb went on. I told Sr B that the boss had asked what brand/make it was and let Sr B tell him. Through reading many blogs, I've learned that Mexican men prefer to deal with men instead of women so I try to involve Sr B as much as possible.

I had forgotten to tell them that we lived on the back side of the complex so, a little before 3, we go out to the landing to watch for them in case they drive around back, as most service people do when they're trying to figure out how to get in. At 3:45, we give up and go inside. At 4:15, the groundskeeper comes to our door with two guys. Ah, only an hour later than they had said. According to life in Mexico, they were right on time...lol.

They fixed the problem and did a little bit of maintenance on some other areas, as well. About 45 minutes of their time cost us 250 pesos. We'll definitely use them again and suggest them to others.

I was so proud of us for getting this done, completely in Spanish. Go us!

Merida Writers Group

Check out these beautiful ladies. They're all members of the Merida Writers Group and they had a book signing today, right here in Progreso.

I had never been to a book signing before so I had no idea what to expect. Fran, the lady who hosted the signing in her home, introduced Joanna who then introduced each of the other writers. Each author read a small part of the story she had submitted to their book Our Yucatan . (Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with Amazon or the Merida Writers Group). After, books were available for purchase and signing. Munchies were served and everybody visited with each other.

Many thanks to Theresa for inviting me. I really enjoyed it and was sorry I couldn't stay longer.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Dental Woes

I've been having some on again, off again pain in a lower molar. It got really bad just as we left to come here and I've been living on Advil the past week. Neighbour D invited me to go along with her to her dentist appointment this morning and see if they might have time to take a look. They did.

There is a young man and gal who both work at this office and I believe D said they're brother and sister. She sees the brother and loves him. The sister took a look at my teeth and I'm a bit skeptical. She said I had 7 cavities. Is it possible to know this without doing an xray? And why wouldn't my dentist back home say anything?

Neither of the dentists speak much English so D had to translate. What I was told is that the fillings I have are very old (true) and that there are cavities beneath them. I still don't know how they can determine this without any xrays. What they want to do is remove all the fillings, deal with the cavities and refill. Umm...no thanks.

According to my dentist at home, I'm a dental anomaly. Because of this, I ALWAYS require 2 freezings when I have work done on my lower jaw and, even then, I may not completely freeze. Sometimes I need 3 or 4 doses. I never know how many I'll need so it's always a guessing game. A trip to the dentist often involves pain due to insufficient freezing. Needless to say, I have an almost phobic fear of dental visits, even for something as simple as the nothing-more-than-a-look-see that I got today. So when they said I needed all my fillings re-done? Yeaaahhhh...not gonna happen.

So D and I have appointments for next week. D will be my translator and explain my freezing issues. The dentist gave me a prescription for a relaxant to take one hour before hand. Excellent! I've never had this before but I had planned on asking for something. Honestly, the older I get, the more worked up I get. It's embarrassing to be so high maintenance.

After leaving their office, the hunt was on for the relaxant. The first pharmacy I went to didn't have the 1mg that had been ordered. The gal told me that they had .25mg and .50mg. I asked if I could use 2 of the .50mgs. She said she couldn't give that to me because that wasn't what was on the prescription. Umm...ok. (All this done in Spanish. Yay me!)

So off to another pharmacy. They also didn't have the 1mgs but they did have the .50s. and they could sell that to me. The catch? I had to purchase an entire box of 30 tablets. I only need 2. When I inquired if I could only purchase 2, I was told that it was impossible. Really? In the land of being able to buy only one egg or one cigarette, I have to buy a whole box of pills? Still, they were probably cheaper than one pill would be back home, and I'm not prepared to see the dentist without them, so I paid.

Review of my torture session dental visit to follow.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Getting Out

Cruise ship day. Neighbour C and I went uptown to the cruise ship markets and wandered around. She was on a mission to get something for her granddaughter. I went to keep her company and to get out of the house. She found what she was looking for and I picked up a bottle of Xtabentun, my favourite sipping liquer.

The vendor must have thought I was a cruiser because he pulled out some newspaper to wrap around the bottle before putting it into the plastic bag. I told him I lived here and that just the bag was fine. En espanol. Every time I come south, I get an extra dose of motivation to continue with my studies. Being able to speak even a little bit has enhanced my experiences here.

Later this afternoon, Sr B and I walked up the road a ways to see the house that neighbours D and V have purchased. It's small but very quaint. They showed us the plans for the changes they want to make. They're keeping the footprint of the house, just making a few changes inside as well as to the yard. I think it's going to be absolutely charming when it's done.

The wind was from the south most of the day which means hot. The wind has been quite cool lately, so the heat this morning felt really good for my old, creaky joints. Just the same, the change in direction later in the day was refreshing.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

A Day Out

Neighbour C and I went shopping uptown today. She was looking for a shirt to wear with a necklace she had. We went to umpteen clothing stores, finally finding one that had what she wanted. I also picked up a couple of tops.

While she was browsing, I kept feeling little stings on my legs but I didn't really think too much of it. I get these every so often and it always turns out to be nothing. Finally, I can't stand it anymore and look down. omg! Mosquitoes! A dozen or so, all buzzing around my lower legs and feasting away.

As we were paying for our purchases, C told the cashier that we should get a discount seeing as how the store had some of our blood. Not sure if her comment helped but we did get good deals on our tops.

We don't know the name of the store but we've been calling it The Mosquito Store.

Something that made us chuckle was how all the tops were "one size". It didn't seem to matter that many of the tops seemed to be made for skinny minnie's. They were all one size and the clerks all assured us that they would fit us. Some did. Some did not. And some fit but were tighter than we're used to wearing. Maybe we just need to get our sexy on.

Tonight, a bunch of us from the complex went down to the Yakunah for supper and drinks. Yakunah is a lovely little hotel that we stayed at when we first came down to look at the condo. On Saturday nights, they host Happy Hour from 6 - 7pm where drinks are 2 for 1. Two of us had pina coladas and we questioned, amongst ourselves, whether or not there was actually any liquor in them. We both had 4 and didn't feel any alcoholic effects whatsoever.

There's also music. A gentleman sings in both Spanish and English. We were told that he can't actually speak English, he just sings in English. Not sure if that's true, but it makes for a fun story. There's a dance floor for those who choose to cut the rug.

We all ordered supper and everyone's meals were great. Sr B and I both had the Cajun chicken breast. Delicious! I like spicy but it was almost too much for me. Sr B likes things spicier than I do and he thoroughly enjoyed his. For dessert, we all had brownies with ice cream. That was really good, too. I forgot to take pictures.

We had planned on taking a combi home but the few that came along didn't pick us up. The small ones were too full for our party of 6 and the big buses were off duty and just drove past us. So we walked home. It probably took us about 20-25 minutes. Had I been wearing shoes meant for walking, we could have done it much faster. But it was a beautiful evening. Warm but not hot and very little breeze. Perfect for strolling.

The only negative was Sr B not hearing, "Watch out for the dog poop!"

Friday, March 8, 2013

Settling In

Well, we made it. YAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Other than some blowing snow for a few miles on our way to the airport, the trip down was uneventful. We didn't fly from our home airport. We went from the one 6 hours down the road. The savings was substantial, more than paying our gas and hotel room there.

Instead of an early morning flight, we flew at 1:00pm. It was so nice to be able to get a decent night's sleep instead of being up at 3 or 4am. We landed in Merida shortly after 10pm, about 15 minutes ahead of schedule and made it to the condo about 11:45pm. I'm a night owl, so this schedule suited me just fine. Sr B, on the other hand, didn't fare so well. His morning person self was exhausted.

We haven't taken a cab from the airport since 2010 so we were shocked at the price increase. It used to be 500 pesos but now it's 800. We about dropped a square one.

My still meager Spanish got us to the condo just fine. I apologized to the cab driver for my bad Spanish but he said I spoke it well, that he had no problem understanding me. Little does he know that I practiced saying the instructions to our place...lol.

We share our condo when we're away and we always have to play Scavenger Hunt when we get here. Our guests move things around so it's an adventure trying to find things. The garbage can and toilet brush were missing from the bathroom. I didn't find them until the next afternoon, wrapped up in a black plastic bag and on a shelf in the laundry room. We're still trying to figure out why.

Thursday was spent unpacking our suitcases, getting groceries, saying hello to old friends and meeting new ones...generally getting settled in and relaxing from the previous day.

Today was spent cleaning and doing a few maintenance items. I discovered that the washing machine won't allow cold water in. Hot water isn't a problem, cold water is. It's not the pipe or the hose. We were hoping it would be as simple as cleaning the calcium out of the screen but Sr B thinks it's the machine itself. Darn it!

Sr B installed some LED strip lighting above the stove. It's such a dark area, especially in the evening, and this made a HUGE difference.

There's a young man who comes through the area with breads and pastries on his tricicleta. I went down and picked up 4 pastries for 20 pesos. We don't buy a lot of this sort of thing so I have no idea if I paid too much. No matter. It's only an occasional indulgence. We had a couple after supper and they were nice and fresh and delicious. We're in danger of this becoming a regular indulgence.

So...not too much going on but I didn't want to wait too long to touch base and end up writing a novel.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Progreso, Here We Come!

We'll arrive late in the evening of March 6th. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!!!

(Photo pinched from Google)