Isla Holbox

The Friday after US Thanksgiving we set off for Isla Holbox.  It was our first visit there.  The island is probably best know for the annual whale shark migration season, and snorkeling with them is a very popular activity.

Alas, it was not whale shark season when we there.

It was about a 4 hour drive from Merida to Chiquila, where you catch the ferry or private boat to the island.  That is if you take the toll road most of the way, which was our route. We arrived too late for the 2:00 pm ferry, so after parking the cars in one of several parking establishments in Chiquila (5 Hermanos, 50 pesos a day), we took a private boat over.  It cost 500 pesos, the ferry would have been 400 for the four of us.

Jeff and Julie, our traveling companions, had been there last year, so they knew the ropes.  From the dock on Holbox we took a cab to our hotel, Posada Mawimbi.  It was no ordinary cab for this island of sand roads:

We spent four nights there and had a wonderful time.  There is a town square, some restaurants, lots of birds, not a lot of night life, but we are not really night life kind of people.  The restaurant and bar at the hotel were wonderful, with attentive staff and good food and drinks.  A breakfast of a fruit bowl and toast is included in the room charge.

Lobster pizza is a specialty, and we shared one at a restaurant on the square with a sign that said they had created it in 1982.  We ate at a couple of restaurants in the town (the hotel is right on the edge of the central part of the town), and had a great meal there.  One highlight of the trip, beside enjoying the beach and sun, was Kathy’s birthday dinner on the beach, about 20 feet from the water.

On to photos.  We are returning in mid-March to meet a cyber friend from Norway and his wife.  Our friends who took us there called it forced relaxation.  It certainly was relaxing.

Hotel beachP1080864 P1080856SunsetP1080816 P1080803Birthday with multiple name spellings P1080892 P1080904P1080888Horseshoe crab colletion

P1080886

Celestun Flamingo Day Trip

On November 26 good friends from Oregon arrived at our home, having spent time in Puerto Morelos and Valladolid on the way. On Friday we drove to Celestun, on the Gulf Coast, about 90 minutes from Mérida, where we had a nice lunch on the beach and then boarded a small boat for the estuary. Here are some photos of the day:

Jeff on the boat                   P1000064Fishing from the bridgeP1000065FlamingosP1000074 P1000083 P1000086  MangrovesP1000090

Julie being careful at a stopP1000098Termite nestP1000099Julie and meP1000101Jeff, Kathy and JulieP1000104

Local pelicansP1000051Visiting Canadian pelicans P1000053

 

Some travels and a future update

Hi everyone!

It has been some time since I have written anything here – wow, since September 7 – Brasil’s Independence Day.  We have been a wee bit busy, but not that busy.

We’ve had some company.  Jorden, our ‘adoptive’ grandson arrived in early October, spending 9 or so days with us, three weeks with a host family at a language school, two weeks volunteering at a local school, another week or so with us and then he was off to Playa del Carmen to meet up with his family and a friend who flew down from Vancouver BC for vacation.

We went over to Playa a few days later where I officiated a wedding vow renewal ceremony on the beach for two good friends from Oregon.  We came back to Mérida, had a few days off and then Jeff and Julie arrived on November 26.  They are other good friends from Oregon.  We did Thanksgiving here, went to Celestun for a day and did the flamingo tour, and then headed to Isla Holbox on Saturday, spending 4 nights there.

We are back home now and have nothing much scheduled firmly until mid-January.

I plan to do a blog post on the mini-vacation to Playa, one of the day trip to Celestun, and another one on our first visit to Isla Holbox.  I am also working on a post about our first year of retirement and living in Mexico.  This should all happen in December.

A couple of photos, as a teaser

P1000086P1080830

Cablemas and the Rules

Cablemas is our local cable provider.  We currently have internet and a land line phone with them.  The bill is in the name of the owner of the house, an owner who has not lived here for three years. We are the second set of renters since they moved back to the states.  Mind you, this is not unusual, the electricity, water and everything else is also in their name.

We decided to add a television package, so I went to the Cablemas office.  Once there I was told that to add or change any services the account needed to be in my name.  No problem, I said (somewhat naively), lets change it.  No, not that easy, you see in order to change it I needed a communication from the current account holder authorizing the change.  I came home, emailed the owner and he sent me a scanned note authorizing the change.  Cool, I’ll go back the next day, change the account to my name and add TV to our package.  Well,…….

The nice woman took the note to the back office.  She came back about five minutes later and said no, that would not do.  They needed a form letter filled out and signed by both the current account holder and by me.  In addition, they needed a copy of the photo page of the current account holders passport and a copy of my residency card.  I said it seemed a bit difficult to change the name on an account.  She gestured in the direction of the managers’s offices and said:  “It is political.”  I told her I would see her next week with the required documents. :).  After shuffling papers she found a copy of the form letter for me.  I’ll sign it, send a scanned copy to our landlord.  He’ll sign it, scan it and send it back.  Then I will give it another whirl.  Maybe this time what I provide will suffice.

 

 

Quick, Free Medical Consultation

Last week Kathy developed an earache.  She said it felt a bit like swimmer’s ear.   We are in the pool everyday, so that makes sense.  We also have not yet settled on physicians here in Mérida, but needed one now.  Enter Farmacias del Ahorro, and their free doctor consultation program.

We went to the one near the sports complex where we do our walking.  I talked with the attendant at the counter who referred me to the physician consultation waiting room.  After a few minutes the Doctor saw Kathy, took some basic information and asked her what was bothering her.  My basic Spanish and his little bit of English were sufficient for communication.  After examining her years, nose and throat he prescribed an ear drop solution that included an antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and a topical analgesic.

Three and a half days later the ears are much improved.  I think this will work for simple stuff, but now we need to get about the business of finding regular doctors.

 

Almost 7 months in

We have been here for almost seven months now, having arrived on January 30, 2014.  Here is a little report:

Housing

We moved into this longer-term rental back on May 1st.  It is a two story, 3 bedroom, 3 bath house.  It has ceiling fans in every room and a mini-split air conditioner in each room.  More about that when I discuss the climate.

Climate

It is stinking hot :).  The average high temperature this time of year is in the mid-90’s and we are coming on to the highest humidity time of the year, aka the rainy season.  We are slowly acclimating to the weather and are becoming accustomed to sweating profusely at the slightest exertion.  Fans help a lot.  We have AC, but we do not use it much.  In the last week, for example, we ran it for a couple of hours in the study one afternoon.  We think if we used it much we would become prisoners of the indoors and we do not want that to happen.

Day trips

These are happening, but not as often as we thought they might.  I have blogged about a couple of them.  The next one will be, I think, to Sisal, a Gulf Coast town.  The coast, with its nice sea breezes, is a good choice this time of year.  We also plan to go to Dzibilchaltun

 before too long.  With its museum, Temple of the Seven Dolls, cenote and restaurant it sounds interesting.

Visitors

We have had some company, and more is on the way.  This September our adoptive grandson, Jorden, will be here for quite a while, spending a couple of weeks with us, three weeks at an intensive language school, a couple of weeks doing volunteer work and then some time with the rest of his family on el lado Caribeño, the Caribbean side of the penisula.

Two friends from California will be here for Hanal Pixan, the Maya day of the dead.  Syl is Mexican and her husband John is from Georgia, so I guess it made sense for them to meet in California :).  We have been guests at their home, in a delightful part of California’s wine country, and we look forward to hosting them.

We will have other guests at USA Thanksgiving time, friends from Oregon who we met via a travel forum focused on Playa del Carmen.  After some time here in Mérida, we are going to visit Isla Holbox with them for a few days, which will include Kathy’s 60th birthday.  It will be our first trip to Holbox, but Jeff and Julie spend some time there last year.

Buying Stuff

Shopping is working out very well, for the most part.  Food shopping is no problem, what between Superama, Costco, the local (Santiago) mercado, the Chen Bech mercado where I buy fish, and the weekly Saturday Slow Food Market.  There is an adequate supply and variety of good everyday wine at between $6 and $12 US a bottle. Furniture, well….

We have been looking for a couple of chest of drawers, without a lot of luck.  Many homes here seem to have built-in shelves.  Kathy has some sketches and next week we are going to ask for bids from several furniture builders and see what we come up with.

Overall

We are happy here.  It is warm and we are in the pool everyday – near the start of the day for coffee.  Kathy is doing her pool exercise regime as I type this and I typically spend an hour or so every afternoon in the shady part of the pool.  If any of you gentle readers are consider a move to the tropics, I would suggest assigning a high priority to a swimming pool.

Kathy went to a two week intensive Spanish class, but has done little language learning since then, though we incorporate some into our daily lives.  She is picking up on more and more of the language and plans to return to classes Real Soon Now.

That is it for now.

Day trip to Celestun

A couple of weeks ago we took a day trip to Celestun, on the Gulf coast.  We had been there before, during our first trip to Merida in November, 2006.  On that trip we took the bus there and then took a boat up the estuary to see the flamingos:

DSCN3731That day there was a bus waiting when we got off the boat, so we headed back to Mérida without seeing much more.

On this trip we spend a little time on the beach, eating tasty garlic shrimp at La Playita.  For the record, the difference between the large camaorn a mojo de ajo and the small one is the size of the shrimp, not the size of the serving.  We recommend the large.

On the way there we went through Hunucmá.  It is a nice drive.  On the way back we took the bypass which is quite a bit quicker.  Here are some photos of our day:

Lunch time viewP1080454Kids on the beachP1080455The old man (me)  and the Sea
P1080459
The leaning tower of Celestun
P1080467
The pier and the leaning tower – nice beach there

P1080466