A Travellerspoint blog

Adios Chicxulub.....

sunny 35 °C

I am collecting memories of warmth and sunshine to get me through what is left of the winter.
Janet (Andrea's cousin) and I were walking back home from Chicxulub one hot and sunny day....when we turned down the side road to get to the beach we spied a horse where we normally only see fishing boats. On reaching the beach we discovered two horses standing waiting patiently for their riders who were cooling off in the ocean...it was about 37 degrees....what great beach treasures!
A surprise on the beach

A surprise on the beach

Two waiting patiently

Two waiting patiently

Not sure if this has been posted before, but this is part of a small display in Chicxulub town square that explains what happened when the Chicxulub area was hit by an enormous meteor forming the Chicxulub crater and causing the destruction of dinosaurs on earth.
In Chicxulub square explains the Chicxulub

In Chicxulub square explains the Chicxulub

One morning we tried an old traditional restaurant in Progreso for breakfast... The eggs Motoleño were impressive as were the old windows of the restaurant.
Eggs, Motuleño style

Eggs, Motuleño style

Windows on an old retaurant

Windows on an old retaurant

Image from inside the old retaurant

Image from inside the old retaurant

I just have to include a picture of our new favorite drink...made by Dos Equis, it's called a "Radler". It's a mixture of citrus juices and beer...and the best part....it's only 2 percent beer, so very refreshing on a hot day!
Our new favorite drink

Our new favorite drink

The fair is in Chicxulub for the two weeks of Semana Santa (Easter), and our Canadian neighbours always go to have turkey soup at Carolina's in the square, followed by a session of bumper cars....so we decided to join them. Sharon, the expat Canadian who organizes the food bank and other programs, invited the members of the "conversation class" to join in the dinner and fun. Maria, a woman from Chiapas who sells her hand embroidered blouses on the malecon in Progreso (yes...I have a number of her tops!), and three of her children came. It was nice to be able to chat with them outside of the normal "circumstances" and to meet her children.

Alexis and Maria from Chiapas

Alexis and Maria from Chiapas

Andrea and Maria's daughter, Gaby

Andrea and Maria's daughter, Gaby

Little helper...

Little helper...


This adorable little one was at Carolina's in the square "helping" her mum...she was pretending to write out the bills and handing change to Andrea, who then handed it back to her mum behind her back.

The group had a blast on the bumper cars while I held numerous cameras and snapped photos...it's amazing how seemingly quiet people can turn into whirling dervishes bent on a search and destroy mission when seated in one of the cars!
We finished out the week by discovering a great little coffee shop in Progreso where we sampled Red Velvet hot chocolate, a breakfast at the Naval Base in Progreso, a BBQ at a friends and dinner at Rue 21 in Chicxulub, which had just opened for Easter...fantastic gourmet food!

At the naval base in Progreso

At the naval base in Progreso


It's time to pack things up, hop on the coach to Cancun and say adiós to Mexico for this winter...here is the view from the home that I have rented for Andy and myself next year. He will be able to finish up his dental implants and then enjoy the warmth and sun....oh, yes...we have three bedrooms if anyone will be in the area! Lots to explore...colonial cities, cenotes and Mayan ruins are just a start!!

View of the house from the road

View of the house from the road

View of the gulf...

View of the gulf...

Side wall of the house and down to the sea

Side wall of the house and down to the sea

Posted by hermanita 10:45 Archived in Mexico Tagged chicxulub Comments (0)

Campeche and cenotes....and caballeros!

sunny 35 °C

This will be a week of saying adios to many of the people we have spent time with this winter as the exodus has begun. Monday a.m. saw Dara and I walking down the beach to say bye to our friends John and Maggie who graciously welcomed us on December 31st with a gumbo dinner! That done, we kept walking into Chicxulub for panuchos and a market run. The fair is being set up for Semana Santa with some very old, but picturesque rides. As usual I did stop to take door and window shots as well as a few others.
Chicxulub door..such colours

Chicxulub door..such colours

A Chicxulub door

A Chicxulub door

Lovely old ironwork window grill in Chicxulub

Lovely old ironwork window grill in Chicxulub

Patiently waiting on a sidewalk in Chicxulub

Patiently waiting on a sidewalk in Chicxulub

A surprise awaits inside....

A surprise awaits inside....

One of the fair rides

One of the fair rides

We rented a car for a few days to do a couple of day trips and decided that Tuesday was a good day to visit Campeche, about 21/2 hours away in the state of Campeche. Andrea and I set off with our friend Linda at 7:00 a.m., the highway is four lane all the way there and in very good shape, so Andrea, our driver, just zipped along. At one point we did stop at a road side stand so Andrea could purchase a pig....yes...a pig....of the BBQ sort....well, not for the BBQ but to be the BBQ!
Andrea's new piggy BBQ

Andrea's new piggy BBQ


It kind of gives a whole new meaning to having some "fire in the belly"!

Linda has been to Campeche a number of times and was kind enough to be our "tour guide". We wandered about admiring the brightly coloured buildings and historical sites. Campeche was attacked so many times by pirates that a wall was built around the city with four bastions which are currently under restoration along with most of the wall. The city, which was founded in 1540 as the Spanish began the conquest of the Yucatan Peninsula, was declared a World Heritage Site in 1997. During the colonial period, the city was a rich and important port, but declined after Mexico’s Independence. Campeche used to be part of the province of Yucatán (the state we are in) but split off in the mid-19th century, mostly due to political friction with city of Mérida.
Streets of Campeche

Streets of Campeche

Campeche street scape

Campeche street scape

Room at the Campeche museum

Room at the Campeche museum

Campeche cathedral

Campeche cathedral


Museum house in Campeche

Museum house in Campeche

The city is full of wonderful sculptures, see some pictures below.....
Wonderful street sculpture

Wonderful street sculpture


new amigos in Campeche

new amigos in Campeche


Great public art sculpture outside the cathedral

Great public art sculpture outside the cathedral

One of the Campeche centro sculptures

One of the Campeche centro sculptures


Andrea y su amigo

Andrea y su amigo

A few other images from our lovely day in Campeche...
Tower at the small botanical garden

Tower at the small botanical garden

at the botanical garden

at the botanical garden

Shows thickness of the wall

Shows thickness of the wall

lovely Campeche door...too bad there's a garbage bag to go

lovely Campeche door...too bad there's a garbage bag to go


Wall under reconstruction

Wall under reconstruction

How hot was it...check out the back pack sweat marks on this fellow

How hot was it...check out the back pack sweat marks on this fellow

at lunch

at lunch

Cenotes...or sinkholes.....in the state of Yucatan there are over 6,000 cenotes, with only 2,400 of them actually studies and registered. The Mayan people called them dzonot, which the conquering Spaniards translated as Cenotes. Cenotes are magical, unique in the world and were once the only source of fresh water in the Yucatan jungle. The Yucatan peninsula is a porous limestone shelf with no visible rivers; all the fresh water rivers are underground. Caverns and caves formed where the fresh water collects and the water that gathers in them is crystal clear, often turquoise in colour and always around 27 degrees. The stalactites and stalagmites that form inside the cenotes are true works of art with spectacular formations. The cenotes were sacred to the Mayans as they represented the entrance to the underworld and they come in four types: underground, semi-underground, at land level and open wells.
One day this week we set out to explore some of the closer cenotes. We started with San Ignacio cenote which had received a glowing write up in the Yucatan Today. We were a little surprised when we arrived to find there was an entry fee of 70 pesos per person and that we couldn't stay for a picnic lunch as there was a restaurant on site. We paid, got our admission bracelet and climbed down into the cenote. It was a totally covered one, quite small and there was a tour guide there with a group of ten young people who had very loud voices and used them frequently. After five or ten minutes we decided we'd had enough and made for the exit ladder...on our way we chatted with the tour guide and he told us of another cenote nearby that was quite nice and less expensive. We decided that San Ignacio was much too commercial a venture for our liking and will leave it to the small tours! An image from this place that we stayed at for such a short time....
Closed cenote at San Ignacio

Closed cenote at San Ignacio

Only 20 minutes later we arrived at a lovely San Antonio Mulix, near Cacao and community run "park" with two cenotes, picnic tables, change rooms and a nature trail. The names of the two cenotes are X-Batun (an open cenote) and Dzonbacal (a closed cenote). Thankfully, it was very noncommercial, unlike San Ignacio and we enjoyed our lunch before heading to the cenote X-Batun which we had all to ourselves.
First glimpse of the open cenote

First glimpse of the open cenote


X-Batun open cenote

X-Batun open cenote


The girls enjoying the cool water on a hot day

The girls enjoying the cool water on a hot day


I am enjoying the open, first cenote

I am enjoying the open, first cenote

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After a refreshing swim we headed down the dusty track to cenote Dzonbcal, which was a covered one. There were a few young people swimming and as they were leaving they told us about another great cenote ten minutes away in Peba. After a wonderful swim in the soft, clear water with staligmites all around us we set off for the last swim of the day. The cost for admission to the two cenotes and the facilities was 5 0 pesos per person and worth every penny in our humble opinions.
Stairs leading down to the second cenote

Stairs leading down to the second cenote


Dara taking a dip with Andrea in back ground

Dara taking a dip with Andrea in back ground

The last cenote in Penba (called Sambula) was not marked...the village is down a long country road, but quite accessible. We did have to stop and ask where the cenote was located....down the road with the school. An old gentleman manning a ancient wooden gate collected ten pesos per person for admittance. At first glance the cenote looked to be a small one with a rock wall around the entrance, but when we got to the stone stairs leading down we saw it was quite expansive. It was mostly covered, with a bit of sunlight creeping in to flicker on the walls and the water creating a magical atmosphere. Andrea decided to go commando as we were the only ones there and was enjoying a lovely swim when we heard voices....never seen her move so fast towards her sun dress!!
Walking up to the Peba cenote...doesn't look promising

Walking up to the Peba cenote...doesn't look promising


Stone steps leading down to the Peba cenote

Stone steps leading down to the Peba cenote


In Peba cenote

In Peba cenote


This next image is kind of weird but it shows you just how clear the water is....you can see my toes clearly trying to reach the bottom but missing and the water is up to my hands!!
oh so clear and refreshing

oh so clear and refreshing


Finally finished swimming

Finally finished swimming

On the way out we chatted with the gate keeper and mentioned that some picnic tables would be a nice addition...he laughed and told us he had his table and chairs....which he proceeded to display to us....reminded me of the furniture from the Fred Flinstones TV show!
Old man and his home made table and chairs

Old man and his home made table and chairs


We finished our day with a drive back through Uman and a stop in the centro to check out the cathederal.
The fabulous Uman Cathedral

The fabulous Uman Cathedral

The dome of the Uman Cathedral

The dome of the Uman Cathedral

Ouside the Uman Cathedral

Ouside the Uman Cathedral

As a few more friends are heading to the great white north, and we have a car for one more day, we decided that a trip to Dzitya was in order. This is a small village about 30 minutes outside of Merida that produces wooden, onyx and marble products. Our little group wandered around looking in the shops, but the highlight of the visit was seeing " una plaza de torro temporal " (a temporary bull flight ring)......being set up for the upcoming Samana Santa festivities. It was very old fashioned, long poles tied with twine...just as it would have been in the old days. We're rather glad it wasn't going on while we were there as things didn't look all that sturdy!
The temporary bull ring

The temporary bull ring

Try to spy the church through the bull ring...

Try to spy the church through the bull ring...

The old fashioned carousel

The old fashioned carousel

Fred Flinstone rides awaiting los niños

Fred Flinstone rides awaiting los niños

A short thirty minute drive brought us to La Hacienda Xcanatun, an old hacienda built in 1846 and extensively renovated in 2000. This hacienda, set in nine acres of gardens, has been converted into an exclusive boutique hotel and restaurant.
Www.xcanatun.com. (you will be drooling over the pictures of the rooms!!!)
We, unfortunately, were not staying over but we did partake of a lovely lunch on the veranda of the restaurant. Wonderful food, great service surrounded by lush gardens...what more can one ask or wish for!
Wonderful gardens

Wonderful gardens


Relaxing in the grounds of the hacienda

Relaxing in the grounds of the hacienda


A room they use for quartet concerts

A room they use for quartet concerts


Just get me my chair...

Just get me my chair...


Another lovely veranda

Another lovely veranda

At the hacienda

At the hacienda

Ginger flower at the hacienda

Ginger flower at the hacienda

As there is a farm on the outskirts of Progress we often see horses being riden down the beach and sometimes even tied up outside houses in Chicxulub.
Caballeros on the beach just after sunset.....

Caballeros on the beach just after sunset.....


Saturday I saw a sight that will hopefully be a memory for a long time to come....as I didn't have a camera. Dara and I were on the way back from our power walk into Progreso on the beach when we came across a lone caballero on his beautiful white horse. He was in a sand yard right by the beach practicing circles, first one way and then the other. The horse was magnificent; legs and head held high like a lipizzaner stallion and the caballero sported a huge, ancient sombrero. As I turned to watch he looked up for a moment and flashed a huge grin as we both waved in unison. It was one of those moments that leaves an impression and a feeling of the simple wonders of this world.

Posted by hermanita 08:58 Archived in Mexico Tagged campeche merida chicxulub Comments (0)

And the heat goes on......

sunny 40 °C

An image to start out the week....
Post card perfect!

Post card perfect!

Road Trip...yipee, ten of us ladies decided that a trip to the town of Kimbala was in order. This town, about 1 1/2 hours from Chicxulub, is renowned for the embroidered clothing that is sold in Merida and the area. Carlos, our trusty driver and his white steed....really his 12 seater white van...picked us up at 8:15 and we were on the way to Kimbala...kind of sounds like a movie title! There were four or five shops in the main square and more scattered around the town. We were invited into the back of one of he shops to see how the embroidery was done and it gave us a whole new appreciation for this type of work! The embroidered patterns are not done by computerized machines, but by hand using embroidery hoops on regular sewing machines. The sewers worked so fast it was hard to see the pattern as they went along. We all managed to find a few items to add to our collection of clothes from the Yucatan before heading off to a hacienda for our lunch.
Embroidery in Kimbala

Embroidery in Kimbala

Embroidery at Kimbala. by machine but guided by hand

Embroidery at Kimbala. by machine but guided by hand

Kimbala church

Kimbala church


The hacienda was a lovely old one with peacocks wandering around the yard. One of them seemed to be totally enamoured by a large starling and spent our entire lunch shaking his tail feathers and making "lovie dove" eyes at it!

Our friends John and Mary volunteer at one of the local schools and teach an English class once a week, on Friday they invited me to join them. What fun it was to play English memory games with the students. We concentrated on "family" words which is what they asked to learn...mother, father son, daughter etc. All the children received a small prize for trying and cookies when they left as it was the last English lesson of the winter. The schools are in dire need of pretty much everything from books and balls to skipping ropes and pens. I will have to keep my eyes peeled for items that might be easy to bring down next year, perhaps I will be able to volunteer for the entire winter....yes , we have rented our own house for the winter!
In the evening, we were invited to attend a chocolate workshop at our friend Linda's. We learned Mayan mythology about chocolate, where the cocoa beans are grown and how chocolate is made. Then, we roasted the beans and ground them with a bit of cinnamon and sugar before "infusing" some spiritual thoughts into each ball of chocolate.
Grinding the cocoa beans

Grinding the cocoa beans

Saturday is the slow food market in Merida so Andrea and I headed in with our friend Linda. We should have taken into account that the temperature for the day was to be 37 in Merida, but we really wanted to visit the market and also a Oaxaca Fair that was going on. Needless to say, by the time we we getting on the bus for Progreso, we were exhausted and overheated! The bus to Progreso is normally air conditioned but we ended up on an old bus that "spat" out semi cool air every five minutes or so......and as it left Merida it picked up more and more passengers till the entire aisle and front steps were jam packed. It was a great time to practice "putting" my mind elsewhere and forgetting about someones purse digging into my head and the perspiration running rivers down my back! We did get more great shots on our walkabout in Merida....
As everyone says here TIM........(no, not what you're thinking...not Timmies)......"This is Mexico".....about three out of every five things here work as we think they should...perhaps we need to change the way we think!

Yes Veronica, there is a slow food market in Merida!

Yes Veronica, there is a slow food market in Merida!


church in Santiago square , Merida

church in Santiago square , Merida


Another incredible Merida home

Another incredible Merida home

the brilliant colours of Merida

the brilliant colours of Merida

the stone walls that are under most of the stucco

the stone walls that are under most of the stucco

Anyone want to buy a house....some going cheap!

Anyone want to buy a house....some going cheap!

Entrance to the Oaxaca fair with the old penetentiary in the background

Entrance to the Oaxaca fair with the old penetentiary in the background

another beauty

another beauty

We arrived back at the house to our now usual "return from Merida" routine......head for the pool or the ocean on the double and jump in!!
Managed to get a few nice sunset shots this evening and Andrea took some great ones of Liam flying their kite.
Let's go fly a kite....up to the highest heights...

Let's go fly a kite....up to the highest heights...

beautiful sunset looking towards Progreso

beautiful sunset looking towards Progreso

Progreso was home to the 2nd National Kite Surfing Competition his week......See shot below...however, they were moving so fast, this is the only shot of the kites minus the surfers!
2nd national kite surfing competition...hard to get good shots!

2nd national kite surfing competition...hard to get good shots!

Midweek, Andrea and I wandered into Progreso to do a bit of souvenier/gift shopping and stopped for a limonada on the beach. As it was cruise ship day, it was "interesting" as always. Below are a couple of images from our day....one man sporting a humongous sombrero whilst drinking a beer in the sea and a woman who had just gotten a fake tattoo on her behind. Apparently she wanted it to dry so she proceeded to waltz around town with her bathing suit bottom pulled half way down her bum with most of her "crack" showing! We were half laughing and half disgusted when Francisco, the owner of the restaurant we were sitting at, came by and said with a very straight face "She wants to be a piggy bank".....it sent us into fits of laughter ..or should I say it "cracked" us right up.....oh, the things we see on cruise ship day!
The sights on cruise ship day!

The sights on cruise ship day!

Let it all hang out

Let it all hang out

It's almost the end of March and the snowbirds are starting to head home...who knew that it would still be snowing!
We don't leave until the 12th, so have almost another two weeks. It has been very warm with the winds from the south instead of the north, so spring has come to the Yucatan. Our thermometer, on the patio today read 40 degrees...yes, it was a float in the ocean and pool kind of day.
If Dara and I do our power walks into Progreso, they have to be done by 8:00 otherwise it is just too hot....not that I'm complaining...for me it can rarely be too hot!

We bought tickets to go to the third annual Merida music festival at a hacienda outside of Merida on Saturday....what a good decision that turned out to be. The venue was Hacienda Dzbikak, approximately one hour outside of Merida and the organizers had provided bus transportation from Merida and also a bus from Progreso. We were delighted when we arrived at this incredible hacienda...lush grounds, tables and chairs set up underneath tents for shade...it was so beautiful.

Front of the hacienda

Front of the hacienda

Part of the outdoor space

Part of the outdoor space

The hacienda still has the old smoke stack from the henequen

The hacienda still has the old smoke stack from the henequen

Veranda of the hacienda

Veranda of the hacienda

Another dining room view

Another dining room view

Dining room in the hacienda

Dining room in the hacienda

The bar in the hacienda...got to love the pasta tile floor

The bar in the hacienda...got to love the pasta tile floor

The organizers had arranged for various food vendors (none the same) to be on site and there were also some vendors of artisan products. The organizers are a British fellow and an Irish man...who owns an Irish pub in Merida...they did a super job!
There was a Carlos Santana tribute band,. some incredible female singers (including one from Cuba) and a couple of other bands that had people up dancing. Children under 12 were admitted free and they were having a blast running around on the grass, dancing and just enjoying the general merriment....even though it was 38 degrees...there was a bit of a breeze! If anyone is interested...www.meridamusicfestival.com

The first band to play

The first band to play

Carlos Santana Tribute Band

Carlos Santana Tribute Band

Below are pictures of the drum group Batucada Do Fogo...they were great fun.
Drum group having fun

Drum group having fun

A young drum group

A young drum group

A fun market day with our neighbour Louisette with the caretaker Antonio at the controls!
image

image


Sunsets here are often fantastic and you will often see people running out to catch a good shot...one of our neighbours takes a few every night..he must have a huge collection by now!
image

image

Posted by hermanita 13:47 Archived in Mexico Comments (2)

Carnival week, lazy hot days and el norte!

sunny 29 °C

When the sea is like glass, it's wonderful to float around and watch the world go by. One afternoon, Andrea and I were doing just that when I felt something hit me in the back of the head! Andrea, who was facing me a few feet away started laughing and shrieking! A silvery school of tiny flying fish had come up behind us and were skimming over the surface of the water. They were only about two or three inches long but as soon as they appeared, the sea gulls and pelicans homed in on them. It was quite funny to watch the antics of the birds trying to catch as many as they could. At one point in the fray, there was a sea gull standing on the head of a pelican trying to and get closer to the fish. The pelicans would take to the air only to plunge down, in a very ungracefull fashion, wings awry to hit the water (with a huge kerplunk) and catch a fish with deadly accuracy. After watching this "ballet" for a bit, Andrea thought she had an air bubble in her bathing suit top....NOT....turned out that one of the little fellows had jumped right into her bathing suit and was struggling to get out!

Carnival at the "anceanos".....or the old folks home. We were invited to watch the carnival events at the local seniors home on Monday and what a treat it was. The king and queen were crowned, they danced and then the show began!
King and Queen at anceanos

King and Queen at anceanos

Nun at the anceanos getting a shot of the king and queen

Nun at the anceanos getting a shot of the king and queen

King and Queen dancing

King and Queen dancing


Dancing girls, much to the delight of some of the senior men, furry lions and cats, ladies with horse heads and more. It was a well put together show and afterwards there was a lunch of locally prepared foods including tamales. The king of the carnival at "anceanos" is only 56, much younger than all the others, but he is a severe diabetic, blind and is at risk of losing his foot. He has no family so he stays with the "ancianos" or old ones. The queen, looked to be about 80 or so, but the two of them managed to dance for close to half an hour which I thought was pretty good! Many of the Canadians here volunteer at the seniors home helping with exercise classes, painting and general maintenance.
King and Queen with the dancers

King and Queen with the dancers

Dara dancing with one of the seniors

Dara dancing with one of the seniors

The carnival parade in Progreso was held on Tuesday and was a finale to the many events of the Carnival week. Our view from the window tables in Flamingos was perfect and we managed to get some great shots of the parade.
Progreso carnival parade float

Progreso carnival parade float

The Canadian float in the carnival parade

The Canadian float in the carnival parade


The huge carnival in Merida (the third largest in the world) has been moved from downtown Merida to the suburbs this year and apparently was not well attended. The people who live in centro are happy about the move because , as with any big event, there is lots of damage to property , traffic snarls and garbage. It remains to be seen if the city will reverse their decision or leave the event outside the city. I've attached a few shots of the Progreso Carnival parade so you can see how crowded it was compared to the normally "sleepy" progreso.
Merenge man with the tray of goodies on his head

Merenge man with the tray of goodies on his head

Little carnival girls

Little carnival girls

A sweetheart during carnival

A sweetheart during carnival

Dara and Andrea's daughter Sheena and her boyfriend Adam arrived...with guitar and Adam (who has a band in Ottawa) has been entertaining crowds with his great renditions of Beatles songs, he has become quite the celebrity! . In the week and a half they've been here he's played at Faces in Progreso, Bamboo Beach in Chicxulub (where we ate the most delicious Chilies Nogados) and at Pantaleons (Natasha's place)....where we had everyone up dancing and singing! It was especially heartwarming to see a woman we have met, Mary Alice, up dancing and really enjoying Adams music. She is suffering from Huntingtons disease and has lost the power of speech and has difficulty with movement....but she still loves to dance. She danced the whole time Adam played and it was very obvious from the look on her face that she was delighted he was there.
Adam..on the right...playing at Faces in Progreso

Adam..on the right...playing at Faces in Progreso

Chiles Nogados....very tasty

Chiles Nogados....very tasty


The chilies nogados are traditionally eaten around the Mexican Independence Day as they show the "red, white and green" of the Mexican flag. The chiles are stuffed with a mixture of spiced meat and raisins then covered in a white sauce made from cream and ground walnuts. The dish is then topped with pomegranate seeds...in our case chopped strawberries for the little bit of red. This meal was probably the best meal we've had here and Dara dragged Charlie, the shy owner and chef of Bamboo Beach, out for a round of applause!
Adam also got to do a gig at Faces on Friday night....the whole place was up dancing and having a blast...he is in the right place for Beatles music as the average age here is around 65-70!! Many people have asked them to return next year and offered them a place to stay!

While showing "the kids" around the area, we walked along the beach into Chicxulub and had panuchos for our breakfast. These delicious morsels (only found in the Yucatan of Mexico) are freshly made corn tortillas sandwiched together with black bean puree, fried crispy then topped with shreded chicken, lettuce, tomato and avocado. These delicious morsels got washed down with a huge jug of freshly squeezed orange juice from the juice vendor beside the market. A one litre bag of fresh juice is about 1.50 Canadian!
cushions sewn and ready for the Christmas hampers

cushions sewn and ready for the Christmas hampers


cushions sewn and ready for the Christmas hampers

cushions sewn and ready for the Christmas hampers

An additional trip to el Corchito was also in order with visitors in town...we did get some cute pictures...
Coatamundi at El Corchito

Coatamundi at El Corchito

curious racoons inspecting Adams guitar case at El Corchito

curious racoons inspecting Adams guitar case at El Corchito


Fun at El Corchito

Fun at El Corchito

Many of the local restaurants are starting to host "Farewell" dinners for the Canadians. I think Sheena said it well when she stated that she and Adam found this area to be much more of a "community" rather than just a holiday destination. The people that live here for the winter really do tend to get involved and help in any way they can.

I have finished the Gansey sweater that I brought the wool down for....kindly donated by a brown sheep named Edith. The pattern is my own design, taking into account the history of the Ganseys...I'm quite happy with how it turned out, but it was hot knitting in 30 degree weather!
My Gansey sweater is all done...my own pattern

My Gansey sweater is all done...my own pattern


Also a few images from our trip into Merida with Sheena and Adam...
balloon vendor in Merida centro

balloon vendor in Merida centro

Sheena and Andrea dancing in Santa Lucia square

Sheena and Andrea dancing in Santa Lucia square

We had quite a surprise after our day of 37 degrees...an el norte...coming from the north west (they usually come from the north east) hit on St. Paddy's Day....the waves were so high up the beach that when I walked back from gardening at a friends, I was in water past my knees and wet to my waist...the wind was howling and our care takers small boat got buried! It took them an hour the next day to dig it back out! It was totally fun being out in such a high wind and I enjoyed getting soaked as the ocean was quite warm....yahooo!!
The calm before the storm

The calm before the storm

What happens to your boat after El Norte!

What happens to your boat after El Norte!

Posted by hermanita 17:26 Archived in Mexico Tagged d Comments (2)

Lazy days in the sun

These days the temperatures are pretty much 29-31 degrees Celsius each day, so any beach walking looking for treasures or to the market is usually done by 10 am or after 4 pm. We are starting to see more of the locals from Merida out in their boats and on the beach in Progreso, especially on the weekends. The contrast between the Meridians, who own most of the houses along the beach front as their summer cottages and the locals in the Chicxulub area is pretty significant. You can see locals in their small "lanchas" or skifs oaring out to check their nets while a flashy new yacht goes cruising by.
It is amazing to see how hard the fishermen work, they may paddle out to set the nets three times a day on a calm day. It takes the best of two hours to paddle out, set the nets and paddle back to the beach. Three hours later they do it all in reverse and see how many fish they have caught. Pulling the fish from the nets takes time and expertise as there can be testy crabs with pinchers and fish with sharp spines.
our care takers Antonio and Maria and their catch

our care takers Antonio and Maria and their catch

Funky crab claw

Funky crab claw

The locals here are very kind, they would give you the shirt off their own back if they thought you needed it more than they did. Our cuidadora or care-taker, has brought us plates of fried fish on several occasions, presented so nicely on a plate. The plate may be plastic and melted in places on the sides, but the message is very clear, she Is grateful for what she has and wants to share her good fortune with us. It warms my heart and soul.
This is a peaceful place and it has prompted me to go back to my teenage aspirations of being a "poet" and write some prose.......

A Chicxulub Afternoon

I sit here in this humble place...
this menage of green sea, blue sky and sand.
The horizon goes on forever.
Fishermen in ancient skiffs scull their way to the nets...
birds congregate, wheeling overhead, waiting for scraps.
A faint breeze, the whispers of the waves...
I am wrapped in contentedness.

Last night I put a lounge chair pad on the sea wall and lay looking at the stars for a bit. Without the bright lights of the city, they seemed so close, it's hard to believe that some of them have ceased to exist. There was a warm breeze caressing my skin and the sound of the waves curling into the sand was so soft....to me, it was perfection!
beach walk for me

beach walk for me

In the morning when I walked into Chicxulub for fruit at the market, I saw 30 or so boats getting ready to head out. However, this time they looked a bit different....they had compressors and hoses on board. I thought this might mean that the fishermen were going diving so I asked one of them if they were going out for "pepinos de mar" or sea cucumbers. He advised that yes, they were preparing the boats to go out the next day as the season starts then. They get good money selling the "sea cucumbers" to the Asian market, but the season is short and the penalties for harvesting them out of season is very high.
On the way back from Chicxulub I saw a tons of boats racing towards Chicxulub from the Chelem direction, they seemed to never stop!

Midmorning we left to we visit a near by local bio-reserve called El Corchito...see photos of the spring water cenotes, mangroves and the wild life, including a coatamundi!
the cenote at el Corchito

the cenote at el Corchito

coatimundi

coatimundi

coatimundi that was so cute

coatimundi that was so cute

When we got back home, the parade of boats continued. It seemed like every boat from Veracruz on down must be zooming by the house! We will try to find out if there is a specific area that the boats have to be in...it's quite a mystery! We must have seen over 200 boats while we have been at home and a friend, who walked up the beach and was here all day, says that it hadn't stopped all day!
Incredibly enough, the boat migration continued into the evening (and overnight) so when I went next door to my conversation class I asked what was up with all the boats. The story is that the fishermen, with large enough "barcas" , head to Dzilam de Bravo or Santa Clara as these are the best places to find the pepinos de mar. As the distance is so far, approximately 80 Kilometres, they stay there for the season, around three weeks and camp on the beach. We were told that most of the diving is free diving or just a hose down to the sea bottom with air from a compressor and that 3-5 fishermen end up with the bends, and have to be treated in the decompression chamber in Progreso (which can hold up to ten people in beds). Two years ago when we were here they lost one of the fishermen due to the bends. I was told that over 1000 boats make this migration twice a year...it really is something to see, there is such an urgency to their journey , the "barcos" slamming up and down on the waves, racing each other. And, it really makes us think that almost all the boats on the Mexican gulf must be racing past us to the harvesting grounds.
boats racing to the pepino grounds.

boats racing to the pepino grounds.

The picture does not do justice to this army of boats.....the noise and the pounding on the waves was spectacular.

Tuesday morning invited us to walk down the wide expanse of beach to Progreso for a "big breakfast" at a tiny restaurant called Sol Y Mar. You can see from the picture what a delight it was!
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IMG_20140225_104515

Afterwards, Dara headed home but Andrea and I decided to stay and browse the vendors...and people watch as a cruise ship was in port. It's always interesting to watch the interactions between the American cruisers and the locals!
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Some vendors set up on the Malecon.

We took a break and sat on the beach watching one very inexperienced woman on a jet ski just about take out some swimmers and another couple who fell off their jet ski, which kept in circling around them! They obviously didn't have the strap attached that pulls the key out if you fall off! A stop for a few veggies at the market led us to sit down for a fresh juice drink which ended up being so much more. We spent a delightful half hour chatting with the owner of the tiny shop and her grand daughter, helping them with English words for some of the fruits and veggies they use in their drinks and just chatting in general. Oh, yes...our delicious and nutritious drink was composed of fresh orange juice, pineapple, chaya (a spinach like leafy green), celery and nopal (cactus)...a meal in it's self!
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We boarded the bus to come home and managed to get seats but along the way we picked up about 20 giggling, jostling teenagers just out of school....they are the same everywhere!
We arrived home to find Dara entertaining these two half dressed sluts....well truth be told, someone left them on our patio and he thinks we are supposed to knit clothes for them..poor things!
Dara and the hussies

Dara and the hussies

A sad note to the end of the week, we found out that a 42 year old fishermen has died from the bends while diving for pepinos, they couldn't get him to the decompression chamber in time. The lure of making a significant (for them) amount of money in a short amount of time is too strong and they end up taking risks that they normally wouldn't.

Thought I'd include a few shots from over the past few weeks including some of the wonderful new Museo de Maya in Merida and a few of the fun Murder Mystery we went to with neighbours.
Andrea dressed as a cat lady librarian and Dara the sleazy real estate guy
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IMG_20140226_201237


Sleazy Dara and his cheezy wife
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Museo de Maya in Merida

Museo de Maya in Merida

Hand painted Mayan heads outside the Museo

Hand painted Mayan heads outside the Museo

Cathy and I enjoying the waves...sort of...

Cathy and I enjoying the waves...sort of...

Posted by hermanita 19:04 Archived in Mexico Comments (2)

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