A Travellerspoint blog

The girls are home alone!!

Our company has left, closely followed by Dara...so what can we get up to?

sunny 30 °C

The weekend was hot and quiet....lounging by the pool/beach and early morning walks down the beach to get fresh squeezed orange juice at the Chicxulub market.. On Sunday, I had created a lovely raw beet, carrot and jicama salad, which we were half way through, when the caretaker knocked at the door with three lovely yellow tail snapper fried up and ready for us to eat! Maria is such a hard worker and a sweet person....needless to say, we had such a delicious lunch.
beet carrot jicama salad

beet carrot jicama salad

fish

fish

We were asked to participate in a fund raiser for the Chicxulub Food Bank. The event was a combined meal, fashion show and raffle. Local artisans and restaurants donated the prizes which were raffled off and a local Merida clothing store supplied the clothes for the fashion show. What fun to be models in the show! There were over 100 people in attendance and with their support we managed to raise about $2000 for the cause...well it was actually about $1700 till Dara decided to go table to table offering to do ANYTHING to get more money. He even offered to strip if people would pay.......They said they would pay him to KEEP HIS CLOTHES ON , it was too hillarious!!!
fashion show 7

fashion show 7

fashion show10

fashion show10

fashion show 8

fashion show 8

fashion show4

fashion show4

fashion show12

fashion show12

fashion show7

fashion show7

There is such a unique group of people living and visiting this part of the Yucatan. Some of these people get together twice a month at Bamboo Beach Restaurant in Chicxulub for the Muelle Market (pier market in English). There are locals with fresh breads, chimichuri sauces, jams, homemade tamales, cheeses ect as well as snowbirds with jewlery, knitted items and clothing. Its tons of fun to see all the wares and also chat with old and new friends while browsing.
market

market

market2

market2


market3

market3

Friday morning Andrea and I walked down the beach to Chicxulub to help pack the grocery bags for the Food Bank "dispensa" that will take place tomorrow. About ten volunteers showed up to help pack the 89 bags which contain some basics...oil, salt, rice, beans, pasta, biscuits, sugar, milk and detergent. These bags are given to very needy families once per month which helps a little. If they have children, they also receive vitamins with their supplies. If anyone is interested in supporting a family for a year, it costs $75 and here is a list of what they get each month.
list for food bank monthly dispensa

list for food bank monthly dispensa

This is what 89 bags look like all ready to go! The restaurant, Bamboo Beach, is kind enough to allow us to use their space to assemble the bags and then store them overnight till the dispensa the next day.
food bank

food bank

Oh, and you never know who you are going to meet in Chicxulub!!! Maggie, Andrea and I hamming it up with a giant chili!!
chili

chili

I'm going to put this request out there.........The food bank is in the middle of preparing a summer program for the children of Chicxulub and are looking for a donation of a used (or new) projector that they can hook up to a computer and also for 1 or 2 microscopes. So, if you work for a company that might be upgrading their equipment sometime soon or if you have such a thing collecting dust in your basement we would love to be able to get it for them and will take care of getting it down here. The website for the food bank is www.foodbankchicxulub.com if you would like to check it out. They do offer a receipt for tax purposes. We are still knitting chemo hats for the children in the area and will try to post a picture sometime soon.
Thanks once again to Bonnie and France who sent hats down with me!

Day of the dispensa....Andrea all set up at the vitamin table to make sure the mums with children get their vitamins.
IMG_20140215_122039

IMG_20140215_122039


The line up waiting for the dispensa to start. The recipients are visited in their residences and interviewed before being added to the list.
IMG_20140215_122032

IMG_20140215_122032


Sharon receiving tabs from beer and drink cans from Charlie, owner of Bamboo Beach. The tabs are chrocheted into incredible purses by one of the local Chicxulub ladies who is in a tough economic situation and the proceeds of the sales help. So, if you drink beer or soft drinks with coloured tabs, please save them for us and we will get them to her!
IMG_20140215_133652

IMG_20140215_133652


Delores making one of the crocheted bags She will custom make them in any colour and size.

Delores making one of the crocheted bags She will custom make them in any colour and size.

One of the lovely hand made purses....

One of the lovely hand made purses....

Many of the local Progreso and Chicxulub restaurants had Valentines Day specials advertised, but we were invited to the home of our friends, John and Maggie, where John proceeded to cook dinner for the ladies....including another friend Janet....what a nice treat!
A few pictures of some wonderful flowers on our walk down there...
flower

flower

flower1

flower1

flower2

flower2

We've been alternating between relaxing by the water and keeping ourselves busy lately. This morning, I walked down the beach to a friends house to assist with some landscaping (which many of you know I love). Linda rents a cute house one sand road in from the beach; however when she rented it the back yard was overrun with castor bean plants which grow like weeds here. I think she said that an episode of LOST could have been filmed in the back yard which is enormous. We dug and shifted rocks from one place to another for a few hours before I hit the beach to head back home. Mid afternoon Andrea and I decided that a trip to the local bakery was in order.....come on......I did work lugging rocks for a few hours and Andrea did walk into Progreso and hump home some groceries! I use the term "bakery" loosely as this place does not resemble anything like a bakery in Canada. The young boys who run the bakery appear to be about 14 years old and burst into fits of nervous giggling when we go in....kind of like a bunch of school girls, but they are very sweet and make a great variety of delicious buns! (as Cathy and Mike can attest to!)
Delicious offerings at our local bakery

Delicious offerings at our local bakery

Bakers posing at the bakery with their product

Bakers posing at the bakery with their product

On the way back, in the Oxxo parking lot we came across the guy with the "Golden Nuts"...just had to take a picture..imagine driving around in that truck!
the Golden Nuts Guy

the Golden Nuts Guy

Posted by hermanita 13:25 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Visitors from home...

Showing off the area...

This week we were joined by Mike and Cathy Halliwushka who are visiting from Ottawa to see what this area of the Yucatan is like.

This gives us the excuse to do a few more of the "touristy" things and on Monday we got together with some neigbours and all went to Sotuta de Peon, the henequén plantation and hacienda.
The landmark Sotuta de Peón is a restoration project located in the heart of the ancient henequén zone in the state of Yucatan and gives a true glimpse of what was once a fully operational Henequen Hacienda in the grand style and tradition of this period. This Hacienda was purchased with the dream of bringing back to life the golden years of the henequén. Over the past 25 years the owners have painstakingly searched abandoned haciendas for machine parts, tracks, trucks and other items of historical importance in order to save them from the complete destruction of time.
hacienda veranda

hacienda veranda


Henequen is a plant in the agave family and looks similar until you see the serrated edges of the leave and the hard spines on the tip of each leaf. The leaves are cut, only a certain number off each plant at any given time, then flattened and processed to get the fibre which is then twisted into rope.
After touring the hacienda, we were taken to see the processing part of the plantation which was very noisy...but interesting...pictures attached.
our neighbour Ron in action

our neighbour Ron in action

drying henequen fibre

drying henequen fibre

henequen leaves heading up

henequen leaves heading up

crushing the leaves

crushing the leaves


the result of pressure

the result of pressure


so sharp

so sharp

We then boarded flat bed carts, thankfully with cushions, and were pulled, by horse, down a narrow gauge rail through the henequen fields and to a cenote. The cenote had a set of cement steps, making it easy to get down in to, but unlike others we have been in, it was rather dark which made it hard to take pictures. However, the fresh cenote water was very refreshing and we floated around for a good while. It was Cathy's first time in a cenote and she was somewhat apprehensive, but she ended up really enjoying the experience!
our steed in the henequen field

our steed in the henequen field

We have been doing more walking around Merida...every time we see things we hadn't before. Some window, doors, door knockers, people....so many pictures...so little space!
door

door

Santa Ana church

Santa Ana church

paintwork in progress

paintwork in progress

Merida street sign

Merida street sign

trim on an old window

trim on an old window

ornate door knocker

ornate door knocker


fun Piñatas

fun Piñatas


old Mayan house in centro

old Mayan house in centro

lovely pasta tiles

lovely pasta tiles


Andrea even tried her hand at using a punch needle....the old gentleman made it look so easy...we shall see.
Andrea learning to use the punch needle

Andrea learning to use the punch needle


Merida street art

Merida street art

ornate Merida house

ornate Merida house

One of the other fun activities this week was a House Tours in Merida.
There are two house tour activities in Merida at present, one on Wednesday (run as a business) and the other on Tuesday (run by the Merida English Library or MEL as it is called). The proceeds of the MEL tour (200 pesos or about 18.00) go towards library programs and books, so we decided to support that one. Our tour guide Brent gave us a mini history lesson of the Merida area before starting out, which was very educational. To back up a bit.....I had wondered why some the chunks of clay roof tiles I had picked up on the beach had the words "Marseilles" written on them...I found out why.
Back in the day when the Yucatan was the largest producer of sisal rope (from the henequen plant) , the sisal rope was shipped from the port of Sisal to France and Spain. On the return journeys, the ships needed ballast so it was decided to load them with pasta tiles and clay roof tiles, hense the wonderful floors and roofs in the Merida area. On the tour, we visited four houses, all lovingly restored with back gardens and pools. We were told by each owner that they rarely use the front part of the house, but instead take their friends directly through to the "back". It was difficult to take good shots as our group was rather large, but the houses were stunning.
at the library

at the library

old doors in renovated house

old doors in renovated house

Cathy in the kitchen

Cathy in the kitchen

back patio

back patio


hanging bed

hanging bed

Andrea and art deco type door

Andrea and art deco type door

Cathy and door

Cathy and door


Posing by a wonderful window

Posing by a wonderful window

This cute picture was taken on our way back from dinner in Chicxulub.....he was waiting so patiently for his owner who was in the store, then they drove off....
dog days in Chicxulub

dog days in Chicxulub

Posted by hermanita 15:49 Archived in Mexico Tagged chicxulub Comments (2)

Near home and over to the other coast

"X" in the Mayan language is pronounced as "SH"

I'll start this week with a mini lesson in the Mayan language, which is still spoken by many in the Yucatan. The letter "X" in Mayan is pronounced as "SH", so...Chicxulub is pronounced as "Chic-shoe-lube". That being said, many of you know that I have a"thing" with unique doors and windows, especially the ones in Mexico. Two years ago, when I spent two months here, I collected a series of door photographs and created a "door" poster. Below are a few samples of doors and windows in our immediate area, there's just something about the worn, weathered wood, the ancient wrought iron and the bits and pieces that draw me in and hook me. Many the day Andrea, or whoever I am walking with, has heard the cry "stop, I see a door"...it does make our errands run longer sometimes!
Chicxulub door2

Chicxulub door2

Chicxulub door1

Chicxulub door1

Chicxulub window1

Chicxulub window1

Chicxulub pier1

Chicxulub pier1

Chicxulub2

Chicxulub2

Sneeking in a shot of a Merida window...
Merida window1

Merida window1

I managed to take a few shots on our walk into Progreso and back. It's about 8.5 km and the sea was calm so we walked to town and back along the beach. The fishermen's boats are always surrounded by sea birds looking for a handout and today was no exception. The pelicans were lined up "row on row" and floating beside the boats.

barnacles

barnacles

pelicans waiting for fish

pelicans waiting for fish

red beaked pelican

red beaked pelican

Progreso pier

Progreso pier

View from the malecon

View from the malecon

Fab house on the beach in Progreso

Fab house on the beach in Progreso

Door on the malecon in Progreso

Door on the malecon in Progreso

yellow door Progreso

yellow door Progreso

House  on the malecon in Progreso

House on the malecon in Progreso

Carved door in Progreso

Carved door in Progreso

Old house on the malecon in Progreso

Old house on the malecon in Progreso

After a lovely walk back down the beach we dipped our toes on he pool...still a little cool at 24 degrees to go right in, the Mexican pools aren't heated. However, by the time February rolls around it will be like bath water.

Chilling by the pool

Chilling by the pool

Our visiting sea gulls

Our visiting sea gulls

Tuesday we decided to support the local economy and indulge in all you can eat ribs at La Casa del Faro (The Lighthouse) in Chicxulub, as you can probably tell from the photos, we left very happy!
All you can eat ribs at La Casa del Faro in Chicxulub

All you can eat ribs at La Casa del Faro in Chicxulub

Ron and staff dishing up the ribs

Ron and staff dishing up the ribs

Our trip to Izamal, the Yellow City and Valladolid commenced bright and early Friday morning. By 9 am we were packed and on our way accompanied by Andy's suitcase for home, which took up most of the trunk space in our miniscule car. Izamal is said to be one of the oldest cities in the Yucatan. It really is a jewel of a colonial city, with just about all of the buildings painted an egg-yolk yellow, which makes the town look like a movie set. The massive Franciscan Convent, , San Antonio de Padua, sits atop a buried Mayan pyramid, in fact the area is dotted with hills, most of which are the remains of pyramids. The convent is also famous for the story of the monk Fray Diego de Landa, its founder, who burned all of the Indian scripts, and then feeling remorse for what he had done, tried to write all he could remember of the ways of the Indians in the "Relation of Things of the Yucatan". Outside the convent/church, lines of horse and buggies stand ready to whisk visitors off on a tour of the city. The clip-clopping of the horses on the cobblestone streets just adds to the old town feel. We strolled around the small market and ended up passing by a woman who was just slicing into a lovely traditional flan. It was too decadent looking to pass up and after we sampled it, we're glad we stopped ...it was incredible!
Izamal

Izamal

horse with her lovely bonnet

horse with her lovely bonnet

another view of the church grounds in Izamal

another view of the church grounds in Izamal

Izamal street scape2

Izamal street scape2

Street in Izamal

Street in Izamal

Church front in Izamal

Church front in Izamal

church walkway

church walkway

courtyard of the Izamal church

courtyard of the Izamal church

the boys enjoying the sights of Izamal

the boys enjoying the sights of Izamal

Izamal church interior

Izamal church interior

yummy flan

yummy flan

We continued on our way to Valladolid and arrived in the early afternoon to find that we had arrived on the day a festival started...just as we did in Santa Elena...this is getting to be a habit with us...but a good one! After setting into our hotel in the centro, La Aurora Hotel Colonial, we set out to find some lunch and inquire about the festival. Valladolid is a unique city in that it has a cenote right in the middle of town. We had our lunch at the cenote restaurant and browsed through the gifts on offer in the adjacent outdoor "market" before heading back to centro to ask about the festivities. In the square we happened upon a group of women and girls dressed in their finest embroidered hipils..this group kept growing until there were about 100 and now included some men and boys as well.
Valladolid church at night

Valladolid church at night

Younger girls getting ready

Younger girls getting ready

See what they are all doing

See what they are all doing

Crowned queen by the governor

Crowned queen by the governor

They started a march, of about six blocks, to a fair ground and we followed along with a few other tourists and locals. The fairgrounds were huge and there were animals on display, crafts, food, games and dancing. The best part was when we arrived....they had large fabric "lanterns" that had a square of "canned heat" at the bottom of the frame. People were lighting the fuel and holding the balloons till the air was hot enough to carry them aloft...it was magical watching 20 -30 of them float up into the night sky! Dara got bold and asked if we could have one too and low and behold.....we got one. What fun...and we didn't even set anything on fire, although there were hydro lines, telephone wires and trees all over the place...this would never have been allowed in Canada!
preparing the lanterns

preparing the lanterns

Our lantern ready to go

Our lantern ready to go


lanterns released in Valladolid

lanterns released in Valladolid


not so happy pony ride

not so happy pony ride

Meat for tacos al pastor

Meat for tacos al pastor

Carne asada..roasted meat and onions

Carne asada..roasted meat and onions

all kinds of sweet treats

all kinds of sweet treats

making our nutella and banana marquesitas.

making our nutella and banana marquesitas.

more candy

more candy

lots of dancing

lots of dancing

a snack-cycle

a snack-cycle

a bull for rides at the fair ground

a bull for rides at the fair ground

The next morning we visited Las Casa de los Venedos, or "the house of deer". This is a privately owned , restored home in Valladolid housing the largest private collection of Mexican Folk Art in Latin America. The owner, John, does not charge a fee for the tour, but asks for a small donation, all of which goes to an organization that provides funds for operations for those in need.
Here are just a few of the many photos we took skeletons often feature in Mexican Folk Art to show that, under the skin, we are all the same!
Mexican folk art3

Mexican folk art3

Mexican folk art2

Mexican folk art2

Mexican folk art

Mexican folk art


A peek at Valladolid streets....
Valladolid street scape

Valladolid street scape

patterned plaster wall in Valladolid

patterned plaster wall in Valladolid

From Valladolid , we headed to Cancun airport to drop Andy off to head back home and get ready for Hong Kong with his brother. Then 20 minutes down the coast to Puerto Morelos for a few days. Puerto Morelos is a small puerto just 25 minutes south of Cancun airport, no high rise buildings allowed. We stayed at the quaint Amar Inn of Puerto Morelos, which is one building back from the beach.... basic but cute. Dinner was at Sabour de Mexico where we indulged in a pitcher of limon y chaya (a green leafy vegetable similar to spinach)...it was delicious. The same was not to be said for our fish tacos, which I personally thought tasted like cat food....not that I have ever tried cat food...but you know what I mean! The next day, a wonderful morning was spent at the beach enjoying the calm, clear blue waters of the caribbean.
Dara and I relaxing in the ocean in Puerto Morelos

Dara and I relaxing in the ocean in Puerto Morelos

light houses in Puerto Morelos

light houses in Puerto Morelos


Andrea and I asked a woman setting up umbrellas how much they were...she asked how long we would be in Puerto Morelos...when we told her that we were leaving the next day, she said..oh, take it for free! I think that we were the first people under her umbrellas that morning and it probably helped her to rent more when people saw us relaxing in the shade, but how nice of her...we did leave a "pequeno propina" or small tip for her. A return to the artisania market was in order and then "un otro helado"....or another ice cream...it's very good, made by an Italian couple who also make their own cones!
We finally found a great map of the Yucatan in the bookstore here. It includes roads right down to Guatamala and it will be a great use when we manage some road trips...like on the way back to Chicxulub tomorrow. The water on this coast is as clear as gin with white sand beaches unlike the gulf coast which has greener waters. A day spent floating in a calm, clear sea was very relaxing...we even spied a large school of barracuda hovering in the water ...those evil grins!

On the way back across the peninsula from Quintana Roo back to the Yucatan, we drove via Tizimin and then along the coast from Santa Clara back to Chicxulub. We were looking for two realatively unknown cenotes, but only came across one and it had a locked gate, so our narrow, pot holed roads were for nought!
A few other images from along the way...there are only so many lovely images I can fit in....this week is already overloaded!

traditional old style Mayan house

traditional old style Mayan house

a field of henequen or sisal

a field of henequen or sisal

henequen that has been processed into sisal

henequen that has been processed into sisal

another incredible old church

another incredible old church


nice red door

nice red door

hammock washing day in ValladolidJPG

hammock washing day in ValladolidJPG

Posted by hermanita 12:24 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Mexican cinemas and a mini road trip..

Oh, those VIP seats in the cinema!

We love the VIP seats in the Mexican cinemas!! For years our friend Jorge has told us about the Mexican cinemas where you can purchase a ticket for seats in a special VIP theatre. These seats are huge leather lazy boy type chairs to which you can have food delivered and ....even get a beer! The ladies finally took an afternoon in Merida to check this out.....and yes, it's all true! We watched "Wolf of Wall Street" in the comfort of huge leather recliners, whilst sipping cold beverages all for a measly 49 pesos or about $4...as it was half price day on Wednesday. The movie was loaded with colourful language, naked women and all sorts of shenanigans ...but we all enjoyed it , including 84 year old Janet!

Having the car for a few weeks gives us the opportunity to do a few impromptu road trips, so on Saturday we set out towards Chelem, which is a small town west of Progreso, to explore. The drive took us past the huge marina at Progreso and through the sleepy town of Chelem, which has more American snowbirds and expats than Chicxulub and Progreso, which is mostly Canadians. We took some small sand roads into the shore to explore the deserted beaches before heading to the fishermen's sanctuary (of which we knew nothing).
the beach out past Chuburna

the beach out past Chuburna

road to the lighthouse

road to the lighthouse

At the end of the road, there was a lovely protected inlet, packed full of fishing boats leading into a lovely estuary. I was dying to rent a kayak and explore further but the kayak rental place was closed.
From the fishing sancturay we took a road that ran through the middle of the estuary. Keeping an eye out for bird life of which there was plenty. We managed to get shots of this green heron perched on a stump, there were lots of grey herons, beautiful white egrets and in the distance, some flamingos.
green heron in the estuary

green heron in the estuary

We followed the road, not really knowing where we were going, through small pueblas till we came across an old henequen hacienda. This area was the top producer of sisal for manufacturing rope...before nylon rope came into existence. In years past, the henequen plantations were dotted all over the Yucatan but there are only a few left in existance today. The hacienda we came across had the ruins of the enormous stone smoke stacks that announced a plantation, but not much else other than the hacienda and some out buildings. We drove through the entrance, as it looked like it may have been turned into a B and B, but we found out it was a private home from talking with two men who we sitting taking a break from cutting the grass. The home is now a weekend get-a-way for a family from Merida! The gentlemen told us to go ahead in and look around in the house if we wanted.....no further prompting needed! It was gorgeous.....antique furniture, high beamed ceilings, four poster beds...be happy to have it as my little refuge!
gate to hacienda and stone chimney

gate to hacienda and stone chimney

the hacienda

the hacienda

bedroom in the hacienda

bedroom in the hacienda

in the tack room

in the tack room

lovely covered verranda

lovely covered verranda

interior of the hacienda

interior of the hacienda

back verranda

back verranda

old fashioned and new fangled grass mower

old fashioned and new fangled grass mower

After our self-made tour we chatted again with the groundskeepers who told us of a nearby cenote that was quite pretty. Well, you know what happens next....off to find this cenote. We hadn't brought bathing suits, but this didn’t stop Andrea and I when we reached the cenote we stripped down to undies and climbed down the ladders and into the clear,fairly warm water. It was wonderful and we were tickled by tiny black fish swimming around us as we floated. There are over 6,000 cenotes throughout the Yucatan (there are no rivers above ground)...they are sink holes leading to underground rivers winding through the limestone. If you would like to learn more about these wonderous underground pools go to.....
http://www.yucatantoday.com/en/topics/cenotes-underwater-sinkholes
big sister looking after little sister

big sister looking after little sister

small cenote at Noc Ac

small cenote at Noc Ac

crystal clear cenote

crystal clear cenote

feet first

feet first

so refreshing

so refreshing

On our way back to the house, we stopped in a small puebla that specializes in wood work. They carried the usual tourist type stuff, but I spied a box of hand rubbed wooden slabs and spreading "knives" in the work shop. When we asked about them we were told it was a special order for a restaurant in Merida. They did sell us a few of the wooden spreaders but also allowed us to order a few of the wooden "cheese boards" that were so unique....we canick them up sometime next week. The Yucatanians are so accommodating! Andy and Dara watched one of the workers demonstrate an old fashioned lathe powered by foot power. See the embedded video..

artisan shops in Dzitya

artisan shops in Dzitya

wood worker showing the old style lathe

wood worker showing the old style lathe

baby seat Yucatan style

baby seat Yucatan style

this is the local version of Wonderbread

this is the local version of Wonderbread


It's quite amusing to see a macho man walking around in a sports shirt sponsored by Bimbo....with the huge word "BIMBO" on the front and back!
Below are just a few pictures from our wanderings...
beautiful stone entrance

beautiful stone entrance

painting on a pre school wall

painting on a pre school wall

Most of this area of the Yucatan only comes "alive" when Easter week hits (Santa Samana) and in the summer months when the rich Meridians come to stay in their "cottages" for the summer to get away from the oppressive heat inland. This whole area then morphs from a sleepy fishing community to a disco pounding, jet ski whining, restaurant and beach filled world....thank goodness we'll be gone by then!
A few pictures of the shells found on the beaches here....
shell collection

shell collection

shells

shells

Posted by hermanita 12:06 Archived in Mexico Comments (2)

Rolling into week two...

Getting stuff done!

We've started out the week on a roll and are getting "all manner of things done" as Dara would say! Wednesday, he and Andy nipped into Chicxulub to get Dara's hair cut at a small local hair dresser. She did a wonderful job and charged him 50 pesos...about $4.00! They then met up with Michel and Micheline, a couple from near Montreal that they had met last week in Progreso. This is the first year down here for them and they ended up renting a house on the beach in San Bruno, which is very pretty....but about 30 kilometers from where we are and out of range of local transport. They are somewhat dismayed about the distance out as they have to take a taxi everywhere. They came to see our place and liked the area we are in and they ended up visiting for most of the afternoon. We'll go to visit them out in the boonies when we have our car rental next week or the week after (we have one rented for three weeks....this time we expect the reservation will be honoured!).

Andy's dental appointment was Thursday, so Andrea and I went into Merida with him and did some looking around while he was in the chair. An hour and a half later, he was finished with an extraction and four implants! The two male technicians, who Andrea had jokingly told him were there to "hold him down.....one for each side", did a great job of assisting and we picked him up with a smile on his face....he had been looking a little worried after her comment!! He and his implants are doing great and he has no swelling to speak of, which is a good thing. He'll come back next winter for a bit and have the permanent teeth placed on the implants. Our dentist here (Dr. Piniche Rodrigues) is an implant specialist who was recommended by our friend Jorges father , who is also a dentist. He is now thinking that it might be good to do an information session for the snowbirds in the area....probably a good business move as the cost is about 1/3 of the cost in Canada. Perhaps dental tourism will take off like medical tourism has.

There is quite a "social life" here if one is so inclined, Dara and Andrea went off to play euchre Friday afternoon. There are bridge get togethers, tai chi, yoga and all sorts of activities and volunteer opportunities. Andy and I decided to relax on the patio and watch the ocean....maybe we'll see some dolphins....this is our view.
IMG_00000562

IMG_00000562


A few images from a morning walk.....
an old Progreso beach house

an old Progreso beach house

horse cart on the malecon

horse cart on the malecon

sea gulls all in a row

sea gulls all in a row


Andy recovering from his dental procedure....
IMG_00000565

IMG_00000565

A fun Friday evening was had at Pantaleon restaurant...or Natasha's (the owner) as some call it. They do a wonderful fish and chips on Friday, so we made arrangements to meet a few people there for dinner. John brought his guitar and after dinner a few friends joined in the singing....Andy played the "spoons"....I had no idea this was one of his talents!
Dara and Andy at Pantaleon

Dara and Andy at Pantaleon

John entertaining

John entertaining

chico zapote

chico zapote


A picture of the fruit mentioned before, it is so sweet and juicy!
We started the weekend with breakfast on the patio then headed into Merida to the dentist for Andy's check up and to pick up our car.
Lunch at the Chaya Maya restaurant which offers traditional Mayan dishes, a stop at the hammock store to pick up two double hammocks for Heidi and Roger, a tour through Costco and back to the house.
Pictures from Chaya Maya...Andrea's dish was a large tamale made with turkey, pork, achiote and chaya filling, wrapped in a mucbil pollo dough made of cornmeal, then wrapped in banana leaves and baked...it was heavenly!
Chaya Maya tortillas in the making

Chaya Maya tortillas in the making


Mucbil pollo

Mucbil pollo

Mucbil opened up

Mucbil opened up

relleno negro

relleno negro

Dara's meal

Dara's meal


Sunday morning, again very warm and humid.......in fact, there is so much moisture in the air the floors are pretty much always damp...as you can hopefully see from this picture!
IMG_00000574

IMG_00000574


Dara and I went for an early power walk on the beach...very low tide....and ended up about 15 minutes past Chicxulub where we met two ladies who mentioned there was a mean dog further down the beach. As we were getting ready to turn around anyway, this made our "turn point" decision for us. Perhaps we could "acquire" a mini can of pepper spray to ward off the "mean dog". Most of the dogs around her are pretty friendly, but if they do look menacing, usually stooping to pretend you are picking up a rock is enough to do the trick.
It was so misty and foggy that my eye lashes were coated in miniscule droplets of water, I've never seen anything like it. We were fortunate to see a strange phenomenon...a."fog bow".....as the sun was trying to burn through the mist, it created a rainbow shape, but made from fog. It's hard to make it out in the photo, but it was very unique.
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IMG_00000569

At the beginning of the week, we decided to do a wee bit of exploring and chose Celestun and the ruins of Mayapan as our destinations. Hence forth, the trip shall be called the "Celestial Marzipan" trip!
The drive to Celustun, to see the flamingos took just under two hours on good roads. Before entering the town of Celestun, which is a beach town west of Progreso, we found the collection of boats and drivers that sit waiting take tourists out on the estuary. The ride was fine and we did see lots of flamingos, however the driver didn't speak any English and wasn't very helpful in pointing out bird life in the area. Andrea and I agreed that Diego Nunez in Rio Lagartos, who we went with two years ago, was much better. The Rio Lagartos trip was hosted by Diego, a naturalist, who pointed out many birds for us, he was so knowledgeable and also took us to a mud flat where we helped ourselves to a mud treatment.
Red water makes for very pink flamingos

Red water makes for very pink flamingos

flying flamingos

flying flamingos

everybody to the left now

everybody to the left now

ruffled feathers

ruffled feathers

wonder what's down there

wonder what's down there


baby crocodile in the mangroves

baby crocodile in the mangroves

end of the mangrove tunnel

end of the mangrove tunnel

We stayed in Celestun long enough for a seafood lunch on the beach and then headed to Santa Elena, or Nohcacab in Mayan, for a night at our favorite B & B, The Pickled Onion.
On the beach in Celestun

On the beach in Celestun


cute old lady and her house in Celestun

cute old lady and her house in Celestun

a Celestun tuk tuk

a Celestun tuk tuk

typical Celestun street scene

typical Celestun street scene

This lovely establishment is run by Valerie Pickles, originally from the UK...she also lived in Canada for many years. She has built six "casitas" in the Yucatan style from wood branches and wattle covered with plaster and topped with a thatched roof. Each casita has been lovingly decorated with local hand woven fabrics, Valeries art and includes a sleeping hammock as well as beds.
our casita

our casita


Andy and Dara relaxed at PO

Andy and Dara relaxed at PO


Valerie, at the Pickled Onion, remembered Andrea and I from two years ago and during dinner at the restaurant, she told us of a festival that was taking place in town. This festival has been held for so long that Stephens and Catherwood , the explorers that travelled the length and breadth of the Yucatán in search of the Maya ruins back in the early 1800's, encountered it when they viisited Santa Elena (Nohcacab in Mayan). They recorded the event in their book Yucatán Incidents of Travel (a must read for anyone interested in the Yucatan). The festival, running January 10 to 24 is in honor of Santo Cristo del Amor.

Valerie described how the loveliest ladies of the town are dressed in their finest hipils, perched on chairs and loaded onto a huge "table", which is then carried by ...somewhat drunken young men....to a village house where treats are handed out to all. We were fortunate enough to be able to join in the festivities and also to enjoy the bowls of rice pudding that were doled out!
Photo of ladies and the festivities...
the lovely ladies on their chairs

the lovely ladies on their chairs

carrying the ladies

carrying the ladies

getting rice pudding

getting rice pudding

That portion of the festival done, we wandered to the church, which sits atop a huge hill in the middle of the town square where we waited for the "burning of the bull". Thank goodness it was not a real bull but a man wearing a bull headdress with a multitude of fireworks attached. At the appointed time, he jumped into the area below the church steps, and ran around chasing the children all the while fireworks were shooting out of the headdress! We had wondered why most of the families were sitting a little further up the steps than we were......talk about hair raising...however, nobody lost their eyebrows and it was a real treat to be the only non-Mexicans taking part in the festivities! The evening events culminated in a large paper turkey ...yes, covered in fireworks....being set alight so it spun around in a maniacal fashion! Andy was approached by a rather inebriated Mayan gentleman who had never seen a Chinese person before. He immediately began telling Andy he was his "amigo" and all about the "burning of the bull"....of course all this was in Spanish and Mayan, so much reenactment took place...it was quite amusing to watch. He insisted in having a photo with his new amigo and invited us to his home for a meal the next day....I'm sure he wouldn't have even remembered his offer the next day!
turkey ready to light

turkey ready to light

Andy's new friend

Andy's new friend

A few pictures of Santa Elena....
Santa Elena church

Santa Elena church

ladies in traditional hipils

ladies in traditional hipils

After a lovely breakfast and our goodbyes to Valerie, we headed for the archeological site of Mayapan, a site that greatly excited Stevens and Catherwood who recorded it as being the most important of the Mayan ruins. This pre-Columbian Mayan site was the political and cultural capital of the Maya in the Yucatán Peninsula during the Late Post-Classic period from the 1220s until the 1440s. In 1841 Stephens and Catherwood were the first to document parts of the Mayapan site with two important illustrations. The first was of the Q-152 round temple, and the second was of the Pyramid of Kukulkan; ( The first large-scale archeological site surveys were not conducted until 1938.). In it's prime, the "city" was thought to have housed over 12,000 people. What's great is that the site is not too far from Merida, but is relatively unknown to many, bus tours included, so it's a quiet and serene place to explore. Andy, Dara and I climbed the pyramid of Kukulkan...not too bad going up, but a bit gut wrenching on the way down. The climb did however, provide us with great panoramic views of the site.
Main pyramid at Mayapan

Main pyramid at Mayapan

turkey vultures at Mayapan

turkey vultures at Mayapan

View from the top

View from the top

Dara and Andy climbing down

Dara and Andy climbing down

The many columns that are unusual to Mayan ruins

The many columns that are unusual to Mayan ruins

The round tower

The round tower

View from the top of the pyramid

View from the top of the pyramid


me climbing up

me climbing up


A few images from the small towns and villages we drove through....
CIMG9009

CIMG9009

typical small village church2

typical small village church2

Typical small village church

Typical small village church

church in Mama

church in Mama


During the drive, Andy found a new use for Andrea's best circular knitting needles......
A new use for circular knitting needles....eating utensils

A new use for circular knitting needles....eating utensils


On the way back home we stopped in Merida at the Plaza de Toros (Plaza of the bulls) to try and get tickets for Dara for the upcoming bull flight. We weren't successful as their ticketing system was down, but it gave us the chance to see this facility, which is quite old.
At the Plaza de Toros

At the Plaza de Toros

a couple of the bulls brought in

a couple of the bulls brought in

Andrea horsing around in the bull ring

Andrea horsing around in the bull ring

Posted by hermanita 20:27 Archived in Mexico Tagged chicxulub Comments (6)

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