Sunday, November 27, 2016

Update! Videos

All of the videos - and a few new ones - are now on the Video tab.

We hope you enjoy our journey as much as we did. In case you are wondering - we had a blast!

Dave and Gene

Monday, November 21, 2016

Dave: Farewell Merida. It was far to short.

Well, 9:00pm Monday evening and I am packed as far as I can go for now. On our arrival in Birmingham Wednesday evening, it will have been 36 days, 34 in country. I can't believe we have been here a month plus, but here we are packing to return home. Yes, mentally, I am not ready to go back, but physically, I need my chiropractor! Yes, they have them here but time does not allow the research I would need to find the right one. In addition to that, I have other obligations that I need to get back and take care of so others can take a rest. And of course, there are the holidays, family and friends to enjoy.

Gene and I made a video of closing comments. You would have thought we scripted the video but we didn't. Just came out that way. Having been here long enough to get to know the neighbors a little better has been a wonderful thing. Seeing and visiting old friends is also a wonderful thing. Being in a society that largely practices respect and dignity is something I find truly to my liking. With the exception of one incident our first trip down 10 years ago, we have been welcomed and have felt a true part of life here. And yes, it is a different feeling when you know that you are the one that stands out as different in skin color, yet no difference is made by many. Yes, prices do go up at the beach and the local places where the cruise ship passengers stop on "cruise ship day",  but that happens even in the US and most other places as well, so you just don't go in those areas on those days. Everyone has a schedule of port calls.

Merida continues to modernize. Many of the old cobblestone streets in the central area (Centro) have been taken up and replaced with concrete in the pattern of cobblestones. The base was redone as well so now many of the old streets that were so rough are now very nice to drive and walk on. Fashion also changes. When we were here three years ago, none of the locals wore short pants/gym shorts and tee shirts. They were always properly dressed. Today, the younger generation lives in shorts and tee shirts while the older generation still looks well dressed even for just a trip down to the mall! Merida continues to modernize the electronic age gadgets we all rely upon. The internet is by far the best I can remember and cell phone service is so wide spread I don't think we were out of cell phone signal but about 5 minutes on our trip to Celestun. Gene has had problems with AT&T on the US side with his US phone, but neither of us have had any issues with our Mexican AT&T phones. We call and text anywhere in North America with no problems. And talk about competitive- our Mexican phone cost $97 USD and we get unlimited talk and text to Mexico, USA, and Canada and 2 GB of data for $15 dollars per month. No, the phone is not some old three generation old phone. It is a brand new phone, released in August 2016 and is running Android Marshmallow, yes, that is 6.0. So I have just renewed for another month to see just how well it will work in the USA. We shall see!

I could rattle on all night, so I will wind it up here and post the video. So enjoy and we shall see you in a couple days!

Dave and Gene

The Last Full Day in Merida.

Wow, the month has flown. Today is the official work holiday for Dia de Revolucion (Revolution Day.)  So I missed out on the chance to go to one of the museums that I had planned to visit again.  Otro Dia as they say here - Another day! The town was really bustling with people today as many businesses and schools were closed.  I visited the mercado just because I could, when I realized that the museum was closed.
I didn't really buy anything except a bag of raw almonds to eat on the bus trip to Cancun tomorrow.  A protein snack is always a good idea for me.

This afternoon we are sitting on the deck/patio enjoying a cool breeze and watching the birds play.  We have been seeing an interesting yellow bird off and on for the entire stay.  I think it is probably a Social Flycatcher -photo "borrowed" from another site.
And here is my photo - off in the tree top
Another bird we have seen frequently is a White Winged Dove.  The first time I saw one, I immediately had an earworm of Stevie Nicks - Edge of Seventeen - in my head. It hasn't left yet.  I have not gotten any good photos of the WhiteWinged Dove though.
This is the best I could get:
Here is a better one from Audobon

Another photo that I have had on my phone is one of the Coca Cola trucks.  This is the typical size Coca Cola truck that you see here.

Tonight we begin packing and tomorrow we will take the ADO (ah DAY oh) bus to Cancun for the flight home on Wednesday.
We are planning a video posting for tomorrow morning - if all goes well we will have it posted before we depart.
For now, this is Gene, signing off with a sigh.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

20 de Noviembre - Día de la Revolución

Today is Revolution Day, here in Mexico.  I found this "The holiday itself commemorates the day, November 20th of 1910, when Madero denounced President Díaz, declared himself president of Mexico and called for a national insurrection."
Our host had emailed me a link about the parade, but when I checked, it said that the parade started at 8 a.m.  That is too early for us.
Between 9 and 10, I headed into town to walk about and enjoy the day. Sunday in Merida with the vendors is always fun.  It is a great time to people watch.
But, wait -- WAIT!!!  The bus stopped and unloaded in a strange place.  I knew where I was, but it wasn't the usual bus stop.  I got off and walked toward the square. Then I heard the beating of drums and the roar of trumpets.
The parade was still going on!

As you can see the streets were lined with spectators.  There was lots of police and military presence.
I have videos that I will be uploading when we get home.  For now, I  will just show a few more still shots of the day.

You can easily guess that this is Red Cross.

Moments after I took this photo, they knelt down in the street and performed CPR on the dummies!  

After the parade, I saw this person.

Each person that gave a donation was given a slip of paper.  Okay, so, my curiosity got the better of me and I put a few pesos in the bucket and was given this:
"Life is short: Break rules, kiss slowly love real laughs a lot and never forget what made you smile."

I think it was worth the donation.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Dave: Saturday Morning

Hope your Saturday is good, ours is good, but unfortunately quickly winding down and I am certainly not ready to go back to the USA. The weather has been interesting again here,  the last couple of nights has be a little on the cool side ( am I becoming too Mexican?).  This morning, it has rained twice and is a bit cool for shorts and a tee shirt. So a little extra this morning! Coffee was very good, hot and strong! Right now the sun is out and temps are climbing quickly. I check the weather earlier and it is predicted to be about 83 here today. I suppose we are getting one of the fronts that has cooled you guys down so much in Alabama. And the wind is strong this morning also, probably contributing to the cool feeling.  Anyway, I will take this over 20/30's anytime!

We have been out of pocket the last couple days. As time is quickly winding down we are trying to wrap up those loose ends and get the last minutes items taken care of, things like laundry, getting the apartment back in order, those kind of things and last meals with several of our friends. We already have our bus tickets back to Cancun and our confirmation at our overnight AirBnB. Wednesday will be an early wakeup as we need to be at the airport by about 630am for our 830am flight. So it is get up, get moving Wednesday morning. The long term weather forecast I was monitoring before we left said it would be cool for our return. So we did not pack a heavy jacket, only a light garment. Kind of wish now I had packed a little heavier garment for our arrival, oh well, it will be what it will be. I will deal with it!

We have been able to do a couple of day trips. We made videos and will share them below. The one from yesterday of Celestun was where we were going to see the flamingos. Unfortunately, it being the first of the season, tours from several places in Mexico were there on their Mega Buses and there was no way we would be able to get a boat out, plus it seems there has been a major price increase since last we took the boat trip out. Well, it was three plus years ago but $62 USD was a bit much for the two of us, so we went into Celestun and had lunch at Nicte-ha (you will see it in the video). I tried to talk on the video but the wind was just too much, so the audio on the video is muted.

The other video is one made by Gene on a short trip we took out to Motul and Telchac pueblo. Both places have that small town feel and are pretty neat places to visit. Motul is the larger of the towns while Telchac is not more that the main street you see, and one paved street either side with a few unpaved roads. Both are charming, peaceful and quiet.

Both of us have found transportation here interesting. Cars are not cheap, gas is about $2.50 per gallon. So you see many motorcycles and unusual bicycle adaptations. The picture below is not uncommon to see.

Okay, on to the videos. Enjoy!

Apparently, I did not save the version with the sound muted. Sorry for all the wind noise!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Dave: Just some rambling!

It has been very warm and humid the last couple days. We stayed at the apartment yesterday under the air conditioning and rested.  The last three afternoons it has rained just enough to make things good and damp, then the sun has come back out. Talk about making for one heck of a humid afternoon and evening. What's worse, is all this shower stuff is making the evening breezes just die! Nothing at night so, we just rest under the AC and catch up on our reading and sleeping!

I finished one of the two books I brought along on my Kindle and started the second. Sitting here again today reading and I think it will be done in the very near future. This is the first bit of time we have taken to just sit and relax. We, especially Gene, have been on the move near and far, just enjoying ourselves.

I made a comment a few days about having had an eye exam and getting new glasses, well, went and picked them up. So far, having only the normal issues of getting accustomed to a new script. They fit well and look good.

 As I said, they cost about $53 USD. I went back the next day and ordered a set of sun glasses since the pair I am currently using is two scripts old. Time to get up to date. The frames and lenses were only $54 USD. So for just over a  hundred dollars I have two new sets of glasses. Not bad at all. Gene will talk about his new glasses shortly. I had some dental work done five years ago here. I had broken a tooth at home and it had to be removed. I had planned on having an implant installed, but they wanted $8000 USD for the process in the USA. I knew we were coming to Mexico so I contacted one of our ExPat friends and asked who she used. She gave a glowing recommendation for a dentist and his email. I dropped him an email and to my surprise, he replied in about an hour. I explained my situation and he made an appointment via email.  When I visited his state of the art office, he did digital x rays and was concerned that there was not enough bone without getting too close to the nerve canal. So he had is assistant take me about a block over to a special x ray clinic where they did an extensive round of x rays on my jaw. I figured I was in for a huge bill, but all that came to about $20 USD. I took the x rays back to the office and had to wait for a few minutes. He called me back, took the x rays and looked them over good, and did some measurements. He shook his head and told me I did not have enough bone about the nerve canal for the implant to safely attach. So I asked what might be my options. He said his suggestion was a cantilevered bridge. He explained how it worked and the fact I already had a crown that was very aged, made it a good fit for my need. His price, $750 USD! That is less than my co-pay for a crown! To make a long story short, it took two visits and the bridge was installed perfectly and is still comfortable and functional today. It is all porcelain, not metal. I could get accustomed to these medical prices.

We leave Merida one week from tomorrow. WOW... has it been that long already? Neither of us are ready to go back, but unfortunately both of us have obligations with family and other, plus the holidays are upon us. So, back we shall go under protest!

In our dashing about, we saw the crossing sign above. I thought it was pretty neat so I am sharing with you!

Gene signing in here.  As Dave said, I have been doing lots of exploring in Merida.  I mentioned earlier that I bought zippers, but I have also gotten a few other small sewing supplies. I needed to do some mending, so I bought a pack of hand needles and a spool of thread. I also bought some buttons to take home, a new seam ripper (because if you sew, you can never have too many good sharp seam rippers!) and a tape measure since one of my retractable ones bit the dust the week before we left.  I have found stores selling sewing machines by Brother and Janome and Singer. (Janome is my choice of brands.) So if when we decide to move here, I will sell my sewing machines and buy one here.
I have also had fun exploring appliances and motor scooters.
This blue Italika is the perfect size for me. It is small and automatic. I think this will be my choice for scooting around town instead of driving a car.
Dave talked about water and how everyone uses bottled water (usually in 20 liter jugs) for drinking.  So when I saw a refrigerator with water in the door I had to open it up and see.

So, what was inside?
The water is poured into this tank where the refrigerator cools it and it dispenses through the door.  Pure genius!

Of course, I also saw this for sale---and it may be an option  for me, if we find a place in the area where we are currently renting.

I could haul several big jugs of water and groceries in the front.  These are the type vehicles that the young guys selling bread drive down our street.

I almost forgot, Dave mentioned that I would talk about my glasses later.  I have a really strong prescription. So my glasses are always more expensive.  Remember that Dave said his were $53 US for one pair and $54 for the sunglasses?  My first pair are polycarbonate  for $96 -(thinner and lighter - and less like coke bottle bottoms) but for a second pair, I got acrylic frames and standard plastic lenses. I can tell the difference in light transmission - but they were cheaper at $61 US. When Dave was back getting sunglasses, I saw the new frames the optician had gotten in. They had magnetic clip on sunglasses with them. I asked for a price with polycarb lenses.  It came to $109 US. So I ordered a third pair!  But I have spent less on the three pair than on the one pair I bought at home a year or so ago.  It was an easy decision to make.
Here is a photo of me trying on the acrylic frames.
It is a different look for me, but I think I like them.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Yucatan Museum of Popular Art

I love going to interesting art museums.  This one was a great little museum.
About halfway down the sign changes to English. That made life easier. ;-)
I took this picture and the lady who was showing me how the museum is laid out insisted that I should be in the photo.
She took about 6 photos -she kept motioning me to get closer to the female doll.  But I like this one best.
There were a number of hand woven works, but this one with the working sticks still in it says "weaving" best.
Here are a few more woven pieces:

The hand work is meticulous and fascinating to me as a weaver.

Some of the pieces are quite imaginative.
I really like this nativity.  I was hoping for a replica in the gift store, but I was out of luck.

This would be perfect by the front door, wouldn't it?

In other news, we went to pick up laundry today.  Here are photos of the package of neatly folded clean clothing.

I had untied one of the knots before I took the photo, but the socks are always in the top of the bag.  The underwear has been folded and hidden from view in the center of the pile each time.
We just hang up the clothes or put them in drawers as we choose.  It is all delightfully clean and fresh.  I think this load was about $3.50 or less. It was 7.1 kilograms and he charges ten pesos a kilo. So it was 71 pesos for this load.
Would I consider doing it myself while on vacation?  Not at those prices!