Sunday, July 26, 2015

Recreation In the Yucatan: Tunich International Craft Fair



Today, late morning Carlos and I decided to brave the heat and head out to Dzitya to attend the Craft Fair. It is crafts from several of the Mexican States and what makes it international is the country of Columbia send some crafters. Add a huge stage with programs for children as well as adults, lots of local food booths and a few kiddie rides and you have a fair Mexican Style!

We arrived in the small town of Dzitya, which is just a few mile outside of Merida, at about noon. No traffic to fight at all, and there were plenty of flagmen letting us know where we could park. At just 15 MXP (less than 1.00 US) the flagman waved us into a spot in the shade.
Dzitya is known for the artisans who work both in stone as well as wood. They design and make beautiful fountains, sinks, statues out of ticul and crema maya (types of stone) , as well a wooden bowls and religious artifacts.

We didn't buy much except for some cold drinks, but we did make an important contact with a representative from Santa Clara del Cobre village in central Mexican state of  Michoacan where copper sinks are made...We will be replacing our sink in one bathroom with a copper trough sink, so now we can send her measurements and receive back some designs and prices! Here Carlos talking with the rep...


And the one international booth!



Most of the entertainment is in the evening hours as the fair is open until late in the evenings. We may go back later in the week and listen to some of the music. Today it wasn't crowded and it was nice to wander around with a cold drink in hand and look at some of the beautiful craft items.For me it was a day well spent!


Saturday, July 25, 2015

Recreation In the Yucatan: Hanging Out!

Pat cooks while David makes some tasty drinks!
Tonight was a special treat for us. We were invited to go to see Dave and Patrick's new place just a short walk from our house. We meet them last November but it's only recently that their place is 'finished' and they are here lock stock and barrel..well that's actually four dogs, a cat and all their furnishings!
Their place is beautiful....and it is all coming together for them. On August 1 they will open as a boutique bed and breakfast. Called Ochenta y Dos  this is a relaxing, charming place to stay while getting to know Merida. Even more than the comfort of this bed and breakfast is the knowledgeable hosts that will make your stay be the best vacation!
Tonight was spent relaxing gathering around the kitchen island, enjoying some yummy appetizers and drinks, petting their dogs and just chatting about everything under the sun! The hours flew by quickly. Before the sun set we did get a quick tour of their place and I managed to take a few photos before I got engrossed in throwing the ball for one of the dogs...
If you decide to book at their bed and breakfast there is a message room, and pool as well as a steam bath. Luxurious!




Sometimes the best nights are just hanging out with friends.....

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Harnessing the Sun's Power -Part I




About a month ago we contracted to install a solar power system that will help us control our costs of electricity here in Mexico.
 Electricity is expensive. The Mexican government gives a subsidy to minimal users but once your household use goes into the 'uses a whole bunch' range, it mores than doubles in price and it is very difficult to get our of that range! Add a couple of air conditioners, a pool pump, a water pressure system, cistern pumps, a couple of computers, TVs etc and you would soon be up in the maximum price range. So we decided to go solar!
The first company we talked to, never called us. The second company came out almost immediately and talked to us. This is who we contracted with. The price was reasonable, technology has advanced and we were happy to be able to place the panels above our second story terrace as a sort of roof. This would make our terrace much more usable and I wouldn't have to do the 'OMG it raining and dash to put cushions away'.



Just two weeks after the contract was signed our 12 panels arrived from Mexico City. We set them in our living room to await the special iron mounts that were being constructed. The mounts also arrived soon after and the install proceeded.






The view from the upper terrace !
So now we have the panels installed, the system connected to our electrical panel and soon our electric company will come and install our special meter that will measure both used and produced so that we can monitor everything. CFE, our electric company gives us a credit for what we produce and applies that against what we use. Our credits are on a monthly rolling cycle and credits expire after 12 months. 
Our system is comprised of 12 solar panels , using micro inverters that handle two panels each. In using this system we can add extra panels by two if we have further need to harness more sun....We will also have an on-line monitoring system to check that everything is working as it should.
Now if only CFE would show up!



Friday, July 17, 2015

Recreation in the Yucatan: BASEBALL!



The Leones de Yucatán are a Triple-A level baseball team playing in the Mexican League. Their home games are played at Parque Kukulcán in Mérida, Yucatán. 

Compared to the US or Canada tickets are very affordable and most Thursday are ladies night when women get in free. Last night was our second Thursday night game...we love a bargain! For 125.00 MXP (or about 8.00 US) we sat right behind home plate up about 6 rows. And remember as women get in free on Thursday that was per couple! BTW, parking was a whopping 15 pesos! (1.00 US)
We arrived last night with Canadian friends Dwight and Fran. Two other couple who were to attend, were unable to because last minute illness (we had attended a bar the night before and maybe the bar food was a little sketchy) So we climbed into our seats and prepared to enjoy the game. Now here individual seats are not reserved but the section where you will sit is, so you just go find the best seat in your section! 


The night was pretty and the crowd was getting settled in. 
Just to mention about the vendors...I have never seen so many different types of food sold at a ballpark...churros, turnovers both sweet and savory, kibis, totas, chips peanuts, popcorn, sweets for the kids, beer, water, soda, cappuchino , wings, dips..you can can find almost everything!

However one of the favorite snacks both here at the ballpark and any Yucatan event is marquesita, a Edam cheese filled rolled wafer....fresh and hot it's delish!




 And then the rains came!



Oh well, next time we may get to see the whole game!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Recreation in the Yucatan: Cantina Crawl!



Last night for the first time (since college days anyway!) I experienced a cantina crawl which is the Mexican version of bar hopping. However instead of being in a limo like is done for bachelor parties and the such, we used our feet!
Planned by our friend Mike in honor of his brother Kevin visiting from Canada, each cantina was planned with precision for style as well as beer costs. Most where in Mike's general neighborhood which we do not know very well which made it even more interesting to us. In our group was Carlos and I, form the US, Mike and Julia as well as his brother Kevin and girlfriend Lisa all from Toronto, Mattias from many places though originally from Holland, one Aussie and another Canadian couple. Truly an international crowd!
We missed the first stop (La Sabosa at Calle 54 by Calle 53) as our solar installation ran late. This is a story for another blog posting. However we caught up to the group at Cantina El Provenir at Calle 53 at Calle 52. The crowd was loud and the music was even louder. The bartender was so happy to have a big group he kept giving us money to play really really loud music on the juke box...and most of it was heavy metal. Here the beers were cheap, cold and plentiful. After several buckets it was time to head for the third cantina, The Carlotta, just several blocks away.







 By the end of our time at the Carlotta, our group was getting really happy. Mike and Lisa negotiated for a couple of the bar buckets and were happy to leave with two which will go back to Canada with them! Time to go to our fourth stop...But wait, it almost  10 PM when the cantinas close and they won't let us in...what to do ...what to do! But yes we are saved by Angel...our Mexican amigo, a bar hawker who has the sole job of  steering unsuspecting gringos to a bar and he'll get paid by the bar for supplying them with customers. He took us just a half block from the remate to a bar that we didn't even know existed...and yes it was fun and the drinks were cold and plentiful... and the best part was that they gifted several of us with complimentary bar buckets to take home....all with the name of the bar on them!


At the end of the night the group was talking to horses...and me...well I was the designated driver to get home so it was diet coke for the whole night!



Saturday, May 30, 2015

Getting Settled With All Our Stuff..



My small desk
It's been a week now since our container arrived and was unloaded into our front room. Carlos and I have been working like dogs to find places for all our things and place furniture where it should be. So far I have only found four things broken, a large depression glass vase, two pieces of pottery by a favorite potter and a large Spanish Pottery Caldero I hand carried back from Spain more than 20 years ago.
A favored piece of pottery didn't make it!

Our small breakfast table

While I worked on placing furniture through out the house and putting furniture together, Carlos worked on getting all his boxes of books up to his library. I unpacked kitchen ware and found places for it. As it was at least 100 degrees F all week, we sweated buckets as we worked.
I did run into a problem with one of our patio sets. It was new last year and we never put it together, so when I worked on it here I found that I am missing most of the hardware. Called home depot and they are sending it to our US address and I will get it mailed to me here. They were great to work with!

Need hardware to put two more chairs together and the arms on these!
The rest of the terraces and courtyard look so much more inviting with some tables, chairs, umbrellas and other furniture placed on them. Just the right places to sit with a cold drink!






The two guest rooms are more than ready for guests!





Finally both Carlos and I are working hard on getting his library set up and comfortable. All the books are waiting to be shelved. His guitars are there as well as his sheet music. His new couch arrived and the chairs and ottomans, tables, bar and lamp are in there and ready for his escape!




Books to shelve!

So that what we've been doing all week, working pretty hard. Tomorrow we go to the port of Progreso and have a leisurely lunch with some friends and take a long walk on the beach. Than on Monday, back to work.