Wednesday, April 12, 2017

We've now got this tour guide thing down!

We have now had visitors from Germany, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary as well as the United States and feel like we have the 'tour' ingrained in our brain...the only thing that may change is the order of things. Luckily it is what we enjoy as well as what our guests have loved.
The first day after most arrive we try to just let them de-stress, relax and get used to the heat of the Yucatan. We may take them out for a typical Yucatan lunch and than just let them lie around the pool.

Getting up early the next morning we would leave for Uxmal which is about an hour and half drive from Merida. It's great to beat some of the tour buses there. Though Uxmal is no where as crowded as Chichen Itza is and I think it's as beautiful. 

After several hours at Uxmal we like to take our guests to eat lunch in the next pueblo down the road called Santa Elena. There we eat at The Pickled Onion a great restaurant as well as a bed and breakfast. From there it is time to head back to Merida for dinner and an early night. Again our guests are pretty tired out from the heat.
To change it up a bit on the next day we are likely to take them to the beach at Progreso. About 30 minutes north of Merida, it is the closest beach. With many beach palapas, it is a very nice place to sit and watch the water and to have a drink or two. After sitting on the beach for several hours we head to lunch at a fish place a bit of the beaten other words off the beach and 1/2 the price. Yum Ixpu is known to the Mexican families as a place to eat fresh fish at a great price.

By the third or fourth day our guests are ready to explore Merida. It is now that we take them to Lucas Galvez, the main mercardo. Every vegetable imaginable is for sale as well as hardware, pet food, pets, shoes, undies and way much more. The sounds, the smells and the crush of people fills all of your senses. It is the real Mexico.

While in centro we will also visit the main plaza and some of the historic buildings. Later that evening we would attend one of the activities in one of the plaza, like dancing in Santiago Park.

Now the week is just half done and there's more to come, so wait for part II! In the meantime....time to take a nap!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Landscaping...we are almost done!

We have been working most of this year on landscaping. We've chosen plants carefully and we think we are almost done. Most things grow quickly here so we are trying to keep it sparse so we see how it fills out. We used landscape cloth covered with large grave (as opposed to pea gravel) to cover most of the ground. No grass because we did not want to attract mosquitoes.
The portulaca blossom every day

Around the pool

The center courtyard

The front we kept very simple

cactus blossom

Friday, February 24, 2017

Learning New Things 2

The second class I signed up to take was a series of 4 hand loom weaving class 1 a week each class being 4 hours long, I will never be a weaver. However I did learn how to do some basic weaving and I loved the colors of the yarns. Our Czech instructor, Marketa, was very good and so very patient! As our class was both expat and Mexican nationals she was able to switch from English to Spanish with no problems. With one more class I am sure I will not go on to the next series of classes...Of the two friends I went with, I think one will be going on as she was very, very good at it.
Here I am working the small hand loom

I had a back ache from leaning forward!
Even though the I will not go forward on the hand loom weaving, it did bring me to the course at the same place of basket weaving, which is now my third learning experience. This is so enjoyed. I was able to use some of the weaving techniques I was taught in the hand loom course, but this was different. It uses more movement and I had no back ache and it was fun. 
We were introduced to the materials by our Maya teacher Pablo, who although he did not speak any English managed to get his ideas across. His wife prepared the vines that he has harvested out in the Yucatan jungle, They were a very pliant fresh vine so they were easy to use.
Pablo, our Maya instructor

His wife prepares the vines
My first basket was a very simple basket I made and designed to hold a special pot I use called a caldero...I use it to make arroz con pollo, a traditional Puerto Rican chicken and rice dish.

My first basket

Holding the caldero

But Kiwi thinks that it's for him
The next week I returned to take another 4 hour class. This time I decided to use other materials as well as the vines. The new materials were henniquin which is like a sisal fiber rope. 

I had a great time working on my basket. It ended up to be large and I was really pleased with look of it.
My large basket made with the additions of sisal accents
I even had a bit of time to knock out a small basket!

After the 4 hours I went home happy with my baskets!

I can't wait for next week. So there is so much to do here in Merida... and I'm just starting to experience them!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Learning new things!

I decided that I need to take the time to find activities that give me some satisfaction in a creative way. Searching I came across someone who has a studio and teaches the creative art of glass fusion. Having taken a one day seminar many years ago in Maryland, I remember how great it was and signed up. I also talked 2 of my friends (both from Canada) to sign up with me.
On our first class glass was discussed in a general way and we all decided to make a small 6X6 inch plate. We had come prepared with what we thought we would like to make. I decided on the basic colors and pattern and winged the rest. It was a very relaxing three hours... Learning how  to score and cut the glass was challenging, The differences in the glass types and how to put it all together was demonstrated. Here are our first ones getting ready to be fired for the first time. Mine is the one with the black background.
After the fusing they were fired again...this time for the shape:

I thought they were all just beautiful. So we decided to take a second class in which we would make a larger plate. I spend much time on the Internet looking for ideas and deciding what I wanted to try for my design.
Above is my second project.This time I was going for something that looked a bit like the 1960's.
Than for our third class I decided to try a branch bowl. This took a lot more time in cutting the glass as well as designing my project.

For the final result I decided to have the design on the outside of the bowl as I will be using it for a fruit bowl.
I have found that creating in glass gives me a feeling of satisfaction as well as makes me feel as if I am an artist...or at least have a little bit of artist in me... For those in Merida who want to know more information the studio and classes go to Facet of Synergy, Glass Fusion Design on Face book.