Wednesday, May 2, 2018

And this is how I'm filling all the hours....

There is so much to do in Merida that it easy to fill all the hours in a day. However, I am not one to sit in front of the TV, or to shop...except for groceries. We also do not eat out much because of some dietary restrictions. I have filled many hours taking classes and learning some new skills. I also garden, cook, and sew! I find that doing some volunteer work is a satisfying way of giving back to the wonderful community of Merida.
Art (and music) is in the air in Merida. The artist community here is extensive and the artists are from all over the world. I have the pleasure of knowing a weaver from Czech Republic, A textile artist from New York City,  a glass artist from Iowa, a sculpture from Indianapolis, painters from Canada, painters from Holland, a German ceramicist, a potter from Atlanta, a water colorist from England and many more! Each one adds to the atmosphere of Merida. Added to this international artist colony is the many great artists from the Yucatan as well as other states in Mexico. I have been lucky to not only take some classes from the international artists but from the craftspeople of Merida too!
I started out my class taking with glass fusion classes taught by Randa from Iowa, Super talented and always willing to share her art I have taken several classes from her as well as arranged some for my international visitors.

Another class that I love was basket weaving. Taught at Louise's textile center, the Maya fellow who taught it did not speak any English but with his hands and patient way, he had all of his students weaving beautiful baskets in no time! 

Maestro helping me with my edge work.

My finished basket

And another one!

Sometimes the baskets are useful!
One self-learned craft has been hat making....strange yes, but fun. I first was invited to a Kentucky Derby party and a hat was required. Hmmmm, I thought and I went hunting for some material. Found some and made a hat. I won the contest...I didn't even know there was a contest! Than there was a polo game for charity...some friends wanted I made more! Really fun! Here are some of the results:
My first hat!

And than there were more! (The women look so beautiful!)

For me, just a small hat this time!

Stay tuned for Part II of And this is how I am filling all the hours.......

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

What's all that Beeping, Whistling and Tweeting?

So what's all that noise coming down the neighborhood street during the day and well into the evening? It's enterprising vendors doing home delivery for small amounts of pesos. From the bread man/pastry guy with his ding, ding bell, to the milk guy with his mooing, to the ice cream man or the furniture person with his stack of chairs and tables to the older couple with the tenor voiced women yelling "Tamales!" They are all there and you can be their customer! When you hear them coming down the street, hustle out to the front of your house and wait for them! You can see many of your neighbors doing the same. Once you are a customer they will make your house a stop or at least a hesitation!
One of my favorites is Harley Francisco, the knife sharpener. Several times a month we can hear his pan whistle in a distance and I hustle and get all my dull scissors, knives and yard clippers ready for him. Now he stops at our house once a month and plays his tune outside until we come to the door. Today was one of those days! And here his is with his pipes!

He's unloaded his tricycle and is getting set up.

He comes to the door, sets up and he's waiting for me to plug him in. 

He has a well used grinder but takes really good care of it.

He inspects all that I have given him and fine tunes the clippers and tightens the screws. 

I had him sharpen two pairs of scissors, 2 kitchen knifes and a pair of clippers. He worked for about 15 minutes, made sure the results satisfied us and waiting patiently for his payment. Total cost? All of 150 pesos.. or about 8 dollars US. Oh yea, since it was well over 95 degrees F, I threw in a ice cold bottle of water!

Friday, April 6, 2018

It's Heating Up!

It's snowing back in the states, but melting here!

I was sitting around sweating today, waiting for the pool to be cleaned (and a friend to arrive). I started thinking about all the ways I learned to 'beat the heat' here since I have moved full time to Merida. Some things I have had from the beginning of my journey, others I have added as I have found other peoples ideas that work! Many of the ideas in our home were implemented by our architect, Roger. 
Our house was built with many ideas that really help with the heat...the front two rooms are original to the house and they have 18 inch thick stone walls and high ceiling. Also they have either high windows or heat escape pipes near the ceilings.

Ceiling fans and bedroom air conditioner units help during the evenings. The public portions of the house are not air conditioned. Thick insulated drapes keep the bedrooms cool during the day as well as keep the hot sun out.

Windows on the east side of the house as well as the north lets the cool morning and evening breezes in.

This winter I added sun shades to the lower terrace because in the afternoon the sun heated up the area almost making it impossible to sit there. During the summer the sun is higher in the sky so it does not heat up the terrace as much. With the new shades and the ceiling fan going it's really a lovely place to spend the afternoon. The shades are adjustable all the way to the floor. The solar panels on the top of the upper terrace helps keep that area cooler also. This was the first time our solar provider has a client request the panels to also be used as a sun shade! Works great!

On the hottest of days we only use our gas grill as to not heat up the kitchen.

Of course what would a tropical oasis be without the pool? We use ours daily except for the cold days of December and January...though our northern visitors find it pleasant!

And finally we have our indoor fountain which cools you down with the sound of vents out of a skylight so no humidity inside!

I'm sure I will find more and different ways to stay out of the heat! When in doubt there is always a trip north....that will make me shiver and crave the warmth that is Merida!
OR we can do as Carlos likes to.....hug a bag of cubes while drinking an ice cold brew! .

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Tranquility in Baca

A large Buddha welcomes you!

Friends Lee and Pablo invited us to lunch last week and wanted us to choose where to go since we have the car and they do not. After consulting with them, Carlos and I decided to take them out to Baca about 20 minutes outside of Merida. Carlos and I haven't been in almost a year, Pablo and Lee had never visited.
Baca is a small town that has a revitalized hacienda that houses both an excellent Thai restaurant and a center for healing called FundaciĆ³n para el Bienestar Natural A.C. Surrounding the restaurant are magnificent water gardens. These also act as a buffer to envelope the hospice area in calming waters as well as a quiet serenity. Visitors are free to wander through the gardens as well as eat in the restaurant, but the hospice area is gated giving the residents solitude to work on their healing. Before we sat down to lunch we spent a good 45 minutes enjoying the gardens.

Lee in the distance



When we sat down to eat, 3 of us ordered PadThai as our main entre and Carlos ordered a curry. Geen Papaya salad as well as spring rolls rounded out our meals. So good. Good thing we wandered aound the gardens before lunch! Go to La Casa de los Lotus soon for a great lunch and to regain some serenity in the gardens! Check out their facebook page for further information such as directions and opening times.

Pad Thai

Friday, March 30, 2018

It's Baseball Season!

One beautiful night last season!

Both Carlos and I wait for baseball season. The Leones de Yucatan is our local team and their stadium is just a hop, skip and bump away from our centro home. We went to baseball games in the states. However it's no longer affordable to attend many. Last time I went to see my local team, the Saint Louis Cardinals, it set us back more than 100 US dollars. That was only tickets, so far away and high up in nosebleed land the game was not even enjoyable. Here in the Yucatan it is still and event for family.Tickets for my favorite area, alta butaca, behind home plate and a bit high to catch the breeze are only about 50 mxp each. (at current exchange rate of about 2.50-300 US) Many of the games have specials such as women and children free. It's common to see Mom and Dad and Grandparents with 4 or 5 children at the game enjoying the evening breeze and having a good time.

And then comes the most awesome part
 THE FOOD! I will tell you that I have never seen such a variety of food at an event, except possible a state fair. And everyone eats... so many choices! Beers are poured two in a cup...price 50mxp (US 2.70) Each area of the stadium have several drink/beer vendors and they are attentive!
Beers are heavy!

 And there is so many more choices!
You want peanuts with that beer?

Or a giant ham sandwich!
Popcorn...with or without hot sauce?

Fries or fried hot dogs or marquasitas (like a rolled crepe)?
The Lupita Botana girl will take your order...
And make you this....which you can share all around your seats!

AND There is even more!
Restaurants will take your order and deliver to your seat!
I did not get pictures of it all, there is pizza, and fruit and coffee frappe, and ice cream and candy apples and spun sugar, kibis, cup o'soup, and on and on!
In the meantime the game is going on, the fans are cheering, the drums are drumming and hopefully the Leones are scoring...and last three games we spent (total for all 3) with tickets and food somewhere in the vicinity of 50 us!
Got to have my churros!

The mascot and me!
Hope to see you at a game soon!

(Thank you Julia for being the covert photographer!)