December 31, 2009

Goodbye Mr Stress, Old Year!

There was Mr Stress before Scott and I got to El Cejas. He was worried about the arrival of his sweetie Kathy and his cousin coming from Denver the other from DFW. We stopped on the way so I could get an email I forgot and Scott also checked the computer their for airline updates! Now with the address of a new German deli that sells sauerkraut, but it's still not opened, we were off. The address is of the mother of the guy who is opening the deli, so it was a private house with barking German breed dogs and open windows!
We have joked that buying shrimp on Isla is like making a dope deal with unmarked houses, etc. Why, it's like buying sauerkraut in Cancun!
A stop for doggy diaper pads and we were ready to eat! El Cejas!
While Scott texted the airlines and family one more time, the oysters Rockefeller arrived.
Great for Scott to share with Carlos the cabbie and me. And we each had a vuelve la vida cocktail, the one that includes raw oysters. I also had a naranjada, billed as OJ with mineral water, it was actually and orange juice and mineral water slush, but much tastier than an Orange Julius!
Then I was off to Telebodega, where I found the same new 15 cubic feet fridge that Inge had bought (we compared notes this morning!) and two table lamps for 110 pesos each, which they wrapped up for me to carry and promised January 10 delivery of the fridge.
Isla Gringo and B were there, too, for an emergency replacement fridge purchase for one of their units. We wound up on the curb as I waited later for Carlos to come back from the airport. They were having no luck with finding a station wagon cab to hail! Carlos was just two minutes away when I called to see if he could carry their little fridge too! No problem, he has a station wagon.
Great good luck could not keep Isla Gringo from fretting at McDonald's as he watched the baggage handlers and the ferries, alert to any mix up.
The only mix up was here, when I forgot I had an extra bag with sauerkraut and bratwurst. I loitered around the ferry dock for an hour until the right UltraMar ferry, alerted by shore crew, came back and handed it it to me. Good bye old year Mr Stress, Happy New Year!

December 30, 2009

Looks like high season

There's a hustle and bustle on Isla Mujeres that smacks of New Year's high season. The newspapers are reporting government figures for 90 percent occupancy. Seems a bit high for the number of people we see out an about at night, but daytime traffic on the island certainly is up!
From my viewpoint, reservatons are a bit soft for January, as is the case every year. and pretty good for February. Will it last? Only time and Bernanke will tell.
A Mexican real estate agent says Americans are not buying. But, he said, Mexicans from all over the country are buying land and building new apartments and small hotels. The American word overbuilt comes to mind!

December 29, 2009

Medical progress

This is the latest view of the hospital going up two corners to the south of me. It's going to be a Specialty Hospital, the closest thing to a teaching hospital Isla Mujeres may see. Cancun surgeons will come here for specialty cases and Isla doctors can learn their techniques.
The published plan also calls for a cafeteria, both for patients and open to the public. Now that's progress because the typical hospital in Mexico requires families to feed their kin!

December 28, 2009

New infrastructure for a New Year

My green grocer from El Paraiso in La Gloria admits he was misled and I admit I took his word that SuperXpress was building a warehouse for storing meat and vegetables. No, this is the small view of the new SuperExpress that will open January 15, three corners from my house. Just out of the range of of the camera on the right.
I trust it will have an ATM, eliminating my need to go to Centro. It's a long building. In front on the other corner, with the tar paper roof, is Cocodrillo's Pizza.
Then around the bend, toward the new location of what is fondly still known as Tacos Campos, is the new community center, rapidly heading for it's grand opening. It's highlight will be a movie theater for kids.
The hospital two blocks south of me is going up quickly too! A full crew of workers was on the site early Sunday morning.

December 27, 2009

Boca's big Christmas!

Santa Claus, aka Scott, took Boca out on the town Christmas Day night, leaving Zina's Guest House around 9pm.. She went to Miguel's Moolite first. We took the diaper so no one would be offended.
She made friends with customers and ate dog food and drank water out of a cup.
Then Santa and I took her to Brisas Grill, where she sat by the wall and stared at the lobster tank in amazement.
Santa opined that Boca is just learning to be a big dog now. How true. Feliz Navidad!

December 20, 2009

Yacht Club party

Those of us who go to the Puerto Isla Mujeres Yacht Club seldom see this nice view of the dining room. Mostly we gawk at the nice pleasure craft!
So, Saturday night's PEACE, the community foundation fundraiser, showed us a different Villa Vera and a different menu. Salmon fillets in dill sauce or turkey and dressing.
My cousin Dianne Umla, who took al these pictures, and I opted for the salmon, starting with a seafood bisque. Desert was the tiniest piece of pecan pie I'd ever seen, not that there's anything wrong with that, ala mode!
Afterward, the evening continued with a poolside Christmas Party, also a PEACE fundraiser. I wasn't up for staying out late, so we were home by 9:30.
But it truly was a magical night.

December 17, 2009

Five stuffed in a cab

Elizabeth and Tom got more than a bargain cab fare to the airport. My cousin's husband Jeff also had a departing flight at the same time and he wanted to be kissed goodbye on the other side. So I called Carlos the taxista to pick up five at Puerto Juarez.
Dianne, from the lower Florida Keys, and I were going to shop while he took the others to the airport. Sign of the cross not to get busted by the union for 5 in a car, off we went. First the short distance to Sam's Club.
This was very interesting. My cousin has had anorexia for 35 years. She ran up to me with some prosciutto. "This is anorexic food! See how thin it is sliced?"
So we bought anorexic food, another sheet set, diaper pads for Boca and were at the cash register when Carlos showed up. Chedraui!
There, we shopped the imported food aisle and got miniature meringues. "They are just egg whites and sugar." But by 2pm, I was hungry. So we stopped at a food court, where Carlos and I had fish tacos and Di could load her ceviche whith fat burning chiles. The owner came by, saw her plate, and offered to replace the ceviche. No, I like it like that!
Then we were done and heading home. "Do you want to be among Parrot Heads and have a margarita? I asked? Sure. So we got margaritas and an order of grilled wings to split.
Yep, I am a very bad influence. Came home and put the food away and me, I went right to bed. Di had a cup of Dieter's Tea! No point in ruining a vacation with food.

December 15, 2009

Dog Play Date

Sunday, my cousin Dianne and her husband Jeff and I went to visit Alison at Amigos Los Animales. She and her husband, Jeff had just sent 12 dogs to homes abroad. But then, Alison came home with 8 more.
The dogs need socializing to humans and with non-pack dogs. Boca rose to the occasion. She mouthed as puppies do when they play, but no one got bit and Boca couldn't seem to get enough doggie hugs.
After 90 minutes or so, Alison had to go upstairs to do a phone interview with a Denver radio station for her new book, "No Urn for the Ashes." And we went to Miguel's, so he could meet Lora's legacy. He approved of Boca dog, who ate garlic bread while we had grouper.

December 9, 2009

Blooming aloe vera

All these years of visiting the tropics, and I never knew aloe vera bloomed. But right there on my rooftop patio, flowers.
If a few days, the flower droops and gets flouncy tips on the succulent petal. Now that I am sensitize, I see blooming aloe vera everywhere. Especially in Sac Bajo. Who knew? Not me!

December 8, 2009

A quick trip to the other side...

Cancun yesterday, starting at 3pm. Carlos, the taxista, informed me some tejones have found a new home on Bonampark behind the gas station. Hopefully the mean lady won't poison the survivors!
On we went to Sam's Club, where I was to meet Karina. We never hooked up and I looked around and took a membership. Overall, now I remember, I find it more useful that Costco. I got a 40 pack of bed covers/diapers for Boca's potty needs
They had 400 count cotton sheets. No one else has 100 percent cotton sheets now. Not Costco, not Soriana, not Chedraui. I'd have rather had a higher threat count, but...
So I got two sets and a stunningly rich sheet towels that I'll put into circulation - and steal back. They are great.
But it was sad in there. The veggies were all rotting with an official expiration of today. I got some mozzarella cheese and a 24 pack of baby bagels. Then on to Soriana's.
There, the vegetables were fresh, the meats looked good, I got deli ryes and I some plain Activia! Today is cheap produce day at Walmart; by the afternoon, Soriana will match prices on any special Walmart had. So, I think I'll just start every future outing at Sam's, got to Soriana and then Costco for it's walk it cooler, which was pretty bare last trip too.
After whirlwind shopping, I went to see an insurance agent. I have applied to get a French major medical policy from AXA for my times in Mexico. $1400 annually, 5 percent co pay, no preferred providers. That's a health plan I can live with. And it has a $30,000 rider to airlift me back to Ohio should I develop something that can't be treated here.
I just got to Puerto Juarez in time to catch the ferry. No McDonald's. So I stopped at Soggy Peso for a guacamole on my way home and met some old salts who live here now.

December 5, 2009

El Cejas!

Cancun trip tomorrow! Trips to Cancun lead me and Carlos, my chauffer, to El Cejas in Mercado 28 for vuelte la vida, a seafood cocktail that includes raw oysters. The name, translated, is return to life. And no matter how rigorous the errands have been up to lunch, we bounce back with vuelte la vida!
I am sorry my trip tomorrow will not be rigorous enough, or timed right, to visit El Cejas, the seafood palace. That's The Eyebrows, named for the owners eyebrows. Maybe he should have called his place El Gigante! Because everyone who knows, knows I am not a small woman. Baggy pants and all!
See you next trip Cejas! I think Zina's Guest House has holiday renters for the holidays for whom this is a declared must do, with an eating strategy to boot! No, the strategy tomorrow is a quick stop at a store and then a quick visit to the health insurance agent. Borrrrring and not draining at all. Bah humbug. Today's strategy is more challenging: conchinita breakfast, chilpachole lunch! So many calories!

You better be good!

Sergio decked the halls yesterday for the arrival of Santa Claus. Parades were launched for the Virgin of the Immaculate Conception. Anticipation built for the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe. And Christmas carols filled the air. Boca, Sergio's little helper, ate papaya and ate cooked papaya for a pie and then ate papaya pie.
Everyone at Zina's Guest House enjoyed papaya in pie, season with cinnamon and nutmeg. OK, I like it a lot better than pumpkin. Who knew? Thanks for mentioning that it can be done, Michelle!

December 4, 2009

Hospital update

All sorts of workers have diligently been working on the new hospital two manazanas or blocks from the house. It will be a two story specialty hospital with surgical suites. Doctors can visit from Cancun and perform surgery while Isla docs assist and learn. A teaching hospital, it you will.
And different than most municipal hospitals, it will have a dining room. Both to make food for the patients and to feed people from outside. This is so different from most other hospitals, where family must bring the food to feed the patients.

December 3, 2009

Stop the loving!

Boca has permission to play in the front patio with the 4 to 8 year old neighbors. They tickle, they hug, they play games.
But when she's had enough, she retreats to a corner of the garden, as if to scream, "Stop the Loving!" When play is done, it is sometimes hard to get her out of the garden!
Then doggie mommie cajoles and wipes the mud off, and Boca goes back to being a house dog who chews the guts, still chewing, the guts of her stuffed sister.

December 2, 2009

Food porn

Friday is lobster on the grill at Soggy Peso. Went there the day after Thanksgiving with MD from Texas and we all had a portion of the medium tail like this, for $250 pesos a plate.
Mango Cafe is open for breakfast and lunch until the 15th, when it will open more days for more meals.
Sunday, Michael and I each had this salad. Michelle had the breakfast empanadas, which she said were fantastic! The salad came with a rasberry chipotle vinagrette. I had ginger lemonade. The Regans had hibiscus tea mulled with cloves, ginger and nutmeg. It was also so yummy. There's been more catting about, but donchyaknow I failed to take pics!

December 1, 2009

All about food! Chapoy turns 36!

I was hopeless behind in posting food pictures when I got an impromptu invitation to share a meal with Chapoy and his family yesterday on his 36th birthday. First course, chilpachole. Even 3 year old Andrea love that!
Norma was handing out napkins while just letting the juices spill down her cami top. It was nice to see Chapoy and Norma reconciled after a multi month separation. They have been back as a couple for two months and living together again for a month.
Chapoy is talking with his mom, who is back from Merida after a long hospitalization.
We had the crab and seafood soup, ceviche and there was fried fish. But a girl can only eat so much! This one anyway. Andrea packed it away.
So I may never get caught with posting my various eating excursions this month. Oh well!

November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving feast!

It was among the best Thanksgiving meals I've had in my life! Vivian's Qubano staff of three, including Vivian, fixed a cranberry fruit compote, cornbread dressing with mushrooms, green beans, Vivian's grandmother's Hungarian potatoes....but wait! It started with vegetarian pate!
Vivian was a gracious hostess, offering up a choice of beverages. I had watermelon water. A new addition to my Thanksgiving repertoire.
I was the first to arrive at 1pm, but David wasn't far behind! He got watermelon water, too.
All in all, there were 27 reservations, but others called in to see they could get in and if to go orders would be available. Logan Kemper came by with friends who didn't want to miss a football game and got seven orders to go.

Oh yes, we all got pumpkin pie...including Logan and her friends. And how was your feast?
Tomorrow, El Cejas and return to life in Cancun. Vuelve la vida!

November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

I'll be lazy and not post until tomorrow, when I'll include food pics from Vivian's Qubano today and El Cejas in Cancun from Tuesday. Be careful out there.

November 25, 2009

And now they are gone...

I had hoped sometime yesterday to stop and feed the tejones in Puerto Juarez. My driver Carlos and I have been meaning to to that. Their park is very close to the house he, a brother and his parents share.
They are somewhat like a raccoon, somewhat like a ferret. They hurt no one. But Carlos told me they are gone. A woman was seen feeding them poison.
"A foreign woman? " I asked. "A Mexican. No foreigners would to that to an animal who never hurt anyone and only protected them," he answered.
Tejones were brought to Cancun to keep the crocodiles at bay, a job in which they succeeded. So now the Park Tejones has no tejones. So sad. My neighbor the fisherman got one before they were killed off. So I'll go over and meet his leashed tejon.
So sad.

November 24, 2009

Deck the halls!

Boca was busy yesterday helping Sergio hang the Christmas lights around the Guest House property. Well, not really helping, but supervising!
After Sergio finished, the three of us went to the paint store. It was Boca's first golf cart ride outside a pet carrier and she sat pretty the whole time. She was on a leash that Sergio held.
So, she'll be supervising touch up painting on Wednesday. Today, I go to Cancun for some shopping and banking and a visit to the lawyer for my visa, which has been ready for me for a week!

November 22, 2009

So what'd ya get?

Mary Ann Burns and husband Ricardo Gaitan were leaving Mass at the Church of the Virgin of Guadalupe when my breakfast order at Mango Cafe was being served. I got eggs Benedict but not like any you've had elsewhere! The Bearnaise is made with rompope, a Mexican eggnog that has more egg yolks and a bit more alcohol than typical nog. And these eggs Benedict were not on top of the usual English muffins. Lori found an incredible thick bread in Cancun. And between the eggs and bread were sweet peppers, onions and some chaya. All sprinkled with bacon after the sauce. I was a very happy diner!
With the hash browns, made with chambray potatoes, red onions and beans, well...lovely, but too much food! Too much! Great, though! A deal at 80 pesos! No need to eat again this day! Mango Cafe is open now Friday-Monday for breakfast and lunch.
The new issue of Latina magazine loves the place, along with Cabanas Maria del Mar. Isla Mujeres is one of three destinations they picked as Mexican gems! Can Rachel Rae, who canceled a visit during the swine flu scare, be far behind?

November 19, 2009

Talking up Isla Mujeres

You may recall last summer: A production crew led by Ellen and James Fields from Merida was here to record some foreign islanders perspective on real estate investment in Isla Mujeres.
The production for the Real Estate Development network is done. Jeri and Steve, Jimbo, Big Jim, Curtis and Ashley and I were interviewed. Click below to see the result.
It's not a hard sell for the developers, but it is something that might result in some of the shut down construction sites finding a new builder/developer.

November 18, 2009

Renee's killer moves to maximum security

The perpetrator in Renee Wathelet's death broke the nose of a Canadian inmate in Chetumal.

November 16, 2009

Making yogurt

The bad thing about Mexican yogurt, even the Dannone and Yoplaits, is that they are loaded with sugar. Even the "natural" or plain yogurt has a tablespoon, an OUNCE, of sugar in it. That's 27 grams. It's frustrating!
For more than a year, I have followed Stephanie's blog adventures in A Year of Slowcooking. She has a recipe. I made it yesterday and it turned out fine!
Since we had no plain yogurt, I chose a strawberry Acitivia as the starter. This means I will save a half cup of what I made to be the starter next batch. Eventually, I will have totally plain yogurt. To make it, use the "American milk" you can get at Walmart of Mirtitas.
Stephanie also has a book out for Christmas based on the blog, A Year of Slowcooking. If you click the link, it will take you to crock pot yogurt.

November 15, 2009

Doggie Reikki and other intimacies

What goes on behind close doors? Boca sleeps in her bed, sometimes not! She is a dog of many wants and talents.
She is getting used to having her bed, but sometimes she just jumps onto mine out of the blue. She does it for the snuggles.
But last night, there was more. She performed Reikki on my sore back. I suspect she didn't have a clue! But I was hurting. My back was sore.
She jumped over me and laid down, her back pushing against mine. Back to back. It felt so good. Soon I treated it like a Reikki/healing touch session and just relaxed into it. Eventually, Boca moved, but it felt like she was still there. And my back ache was gone. Boca, the healing touch practitoner!

November 14, 2009

New newsy link

While filled with detractors of Mayor Alicia Ricalde Magana, this blog is nonetheless filled with local news. TV Isla Mujeres has been added to my Blogs list!

November 13, 2009

Your Friend, the Police

Coming home this morning from marketing, I was met by my new beat cop. "My name is Ismael," he began. "Do you have any reports you would like to file?"
He went on to explain that he would be walking the neighborhood every morning, as we used to say, rounding up the usual suspects. I don't mean to make light of the effort, I just couldn't help it!
Ismael is based downtown with the Public Security division at the Palacio Municipal. He will work days. Nights, we are to call their number, not state dispatch for speedy response. That number is 877 0051.
The new police presence program is called "Your Friend, the Police." This is proof that the mayor took to heart the complaints of locals and foreigners as well. But the presence of Officer Santiago and his collegues in other colonias is welcome as the holidays approach and more tourists arrive.
Thank you Alicia Ricalde Magana.

November 12, 2009

Isla Manicure

After a hurricane, and after the clean up, a little pampering is in order. I went to Evita for a manicure; no time for a pedicure.
Not needed, but I brought my own color from Avon. I forgot to expect the handcrafted embellishment. First the outline of flowers, then the glitter, then the stud. Topped with clear coat. Cost? 80 pesos, a little under $7. Virtually every manicurist on Isla Mujeres prides herself on the mini pictures! And two days later, still like new.

November 11, 2009

Praying for three so-so months

I was about to lose the amethyst from my ring, so I stopped at Fire Opal shop to have Ricardo fuss with the setting. He asked me how reservations were. Good, I said. But I am cheap. I think the holiday bubble will be just that. High season hopes will remain just that.
Oh, please, just three OK months. Then we can get caught up with our rents, he said speaking for merchants.
Miquel's Moon Lite had no one when I arrived. Miguel said Hurricane Ida generated the most business he'd had in months, what with Saturday's riding the storm party and Sunday's celebration. But now, dead again!
He started to smile when I ordered coconut shrimp, a guarantee that the cook's salary will be covered. I also got guacamole and two Cuba libres.
Then Sandia came and got two Cuba libres, joining me for a bit. And Miguel was so glad to see her!
By the time she and I left, there were six other patrons in house. Not bad for a so-so night on Isla Mujeres, where we all pray tourism will pick up.