April 29, 2009

Excuse me. Sorry we're late. It was my fault.

Spa Day at Zama for PEACE and I'm 15 minutes late. Lora would not go inside the house, so I had her run in front of the golf cart to Beach Club Zama. It was like she owned the place, was meant to be a SpaDog.
The acupuncturist had missed the ferry. So Carol Lavia generously offered some free kinesiology, magnet therapy and osteopathy while we waited.
I benefited from them all as a package. Still today, I have no pain in my back or legs. It has been months!
Glance to the right, and that was my view. Lora dog was vigilant under the table, so much so that the magnet therapist placed a couple magnets on her bad hip. She laid there, seemingly enjoying it! When laying there, the view above was equally pleasing!
Afterward, we had quesadillas and guacamole. Lora doesn't eat the green stuff, but had beans and rice seasoned with bacon for her middle of the night snack, after running to the ATM with the golf cart.
Yep. there's a lot to be said for being a SpaDog!

April 24, 2009

Rolling in the green

I'm harvesting a lot of green leaves these days, and gifting cuttings to friends. In Mexico finding fresh greens any time of the year is tough; as it gets hotter, even tougher.
But this green is hardy to the heat. It's called Indian or Malabar spinach. It tastes just like real spinach, is a bit more succulent, but is not a spinach at all. However, most Maya simply call it espinacha.
It's one of those things that the more you cut, the more you get. A couple cuttings were gifted to me by a former worker. Now, I have about three households sustaining their greenery needs on further cuttings.
I my little world, it is planted in the same area as the zucchini and pickles. That's a lot of vines to untangle every morning. The stuff literally grows by meters over night!

April 23, 2009

Oh what a day!

The trip to Cancun had mixed results, but was always pleasant thanks to Carlos, the taxista whose family now embraces me when we see each other and who goes the extra kilometer for me.
The consulate could not help me with a Social Security issue, saying they had gotten out of the benefits business. The place was deserted, making me wonder what business they are in at all! On the other hand, tourism in the hotel zone has dropped so drastically, the whole section was nearly deserted!
Then, since I had left the island without eating, an obligatory stop for some authentic food. To Mercado 23 for cilaquiles. Carlos noted the way they were made and the way they are made in Isla is not the authentic chilango way, chilango being a derogatory term for a cheapskate from Mexico City, where the day old tortillas are not fried before being wetted with sauce and cheese.
So, we each at an order of Yucatan chilaquiles and were off to look for an umbrella for the deck and to night table lamps to replace one that fell and broke and one that just got tattered over time.
Not so easy to find. No little store in Mercado 23 had funky little ones. TechnoLuz was exhorbitant. We were off to Walmart, where there was one model. And it needs some adaption to hold the light bulb in place, being made for a totally round sphere with a stem, which Walmart does not carry.
Got some canned soup, some zip lock bags, a dish drainer and beef filet and yep, we were done.
Last week, I got a back pack on wheels that comfortablly holds frozen compresses. So Carlos packed the meat, and a beet I had gotten at the open air market into that, and we were back at the Ultramar.
I got home in time for a nap before a fabulous dinner at LoLoLorena's, where I saw Daniel, whom I hadn't seen in ages, and his friend Manuel. What a nice man. There were over a dozen of us at the table and although Lorena wasn't happy with herself, my pork loin in mustard glaze was great, as were the appetizers, salad and desert plate. Buy bien.
Luis did not do carpentry yesterday, but is here now, so the roof will soon be well shaded. And I will be living up there for sure!

April 21, 2009

My Mexican Wallet

I had cable bills to pay yesterday and thoughts of stopping at the ATM before going to my pedicure at Lorena's Women's Club. This meant juggling dollars, peso coins, small and large 200 peso notes, the cable bills and my ATM card. I decided to go Mexican.
I grabbed a plastic bag and shoved everything into the baggie and then into my purse. Works like a charm. You can see though it, know what you have. Eases digging around for correct change.
At the ATM, I saw the exchange rate dropped, so I got half dollars and half pesos.
Then on to the Women's Club, where Heydy would be paid in peso.
Sometime in the afternoon I laughed at my new wallet. No, it is not just a Mexican wallet, Lorena said. "It is a Mexican merchant's wallet. Welcome to our world."

April 19, 2009

A new week for Lorena's Women's Club

Tomorrow is pedicure day and hopefull Rosemary and her friend from Marina Milagro will join us. Heydy gives a great 100 peso pedicure. And of course, the cabana boys will be there to wait on us.
Hmmm. Caiprini anyone?

April 18, 2009

New and Improved - Ultramar ferry

Welcome to a new age! This was the Ultrama ferry that took me to Cancun at 9am Friday. Inside, new seating, two, four and two seats again by the windows. In the center, the front faces the new snack area and the first seats in the center are arranged around a table, handy for local accountts on their way to and from clients, and snack eaters!
There is also on each side, two tables for four. Nice to have more meetings, or spread the kids out with their Happy Meals from McDonald's in Puerto Juarez.

But the big news is the ramp! It opens up, uhmm, like the spaceships we have imagined.
And once opend, there are no more steps, front or rear. Its a gradual incline to lower deck level. Those who want, can go up to the upper deck like before. Sorry, that involves steps!
Luggage and packages are stowed in shelving covered by a fake leather, heavy plasctic flap. The ride is smooth, too. You almost forget you are on a boat. Except when you look out the windows into that aquamarine water that seems never to end.
And instead tourist propaganda preaching to the converted, the morning ferry at least is tuned to Mexican network news, where I learned we were experiencing cold front No. 46 of the season. Only elsewhere! It was a high of 25 and a low of 10 in Puebla and Chihauhua. In Merida, tempertures were heading to 40 and around 36 here. That's relentlessly hot! But hey, it was a cool ride. The AC worked!

April 14, 2009

It's always something

This is my carpenter, Luis Mendiburo, tacking up new screen cloth on the front door. Hunter green. I think it goes nice with the new fence, every other post of which is hunter green, the others orange. Screen cloth here lasts two seasons if you are lucky. My luck ran out.
Luis is more than a carpenter. He is an artist who makes sculptures out of wood. You should see his nude! He also makes shadow boxes and the like. He is a fine craftsman who has found his nitch on Isla: doing interiors of yachts. I get him between gigs.
He built a shade cloth roof for the pool and suggests we get rid of the green screening along the wall, to be replaced with beige shade cloth providing 50 percent sunscreen, just like the pool roof.
So at week's end, I'll be making a trip to Home Depot, and the consulate on a tax matter. Ugh, another trip to Cancun. But it has been a month and my bleu cheese is running low, as are Lora's doggie treats. So there will be Soriana's this time, next to Home Depot.
The garden, however, is reaping rewards, ending riddles of how to get stuff here from Cancun. I have pickles from the garden. A couple a day, not enough to put in brine, but they are so yummy in salads! Hmmm, with baby dill. And I got a good head of romaine on the island they other day.
So, we'll be shopping for creature comforts in Cancun!

April 13, 2009

We the Women and, of course, Wilson

A word, first, about the neighbor. He didn't want his picture taken, certainly not his name used. Well, so sorry about the picture. You are a great guy. You bring cookies, and therefore, are allowed, welcomed, to hang out with the women, their aides, and maybe a gay guy or two. Since you are a lot like the mysterious neighbor from Tool Time, I have decided to call you Wilson. It is my blog.
It's not about you, though. It is about the Women's Club, that loosely gathers around Lorena's pool in the afternoons, and are waited on by Evaristo and Christian. That's Renee from Montreal, a regular, with Christian, Evaristo and Lorena.
There are more of us, including Rosemary, Lisa, Kay. Anyone who brings and leaves a chair. Our staff of cabana boys will make drinks, run errands to town, help Lorena if you want a salad. Christian meanwhile is also baking croissants and breads. He can snag one right out of the oven.
Yes, we pay Lorena for our food and tips the boys. But it is a lot cheaper than a day at Zama and the company is great. All differences are to be left at the street. No disagreeable behavior allowed. Yes, there is a cat. But you cannot be catty and belong to this women's club!

April 10, 2009

Jesus died

Years ago, I had an editor who impressed on me the correct order of a sentence when attributing a quote. Jesus died, said David Squires, meaning to impress that David Squires said it.
Even now when I write and find myself with one of those "nobody talks that way" attributions, David's voice rings in my head. Jesus DIED. He said. Not said Jesus or said David.
Kind of a fitting grammar lesson for Good Friday, only because it is too busy a day here to summarize in any orderly fashion, or at least about to become so.
So far, I have bought fish and chicken and marinated some things and cooked beets. It is gray and windy, thank you Jesus, so I will not clean the pool and will cook instead. I have a friend coming for dinner tomorrow night.
Carmen and I already laid our plans for today. We are both cooking our separate ways and going to the reading of the Gospel tonight via taxis, avoiding the drunks in the streets now and the Passion Processions, including the ones in town that invariably offer up one soul or another who thinks it's nifty go get nailed to a cross. No really, in Cancun, there are always several such martyrs. Here maybe one or so who get tied up. The real fake Jesus hauls his heavy cross around in the parades.
Neighbors have set out planned little altars to be Stations of the Cross for the faithful to pray on the way to the Church of the Virgin of Guadalupe, where the faithful show up to hear that Jesus really had died, and to make it more vivid, there are a lot of Romans lurking in red loin cloths.
I think I will let something marinate a bit more while I nap. I recall the reading of the Gospel to be a long process, Jesus died.

April 6, 2009

Semana Santa...Holy Week

Lora is out of work. There are no kids to see off to school in the street below the patio. Only the occasional cat to shout down
It's Holy Week and Lora knows cats are not Holy but worth raising Holy hell about. So, the Monday after springing forward an hour, no one got any extra sleep because of cats. The cabs weren't running at 6:45, the kids weren't out, but the gendarme of cats was at her post, howling away.
Her mom is embarrassed and issues an apology to all the neighbors who have kept me up nights with their midweek fiestas on what one would think would not happen on a school night.
Yes, it's Semana Santa. But to Lora, cats are not holy and there's nothing I can do about it but water the pickle plants.

April 4, 2009

We lead simple lives

On the internet message boards, folks like to make our lives seem complicated. Where can you get American beer? Third World shopping rules: If you are into it, get it when you see it because you may never see it again. It is a gift.
When I am on Isla Mujeres, my life is so simple that everyday things from North of the Border confound me.
The past two days, I had a semi-major electrical job done at the house. The meter had been moved to the street level at the request of the electric company, which theoretically did the job once a mason and electrician had prepared the tower. But no, there was still the bulk of the live wires and a switch on the old tower. So, Ricardo came over, all the while whispering the job wasn't necessary.
Two days later, the first tower is gone and the cables are in a box mounted to the wall and grounded. Doug and Eileen stopped, Doug willing to give First Energy advice. It really wasn't necessary: He knows a lot, but not the Mexican power way of doing things details. Keep it simple.
I have some kind of respiratory crud. So does my brother back in the USA. It could be anything. Before going for a culture, I am taking Bactrim, a nice sulfa drug that will get most things. My brother got something Bayer makes in Mexico from his US doctor. It could create a lot of side effects because his doctor is not in until Tuesday and it is a drug made for Mexico. There is a leap of logic there, to my thinking.
Today when I was out and about early, I stopped at Lo Lo's and got my fresh dill for the "Russian gazpacho" I made Stan with dry dill. This is chopped and frozen now. I also got chicken breast that I put in a roasting bag with pineapple, ginger. soy sauce, garlic and sugar. From the roasting bag, it was a 40 peso dinner. Simple. I slept while Ricardo worked. So simple.
If I had felt better, I would have gone back to Lo Lo's for the new Woman's Club. One man max per day by invitation. But we have a cabana boy. age 18, who waits on us, runs errands to stores and ignores our profound chatter. If it wasn't the middle of the night and me with a fever, I'd post some pics. Be we lead simple lives here. You don't really need graphics, even though we CAN deliver some.
Saturday, I will get up and make some espresso, maybe add chocolate because I have it, and see if Carmen can work. If not, off to the Women's Club with the pool I don't have to clean, pate I don't have to process, and fun talk that means nothing because we lead simple lives. Then I will contemplate whether to stay for dinner, go downtown for sushi, or go home and make pasta with garlic and parmagian reganno . A little something for my chest cold.
We lead simple lives here.

April 1, 2009

Mexican Birthday Dog!

Lora turned 2 sometime in March, according to the vets. Being a Mexican dog, the party was put off until the last minute. It was thrown by her doggie daddy, Miguel, who gifted her to me at age 5 months. You see the resemblance, right? The eyes, the smile.
Miguel served her up 4 chicken tacos and water. I gave her a new rawhide bone. Scott showed up with a can of Pedigree, which she wolfed down before we could even discuss which birthday song we would eventually not sing.
Scott also brought flowers. Lora sniffed them and then said her doggie mommie could have them. It was a lovely evening and the two bitches were home by 8:30pm
There has been no breakfast as of yet. She is working on the rawhide bone! Happy birthday, doggie dog.