December 25, 2011

Dealing on the wheels

I thought I'd give the issue of my Christmas present to myself a rest over the holiday since it was on the back burner anyway. I couldn't complete the insurance purchase on Christmas Eve day, so it's just sitting there.
For a 10 a.m. appointment to sign the "Vocho" title over and collect 19,00o pesos, Andres aka Luis May, a postal letter carrier, showed up at 10:45. What's the hurry, eh? I had the VW Beetle for nearly a week. I took it for short rides around the block, where I learned it had a fuel thrust problem and called in the electro mechanical pooh ba. Jorge Leon took it for a ride and said, too, that there was a thrust problem and no one on the island with a computer to change the fuel injection chip and tune it properly. He also showed me a CD player/tuner he had that fits a VW Beetle, since this one had a hole where there once was such a thing.
He went to Cancun to a VW shop he trusts and returned without the car. The fuel thrust repeated after the chip was replaced and the computer guy was gone for the day when he returned. So, next day, he went. He came back with a car that purs and a note that there are other minor problems in the computer. And since the VW shop he deals with guarantees its work, he has extracted a promise for them to drop in a rebuilt computer free of charge that would correct those minor problems. Well worth the $40 I paid Leon!
So. Andres May shows up, still a little baffled that I was going to pay less than the 20,000 pesos he wanted. "It's a 150 peso chip," he started. So you knew? But really the chip is nothing without a shop computer to tune it and there isn't one on the island, I start.
OK, OK, he says.
Now, during those days I had the car, I'd been picking up information on May. Knowledge is power, right?
Carmen told me he lives a couple doors away from her and is always selling a VW. Miguel Moreno, when I told him I was getting a VW from May, asked, "The white one?"
So I asked May where he gets those VWs in such good shape. Surprised that I knew so much about him, he blurted out "near or in Merida."
This one came from his village in Campeche. Previous owners were all brothers who transferred it around the family until it went to the woman cousin who sold it to him. He drove it back and his wife drove it around the island.
"This is not some stolen car," he suddenly offered. Well, I see from the title! I was just wondering about all these similar names, I replied.
Anyway, could you give me your number in case one of the foreigners who've been asking want one?
He gave me home and cell and then offered his life story. His father has held the same job for 22 years and was recently released from the hospital after pneumonia that threw him into a coma for two weeks.
His father taught him the only way to succeed in life was to work. day in and day out. Here on the island, most people don't want to work daily. Easy tip money, he offered, has created the mindset. And big money that gringos are willing to pay for small things.
There are people, a lot of them he said, that charge gringos triple and beyond. It's not right, he said.
I know, it winds up costing everyone more in the end. "Exactamente!" he exclaimed. He's got 10 years with the postal service here. That will get him a pension and lifetime health care eventually. He also drives afternoon shift cab for my friend Jose Flores, who took me to his village with his wife Marta several times. He bought the car from Mario Cicero, the owner of Ciro's Golf Cart Rental, but pays him monthly for the license. His Sacalum is the next village over from where Andres is from. Small community, those Maya villages. It's also on the other side of Carmen's village.
Well, he was heartened I'd been to both places. So, who works for you now? he suddenly asked. "Jose Misvalazques, an isleno, and the mechanical consultant was Jorge Leon. My friend Carmen cleans to help support her father in Halacho." He nodded. "So, if you ever need a man to work around here, remember, I was raised to work!" Carmen's daughter at this point yells into the house looking for her mom. "No esta. Trabajando lunes!" Andres smiled.
He hold me now he learned the art of making hats in a cave where the ambient moisture is correct for keeping the reeds pliable until done. His wife has a breakfast shop near the juice joint I go to daily, which is where I spotted the car.
"She is available to clean after closing," he said. We're workers that way."
That said, we signed the title and no sooner was the ink dry than I went to Centro thinking I could immediately insure it at Banamex, the new kid in town, a Citicorp affiliate. "Not here if it's over 10 years old. Open an account, and you can do it on line," said Elvia, my personal banker. "Elvia like Elvis." she said. Elvia como Elvis the pelvico, I said. She snorted.
So, my investment account with a debit card required a ton of paper to be filed in the US for Off Shore investments and three perfectly matching signatures. Don't ask how my sets of paper I went through. I lost count. Insurance can't be bought with an American credit or debit card. So you have to do it and having a visa, a Mexican taxpayer ID and proof of residence (a utility bill in your name) is required. And to see you US Social Security Card and Passport.
And then it took 24 hours for the account to be activated and I still have to wait for a PIN numvber to be mailed.
And when I went to the bank site to buy the liability insurance 24 hourse later, it was so close to closing time Christmas Eve, that I'll just have to wait in line on line for my appoint Monday.But it will be done. Dr. Salas even warned me not to drive without insurance!
Now that I have the papers, I see the 1994 Beetle is Cherry Red. My fist car, a 1964 VW Beetle, was tomato red. A nice distinction. It is really a classy color!
And that's my story of dealing the wheels. Somehow, I think it will lead to other chapters in my life.
It has been said many times that doing business is very personal in Mexico. That the small talk is everything. I now totally agree! It's the deal maker or the deal breaker.

December 22, 2011

40 years and 40 pounds later

This is the car I bought from my guidance counselor my junior year in high school And below is the car I am about to buy from the letter carrier on Isla Mujeres.
I believe there are no coincidences in life! And this VW Beetle, affectionately called a Vocho, is in much better shape. Having the ceiling re-draped is all that's necessary at a cost of $100. Sometime next month! And a better spare tire if I'm to go on the car ferry into Cancun and beyond.
Jorge brought it back from the shop in Cancun yesterday and it purs like a kitten. Santa Pirata and Punta immediately went for a ride.
If I get the plates transferred and buy insurance at the bank in time tomorrow, Santa will be making his rounds Christmas Eve in this red sleigh!

December 18, 2011

Isla's village ruin

It's thanks to my iPhone, where I learned of El Meco and could sent my house guests, Bently, Deborah and Sydnee and my Russian friend Anastasia there on Thursday. It was only uncovered 10 years ago, so I didn't know anything about it as a tourist. I learned about it from Julie Fraga's Isla Apps via iPhone.. And Isla Mujeres's Office of Tourism doesn't seem to be promoting it. But there is a nice write up on Trip Adviser.
Anastasia took these pictures before her camera battery failed. It took the group about an hour to read the self-guiding signs and explore the site. There were three other visitors the time they were there.
Anastasia, who has visited the Old City in Jerusalem and not any of the other Mayan ruins yet, said she could feel the power of the people as she sat with Sydnee, contemplating the life of the Maya who used this as their port to Isla Mujeres, with it's salt mine now known as Salina Chica and Salina Grande on Isla Mujeres, the island. This is on the mainland part of our municipality. I'm going to be recommending that my guest this high season go! I know, it's hard to leave the island. But you'll be back in three hours and have had a taste of history!

December 14, 2011

All new designs!

The Women's Beading Co-Op on Isla Mujeres has all new designs. They are striking! Bellaruth Naperstak made mention of this in her blog recently. That was posted on Karen Rosenberg's Facebook page recently.
Today, I took Deborah Klausner, who teaches social work at Georgia State University, to the co-op after dropping off her 12 year old daughter Sydnee to volunteer at Isla Animals.
I was struck by the designs!


In addition to being all new, the prices have moderated. I got a set of earrings with matching necklace and bracelet for 200 pesos, about $15US at today's exchange rate.
The co-op is sponsored by social workers from Cleveland who hold pre-holiday sales among their friends and co-workers and University Hospitals and the Cleveland Clinic. They do a lot more as well to help the women educate their children. There are currently 47 members but not all are grown women. On Saturdays, the girls in the co-op also come to the shop and bead along side the adults.
The co-op is across the street from the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in La Gloria on is marked on the Isla Mujeres Can-Do map made by Laura McFarlin, also known as the Map Chick. Buy a Map Chick Map by clicking here.

December 13, 2011

It's the season!

Several friends who blog from paradise are getting nudges (along with me) from friends and family members about our blogs. Like we are lazy or something!
Look it. It is December and while Christmas is coming, that's the least of our worries. We have been dealing with the Virgin Holidays. Feast of the Immaculate Conception and yesterday the Virgin of Guadalupe Feast Day, which really was celebrated the day and night before. We are coming up on Posadas, sort of block parties to show there is room at the inn in Advent.
Now, we aren't all partying all the time. But a lot of Mexicans are! And they are our workers. So more falls on us and the reservation inquiries are something else! A lot of time to answer that email while checking and filling the calendars, etc.
Hey, landlords aren't the only ones with problems. The Quinata Roo Education Secretary did not declare yesterday at day off for schools, although it was a banking holiday. Absentee rates were 40-50 percent at Isla Mujeres schools, just days before Christmas break of nearly a month.
So forgive our tardiness in blogging. It's just that we are stymied by the spirit of the holidays!

December 7, 2011

Punta explains a lot

Mom went to the new super store - Chedraui - yesterday and didn't buy me anything. So excuse me if I choose a baby picture from June for my blog entry. I think it's attractive, which I was not at all yesterday. But I was stressed. Let me explain.
Mom took me for my morning run and before I got any real energy released, we got stuck in school and new store traffic. We were in front of a school and traffic was rerouted from near the new Chedraui store and there were kids on motor cycles with their parents and trucks and noise, I couldn't take it.
Then I ran along the salina and Mom stopped to visit her future car. I saw this dog, an old dog but I knew he had been a bad dog in his life by the way his balls clanked. So I got mad and started to growl and chase him. Once. Then again. And the second time he ran in front of a moto. I ran to Mom.
He howled and howled for about 10 minutes, maybe more. And Mom just made me sit and watch. He kept being petted by the old lady he was with and then they slowly walked away. The moto driver also had a sore thigh.
I hurt for that dog. I was ashamed. I went under the bed and stayed the whole day. Well, I did come out for lunch. But I was sorry and so scared.
Street noises scared me, ceiling fans scared me. They reminded me of the traffic for some reason.
Then Judy, Ticker and Baby's mom, took my pet carrier away.
Hey, I hadn't been inside of it for a month, but it was mine. I don't care if it bothered Mom so near the dining table. And I am an adult. But that was mine!
I was afraid Mom was going to give me away for being bad and making that big dog get hurt. I just didn't know what to do.
Then she left. She said she'd be back and she always brings me something when she goes like that, right? Well, she didn't come back with anything for me.
But she had stuff that made her happy and quick got me a treat from near where my kennel used to be,
She put things away, fed me, and then insisted I go to my bed in her room. Yes, the one in the closet. Then, she called me to her bed and held my paw while petting me and telling me how beautiful and good I am and that none of it was my fault.
This morning, she waited until after rush hour to take me out. I ran by the sea and the salina and stopped near where the big dog lives to buy juice. I feel myself again, chewing rawhide and wagging my tail.
But change is hard for me. And yesterday was a day that changed everything here on the island.

December 6, 2011

All's well!

Folks have been asking me how the kitchen turned out, why I have disappeared. Well, the team effort and all the dust took a lot out of me. I am about done coughing it up.
But in addition, there is the getting ready for high season business and busy-ness of inquiries, bookings, and remodeling other parts of the property. And enjoying my new kitchen!
There is also a Russian woman staying on the island until her fiance visa clears in the US. She speaks very little English and virtually no Spanish. I am teaching her both languagues. We hang out together a lot and wait for her commuting fiances to return. He'll be back Friday for four days or so.
So, yesterday, I opened a can of small smoked fish, sprats, and we cooked potatoes, ate sugarless yoghurt, and Russified our food as much as possible the whole day!
It is a beautiful day and I hope to get to the rooftop and show you the new design there. And you may have heard, our new super market/department store, Chedraui, opens today. It is a big deal! I'll go there after some of the hubbub dies down. So many things. Hardly any time! I promise to do better!
I am also looking to sell the golf cart and looking at a Mexico VW Beetle, nicknamed the Vocho, for my high traffic needs. So much stuff going on!

November 7, 2011

The order of things

This photo was the last one of the day that I sent to my brother yesterday. The kitchen remodeling project was in full swing in Mexico, here on Isla Mujeres.
He wryly observed, "I would call these photos concrete examples of progress." The kitchen remodeling is a job of concrete. Before the counter and its hole for the sink were framed and poured yesterday, there was nothing, except the vestiges of the old sink.
So, yes, the kitchen modeling is showing signs of concrete progress, my brother! Now, once the concrete is poured and covered with ceramic tile, there is the matter of dropping in the sink and hanging the cabinets, called gabinetes in Spanish. The are currently resting in my office. Don't even go there!
You know I'll be glad when this is over!

October 31, 2011

Thank you, from all us dogs!

The day after Hurricane Rina, we were making the rounds with Punta and stopped to see Alison Sawyer Current, aka The Dog Lady of Mexico. She was Punta's savior and guardian until she got a forever home with me. And I believe her when she says she loves each rescue dog forever. Look here!
Alison, who is working yet another spay and neuter clinic starting today, was talking about the continuous need for funding. She is planning a program for ongoing friends, something whereby you would pledge to give $10 or whatever a month and courage your friends to do so as we. Right then and there, I pledged $20.
It's such good work she does for the poor dogs here and over time I have seen a change in attitude in the kind of people who needed one.
So when this clinic is done, look for word from Alison about the sustaining program. Details will show up on IslaAnimals.org.
Oops, I'm slow. Here's a link to Alison's explanation and donation page!

October 28, 2011

Look at slow Mexican construction!


I'm gone a week, we have a hurricane when I get back, and what pops out at me while making the rounds today? The progress made on the new superstore!

October 15, 2011

Paved paradise?

This will be a shocker to those who've been away from the island since last high season. Watching it develop over the last weeks has me wishing I'd taken photos daily, because it has moved along so quickly that a slide show would be like watching a movie. Workers 24/7.
Chedraui is building what zoning commissions in the US call a big box store. This one boxy and a couple stories plus under roof parking.
It will make most of the trips to shop in Cancun unnecessary. It also threatens to force many of the mom and pop tiendas into closure with its lower pricing to Mexican liking and variety and imported food labels from the US.
It will inevitably bring amazing traffic jams to the middle of the island, right across from the baseball and soccer fields, so busy on weekends as it is. A traffic light or a 24 hour transit cop is inevitable.
Chedraui will open its superstore on Isla Mujeres in December. Conventional wisdom has it happening in time to buy Christmas and New Years turkeys and hams and yams and sparkling cider.
In addition to the neighborhood mini supers, it is questionable that the island would be willing to support two SuperXpresses owned by the San Francisco supermarket chain. And the one nearest to me, that doesn't have an ATM and a good assortment of vegetables, can just go away. No one will mind after the Chedraui opens. I am sure.

October 7, 2011

Fixed!

Sometimes in Mexico, things just slide and never get fixed. I was feeling that way when I picked up the phone and called my former electrician and plumber, Mundo. What's wrong, he asked.
"I hurt because I am sleeping on a child's bed in the office because my own AC is broken, a new one," I said. "Ricardo is still recovering from his accident, so..."
Oh you poor thing, I'll be over 8am tomorrow, he said.
Kathryn just looked a me and said, yeh, right. Well, he was 4 minutes late!
So he checked it out and one great thing about Mundo is knowing when a job is beyond him. He left and came back with two helpers. One of them, Julio, is an electonics wizard and a factory authorized technician for many brands.
Julio quickly determined that bad bundling of wires in the motor on the roof had worn a hole in the freon tube. Mundo went to get freon and the third guy soldered while I ask Julio to take a look at the oven because since I have owned it would not heat up to more than a warm 200 degrees. A couple men friends suspected it didn't have insulation and so did Julio at first, inspecting the door but finding it filled.
So the problem was electronic, the equivalent of a thermostat that he fixed while the third assistant was filling the freon tube that he had soldered and that Mundo had bought freon for.
"Your oven now heats to at least 400 degress Fahrenheit," Mundo said on their way out while the AC was pumping 21 degrees Celsius. Heaven.
The price of calling in Mundo and the fix-it squad was 500 pesos when I was all done. About $40US. Priceless!

September 27, 2011

Rainbow diet

In her final years, my mother would say it's best to eat something of each color every day. Some green, yellow, orange, purple, red. That was before the breakthroughs on phytonutrients. And my friend Kathryn from Iowa thinks the same way.
So there we were, a couple days into no purple foods: no red cabbage, eggplant, red onions or even wine. We went to Vivian's Qubano for lunch and that solved everything.
We split a Vivivian's salad, which had beets, just a hint, shaved into it with a peeler. And we split at vegetarian sandwich, which had eggplant slices.
We immediately felt better! I had been drinking iced tea the past few days, so there were other phytonutrients I was getting-specifically catechins. Beta carotins were plentiful in spinach egg scrambles, salads with radishes and peppers. And athocyanins from our fruits. But purple! It made a difference.
We were quickly able to muster the energy to go shopping! Bought dresses, paint and a trash barrel. Eat purple!

September 21, 2011

The White Light

Carmen, head of housekeeping, returned to work Monday, eager to work hard. In the time she had been gone, she had gone to her village to take her mother to Merida and then taken her mother to the village to die. Or so it seemed. She was called back on a Tuesday, after working a bit here, and helped transport her mother back to Merida.
There, she was placed in a family style suite. Carmen bathed her, powdered her and applied cream to her rough spots. She hugged her a lot and doused her neck with vanilla perfume.
She said her mother's pain was taken care of and she drifted in and out of consciousness for several days. She would always wake up alert and talk about seeing a very bright white light and her mother and father. Her mother and father! At age 84, she said they looked the same in that bright white light.
Carmen thought she was asleep when she went to dab the corners of her mouth, but she was not breathing. Two nurses came in and said a doctor would have to say if she was gone. He did.
It was a peaceful passing from the pain of ovarian cancer.
Carmen returned to her daughter's re-hospitalization after a c-section birth. My gift in desperation for the child who had everything turned out to be perfect. Karina didn't get to buying Huggies, baby powder, zinc oxide and a baby bottle. Which Carmen quickly put into service while Karina was being patched up.
Talk about the circle of life!

September 14, 2011

The Shit Show

A recent visitor at Zina's Guest House has a habit of using the phrase "The Shit Show." Where did he get that? "Think about it," he said. "We all have one."
Yep, obsessive-compulsive or the perfect opposite, we all go through our motions to get it on the road. Is the bed made? Where are the keys? Can I print a boarding pass now? Same show, different shit. It's the shit show.
Just like college in the '70s, getting one's shit together is our ongoing, life-long goal.
So. the lab results were published yesterday for the food poisoning case for 27 tourists at Playa Sol. E. coli was the culprit, general demerits for food handling. The rectums of the entire staff were swabbed by the health department. I imagine we are awaiting that shit show before the future of Playa Sol and its owner Sergio Contreras is decided.
For today, the shit show at the Municipal Palace has started. New head of health, some money in the coffers from the fines levied after state inspections done in the aftermath after the poisoning cases.
Sit back, ladies and germs. This is one helluva shit show!

September 13, 2011

Going back in time

I had three hours to kill between the dentist and the doctor, so I parked myself at Casa Rolandi and ordered a personal pizza - pepperoni and cheese - and iced tea and contemplated what the dentist had said.
Inexplicably, my organism had absorbed the equine bone implant in my jaw. We would have to do something again. Soon.
I dragged out the pizza for nearly three hours, reading from my Kindke. That is a welcome thing in low season: bodies attract bodies to restaurants. At one point, the waiters gave me a quarter because there's no use for them here. A tip to me.
I moved on to Don Chepo's Restaurant, for OJ, where I was joined by Samantha of Knoxville, Robby Lavia's girlfriend, also waiting for Dr. Salas. A great waiting room, we concluded.
The morning newspaper had featured Salas explaining the load of chronic illness cases ISSTE and other government clinics see. Illnesses caused by obesity.
Salas was running late and Samantha called. Another half hour. An hour after our time, he took Samantha, then me.
"I thought of your father," Salas said, "And I talked about World War II to my patients today."
My father was a Britsh Red Cross doctor in post-war Germany in the British Zone, tending to liberated POWs, refugees and former concentation camp internees.
He used to talk about how the chronically underfed would outlive most of us. And in the US, he would point to his waiting room and tell me, "80 percent of the people have no business here." They should take their colds home and quit eating and drinking so much. I shared that with Dr. Salas over the years.
"I felt like your father today." Salas said. Mexico is finding it costly to put people on lifetime cholesterol and diabetes control for acquired diabetes. "There was none during World War II," Salas said. "People had to make do."
So he was running late because he was making out the paper work for nutritionist referrals. "It will be better for the patients," he said. "Really, we don't know the liver toxicity from being on statins for 30 years to control cholesterol. But we do know we can make a great impact with diet. Type II diabetes, virtually curable with 15 kilos weight loss."
My diet is back to normal now. The violent bile vomiting caused by the anti inflammatories is over, tended to by myself and a coupe friends while Salas and the ISSTE doctors were working on the new treatment strategy.
"You did a remarkable job, did all the right things and stayed in touch with me while I was in Chetumal. I wish I had more patients like you," he said.
Dr. Salas, I wish more doctors were like YOU!

September 2, 2011

Soy confundida!

Confused is the least of my problems. I am also in pain. Every time I take a pain pill, I get confused. So, since it's been a week since oral surgery and the dressing has been removed, you'd think it would be better. It's just like a fresh surgical wound!
Yesterday morning, I tried a banana and milk smoothie at La Bruja. It burned like hell. I felt little crystals of sugar entering the wounds. Did you put sugar in this? Well, yes, it's presumed, Roberto answered. I sent it back and asked for one with ONLY bananas, milk and ice, blended.
I'm sorry. I am someone who always orders water melon water without sugar. I presumed they knew me well enough. Still, stinging as I tried to eat it. But I ate a lot before commenting that it burned like sugar. Claro, hay azucar.
I'm sorry. What part of sugar hurts me after dental surgery did they not understand? This morning, I made mocha with stevia and ice and milk. No burn. Much better.
But now, without a cold beverage, it's time to take a pain pill and apply and ice bandage. Excused me. I'm confused. It's also time to take a Cipro. I'll wait on Robert and Katey to get back from scubaing with Enrique Avila before deciding how to proceed.
They did bring me an Android I bought on eBay. I am confused and cannot consistently call up the touch key pad. I guess a lie down is in order.
Carmen is washing out some clothes and wants to iron a couple blouses. Me, I'll just be still in my pain and confusion.

August 19, 2011

Mommie's writer's block

Mommie's got writer's block and I have a new bed in the closet. I was in and out of my old bed, on the floor, all night. Now I think I'm used to something that doesn't have the faint smell of things I've rolled in. Mommie calls it olor putreficado. I call it cologne.
She was gone yesterday for four hours and came back with it. And the stupid stuffed puppy dog on the closet shelf. I don't know why she gets me stuffed sisters if I'm not allowed to pull out the stuffing, Which I did do first thing! Well, it had a tag that attracted my attention. Mommie is going to re-stuff her and I'll get to try again, to use her as my pillow. Imagine.
So, she was gone so long because the tax agency made her wait for nothing and she'll have to go back. She took her frustrations out on Costco, which is where she got the bed. And doggie chews. I'm happy. She also got nice food for her and to help make my food. And a new cell phone, a Nokia smartphone, which is where she says the stuffed sister came from. She was a freebie.
When she came home, she said she saw Pepe Vega, the vet, on the ferry. He's coming next week to take my blood again. He thinks I may have had erhlichia canis since I was a puppy, because I'm doing so well on the tetracycline and chicken livers, that I have some body weight now. Good that I have great legs, eh?
I overheard that when Sue Mallett came over in the evening to see the apartments She's going to help Mommie by being a rental agent, making sure I have nice people all the time. Sue and Miguel run Capi's Apartments and Miguel's Island Escapes and manage property. We manage ourselves but are not good at paper work, so mix ups could happen. And Mommie always wants to give price breaks, which isn't fair to anyone. including me. I have needs.
So Sue will take care of that. And she likes dogs, I can tell. Even though I could smell cats. And we all know how I feel about gatos!
Mommie asked me to write this because she hasn't blogged in a long time and she just got a note from Robert saying he loves it when I blog. She says that he and Katey will be back September 1. I love that. He treats me like I deserve to be treated: hugs on his laps.
Since I got sick, Mommie lets me on her own bed for like 5 minutes a night for hugs. Carmen says the Maya word is loch. Quiro loch? she asks when she comes in.
So, I have to go now. I'll talk to Mommie about writing something on her own. She's reading a book she likes a lot called The Help. She's had great people here who played with me. And it's hot. Oh, she has stories to tell. But it all falls on me!



August 9, 2011

The Mexican Washcloth

It puzzled me when I first started traveling to Mexico. How is it that the hotels did not have wash cloths for their guests? Now, after owning lodging for several years, I have some insight.
If you are here in the heat, you will see part of the answer: Workers outside wear them on their heads to break the sun and keep the perspiration close, so as not to get heat stroke. And those washcloths get a workout, day in and day it. A yucky thought.
Demure ladies carrying parasols dab at themselves with washcloths. Hardly a lady leaves home without one! Sometimes, a handkerchief will be clutched instead. But really, in this heat, it's a washcloth's job.
Because of those sweaty reasons, it is unfathomable to Mexicans that we would want one of those things in the shower while we are trying to get clean! Yuck!
Then, because they aren't so aesthetically appealing, cleaners and maids latch onto them and clean! Corners of counter tops, inside the shower where green things grow. Same for refrigerator spaces. Apply some bleach and rub hard. Oh, the acrylic glasses you don't want scratched with a fiber sponge? A washcloth! Cotton! Those wash clothes don't stand a chance. They are rags before you know it and have never made it into the shower!
So that dozen I pack in my suitcase. the 24 pack from Sam's Club, the occasional larger individual ones at the SuperXpress, they are all gone. They found other uses! Actually other uses and users found them.
Here, sisal and heartier fibers rule. You want to get clean in the shower? Grab something that will exfoliate you! And hang on to it so no one reappropriates it!

Talking trash in Mexico

So we were talking trash at Vivian Reynaldo's Qubano restaurant yesterday afternoon, having gotten there just before closing with my new check-in Jonny, and I looked across the aisle and gasped when I saw a Sprite can honoring LeBron James. In Mexico. After the Miami fiasco In Spanish. Maybe they were intended for Miami at one time. Who knows.
And Vivian, being a former Miami resident, was shocked. She hadn't noticed when she served it. "He did the same thing in Miami as he did in Cleveland. He stopped playing. The other two weren't doing what they were supposed to either," she said, eyebrows arching up, Cuban blood ready to boil.
"So do you suppose they're dumping his cans in Mexico?" I asked. mentally kicking sand in his face. No response. Change subject.
So, yeah, we were talking trash in Mexico. LeBron James. 'Nuff said.

August 8, 2011

Nicolas Found!

Sometimes, a waiter is so good, you really miss him when he is gone. One of 10 or so at his old place, but now, he is one of very few at Bally Hoo. Nicolas, good to know where you are and proud you took the time between jobs to be with your family! Mwah! He was working the breakfast shift at Bally Hoo last week.

August 7, 2011

Pray for Fran!

Every March, my friends pack up to leave Mar y Sol. Here, Fran White, left, and Shirley Israel, are packing their toys.
I got word this weekend from Shirley that Fran is in intensive care, intubated and sedated. She had surgery for infected diverticulosis with a reversible colostomy. The sedation is to keep her heart calm while she fights the infections. Please pray for her so we can all have fun in the sun again this winter.

August 1, 2011

Nobody puts Punta in a corner

Punta's new best friend, in sickness and in health, is Baby. Close to her is Ticker, not so playful. It was nice to watch them last night, After five days of tetracycline and chicken livers, she no longer acts like she's on death's door. But she does rest a lot after playing. Her erhlichia blood profile results mimic leukemia.
This morning, the serene Maruka is here and their just hanging out. Maruka knows Punta is sick and is glad it's taken some of her energy away!

July 31, 2011

Inflation blooms

It was a bad sign a ouple months ago when torillas jumped to 15 pesos a kilo. It went hand in hand with other price increases and now you can hardly go to a restaurant without seeing new prices on stickers covering up the old ones.
This weekend, I got a double shock. Torillas have decreased in size! I took the owner of an organic restaurant in Guatemela and her party to Monchi's, which I had heard so much good about. We were all disappointed and it was all based on the tortillas. Tiny, like appetizers. 15 pesos for a very plain, small taco.
The worst was we had to ask for utensils because they wouldn't hold the filling. Should have used two! Really, most places have done that all along.
Then this morning, I stopped for pulled pork tacos at Helena's near me, a street stall. She was out of tortillas and a woman from Yucatan working there was designated to go get. She'd heard they were expesnive here. 10 pesos? Helena and I both laughed at the rube. 15! The shocked look was priceless. They are adding a peso if you don't go with your own basket or towel just for the paper. 16!
It really is inexplicable why they would be some 60 percent more here. Our corn is from the same basket, the same agricultural zone, although in Yucatan there is more mom and pop corn being taken as needed to the mills. Nevertheless...
And so, also, the price of gasoline. And now were are on summer gasoline that costs more and gets less mileage, a corn ethanol added to it.
So, the price of bringing everything to the city, and then ferrying it to the island, is up. Tourist expenditures are down, so who makes up the shortfalls? Local consumers, of course. So the guy down the street has to charge more for his work and why not? The waiters and others who get tip money can afford to pay it. It's a never ending circle. Inflation.

July 27, 2011

My dog, she is sick

Despite what tested out as serious illness yesterday, Punta enjoyed her weekend in Playa del Carmen. She loved the back seat of a car, mobile sofa we called it, and loved meeting India, who was nearly recovered after three weeks of treatment for a kidney infection.
Three months ago, India lost Shorty, her dog of 14 and a half years, when he no longer wanted to go on with her supporting his hips with a pareo, a wrap.
Punta and India bonded while Inga and I shopped or Inga gardened. But, although she did all her tricks for India, Punta would not take treats from a virtual stranger!

Punta liked it at India's. She could come and go into the garden with real grass in the lawn. It was plush. She also respected Shorty's spirit. It's hard to explain. She sensed he was gone. She ate out of his bowl and looked around for him.
She spent quality time walking with Inga and she and I talked about having her tested when we got back. Punta should have shaken the fumigation poisoning by now. Ehrliciosis was the most likely cause of her listlessness.

So, the day after we came home, Pepe Vega was here to draw blood and make it to the animal laboratory in Cancun before it closed Monday.
Yesterday, he came with the results. Positive for ehrliciosis, blood work confirming active disease with low platelet counts, high liver enzymes, anemia, low albumin and high globulin, etc. She starts treatment today. My job is to cook high iron dog food based on chicken livers and hearts.
Her principle treatment will be 5 weeks or more of tetracycline and schmoozing.

July 20, 2011

Sweet Liberty School

Two more days in this camp session and maybe not all the kids will be floaters. But we sure are trying!
I was out two days of the 10 day session that ends Friday, summer virus. Two more sessions to go.
But there are other swimming instructors and volunteers and today we rocked! And there were kids there for the first time. Next session starts Monday. It's 1500 pesos for the 10 days and Isla Mujeres visitors here with their kids are in for a break. They can come for 150 pesos for the day and get some cultural socialization. Write Marla@marlabainbridge.com for details. Also a fundraising note: This Sunday at 10pm, there will be a fundraiser with auction items at Fayne's Bar and Grill in Centro.

July 10, 2011

The newsman

Carlos Baeza, aka El Baloz, is my newsman on the island. No, not just a newspaper seller. Like he was when he walked the island selling El Correcto, El Por Esto!, he provides an oral update to the top story. Today, he says it will rain many more days, but the ferries are good to go.
When Pope John Paul II was dying, my best friend the Polish Princess and I were glued to the TV and shedding tears. We decided to pick ourselves up and get going to the beach. She didn't want to report a Papal death watch for her activities.
Not a half hour later, after we had turned the TV off, as we left, Sr. Baeza was at the door with the update. The pope is dead. "No," we said. "We were just watching." The response, "He just died."
So there you have it. Many little shops in the neighborhood sell the paper. Few provide service.
I also like Baeza because he's so friendly to Punta. Well, today I saw why. His Chihuahua mix, Lauriano, was making a rare outdoor appearance. Both parents agree, he and Punta look like distant kin!
So go to Plaza Los Americas with your friend. It's nice and dry in there!

July 8, 2011

Flora folio

My friend, Carolina, who has grown this plant from a recent cutting, says its name is flora folio. Well, I can't find it on line anywhere to confirm that. It is a beautiful flower with a short bloom life, gently scented.
Carolina says the root is a known poison locally. It does well in poor soil. And that's about all I can tell you. Anyone here know more?

July 6, 2011

No money laundering here!

Businesses that charge more than $100 for a trip, a night, a silk dress, theoretically can accept $100US notes. But not my radiology group in Cancun. But of course, the ultrasound of my kidneys and bladder only cost 550 pesos with interpretation. Wonder what might...

July 5, 2011

Drinking for dollars

OK, OK. For pesos! And I don't drink from all the cans I recycle! But the notion of collecting cans for recycling has become an obsession of sorts with me. I don't just so it for my carbon foot print that I want to be smaller, although one of the scrap aluminum websites says why you should:
"Recycling is the perfect use for aluminum because it can be reprocessed and used again and again. It does not lose its structural qualities when reprocessed, and will not decompose for about 400 years. Also, it is exceedingly cost effective: it takes only 5 percent of the energy required to make new aluminum from mined bauxite, and needs only about 10 percent of the capital equipment for producing primary aluminum."
When I leave the house, I don't like to return with fewer than 3 cans a day. Punta helps me find them. Friends on vacation donate them. My guests aren't permitted to have glass bottles on the roof because of the pool and subsequent guests.
I tell then to either bag the aluminum and set it aside or put it along the side of the trash barrel, which in effect becomes a tip. At the end of the day, a trash collector can double his pay!
I invested in a can crusher, made in Mexico, bought on eBay, sent to Jen, muled by Leah! So, they are stake holders too!
Personally, I like Modelo family cans. They weigh more and take crushing well. Sol cans splinter, don't fold right and don't weigh much. CocaCola products are just fine!
Yes, Mexico teaches you to be thrifty. I am not alone here. I watched my neighbors, the family of a teacher and many working adults, built three apartments onto the main house with cans. All members of the family would collect them, the grandmother would crush them, and when she sold a couple trash bags full to the recycler.
There are people without jobs here who walk the streets before the trash trucks some, digging in foreigners trash cans to glean aluminum. The trash men also open some bags on the trucks to see what's easy.
At the dump, before the trash is moved to transfer, the process is repeated. We are all so into recycling aluminum here! I even wad up carry-out foil and throw it into my can bag!
Hey, it's a dollar or so a pound in the world spot market! And so good for the environment.

June 29, 2011

Friday: Yucca Pie!

If you're vacationing on Isla Mujeres, may I suggest your save Friday for yucca pie at Qubano Restaurant. Vivian Reynaldo was born in Cuba and raised in New York City and later lived in Miami, where she was an interior decorator.
In the Caribbean, almost every country has it's own yucca root recipes. The Mayas used to use it like potatoes before potatoes were revealed to them.
In those days, it is said, few people got fat because of this high fiber vegetable with complex carbs. Now, the Maya prefer to cook and soak the yucca root in honey and eat it like candy. Hondurans make a yucca pie that is also based on sweets.
Vivian's is a real Cuban deal! She cooks the peeled roots for three hours and the piccadillo for a similar time. That is ground beef with an assortment of spices, sweet peppers, garlic and onion. I don't know the recipe! But the pie is then baked with those two main mixtures.
The result is similar to sheppherd's pie. The portion is HUGE. Since at $150 pesos this is likely to be your spendiest lunch on the island, that's a good thing!
But what a treat! I immediately telegraphed this to my Puerto Rican friend Felipe in Cleveland. He was smitten with her tostones (fried plantain) sandwiches last year. I could hear him smacking his lips when he replied to me!
Steve Broin from Casa Sirena returned from Merida in time to make this lunch last week and also thought it was divine! It's served with several toston on the side and mojo: onions in oil to spoon over the top.
This lunch calls for a light dinner and if you're going diving or whale sharking in the morning, that is just what you'll want to have. Provecho!
So, today is Wednesday. Start planning! You and your other half could split this and a Vivian's salad and walk away without loosening your belt! Oh, the possibilities!

June 28, 2011

Tropical Waves 4 and 5 wind down for Punta

It was a long three-day weekend for me. I am a dog and my name is Punta.
By Sunday, I was going crazy with the onda tropical, tropical wave. There actually two and now NOAA calls them Invest 95 in the Gulf of Mexico. It had rained since Saturday morning. I was peeing in the shower because I can't stand to go in the rain!
Mom's good about letting me go there and pours bleach on it and rinses. Whew! What a relief, because I was crying and didn't know what to do.
I thought it was over Monday when Mom told me to go out and make kaka. It was still raining and I don't do that in the rain. But I thought if I got in the golf cart, Mom would take me someplace where it was not raining. No luck. I toughed it out. Then this morning, the sun came out, if you can call it that.
And we went! At 6am! Woo hoo! First, to my spot, across the street from the church. I did it all. Then I saw the snake. It smelled so good, I had to roll in it. There was barely anything left. It had been about a week since the boa was killed by a vehicle. But there was enough to get it on both sides of my body! Woowee! Mom was mad.
But she took me to big water anyway, and that smelled even better as the waves broke over the rocks. Her friend is babysitting two dogs and taking care of a house. So I got to play. Baby is my favorite new best friend.
But you got to hand it to boys. They do appreciate what you do to be attractive, even if moms don't. Ticker was all over my body to get at the boa cologne.
Mom had some strawberries with her friend and shared her half an English muffin with me. Then we rode around Punta Sur (Yes, I am Punta) and I ran when the coast was clear. Mom watches that I don't run where big bad dogs live and she tells me which are the bad dogs. Then, she went to the SuperXpress and I stayed (on a leash) and she got some Ritz crackers. She said the tropical wave would have been nicer for her if she'd had something like that in the house.
Then we went to her breakfast place, the one she pays a week ahead. Well, they needed LP, gas. So we were just in time and the back-up tank was bought. Mom got a salbute and fed me most of the chicken on it!
There is a rip in the car upholstery (not my fault) so we went looking for sticky paper or emblems, something to patch with. Bruno didn't have any, the refraccionarios didn't either. Mom wound up getting contact paper at Federico's. And then guess what? We came home and she washed all that lovely cologne off my body! I hope Ticker still likes me next time.





June 26, 2011

Help Liberty School

My friend Marla Bainbridge, an Isla Mujeres resident and international educational consultant, has been working with local parents who wanted another type of school for their elementary and pre-school children. Critical thinking skills are what the parents were after.
Marla started working with them and has produced this YouTube video explaining the philosophy. Click here. Liberty School Isla Mujeres ( www.libertyschoolmexico.org) is going to be a reality soon and a summer camp will be held for enrichment and school readiness.
This is going to take money, more money than the parents can invest in this low economy. The children are those of expats as well as Mexicans. It takes more than our village to educate our children.
Luckily, she has found two retailers who will donated a large percentage purchases this week the the school. You must specify Liberty School when you order.
"Children Inspire Design's and Fresh Words Market is offering 50% of the proceeds this week for our sales. This is way above the standard donation so we want to take full advantage of the opportunity." Marla stated.
She sent out messages to her Facebook friends over the weekend, a strenuous one that saw the funeral of her boyfriend's aunt. Elmy Martinez, Javier Martinez Cen's aunt was the sister of his father Tosito, and was an art teacher at the Secundaria School here on Isla Mujeres, the middle school.
After the funeral, Marla sent out the information to her Facebook friends so we could inform our friends of the benefit sales:
Liberty School's official opening is just around the corner and we've been working to get everything ready for our students. We've created a beautiful space where children are free to learn and teachers are free to support their learning styles and interests.
As a new school on a limited budget, there are still items we need thus an opportunity for you to be part of Liberty School. We are reaching out to our friends and family to help us raise $1,000 USD.We've partnered with two companies, Children Imspired Design and Fresh Words Market to host a virtual fundraiser on their web sites. Make sure you include the purchase is for LIBERTY SCHOOL. (Links below)

The way it works is simple. Order any product on either site this week, between June 26 and July 2, add Liberty School in the memo box, and they will donate 50% proceeds to Liberty School.
  • This is an amazing opportunity because not only do they offer products that are directly in line with the philosophy of Liberty School, it's a great way to stock up on gifts for yourself and others while raising much needed money.
    Stock up on art prints for adults and children, journals, note cards, stationary, educational tools (in 11 different languages), PDF downloads AND women's cooperative products, made here in Isla Mujeres. These companies focus on global compassion, environmental education and inspiring individuals. So, put your spending power for a great cause. Stock up now for birthdays, anniversaries, holiday giving, thank you gifts and more!!

    How it Works:
    Visit one of the URL’s and shop between June 26 and July 2. www.childreninspiredesign.com and www.freshwordsmarket.com
    At checkout, include the words Liberty School in the memo box. (IMPORTANT!!)

    Both sites sell items great for your kids, your own crafting needs or art cravings. You'll really be helping our island's little ones get off to a good start in life!

June 23, 2011

Isla Snake!

Lookie what Punta found on her morning walk. A dead snake! For as long as I remember, there was denial that Isla Mujeres has snakes. Then, a year or two ago, there was alarm when a boa constrictor "large enough to kill a child" was hunted down in the swamp that was next do the new hospital construction.
This morning, almost across the street, near Haciena Mundaca, Punta found this one, a victim of a vehicular accident. Not being up on my snakes, I asked some Maya workers if it was poisonous. No, it's a boa! Oh, OK.

June 21, 2011

Mais naturellement ! Je suis fran├žais !

Can you tell LoLo is heading for Brussels today? Luchien looks so, well, FRENCH, instead of like a clean mop. Son Valerio had a couple days to get a healthy tan. And LoLo continued to walk with weights until the last day then cooked a feast for 20 last night. Ah yes, I was but one person. Steve from Casa Sirena and Vivian from Cubano and I were seated at the same table with a producer from "48 Hours" and her partner, a white collar crime federal investigator.
Excellent food, great company, fun stories. I'll miss that for the next three months while LoLo laps up the rays at her parents' villa in Portugal. But not until after she's hit the streets for some food and boogie in Brussels. See you when you get back, LoLo! Have a nice champagne and caviar for me. Squirt limon persa liberally in your water!

June 20, 2011

Hoarding vs Pantry

Last week, I was explaining the concept of American pantries to my Mexican friends. A bodega for the kitchen. What Mexicans call despensas, food basket basics, with a few additions of sale, canned and long shelf life items are what we call pantry items.
Mostly because of space, and due to money, Mexicans generally don't keep great pantries, even in hurricane season. They tend to go to the store when the warnings are up and "compra en panico", panic buy, as Ricardo at Ronco calls it.
Six years ago, when the warnings were up for Hurricane Wilma, Ricardo made a trip to Walmart for the store for necessities. He saw locals with bags of candy. compras en panico, and laughed about it.
But you know, when we got our food baskets after the hurricane, and it was obligatory we take them because the docks were out, there were animal crackers for the sweet! So, it is a vital part of the diet.
Not me. I bought dried beans and American canned beans, which I find comforting out of the can when there weather is nasty. I got other canned stuff, veggies. Because after a food hurricane, the land is stripped of its crops, including our health green bush, chaya.
So I've got my pantry set. Now I feel I have to prove I am not a hoarder!

June 17, 2011

Bargain Breakfasts

Many visitors to the island assume I'm not having a good time, since they don't see me in Centro much any more. I am here today to say it's a great life. Carolina's breakfast and supper nook in La Gloria is my daily breakfast joint. Above is the omelet (homelet because the H is always silent!) that I had Wednesday.
And today's huevos motulenos. 35 pesos a plate. At least 45 in town. Plus we get to gossip! No, it wouldn't mean anything to you because you don't know the same people. Really. Trust me.

June 16, 2011

Thrifty

Joe Peters, of Fort Worth, and I have at least one thing in common. We are thrifty as in cheap. So, when he was on Isla Mujeres a couple weeks ago, we made a lunch date. The first plan was to go to Velasquez, the family fish house, for whole fishes.
Then I surveyed the scene at Posada del Mar, where Joe was staying, and decided to do what we could to stave off layoffs. No one can operate for long with a near empty house and not make deep cuts. So we ate there. Thrifty.
We each got a small 80 peso shrimp cocktail and split a club sandwich and fries (55 pesos). We had a fabulous lunch, a great time with Romy at the bar, and spent a wee bit more than we planned. But look at the table! We were stuffed!
Joe was happy because he was within budget, only to be blown later in a trip to Mango Cafe! Ahh, the life!

June 15, 2011

Got change?

This morning, after Punta had finished her rounds and we picked up a couple mangos, we went to Carolina's for breakfast. At 30 pesos, it's a great deal. I got the huevos a la Mexicana, a scramble with tomatoes and chilis.
I offered all I had - 200 pesos. "No tiene cambio?" Dontchya have change? "No, gasto." No, I spent it. And so it goes every morning, every afternoon, every place you try to do business.
With Carolina, an old friend, I said. here's 200 pesos and open an account. "Puede comer todo semana. " You can eat all week. Exactly. And not fish for change!
Carolina is struggling. I saw her run to the corner for tomatoes after I had ordered and the Zeta gas guys paid for their breakfast. But in many cases, there is no excuse. Business owners feel a need to deposit their total at the end of the day, leave clerks without the ability to make change, and come back at night to gather more money for the bank.
I never understood why someone would risk a transaction by not having change! But they manage. Clerks go to neighbors, to their children, whatever, to make change.
At the guest house, I tell people to hoard their change. Before a week, they will see why this is good.
As an aside to this, when I got the hang of hoarding change, I was carrying it in a zip lock baggie. "The Mexican business woman's wallet" as it's referred to around here. It is all the rage to be so rich you need to carry your change in a baggie. If not rich, then smart. Because there will always be a customer like me who isn't completely truthful and might just have enough change for a 30 peso breakfast. Of course that would leave me broke with 200 pesos notes the rest of the day! No, not me. I've got change! And it's growing.

June 12, 2011

Taking stock

I won't go into reasons it has taken me nearly three weeks to blog. Well, OK, at the top of the list is that I am feeling a good bit lazy and am at odds with my blog is supposed to be anyway. Foreigners are supposed to stay out of Mexican politics - we all agreed to that to stay here - so commenting on current events is something to be careful about. So...
Is it about living the dream in a tourist destination? Is it about managing that dream without melting down? I mean in the psychological as well as physical sense, because to me, it's hotter than paradise now and multiple sclerosis at that point defines me. My friends here know I say I am shorting out when I am too hot, and God only knows if they know what I mean. Multiple sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system and I liken my wiring to that an old house. The frayed wires don't conduct electricity so well in the heat, but the natural vitamin D is soothing to my immune system, which controls the MS. I also supplement with prescribed Vitamin D3, more on that later. Oh, I see blog definition ahead.
Today I took my interferon shot, with is classified as an immumodulatory, and and am resting inside in the AC, which had been running more or less at full tilt for two days now. I know, you have it worse. But I'm pondering this question of what the blog is supposed to be. So...
The AC is running at full blast, the bill will be hard to pay, and eventually, the hurricanes will make it unnecessary. Eventually, the hurricane plan will take over. But first...
In checking the generator, it was determined it need a new spark plug. Very simple. A small motor plug, like for a riding lawn mower or...a generator. I bought my generator at Costco the spring after Hurricane Wilma nearly six years ago. And so did a lot of other people. Last week, said spark plug could not be found in Cancun by Carlos Telliz, my cabbie and man in Cancun, a Chilango who can find anything. We started at Costco. No hay! One to hardware stores in the small motor section of town. None. He has a friend who is an electrician who goes frequently to Merida and Carlos bets he can get one.
Enter Facebook. A woman from Brewster OH brought me one last week. Ex boyfriend is sending two to Johanna, who is arriving in a month. I'm covered. And neighbors are probably covered as well in that case!
So now I am on the issue of the cartridges that are filters in my Intex above the ground pool. A sweet little thing that is 10-feet wide in its circle resecting diameter. Cheap at Amazon. com.
For a pool I got at Sam's Club last year, no filters. I am on the last of the filters, which the handy man has been able to make last about to about a month or so through careful washing and care in rinsing these five buck filters. Oh, but in Mercado Libre, the Mexican equivalent of eBay, they want WHAT???
Not that I have a problem with that, but you have to wire, as in Moneygram to them, before they will ship. There is not PayPal for transactions totally within Mexico.
I hate feeling like this, needy. I have just shot an email to a mid summer renter arriving by car with her dog. Could she carry six in her car if I send them from Amazon? She'll be using the pool, after all.
So politics aside, what kind of marketing push pull system puts me in this situation?
I have lived with these pools since I hand carried the first 8-foot one in a storage bin in luggage (when luggage wasn't such an issue) nearly six years ago and have now bought my fourth version by buying at two of the four stores in Cancun that sell Intex pools, not filters. Chedraui used to sell the filters, not anymore.
Costco was the latest place I saw a hard side pool Intex with the same filter. They had no filter cartridges for sale either. Nor Soriana, where I bought the first 10-foot pool. Nor Cherdraui, where I bought filters the first two years. Everyone just came to know if you bought a pool at Soriana, you could get filters at Chedraui. Or from Oscar the pool tech and designer of real in-ground pools. He has some clients that have them for their kids, to keep them out of the adult pool, which is no deeper. a little under 40 inches. He hasn't a clue where to find the cartidges now.
I haven't seen this filter on sale in Isla Mujeres or Cancun for more than a year! See what a good stock-piler I have been?
We were down to two when Tanos arrived with three. Enter the woman from Boston and her dog. We shall see. Will she really understand?
People who want to move here wonder every day what lies ahead. Let me tell you a bit using Vitamin D3 as an example.
In research and university affiliated hospitals in the US, doctor are prescribing what seem to be mega doses of Vitamin D3. Family history of osteoporosis, colon cancer and auto immune disease and patients are reflagged for it. So, I take 5,000 to 8,000 IU, international units, a day.
I bought well in Ohio last October and Johanna brought me some. After months of looking, I found some Nature Made in Walmart. At a glance, I assumed they were 4000IU. So held them a month or so and I popped them open. And looked closer. They are 400IU, the current MDR, not withstanding all the hot shot doctors in teaching hospitals in the US, los Estados Unidos de America. Not to be confused with los Estados Unidos de Mexico.
I love the latter. I am confident that the forces of good will prevail in the drug war and have nothing to say about those waging the wars nor their foot soldiers. It's all in the marketing.
Which brings me back to how I've spent the last month. Conniving. Getting pool filters, spark plugs, maybe get some Vitamin D3 to me here in Mexico.
I guess this is a redefinition of the blog. Enough with the snapshots and light text about this or that repair or the dog's life. What is it like to live here? Even with a little money, you have to get used to being poorer here. Because there are some things you just can't get here with any amount of money and are therefore dependent on the kindness of strangers.
So, in the future, I'll be using less snapshots and more thought about what it's really like to live here. That's all I have to talk about with some authority now. First, let me see how I can get some high dose Vitamin D3. I'll check back later.

May 27, 2011

See you, in September!

Robert Martinez and Katie Barrett have been here for a week of diving with Enrique's Unique Dives, watching turtles mate underwater, grooving on neighborhood life that's a bit like Robert's grandparents experienced.
This afternoon, they return to Austin and work on Tuesday. So, while we were enjoying the afterglow of our morning smoothies, Robert took an opportunity to tell Punta they'd be back for Labor Day weekend to dive again and spoil her.
She gobbbled it it. She's a slut puppy that way. Anything to get her feet off the floor!

May 25, 2011

Rudder

Robert and Katie are right! Punta's tail is like a rudder when she swims!

Isla Fishing Families vs NOAA

This photo of Joplin from the Associate Press captured, for me, the essence of what has been going on in the Midwest. As the blood hounds went out in Joplin MO looking for any survivors, another round of tornadoes hit the Midwest and surrounding area, in places like again, Missouri, Nebraska and Arkansas, threatening Texas as well, pelting Austin with hail.
The l0cal papers are filled with it, just like those north of the border (NOB). And so is the local talk. So when I shopped in Cancun Saturday, I was mindful to pick up a few extra canned goods and bags of rice.
We haven't had any real hurricanes since the Category 5 Wilma in 2005, at the end of my first season here. Carmen, the wife of a local fisherman, says she is certain we are due. She is not alone.
It has been so hot here that as early as April folks were saying it's the kind of heat that brings on big hurricanes. My cabbie in Cancun, Carlos Telliz, was saying last month that we could have a hurricane then! Hurricanes exist to break up the heat building up and it has been building.
I studied the issue a little bit on NOAA websites. There is no statistical correlation between early and active tornadoes and Atlantic hurricanes, including the Caribbean. Dr. Jeff Master's Wunderblog notes than NOAA forecasts a 65 percent chance of a greater that normal hurricane season, but the curve is way off because of the five years WE haven't seen a real hurricane in this part of the Caribbean. Many of us are afraid that will all change this year.