Sunday, December 27, 2009

Waiting and daydreaming

It has been nearly two months since my offer was accepted on "our" house, but we're still in limbo without even a signed promesa de venta. A new survey had to be done and then wind its way through the land registry, and somewhere along the way I'm told a problem was found with the new survey so yet another was required. Now everything is shut down for the holidays so who knows when we'll get through this step and start making progress again towards actually purchasing the place. Back here in Victoria it is pretty cold. Hard frost on the roofs and roads and cars in the mornings. Images of the Yucatan help take the edge off the cold, though. Before my trip in October I looked for photos of the Ermita de Santa Isabel neighborhood where I was going to stay and couldn't find much, so I tried to take some to post myself. It's very pretty, with the buildings painted pastel colours and the cobbled streets. The overhead wires are relaid underground and the park next to the cathedral has free wifi - in the evenings it's full of children and adults sitting on benches with their laptops open. It's one of perhaps a dozen or so parks around the city with free wifi - most are far from the tourist zone and probably in neighborhoods where many people might not have the money for internet service in their homes. On Sunday morning the street from the cathedral to the broad Paseo Montejo are open to bicycle traffic only - very peaceful.
Anyway, here are some photos from around "La Ermita" to keep you warm.



Sunday, December 6, 2009

Great shots

The more I fart around trying to capture what I see with my little point-and-shoot camera, the more I appreciate the work of people who really know how to take great photos. These web albums of gorgeous shots of Merida, surrounding towns and other cities in Mexico popped up in my Google alerts yesterday and I felt I had to share them. They really capture the beauty of the place: Mexico-Yucatan 1, Mexico-Yucatan 2, Mexico-Colonial Heartland, Chuburna Puerto

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Daily Show goes to Merida


A very funny report from The Daily Show's correspondent, whose recent visit to Merida was all the buzz when I was there. I even met one person who was interviewed! If you're in Canada, check out this link. In the U.S. try http://www.thedailyshow.com/. It's the second clip from the November 30th show.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Fine dining in Merida


The food in Merida and the Yucatan is widely praised, though not everyone's a convert. I heard enough dissing of the inferior tortillas (not soft like those in MexicoCity) and predominance of turkey in nearly everything. I guess you have to choose for yourself. Here's  the NYT's Mark Bittman on Yucatan cuisine.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

While U wait

On Friday I heard the survey has been done on our possible house. Which means, I think, still more waiting for information to be distilled intro a report. Estimated time for completion was three weeks, but at least it's in progress.
Meanwhile I find myself wandering through the local Pier 1 and daydreaming about furnishing the house we don't yet own. Merida has a Pier 1 inside the Sears store, and it has some of the same inventory as the Victoria outlet, so I tell myself I'm being practical. In reality, though, we're a long way from having a place to even hang a hammock. 
Temperatures have cooled 10-20 degrees fahrenheit since I left and it has rained a lot. I think about the step down from the back garden into the dining room and worry about whether flooding is a possibility. I know, probably not. I'm probably confusing it with Vancouver Island, and Duncan, where salmon were spawning in the street this past week.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Es complicado

Back from the library laden with inspiration. Hacienda Style, The Homeowner's Guide to Renewable Energy, Mexican Contemporary (design), Pool Ideas, and a four-CD set of spanish language lessons:
"A second chance"..."una segunda oportunidad"..."Enjoy yourself"..."Que lo pases bien"..."He got fired"..."lo dispidieron"..."May I go now?"..."Me puedo ir ya?"
Did we buy a house in Merida? I think so..."creo que si." It's complicated. "Earnest money", a down payment, is waiting to be paid out of a U.S. account. The lawyer was drawing up a contract. But there's a hitch. There's a three-metre discrepancy between the property boundaries on the deed and the survey. So a new survey needs to be  made. Maybe someone else could come in and put another offer on the house in the meantime. I guess that's a risk we have to take.





 

Friday, November 6, 2009

Feeding the fantasy of a home in Merida

I haven't had a chance to share photos of the house tour last week (just last week?) in Merida. Here are some of the fantasy homes that feed the appetite of gringos like me. We become fixated on finding an abandoned ruin to turn into our own version of the dream casa.
House Hunters International apparently has the same effect. Just yesterday I read a thread on Yolisto.com in which people were talking about what lured them to Merida and the Yucatan. I think about half a dozen said it was the HHI TV show and its Merida episode a couple of years ago.
Anyway, here are some house tour pictures
(Feb. 7/10 I finally got around to changing the title of this post because I had been warned that the original was likely to get caught in spam filters, as it compared real estate photos to certain illicit forms of adult entertainment.)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Was I dreaming?

Three days back at home and at work and the past two weeks of heat and amazing sounds and scenes and making new friends and checking out potential houses seems somehow surreal.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Last night at my house


On the street outside the house last night I heard drumming and a low, haunting sound. I opened the front door and saw this.
You don't have to go far to see some amazing sights here.

Friday, October 30, 2009

"This is Yucatan"


I realize I  haven't said much about the attractions of Merida and the Yucatan. In reality I haven't been able to visit the surrounding towns and ruins this time around because of all the house-hunting busy-ness. However, someone has posted a YouTube video which gives a good, if somewhat idealized, picture of what is so irresistible about this place. It's a bit light on the dirt and noise and heat of the city, the smells and the delays and frustrations, but hey, it's a promotional piece.
Here in La Ermita tonight the main street is closed to traffic and people have set up Hanal Pichan altars outside the church and all the way down the street as far as my house. I took a few pictures though the afternoon light was challenging with my cheapo camera.  It is very moving to see the photos of old folks and dads and teenagers and babies propped up on the tables amid food and flowers. A stage is set up by the park. I wonder what the performance will be tonight?
This spot is a parade of beautiful and unexpected scenes. Last night I looked out my door and a man was coming around the corner on a horse. Not driving one of the calesas - the buggies with the undersized ponies that serve the tourist trade. But a full-sized horse, with just a regular looking guy on top, in the middle of a big city. I wonder if he keeps it in one of those huge yards that extend way back from the street. You can't tell where they are, behind the high facades and walls of the houses here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day of the Dead


Day of the Dead displays and preparations are visible everywhere in Merida these days. Last night, cycling to dinner, I could see through open doors and windows  the altars set up in the front rooms of houses, with balloons and/or flowers and favourite objects and food arranged for the deceased family members. (Often there's a halloween display in another corner.) Today there was an elaborate display and performance at the Casa de Las Artesanias in Centro Merida. In this city you see women in the traditional Mayan clothing everywhere doing everyday things, but it was stunning to see so many gathered for this event, dressed in the most elaborate huipiles, performing and sitting by their Day of the Dead altars. Here are some photos. The Mayan version of the celebration is called Hanal Pichan which means "meal with the dead." Some of the altars are very elaborate.

Some are very simple.

Pasta time!


Fans of Merida's colonial architecture have a mania about pasta floor tiles. Frequently in the real estate listings you'll see photo after photo of the floors, with maybe a shot of the wooden vigas on the ceiling and not much else. These tiles are made by pouring different colours of cement pasta, or paste, into a mold which is then allowed to set. They can last hundreds of years. Here is a small selection of pasta floor patterns I've been walking on over the past couple of weeks. It's hard to keep the feet out of the picture.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Second look in Mejorada/Chen Bech


Last time I mistakenly called this neighborhood Chuminopolis. That's further east. Here are interior pictures. I really like this one.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A second look in Santiago


Went to see the colonial house with the vigas for a second time today. I'm back and forth on the pros and cons of this house. It's in the best location in terms of being close walking distance to all the main attractions: the Zocalo/Plaza Grande, Santiago square, markets, shopping, Paseo de Montejo (the wide avenue modeled on the Champs Elysees), all the music and cultural hot spots. It's even close to the Merida English Language Library. Most of the houses in this area are way out of my price range. However the street is busy with cars and buses - at times. When we were there today for more than an hour it seemed very quiet. Even when vehicles went by they didn't seem loud. In the back of the house and in the courtyard and garden it was particularly peaceful. So it's back on the list, I think. This location is "in the zone" as Lexy's friend Debbie says. It would definitely be attractive to people looking for a central place to rent. But for us, staying long-term?

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chuminopolis and Day of the Dead


Much pounding of hot pavement today, trying to find the perfect Day of the Dead gift for the daughter. Can't seem to find the funky Mexican folk art store that we went to before. But did get a chance to take a tour of the unfamiliar neighborhood around one prospective house. It's described variously as Mejorada, Chen-Bech and Chuminopolis. Whatever, it seems quite nice. Here are lots of pix

La pelota de golf

That means the game of golf. I looked it up. David asked, what about golf around Merida. It had never crossed my mind, though I recalled hearing about a new development north of the city called La Ceiba. It's named for a type of tree with a funny trunk. Here's a discussion thread on Tripadvisor about La Ceiba. This page has information about another golf course, Club de Golf de Yucatan. and other golf courses in the region if you wanted to try a bunch.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The cure for culture shock


Lexy took me sightseeing today. Not to the ruins or anything like that. She revealed to me the secret cure for culture shock which often strikes people visiting for the first time. A trip to the high-end megamalls in the north of the city. I don't even feel like I have culture shock but I started forgetting where I was and automatically speaking to the store employees in English.
It seems you can get almost anything here, now. It didn't used to be that way - Tom was remembering how, when we worked at the now-defunct Mexico City News, the opening of the first McDonald's in Mexico was a really big story.

Chuburna beach house

I wasn't planning to look for a beach house but Katy at the inn, who also sells real estate, took me on a drive to the small fishing village of Chuburna, to look at a house she thought would be a good one for us.
It's very interesting. Here are some photos of the house and the area 

The ex-pat connection


Saturday night. Just got back from the Yolisto "meetup" at La Playa de Chelem restaurant in the beach town of Chelem, east of Progreso. A great time with a very friendly bunch.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Saturday morning in Progreso


Took an early bus to the port town of Progreso, pop. 50,000. Haven't been here since 1982. Sure has changed. Hoped to hit several beach towns - east to Telchac Puerto to see the murals and the ladies who sell dulces at roadside stands. However, the 2:30 Costero bus was cancelled, or broke down, or something. So gave up on that and crammed into a combi (collective taxi) for the 7 peso ride straight to Chelem. There is a lot of wind here, and sand.
Here are some more images of Progreso.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Counting cars



After several days of viewing houses there are a few that seem like possibilities - sometimes. Other times I am unsure. None are just right. They are either too small, too expensive, too noisy, too much work to handle, too far from the Zocalo, too close to bars or bus stations or the firemen's social club or the main market.  
Tonight after attending (as a guest) the gathering of the International Women's Club, I walked, then cycled, around the colonial home in Santiago that was at the top of our list so far. I quickly realized there was more car and bus traffic on the street than I originally thought. I waited and counted. There sure are a lot of buses going to Petronilla, wherever that neighborhood is, and this seems to be their route!
Cycled past a couple of other houses that are under consideration, though they have their own drawbacks. Quieter streets, but at the moment I'm just feeling kind of discouraged.
Anyway, after several days dealing with camera and photo uploading and editing challenges,  here are some of the best of the bunch so far. Let me know what you think.


Santiago Modern (Santiago's an old neighborhood just a few blocks west of the historic centre. Also known as Gringo Gulch.)
Santiago Midcentury
Santiago Colonial Restoration
Centenario
Viva las Vigas

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Viva las vigas!


There's something irresistible about  vigas, the high beams in very old colonial houses.
Out of all the houses I saw yesterday this is the one that really ticked the boxes, as they say. Actually it was more than box-ticking. It had a great spacious feel about it, beautiful details and character, a not-overwhelming amount of renovation to do, and a great quiet location near to everything. Unfortunately a lot of the photos were lost amid downloading problems (so I hope an upgraded Flickr account will handle the load). What you can't see is the patio and garden in the back with room for the "plunge pool" and an orange tree, as well as space to hang out and socialize. Here are the rest of the surviving photos. Oh, and here's a link to the real estate listing which has more photos.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Information overload


First day of viewings: Eight houses, 330 photos, and a computer that got a bad case of indigestion when I tried to upload them all. Still, there's one that really stood out once I put them all on a map and estimated renovation costs and the quietness and feel of the street and the neighborhood. We'll see what turns up on tomorrow's tour.
Meanwhile, I filled the bike tires and took it out for a spin - Mexican style. No helmet, no lights. It was great until I realized I'd got the street grid turned around in my head and was heading for Cancun by mistake. Still made it back in time for take out from the night food stands set up around Parque San Sebastian. No idea what I ordered but it was delicious.
Post Script:  I identified my mystery meal with the help of the web. It was panuchos and salbutes, entertainingly described in this article.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Morning walk

 Through the neighborhood, where the Sunday "Bici-Ruta" closes the street to motorized traffic. To the main market, a source for everything from sugar skulls (for Day of the Dead) to puppies and live chickens, as well as the full assortment of food, flowers and hardware.
After that, late breakfast with Lexy and Lorcan, our first in-person meeting after email and Skype chats over several months. Loved seeing their stunning renovation of their midcentury home. Then Lexy gave a guided tour of some charming Merida neighborhoods that were completely new to me. Now I've got pages of hastily scribbled notes and addresses of interest to decipher,
and a head full of new possibilities.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Night music

I must be finally caught up on rest from the trip, after packing it in early, too tired to go hear the Saturday concert in the central square.
Now I'm wide awake. At midnight the cacophony of the streets died down as if on cue: the loud traffic out front, occasional shouting, strange animal calls, thumps and bangs and other interesting sounds. Now come faint voices from old records on the night air, mixed with the background hum of distant traffic and barking dogs.

Welcome to the 'hood


Hard to believe I'm really here. The little house I'm renting is even cooler than I thought, though I mean that in the funky, hip sense of the word, not as a reference to climate. It is hot, but the fans and the afternoon breeze through the open doors do help. There are a couple of resident iguanas that cause a racket when they run along the metal roofing over the covered porch/storage area. And what a charming neighborhood. Some colourful renovated and restored houses and lots of original ones with the abuelitas standing in the doorway. Raul, the shopkeeper next door, had heard I was coming and called out to me as I was walking back to the house with my take-out barbecued chicken(more on that to come). I had been told he was really friendly and would help if I needed anything. Big welcome, introductions to his daughter(who bestowed a hug and cheek-peck) and son Carlos.
Now I am restored by the pollo asado from the place a block from here, and I'm ready to go find more coffee and explore the streets around here.
Here's someone else's blog post about the charms of Merida as well as some ruins we haven't yet seen. Pix to come. First, coffee.


Airport purgatory


Taking the long way to Merida, as it turns out. Fifteen hours by bus, ferry and air yesterday. Overnight in the Mexico City Airport Hilton (not as fancy as it sounds, in fact sort of like a Travellodge with an upscale lobby, but comfortable enough.) Love seeing the Diego Rivera mural of man´s dream of flight, mounted without fanfare over the nondescript domestic departures check-in.

Monday, October 12, 2009

43 degrees of separation

The weather turned cold today. It's 6 degrees Celsius in Victoria, 50 fahrenheit. Toes went numb on the dog walk. Wearing coats in the house again.
I see on Yolisto.com it's 93F in Merida. In five days I'll be there.

Friday, October 2, 2009

There goes the neighborhood

Corporate Board Member magazine features Merida in its lineup of "Great Places for a Rich Retirement"

But seriously, I keep stumbling upon blogs by other people, regular folks even, fixing to move to Merida or thereabouts. You'd think there's a movement afoot. Today's other discovery is Moving to Merida. They've included a very handy guide on their blog about what to watch for when house-buying in Merida or the beach towns, salvaged from yet another Merida expats' guide that's now defunct.

Meanwhile I'm finally at the stage of lining up houses to see in Merida. I've been dreaming of a crumbling old high-ceilinged colonial project somewhere, but
Arturo Novelo with Mexico International sparked my interest in something newish in one of the lovely old neighborhoods. More of a decorating challenge than a renovating challenge.
What do you think? I'll be taking a vote as we work our way through the list.

13 days to go!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

TV preview


Looks like this is one of the houses that will be featured on an upcoming episode of that irritating and ubiquitous House Hunters International program. There has been much promotional buzz online about the show's return to Merida. Looks like this wasn't the chosen one, but it is an extreme example of how much you can do with those skinny colonial townhouses that are listed in their unimproved state for as little as $20,000 US.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Yolisto, my favourite discussion forum on life in the Yucatan, has been hopping lately with discussion of the Mexican government's decision to decriminalize possession of small amounts of drugs - not just marijuana but cocaine and heroin etc. as reported here in the NYT.
It was interesting to see the amount of support for the move from expatriate Americans and Canadians for the move.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Telchac Puerto: the lure of the murals


I didn't have much of a sense of the village of Telchac Puerto except it was probably too far out of the way for my upcoming trip to Merida and the beach towns. Then I saw a confusingly translated reference to this mural project by young graffiti artists, with a link to this irresistable Flickr slideshow. On the apparently official Telchac Puerto website I learned that "Artist and muralist Rigel Sauris is 'Painting the Town'..." The undersea mural covering city hall is the grandest work but numerous other buildings in town have had similar treatment. Despite my determination to avoid driving around in cars while there, I think I'm going to have to see this place.

These photos are from the Telchac Puerto website linked above.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

SeaSick


Listening yesterday in the car to a disturbing interview on The Current on CBC with Alanna Mitchell, author of SeaSick. I wonder, what are the implications of the vast anaerobic "blob" in the Gulf of Mexico for the communities on the Yucatan side?

Paradise for home remodelers

Here's a pre-meltdown story on the gringo surge to Merida. I wonder how much has changed in the past year. As I compulsively scan the real estate listings I get the impression that not much seems to be selling these days in the city. If the listings are an accurate picture of what's actually for sale, that is. I keep checking the listings, watching the exchange rate, hoping my miniscule budget will be enough for something.
Fifty-three days to go.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Know your narcotraficantes: A field guide to identification

A lot of people living in Mexico take umbrage at any mention of the drug wars in the country, and parry any reference with claims of exaggeration and comparisons to crime and violence NOB (north of the border). I tend to think information is a good thing. Here's an informative article:

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/0819/p10s01-woam.html

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Realty check


Okay, I checked my line of credit documentation and discovered I have less available cash than I thought to purchase a little place in Merida/the beach towns. Once again I'll be the bottomfeeder - even in a place where homes start at 1/10th the cost of the crappiest Victoria abode. This week I saw a likely prospect come up in the Merida listings for $20,000 US. It sold within days.
My question of the week is how best to make arrangements with realtors. I've read the horror stories: down payments absconded and spent, unsolvable title issues involving ejido (communal) land or complicated family ownerships. I've found in my previous house-hunting foray in Merida that realtors often can't get in to show houses that are listed by other companies. So how does one decide which realtor to engage, and whether to go with different realtors to see their company's listings? I understand relationships are important to doing business in Mexico, so how awkward or counterproductive would it be to view houses with more than one realtor? Will I be able to see all the houses in my price range if I don't work with more than one? These are the big questions this week.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A place to stay


My big thrill this week was deciding on a place to rent for my two-week trip to Merida. Last visit we stayed in beautiful small hotels including Hotel Marionetas and Medio Mundo. This time I wanted to experience what it would (will) be like to live in the kind of small and basic house we could maybe afford to buy ourselves. A reality check.
There were several in the low to modest price range. A small, charming one bedroom casa and a gorgeous, colourful, elegant place both in the Santa Ana/Santiago area we got to know last time we were there. And this one in La Ermita.
We never even got to Ermita Santa Isabel last time, but heard a lot about it. A bit further from the main cathedral and park, on the other side of the somewhat grittier area around the bus stations. An up and coming area for expatriates, but not Gringo Gulch as some people call the Santiago neighborhood. I liked Santiago, but decided it's important to get to know other potential neighborhoods.
I think the owner won't mind my using these photo - free advertising!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Yucatan's crime-free claims can seem a bit fishy at times

Mexico City, June 17/09 (AP)
Mexico says it found nearly one ton of cocaine hidden inside frozen shark carcasses.
Prosecutors says hundreds of packages stuffed in the bellies of dozens of dead sharks seized in the Gulf port of Progreso contained 1,965 pounds (893 kilograms) of cocaine.
The Attorney General's Office says the sharks were found in two containers on Tuesday

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Hot enough for you?

Even here, in the warmest part of Canada, summer is far too short. I crave heat. At least once a day I check the current temperature and weather conditions on Yolisto. In late spring the temperatures were in the 100s many days (it's in fahrenheit). Okay, that's a bit too hot even for me. The time spent there in the winter most days seemed to be in the 80s. Perfect for me but too hot for other family members.
Here's info about average temps in Merida:

http://www.aroundthisworld.info/?p=500

Monday, July 13, 2009

Tamales!

I can't think of this magical food without remembering the woman selling them from a basket to the train passengers outside Oaxaca long ago; the red and white cloth over the basket and the incomparable flavour of corn and tomatos slivers of chicken. Chuchos, they called them there.
Finally I tracked down all the ingredients. It's hard to find masa harina in Victoria B.C. (just what is "fresh masa" anyway?) It took 3 1/2 hours Friday to put it all together, mixing the dough, soaking the corn husks, making two fillings (chicken and also mariscos, for our vegetarian teenager). When they were finally ready to eat, at about 9:30 p.m., it was all worth it - for me anyway. The taste took me right back to Mexico. I could almost hear the vendors' sing-song call: "ta-maw-LAYS!"
Here's the recipe from About.com :

Ingredients:
6 cups masa harina and 5 cups warm water, chicken or vegetable broth
2 cups vegetable oil
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
Preparation:
In a mixing bowl combine masa and warm water or broth until combined. Let the mixture sit for 20 minutes or so to let the masa soften. Then mix it on low speed until a dough forms.
After Masa or Masa Harina is prepared-Gradually add in the salt and cumin.
In a separate bowl, add oil to the dough a little at a time while mixing until well combined.
The mixture should be about the consistency of peanut butter. If not, add more masa, water or broth as necessary.
Cover and store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Fillings:

México Del sur:
2 cups shredded chicken, seasoned with hoja santa
1 cup fresh, whole corn kernels
1 cup finely diced tomatoes
1/2 cup red chile sauce (I used Asian sambal oelek)

Mariscos :
2 cups cooked shrimp or lobster
1 cup shredded Jack cheese
1/4 cup heavy cream mixed with 1/4 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 cup cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

To wrap and steam:

Sort husks: Go through the corn husks removing any debris. Separate the larger usable pieces from the smaller bits and pieces. Save the smaller pieces for later.
Soak husks: Place the husks into a large bowl. Cover husks with warm water. Set a heavy item (like a heavy bowl) on top of the husks to keep them submerged.
Remove the husks from the water and pat dry. Place into a covered dish or a large plastic bag to prevent from drying out. Use only the larger and medium sized husks for the tamales. The smaller ones can be used later for ties or patches. When looking at the husk, they have a narrow end, a broad end, and 2 long sides.
Add dough: Lay a husk on a flat surface. Place 1-2 tablespoons of dough onto the husk. When spreading the dough, leave a space of about 4 inches from the narrow end of the husk and about 2 inches from the other end. Spread the dough to the edge of one of the long sides and 2 inches away from the other long side. Try to keep the dough approximately 1/4 to a 1/2 inch thick.
Filling: Spread about a tablespoon of filling down the center of the dough.
Fold: Locate the long side with a 2 inch space with no masa. Fold that over, slightly overlapping the other side so the edges of the dough meet. Wrap the extra husk around the back.
Then fold the broad end over the top and then the longer narrow end over the broad end.
Tie: Create strips of husk by cutting or tearing 1/4 inch lengths off of some of the smaller or unusable husks. Use these to tie across the middle of the tamale to hold the flaps down.
Steam: Set tamales upright in a steamer over (not touching) boiling water. Steam for about 90 minutes.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Bought a ticket

After months of daydreaming and plotting I really am going back to Merida in October. As I hit Enter to confirm the booking I felt dizzy, like the ground was falling away. It must be the sense that with this trip we are (or might be) moving from talk to action. I'll be looking for a place where we can live someday once there isn't the need to show up every day at an office somewhere. TBD: Will it be near the beach or in the city?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Running away to Mexico

We lived in Mexico City for a short time, long ago. It wasn't much fun. The 8.1 earthquake and its aftereffects didn't help. Still, something about this place stuck with us. Now, here we are more than two decades later, hatching a plan for a place in Merida. I hope to share discoveries and impressions as we pursue this crazy pipedream.

Here's a timely post from one of the blogs I love to check for my regular fix of Merida life:

http://theresainmerida.blogspot.com/2009/07/5-stages-of-buying-house-in-merida.html

I think we've been at stage 1 for about 2 years and counting.

Who's watching the sea levels

I had wondered, with the relative flatness of the Yucatan and the low elevation of the beach communities, how things looked for the future as climate change is expected to cause rising sea levels.

Here's a link to an initiative that promises to provide more information on this issue, over time:
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/conservation/cousteau-inspires-mexicos-first-marine-observatory-20090624-cw49.html
Cousteau inspires Mexico's first marine observatory
June 24, 2009

"Mexico and France launched Mexico's first marine observatory on Tuesday on the edge of one of the world's most diverse ocean ecosystems, the Sea of Cortez.
"The Jacques Cousteau observatory will unite scientific research on the environmental impact from humans and climate change on Mexico's coastlines, and aims to improve public policy to protect them, French and Mexican officials said.
"Its first base is housed by the Centre of Scientific Research of the Northwest (CIBNOR) in La Paz, on Mexico's north-west Baja California peninsula.
"A second is due to open later this year in Merida, in the south-east Yucatan..."