Merida 2019

A winter in Mérida, the cultural capital of the Mexican state of Yucatán, with the Driedgers.

Flamingos, Salt Flats, Mayan Ruins, & Ceviche in Progreso

And their south border was from the shore of the salt sea, from the bay that looketh southward Joshua 15:2

Saturday. MaryLou organized a day trip to Progreso, a port city 30kms north of us. So after breakfast we were ready to go. I heard Pepe the neighbour outside and went out to ask him about taking the bus. He wasn’t keen on it. He offered to take us to the highway and we could either wait for a combi or bus from there or just call an Uber. When we got to the highway we decided to just get an Uber.

The Uber taxi dropped us off at the town square in Progreso. We started walking towards the beach. It was VERY ‘touristy’ — with small shops along both sides of the road and hucksters beckoning and inviting us in at each one. And there were LOTS of tour operators selling ‘packages’ that would take us to any or all of the places that were on MaryLou’s list — and most offered even more stops than we were interested in. After enquiring at a couple of them we settled on a ‘private’ car with a driver to take us to see the flamingos, the salt flats, and the mayan ruins at Xcambo. It would be about a 3-hour excursion.

Our ‘salesman’ took us into his office where another guy ‘sold’ us the tickets. He then summoned a car and driver. While we waited for the car to arrive I scouted out the large indoor market we were in. There were many little food stalls and most looked to be quite busy. I bought a pork taco and a coke and finished it just as the car and driver appeared.

Our driver spoke VERY limited English. But with the help of our translator apps on our phones we managed to get a few questions answered. Our first stop was to see the flamingos. We drove along a narrow bumpy road that led into a huge marshland. We found some flamingos, but they were WAY out there — too far for my phone camera to get a good photo. But MaryLou had her SLR camera with a telephoto lens and was able to zoom in quite close. After a few minutes we got back into the car and drove back to the main coastal highway. As we drove east we saw many large and beautiful homes along the coast. Our driver said there were many Americans and Canadians who owned properties here.

After driving for about 40kms we turned off the highway and went inland. Just a mile or two in we saw lots of flamingos standing in a row — and this time they were MUCH closer to us and we were able to get good photos. We continued for another kilometre and came to the “La Rosada” pink lagoon salt flats. The driver parked the car and we wandered around the shores of the small square salt mining lakes. Many of the little lakes are filled with red plankton and shrimp which gives them a red and pink colour. We spotted a few more flamingos out in the distance. There was a little cantina selling drinks and oranges. Peeled oranges with a sprinkle of chilis on them — not bad, according to Dave and MaryLou.

One more stop on this tour: the Mayan ruins at Xcambo. We stopped to pay the National Park entrance fee (75 pesos — about 5 bucks) and drove in. The site is actually a relatively small archeological site. A couple of pyramids, a large courtyard, and some surrounding walls. We climbed the tallest pyramid. I chased a couple of big iguanas around. Then I bought an ice cream cone from a little ice cream wagon in the parking lot and we got back into our taxi and headed back to Progreso.

Back in town we headed right back to the beach. The Driedgers went to the massage tent out near the water and I wandered around for a while. I walked to the long pier. The pier in Progreso is the longest pier in the world, jutting out into the Gulf of Mexico for a distance of 6.5 km. It needs to be that long because the coastline here is so shallow. I saw the big cruise ships parked way out there at the end of the pier. I watched semi-trucks and trailers and cement mixers going back and forth out to the end of the pier. I saw the malécon, the long boardwalk that follows the coastline and beach. I heard lots of loud Americans (and probably some Canadians, too) making fools of themselves on the street. I’m sure the prices at the shops were at least triple the regular rate because the cruise people were spending a day in town.

I finally sat down at a table in a restaurant near the massage tents. I ordered shrimp ceviche and a lime margarita and watched people on the beach. After about an hour the Driedgers were all limbered up and rejuvenated from their massages and they joined me at the restaurant. An early supper, but enough food that we would not be very hungry later in the evening.

After we paid the bill we walked back along the main road looking for a grocery store. We stopped at one and bought some supplies, and then kept walking until we got to another (larger) supermarket and bought a few more things, items that weren’t available at the first store. MaryLou ordered an Uber car and we got a ride back to our home in La Ceiba. Some fresh bread and a small container of ice cream from our corner superette and then back to our place.

We had a little happy hour and got on our devices. Dave found the Jets game on his iPad and watched that until things were looking so bad for the Jets he closed up his iPad and invited MaryLou to pick a movie to watch on TV tonight. They settled on an Icelandic film with English subtitles. I was sure I’d seen it before so I went upstairs and showered. I had some leftover pizza and a cold beer, not because I needed it, or because I was hungry, but because it was just sitting there in the fridge and I needed something to do.

After the movie I wrote my journal and looked at all the photos we took on our ‘field trip’ today. By 10:30 it was getting pretty tough to keep my eyes open.

Mirth and Merriment in Merida

Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry: Ecclesiastes 8:15

Friday. A ‘lazy’ Friday in Merida. No golf this morning. No tour this morning. No agenda. I like that. Things are getting better here every day. We’re getting quite comfortable with our apartment and with our surroundings. There are still a few things that need a bit of help in here but now that I have a new (working) toilet, life is pretty good! And the Uber thing is so good we’ve more-or-less given up on checking out a cheap car rental.

We had breakfast and then settled into our respective places. Reading a book or a short story. Working on the computer. Checking out Colbert and the sports highlights from last night. Looking up the best place to eat and what to do on the weekend. We’ll likely not golf Saturday and Sunday because the course is so busy with Meridians on the weekend.

MaryLou went to the gym for an hour. When she returned we made sandwiches and had lunch.

Dave had suggested that we try golfing in the AFTERNOON for a change. Maybe the temperature would be a little cooler. Maybe the course would be virtually empty and we could finish 18 holes in 3 hours. And that’s what we did and it turned out to be a GREAT idea. We both had some good holes, but in the end I was nowhere near breaking a hundred and Dave ended his round with an atypical string of mis-hits. It’s a good thing we are so easy-going. It’s a good thing that the waiters working the patio bar are so friendly and quick with their service. “Man hath no better thing under the sun, than … to drink…”

Speaking of which, it’s Friday. And after far too many missed opportunities, tonight we were going to have Friday Night Pizza Night. I wasn’t quite sure that my very limited Spanish would be enough to order in a pizza, but it turned out that Domino’s has an online ordering site that works just like it does at home. And 30 minutes later a delivery guy on a motorcycle roared up to our apartment. And a ‘grande’-size turned out to be just about exactly two times as much pizza as we would eat tonight. “Man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink…”

Movie time. MaryLou’s turn to pick. But MaryLou was down for the count! Feeling poorly. A bit of a sore throat. Oh, oh. Hope she’s not getting a miserable cold. She opted to head upstairs and go to bed early. Dave and I would have to “be merry” on our own. Dave suggested a violent but highly acclaimed movie — MaryLou wouldn’t want to watch this anyway, so maybe it would be the perfect time for us to watch it. “Mandy”, starring Nicolas Cage. We watched for nearly an hour. The movie was far more BORING than violent! Not only was there no bloody action; there was NO BLOODY ACTION! Skip it. What else can we watch?

We settled on “Fahrenheit 11/9”, the latest Michael Moore documentary. Well THAT movie WAS scary! Scary what has happened to politics in the USA! Scary how much the Trump phenomenon has parallels to Nazism in 1930s Germany.

Time to call it a night. I went upstairs and brushed my teeth. I watched the CBC National while I wrote my journal. Tomorrow’s plan was to take a trip up to Progresso, the beach town about 25 minutes north of here — but we’ll see how everyone feels in the morning.

Golf, laundry, dinner out, Jets game

In all toil there is profit, but mere talk tends only to poverty. Proverbs 14:23

I slept in this morning. By the time I was downstairs drinking my coffee Dave had already been up for over an hour and had finished his breakfast. MaryLou had already written several long articles and read a couple of books on her kindle.

As soon as I had put away my breakfast dishes we were off to the golf course. We got the caddies to get our bags out of storage for us and checked in with the starter. And just like that, we were off!

Today I played with one of those deep fluorescent red balls for most of the day. It’s actually a bit harder to ‘find’ it in the grass, but once I’d started I thought I might as well continue. It didn’t help my game, and it didn’t survive 18 holes, but it IS something I can say about the game today.

On about the 12th hole we caught up with golfers ahead of us. And we slowed down. And then the two guys on our tail starting posturing their impatience. And then Dave asked them if they’d like to join us. And they did. And they were fun to golf with — both were hitting the ball well, and the one guy was 81-years-old and hit the ball as far as we did and wasted no time on the course.

I was trying to break 100, but scoring a ten on hole 11 pretty much kiboshed that idea. And then I donated that nice red ball to someone’s swimming pool on about the 16th hole.

At the seventeenth par 3, Jerry, the 81-year-old took a couple of nice photos of Dave and me on the green.

After the game we went to the clubhouse for a cool refreshing cervesa. Then I went back to the house to shower and do a load of laundry. Dave is all gaga about showering at the country club. MaryLou was riding the stationary bike at the country club gym. Man, we are living the good life here!

I spent most of the afternoon working on the computer. Just before six we called an Uber and went into town for Mexican food. The restaurant that Dave had chosen didn’t work out for us — they told us their kitchen was closing shortly so only drinks there. We walked across the parking lot to the Italian restaurant. They were waiting for us. Many waiters hovering over us, just itching to take away an empty plate or bring us another drink. My food was very good.

We got back to the corner store (where the Uber picks us up and drops us off) and walked back to our place (about 800 metres). It was MaryLou’s turn to pick a movie. But the Raptors and the Jets were playing tonight (not each other, but each in their own sport). So MaryLou soon headed upstairs to do her own thing. And I was working on my computer and listening to the play-by-play on Dave’s iPad.

I was too tired to continue. I actually had a little nap downstairs on the couch until about 10:30. Then I went upstairs and got ready for bed. I wrote my journal, tried to watch the CBC News, and was asleep by 11:30.

The Wikipedia Tour of Central Merida

Trust ye not in a friend, put ye not confidence in a guide… Micah 7:5

This morning after breakfast we went on a “Free Walking Tour of Merida.” We got an Uber to pick us up at the front gate and drive us smack dab into the middle of the city. He dropped us off at the Santa Lucia park, where we joined about 10 others to wait for our tour guide.

These “free” city walks are very popular in many of the major cities around the world. The Driedgers and the Nikkel have been on many of them. Most of them are VERY good. Many of the walking tours I’ve been part of feature a tour guide that is knowledgable and entertaining and easily worth the suggested ‘tip’ you pay at the end of the tour. “Merida Walks” is new in Merida. There are other city tours, but our free walking tour was a new business.

Our tour guide strolled into the park carrying a big pink umbrella. He gathered us around him at a few minutes after 10 and we all introduced ourselves to each other. He began by pulling out his picture book and giving us a short history lecture about the square we were starting from. And then we were off to the next ‘highlight’.

The group consisted mostly of German university students who were on a little furlough or holiday from school. A couple of them turned out to be more knowledgable than our guide, who came from Mexico City and had been in Merida for just over a month. Our guide seemed to enjoy giving us the history of the ‘fathers’ of the city of Merida. Well, it wasn’t the most interesting or entertaining city tour, but it DID get us into the heart of Merida and gave us an excuse to walk around a bit, and to enjoy a nice lunch in one of the city squares.

After lunch we looked for a Telcel phone outlet that would help install SIM cards and configure them for Dave and MaryLou. We got that done. Then we “Ubered” up to the big Chedraui grocery store and picked up some supplies. Mario, our landlord phoned, saying he was at the house with some plumbers to install the new toilet. Great!

When we got to our apartment Mario was gone and the toilet was still in the box in the garage. Oh, oh. But he texted, saying the plumbers needed some more parts and would be back soon. And they were. And they installed the new toilet. And it works. And they still need to fix the water dripping below the kitchen sink. Maybe tomorrow.

We had the fixings we needed for supper in. MaryLou made salads for each of us. Dave and I made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches.

After supper Dave watched some of the Raptors’ basketball game. MaryLou and I worked on our respective computers. Then it was movie time. Dave’s choice was “Leave No Trace”. It’s the story of a father with PTSD and his 13-year-old daughter. They are living off the grid, trying to survive in the woods. The movie was pretty good.

“Night snack” was a brownie with ice cream and a small glass of Baileys. By midnight it was time for bed. Tomorrow: back to the golf course.

Seventeen holes of golf, a Jets game, and a movie

He that hitteth the ball into the long grass doth suffer to take a penalty stroke; but he who maketh many putts shall rejoice with delight. Hezekiah 17:2

Had a cup of coffee at the house before Dave and I walked down to the clubhouse for a breakfast of toast and jam. And soon we were on the first tee. We’d played about 4 holes when someone on the fairway beside ours called out to us. It was Michel, the retired fighter pilot from Ottawa whom we’d golfed with yesterday. He was by himself today — his wife Angela was busy doing some accounting — and so he hooked up with us for the rest of the round.

It is a LONG course. And with the sun shining down on us, it was a LONG walk around that course. Hard on the old Plantar fasciitis! There will be ice packs on some aching feet tonight! And we actually skipped hole #6 which was getting a bit of a do-over on the tee-box. And sure, there was a nice breeze by the time we’d made it to the back nine, but the wind was warm. And it isn’t a very ‘easy’ course either — I’ll be happy to break a hundred golfing here.

It was around 1:00 by the time we were back at the clubhouse. Time for lunch — hotdog for me, cheeseburger for Dave. And some cold Modelo Especials.

Back at the house I was expecting our friend Mario, the landlord, to come by. I’d sent him a text in the morning, reminding him that we still needed some ‘repairs’ and supplies here — and he’d replied that he was going to look after those things today. Well, I think we’re learning that in Mexico ‘today’ doesn’t necessarily mean that it will happen on THIS day. Mario never showed up.

I showered and did a load of laundry. The Driedgers went to the minimarket to see if they could straighten out their phone card business. When they got back things were not much better than when they’d left an hour ago — the guy at the store spoke no English and the phones still couldn’t phone me or each other. Manana.

We went back to the clubhouse for the third straight evening, hoping to get supper there. Today it was open, and so was the kitchen. Fish tacos and salad. Not bad.

Then back to our place to watch the hockey game. Again, that super-cool TV thingy we have gets us access to EVERY NHL game in the universe, EXCEPT the one going on at the BellMTS Centre in Winnipeg. Thank goodness that a guy can still find a couple of decent streaming sites on the web. And so we watched and listened to the Jets beat Las Vegas.

After the game it was time for our nightly movie. My turn to pick. We have so many great new movies available, how could I go wrong? How about if we watch “The Favourite” tonight — it’s getting a lot of Oscar buzz and I’ve only heard good reviews. Hmmm… I’m not sure what the Driedgers thought of it, but I’d say this movie missed the fairway by quite a bit. Out of bounds! Two stroke penalty.

It was midnight by the time I found the appropriate Bible verse for today’s devotional and summarized the day’s events. Tomorrow we’re going to the city centre; we’re signed up for a historical (hysterical?) walking tour of Merida. I’d better head on upstairs and rest up my weary feet.

And we golf…

How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, O prince’s daughter! the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman. Song of Solomon 7:1

Other than the fact that both Dave and MaryLou now suffer from Plantar fasciitis and are either sitting with an ice pack under their feet or hobbling down the road like a couple of wounded Canada geese, we are off to a great start! And things will get better. Dave, who should have brought his ‘newer’ sandals, is doing his best to ‘walk different’, and MaryLou intends to set up that brand new rowing machine that is just taking up space in our apartment — and the rehabilitation should take no time at all. And don’t even get me started about their jewelled thighs…

We had a morning coffee at the house and then went to the clubhouse for breakfast. “Oh what a beautiful morning, Oh what a beautiful day. And I’ve got a beautiful feeling…” sitting outside on the large patio and having bacon and eggs with a cup of coffee while watching early morning golfers duff balls on the driving range.

After breakfast we went to see the boss lady who would sell us our monthly club memberships. Well actually, the boss lady no speaky no English, but she got the very attractivo Maria who hablar Anglaise muy bueno to sell us the memberships. Great. And with each membership the spouse gets to use all the facilities (and even golf) for free. Excellente! MaryLou mucho pleased!

So after those formalities were over Marylou headed to the gym (included) and Dave and I went to the first tee. Although both of us hadn’t hit a golf ball for a number of weeks, no one was killed or injured when we teed off — so we were off to a good start. And by the time we reached the second tee we’d caught up with the group ahead. That is how we hooked up with a couple (from Ottawa) and made it a foursome. We played a very enjoyable nine holes. Nine, because the back nine apparently gets a little maintenance treatment on Mondays. Oh well, we were okay only golfing nine on our first day. Although the weather was fantastic, there were a few times when the sun came out from behind the clouds and that warmed us up good and proper. It was time to cool off on the clubhouse patio with a beer.

Back at the house we sat around and visited for a while. After a little happy hour and a shower we walked to the minimarket. We bought some snacks and got a couple of SIM cards installed in the Driedgers’ phones. Then back to the house to put our groceries away.

Shortly before 6:00 we left for the clubhouse again — this time for supper. Because the kitchen closed at 6pm yesterday we thought we’d make sure to be there a bit before six tonight. And we were. Unfortunately, when we got there we were informed that the cocina (kitchen) was closed on Mondays! What? Again?

It’s a good thing we are so relaxed and patient and easy to please. No problema. But what to do? Well, the neighbour lady drove by in her van and when her boys told here that we were looking for a restaurant suggestion she recommended one not far from our place. Hermana República. That gave Dave a chance to see if his new phone card and Uber account worked. It did. The restaurant was just down the road from our country club. And it was fine! Great local beers on tap, burgers and sandwiches and stuffed peppers. Followed by a short Uber ride back to our place.

Just before we’d left home Dave, who was checking out the big TV discovered that our fancy TV thingy gave us access to MANY brand new movies — movies that in many cases are still showing in the cinema. Now, as we walked back from the taxi drop-off to our house, Dave suggested one of his trademark ‘who-will-pick-tonight’s-movie’ selection system. Okay, how about alphabetical, suggests MaryLou. That would mean Dave first, followed by MaryLou, and then Rudy. Great idea.

Tonight MaryLou chose to watch the movie “The Wife”. It was a fine movie, and we all enjoyed the evening. Our TV is great. Our food and drink is great. Our weather is great. Our golf is great. Our feet — well, they are beautiful with shoes. Let the good times roll.

And then there were three

[Three] are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help him up. Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Well I woke up Sunday morning with no way to hold my head it didn’t hurt.
And the coffee I had for breakfast wasn’t bad, so I had one more for dessert.
Then I fumbled in my closet through my clothes and found my cleanest dirty shirt,
Then I washed my face and combed my hair and stumbled down the stairs to meet the day.

I’m telling you, this journal almost writes itself! Especially if you let Ecclesiastes (was that really a person? or was it a tribe of Israel?) and Kris Kristofferson write it for you.

But I DID wake up with a bad headache again. And I did make coffee and hold my hurting head and watch my Sunday morning shows on TV. And after a couple of hours the headache subsided a bit and then the first NFL playoff game of the day started and I was back in the groove. I’ll tell you who WASN’T in the groove: Philip Rivers and the Chargers. Yowsers! Losers!

Well I’d eaten almost everything edible in the fridge and what with the Driedgers expected to arrive late afternoon by bus from Cancun I thought I should really stop at a grocery store on the way to the bus station and get some provisions for a couple of meals. I was nearly out the door when the phone DINGS!! We’ve arrived! We’re at the bus station. Shoot! How did they make it to Merida so fast?

So I ran to catch my Uber and we drove down to the bus station. And there they were, hack en pack, patiently waiting for me to show up. MAN it was good to see them! My friends are here! Let the party begin! But first we gotta get those HUGE bags into the little Uber car. No chance that would work with the car I came down with. I sent him away and called another Uber, specified “Necesito un auto grande para mucho equipaje”. But when José arrived his car was no bigger than the first one. Well, we didn’t have all day! And José was determined to get this fare. In the end we jammed the big suitcase and the golf bag into the trunk and José took the laces out of his brand new boat shoes and tied them together and then tied the trunk lid down on the bags that were sticking out the back. Vamos!

No passports had to be shown and no one was frisked by the over-zealous security at our gate. We unloaded the Uber at the house. Dave and MaryLou were both all positive about the place. Well THAT’S what I need — someone to pick me up when I falleth. Stop being such a negative-ninny and adjust your attitude!

Okay, nothing in the fridge. How about we go to the clubhouse for supper. Good idea, except that after a bit of unpacking, by the time we got to the clubhouse it was 6:15. The good news was that they were open until 7. The bad news was the kitchen closed at 6:00. “No problem,” say the Driedgers. “We’ll come back tomorrow. We’ll go somewhere else tonight.”

And so it came to be that we flagged down another Uber and got a ride into town. We got a table at the Texas Roadhouse, the first restaurant that I could identify as a restaurant on the road in. We ordered and had a fine time talking and eating for the rest of the evening.

When we got back to the house it was time for the Driedgers to rest their weary bodies — they’d gotten up at 2:00am to go to the airport. I think that’s about when I went to bed last night! They had had a very L-O-N-G day. As they went off to bed I sat down and wrote my journal.

I took my last antibiotic pills tonight. I still have another box to go, but now I suspect that it is the pills that are causing my headaches. We’ll see. Surely a great game of golf will make all things right. I’m looking forward to it.

Saturday Morning in Merida

And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain. 2 Samuel 23:4

Today I woke up and felt great! No sinus issues, not even a little headache. By 7:30 the sun was up and starting to dry up the puddles on the road — I guess we had a little shower sometime during the night. I made the bed and showered. I hung my towel out on the balcony to dry in the morning sun. Then I went downstairs for breakfast. I only remembered that it was Saturday and that I had planned to go to the clubhouse for Saturday morning bacon and eggs AFTER I’d already made my bread and butter and cheese and yogurt and fruit breakfast! Oh well. Maybe I’ll go there for lunch.

I puttered around all morning. When my neighbour Pepe came by I stopped him and asked about refilling my water cooler bottles. I knew I could phone the corner store and they would deliver a full one and take my empty in trade. But I didn’t feel comfortable enough to try ordering in Spanish, and no one at the store speaks English. Pepe immediately took my two empties and put them in the trunk of his car. Hop in. We drove to the store to buy water. Pepe showed me where they stored bags of ice, so I bought a bag of that too.

I don’t do water like this at home, so I had no idea how to get a big 5-gallon jug of water upside-down into the dispenser. Pepe tackled it no problem, and we only had a SMALL puddle on the floor to clean up. I also mentioned to him that I was expecting Mario, my landlord, to come and fix my toilet today. Pepe wanted to see the toilet. We marched up the stairs. He asked me to bring a bucket, and then showed me that when you dump a bucket of water into the toilet it flushes just fine. So it’s not plugged. No, Pepe said, the problem is that there is so much lime in the water that all the little holes around the rim of the toilet are plugged, so not enough water is getting into the bowl when you flush. If Mario doesn’t come through today, Pepe will ask one of his workers to come fix the toilet on Monday (Pepe has a TEAM of workers–cleaners and electricians and carpenters and plumbers–because it turns out he has more than 20 homes that he owns and rents out and which he manages).

Okay, it looks like my new friends will look after my every need!

It seemed to me that it was a bit warmer today than it has been the last couple of days. I went to the clubhouse to check it out — to see how much busier it is on the weekends. Very much busier! A full house. I sat down inside and ordered a hotdog and fries and a couple of Modelo Especials. And I watched the men at all the other tables. Lots of tables pushed together so the golfers can sit in groups of 8 or 12. Loud. Lots of laughing and cheering. Everybody knows everybody. And the Mexicans ALWAYS shake hands when they say hello and again when they say goodbye. Enthusiastically. Vigorously.

The clientele here today was not poor people. Everyone had proper golf attire, even fashionable attire. Like a Scottish hat and knickers. Or lots of Titliest golf hats. Mostly long pants. A bag with their golf shoes on the floor beside their chair. And they were all eating and drinking, but the food was mostly small plates of shareable stuff — most of which I had no idea what it was. I think I saw a plate of beets! Yuck! One guy must have had a hole-in-one and was busy ordering more champagne for his table and getting hugged and congratulated by everyone in the room. It was great! A good feeling of ‘community’ among the Saturday morning golfers.

After sitting there for a couple of hours, I took a walk in the neighbourhood. LOTS of very large and beautiful homes here. Most have 2 BMWs and a Porsche parked in the driveway. Nobody drives old ugly cars here.

Back at the house I had a FaceTime call with Alex. And then Mario came zooming up in his Jeep and took a brand new toilet, still in the box, out of the ‘trunk’ and put it in my garage. He’ll send HIS plumber guy to install it either tomorrow or Monday. When Mario left I got myself set to watch a couple of NFL playoff games — so I had to find channels on my big TV that would show them, and ones where the connection was good enough so I didn’t have to watch spinning cursors every few minutes. But if you want something bad enough, eventually you will have success. So I did.

In between the games I made myself a ham and cheese sandwich and opened up (finally!) one of my two bottles of wine and had a glass of Malbec with ‘supper’. Great. A little headache had returned earlier in the day, but really I think I’m nearly 100%. By tomorrow for sure!

While the first game went my way, the second game not so much. But I sat up until 12:30, working on the computer and then writing my journal. But now that that’s done, I’m off to bed. Got a song in my head:

If today was not an endless highway
If tonight was not a crooked trail
If tomorrow wasn’t such a long time
Then lonesome would mean nothing to you at all.
Bob Dylan

Well, tomorrow the Driedgers are scheduled to arrive, and that’s not such a long time; and then lonesome will mean nothing to me at all! I’m looking forward to their company. And I can’t wait to get out on that golf course!

New friends in Merida

Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats… 1 Corinthians 6:13

I woke up with a headache. What else is new? I had some nice bread with butter and mango yogurt for breakfast. And for the first time this year, I made a cup of coffee. Not bad either! Then I swallowed my assortment of pills and waited for the Tylenol to kick in.

I spent all day inside. I worked on a computer project and made quite a bit of headway. So I actually enjoyed a lazy quiet day here. At around 5:00pm I decided to walk to the superette at the front gate. On the way there I ran into Jack (from Edmonton) who was working on his golf cart. So now I know where Jack and his wife Gerry live. Right on the main road, in a lovely home they built about 10 years ago. And while I was talking to Jack another couple drives by and pulls over. So I get introduced to Jack’s friend Joseph and his wife Heidi — from Switzerland. And then Gerry comes out — she’d been inside napping when the phone rang. It was my neighbour Pepe’s wife Kiki calling. Would it be okay if they would also ask their new neighbour Rudy to join the gang for supper tonight?

I walked to the store and bought fresh bread for tomorrow’s breakfast and a Kitkat for a little treat before bedtime tonight. Supper was supposed to be at around 7pm — late for all us old folks. I THOUGHT that supper was going to be at Pepe’s house, but just after 7 he comes knocking on my door — are you coming? Yes, of course. Do I need to dress up? No, you’re fine. I walk across the street and into Pepe’s garage. Kiki is waiting in the car. I get in and get introduced. We drive to the front gate. Along the way we stop to pick up Jack and Gerry. On the other side of the front gate is another car with another couple, Doogie and Joan. They are Canadians from Sherbrooke, Quebec and they will join us. Kiki gets out of our car and jumps into theirs, and I move to the front passenger seat. It’s a LONG drive through many small side streets to get to the restaurant. But along the way the conversation begins, and both Pepe and Jack enjoy answering questions I have about Merida and the things I see along the way.

We end up at a small Italian restaurant. A large booth has been reserved for us. The others sit on either side, and I pull up a chair at the end, with Doogie and Jack on either side of me. And that’s how we spent the next 3 hours. My fettucini and camarones (shrimp) was excellent. The lasagna that a couple of the others had looked very good too. But as good as the food was, the conversation was great. In the end we split the bill 7 ways and headed back home via a much quicker and simpler route. (The restaurant was in fact not that far away from the Altabrisa bus station where I arrived last Sunday.)

And so tonight I not only had a great meal, but I made a bunch of new friends here in Merida. I almost forgot about my headache until I got home. I washed down a dessert of pills with some pineapple juice and sat down to write my journal. Things are looking up! (I’ll save the Kitkat for another night.)

The Road to Recovery

Arise, walk about the land through its length and breadth; for I will give it to you. Genesis 13:17

I woke up with a SPLITTING headache. I didn’t even feel like getting out of bed. So much for those pills the doctor prescribed being an ‘instant’ cure. Even though I woke up at around 6:00am I didn’t drag myself out of bed until after 9.

I showered and went downstairs to gobble up another dose of the pills I got yesterday. Then I went back upstairs and gathered up my laundry and put it in the washer in the bathroom.

I decided that I would get myself off the couch and go to the little ‘superette’ at the front gate before lunch. I picked up some more pineapple juice and a few other things. I noticed that there are two woman in the small room behind the store who are COOKING stuff. And there were people sitting at little tables on one side of the store — like there was a little ‘café’ there. So I picked up a hamburger and took that back to my house as well. Not bad. The walk and eating something substantial actually made me feel better!

Jack from Edmonton stopped by in his golf cart and introduced me to his wife Gerry. They are snowbirds who’ve been coming down here for about 10 years. The first year they were here they rented the house that I’m in. Then they built their own place. Jack and Gerry golf every morning. Jack offered to help out in any way he could — if I needed a ride to Costco to go shopping, or if I was interested in renting a car for a lot less than the big rental companies charged — well, Jack had connections.

After lunch I went for another long walk — this time around the front nine holes of the golf course. That also made me feel better. The course is quite a bit better than what I had imagined and there are many very lovely homes in the development here.

I think the physical exercise actually helped to improve my sinuses and for sure the walk improved my attitude.

I went back to the superette to buy some bread but they were sold out. No problem. I’ll come back later. And at around 5pm I did. And then they HAD freshly-baked bread. The bread is great, and it costs 4 pesos! 27 cents. I went back to the house but decided that I now felt good enough to go back to the clubhouse at the golf course and have supper there.

I wasn’t very hungry, and told the waiter to bring me something ‘small’. I got an order of fries and chicken fingers to go with my Modelo Especial. Great! Couldn’t finish it, but I gave it a go!

Back at the house I tuned in the Jets game on TV and worked on a web project while I watched the game. Both didn’t turn out as well as I had hoped. But the Jets have another game tomorrow, and I’ll have another try at coding in the morning.

So it’s not quick, but it IS working.