Monday, October 24, 2011

Feet Be Ready

Only 8 more days and we'll be arriving in Mérida around 9 PM and then a brief ride in a taxi will find us at home on Calle 47-A.  Alan hasn't been down since May and I was last there in hot July.  We are anxious to see how the house has fared during this intense rainy season. Is the tropical foliage green and lush? Have weeds overtaken the rock covered garden areas? Hopefully, the gardener, who comes about every two weeks, has done much of the work.  What about inside? Have there been any leaks and has the paint begun peeling? The previous owners had said that yearly touch-up painting is necessary. That means we still have until February.

Has the issue with CFE (the electric company) been resolved? A more thorough explanation will be forthcoming, but let's just say that a bill was mailed to our address, in the previous owner's name, for the period from September, 2010 through June, 2011 in the amount of 35,000 pesos (at today's rate 2,582 USD). We  bought the home in February, 2011, but did not change the account to our name because they were staying until the middle of April and there was no meter. They were being billed a flat monthly rate (or so they thought), so we left the account in their name until around May 1.  A new meter was finally installed either in June or early July. It seems that CFE decided to estimate their monthly usage ( most likely based on the fact that there are seven mini-split units in the house) and back-bill for all those months. We were instructed to pay the bill within 10 days, or what? I'm assuming it means that they will stop electric service. I placed a call to the previous owner and he is filing a complaint with CFE. His final statement indicated that the account was paid in full. I instructed our property manager to pay the May-June amount, which is our responsibility, and we will wait to see what happens. Oh yes, the reason they had no meter was because the original meter was faulty and they would lose electricity for 4-5 hours every day. It took CFE over 10 months to replace the meter. I was going to save this story for another time, when the issue has been resolved, but this is as much as I know right now. I'm keeping fingers crossed that we have electricity when we arrive on 1 November.

About the feet. For the past year I have endured a fairly severe plantar fasciitis. Essentially this means that the plantar tendon is inflamed and causes pain in the heel and arch of the foot. Standing on hard floors for long periods (as I often do at work) results in my feet feeling as though I have badly bruised them by jumping on hard rocks. I hobble to my car in the parking garage wondering if I will ever be able to walk again without pain. Sitting for long periods and sleeping also result in pain on arising, which dissipates after an hour or so. When I was in Mérida in July,  I was not able to do much walking. Just going from the house over to the Paseo Montejo or to Plaza Grande was very uncomfortable.

Long story short, I finally saw a podiatrist who started me on stretching exercises, arch supports, icing the feet nightly and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. I saw him today and told him I would be in Mexico for 10 days, so we decided that an injection of steroids into each heel would be in order (it didn't hurt as much as I anticipated). Here's hoping I will be able to walk as much as I like for our entire stay.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Ocean View - October 16, 2011

There are times when a late afternoon stroll on a nearby beach is just what's needed to clear the head and quiet the mind.

The cure for anything is salt water --sweat,  tears, or the sea.
        Isak Dinesen

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Owl- omen or nature's pest control

Supposed home of the owls
When we purchased our home in Mérida, it came with a name - Casa de Las Lechuzas (Home of the Owls). We were told by the previous owners that a family of owls had found a home at the top of an old water tower at the rear of the property and we have, indeed, spotted them each time we have been in Mérida. When we first saw the word lechuzas, we did not know the meaning, so a Google search led us to discover that in certain Latin American  cultures the owl has a sinister side - something about witches turning into lechuzas and people dying. We are not solidly on the superstitious side, as others might be, so just in case, we will not be placing a sign on the facade of our house proclaiming its name. Don't want to scare any one away.

We have, however, decided that having owls around offers some welcome benefits. For one thing, owls are carnivorous scavengers, preying on insects and small animals such as mice, rats and rabbits.(Reminder:  keep small cat inside at night - dogs ok, too large to fall prey - do not adopt a mini-anything). This is a good thing because we have no neighbors on either side and I can only imagine how the back yards are overgrown with weeds and littered with crumbling plaster.  Now that I think about it, we have seen no mice, rats, or hares, and about the only insects around are those tiny mosquitoes that seem to be everywhere. I've read other blogs complaining of the voluminous ant infestations, but we have seen only a few ants here and there. Not sure why that is, but I doubt that ants are on the owl's menu. It would be nice to have an iguana or two, but are they not tasty to owls (I've read that certain albañiles have been known to capture one while working on an expat's house)?

all images Hassle-Free ClipArt

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Just in time for Halloween

I have noticed an abundance of spider webs all around my house in Virginia, walking head first into the ones hanging from tree branches. They have also been nesting in the shrubbery. The other day I walked out the front door and this guy was poised, just between the porch and the door frame, patiently waiting  to trick an unsuspecting somebody into becoming a treat.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Occupy Wall Street - a political post

The 99% vs the 1%.  A movement is underway in the United States which could become a revolution.  Unlike the Viet Nam War protests, mostly played out on university campuses, Occupy Wall Street is happening in cities and towns all over the country. What began on the real Wall Street, in New York City,  is blossoming and the powerful are starting to feel concerned. This unrest is unlike the Tea Party movement which advocates a return to 18th century utopia where everyone carries a gun, taxes are unrealistically low, gay people simply disappear, and a constitutional government sits in the halls of Congress and does very little in the way of governing. Gimme my liberty back, but don't you dare touch my socialist security check or my government-paid prescription plan. Occupy Wall Street does not yet have a leader, nor does it have a clearly articulated message, but getting Wall Street Banks and corporate America out of politics seems to be the primary focus. The buy-out and control of both Democrats and Republicans with large corporate donations, to fund multi-million dollar campaigns and influence legislation, is at the root of the problem - power, greed, and capitalism gone awry and lawmakers unwilling to let go of unjustifiable ideological positions for the good of the people.

Here is a sane and rational description by a leading economist.

The opinion expressed here is my own and is not intended to provoke, harass, or
sway the leanings of you right-fielders. Comments, whether agreeing or disagreeing, are welcome.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Who dat? Saints and Méridanos

New Orleans Saints

Panama City Beach, FL
photo courtesy Dean Galloway 2004
Oyster Po'Boy
New Orleans
I had heard, but forgotten until recently, that Mérida and New Orleans are sister cities. New Orleans happens to be my favorite city in the United States and most likely one of the reasons we were drawn to the Centro in Mérida which, in many ways,  reminds us of the French Quarter.  To demonstrate solidarity, Mérida officially celebrated the New Orleans Saint's Super Bowl victory in 2010. Actually, Mérida maintains sister city status with 12 other cities throughout the world, including the Mérida in Spain and the one in Venezuela. On November 13, 2003, Panama City, Florida (where Alan and I lived for 10 years) came on board. Like the Yucatán , PCB has miles of beautiful white sand beaches and some of the world's most delicious oysters and seafood.

In Florida, we lived three blocks from the Gulf of Mexico. In Virginia, it's a 20-minute drive to the Atlantic Ocean and in Mérida we are about 25 minutes from the Gulf of Mexico. We have never lived right on the beach, but both of us have always lived near water. The thought of being land-locked  causes me to feel slightly claustrophobic.

other images from Google

Monday, October 3, 2011

Attention all you Divas

There's more than one way to tango, and apparently it only takes a diva. I discovered Tango Diva by accident and couldn't help but wonder if our own Yucatango has seen this site, which states:

They inspire, conquer, and transform; are fearless and leave lasting impressions. . .

Feeling left out all you men out there? Don't fret. There is an annual "Diva Man Issue."

I looked a little further to see if,  in all of their travels, the Yucatán was mentioned. All I found was this review of a luxury hotel in Tulum. 

Maybe I associate the word 'Diva' with women like Madonna, Diana Ross, J-Lo, Shakira, or Lady Gaga.  I don't think it takes a "diva" to inspire, conquer, and transform, or to be fearless and leave a lasting impression, but if so, that would make Susan B. Anthony, Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Margaret Thatcher, Oprah Winfrey, and hundreds more women...divas.

I'm perfectly content being a non-Man Diva, thank you.

Wait! I'm a non-Man Diva.
That's D-I-V-A

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Spring Has Sprung, Fall Has Fell...

Winter's coming, and it's cold as .... usual. I saw a tee shirt with that logo and I wish I had it! Actually, we've had no fall to fell, so far, in Virginia. The high today was 58F with a low of 45F expected. That is not all that cold, but it sure feels like winter to me. If this keeps up, 90F in Mérida will feel very nice. The weather is consistently fickle in southeastern Virginia (even without climate change) and we occasionally have a year with what seems like only two seasons - hot and cold. One thing we've had in common with Mérida this year is heat and humidity. It's almost as if we have been living in a cloud for the past few weeks. Hurricane Irene brought over 10 inches of rain and it seems as if it hasn't stopped.

Speaking of climate change; we no longer refer to it as global warming - too Al Gore or too scary for many people?

Here is an excerpt from a DC Poetry Slam piece by "2Deep the Poetess."

...Enchanted by the thought that she [Mother Nature] will
images from Google
always be there for you
There will be no lullabies to calves
Or education to angel fish
as the schools are empty below the sea
Which is rising,
Turning continents into Stationary
As they too
Never saw the iceberg
Because it was rising at their ankles...
--From Mother's Nature, by "2Deep the Poetess"

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Top viewed posts

It's not surprising that My first post... is the most frequently viewed. People who stumble onto the blog are checking me out. The second most frequently viewed post is Guayaberas and jipi hats.  Not sure why. The third and most puzzling post is Tropic Thunder. The post is about touring the home when we were first in Mérida, including a video with the realtor. Tropic Thunder is no longer on the market so I'm thinking maybe I should place a SOLD notice on the post. Another post that garners large numbers of views is La Tlapaleria - Los Dos Camellos where I talk about shopping at the neighborhood hardware store. The fact that the title of this post is in Spanish could be one of the reasons. Who knows?

Dos camellos
(not to be found in Mérida)
Another statistic that I have found interesting is the audience. Just who is taking a peek? Besides the top three -  US, Mexico, and Canada - Russia comes in a distant 4th place with a couple hundred views, followed by Iran in 5th place with about the same number. Today I had two pageviews from Latvia. Latvia? I don't track URL's, so I can't tell specifically where the hits are originating.

Here's hoping that we will obtain lots of useful information when we attend the Fourth Annual Latin American Bloggers Conference in Mérida on November 5th.