Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Guinea Pig for portraiture module

As I progress through my photography course, the assignments become slightly more challenging. I've had very little time to think about my future life as an expat in Mérida. Thankfully, bloggers like Lee and Darren & Wade, all expats-to-be, help keep the dream alive with their enthusiastic posts. Resident bloggers and friends, Cathy and Marc, offer informative posts on day to day living in Mérida with an emphasis on great photos and living la vida serena.

Although my photographic plans don't include portraiture, it has been fun getting Alan to be my model. I am learning that many mistakes can be corrected post exposure.  My instructor, of course, insists that it is always better to "get it right the first time." He is right about that, but it is a bit fun and artistic to make something mediocre look pretty fabulous. Not that I am any where near fabulous at this point.

Please feel free to comment. Critiques are welcomed.

This image largely untouched

A bit of bright gaussian blur added for a dreamy effect

Gaussian blur with less brightness

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mexico comes to Virginia

We recently heard about an International Food Market that has opened in Norfolk. We were told that it has "everything", so we took a drive to check it out. It is an Asian-owned market, or at least it appears to be, but we were amazed at the variety of items from Mexico or Latin American countries.  For an hour or so, it seemed as if we were in our local market in the Centro. The only thing I could not find was our favorite brand of boxed milk, LaLa.
                                                             (all photos from my iPhone)

There were 2 very long aisles with Latino products, mostly from Mexico
-everything you could imagine- canned goods, spices, condiments, sweets,
ground yellow corn meal of different textures, tortillas of all sizes, frozen or not,
all sorts of fruit drinks,  and yes, the REAL Coca-Cola in glass bottles made with sugar and not
high-fructose corn syrup.

The produce was as good or better than some of
our more upscale grocers and less

 mayonesa with lime, anyone?

artichokes, tomatillas,  large green prickly things, cactus, and tons of
jalopeñas and habaneros, and limes 6 for a $.

 El Yucateco chipotle hot sauce, made in
Mérida, Yucatán
(one of a dozen or so brands)

large, beautiful, yellow, orange, red and
green peppers from Mexico- and packages of
dried leaves of all sorts, including
aguacate leaves?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tampa to Yucatán ferry - a reality?

Along with my daily prayer for the proposed ferry to carry people and cars from the Port of Tampa to Yucatán, I occasionally scour the internet for any updates. I'm not sure how I missed the update from November 17, 2011 in the Tampa Bay Business Journal, but this is what they say:

"Ferry service between the Port of Tampa and Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula will begin by the second half of 2012, according to an executive starting the service."

This report does not state that talks are under way or that negotiations are taking place between the Port of Tampa and interested parties. It says "will begin by the second half of 2012." "This is a no-brainer," said Bruce Nierenberg, chairman and chief executive officer of United Caribbean Lines.

The report goes on to say that one ferry would generate $300 million a year in economic impact and create at least 100 shoreside jobs. I'm assuming this means jobs for the Port of Tampa, but it would also be good news for Mexico - more jobs in Yucatán and countless tourist dollars.

Service to Mexico would accommodate 1,000 to 2,000 passengers and up to 600 cars. The cost for a round trip ticket would be around $195.00. I'm certain that transporting a car would cost an additional fee. Travel time is around 27 hours.

I suppose we can't actually celebrate until we see a published schedule, but this news seems more concrete than any in the past.

Read it for yourself from the Tampa Bay Business Journal and Tampa Bay Online. The TBO site states that the ferry will run from Tampa to Cancún while earlier articles referred to the Progreso Port. Either way this is a win-win for those of us on the Eastern Seaboard. Now we just have to believe that they will accommodate pets.

Happy Carnaval, Mérida

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Trouble in paradise...

Our blogger friend at Imagine Mérida just reported this. Yes, potential Mérida homeowners, things do go wrong in this delightful slice of heaven in Yucatán.  I just spoke with our property manager and he informed me that the studio air conditioner was not performing well enough for the current guest. I thought this was supposed to be the cooler time of year, when ceiling fans and open doors and windows are enough to stave off drenching sweat. I mean, I spent a week there in July and never once turned it on. I did, however,  spend an inordinate amount of time in the pool. Alan and I were both there in November and used no A/C.  Ruben informed me that the guest complained of dampness and I do know that it has been unusually wet this 'dry' season. The A/C's were all checked in the spring and were in good working order. I thought perhaps it could be a freon (or whatever gas they now use) leak. He tells me that the repairman took the unit to be repaired. Let's hope that it is repairable!

I haven't received the bill for this yet, but I can tell you that normally the costs of repair in Mérida are considerably less expensive than back at home. That is some consolation because the frequent breakdown of any electronic device in this heat and humidity can be frustrating.

Another consolation. The guest pays for any electricity over and above a set usage that is considered adequate. This is a policy that many rental casas use and one that we adopted after a particularly nasty electric charge by another guest.

The moral of this story? Go with the flow, expect the unexpected, and enjoy your slice of heaven.

photoArt by John Bradshaw