Tag Archives: mexico

Dave Driedger Nature Photographer in Mexico

dave with cameraA few years ago Dave, who isn’t always very enthusiastic about taking photos suddenly took an interest in using my old Canon to capture nature shots.  He’s taken some lovely pictures and so on our vacations now I do a post with his photos.  Here is the Mexico 2019 version. iguana yucatan

red bird merida

lily pad mexico

turtle le ceiba

bright yellow bird mexico

berries mexico

iguana head

blue birdmerida

ceiba tree mexico

IMG_4963

a black bird in merida

bougenvalias mexico

flamingo mexico

 

kiskadee yucatan

Other posts………

Dave Driedger Nature Photographer in Costa Rica

Dave Driedger Butterfly Photographer

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Bowling For An Audience

One afternoon we went to a movie theatre at a mall here in Merida. My sister and brother-in-law and our friend Rudy were going to see a film Dave and I had already seen, so we decided to try a documentary from Lebanon instead.  We’d rendezvous after our movies. The ticket attendant assured us our documentary would either be dubbed in English or there would be English subtitles but……. once the film started rolling all the dialogue was in Arabic and there were only Spanish subtitles.  We left.  Now we had more than an hour and half to kill till the others got out of their movie. There was a bowling alley in the mall and I suggested we go bowling. Negotiating the rental of bowling shoes was a Google Translate marathon but finally we were all set up for our ten pin game. The bowling alley was huge but only two parties were bowling, us and a family of four two lanes away. Dave the natural athlete stepped up to the line and bowled one strike after another.  The Mexican family nearby was delighted.  They began clapping and cheering for Dave after every shot. They totally neglected their own game to watch Dave bowl. The mom went over to get snacks for them to enjoy while they cheered Dave on. My husband’s athletic prowress has garned him lots of attention on the ball diamond, basketball court, golf course and football field in the past. But I think this was the first time he was the star on the bowling lane.  After one game I suggested we go somewhere and read our books till the others finished their movie.  Our Spanish family of fans needed to get back to their own bowling game. They’d had enough excitement for one day.  

Other posts……….

Let’s Play Ball

A New Sport For Dave

I Slept With A Champion Last Night

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Filed under Mexico, Sports

Visiting A Hacienda

 

henequen plant

Behind Dave you can see a field of henequen plants. These plants made the elite classes of the Yucatan very wealthy at the turn of the century.

We did a tour of a plantation that grew henequen, a plant from the cactus family used to make rope and twine.  The heyday for the henequen industry in the Yucatan was between 1880 and 1930 when henequen fibre was exported around the world to be turned into a sturdy twine that could be used to bind crops together into bundles or bales.

wealthy home merida

One of the restored homes of the wealthy plantation owners in the city of Merida

The thriving henequen industry made the elite class of the Yucatan incredibly rich.  Here in the Merida area where we are staying these wealthy people all had mansions in the city.  You can still see many of them because they have been restored. hacienda don peronHowever they also built beautiful homes or haciendas on their henequen plantations near Merida.

frog fountain hacienda

Frog fountain in the hacienda front yard

The plantation owner might come to the hacienda more regularly to attend to business but his family would join him on the weekends.

on the porch hacienda

Standing on the porch of the hacienda with our guide Juan

We toured one of these haciendas on a plantation that was called Sotutua de Peon. It was established by a man named Don Peón in the late 1800s near the village of Tecoh and was one of thirteen plantations owned by the Peón family.

tile design hacienda

This beautiful tile pattern adorned the lower half of the entire balcony.

The hacienda fell into a state of disrepair after the henequen industry crashed due to the invention of plastic twine.

kaaren and me hacienda

The large hacienda has been restored beautifully. My sister and I are posing to show how the rooms open one into the other no doubt to make it easy for a breeze to blow through the house and keep it cool. Look at the beautiful chandeliers . 

Some fifteen years ago the plantation was purchased by a German man Adolfo Lubke who restored many of the buildings, built others and turned the plantation into a hotel and tour destination for visitors to the Yucatan.

accounting tools hacienda don peron

My brother-in-law who is an accountant was interested in these old business machines in the room that served as the Don Peron’s office.

typewriter hacienda

As a writer I was interested in this old typewriter. Check out the ornate desk!

Our tour guide Juan didn’t spend nearly enough time in the hacienda or plantation house as I would have liked.

diningroom hacienda

The hacienda diningroom

I wanted to know more about the family that originally lived there as well as more about the period furniture, dishes and linens.

sitting room hacienda

There were at least four different sitting rooms in the house. See the woman in traditional Mexican dress on the wall? Note the simple wooden frame around the door and two other unique light fixtures in the adjoining rooms. Also see the pattern hand painted on the wall separating the two different colors.

endless sitting areas hacienda

In this sitting room look at the heavy wooden doors, and the beautiful floor tiles. 

Still is was quite something to see the luxury in which the family lived and I wondered if the haciendas on the other dozen plantations they owned were equally elegant.

hacienda bedroom

This bed didn’t look comfortable but see the lovely edging on the bedspread as well as the madonna in the case on the stand by the bed. There was a picture of Jesus over the bed looking down on the people sleeping as you can see in the next photo.  

sewing machine hacienda

This treadle sewing machine reminded me of one my grandmother had. Check out the tile pattern on the floor. 

studebaker hacienda

My sister and I had to take a picture by this antique Studebaker in the hacienda stable since our grandfather once owned a Studebaker.

We spent the day on the plantation and I will do future posts about the making of henequen twine, the Mayan employees/slaves who worked on the plantations, our rides from place to place on mule pulled wagons and the beautiful cenote on the site where we went swimming. 

Other posts…….

The Symphony Mexican Style

To Market To Market

Cooking Up a Storm in the Yucatan

 

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Loving Uber!

We get around everywhere by Uber here in Mexico.  The rates are so cheap and there are so many drivers available that downloading Uber apps on our phones and using them for our transportation needs is a far more economical and practical choice than renting a car. Some drivers don’t speak English but others do and we have learned plenty of interesting things from them. 

Many have left jobs related to their university degrees- business, technology, innovation, architecture, engineering to drive Uber because they can make a better living here in Mexico as a driver than as a professional. 

Two of our drivers were Americans who had roots in Mexico, had come here for visits, fallen in love with Mexican women and had children.  Since getting American immigration papers for their families is almost impossible they must remain here. 

Some people drive Uber because it gives them an opportunity to have two jobs or it gives them the flexibilty to spend more time with their kids during the day. One of our drivers was a farmer and he and Dave discussed their family farms during our trip.  

One driver who didn’t speak English asked Dave in a questioning way “música?” When Dave said ‘The Beatles” the driver understood him immediately and played one Beatles hit after the other on his car sound system during our ride. 

We have only had one female driver.  She didn’t understand English but Dave and Rudy managed to convey that they wanted to stop on our ride to pick up some items from the grocery store.  While the fellows went into the store I showed her pictures of my grandsons on my phone and she showed me photos of her family and with gestures and the few words we knew of each other’s languages I learned she had five brothers and two sisters,seven nieces and nephews and that her grandmother had died last year. We even figured out that her nephew and my grandson shared the same name. 

A couple of our drivers have moved here from Mexico City  because there is so much less crime and extortion and corruption here in the Yucatan.  They gave us lots of interesting reasons why that is the case.

I especially love Uber trips I make on my own.  My last two I was lucky enough to get drivers who both spoke a fair bit of English and we had fascinating half hour conversations on our ride home from Merida. Uber is fast and convenient but the bonus for me is that I am meeting lots of interesting people and am learning so much about Merida and the Yucatan from our local drivers.  

Other posts………..

Friend For A Moment

We Placed Our Lives in his Hands

Dave the Professional Driver

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Filed under Mexico, Travel

Reconnecting With Renan

Dave and Renan twelve years ago

Way back in 2006 a young man named Renan Canto from Merida Mexico came to Steinbach as an exchange student at the regional high school where both my husband Dave and I were teachers.  Renan was in my grade ten English class and Dave was his basketball coach.  I taught journalism and one of my students Courtney Fehr did a profile of Renan for our school paper.  During his interview for the article Renan talked about what a great experience he was having in Canada.

Dave with Renan at Chichen Itza

In 2007 Dave and I went on a holiday to Cancun Mexico with our friends Rudy and Sue Nikkel. We knew Renan’s home in Merida was about a three and half hour drive away but we contacted him anyway and let him know we would be in Mexico. Renan and his brother came to pick us up in a chauffered car and drive us to their family home in Merida.  

Me and Rudy and Sue Nikkel with Renan and his brother at Chichen Itza

On the way we stopped at the famous Mayan archeological site at Chichen Itza where Renan’s father had arranged for a private guide to give us a tour.

Dave and Rudy with Renan’s father and brother enjoying a coconut drink in their backyard before dinner

When we arrived in Merida Renan’s parents rolled out the red carpet for us.

Me with Renan’s mother

His mother made us a wonderful supper and they hosted us for the night.  

Posing with Renan and his family on the front steps of their family home in 2007

The next day before we traveled back to our hotel in Cancun Renan’s parents treated us to brunch in a restaurant housed in a beautiful old home in Merida.  We have never forgotten their wonderful hospitality. 

When we knew we would be in Merida with our friend Rudy this year Dave contacted Renan.  He told us he had gotten married this fall and Dave invited him and his wife to join us for lunch.  Renan picked a fantastic seafood restaurant called La Pigua.  We had a delicious meal and a wonderful visit.  Renan and Lizmar have only been married for four months and they described their month long honeymoon in France, Italy and Greece.  Renan who studied electrical engineering owns a lighting company and installs commercial lighting as well as orchestrating light shows for special occasions.  He told us about a light show he had done at some ruins called Teotihuacán near Mexico City. Renan’s wife Lizmar runs a dance studio where around a hundred students study ballet.  We had a long visit and agreed we will try to meet again during our time here in Merida. 

It was great to reconnect with Renan and to meet Lizmar!

Other posts………..

Visiting My Students in New York

Ivan Was Here

So Proud of Her

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Filed under Mexico, People

Fish For Lunch

“The place doesn’t look like much.”  “A real hole in the wall.” “Plain and friendly.”  “Quick service and great meals.”  “The seafood is delicious and cheap.”

roberto tour guide meridaThat’s what we had read about the Marlin Azul cantina in Merida. After my sister said she and her husband had enjoyed delicious shrimp fajitas there Dave and I decided to try it on our trip into Merida yesterday.  Once we were out of our Uber we got a little direction turned but there are these English-speaking tourist guides hired by the city at many key intersections and this man named Roberto was happy to point us in the right direction. helpful fellow meridaWhen we got a little turned around again direction wise this gentleman kindly stopped and offered to take us to the restaurant.marlin restaurantHe led us right to the Marlin Azul and the outward appearance lived up to the descriptions we had read.waiter marlin restaurantSo did the descriptions of the friendly service. This affable waiter helped Dave pick out the perfect beer to go with our meal.shrimp cervice meridaAnd the food certainly lived up to its hype.  The shrimp fajitas we shared were wonderful.lunch marlin meridaWe were about to set off on an eight kilometer walk around the city to explore some of its art galleries.  Our meal at the Marlin Azul fortified us and got our afternoon off to a perfect start!

Other posts…..

First Supper in Lisbon- My Husband Has Great Instincts

A Gourmet Sail in Costa Rica

Home Grown in Newfoundland

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Filed under Food, Mexico, Restaurants

A Walk To Breakfast in Mexico

los benesWe had passed by a restaurant called Los Benes several times on our Uber rides into Merida.  Someone had recommended it as a good breakfast place, so after a rather dismal breakfast last weekend at the only restaurant in our neighbourhood, we thought we would try Los Benes yesterday.  graffiti mexicoIt was about four kilometers away so we decided to walk. We had driven this route numerous times but you see so many interesting things you never noticed before when you travel by foot, like all the colourful  graffiti painted on the walls along the road.. house walk to breakfast mexicoand homes that are very different from the ones in the rather middle class neighborhood where we are staying or the high-end houses we saw on our bus tour of Merida. garden merida walkMany people were cultivating small garden patches.abandoned carThere was so much garbage along the road, like this abandoned car in the bush dead duckand this dead abandoned duck in a plastic bag.wall mexico walkI marveled at this wall which went on for nearly a kilometer and enclosed someone’s property. wall mexicoHow much work went into constructing it? Look at all those hundreds of tiny stones around each larger one! cantina meridaThere were all these little cantinas selling food along the way.  Some of it looked quite tasty and we almost stopped at one for breakfast rather than going on to Los Benes. 

We were walking along quite a busy highway and our friend Rudy exhibited great patience with what he thinks is my painfully slow walking pace exacerbated by my frequent stops to take photos. 

But our trip was worth it.  Los Benes was a cute clean little place decorated in a colorful chicken theme with friendly waitresses and good food. 

I had a vegetarian Eggs Benedict and Dave ordered pancakes. 

We did take the Uber home with a stop along the way at a mall so I could buy some jigsaw puzzles to work on with my sister while she is here. The power was off in our house when we got home and a neighbor told us it happens regularly and it was anyone’s guess when it would go back on, so we decided to golf nine holes. When we got home from our round the power was miraculously back on!Since we’d had a big brunch we waited till supper to eat next. Dave made chili and I made salad and I think it was almost as good as our brunch at Los Benes.

Other posts……….

Breakfast in Florida

Sunday Mornings At the Olive Mill

A Feast For Breakfast

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