Thursday, February 27, 2014
The days remaining here are few. Soon, the summer-like weather will be replaced by the biting cold of the last month of the New England winter. I am already missing this place - the last trip to the market, the last lunch, the last swim, the last breakfast outside on the patio wearing almost nothing in the pre-dawn warmth - okay, sorry, too much information..........The image above is one of my favorite spots on the property. It's on the edge of the grass in the shade of a tall coconut palm tree. I'd rather relax here than on the sand because the different chaise lounges for the pool and grass areas are more comfortable for me than the hard white plastic chaise lounges designated for use on the sand. Amy, on the other hand, prefers being on the sand - in sickness and health, till death, or beach chairs, do us part.....
It isn't often but, sometimes they turn on the sprinklers to keep the green grass green. Usually, it rains often enough to not need artificial watering. I am told by locals that in July and August it rains A LOT and the mosquitoes are happy - the tourists, not so much.
One of the tourist charter catamarans heads back toward the harbor entrance after an afternoon sail. There are perhaps a half dozen large catamaran-type commercial sail boats that seem to have a steady stream of business. I see them going in and out the channel every day.
Two friends hanging out at the pool enjoying the warmth of weather and friendship. Soon they both head back to New England - one to Maine, the other to Massachusetts. I think they'll have to pack away those hats for a while when they get home.
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
This image was made shortly after moonrise at Villas del Mar. The camera was hand-held but braced against a balcony railing. I am often impressed by the images that a point-and-shoot (P&S) can produce. Here is an example of a situation that normally a P&S would not capture very well. Granted, my P&S is a bit more sophisticated than a Kodak Instamatic from 1970 but, it is still basically a P&S camera.
This one is also hand-held, but I rotated the camera on its axis as I pressed the shutter. Looks like it was taken through the bottom of a glass or from beneath the surface of the water.
Monday, February 24, 2014
A mile or so inland from the beachfront tourist accommodations at Puerto Aventuras (PA) lies the village where the local folks live. It is called the poblado, which is Spanish for village. Many of it's residents work in the tourist part of PA and many more work in support services/industries for the tourists. The image above is a fresh fruit and juice stand beside the road as you enter the poblado.
Just down the street from the fruit stand is this open air tortilla factory where we buy our fresh made tortillas. A paper-wrapped packet sold by half kilo weight is 7.50 pesos (about 55 cents US) and contains a dozen or so fresh corn tortillas.
A little farther into the poblado, this fresh produce market is where the locals come to shop although there were a few adventurous gringos like us there also. No English is routinely spoken here although, I did meet a man working there who had lived in San Francisco for a while and spoke some.
The dirt courtyard of the mall is surrounded on three sides by corrugated tin roofed stalls selling all sorts of things that people need - food, clothing, miscellaneous household goods.
No fancy cash registers - a calculator and a metal cash box is all this shop keeper needs.
This fresh produce market is open every day as distinguished from the two-day-a-week produce market that comes to the tourist side of town.
A typical street scene in the village.
It seems few Mexican villages are complete without random dogs sleeping in the hot sun on the sidewalk. Dogs roam at random but most are timid and do not approach - and they almost never bark either - seems that only the chained and/or penned dogs bark a lot. Why bark and act aggressive when you can take a nice warm nap?
In a local Super Willy's (a small supermarket chain), dried beans are always a popular and well-stocked item. Shown here, a bag of black beans for 9.84 pesos - approximately 73 cents US.
Bicycles are the most common form of transport (or walking) for most locals. And no, I didn't try the bar pictured in the background, although I have no doubt I would be welcomed warmly by the friendly Mexican people. On the other hand, a bar with no windows is generally not for the faint of heart - nor for someone unwilling to knock back a few shots of tequila. ¡Salud!
Saturday, February 22, 2014
I especially enjoy the crisp late afternoon light here on the Riviera Maya. A steady light breeze blows off the water, the whitecaps are gone, the temperature eases to about 78 degrees F, the kids leave the pool at Villas del Mar, exhausted and ready for whining, dinner, and bed. The grackles begin their raucous gatherings in their nearby roost. All is right with this universe.
This is one of those images that was much better in real life. Even using the HDR feature (high-dynamic range) which comes built in to my camera, the contrast between the too bright beach and the full shadow dark hibiscus bush made this image almost unusable.
Much like this woman demonstrates, I too, have mastered the art of simply sitting at the beach - no book, no music, no conversation, no napping, no walking - just being - it is very relaxing although I prefer a chair rather than sitting on the sand - this "just being" thing is a slowly acquired skill for me as a retiree - in fact, it's still a work in progress.
A pair of pelicans soar by as afternoon showers build to the north.
Always wear a red shirt, hat, or carry a red umbrella if you want to be photographed by strangers.
This rope separates the private beach of Villas del Mar (VDM) from the public beach portion. VDM has an attendant to set out plastic chairs or chaise loungers if you desire. They also have a security guard to ensure that only residents of VDM use the private portion. Federally, in Mexico, all beaches are public - but sometimes unavailability of access makes it impossible for many in areas where private property is contiguous for long distances.
Everyone has gone inside leaving the pool quiet. Time for drinks, snacks, dinner, karaoke, music, sleep, jacuzzi, whatever.
Me? it's time for guacamole. I can tell because it is "guac-o'clock." It is always "guac o'clock" here in Mexico.
Thursday, February 20, 2014
The above represents the fixings for three large batches of guacamole: 27 avocados, 6 jalapeños, 6 small tomatoes, 2 red onions, 3 limes, 1 bunch of cilantro, and salt. The purchase price was 275 pesos or approximately $21 USD. When I return home I intend to price out the same quantity and quality and see what it costs in Massachusetts. It will be a lot more than $21 USD.
The end result sure is tasty though. Cumulatively, the count now stands at 331 avos between 1/1/14 and 2/19/14, usually the cost was in the 30-50 cents each range.
I am going to miss all this fresh produce when I return home to winter in the cold Northeast United States. Of course, we do have modern supermarkets with fresh food delivered all the time but, it's just not the same.
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
"Sailing, sailing, over the bounding main........." This is sailing in the waters of Fatima Bay off the coast of Puerto Aventuras this week. (Special effect by Photoshop Elements software).
This is sailing off the coast of Plymouth, Massachusetts this week. Yeah, I know, just kidding, I don't see any sailboats either. Nice snow coverage, though. (iPhone photo compliments of Buddy Mac in a Cessna 182 at 3000 feet).
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
It's not perfect here on the Riviera Maya everyday - but it's pretty close!
I don't usually depict fishing or any other activity harmful to animals but, this image of a fisherman casting in the rising golden sun is mighty pretty.
The only thing missing is a floppy fisherman's hat.......
Monday, February 17, 2014
We are back at Villas del Mar (VDM) after being at other accommodations for the past 15 days. While the other places were nice, I must say that VDM is clearly my favorite. It is beautiful, spacious, mostly quiet, and on the beach.......
......and they make cool sculptures with the towels when you arrive!
Palm frond and blue sky.
Long shadows in the late afternoon sunlight.
Watching the sunset.
The last few swimmers of the day are still in the pool. The Riviera Maya and the entire Yucatan peninsula area is characterized by flat terrain covered in dense tropical jungle. The ocean water temp ranges from about 79 degrees F in winter to about 84 degrees F in late summer. Water temp in the cenotes (freshwater sinkholes for swimming) remains about 77 degrees year-around. Mean annual air temp is 75-77 degrees F - avocados, papayas, and mangos are plentiful - my kind of place.
Sunday, February 16, 2014
Being on a chaise allows the elbows to be supported and the book level with the eyes. That position also allows you to glance around discreetly when something (or more likely someone) catches your eye walking by.
All that being said, maybe it's best to just say the heck with a chaise lounge and lie down on the sand in the slanting rays of a late afternoon sun with the sound of the waves lapping the shore.
Saturday, February 15, 2014
Wandering around the Centro section of the village I came upon this magical red stairway where everything else around it was black and white - at least that's how I envisioned it.
Friday, February 14, 2014
Bougainvillea frames this pool view at Porto Bello Marina and Villas. It has been in the low-80 degrees F everyday for a few weeks so pool time is essential.
Tile work at an outdoor shower.
Another "artsy" experiment with the underwater camera. Foreground, mid-distance, far-distance, under-water, and above-water, all in one image. Under-water ballet compliments of Amy - big toe? Mine.
Almost sunset, a rare moment when both the wind and the surface of the pool are calm.
Thursday, February 13, 2014
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Ever have one of those days when neither a chip nor a spoon is fast enough to get the hot sauce into your face? Me neither but, some people really like salsa.