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Summer Reading for the Nomadic Traveler

May 24, 2013 in Expat living, Nomadic living, Nomadic retiree tips by David Meier

With summer nearing, I thought I’d take an opportunity to recommend some travel reading that you may enjoy. Being a traveler myself you can be assured these titles are offered digitally to lighten your load. Enjoy and select those which may fit your interests.

Marginal Boundaries: Live Like A Local in Cancun, Mexico

Cancun, Mexico, travel, expat

Tim Anderson of Marginal Boundaries breaks down living in Cancun, Mexico for us. This is the very book that convinced me to become a nomad with Cancun as my first stop. Most people think of Cancun as a vacation or spring break location, but Tim points out there is much more to this city than just the “hotel zone”.

With 105 pages of in-depth information that is designed for location independent digital nomads and expats as well as savvy adventurers and pensioners who enjoy getting the most out of their travels and experience life on the ground like the people who live there, the Marginal Boundaries Live Like a Local in Cancun, Mexico guide gives you everything you need to know to explore and live in the city just like the locals do, ranging from:

  • Tips on navigating local immigration policies
  • Detailed breakdown of the various residency visas and how you can apply for them
  • Local accommodations and referrals based on places I’ve lived so you can enjoy prices as low as $250 a month for fully furnished and equipped studio apartments, houses, condos and beyond, places you will never find on the Internet (such as my current two room apartment, which rents for $300 per month as of June, 2012; fully furnished and fully equipped)
  • Local restaurant reviews and recommendations you will never find on Google, including which restaurants have discount days ranging from 30% to 50% off, every week
  • Local market breakdown, plus a detailed overview of discount days so you can get the best prices on groceries (check out my YouTube video on saving $5,000 a year on your grocery bill by shopping like a local)
  • Negotiation tips and practices specific to Cancun, and Mexico as a whole, as well as local discount rates to avoid paying the gringo tax
  • Detailed overview of transportation options in Cancun, and the real prices for buses, taxis and car rentals
  • Local customs and culture advice to avoid making social errors
  • Detailed breakdown of the various plazas throughout Cancun
  • Referrals ranging from local accommodations to local fixers, handymen, immigration specialists and more

His personal connections in the city, ranging from bankers to immigration lawyers to local fixers, shop owners, handymen, restaurant owners, real estate brokers, language teachers, medical tourism experts, school teachers and beyond.  This Cancun guide is current as of December, 2012 with everything you need to know to enjoy your time in the Mexican Caribbean, regardless if you are here for two weeks or six months.

Click here to view more details

How To Live A Life Of Travel

Live-a-Life-of-Travel-Cover-180How To Live A Life Of Travel is the most comprehensive guide I’ve read for people who want to get out the door and travel more.. It is a complete resource with Wandering Earl showing you the way and tackling every problem from multiple angles. Along with Earl’s entertaining personal travel story, by the end you’ll be encouraging your friends to come with you since you’ll be more than convinced a life of travel is possible for anyone.

Click here to view more details

 

 

How To Get A Job On A Cruise Ship

travel, cruise ship, work abroadGet paid to travel around the world by learning how to get a job in the cruise ship industry. That’s exactly what Earl Baron did and he’s been traveling for over 11 years now. This guide is essential to help you crack an industry that’s notoriously difficult to navigate helping you avoid many of the scams out there. This 175-page detailed guide is the best information about working on cruise ships you’ll find anywhere online.

Click here to view more details

 

 

How To Travel For Free (or pretty damn near it!)

travel, free, around the worldShelley Seale and Keith Hajovsky were tired of the conventional wisdom which says that you have to spend a lot of money to travel the world. These two well-traveled vagabonds have managed to do it for decades and in this book they offer travel-cheap insights they have accumulated over many years of gallivanting around the globe.

While there are many travel resources and guidebooks out there that tell you how to travel on the cheap, how to save money, how to get the best airfares. They have read and used many of them, and there are lots of good ones around. “How To Travel For Free (or pretty damn near it!)” is different in that they share their own personal resources and experiences to show ways in which you can travel not just cheaply, but for free – or damn close to it.

If you or someone you know wants to learn how to see and experience the world without the need to have or to spend large amounts of money like so many in the travel industry will have you believe, then buy this book now and start your own personal journey toward your dreams of independent travel freedom!

Click here to view more details

 

Extended World Travel

Extended travel, travel, nomad, expatMaria Berkestam and Magnus Drysen show you how you CAN change your life forever by traveling the world, no matter what your circumstances are. This eBook is dedicated to guide, support and inspire you to follow your dreams.  It is not for finding out about the cheapest airline or the most affordable hotels.  Nor is it about what tourist sites to visit around the world or what currency they use in different countries. After reading this book you’ll have more clarity about things like:

• Why traveling actually is good for you. You’ll see how you too can benefit from taking time off and going out in the world

• How to get the money you’ll need to go traveling the world

• How to find the time that will allow you to take months off from your everyday commitments

• What you can do to make it possible to leave your job and go on the journey of your life instead

• How to handle the school issue so you can take your kids out in the world and let them collect first hand experiences

• How to deal with dream stealers like unsupportive friends, coworkers and family members and instead find the support you need to really be able to go on your dream trip – with a good conscience

• How to handle issues you might have around travel and health, travel and crime, or maybe fear of flying – and learn how you can prepare yourself and feel and be more safe

• What you want to do on your trip, how to let your specific interests and needs allow you to indulge in the things that really make your heart sing

• Means of transport and how to get around on your trip, how to find accommodations and, of course, where you want to go. You’ll be excited when you find your perfect way to create your best trip ever

• How to travel and stay for free. How your personal areas of interests and your own network of friends can make your trip both extra fun and interesting as well as extremely economical

• How to continue to live a freer and more independent life even when you’re back from your trip (if you do choose to come back)

Their own journeys have also brought them in touch with numerous people who have traveled the world for extended periods of time, and quite extensively. What they have learned from them, combined with what they learned for themselves, can create a reality out of your dreams of traveling long term.

Click here for more details.

Note: While these are real recommendations and comments, I must mention I do get a couple of bucks if you decide to buy. But hey look at it this way, you’ll be helping a retiree out who’s on a fixed income!

Nomadic Giveaway!

May 9, 2013 in Expat living, Nomadic living by David Meier

Akumal, beach, travel, expat

Arrgh Mateys,  I’m defendin’ a treasure prize here so you’ll get a chance to win some loot!

As a celebration of the launch of the Nomadic Retiree newsletter, I’m offering a monthly Giveaway prize valued at $500 to new newsletter subscribers. Offering prizes to subscribers is new to me, but if all goes well we will continue to offer prizes on a monthly basis.

How it works?

Sign up for our FREE newsletter and enter the contest by entering your email address in the giveaway popup box on the bottom right side of the page here. Once signed up you are eligible to win a $500 Visa Gift Card.

After you sign up, follow the directions to increase your chances of winning by sharing the contest through various social media outlets.

The winner will be announced between May 31st and June 10th via email.  The winner must respond within 7 days in order to obtain their prize. Upon successful validation and reply the prize will then be delivered.

Any new and existing subscribers also need to stay tuned for next month’s giveaway, where we’ll be giving away another $500 worth of cash and prizes!

I wish everyone good luck on being selected for one of our monthly Giveaways!

Cabin Fever Cure – Riviera Maya Style

February 20, 2013 in Expat living, Nomadic living, Nomadic retiree tips by David Meier

Cabin fever today! After an all day rain yesterday, I’ve got to bust out of this casita and do something! I’ve been wanting to go to Xpu Ha beach for some time, but every time I tried I’d end up at a private, no public allowed resort. That is one thing about the Riviera Maya, it is not readily apparent where the public access points are for the beaches. I only know by virtue of making multiple mistakes of trying to gain access and the last time was given some explicit directions (in English). So I’ll be looking for the sign for “La Playa” (The beach). Once I found it, I noticed that I had to pass through a gate marked private property and I’m thinking here we go again. But this time, no one stopped me and I did notice a sign at the end of the potholed road which said visitors were required to use the restaurant facilities in order to use the amenities. So I guess this is really not public access but more private but tolerate the public as long as they buy something at the restaurant. When I did finally get to the beach side it was spectacular so I did sit down at a table and ordered a beer. No water ; )

beach, nomad, travel Beach, travel, expat, Yucatan

This beach had a lot of activities going on. Wind surfing, Kite board surfing, a boat to take scuba divers out and jet skis besides snorkeling. Stayed with what I know best.

beach, Yucatan, travel, Mexico

It looked like a great snorkeling area so I took a chance and got the mask and fins from the batmobile to give it a try. Turned out that while I didn’t see any sea turtles, I was able to see quite a few fish mostly around the rock formations on the bottom. The snorkeling was good and without a crowd. Only had one other snorkeler in the area. After getting back on the beach, I decided to walk the entire cove just to see what all was there. While there were several resorts on this cove, there were also some abandoned and vacant property. It looked like one new development was starting. Some of the abandoned properties looked like they had been that way for some time, perhaps as a result of their last hurricane. I did find a rather interesting place that looked like someone was trying to turn the place into a piece of art.

beach house, Yucatan, Riviera Maya

Found a sand dog along the way.

sand dog, beach, Yucatan, Riviera Maya

This tree had the most brilliant red leaves on it.

tree, travel, Yucatan, Riviera Maya

End of the cove.

Cove, travel, Yucatan

After walking the cove, I decided to do a little swinging before heading back to the Rancho.

Mexican beach bar, Yucatan, Riviera Maya

Ended the day with a soak in the pool at the Rancho. Felt good to not be confined to the casita because of rain.

Quedarse ileso mi Amigos!

Peacocks and Pigs Oh My!

February 16, 2013 in Expat living, Nomadic living, Nomadic retiree tips by David Meier

What a beginning to the day! I was awakened at 6:30 am by one of the strangest sounds coming just outside the casita. I rushed to get a t-shirt on and sandals to see what was making this honk then call. To my surprise, I had been graced by a visit from a Mexican turkey, I mean a peacock. I had recently seen some of these in St. Augustine at the Fountain of Youth, but they never made any noises I can remember. Anyway I chased that damn thing all over trying to get a decent photo. He just wasn’t having any of it!
peacock, travel, expat, Yucatan
peacock, Yucatan, travel
peacock, travel, Yucatan
I am not able to post the recording sound of this thing doing it’s honk call, but if you send me a request in the comments, I’ll forward it to you so you’ll get the pleasure of hearing this most unusual call.

It finally jumped over the fence and went on it’s way. I now know why people consider these birds a nuisance. They are very loud and the honk then call they make is a distraction. I went inside for a few minutes try to wake up still and I then hear someone play some kind of tune on a car horn. I initially ignored it, then decided I better check it out since I was expecting the propane gas deliver truck that day. I ran out of propane and couldn’t get a delivery until the next day. Needless to say I didn’t have a warm meal for dinner and a cold shower yesterday. Sure enough it was the delivery guys, so I opened the gate and let them in and pointed in the direction of the empty tank. They had it changed out in 5 minutes or less at a cost of $369.36 pesos (about $28.91 US) for a 30 KGS tank. I think the tank was only a quarter full when I arrived. I went into the casita and checked to see if the stove was working and it was. Then I remembered that the pilot needed to be re-lite on the hot water tank. Now luck! I tried everything and could not get it to light. To top it off, the property manager can’t be contacted until Monday. More cold showers!

Today’s weather was only in the 70′s with wind gust of 20 to 30 mph. No rain just windy. Made doing anything outside difficult so I elected to stay inside most of the day reading, writing, and a little siesta thrown in for good measure.

A couple of things that I would never see in the states that I’ve seen here in Mexico are; a garbage truck running down the road in the dark at 65 MPH with two guys sitting on top hanging on for dear life I would expect. The truck cab must have been full of passengers, I guess. Then, a semi (tractor/trailer) towing a tractor behind the trailer with a tire and web rope used as a hitch. He was doing 50 MPH. Thought it was ingenious but I had visions of it cutting loose and going all over the road. Needless to say, I passed him quickly and got down the road a ways.

Yesterday, I had lunch in Tulum at what seem very authentic Mexican restaurant. I ordered a plate of tacos, which I might add, I have yet to have bad taco meal here. They are excellent and they make them with just about anything (pork, ham, beef, chicken). Haven’t found goat meat yet though.

On the way back from Tulum, I stopped in Akumal to pick up my weekly laundry. As I passed the lavanderia, I stopped to check what time they opened up again on their overhead sign. Three women were also standing there gazing at the sign, I think trying to read the Spanish. Anyway, they were unaware I had come up behind them at that time. Just as I arrive I heard what seemed to be a familiar sound and one of the women exclaims “Rita, you pig!” as she turned around and saw me standing there. I wasn’t sure what to do at that point, so I just grinned and moved quickly down the sidewalk. Rita probably had been enjoying too many bean tacos?

Luego mi Amigos!

Lazy Daze and Nomadic Challenges

February 13, 2013 in Expat living, Nomadic living, Nomadic retiree tips by David Meier

Been off the radar a little bit, but not to worry. I’ve kept busy by doing some reading, studying, snorkeling, cooling off in a cenote, and lounging poolside. Oh, and throw in a couple of siestas too.

Nothing earth shattering to report. The weather has been fantastic. An occasional brief shower occurs, but I’ve been lucky not to get caught out in them. I have notice a slight uptick in high temperatures during the day. We’ve seen highs at 86 and 87 degrees. Still comfortable, but I run around in a bathing suit most days. One day I saw the temperature rise to 86 in the morning, then the sea breezes cooled it back to 84 in the afternoon. Nights are generally upper 60′s low 70′s. I haven’t had the windows shut except once during a storm since I’ve been here.

Just got done with lunch. Cold cut sandwich. Mexico has great delis and bakeries. I noticed that the deli personnel take the time to individually separate the cheese slices using a large sheet of plastic and folding it over and over so the slices don’t stick together. Very nice touch but labor intensive.

As a result of my exterminator activities, spraying the casita with Home Defense, I have woken up to find several expired critters. Mostly spiders and centipedes, but one chameleon did get into it too. Now the lizards are different story. I have been finding these white tips droppings under the thatched roof area of the casita. At first I thought it was cockroaches, but after some internet research, I’ve learned that the culprit are the lizards living in the thatch roof. Apparently, lizards have one hole to release bodily waste from, thus the two color droppings. The other thing I learned from Tim, my retreat leader, is that the clucking sounds I frequently hear are from them. Tim did a great job of demonstrating what they sound like so I could immediately tell he knew what I was talking about. The only redeeming value of these critters are that they eat insects like mosquitoes. Speaking of mosquitoes, they seem to be small down here, making them difficult to spot. I just hate it when I turn out the light at bedtime only to hear that distinctive buzz going past your ear. I’ve turn the light back on several times trying to locate them, but never being able to find the little bastards. So I go to sleep knowing I’ll likely wake up with a new itchy bite.

A little excitement at the ol Rancho this afternoon! Went to do dishes and no water pressure at all. It is well fed and I didn’t know what to think. I immediately went out to check on any shutoff valves being mispositioned, but that wasn’t plausible since I and the pool guy were the only ones here today. I walked by the cistern tank and could hear it filling, then walked by the well pump and it was running full bore. Next I went out to the pool and saw it was about to overfill. For the life of me I couldn’t find the fill shutoff valve, so I rushed over to the property manager’s place to let him know of the situation. It’s always tentative going over there because he’s got two big Dobermans that immediately start barking and approaching. So far, they’ve only barked at me and not snarled. He did say I should probably wait outside the gate for someone to come because they’ve bitten before. Anyway he sent the pool guy back over and all he did was turn off the fill valve and open the backwash to drain down the pool. Everything is back to normal. Pool guy probably got his ass chewed out.

Nobody has eaten that damn rooster yet. 5:30 am this morning before the break of light.

Adios

Quick nomadic visit to Cozumel

February 8, 2013 in Expat living, Nomadic living, Nomadic retiree tips by David Meier

Going to Cozumel today! First though I need to make a bank stop and TelCel stop at Centro Maya in Playa del Carmen. Thought I’d get a jump on getting more internet gigabytes while I’m up that way. I also had purchased a nifty attachment for the Nexus 7 tablet that I have. It is a short power connection cable to a USB port, so I can plug in the USB modem I have from TelCel to it, but I don’t know if it will work so I thought I’d bring it all along to the friendly, hopefully english speaking TelCel customer service rep.

It seems I got to the mall a little early, things don’t open up until 10 am. So a little McDonald’s free wifi time was in order while waiting. The bank was open before 10 am. It was the shortest line I’ve seen at the ATM since I’ve been using it. Thank goodness the ATM’s are generally subtitled in english!

Well, I found out even though I had placed money into my TelCel account I can’t purchase another 3 gigabytes until I use up the 1 gigabyte I have remaining. The customer service rep. tried to explain how to add the addition gigabytes once the ones I have run out, but in his broken english I’m not sure if I got it.  As to the Nexus 7 tablet being able to use the USB modem stick, he explained that the tablet doesn’t recognize it as a modem but as a drive and can’t be used. I’m still not sure of that answer and will investigate further once I get to Cancun.

It was a little warm today and I was feeling the heat by the time I parked several blocks away from the feri (Mexican spelling) docking site to get to Cancun. Purchased a ticket for $310 pesos (about $24 US) and waited for a 1 pm boarding in the large open air palapa. The sea breeze felt pretty good as well as the taste of the bottle of water I purchased from a small shop next to the palapa. I noticed a bar with a pirate theme at one end of the palapa serving beer and tequila. Didn’t think I needed any of that prior to a boat ride. While waiting I took a couple of photos of the Playa del Carmen beach.

Playa del Carmen beach, travel, nomadic

Playa del Carmen beach arch, travel, nomad

Anyway 10 minutes later, the Mexico III waterjet feri arrives and begins the disembarking process. We all line up and as soon as the other passengers were off we boarded. Wow, they had the A/C cranked on the boat. Cooled me right off. For some reason the sun felt a little more intense today. It’s OK in the shade but the sun heats you up quickly. Anyway the seats were similar to those on an airplane without the armrests and were very comfortable. Most everyone was rushing to the back of the boat to the outside deck. I stayed inside where it was cool. After we shoved off they started the video monitors with the safety instructions followed by advertising of different places to go on Cozumel island. This also included Beyonce’ Super Bowl performance, which I watched since I missed it due to the bar dancing Mexican woman during half time. Anyway not one of my favorite artist, but passed the 30 minute transit time. When we disembarked at Cozumel we were accosted by several tour operators wanting business. I did notice a pair of Norwegian Cruise line ships in the port.

cruise ships, travel, Cozumel

My plan was to stroll around the town on foot until it was time to go back at 4 pm. Because carnival had started the town was in the process of setting up food and drink dispensing tents everywhere. Looked like they were expecting some partiers! As I strolled around I noticed a central park area that was especially manicured.

Cozumel, travel, parks, nomadic Cozumel, travel, central park

I was also accosted by the various street vendors and shop owners asking what I was looking for. Quite honestly I didn’t know how to let them down easy and tell them nothing. While I’m sure there are some great buys to be had on just about anything. I can’t fit a single thing in the overstuffed luggage I have. Thus, no buying of stuff! But it was nice to do some window shopping. One thing I was looking for was a drugstore to find something to stifle the itch I have on the back of my left hand. Seems I got into something that’s caused contact dermatitis on a couple of my fingers. I’m not a stranger to this condition having gotten into poison ivy on more than one occasion in the past. The itching drives you mad! I did end up finding a farmacia and the recommended a crème that appears to contain some hydro-cortisone. Hoping it helps. People kind of looked at me funny when I opened the package on the street and started rubbing some on my hand as soon as I left the farmacia. I walked for several blocks and noticed that many of the shops and vendors are similar to those in Playa del Carmen. I’m thinking the proper way to visit Cozumel is to plan for a minimum of a three day visit to enjoy some of the other amenities it offers. An afternoon visit will just get you to a very limited view of the island. I’ll have to keep this island on my list of places to visit again.

After roaming the streets I decided to take a break before re-boarding the feri. I saw a little corner bar called “The Thirsty Cougar” offering free wifi and saw some other patrons using laptops and handhelds, so I decided to give them a try with a “Sol” cerveza order. When I ask for the password to the wifi connection, it was “IWANT1BEER”. Ironic, because as soon as I tried to connect, their service failed and never did come back. Needless to say, I only drank one beer.

Hopped on the boat for the ride back which was much more rough and a few people got up because I think they were getting sea sick. I didn’t feel too bad, but had to endure Beyonce’s performance again. Still not a fan, but I could see the young folks mouthing the words to her songs. Guess I’m losing touch with the pop artists.

As I got off the boat and entered the courtyard to the street to get to the batmobile, I came upon this guy sitting on top of a 50 ft. pole playing a flute of some sort while 4 other guys were hanging upside down by some rope and twirling around the pole. Absolutely crazy, but I guess it is a traditional ceremony here in Mexico. You couldn’t pay me enough to do that. Looked worse than bungee jumping.  I did a little research online and discovered I witnessed some Voladores performing for the public.  According to legend, this ritual was performed as a petition to the rain gods in a time of drought. The old men of the village chose five young men to carry out the ceremony. Afterward the rains returned bringing life back to the earth.  Must have worked they are still doing it!  Pretty amazing to see though.

Voladores, travel, nomadic

All in all, I think Cozumel has a lot to offer, but you have to take the time to enjoy her amenities by staying for some duration. I’d like to go back when I can stay longer.

Hasta luego!

Snorkeling the Riviera Maya

February 4, 2013 in Expat living, Nomadic living, Nomadic retiree tips by David Meier

Hey, I’ll bet you’re wondering what happened to my blogging? Early in my blogging I said I may not blog everyday. I wasn’t kidding! Anyway these last few days have been rather uneventful around the rancho. Today, however was snorkeling day!  First up was Cenote Azul. This was a nice natural setting with both deep and shallow waters. The short trail leading to it had some scenic clear pools on each side of the path. It’s amazing how clear the water was, so much so that I could readily photograph the fish from above the water. This cenote seemed to be a favorite with the locals. Except for me, a Swedish family (guessing), and some European women the rest were Spanish decent. I could tell the women were from Europe because they had their tops off.  Anyway it was pretty good snorkeling, saw a lot of fish that looked similar to those I remember from an aquarium  I had when I was a kid.

 

 

 

 

Holy Catfish!

One thing about cenotes is that you’ve got to be careful and kind of steady on your feet getting in and out. The rocks can be slippery at times with algae and moss. I haven’t seen anyone fall yet but I would not surprised it has happened before.  Those rocks were pretty jagged too.  A lot of people use those rubber water shoes, but I think they would slip on mossy rocks too.  I just barefooted it.  I felt a little more secure.

Before I left the cenote, this guy came out and bid me farewell.

My next stop was Yal Ku. It’s located on the north end of Akumal along the beach. It’s a bay lagoon that is supposedly a good spot to snorkel. This was definitely a different snorkeling experience than the cenote. I used fins this time because of the larger area to cover, also the water clarity was much less than the cenote. I swam quite a distance to a far side beach, but didn’t uncover any fish.  I thought by going near this far side beach where I spotted a pelican I might see fish.  Once I was in shallow water of the beach, I finally noticed some schools of fish that the pelican was eying.  Every so often he’d take flight only to circle back to cannonball into that school.  He didn’t seem to be having success while I was there so I swam toward the other side of the lagoon where it appeared a number of other snorkelers may be viewing some fish.  When I got there I did notice the water clarity to improve and you could see a number of fish along the bottom around rocks. The salt water fish are certain more colorful to see, but I guess I was disappointed in the number to see that particular day.  I must have gotten spoiled by my first snorkeling experience at Akumal Beach.  I think I’ll be going back there soon.

 

Any way, all in all, it was a great snorkel day!

Adios

Local Half time Entertainment during the Superbowl

February 3, 2013 in Expat living, Nomadic living, Nomadic retiree tips by David Meier

Not much going on this weekend so I decided to help out the owners by spiffing up the ol Rancho a bit. I noticed the gardener they hired just swept out the garage and raked up some leaves from the stone walking paths. I could see a lot more was needed in the landscaping area, so I spent the weekend trimming, pruning, raking, and cleaning of the outside areas. I also found some Home Defense bug spray in the garage which I used liberally in and around the casita where I’m staying. I think the owners probably don’t realize how abandoned the place looks to prospective buyers. So hopefully, I changed that over the weekend. There is more to do but spending just this weekend on these activities should make a better impression for the next showing.

I noticed involving water is that I have developed two new daily habits;

  1. Making ice. Miss the ice makers I’ve had in the US.  Anyway, with just two trays I’ve got to do this daily to keep up with my ice consumption.
  2. Grabbing a cup of drinking water before going into the bathroom to get cleaned up for the day.  I first use it to rinse after brushing and then as rinse water for cleaning my hard contact lenses.

How about that Superbowl game! I went into town to watch it at my favorite hang out, Turtle Bay Cafe.  No big screen TV’s but two 36 inch one side by side. Most of the attendees were for San Francisco. A couple of Mexican girls were playing cheerleaders very loudly I might add. The owner who is American was continually asking one of them to quiet down. I don’t believe they were there for the game but to drink and go crazy. At half time, one of them gets up on the bar and does some dancing and strutting.

Pretty funny. Any way as the game went on they seemed to quiet down, too drunk to cheer any more. Anyway, great game even with the 35 minute power outage delay.

Orderly Mexican Line Standing

February 1, 2013 in Expat living, Nomadic living, Nomadic retiree tips by David Meier

Bit of a busy day today. Went into Playa del Carmen to get more gigabytes of internet access. They have got to think that I’m some sort of crazy gringo showing up every two weeks to get more bandwidth. But alas, where I’m located I have no other option. The other kicker is that since I don’t know Spanish, I can’t go online to purchase these gigabytes myself and I have to ask them to do it for me at this main office. They have been very accommodating and helpful thus far, but it’s always a hassle standing in line then hoping the customer service rep half way understands what you want. So one of the important Spanish phrases I’ve learned is “Solo hablo ingles.” (I speak only English.) Once I say that, they always get a look of consternation and I’ll bet their thinking, Oh boy another stupid gringo again! But they always try and understand and be helpful and I’m grateful for that as it is what’s getting me by so far.

Now getting these gigabytes is no easy process. They only dole out a maximum of 3 gigabytes at a time and the longest I can go on that amount is about two weeks if I’m frugal. (I’m not very good at being frugal with internet access, I hope to tell you.) Any way the first step is to place enough money into your account to cover the internet package purchase. You do this by standing in line in front of a glass security counter waiting for an open cashier. Once you’ve paid your $400 pesos, you then go and stand in line for an open customer service rep. There are at least 18 windows kind of like a bank and it doesn’t look like the reps are paid on the number of customers they help so many time it seems like they are just sitting there with no one being helped. You have to wait for them to wave you over to their window after standing in line. That’s where most of my troubles begin. How to make them understand what I’m needing. I use a lot of animations and hold up the USB stick to help. So far so good, I’m able to get what I wanted.

I didn’t come to realize this process until this visit, however did suspect it. I thought I would just have to pay the cashier and the account would be updated. Not so! I just paid the cashier on this visit then went to the mall McDonald’s to use their free wifi, but also checked to see if I could use the USB stick to get internet access. Good thing I did because no access was afforded. If I hadn’t checked I might well have driven back to the ol Rancho and been pretty pissed off I didn’t when I tried to get online again. Also stood in line at the “fast food” McDonald’s.

Anyway back to the TelCel customer service reps to stand in line to get me set up.

Afterwords, I stopped at a farmacia in the mall to try and get some Benedryl and some hard contact lense solution. No luck at the small one in the mall or in the Soriana grocery store. Decided to try the WalMart in town where I was heading next to get some groceries. Unfortunately, the farmacia attendant didn’t speak english at WalMart, but was able to point to some lense solution. I tried the best I could to discern what I needed. I recognized the brand, Bausch & Lomb, but trying to tell whether it was for gas permeable lenses from the Spanish wording was tricky. I bought one larger bottle that I hoped was cleaner and a smaller bottle I hoped with wetting solution. Later at home on closer examination the smaller bottle was for soft contact lense wearers. The large one was a cleaner, disinfecting and soaking solution all in one. So I got one out of two right and will wait til I get to Cancun to look for the wetting solution when I may be able to get more help. It always takes some time to do the shopping because you’ve got to evaluate everything you’re buying to determine if in fact it is what you want. I’ve already made the mistake of eating button mushrooms for dinner thinking it was a can of garbanzo beans. Finally, finished up and stood in line to get checked out.

On the way home I decided to get some gasolina at the gasolinera and also to check out the farmacia in Puerto Adventuras to see if they had Benedryl. It’s nice to have full service at the gasolinera, but I noticed they don’t do windows or check the oil. I think they leave that to the guy that roams the grocery store parking lot selling his services, changing out wipers, washing windows and headlights, etc. I’m pretty sure he is also responsible for return the shopping carts to the store after the customers use them. He probably does it gratis for the right to sell his services to the shoppers. The farmacia at this small mall in Puerto Adventuras did have an English speaking attendant. He was able to get me some gel tabs of the generic version of Benedryl. So I’m good to go.

After dropping off the groceries at the Rancho, I went into Akumal to have dinner and pick up the laundry I dropped off the day before. All day has been overcast and it wasn’t too busy in town. Had a beer at the Akumal Club on the beach and took a few pictures. The last one bothers me a little bit when you see cats around the beach. Not sure if they are leaving surprises in the sand.

beach cat, nomadic, nomad

Akumal Bay Sunset, Riviera Maya, Nomad, Nomadic

Ate at an authentic Mexican luncheria right across from the laundry and was famished so ordered some grilled beef tacos and what I thought was a side order of quesadillas  Turns out, they were both meals, I walked out of there stuffed. I appreciated they had the menu in both Spanish and English. It was so good I’ll likely go back. While dining, I had two feline visitors looking hungry so they helped me eat that last taco. Once again the lavanderia did a great job on my clothes for only $60 pesos ($4.70 US).

Back at the Rancho, after a day of standing in line and running around to three different towns, I slept well that night.

Risky connections, wet money, and crying women!

January 31, 2013 in Expat living, Nomadic living, Nomadic retiree tips by David Meier

Warm day today early, 84 degrees at 9:30 am but the breezes have started up pretty strong so time to get the bed sheets out on the clothesline this morning. The rest of the day was pretty non-eventful. Just as well after that stressful day, yesterday at the topless beach. I did spend some time actually looking around this place and realized Mexico doesn’t have any electrical code enforcement as evidenced by the following examples;

The main tie in to the meter box.
Electrical connection
Tie in to feed the A/C unit in casita.
A/C Tie in
Conduit to the garage lighting.
Conduit broken

Later that day, while soaking in the pool, it finally occurred to me why the pool bottom has such an irregular bottom. It was built to be similar to a cenote! I was only able to deduce this after having visited a cenote personally. So it’s a private man made cenote without the fish, algae, and mossy stone.

After getting out of the pool I realized I still had my money clip in my swim trunks. Wet money. So while laying the various notes out to dry, I discovered one note was impervious to water.

Wet dinero, plastic money

Turns out that the $20 and $50 pesos bills are made of mylar plastic. Plastic money? Guess it goes along with plastic credit and debit cards. Plus you can get it wet and dry it off very easily. I would guess it’s much cleaner without dirt and drugs caught in the paper fibers. I think the US ought to try plastic money or maybe just eliminate physical bills and coins and go straight to digital. Just a thought!

The next day I ran into town (Akumal) for some breakfast and to drop off laundry, but ran into Russ the Realtor, the one who has the listing for Rancho Amor, where I am staying. We had a lengthy conversation about possible reasons why the place wasn’t selling and other things about Mexico. Turns out he’s been living down here for 10 years and said he’s not learned the language either. He’s got an ocean view house and his office is right on the beach between two popular restaurants. He said most people buy in this area for the beaches and are not particularly interested in jungle living, but he qualified that there are some who enjoy the privacy. We both agreed the place needs some general upkeep, since it’s obvious that it’s been unoccupied for some time. I told him I may suggest some things to the owner to help out with appearances in order to get a sale.

During breakfast (breakfast burrito w/fresh squeezed carrot juice), I naturally took advantage of the free wifi. Looks like I’ll be going to Playa del Carmen tomorrow to get more Gigabits of bandwidth, just about out. It seems I use about 3 gigabits every two weeks costing $400 pesos (about $31 US). I’ve been constraining my use by reading email off line and not doing as much video stuff.

While finishing my meal I noticed a woman at the table next to me using her phone doing texting rather furiously. A few minutes later, she bursts out crying! This went on for a while in between some more texting. I thought about approaching her to see if she needed help, but it was obvious she was more of the Spanish persuasion and likely didn’t speak English. I figured it was all she needed was for some stupid gringo butting in during her despair. She eventually got control of herself and left. Right after that it started to pour rain and I was stuck in the cafe for a little while longer. The rain did bring some cooler breezes. When I got back at the Rancho it was only 76 degrees. Very comfortable, looks like we’re going to be overcast for the day so I spent most of the day reading. Nothing too exciting.

Adios