Slideshow shadow

Drones in Guanacaste Costa Rica!

May 26, 2014 in Expat living, Nomadic living by David Meier

Fellow adventure bloggers from MyTanFeet.com have been using a drone to get some incredible aerial photos of some of Costa Rica’s beaches.  Enjoy there most recent work!

 

 

House Sitting in Antigua, Guatemala

March 25, 2014 in Expat living, Nomadic living, Nomadic retiree tips by David Meier

One of the things I like about house sitting is that it can be done in just about any country. I have been a follower of the writings of Billy and Akaisha Kaderli for some time now and they have been pioneers in the concept of retire early and travel the world. They have frequently written about house sitting as a form of seeing and living in communities you may wish to visit. I found this most recent article right on target.

House Sitting in Antigua, Guatemala

by Billy and Akaisha Kaderli

Those of us who live in Antigua know her splendid offerings; Photo opportunities everywhere, Maya culture, great weather, international restaurants, music, amicable residents and natural beauty.

Still, on occasion one might want to go to the beach or back to our home country to visit family and friends. What then, do we do with our home and pets? We could board our home up and place our pet into someone else’s care, but that idea doesn’t hold much appeal.

What to do?

Recently I was speaking with another expat living in Antigua and I mentioned opening her home up to house sitters. She gasped at the audacity of it.

“What!? Let a stranger into my home? How could I ever trust them?”

house_sitting_in_antigua4

Garden area of our housesit

But let me share something with you. My husband, Billy, and I house sat in Antigua and it was a win-win for everyone. The homeowners spent several months in Canada, and we were able to live in the grandeur of this Colonial city.

This is how it works.

There are reputable house sitting organizations offering memberships to sitters and home owners alike. Home owners list their home on the site, naming the benefits offered (large kitchen, Wifi, close to the plaza) and the expectation of care (walking the dog, watering the plants, dealing with the maid). Then they get to choose from hundreds of people who have applied to house sit. These sitters have a repertoire of skills, aptitudes and experience along with letters of reference for their character and for their proven abilities to house sit. Often there is also a police background check.

Maybe you want a non-smoking, professional couple who love dogs to take care of your home and Fifi. You can then sit with a cup of coffee, and write to these sitters who fit this description along with the list of dates for your vacation. House sits can range from long weekends to months at a time.

House sitters who are interested in staying in Antigua will write back to you and the conversation has begun. You might even choose to Skype them to get a better sense of your applicant. You may have started out as strangers, but after a few conversations, you will gain a sense of whether these people will fit your circumstances or not. Since there is a written code of conduct for both sitters and home owners alike, the chances are more than excellent that you will find just the right people to care for your home.

Having house sat for people in various locations throughout Mexico and Central America, we have found that friendships form. Since we have done such a good job of caring for their home and pet, we have been asked to return for another sit time and again. This arrangement is good for both the house sitter and the home owner.

If you are thinking about taking a vacation but are concerned about your home or what to do with your houseplants and pets, you might consider the option of utilizing house sitters. It doesn’t cost anything to browse, and you just might find a villa in Italy or a flat in NYC where you might want to stay yourself!

Why not open your life to the world of house sitting?

Getting a Great House Sit

March 15, 2014 in Nomadic living, Nomadic retiree tips by David Meier

I know it’s been a long while since I’ve written. I mistakenly thought I had nothing of interest to share, but a talk with a good friend convinced me otherwise, thus this post today. I’m hopeful I’ll develop other interesting content in the future. Please forgive the extensive break I’ve taken from writing.

My last posting found me in attendance and completing a Social Media Marketing and Branding retreat with Spanish language lessons in Cancun, Mexico put on Tim Anderson and Cristina Barrios of Marginal Boundaries. Just prior to completing this retreat I was researching my next move after leaving Mexico prior to my visa expiring. I came across an interesting ad on Housecarers.com for a house sit in SE Florida near Vero Beach. This ad interested me because it was longer term (5 months), located near a beach, minimal pet care (one cat), and was within driving distance from my daughter’s home making grand kid visits possible. Typically, a house sitting website allows lookers but to contact potential sit opportunities there is likely a fee involved. Since this particular house sit seemed right for me, I went ahead and paid the annual fee and began to develop an initial contact of the homeowners for the house sit.

As a first step, I had to create an attention getting profile on the website. This is an important step when trying to get a house sitting gig. It’s almost like applying for a job, where you want to put your best foot forward. Some of the elements you may want to profile is any experience in maintaining a home, any special skills that may apply toward home maintenance or pet sitting, any life experiences which may be applicable to house sitting, some key information about yourself that may make the homeowner comfortable with turning over the keys to their home. Of course, you are going to add appropriate references and some homeowners will want a background check which you should be ready to supply. Further, it’s important to be honest and straight forward while profiling positive attributes and experiences. Just don’t over embellish as it will be found out.

Once I was satisfied with a completed profile, it was time to make my initial contact with the homeowners of the house sit I had found near Vero Beach. This initial contact is critical and deserves some thought. I began by reviewing the homeowners ad on housecarers.com. I especially looked for concerns or problems they may seem to have. It is key to address these in your initial contact. In my case, the owners needed a cat looked after and were concerned about leaving the property during hurricane season. In my initial contact, I provided some information about my experiences having cats as pets, with home ownership and maintenance, and surviving a SW Florida hurricane. I also uploaded a photo of myself with a former cat who looked remarkably like the cat they needed sitting. A little luck on my part. But it makes sense to use profile pictures of you with pets from your past or past home sitting experiences to show you can identify with the type of pet they are asking to be taken care of.

After an initial contact, a dialogue began. This is the time to ask important questions such as;

• Has the number of pets changed since your house sit advertisement? Pet ownership tends to expand and contract suddenly. You don’t want any surprises.
• How firm are your leave and return dates? An important question especially if you are paying for and scheduling travel to and from the house sit location.
• Is there a house-sitter agreement involved? Some homeowner’s feel more comfortable having written agreements with their house-sitters.
• Are there expenses I’m expected to pay and how much are they? Not all homeowners expect any payment. Some require payment for utilities for longer term stays.

During the dialogue is the time to develop a relationship to lead to the next step of a personal “meeting”. In my case, it was convenient for me to personally drive to their location after returning to the states to see each other eyeball to eyeball. Many homeowners prefer this, but if you are not able to do this, suggest a technological alternative such as Skype or Google Hangouts meeting. Bottom line is that to avoid nasty surprises ensure you ask lots of questions.

The good news is that this formula seemed to work for me because I was selected for the Vero Beach house sit. I found the owners to be delightful to work with and very accommodating making my stay very comfortable. While there, I had a chance to join a Crossfit gym having never experienced this type of gym. Believe me I got my eyes opened about what fitness is and my own personal fitness. I also had a chance to run in a local 5k event though my time wasn’t anything to brag about. The location of this house sit made for some very enjoyable treks to the local beach, river front, docks, and restaurants.

I can honestly say it was a great experience so when the homeowners invited me back this year for additional house sitting gigs I decided to put some international travel on hold and take them up on their offer. Also, I kind of missed my ol buddy “Spot” who was easy to take care of.

My Ol' Buddy "Spot"

My Ol’ Buddy “Spot”

Once this house sit gig was completed, it presented an opportunity for some additional travel or catching up with family and friends. But my experiences of between house sits will be saved for another post. So until next time. Be Calm – Just Travel!

PS: Listed below are some great resources for house sitting for those interested in adding to your travels.

housecarers.com (The one I used)
trustedhousesitters.com
housesittersamerica.com
mindmyhouse.com

Cancun Dental Experiences

June 12, 2013 in Expat living, Nomadic living, Nomadic retiree tips by David Meier

Like many Americans, I have gone “naked” when it comes to health and dental insurance because of the high costs. This situation has caused me great concern at times, but it has also made me keenly aware of the impact of food and lifestyle choices have upon one’s health. Regardless of how well one takes care of one’s health and body, there are times when the need to use a professional health or dental services provider is a necessary and prudent strategy in order to uncover hidden problems that can cause an impact to your health if left unattended.

I found myself in such a situation with regard to some dental issues while still back in the US. I had lost the major portion of a molar filing and also had a broken molar which I had lived with for some time always telling myself I’ll get them fixed soon. It wasn’t until I noticed some minor pain in one of the molars that I became serious about addressing it. As luck would have it I was able to find a dentist locally where I was living at the time, Palm Coast, that offered an initial examination for new patients for $39.95. I made an appointment. I walked out with an estimate of cost to address just one of the molars plus some much needed cleaning.

dentists, Cancun, expats, travel

With a total cost estimate of just under $4000, I wasn’t too keen to get these problems addressed right away.  I kept searching for a solution that would be less expensive. As time passed and I planned out a dream of going nomadic in my travels I failed to come up with a viable solution stateside.

After arriving in Mexico I began to inquire with other expats about their experiences with local dentists. After several inquiries, I settled on Caribe Dental Spa in Cancun as my choice to start addressing some of the dental issues I had.

dentists, dental, Cancun, Mexico, Yucatan

My first order of business was to get an initial exam and cleaning done. I walked into the office conveniently located in centro Cancun to set up an appointment, but to my surprise the dentist, Dr. Oyuki Alderete, had an opening immediately and was able to start work on cleaning and examining my teeth. Dr. Alderete does speak the necessary English to explain and direct English speaking patients. This was a bit of a relief as I had only recently started Spanish language classes. I did try to use some broken Spanish words when I could. She was very forgiving with my poor Spanish and we were able to communicate clearly as she explained everything she did while performing each procedure.

Following the exam and discussion with Dr. Alderete, it was clear she had come to the same conclusion about my molar treatment back in the states. It was going to require a root canal with a specialist performing the procedure. Further, I would need the broken molar repaired using an inlay along with several small cavities addressed and some resin applied as protection on some areas of my teeth where the enamel was missing. All in all it was going to take several appointments to complete, but of immediate attention was the root canal and crowning of the worst molar.

Of course I was concerned about the costs of all these procedures having such a high estimate from the states. I was pleasantly surprised when Dr. Alderete listed out the costs associated with the most pressing problem and we set an appointment to go forward with the root canal and installing the crown.

Following the appointment, I had time to reflect upon my initial experience using a foreign dentist and came to the following conclusions;

  1. The dentist I selected was very accommodating and explained all procedures before performing them.
  2. Dr. Alderete worked hard to make sure I understood in my own language even though it was a secondary language for her.
  3. The office and equipment were just as modern as any dental office I had been to in the US.
  4. Dr. Alderete was very professional and took care to ensure the procedures performed were without pain.
  5. The costs of dental work in Mexico tend to be a fraction of what the same work would cost in the US.

Below is a listing of all the work that was recently performed and the associated costs.

Date

Services Provided

Actual Cost (MX)

Actual Cost (US)

1 MXN = .08 USD

Estimated Cost (US)

03/08/13

Exam, Teeth cleaning, X-ray, Fluoride treatment

$600.00

$49.65

$200.00

03/13/13

Root canal, temporary crown

$2,500.00

$206.87

$1,066.00

04/01/13

Crown Post installation and prep

$850.00

$70.33

$458.00

04/04/13

Two cavity sites filled with resin

$1,230.00

$101.78

$340.00

04/10/13

Porcelain crown installation

$3,650.00

$302.03

$1,321.00

04/18/13

Two cavity sites filled with resin

$1,230.00

$101.78

$340.00

04/25/13

Partial inlay in molar

$3,500.00

$289.61

$1,250.00

04/25/13

Tooth whitening

$1,750.00

$144.81

$350.00

05/02/13

3- Resin filings at tooth erosion sits

$1,845.00

$152.67

$510.00

05/09/13

3- Resin filings at tooth erosion sits

$1,845.00

$152.67

$510.00

Totals

$19,000.00

$1,572.20

$6,345.00

As you can see the savings is substantial so you can understand why I even had a bit of cosmetic work done.

The total experience was pleasant and professional. I would recommend others to consider using recommended foreign dentists when faced with dental issues.  I believe I effectively saved over 75% as opposed to having the work done in the US.

dentist, dental, Cancun, Mexico, Yucatan

What, if any, have your experiences been with using foreign medical or dental practitioners?  Please feel free to comment.

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!