Día de Muertos…

The Day of the Dead festival is traditionally a time when Mexicans gather together to remember family members who have died. The belief is that at midnight on October 31st, the gates of heaven open, and the spirits of the deceased return to earth to visit their loved ones. The first day of November, is known as Dia de los Angelitos, when the spirits of dead infants and children are honored, while November 2nd, Dia de los Muertos, is when adult spirits are remembered.

If you’ve not caught the hint…there’s a costume sitting in my den awaiting its trip to somewhere soon to sport it…

Stay tuned…

To stay or to STAY…that is the question….

GREAT question.

What I mean is, as an American, sometimes, because we have so many choices of places to stay on vacation, we forget why we’re GOING on vacation. True, for some of us it’s to stay in the most opulent accommodations we can possibly find. Because either we’re truly spoiled and feel we deserve it and want the bragging rights that go with it or, because its’ the type of accommodation we like.

I can go either way.

However, what I DO prefer is the simple accommodation which allows me to spend more of my vacation funds for all the other stuff. The stuff that, to me, make the vacation the experience I want.

I want to immerse myself in the culture of the location. To do that, you cannot stay in the five star resorts. Locals work in them, they don’t live in them. I know I’ll be noticed as a foreigner, but I’d like not to be put at “arm’s length” because of it. Spending money in the community with a smile on my face puts locals at ease.

Returning when goods and services are worthy and spending more money and actually engaging in a conversation about themselves, their lives, their work, etc., builds friendships. And for me, that is what the experience is all about.

Which brings me full circle back to Isla…Why?

With the entire world out there waiting to be experienced, why do SO MANY return to Isla? I’ve heard, “She’s magic.” ~ “She has healing powers on a supernatural level.”

I like to think part of the reason so many return is kind of like finding the “perfect for me” mate. Once you do, you can relax and feel safe and secure knowing you can stop searching. For you have found what makes you happy. And isn’t that what life is all about?

I’m planning my next excursion to Isla on…

Knowledge can be very entertaining…

I’ve been conducting some interaction with the Cancun Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and discovered some great information regarding Cancun. My desire would be to inform travelers and readers of the fun available in Cancun, then tease them enough to take the trip to Isla…the rest, she will do all by herself.

I have a GREAT suggestion…

Whenever you immerse yourself in a community, whether it be my hometown of Orange County, or where I’ve called “home” for 18 years, Las Vegas or any beautiful place you get to vacation to, you will find the more you put IN to the community WITHOUT expecting anything, the more you will receive. It’s the universal law of nature.

Having said that, when I vacation on Isla, I sometimes pay too much for accommodations. It’s because I used to visit like a tourista.

When natives get to know you, they will turn you on to great opportunities and treat you as if you were their long-time friend and neighbor. And let me tell you something you probably already know; THAT ROX!

Ok…at least on Isla, I’ve become at least someone known for not being an idiot, and who does what he can for the island, and been turned on to a number of really awesome FB groups. These groups are how I now will probably never pay like a tourist for accommodations again. Now, I could still pay a lot and stay on an oceanfront property, but, since it’s already so close and I really like being in tight with the islanders, (see what they do, eat where they eat, help them if I can, and enjoy them marvel at my slaughter of their language), there are so many places that are cool and reasonable, it makes no sense any longer to over pay.

So, if you’d like access to these groups, just hit me up and ask.

Adios!

Our job, as trustees of this planet, are to do whatever it takes to preserve it…

If you agree, then you should take the time to learn about another small, environmentally protected island which is nothing more than a “virgin” to the gigantic political “Richards” of the world…sign this petition and be counted.

Quoted from a site supporter…

“Ok you gang of warriors. Here is a petition to help the people of Isla Holbox who (allegedly) got snookered by the band of thieves led by a Coca Cola bottling company executive who wants to basically steal and destroy the environmentally sensitive land of this pristine island and build hundreds of condos and hotel rooms. This petition already has like 23,400 signatures and it only takes a minute to sign it. We can help. Share with your friends and ask them to share with theirs.

For those who know nothing about Isla Holbox, it is a an island off the Gulf of Mexico coast on the north side of the Yucatan Peninsula. They have some tourism but it is mostly occupied by fishermen and farmers.  It is Ejido land for the most part.  I have been there many times and it is obviously environmentally sensitive land. This is a real dirty tricks campaign to take away the rights of the Ejido so that they can develop Isla Holbox into condos, hotels and retail space.  It is just plain not right what these people are doing.”

 

https://secure.avaaz.org/es/petition/A_TODA_LA_COMUNIDAD_SALVEMOS_ISLA_HOLBOX/?fbss

 

Wahaaaaaaaaaa…..

That’s me…whining.

It’s a bittersweet whine though…not like Miss Penny’s favorite “Apothic Red”.

See, my baby graduates high school this June. After 14 years of soccer and 17 years of school (she began preschool at age 1), she has selected her college of choice to continue both.

She begins in the Fall.

 

She asked if I would consider passing on my lengthy annual vacation and spend as much of her last months as a “live at home” student, with her.

No. Brainer.

Isla and all places I visit will still be beautiful, sandy, sexy, warm, and will still be there later this year.

As will I.

After soccer season concludes.

It’s coming! It’s coming! It’s coming!

MY VACATION! (Well…our…Jilly, Brother John and perhaps even Little man.)

After spending the Christmas holiday with brother John, his little man, and ”Mom and Pop” in the beautiful holiday spirit which is NYC where they live, the new year is upon us.

All booked for the month of July…this year we’ll be staying at Casa Azul. It’s very close to where we stayed last year, however a little deeper into the island; La Gloria. Each year I try to stay somewhere different. To meet new people. Go new places. This year will be no different.

Brother John and I will be making a side-trip to a clandestine location which, sadly, cannot be divulged here or anywhere. Ever. But trust me… I learned from last year how to “get in” without being detained.

We’ll also take another trip into Valladolid again to see more cenotes, then press on to Merida for a few days. Between “here” and “there”, who knows what will happen. But again, who cares?

So, until then, posts will be sparse…but come July 1…

 

How to get from Belize City to Cancun…on the ADO.

There are a lot of stories “out there” about how to do it. How it’s been done, etc. I’m here to tell you with a few pics, how we did it. All information and facts are accurate as of August 2013.

If you’ve read my posts here on this blog, you’ll see one about how to “get to Belize from Cancun on the ADO”. Well, coming back is the reverse, however, even thought there are less stops, it TAKES 2 hours longer! Go figure.

You’ll start by a visit to the main bus station in Belize City, where you’ll also remember our dear friend “Amin”, the convenience store owner/ADO ticket agent. (It’s cut off, but in this photo, you can actually SEE his name above the telephone number top right…

But you CANNOT buy your ticket BEFORE he opens the ticket booth until 5:00pm daily!

Just walk up to his convenience store prior to, say “hello” so he knows you’re there for a BUS TICKET, not Pringles and a coke.

Once he leaves the convenience store, usually he dons a Red baseball cap signifying his new role. Step up and begin conversing with him as he is SUPER friendly.

Remember, Amin is going to walk literally like 15 feet from his store, through a door opening, then will be standing at the ticket booth…please refer to the below photo that illustrates this little factoid…

Also, use the photo’s included here to actually SEE the fees charged. It’s $19.00/person Belize ($9.50 US) for your ticket from Belize City TO Mexico.

Once you pass through immigration and customs, (The SAME exact offices as when you came in – I’ve posted the same photos here to remind you), there is NO money paid at the Mexican border at all. You’ll be given the FM3 to complete, get stamped, then back on the bus.

The bus will drive about a mile, then stop again in Belize. You AND your luggage get to disembark again. Answer a few questions, then pay a Belizean exit/conservation fee of $37.50/$18.75 U.S./person.

You and your luggage back on the bus. There’s ONE more fee to pay folks…it was disclosed by Amin to you back in Belize, however, with everything going on, you, like me, may have completely forgotten about it as you look at all the Belizean money left in your pocket that you can’t exchange; DAMN THAT AMIN!

But, you think…”WHY would HE do such a thing as leave me with SO much Belizean money?”, then settle in to your seat for the long drive back to Cancun.

Just when the rhythmic whirr of the bus tires lulls you into a slumber, you hear the pressure release of the air brakes signaling of the stopping of the bus.

As you AGAIN see the disembarking of people stream past you, you think, “WTF now?”

The driver mumbles something about “…boletas”. Your mind races to think of what the hell is a boleta? I mean, seriously, it’s like 1:00 in the morning and you’ve been at this since 7:30…lastnight.

You then see the other passengers lining up outside a small, unmarked strip mall building. “Where are we?” you ask.

“Bacalar”, someone responds.

“Why does that sound familiar?” you ask yourself.

Weary mind recollection kicks in. “Oh yeah.”

Amin told me I would be stopping in “Bacalar”. However, since we didn’t stop here on the way TO Belize, I don’t know WHY.

Answer: THIS is where you pay ($83.00 Belize/$41.50 US) for your return ticket BACK to Cancun.

After paying this fare, the match adds up. “I apologize Amin.” you say to yourself.

So, doing the math, your return ticket cost is, in U.S., $9.50, $8.75, $41.50, total of: $59.75/person.

You buy your ticket, get back on the bus and as the sun begins to rise, and you feel like you’ve been partying like a broke rock star all night, you finally arrive in Cancun…fondly remembering why you did it all in the first place…

Get yourself a shower, a little nourishment and A LOT of sleep in a comfy bed, and you’ve got one HELLUVA story to tell that I guarantee WILL amuse, amaze and impress listeners. Go ahead. Try it.

Some coo observations and pics to entice you to Caye Caulker…

Not going to say much here…just gonna let your imagination do the dreaming…

All in all, I would have to say, my visit to Caye Caulker was one I’m so happy I made, and should you decide to make the worthy trip, I’m sure you will be too.