Sunday, November 5, 2017

Feliz Cumpleaños Herman!

Herman and I are settling into life in Seyé and it is starting to feel like our town. We still walk to town to buy from the market, pay our CFE bill or our internet. We still struggle with our broken Spanish, but it all feels like it's our life now. We have regulars who supply services and goods and we recognize people and say hello. It is what makes a place feel like your home.

We had a meeting with our lawyer, the agent and the owner of the house and after a lengthy explanation of the issues that are delaying the closing of the house, we estimated that the property will finally be ours by February 2018. Both the neighbouring property owners have to agree to some site changes, and even though they have been difficult to locate by the state`s office of property assessment, there seems to be a sudden increase in activity on both sites with some vegetation clearing.

Herman asked for a few quotes for some of the renovations we are hoping to make to the property. At this stage it is to give us some guidelines for our financial  planning. I am working online now, which will help towards some of the expenses and Herman is in the process of learning new software to do some architectural work online as well. Things are falling into place for us from the work front and with our sustainable lifestyle, we should be able to make it.

When you are without family in a new place (which Herman and I have lots of experience with) celebrations like Christmas, Easter, New Year and birthdays become a little bit of a challenge. You don`t want to sit around moping about being alone, especially since you did this out of your own free will. Herman and I decided that it would be a good day to visit a cenote. We live in an area of the Yucatan where there are hundreds of cenotes around us. A cenote is an underground cave formed by underground rivers. The Mexicans have started to realize the attraction of these magnificent natural wonders and have built restaurants, trails and stairs into the holes and added lights. For a fee you can usually stop in most of the towns to visit one of these caves and go for a swim. The towns benefit from the extra income and tourists get exposed to a great experience. Herman  did some research and picked the Santa Barbara Cenote in the town of Homún.

We were treated to a wonderful day visiting three cenotes and ending with a lovely meal in the restaurant on site. When you arrive at the main building, which boasts a bar, restaurant and a small gift shop (featuring local artisan weave work and Yucatecan embroidered clothes) you can select from several packages: Package one is renting a bicycle to travel to the caves, Two includes being pulled on a carriage on a track by a horse to the caves, and Three also includes a meal at the end. We splurged and bought the complete package for $440 Pesos for two.

Riding the horse-drawn railway carriage was fun and the trail was pretty fast with the horse often galloping to stay ahead of us. The first cenote was the smallest one, named cascabel. One of the guides explained that it means rattle snake. Apparently the construction workers found a rattle snake while they were working on the stairs and named it rattlesnake, but the snake was never seen again... Needless to say, that didn`t stop anyone from going in and taking a swim! We brought our dive masks so we had a really good view of the bottom and even saw a few small black fish. The first cenote had some lights shining into the water without which you would not be able to see anything.

We walked from there to the second cave, not a long way away. This one was light inside with natural sunshine but there were still some lights. It was much larger than the first one. Quite a high staircase to enter and exit this one. This one was spectacular with the tree roots coming through the ceiling as a thin strand and then where it touches the bottom of the cenote, it forms a large root base.

The trails are immaculately manicured white stone trails framed by larger white stones from the area, and are very easy to follow and navigate, The cenote also employs many staff with walkie talkies to guide you along the way in case you don`t know where to go next. Everyone is helpful and some even speak English. We followed the trail to the third cenote, which featured a very impressive set of concrete stairs into an archway that was built with stone and concrete. This cenote also featured a large palapa for those who didn`t want to venture down the stairs and wanted to site and enjoy a bit of a rest. The last one is definitely spectacular as being the deepest of the three, and you cannot see the bottom. It is also pitch black with out the sunshine from above breaking the water with beads of light that was amazing to see underwater. Unfortunately we did not have a GoPro, so we didn`t take any pictures or video under water. One of the most impressive pictures at this one is of the tree`s roots reaching all the way down into the water.

Nature is stunning and impressive and I love spending time exploring the wonderful cenotes. According to the Planetary Science Institute geological evidence lead scientists to believe that an asteroid roughly 10 km (6 miles) across hit the Yucatan about 65 million years ago. This impact made a huge explosion and a crater about 180 km across. By all accounts this was the explosion that altered the atmosphere to such an extent that it wiped out 3/4 of the species including the dinosaurs.Of course this attracts many tourists to this area and also many cave divers come to explore the cenotes of the Yucatan.

We had an amazingly tasty dinner of Yucatecan food. I had pechuga empinazada, which is like a chicken schnitzel and Herman had a traditional poc chuc, which is slices of pork tenderloin. We were joined by two lovely people from the North of Mexico, who worked in the US and spoke English. Had a lovely time, and never got their names.

We went home for a nice nap after which we went to Seyé for dinner and tried out Willy`s pizza. It was really good! This place was hopping with customers coming to pick up pizza. OK so we had pineapple on our pizza, but it was freakin`awesome! `Willy`is again super attentive and the garlic bread was `to die for`. We ventured onto the Tilt-A-Whirl and this ride just goes on and on and one, and though it was super fun, my neck hurt from all the twirling our silver shell did. We also realized that it was the Halloween dance party and watched the young people start arriving in their best dance garb to dance the night away. And I really mean dance the night away, because when I was up at 3pm, the dance was just ending and I could hear the DJ all the way to my house in colonia San Antonio!

Yes, the big day came and it went. Herman's 54th Birthday. Old Man? No Way! He is in better shape than ever, despite surviving a cardiac event, and now anticipating the next 20+ years of his life.

Today is Sunday November 5th, the birds are singing, the sun is shining and we had a swim. It is an amazing life to live and I am happy to spend it with my best friend.

Happy Birthday Herman! Wish you all the best again, because I hang out with you all the time.