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Affordable Travel in Retirement

  The Problem: The problem is that when you are working, you may not have much time off to vacation, or you still have commitments at home preventing you from leaving for any extended period. On the other hand, if you wait until you are retired, you will likely have less income (usually about half of working income plus savings), not to mention that you may start to have a few health issues, even something as simple as walking any distance. So what do you do?   Why We Didn’t Wait: As we are getting older, we are realizing that … More…

Canadian Woman Disgraces New York Opera House

The lobby of the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.
Photo: Marty Sohl/Metropolitan Opera

    When a friend invited me to join him in New York to go the opera (his big obsession), I was hesitant. I was not that keen on opera, or even on a big city for that matter. We’ve always taken a ‘pass’ on big, busy, noisy cities, preferring the warmer local flavour of smaller centres. I hummed and hawed, then remembered that I could use my Air Miles to fly to New York. He said he would look after everything else.   Quite certain that I wouldn’t even like New York, but giving it a chance, I landed … More…

The Yellow City

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  What a shock when we drove into the yellow city! Who knew such a thing existed? We were just driving along, taking the less-travelled and non-toll road from Telchac to Cancun for our flight home, when we came upon the yellow city.    At first, we thought it was only a few streets.   But then everywhere we drove in the city… it was yellow, yellow, yellow. It reminded us of the song, Mellow Yellow.   “Oh”, I exclaimed, “This must be the yellow city we read about!” We had crossed it off the list of ‘Must See’s’ when we … More…

In The Pink

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  Birds are not a big attraction for us, but we were a little curious about the Yucatan flamingos. We thought $100 was a little steep for the Flamingo Boat Tour out of Celestun, so we declined several offers from local tour operators.     Since there was a large lagoon stretching for miles along the highway near Telchac, where we were staying, we started looking for the flamingos there. Some parts of the lagoon were quite pretty, but there were no flamingos to be seen.   We spotted the flamingos a little farther down, but they were little pink … More…

The Sexiest Dance in Mexico

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  One of the sexiest dances I’ve ever seen, except for the Argentine Tango, is this Cumbia. We just happened upon a fiesta in the little town of Chelem, west of Progreso, in the Yucatan region of Mexico. Part of the fiesta was a Cumbia Dance performance.   We had made a stop in Progreso first. It was a dramatic difference from the weekdays, where the beach and the town was quiet and empty. This was Sunday, the busy day; portable shops were set up along the beach, bar cafes were set up right in the sand on the beach, … More…

The Secret, Cheap, Hauntingly Beautiful Mangrove Tour

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  It was only by accident that we heard about the Mangrove Tour. We were swimming in a cenote at some Mayan Ruins in the Yucatan, Mexico, when a woman was telling other people about this amazing tour that no one knows about because it originates in a little village far from the madding crowds. We were immediately intrigued and joined the conversation. Where, how much, and when we asked.   A few weeks later, along with my visiting cousin, H, we set out to find this tour. We found the little village of San Crisanto just fifteen minutes up … More…

4-Legged Beach Bums in the Yucatan

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  When we moved from Merida to the beach near Telchac Puerto, we had no idea we would have so many visitors, especially these kind.   First challenge though, was finding the tiny sand road turnoff to our beach house. It was a bit of a challenge, even in daylight, because so many roads looked exactly the same, and even though it looks big in the photo, the sign was tiny from the highway.   Our beach house was lovely, right on an empty beach with houses scattered far apart along the beach. Inside, the rooms were large, and there … More…

My Book is Finally Done

`What a great travel book` 
Hugh Wiley, Author of Dancing With Change

Buy it here:

  I cannot believe it! My book is finally done.   This baby has been as much work as a real baby!   I have been constantly changing it, removing yucky stuff, redressing, changing again..   …removing godawful stuff I missed, sweet baby, feeding and feeding and feeding the flow of words, adding photos, complications with technical issues, removing photos, changing again…   …pampering it, holding it, talking to myself, screaming, asking myself why I ever decided to take on this nightmare, changing photos, changing words, getting hopeful, sweet baby, maybe not, changing again..   Well, you get the picture. Who … More…

Lol Tun Cave, Yucatan: An Underground Castle

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Take a walk into Lol Tun Cave, and it feels like you are walking into a grandiose cathedral or castle. It is a bit of a rough walk down and into the cave but it is well worth the effort.    There is a mysterious quality to caves. While the water drips and every small sound echoes in the vast cavern, your eyes settle on the gigantic icicles of mineral deposits drooping down to the ground.   Caves are fascinating in that it makes one wonder why the earth’s crust doesn’t fall into these enormous holes under the very ground we … More…

Explore The Elements: EARTH, FIRE, WATER and AIR

  Explore the Elements is a Photo Contest from Thomas Cook that has invited writers and photographers to showcase the images they’ve captured on their travels. The challenge is to submit photos that capture the essence of each of the elements: Earth, Water, Fire and Air. I have accepted that challenge. Although it is not a voting contest, please let me know if you think my images are worthy of consideration by the judges. The judges will choose the best photos in each category. The top prize is a 5000 pounds travel fund! We could really use that to bring you stories of our … More…

The Magical Cenotes of the Yucatan – You Have To See Them All, But Especially These Two…

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  There are 6000 cenotes in the Yucatan – six thousand. OK, so maybe you can’t see them all, but here are a few of the most mystical and enchanting of them all.   What the heck is a cenote, you say? Cenotes are natural swimming holes, a sinkhole resulting from rainfall slowly eating away at the limestone bedrock of the Yucatan peninsula and a huge network of underground caves was formed. The caves fill with water or from the deep underground water table. When the roof of a water filled cave falls in, a cenote is formed. Cenote water … More…

Should Have Stayed In Mexico

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    Thursday, February 26:   A few days ago, February 22, in Mexico, the cat sitter emailed us that the pipes are frozen in the house, and that there is no water, so no bathrooms either. Car is also unlikely to start and is buried in a mountain of snow. They have had record-breaking cold temperatures between 20 and 40 below in the last few weeks. Colder than the Canadian Prairies! It seldom goes lower than –10 in Southern Ontario. Coldest winter in 30 years.   We got home about 11 pm last night, checked the pipes, no water anywhere in … More…

Off-The-Beaten-Path Beaches In The Yucatan, Mexico

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  It was exciting to see the sublime azure ocean come into view as you drive in to Progreso on the North coast of the Yucatan. We were here is 2008 and it was just a small fishing village with a beautiful miles-long sandy beach and clear aquamarine water. As we drove up to the beach back then, it was still an untouched beach for miles in each direction with only a few restaurants facing the sea. But now Progreso was a big town, all grown-up, with paved front street, and a boardwalk; 37, 000 people and growing. The little fishing … More…

A Mosquito In Your Wine… Is Better Than A Bee In Your Beer

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  While I screamed and hollered and swore at my computer with the new hard drive that would not load emails from the external drive back-up, T went merrily off to the Merida Zoo. He has been into long walks lately, so he walked. It was a long walk on a hot day.   At the zoo, he was pleasantly surprised to see that the animals were well taken care of and had plenty of room to move around. Only the wild cats – tigers, lions, and panthers were pacing back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, and … More…

Sumptuous Mayan Chocolate

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  The real highlight of our day to the Uxmal Ruins was discovering the Chocolate Museum just opposite the Ruins. The place was absolutely fascinating.   What incredible insights to the Mayan culture! Who knew that they used chocolate beans as currency at one point in time? You could buy a rabbit for 10 cocoa beans, while a slave in good health would cost 100 cocoa beans.   The trade routes in Central America…   The museum was in the thick jungle and among the cocoa bean plants were little palapas (thatched roof huts) joined by a walking path. Inside … More…

Mayan Ruins And Phallic Sculptures

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  The hard drive crashed on Saturday. Totally out of the blue. No warnings. No odd behaviours. Just fried itself. No computer. NO COMPUTER. Desperately tried to fix it and got it up just long enough to make a backup on the Clickfree external drive before it was in total ruins. This was not the type of Mayan Ruins we were looking forward to experiencing. This was Computer Ruins. The next day was Sunday – everything closed. It turned out Monday was a Mexican holiday so most businesses were closed Monday as well. Murphy’s Law: computers will always crash on a weekend. … More…

Mosquitoes, Markets & The Art Of The Yucatan Sale

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  This is our modest rental home in Merida, Mexico.   Our huge Roman Bath on the rooftop deck. You could fit 15 people into it.     The house has everything we really need, accept for the uninvited guests – mosquitoes! The little buggers get in everywhere and they are so tiny you can barely see them. (There is no need to seal doors and windows in tropical countries to keep out the cold.) You don’t feel the sting of these mosquitoes until some time later when you start scratching and look down to see a big red welt. … More…

The “Lucy Arnez” of Merida, Mexico

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  We’ve travelled all over the world having many misadventures, but very few times were we ever been duped out of our money.   One day a lady named C, stopped by and introduced herself. She is a “Lucy Arnez” woman, full of spunk and energy, talking a mile a minute. She first asked if we had a cleaning lady. Yes, sorry, we did. She lived just a block away and said if we needed anything at all just to call her.   She dropped by again the next day with her 16-year-old daughter who speaks fluent English and we … More…

Locked Out Of Our House in Merida

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Here we are in sunny Merida, Mexico, skin soaking up the luscious moisture and the warmth of the sun like a sponge. It’s easier to breathe here. Such a dramatic contrast to the cold dry air of winter in Canada; it’s almost a shock to the system. It was a long line-up through Customs and Immigration in Cancun this time, and we had some hassles with the rental car, as usual, but after an hour got it all sorted out, and headed down the highway from Cancun to Valladolid. We know better that to drive at night here, but it was … More…

2014 Year In Review For Travel To Little Known Places

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  We are so pleased to announce that we now have over 11,000 subscribers. A big thank you to our top commenters: Marnee, Wendy, Alison, Joanne and Tami.   Click on the link below to see a map of what countries visited our site – there are so many all around the world. http://jetpack.me/annual-report/50477331/2014/   We continue to work on the book, and had no idea how much work it really is to write a book. It is on its way.   Thank you so much for following our jaunts around the world and stay tuned for our a first … More…

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