Monday, January 25, 2021

Four Common Yucatán Creatures

Wanna hear a joke?  An agouti, a green iguana, a coatimundi, and a javelina walk into a bar ... and ...

Too Bad You Can't Touch Me

Wanna Hear a Joke?

Hey, I'm Not Really Called a Raccoon

I'm Not Interested

Actually, these are just four creatures commonly found in this part of Mexico.  I had the chance to snap photos of wild ones with the help of my Nikon P900.  Two were shot in Tulum and the others here in Playa del Carmen.  I wanted to see them all in one blog post.

All are residents of North America but seem special to me, mainly because they cannot be found near home in Vancouver, BC.  

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Tickets for a Chichen Itza Tour

Our flights from Cancun to Mazatlan are two weeks from today. So although we have ten more remaining weeks in Mexico, our time in Playa del Carmen is running out.

The pre-Columbian city of Chichen Itza is a key tourist site in Mexico and more than a two-hour drive from here. We looked at the weather forecasts for the upcoming week and each was different. However, Tuesday looks pretty good. This morning, we arranged for a bus day trip that will take us there. We'll be gone from 8 am to 8 pm.
  Chechen Itza on Tuesday

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Space for Our Kale This Summer?

We've admired the plants grown in the New Westminster Community Garden projects for years. 

Downtown New Westminster is completely urban yet has three main sites at the present time.  The garden plots near the former site of St Mary's Hospital are just a few blocks from the apartment. More, at the New West City Hall, are not a great deal farther up the hill. We discovered the ones at Simcoe Park just last summer. 

Jay likes to grow food plants. That interest is related to the ease at which plants thrive in his native Sri Lanka. The house in Minuwangoda sits on only an acre or less of land, but it is a jungle!

I don't expect that a community garden plot in British Columbia will support coconut or banana trees, but having one for summer would offer much more potential than the few balcony pots he's been using in recent years.
  At the Simcoe Community Garden Plots
Jay stands in Simcoe Park Community Gardens.

City Hall Lawn on Royal
This is my drone shot of the City Hall plots.

Community Gardens
St. Mary's gardens are the closest to our downtown apartment. 

The garden plots are administered through a gardening society. In the autumn, I bought a membership so he can be put on a waiting list for space.  Rumours abound that the COVID-19 situation has brought out the 'inner-gardener' in many folks.  The plots can be renewed by those who currently tend them.

This week, I exchanged emails with the society and learned that Jay is ninth in line for an available summer garden plot.  After the NWCS AGM at the end of February, we should hear whether space will open up.  Fingers crossed for good luck.

Friday, January 22, 2021

Few Decisions on What to Wear

Today was great with a beautiful blue sky. A risk I run in Playa del Carmen is expecting more of the same. During winters in Vancouver, it seems joyous to have a clear day. Here, it seems pretty normal. I last wore long pants the day we arrived in Mexico on November 7th.
  The Terminal

Thursday, January 21, 2021

You Don't Know Half as Much as You Think You Do!

One in the Neighbourhood  
We buy many of our fruits and vegetables at the two Playa del Carmen supermarkets we frequent. However, there are a number of small shops within a few blocks of the apartment. This is on the corner of 2nd Street and 25th Avenue. It is a favourite if we need something close by. 

It's these little, new habits that make travelling worth the trouble. Doing new things keeps one curious and engaged. One of the largest problems for most people, in my opinion, is their inability to put themselves in others' shoes. There's no better way to ensure continued learning than a frequent change of environment.  If one has the chance to see how others live, the experience cannot help but offer a dose of respect and humility.

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Another January Tradition

A January Download RitualIntuit® is making it more difficult to get a copy of the Canadian version of TurboTax. I used to be signed up for a subscription.  I was automatically charged and provided with a download link every January.  They've discontinued that, I believe in order to get everybody using their online tax preparation via a browser. 

I like installing new Windows software. It is a task that occurs less and less frequently nowadays. I also found out that it will cost at least a buck less to buy the standalone product to file two returns.  Perhaps most importantly, I don't want my data kept on their servers, no matter how secure they think they are.

Excuse me if I appear overzealous. I don't want you to think I'm crazy, but I rather enjoy doing my taxes. I take pleasure in ensuring the entries are all entered accurately. This year, I get to try different pension-sharing scenarios. Since the beginning of 'e-file' days, the final upload to Revenue Canada gives me a little jot of satisfaction. 

The first date on which Canadian taxes can be 'e-filed' is February 22nd. You can bet our taxes with either be completed that day or shortly thereafter.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Just a Tuesday

From Walmart  
This photo really doesn't have anything to do with today's entry. It was taken the other day after we returned from shopping at Walmart. It is colourful. I've gone on record before as saying that I am similar to a crow in that shiny and colourful objects attract me. 

Today was not too special. We did book Expedia tickets for our return to Vancouver in the spring, although we'll be in another Mexican city by then. We also realized that as we have less than three weeks left in Playa del Carmen. We started asking for information at the local tourist kiosks. We want to take a long day trip to Chichen Itza. I am not sure when or if we'll be in the Yucatán again.  We'd better not miss one of Mexico's premier tourist sites.

Monday, January 18, 2021

Packing Two Cities into Five Months

Today, Playa del Carmen felt cold although it got up to 25°C. We'll have been here for three months come February 7th.

Just for variety, we're set for a change of city for our final two months of winter in Mexico.  It feels right to get to the west coast and a little closer to Vancouver until the beginning of April.  In fact, we'll be approximately 2400 km closer if one were driving. 
   Mazatlan, Mexico from a 2008 Carnival Cruise

We were only in the other city for a single day.  We were on a 7-day cruise from San Diego. The photo was taken from the deck of the Carnival Pride as we were leaving the port on Valentine's Day of 2008.

Sunday, January 17, 2021

FB for the Groups

I first joined Facebook in 2006 before many people had heard of it.  One had to sign up with a connection to an educational institution.   I accumulated hundreds of friends during the initial and subsequent years. By 2018, I was completely fed up with the platform. It had too much of my baggage and too much useless noise!  I deleted that account when one had to jump through hoops to get rid of all the data it had scooped up. 

A good six months later, I knew that I could handle a new account a little more reasonably and with much more finesse.  I simply sent friend requests to a couple of dozen people, those from whom I actually wanted to hear.  I continued to make it a habit to keep just one month of my posts online.  Now, there seems to be a major shift away from sharing on Facebook. That is okay and probably better for the whole of society. 

In 2021, I wouldn't have thought I'd have become a fan of FB GROUPS.  I do have to admit they are a great way of learning about new hobbies. I don't follow the posts in my own feed, but simply chose GROUPS from the menus, when I want to catch up.  Being able to select people with a similar interest can be educational.  It is nice having a reason to log on to Facebook now.
  FB Groups

Saturday, January 16, 2021

For Those of You Experiencing Winter

Okay, I'm here and I can only blog about what I see and do.
  Come On! Wittle Wons (Plovers?) Teathered Sand Between My Toes  
It's Saturday, so we went for a walk in the morning.  Of course, we ended up at the beach in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.  That seems logical.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Water, Water, Everywhere!

And After Coming Back  
The air today seemed a bit more humid than of late. So, after coming back from a walk to our grocery store, I dressed and jumped into the pool. Actually, I inched slowly into the swimming pool because the water remains very cold. It gets little sun in the atrium of our building and consequently, never has a chance to heat up. 

That made me consider how lucky, as a planet, we are to have the stuff.  An alien spacecraft would surely take notice of our odd, little, blue planet 71% covered in liquid dihydrogen monoxide.   Personally, I'm quite appreciative of the fact though.  The next photo is an example taken last night at the Playa del Carmen beach.
  Warm Water

Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Price of Vision

Another Pair of Eye GlassesI wish I knew the total number of eyeglasses I've owned in my lifetime. The number is most definitely in the dozens of pairs. As I started wearing prescription glasses in 4th grade, my parents had to buy me quite a few as a kid. When I started buying on my own, I used to often destroy a pair every few years somehow or another. 

Of course, since hitting my 40s, I need the assistance of progressive bifocals. I've always been partial to the auto-darkening 'photogrey' lenses when outdoors. So, my specs are substantially more costly than simple prescriptions. I was covered by work insurance for a number of years while working at BCIT. 

Now, since retiring, I try to buy glasses in locations where they're cheaper than in Canada. We often spend winters in such places. Several times in recent years, I have purchased new ones in Malaysia.  In fact, I got some only a year ago, but I'm pretty hard on eyewear.

Jay picked up some prescription reading glasses here in Mexico and the price seemed reasonable. So, I too ordered new ones. They won't be ready for pick-up until the middle of next week. However, I'll be sure to take a nice selfie or two (or three). The frames and progressive lenses with photo-grey came to a mere $US 177 here. I'd probably pay about double that price in Canada, even at Walmart.

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Just Like My Little Yellow 1970s Bike!

1970s Kawasaki 100 1970s Kawasaki 100Over the last couple of weeks, I've taken a renewed interest in the idea of motorcycling again.  I have pretty much decided that I'll get a new Kawasaki Vulcan S after we get back to British Columbia for the summer.  Getting a motorcycle doesn't make a lot of sense, but I'm determined to not let that dissuade me. 

I have not ridden a motorbike in many decades.  During one change in driver's licence jurisdiction, I somehow lost my motorcycle endorsement too.  I'll be taking a BC motorcycle operator's test as a 61-year-old dude.

I couldn't remember much about my small, high-school era bike.  In the 1970s, my dad provided me with some motorized wheels to get around. I knew that the machine was a 100cc Kawasaki and I remembered it as being yellow.  

Thank you, Internet!  These pictures came up when I did a little search.  Yellow must have been a popular-selling colour. The images brought my memories of it into a much clearer focus.  Yikes, and wiping-out on a sharp corner on Lake Avenue now comes to mind as well!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Read the Shirt, Dumbass.

Didn't Fit Due to My Beer Belly  
We're having a small patch of rainy days in Playa del Carmen. I didn't go searching to find an image of anything on a cloudy day. However, when in the supermarket, this unsold t-shirt sort of stood out. I have a beer belly so it'd not fit me. I do have to admit I liked it enough to take this picture. Seldom do such simple words sum up a personal philosophy so well ...

Monday, January 11, 2021

Help Me Decide

I am interested in purchasing a small-displacement cruiser motorcycle during our upcoming summer.  From my research, I am favouring a new Kawasaki Vulcan S at the present time.  Yet, I'm clearly underwhelmed with the colour choices available for the 2021 Canadian models.

The first is called Metallic Flat Spark Black.  I never saw black sparks before.  The name for the second one is Metallic Flat Raw Greystone.  Yeah, give me a flashy motorcycle that's the colour of a rock.  Finally, one can opt for the Pearl Blizzard White.  I do not intend to be on two wheels underwater nor when it's snowing.  These are undoubtedly creative names for a few really boring choices.   Metalic Flat Spark Black Matalic Flat Raw Greystone Pearl Blizzard White 
When did the world suddenly become so monochrome?  So, if these were your only choices, how would you vote?

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