Monthly Archives: March 2012

Living on tacos; waiting for seafood

Living on Tacos in Merida, Mexico. In Cancun lived on Tacos and all other ready-made hot food at Chechrui, the local supermarket. Loving it. I expected seafood though, with the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean Coast. It was disappointing to learn from my friend Dalila that fishing wasn’t permitted on the coast in and near Cancun. It was also exciting to learn that in Chetumal there is seafood! I met a really nice guy (another CouchSurfing guy, friend of my host) who is from there and filled me in on his favorite restaurant. I’ll be dining there and posting about it for sure.

Homun Cenote & lagoon misadventure

Daniel, his other CouchSurfer, Renata, and I took the bus downtown this morning. We had breakfast at Daniel’s favorite place near the square, then walked through the market to pick up some fruit. We are now sitting in a nice, bucket-seat Collectivo bus waiting for 3 more people so it can finally leave. Our destination is Homun, where we will swim in a cenote. We have been sitting in this hot van over 1/2 hour. Riders come slowly, one by one. I would love to know what we will pay and just pay for the other seats. One more woman just came in. Two more. Could be another 15 minutes for that. I am wearing my GirlTrunks, so I am dressed in a tank top and shorts in public but can jump right into the water. (I love the GirlTrunks for this reason. Also because the shorts dry so quickly.) […]

Double Duty Packing – Bring a Sarong 1

When living out of just one bag, every item matters

For years, I have had a large black and white sarong that remained in my dresser drawer. I am not a sarong type of gal. But while packing up my home of many years and giving away my stuff, I recognized the value of this large, thin, fabric garment.

Some of the many uses for a sarong

This light-weight garment plays several roles.


A few hours ago, sitting with my iPhone at the dining room table of my CouchSurfing host, I read an email from an LA writer friend (I know through — and I jumped up saying Yeah! I literally jumped for joy and exclaimed “I am so lucky!” Funny how I found myself saying “I am so lucky” today.

iPhone as my only tool

I have loved the iPhone since the day it came out. Compared to the Palm Treo 700 I’d had, it was part miracle and part dream. I love all that the iPhone can do — but when that iPhone became my ONLY communication tool I started to truly feel its limitations. I am a professional writer. I need to write articles, to pen this blog (which is something that cannot be done in actual pen). I need to compose text for client websites. And I WANT to be able to write to friends. That’s a lot of thumb tying. 1) My thumbs are getting sprained. Seriously, after two weeks of this they hurt. 2) I cannot keep up with the thoughts in my head so I am losing words and ideas. 3) I am sick of typing the letter c instead of a space, thus (no, not this!) composing gibberish. […]

Worked the entire day; just like being in LA

[As posted on facebook] Today I spent the entire afternoon, until past 11pm working and never got outside. Even spoke to cousin Lisa and friend Mario. It’s just like being at home in, except that I am on a Spanish keyboard so I cannot use punctuation well and I wake and go to bed in a hammock. And that the speaking is via Skype since I no longer have a phone. The no phone is a PIA but the hammock part is cool. I am traveling!

Life without email was hard

After I was robbed, I immediately changed passwords — and for my email, even changed the username. That was a mistake though, starting a chain reaction that left me unable to filter spam and to delete emails for about 6 days. I could’t find or notice real messages under the weight of the unwanted. It was hard to give up my landline and physical address. It was harder to give up my AT&T cell number as that was my last phone line. But to lose access to my email, limited to wi-fi as it was, really cut me off.  It was so great to get to my Merida CouchSurfing host, Daniel, and have a fellow Mac/iPhone geek to help me figure out the problem. I was great to not be alone in the problem. I am so happy to have my email back these past few days!

Merida mall for a/c & work

Today Daniel and I took a bus to his favorite mall. First Chinese food in the food court that tasted just like LA. Prices were similar too. Then we sat is a couple of comfortable chairs (my first in a long time) and had coffee at Starbucks as we used the Wi-Fi. Daniel was noticed by a fellow CouchSurfing host, Manuel. He gave me some good info about a developer I was interested in meeting. (Update on that: I didn’t get to call him. Also Manuel and I missed one another a couple of times in the next week.)

Laundry in Merida

As I write this, over half my clothing is drying in the breeze on a Merida rooftop. By the time I arrived at Daniel’s, it was absolutly time to do laundry. Hand washing garments and hanging them to dry in my Cancun hotel rooms was not successful as 3 days later the items were still damp and smelled rancid. This morning after the other 4 guests headed out on their way, I showered, did some sewing, then did my laundry. Daniel showed me how to use the washing machine. Using a bucket, we scooped water from the rooftop cistern to partly fill the machine. Adding the clothes and a bit of detergent, I turned the dial at the bottom to 13 minutes and watched the agitation. After 2 minutes it was clear that my clothing was very dirty. However I didn’t want to mess with the dial. Instead I let […]

Arrived in Merida

I arrived in Merida while it was still light. While on the bus I realized I had not written down Daniel’s address so I’d need Internet. That turned out to be a very pleasant surprise! In the bus station I asked a man for help asking for a McDonalds or such for Internet. The woman who worked there replied in excellent English that there is no need to Burger King or MD because the downtown was all Internet – gratis. And it was only 4 blocks down and 4 blocks to the left. I enjoyed the walk, buying a real Mexican ice cream pop (paleta) to eat as I walked. I got chocolate this time, but the fruit pops are the true prize in Mexico. (Good thing I had my bottle of water to wash my hand after. I was covered in drips on this dry hot and humid day.) […]

Valladolid on to Merida Mexico

March 22, 2014

After waking in Vallodolid (va ya doulid) at 8:30 having a light hot shower and a leisurely morning that included doing my fingernails putting on makeup and Andrew’s bracelets as well as putting my hair up, I did some email.

I need to decide what to do about my work and writing. Can I really write on an iPhone? Get an iPad? Buy a new Air? I vacillate between the flexibility a new Mac brings me and the freedom of not having one. I have not yet released my upset over losing my Mac. Backpackers do travel with computers. I think everyone, save for a couple had one at last nights hostel.

There is a stylish church anchoring one side of the square but it locked up just as I touched the door. I walked through the small park, stopping to take a panoramic shot of it from church, past the fountain, to some of the regular buildings that are the style of this town. The town is Colonial, I am told. The buildings are right angles, deep golds and reds that are old world and elegant, simple, solid, honest, unpretentious, attractive.

Into Valladolid & its hostels

After the solstice at Chichen Itzá I considered spending the night in the immediate town, a small village called Piste (Pee sta). I’d been told while watching the sun, of a big backpacker party in a park nearby and my tour guide had recommended staying in the village. I also thought I might walk back to the structures in the morning. I walked back to the tour bus with my friends of the day, then said so long and donned my pack once again. The village was just a few blocks walk. Passing the ADO busses, I asked around and got one lead on a hostel like place. Walking about a mile I failed to come to it. I met 2 hitch-hiking Spanish-speaking gals along the way, enjoyed the sandwich they offered, then saw them off. I gave up on staying in this town. No one knew of the park […]

Equinox at Chichen Itza, Mayan Calendar Magic in the Yucatan

It wasn’t planned, but when I arrived in Cancun I learned we were just weeks away from the spring equinox, a time when the ancient Mayan calendar (which is what the so-called pyramids are) would do a shadow effect of a snake crawling down the structure. (And traveling without a schedule enables you to hang around for things you discover along the way or for surprises.)

Parque de Las Palapas, the true Cancun Mexico

My first night in Cancun my CouchSurfing host and hostess took me to a park that I loved. As we drove there and I have yet to see a true street map of Cancun, I had no idea where it was. Last week my friend Susan and I walked there en route to her hotel and I was excited to be there again – but I still did not really know where it was as we’d doubled back there through side streets. Tonight, hours after I planned to be gone from Cancun, my local friend Juan suggested another hotel, a hostel, and it turned our to be right on Palapas Park and I found out this great park is just blocks from my hotel. I had walked past the street leading to it from the other side of the park many times So tonight I learned where I could have […]

Working from Cancun again

As I remained in Cancun for a week searching for my stolen Mac, I did whatever I had to in order to get my work done and not let my clients done. Stopping into the Office Depot across from my hotel, I found it cool and comfortable so I stayed a while. My work tools of the day (March 19, 2012), and of many days to come: iPhone 3GS that once belonged to my cousin Elena, V-moda earphones, and a fabulous battery by Scosche. This battery almost didn’t make the packing cut as I favored their lighter battery and their solar battery, but it recharges my iPhone at least 2-3 and still shows 3 lights. I have come to rely on it greatly. What I am doing: using an iPhone app called Voxer to speak, walkie-talkie style with my friend, fellow web designer (and GoLive 5 Bible contributor) to update […]

Hotel or hostel: where you choose to stay matters

When you are traveling alone the place you sleep makes all the difference. Unless you really want a solitary trip. After my first nights at the home couch surf hosts, I came to a hotel recommended by other folks living in Cancun. It is fairly convenient as I can walk to the places I wanted to be in Cancun. And it is clean. There are dorms so I thought I would meet travelers. However it is really a hotel. Travelers were far between. Most guests are from other parts of Mexico and while friendly, they are here for the beach, not to exchange travel info and go see a pyramid. Those 8 travelers I met were with one another already and I didn’t fit their agendas. You might look at a dorm room for 10 and say “No way. I am past that at my age.” I did. I am […]

About Tales of Travel & Tech

When I decided to pack up my belongings and travel some of our great world’s roads with just my Mac, a few select pieces of tech, and whatever clothing basics that fit into my convertible backpack, I had no idea just what adventures in tech I was personally in for! What I knew: as long as I had my Mac I could continue to earn my living from wherever I was I’m the world. I would just need to not go off-grid (Internet grid and electrical grids, that is) for more than a week at a time. Easy, I thought. What I learned: even living in another state, staying in my hometown of NY, it was not easy to work. (in fact I took on a job that was much larger than its description and was quickly overwhelmed trying to get online, do the job, and actually get out and […]

Cell phone & phone calls in the Yucatan

Cell phones are big here. It seems as if every one has one. Walk into a woman’s room and you’ll here a woman speaking from her stall – just like I hear in Los Angeles. Yet pay phones are far from a thing of the past here. You can’t walk very far without seeing a phone and Internet cafe. Well, cafe would be a misnomer. It’s really a smallish shop with 2 rows of stalls. One row is of Windows towers for email. The other is of phone booths containing tabletop phones and a chair so you can enjoy your call. Payment is done through the shops proprietor. Hoping to find my stolen Mac, I visited a dozen or so pawn shops. The trip through Pawn Shops was shocking: the prices being asked for electronics was virtually the same as the prices in the local Office Depot or Sam’s Club. […]

Apple in Cancun

Of course, I had to see Apple Resellers in Cancun. I plan to do so everywhere I go. The iShop, with 20 stores in Mexico, is the largest reseller, I believe. Coming to see them was more than a wish after my Mac was stolen. I was desperate to plug my SuperDuper! Clone into any Intel Mac so I could access my info, make sure data was safe and work out ways to get my work done. Anyway, here is the iShop. oh, the huge box in front is a promotion: bring in an old piece of technology and get 1,000 pesos off your new Mac. It was fun to check out the box each of the 4-5 days I came by.

Scrubbing away the grubby 1

I write this in my head with every shower so odd as it may be, I just have to write this. One of the things I put quite a bit of effort into was finding the best solution for keeping my skin feeling fresh, clean and alive as I live out of a backpack. At home I would have a fresh washcloth, one of those newfangled plastic round soap-up things, or a nice long loofa sponge. On the road a washcloth might be an answer but it can easily become rancid smelling. That big round thing is a space issue and would hang like a Pom-Pom from your pack to dry. I love a loofa because it enables you to rub gently or scrub harder to give you as much clean as your skin needs. (If you are from a cool climate you will understand once you hit a tropical […]

Finally online (at Starbucks) & at the beach

(Posted to Facebook at 1:24pm on March 11.) I’m grinning ear to ear, internally shouting, yes! finally! I’m online! Internet is quite spotty in the real Cancun. (I hate to admit it but I went to Starbucks. In the hotel zone, of course. Starbucks is Starbucks. Nothing to report in that arena.) My roommate friends, 2 great women from other parts of Mexico, are at the playa (beach). I can’t take too much beach, and have the reality of work, so I’m wandering around the city. I’ll meet them later. (The update added later:) I did meet my roommates. I went across the street to look for a bathroom and they happened to see me cross the street. What a surprise to hear them call out to me. This place is crowded. We had a few tacos, then went to the beach.