Thursday, October 15, 2009


Because I am inflicted with wanderlust, I couldn’t resist when a friend asked me if I wanted to go with him to check on his house in Champoton. There was no way I was going to say “no”! He has actually asked me several times to go with him, but the timing was never just right. I was either already on my way elsewhere, or his wife and two small children were also going! This time, I was available, and the wife and kids weren’t going!

Champoton is about a 3 hour ride from Merida, given there isn’t much traffic or any weather to contend with. We piled in his VW Caribe convertible, and off we went with the top down. We left Merida at 9:30 and had wonderful, sunny (and hot) weather all the way. Clear skies let the sun shine through and literally burn my face to a bright red! Ouch! It all happened before I realized it.

We only spent two days and one night there, but it was enjoyable. The vast majority of the time was devoted to taking care of the house, finding a plumber/electrician to fix the pump so we could get some water in the house to shower with, pay his hired help, make arrangements with a local nanny to return to Merida with us to help take care of his children, and search out the best seafood in the area!

Champoton has a lively history dating back to the Mayas and pirates, the revolution, the whole nine yards. There just isn’t too much to do or see in this wonderful fishing village with less than 30,000 people except to eat seafood cocktails, enjoy a cold beer (or two) and just watch time slip away. Admittedly, these are a few of my favorite things!

While there is absolutely beautiful, clear, and inviting water along the entire stretch of shore line in Champoton, there is no beach! I didn’t see anyone swimming. The reason? There is no sand – only rocks and boulders. Plenty of boating/fishing going on, but no indication of any water sports.

The malecon (boardwalk) is alive and bustling morning, noon and night and is the center or hub of activity. Lined with numerous restaurants, one can also find lots of street vendors set up along the malecon selling some of the freshest and best seafood in Mexico. This is what this great little place is really known for. While there, I enjoyed shrimp cocktails, mixed cocktails of shrimp and oysters, and on my way out, a small cocktail of just oysters. All fresh, all incredibly delicious, and very inexpensive. The medium cocktails cost the equivalent of approximately $4.00US. Indulge yourself!

I can highly recommend this quaint little fishing village for a great weekend get-a-way and some mighty fine eating! I'm sure that these guys will agree!

Friday, October 2, 2009


The water we receive from the city is considered “potable” and is safe for washing, bathing, and even dishes. You can also cook with it if boiling something, but most gringos choose not to. (I’ve been cooking with it for years and years, and am alive to write this blog.) I don’t know anyone who drinks it, save for a few local families. Everyone buys commercially prepared purified water (agua purificada), delivered to your doorstep.

The city water is metered and costs about the equivalent of $5.00 US Dollars per month. It trickles in to your home and is stored in a “tinaco” which is made from high impact plastic and/or fiberglass. They can also be made from cement!. The tinaco is normally located on the roof and is almost always black in color. The black color absorbs the sun’s rays and in turn, heats the water stored in the tinaco. This could be the original forerunner of solar heating! However, keep in mind that when the sun goes down, so goes the temperature of the water in the tinaco, and hasta la vista agua caliente!

There is no pressure provided by the city unless you consider a gravitational trickle comparable to low pressure! The water flows from the tinaco to your taps via gravity. If you’ve never experienced it, perhaps you can imagine how long it sometimes takes to complete a shower. Lots of folks liken it to a gentle rain.

Personally, I’m not much into gentle rains. Give me a storm! Therefore, I purchased a pressure system for my home. When I did, the water heater I had (only 3 years old) sprung a leak and was determined to be “unfixable” due to the pressure system. Therefore, I trotted down to Home Depot, discussed the problem with a water heater technician (so-to-speak) who just happened to be in the office picking up installation orders, and I purchased a fancy Bosch model with an electronic ignition and on-demand hot water. This water heater is made especially for pressurized systems. Wow, good to go!

It’s the type of water heater that provides “on demand” hot water and doesn’t have a pilot light to go out all the time. When you turn on a hot water tap, the water flows through a special valve in the water heater and it, in turn, causes the electronic firing system to produce a spark, which then lights the gas to heat the water. Sounds complicated, but it works. (I have to remember to replace the batteries ever few months, or there will be no spark to ignite the gas!)

So, I now have pressurized water, hot and cold, in every tap in the house, including the washer! Talk about creature comforts! I don’t often allow myself too many extravagant luxuries, but I do like my hot showers and I like ‘em under pressure!

We’ll see how well this continues to work, and how long it will last. Hopefully, long enough to get my money’s worth out of it!