January 9, 2017: 2017 already? Time flies.
As we mentioned in our last post, we are housesitting at Maricasa, a house on the Bay of Chetumal just north of the town of Calderitas:
You can zoom out the map to see where we are in the world.
By our standards over the past year, this is a long-term gig. We have already been here for the month of December and will be here until early March while our van takes a rest in the U.S. [click to enlarge]
Our friend Kathe owns Maricasa. You may recall that we connected with Kathe and her partner Bonnie in Hamilton, Montana in October. We met Kathe and Bonnie in very late 2015, through mutual friends John and Natalie, who we told you about last winter. It’s a small expat world.
Maricasa has lots of beautiful flora: [click to enlarge]
and interesting fauna: [click to enlarge]
The non-native fauna includes, as we mentioned before, two great dogs. Josh is a lover, not a fighter.
He’s also cuckoo for coconuts. Seriously. At the first sound of contact between a machete and a coconut, he comes running.
We get nice sunrises here.
The gardens and grounds are meticulously cared for. [click to enlarge]
It’s a very peaceful place.
Sitting on a calm bay, there is good kayaking to be done from Maricasa. About a mile across the water is the largely mangrove covered island of Tamalkab. Its only current inhabitants seem to be birds. [click to enlarge]
We understand that in the past, Mayans built some structures out here. We haven’t braved the vegetation to try to find evidence of them. On our last trip out, though, we saw some pottery and obsidian shards evidencing the former inhabitants. Of course, we didn’t have a camera that day.
The far side of the island is extremely shallow with crystal clear water and a sandy bottom. You can walk pretty far out and still be in knee-deep water.
Kathe has amazing neighbors. Luis and Ana own Ichpaatun, a seafood restaurant just a few steps up the road from Maricasa. They serve fantastic food and are just incredibly welcoming people.
They invited us to their celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe on December 12.
It’s an important holiday here, and was particularly important to Luis’s dad. This year the whole family (and a couple of new gringo friends) donned t-shirts in his memory and engaged in their annual procession along the boundaries of the family’s land, singing hymns.
Afterwards, there was an amazing taco feast, courtesy of Luis and Ana. You should come here just to eat at their restaurant.
We spent the Christmas season here. It seems that Christmas is still a more religious holiday in Mexico than in the U.S. But Mexico is certainly not immune to the Christmas shopping season. Lots of companies were offering promotions. Buy this, get a little extra. [click to enlarge]
These are not necessarily Christmas related. Mexican stores love to run promotions of one kind or another.
Just a couple of miles up the road is the Mayan ruin site of Oxtankah. This is a relatively small site, with some nice buildings.
This was the best preserved decoration we found at the site.
This is the first site we’ve seen where they put a fake skeleton in the tomb for demonstrative purposes.
Of course, there are iguanas. [click to enlarge]
And on the back side of one temple, there’s a tomb, complete with resident bats. [click to enlarge]
There’s also a ruined Spanish chapel from the 1600s. The city was at its height in the Mayan Classical Period, from around 600 B.C. to 900 A.D., but still occupied to some extent when the Spanish arrived.
More about Calderitas, Chetumal, and the surrounding area next time. Thanks for reading and see you soon!