!Biciruta!

There’s a great Sunday morning tradition here in Merida. Paseó Montejo, a beautiful street filled with old world mansions, is closed off to car traffic. Bicyclers, skaters and walkers take over the street from 8am to noon. It was a lovely experience!

We especially enjoyed seeing all the cute kids and dogs. There were several bands playing a variety of music and of course, vendors selling their wares. BOLT will definitely be returning for many Sundays to come.

We Are Vaccinated!

Two trips to Los Angeles, two 4 day hotel stays… getting the Covid vaccine wasn’t cheap for us. We believe that being vaccinated will make our future travels safer and easier.

Get your family and friends vaccinated! Appointments are AVAILABLE NOW at MyTurn.ca.gov. Vaccines are FREE and for anyone 16 and older.

Adventures with BOLT: My $800 Piece of Paper

There is a little piece of red, white and green paper that non-residents get upon entering mainland Mexico. It is the visitors permit. Not having this piece of paper was a costly mistake for Kathy and I. The paper is just handed to you when you exit the airport. It is not stapled into your passport or otherwise secured. It is easily lost or misplaced.

Kathy and I were on our way from Merida to Los Angeles for a quick trip to get the Covid vaccine. It is not available to non-residents here in Mexico. Reservations had been made, negative covid tests obtained and passports were in hand. I vaguely noticed I didn’t have the same paper Kathy had but was not very worried about it.

We flew from Merida to Mexico City without this permit. However, when I checked in for our Mexico City to Los Angeles flight, I was told I must have it to fly.

This seems to happen to a lot of people. I was sent downstairs to immigration where I was told “no problem”. I paid 600 Pesos (about $30 USD), signed a form saying I lost the paper and voila! I was on my way back to the American Airlines check in counter.

But…there was a problem, a big one! I was like five minutes past the check in time. Despite Kathy standing right there, boarding pass in hand, despite the plane still boarding with at least 30 minutes before takeoff, depsite my pleas and begs…I was not allowed to board.

Kathy went ahead as there was no sense in both of us missing our flight. Distraught I began to look for other flights. There was nothing left flying out that evening. It was only 8 pm and I was not comfortable spending the night in the airport terminal.

There are no actual hotels in the Mexico City airport but I found a moderately priced sleep pod.

I was unable to truly sleep but with Kathy’s help I got a flight our in the morning. I made it to Los Angeles, we got our first vaccination and are safely back in Merida.

Some expensive lessons were learned!

Check, double check and triple check that you have all necessary documents, no matter where you are traveling.

Allow yourself plenty of time between flights, especially if traveling to large international airports. In Mexico City we had to wait for and take trains between the terminals which was another reason I was late.

If at all possible, when you have missed a flight, allow the airline to rebook your travel. I booked on another airline which is not reimbursable and they cancel your round trip when you don’t allow the original airline to rebook you.

Sleep pods are nice clean places to rest, take care of business, etc. but NOT to sleep.

Missing a flight is not the end of the world. Stay calm, patient and focused and all shall be well.

BOLT Reviews: Playa Bonita Beach Club

Just a short 3o minutes away from Mérida, Mexico is the city of Chelem. This sleepy little pueblo is home to the perfect spot for a getaway.

Playa Bonita Beach Club is the perfect spot for a day trip. For only 100 pesos (about $5 usd) you can spend all day on a comfortable beach lounge.

There is a lovely little pool, changing rooms and very clean restrooms.

I was especially delighted by how good, I mean really good the food and drinks were. There is a full, moderately priced menu. The waiters were attentive and friendly. You can have your food brought to your oceanside lounge or table.

I enjoyed a lovely walk along the beach and several people were actually enjoying time in the waves. All in all I spent a perfect day at Playa Bonita Beach Club. I can’t wait to go back!

If you have a special getaway spot in the Yucatan or wherever you are, we’d love to hear about it. Comment here or write us at BOLTraveling@gmail.com

Los parques de Mérida

Parque de Santiago
Parque de Santiago

One of the many things I have come to appreciate about Merida is the multitude of parks, green spaces, and walking paths.

Parque de las Américas

It seems that no matter what direction I walk, I will eventually come upon some type of park. It’s really lovely!

Parque de la Alemán
Parque de la Alemán
Parque de la Alemán
Parque de la Alemán

Yesterday a small group of us visited Parque de la Alemán. This space is really great because walkers can walk and skaters can skate.

As I embark upon Girl Treks 21 Day #blackhistorybootcamp walking challenge, I’m grateful for all the parks and walking paths surrounding me.

When Life Gives You Radishes…Make Pickles!

In this case it was my lovely neighbor/friend, Tai, who gave me a small bag of radishes. I love salty, spicy, briny foods and since I had a free Saturday afternoon I decided to make some pickles.

I make quick pickles which are really easy. Using any vegetable or vegetable combination, quick pickles are soaked in brine in the refrigerator as opposed to the more complicated outdoor fermentation process. Quick pickles do not require canning and are ready to eat in a day. They last several weeks in the fridge, although ours don’t usually last that long.

I made 4 different pickles today and the simple recipes are below. They all use a hot 50/50 vinegar to water liquid for brining. I don’t use precise measurements for this type of recipe. I taste as I go along. Be careful with the salt!

Be creative, use combinations and amounts that you wish. Your pickles will be a delicious adventure!

Radish Carrot Pickles
Combine chopped carrots, sliced radishes and white onion chunks. Season with a tablespoon each of pink salt and chopped garlic. Add whole red peppers and banana peppers. Pack into clean glass jars. Pour the heated mixture of white vinegar and water over the veggies. Close, cool and then refrigerate.

Sweet and Spicy Red Cabbage Kraut
Combine chopped red cabbage, a tablespoon of chopped ginger and 3 grated apples (any kind). Add a tablespoon of salt. Pack into clean glass jars. Pour the heated mixture of apple cider vinegar and water over the veggies. Add honey to taste (I used 4 tablespoon per jar). Close, cool and then refrigerate.

Asparagus Spear Pickles
This is the easiest pickles. Trim the asparagus. Add salt and red chilis to taste. Pack into clean glass jars. Pour the heated mixture of white vinegar and water over the veggies. Close, cool and then refrigerate.

Radish Carrot Relish
This is my all time favorite! Finely slice radishes, carrots and purple onions. Add garlic, salt and whole black peppercorns to taste. Pack into clean glass jars. Pour the heated mixture of white vinegar and water over the veggies. Close, cool and then refrigerate.

As you can see I am not a professional chef or recipe writer but I hope you will try one of these recipes. Even better…create your own pickle combo! Please share if you do.

!Chichen Itza!

Chichén Itzá is a complex of Mayan ruins on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. We loved our visit to this sacred and amazing place, currently listed as one of the 7 wonders of the modern world.

A massive step pyramid, known as El Castillo or Temple of Kukulcan, dominates the ancient city, which thrived from around 600 A.D. to the 1200s.

Graphic stone carvings survive at structures like the ball court, Temple of the Warriors and the Wall of the Skulls.

We had a great guide, who took us all over the complex. He was very informative and full of facts about the ancient city and culture.

We learned about Chacmool (also spelled chac-mool) is a particular form of pre-Columbian Mesoamerican sculpture depicting a reclining figure with its head facing 90 degrees from the front, supporting itself on its elbows and supporting a bowl or a disk upon its stomach. We were able to see these figures in several places including at the top of structure pictured above.

Chichen Itza is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s really an architectural wonder. The temple has 365 steps—one for each day of the year. Each of the temple’s four sides has 91 steps, and the top platform makes the 365th. Devising a 365-day calendar was just one feat of Maya science. Incredibly, twice a year on the spring and autumn equinoxes, a shadow falls on the pyramid in the shape of a serpent.

There’s a sound and light show in the evenings which we hope to come back for someday soon.

If you want more information or have any questions about our visit to Chichen Itza please write us at boltraveling@gmail.com. As always, I hope you enjoyed this post. I enjoy sharing our travels with you.

A Visit to Centro

We’ve been in Merida over a month now and are starting to explore the area.

Exploring safely in the time of Covid means making careful choices. We are selecting areas where there is lots of open air space for walking and that are not too crowded.

Of course we wear masks, are careful to keep our hands sanitized and maintain social distancing.

Today I’m posting pictures of a trip I took into Cento (the historical center of Merida).

I really enjoyed walking around the colorful streets, seeing old churches and just enjoying the beauty of this city.

There are lots of vendors, selling clothes, food and drinks. I bought some lovely Mexican style blouses.

Kathy and I are looking forward to exploring more of Merida and the Yucatan. I’m looking forward to sharing our adventures with you! If you have been to the Yucatan before please give us your suggestions for places to visit.