Sunday Morning Routines

I like to have the backdoor open in my airbnb in the mornings a lot. Merida comes streaming in but all the sound bytes are the small things to go enjoy from the comfort of a room and a bed. Good wifi. Instant coffee that does what I want. I don’t much like reading news on RSS so I deleted the app and accounts. I don’t like taking note of things so I don’t. I do like blogging here on cloudways now because I am lazy and they just take care of everything for me. And then I enjoy writing in Ulysses. I enjoy wandering around and taking photos I can then go look at and nod at the simple beauty of flowers that greet my walk.

That little sky at such a different color and the home behind but the infusion of the colors up front.

As long as I can remember I have enjoyed finding little things that trigger appreciation, sadness, fantasy and then taking photos of them. Then I present them back to you so you can see the things I enjoy finding but perhaps you can go out and find your own things completely different and share them.

The routines on Sunday also include wandering down to Starbucks later in the morning for Starbucks Sunday which is grilled cheese and cold brew and relaxing and people watching. Perhaps reading my kindle book on the iPhone. I did think briefly on buying another Kindle. This time the PaperWhite. Truth is I don’t like real books, real paper, real pens. They all carry maintenance and storage requirements and some require multiple little pieces of things. Pens need ink. Etc. I guess they are all things.

So Sunday routines no matter where seem to be similar. I won’t spend a Sunday in the United States this time when I go back. For that I am thankful. Three days seem just enough to dislike the place even more than I normally do.

But now it is this Sunday in Merida. A place I will miss somewhat but never return to. I think that fact gives me a sense of freedom that I choose where I go and where I return to. What I read news on or not. What little things grab me on a Sunday morning and the sun streaming through the window and door lets me find little moments that perhaps I take for granted. I remember sitting in a room in Phnom Penh or Taipei and hearing those cities come alive in the mornings but no place was like Hanoi. There each day was a rhythm of life and people. Here quiet resides on my Sunday.

I like both and the in-between parts. Happy Sunday.

To Starbucks we went

Tonight was fun! My friend Celia and I went to Starbucks for evening coffee and talking in a mix of my Spanish and her English. She’s a charming woman with the most beautiful grey blue eyes. She has a very inquisitive and charming heart and soul so drinking coffee with her becomes very nice as we share photos of places in Mexico and beyond. She loves to talk about Asia and asks a lot of questions about the people there, what life is like there, and whether I will come back to Merida ever. The last question is always the most difficult.

We always end up talking about favorite places and for me, the photos and peace and solitude and happiness at Bacalar had to be my place. I just felt like life was operating on no cylinders and did not not need to go in any direction at all. The lagoon after all does all that work for us. It changes colors to 7 sometimes from wonderful purples and almost pinks to dark and light blues. Like I’ve mentioned there is also the spirit of the place. Celia and I both agree that Bacalar is a magical place.

It is just the pace of life that gets us both there. There is the forever mañana of it all. I could stay months there and believe time was not in force at all. The days would just slide by even easier than here because when I finished with the morning coffee at a small cafe, I would probably amble down to the lagoon and drink a beverage or three and just watch the birds and the small boats glide by and find that sublime color touching so many parts of me.

We talk about all that in simpler terms and I think Mexican people get it all better than most. There is the sense of slowing down, of finding nothing, of going nowhere. Even here in busy Merida the last few days have been idyllic. In the middle of the rainy season, we were given two rather beautiful sunny days. The nights though cool off and to walk as the air wander through the streets and parks brings out the peace in my soul.

We agreed that this is kind of the state of Mexico but I think Yucatan especially is like this. Merida can be busy with donut shops and upscale malls but still there are quiet little streets and neighborhoods with stately homes I have never tired of finding. Homes like this one with tints of colors and age but still beauty and this solitary look. I love finding all the character of the homes here because each one has this unique feeling much like perhaps those that live in them.

Perhaps it is Starbucks that brings it all out. Siting with a beautiful woman with flashing grey blue eyes, a wonderful sense of humor. A woman my age that offers to drive me wherever I may want to go but we always start with coffee. Tonight we could not go to the Park de la Americas because I wanted to call my daughter. But we will meet with the family for dinner one night. Because that is another thing here. People love to eat and drink and laugh. Away from guns and conspiracy and bad news in the RSS feed.

And I’ll miss all that but where I am going is not back to a thing but forward. I’m pretty sure before then we will do coffee and then dinner again. Perhaps some Yucatecan food that she cooks or a nicer place out.

Starbucks is nice for a start though. Sometimes family is found in wonderful places and friendships come along for me only rarely. I think perhaps my six months in Merida has yielded both.

Catching the New Day

Morning here again! Birds singing and the two cats which hang out but do not live here have not visited yet. Last night I had decided to go for a little stroll in the neighborhood but ended up because it was just beautiful out staying longer and just wandering some streets I had not been before.

Usually by 7pm, the rains have either stopped or decided to start again. Just not last night. Instead it was simply beautiful out to just go down the streets. I got back at night and was still marveling at just how beautiful it had been out. See the clouds moving in. Making a statement!

That’s what I saw. I was so taken with this cloud formation, I posted on Mastodon. It just seemed so unreal and fantastic like a giant fan spreading out over Merida.

Now I’m catching a new day. Coffee has been made. I’m still poking around on Cloudways but I’m pretty happy there. I turned down the DigitalOcean droplet but did not delete it. I’ll leave it powered off a few days to just make sure life is good. Being off some self-maintained thing is a relief since I have hated managing the server since forever. The new day also promises time to get laundry done down the street and figuring out what food will be.

Most of all now it is hearing the morning sounds, back door open, quiet Merida morning in full view. It is amazing how much different this is than Hanoi or Phnom Penh or name the Asian city. In Hanoi by 5am, things were happening. Teams of itinerant roosters letting us all know they were in charge. Motorbikes cascading the alley. The mango fruit vendors calling out. Here all is quiet except for the rare car that goes down our street.

Catching a new day finally means realizing how fast my time is winding down in Mexico. 33 days now to go. I got here with no real plan last year. I came up with the plan to go to Asia in June after reading how the countries were opening. Now my time narrows and I can see this next thing arriving. Three days in the US to see my daughter and an old friend or two. Then I go. Cannot lie. I am eagerly anticipating going to Southeast Asia. Mexico has been fun but it is no Asia. I need that Edge. This Edge has been nice too though and I’ve had some good times here.

Just catching the new day. But the days left are one less.

Life is a second cup of coffee

I was sitting here this morning just about as usual for the first things first part of things. I like to read a little news in the mornings, listen to music, and the first cup of coffee seems to take me to other places and times I have sat and done about the same. I think I have sat in some hotels, airbnb places, airports and train and bus terminals too with coffee. It is the mornings though like now in Merida with the sun shining so brightly the the first coffee seems to make a statement. I don’t have any expensive habits with coffee. I can do instant coffee just as easily as a nice latte or like yesterday my stop for the Grande Cold Brew on my Starbucks Sunday. Today it slows down to hearing the host’s cat greeting me at my open back door. I fantasize the cat is talking to me. Maybe telling me about her day so far. How it feels so good to be outdoors in the mornings when the air is so sweet and cool. I could answer back and tell her that life is sweet and to take advantage of the morning she has. Then perhaps she would smile that feline smile. Nod at me and wander away to do her work or play in the backyard.

For me, I consider moving from the first coffee which kinda gets me going to having a second in the room which often lets me decide to not do anything I had thought of doing the previous day. No I won’t go to the sporting goods shop and look at walking shoes. No I won’t wonder whether blogging is here to stay for me. There is no wonder in that. I’m pretty committed. I won’t think on my decidedly fractured family or those friends from the other days. People from 20 some years doing IT and infrastructure and cloud services. I’ve come to realize that they all have drifted away somewhere between a first and second coffee decades ago or sooner.

Instead I can sit here and maybe share some random photo that google photos gives me. How about this one? Yeah some coffee somewhere.

I think this from Malaysia. Perhaps Melaka on my hunt for coffee.

Now though this morning it’s easier to find the second cup of kopi or I mean coffee. So many coffees so many places.

Anyways, it is the first wondrous day of an August. My last August in Mexico. I think my first August too since I left for Puerto Vallarta in September last year. Day One helps me there with the pertinent facts. I write a lot about morning coffees it seems when I search there for coffee. LOL.

So I will just move this along a bit to my second coffee in the room. Feel that Merida sunshine tell me secrets. Hear the cat meow to its family. Feel cooler mornings and know they give way to warmer days. I’ll populate the second coffee here with a nice muffin and fruit and do a lot more of the whole nothing thing.

Second cup of coffee. Yeah. Bring it on.

July ends

Another month sees fit to end for me. I went back and looked at some needs I have when I hit California for a few days. I hope to see my friend Sean on one of my three days but he has to come up from Santa Cruz so we will see. Also need the last booster shot. Found a few little things I want so I will probably get them.

The main thing is seeing my daughter I think and having a few American breakfast meals which I always miss. I will have something to pick up at the Amazon hub counter which is a handy way of getting stuff delivered. The nearest hub counter from my hotel is about a mile so I think a few small things there to get.

Finally there is 9 September and my sayonara song for the US. I’m reaching the point of wanting that long haul flight and the lay over for two hours in Korea. All told its 12 hours to Korea and then 5 to Phnom Penh. I will get in on 10 September at 1130pm so figure an hour to get the visa on arrival and get a taxi from the airport to downtown by the river. I decided to get this handy dandy e-sim for both the US and Cambodia so I have data when I get to both. Each place has a week plan for cheap. Once I get settled in Phnom Penh, easy matter to go to a Smart Store and get a monthly prepaid plan. Then I can top up the card from any store or even online. I have three weeks in Phnom Penh to do whatever it is I will do. Probably I will visit a few places I have not been in some years there. See a friend that owns a camera store. Try to find my friend AV.

But all that is after July and August ends folks. Now it is the last day of July and it is a Sunday. That means I take a nice walk to Starbucks later this morning and have my Sunday with grilled cheese and a cold brew coffee and then a longer walk back home. Kinda want to walk earlier so I miss the afternoon rain showers that seem to show up at 3pm or so each day.

Thinking Back

I happened to think back on last year. Perhaps it was July or so or August. I hopped the Amtrak California Zephyr train going east from Emeryville to its terminus in Chicago and spent days along the way at different stops. I bought the USA RailPass for this. Then I turned around and rode back to Los Angeles with a few stops in Albuquerque and Flagstaff. I spent a week in Albuquerque and a day and some in Flagstaff. Here’s a little going east. I posted different pictures on Mastodon :-). The trip east captured me easily and is probably worth a different blog post explaining the stops along the way. I’ll write something on that soon I think.

I do want to say riding the rails let me capture these moments that sometimes need no explanation. They are the view of a meandering rail voyage which seemed to always just move at my speed.

The travels are idyllic to say the least. Sitting in the observation car also let me find the scenes that make it the way. I also met people. Some interesting people going east. More on that later too.

Someone asked me once how to just go. Well, the answer is to just go. Don’t worry about arriving. That will take care of itself. For me, the main course has been going. Amtrak serves that up well for me.

But…

I’m done with Amtrak. I did two years of train travels. In 2020 across the US in almost both directions and then this 2021. I’ll leave you with a sunset from the train in 2020. Somewhere in New York State. Riding the rails. Hoboing the places and finding the vagabond always wanting to just go.

Bye bye for now.

Friday Thunder and maybe rain

It seems like it could rain today but as of yet, no drops have fallen. I’d like to get out and walk and then find things to take photos of because it is what I like doing. It does not have to be some astounding thing and it’s better if not because the world is not made of big things for me. I can find sunsets and architecture but I look more for the flowers dancing down the wall in almost a careless abandon.

Not taken today but it really frames the things I enjoy most about the going out and walking. There’s time enough for bridges and sunsets and dramatic scenes. What I do believe is our world is made instead of smaller things. Competing textures of flower and wall that both hold us back and make us go forward. There is a basic beauty to how these beautiful flowers and their texture touch the more granular texture of the wall. Each have compelling facets and features to touch, embrace, and feel.

So when I go out later today, I also go looking for the small things which make the world seem a little different. Not the big differences because we find those easily most often. The small things offer a view into a world of sights, sounds, flavors and textures.

Soon rain

I think it will rain this afternoon just maybe. Then the world freshens up too. Thunder in the distance but the skies are not totally dark. By 6pm I will go out. I’ll find things to take and share and perhaps look back on and be so glad I saved them. In truth, I never delete photos. All of them, even the mistakes, I save. I have unlimited storage on Smugmug so why delete a photo ever? I may come back to it in months because I remembered something or forgot and was just looking at the photo stream.

Now I can hear the wind picking up and the rain is gonna fall soon. The little flower probably dances in the wind and rain. The scene changes by the moment. Just like my perception of it. I’m thankful to the iPhone for always being ready to keep my moments. It has been all I need for years. The digital cameras came and went and most often went. I grew tired of their demands and limitations. Batteries and SD cards and chargers and apps to download the photos or cables. Instead, the iPhone became the instrument of my pleasure and desire.

Now with the rain I can stop for a moment and consider my walking. My dinner later hopefully after it rains but I also have food in my room to eat.

Friday moves on and I think the weather has changed. The sky darkens and the wind goes. The thunder talks.

Happy Friday you all. Find a moment to see the little things.

Letters from Vietnam

I have this dear friend P that lives in Vietnam. P is married to a Vietnamese woman with two children from a previous marriage. They have been together for years. His wife is totally dedicated to P and has this wonderful outlook on life with P. They walk together around Hanoi, take the kids to parks and playgrounds, and socialize like most Vietnamese do at coffee shops and cafes in their neighborhood.

P tells me stories about his day to day living in Hanoi quite often. The little things are big. Like meeting this older Vietnamese man who gave him a hat to wear at a local coffee shop. Now P wears the hat every day just in case he sees the man over coffee or beers. He has not yet.

At the same coffee shop P met a wonderful and engaging Vietnamese woman that talked with him about America, asked questions about this life in Vietnam, and invited P and his wife to dinner. P’s wife is a chef and does food and market tours in Hanoi plus teaching cooking. They both felt so wonderful a vibe from the woman.

It is easy to remember back to my last years living in Vietnam and how many of these letters and messages I got. The kids running up and wanting pictures taken, young people stopping me and asking about life in America, old people gently discussing with google translate my life there in Vietnam then.

Letters that never end from a country that seems to always offer yet another thing around a corner, down a block. This is one of the reasons I decided to start a SubStack newsletter plus blog about what I see as I go back. Each one offers some kind of memory mechanism. But more than memories, each one gives me this mechanism to write and create new stories about my forever going. Visiting and finding the people. But just visiting.

The truth is I cannot just live in Vietnam. That’s probably the one thing that stings but I also realize that I am a wanderer and vagabond and living somewhere will never satisfy me. So I will publish these letters, these thoughts, the stories here and when I get going on SubStack. I’ve created a backlog of things I want to publish on the blog. Ideas about the places I can go both in Asia and in 2023. I see the outlines somewhat vague now of going after a year spent finding Asia. Visiting Malaysia and Singapore. Laos and Vietnam. Finding my way in Cambodia again to so many places and finding old friends.

I miss those places and in 40 some days I’ll renew the acquaintance. To say I am getting anxious about leaving is an understatement. I wrote in my Day One I am done here. There is nothing more to get or give. I want to go back and see my daughter again because my sensation is this time is it for me. There is no coming back to the US this time. There is nothing for me in the US. No one or many things that hold or endear me to the country. It is just another place I spent time, worked for decades, divorced and then found my way out of.

I was very taken with P’s simple language and his stories. He has many of just living in Vietnam. Sometimes over beers(s) we get to them because each one brings out a memory or we remember time spent together in Hanoi at some restaurant or coffee shop or maybe at his house eating wonderful foods from Vietnam and elsewhere.

Stories to tell. Letters to write. Places to go.

Just around the corner! Most of all thanks P for the words and love from the family. I have so many Vietnamese moms. I am blessed many times over.

Sunlight mornings and stormy evenings

Seems so wonderful the weather these days in Merida. I went out yesterday in the morning for some groceries. WalMart Express which is a smaller incarnation of the store is across the street and I really like their fresh fruits and bakery items. Down the street is a Super called Soriana in the mall I visit often. The food there is different but I like some of the fruit better. Right now as it happens, Dragon Fruit are in season so there are people selling them all over. I hope to see this young guy down the street selling them again.

and then…

The weather turns. By mid afternoon, say at 3pm, the clouds roll in and the storm starts. Yesterday from about 3pm to 7pm we had the weather so I listened to audiobooks, wrote a bit, wandered around on the web. By 630 or so with dusk approaching it got better so I headed out because I need to walk every day so I feel good. I had some things to think on as well and movement seems to always ease the process for me.

Anyways there were big puddles but I could find no really cool reflections to take photos of. In my neighborhood are all these streets arranged almost in a grid pattern where one walk in a direction and see the odd and even number streets sometimes in completely random order. Like I find a Calle 30 and then next to it is Calle 10 or something. Confusing? Well it helps to have google maps which is what just about everyone here uses. This happens most every day to me and I always laugh when one street has three different road signs with different numbers.

But now it is today and its simply gorgeous out. Today I do the laundry thing. Down the street a few blocks is my local lavanderia. I pay about $3 for next day service but I always tip them. My clothes come back clean and fresh the next day. Then after that perhaps tacos down the street or I will do something else. I like sitting in the mall but you probably know that already. It is an easy place to go sit and accomplish nothing.

Anyways, that is my day and some reflection on weather, streets, and wandering here.

meeting the times

I decided today to spend a bit of time with some audiobooks on YouTube. It’s easy to find so many wonderful books. Short stories, Sherlock Holmes novels, ghost stories. So many great times to just listen to some quality narrators of some classic stories. As an example. Today I queued up The Time Machine by HG Wells. Read by a wonderful story teller the book has always hinted at deeper and darker meanings for our race on time. This traveler finds worlds so worth visiting but captured in words.

These stories are all free and the story tellers often do this for the love of the word.

So I sat marveling at the wonderful way words move us. From a machine taking a man to worlds to Arthur Conan Doyle telling us about the wonder of Holmes.

All of these excursions are free for the searching on YouTube. I sometimes spend hours listening to them. Finding common ground with a Dickens story told fresh.

Today the storms sped up. The rain fell. Lightning and thunder sounded across the city I was safe. Perhaps walking some dark alley with Holmes and Watson on the trail of a mystery.

Wonderful times. Words are power.