Sunday, October 20, 2019

There is nothing like the fresh smell of sunshine-dried clothing!

Isla laundry day 

Driving around the Isla Mujeres on a sunny day you may notice many houses have a clothesline strung across the front, festooned with brightly coloured clothing snapping in the Caribbean breeze. It’s a custom that is acceptable in many European, Mexican, and Latin American countries where clothes drying from rooftops and balconies is an art form. Yet, in other countries it is considered to be vulgar, or low-class to hang your laundry on the line.

Venice Italy 
How odd that standards have changed so dramatically since I was an elementary-aged kid, tasked with hanging the sheets, pillowcases, and garments on our backyard clothesline. 
In the warmer months it was a pleasant task, but in the winter months, we also had below freezing temperatures that created havoc with wash day. 
I remember laboriously hanging the laundry on the line and then a few hours later being directed by my mom to remove the stiff, frozen items as the temperature rapidly plummeted.

Isla - solar-drying
Here in Mexico, islanders who use a clothesline also learn to keep an experienced eye on the weather. A sudden squall off of the ocean can ruin a day’s work in a few minutes – soaking the clothes, delaying the drying time, or entirely shutting down washday if the rain settles in for a few hours. 
When we first moved to Isla in 2007, I was entranced by the idea of line-drying our sheets and towels. I asked our builder, Patricio Yam, to install a roof-top line for me. Then for the next six months I trundled up to the roof, carting my freshly washed linens, happily pinning them to the line.  
Venice Italy

Ah, fresh sun-dried sheets!  An hour later I would return to remove the laundry … to find everything wrapped like fat sausages around the line, over and over and over again. Still wet. The Caribbean breezes had been playing games. 

Eventually after fighting the wind and rusty clothes pegs that left non-removal marks on everything white or light coloured – I gave up. I now use our propane-fired dryer. It’s not the healthiest option for the environment, but on the windy side of the island it’s the one that works best for me.
Environmentally friendly solar-drying 
Solar drying – yes, that’s the new socially-acceptable name for airing your gonchies in public – has many environmental and financial benefits. Of all common household appliances, electric clothes dryers are second only to refrigerators in energy consumption. 
France - not allowed in the snooty neighbourhoods.
A natural gas or propane dryer is cheaper to operate but electricity is still required to rotate the drum. 
So, why have some communities or individual strata-developments banned line-drying? 

The most widely quoted reason is, “to ensure aesthetics and make sure that the common areas and look of the building is kept neat and clean at all times.” 
There’s no arguing with tastes, but clotheslines can be beautiful. They are flags of freedom; freedom from dirty energy and expensive power bills.
Hopefully the colourful clotheslines on Isla Mujeres won’t disappear entirely. They are so much a part of Isla’s character.

Cheers from paradise!


Murder and mayhem
Revenge and romance in paradise!
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Moving on up ... Treasure Isla #13 on the Mexico Writers Sunday list

The Sunday list from Mexico Writers: Treasure Isla Book #1 of my Isla Mujeres Mystery novels hit #13 on the list. All five of my Isla Mujeres Mystery novels made the top 100. Thank you everyone for your support. Cheers from Lynda and Sparky (AKA The Sparkinator)

Mikel Miller to Mexico Writers
Lots of jiggle in the Oct. 20 Sunday snapshot of 100 top paid Kindle sales rankings by members of Mexico Writers. Nice jumps by Catherine MarenghiDv BerkomIoan GrilloLynda L. LockJoseph TooneSabrina DevonshireDianne RomainMark StatmanBonnie Lee BlackPhyllis Porter RauchRon Mumford. and Maya Frost. Congrats to all!
1. House of Broken Angels – Luis Alberto Urrea
2. Dreamland – Sam Quinones
3. Just A Happy Camper (Hetta Coffey Series, Book 11) – Jinx Schwartz
4. Glad Farm: A Memoir – Catherine Marenghi
5. A Killing Truth: A Leine Basso Thriller – Dv Berkom
6. Hetta Coffey Collection Boxed Set Books 1-4 – Jinx Schwartz
7. Just Follow the Money (Hetta Coffey Series, Book 9) – Jinx Schwartz
8. Just Add Water (Hetta Coffey Series, Book 1) – Jinx Schwartz
9. Bad Traffick: A Leine Basso Thriller – Dv Berkom
10. Baja Get Away – Jinx Schwartz
11. Just For The Birds (Hetta Coffey Series, Book 10) – Jinx Schwartz
12. El Narco: Inside Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency – Ioan Grillo
13. Treasure Isla (Isla Mujeres Mystery Series Book 1) – Lynda L. Lock
14. Dakota Burn: A Leine Basso Thriller – Dv Berkom
15. The Devil's Highway: A True Story – Luis Alberto Urrea
16. Just Pardon My French (Hetta Coffey Series, Book 8) – Jinx Schwartz
17. Millionaire Expat: How to Build Wealth Living Overseas – Andrew Hallam
18. The Hummingbird's Daughter – Luis Alberto Urrea
19. Cargo: A Leine Basso Thriller – DV Berkom
20. The Body Market: A Leine Basso Thriller – Dv Berkom
21. Why We Left: An Anthology of American Women Expats (Janet Blaser, Author; with Dianne Hofner SaphiereKerry WatsonJudy Whitaker, and 23 others)
22. Gangster Warlords – Ioan Grillo
23. Just Different Devils (Hetta Coffey Series, Book 7) – Jinx Schwartz
24. Millionaire Teacher (2ndedition) – Andrew Hallam
25. The Lady in Gold – Anne-Marie O'Connor
26. Leine Basso Thrillers Box Set (Books 1-3) – Dv Berkom
27. Just Deserts (Hetta Coffey Series, Book 4) – Jinx Schwartz
28. Just Add Trouble (Hetta Coffey Series, Book 3) – Jinx Schwartz
29. Rain of Gold – Victor Villasenor
30. San Miguel de Allende Secrets: Day of the Dead with Skeletons, Witches and Spirit Dogs – Joseph Toone
31. The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul – Deborah Rodriguez
32. Absolution: A Leine Basso Thriller – Dv Berkom
33. Taken (Elite SEALs Book 1) – Sabrina Devonshire
34. Mary Magdalene: The Life and Legacy of the Woman Who Witnessed the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus – Gustavo Vazquez
35. The Santa Muerte: The Origins, History, and Secrets of the Mexican Folk Saint – Gustavo Vazquez
36. The Lost Books of the Old Testament – Gustavo Vazquez
37. The Everything Craps Strategy Book – Larry Edell
38. A One Way Ticket to Dead: Kate Jones Thriller #7 – Dv Berkom
39. Dark Return: A Leine Basso Thriller – Dv Berkom
40. Queen of America: A Novel – Luis Alberto Urrea
41. Trouble Isla (Isla Mujeres Mystery Series Book 2) – Lynda L. Lock
42. Serial Date: A Leine Basso Thriller – Dv Berkom
43. Just the Pits (Hetta Coffey Series, Book 5) – Jinx Schwartz
44. Just Needs Killin’ (Hetta Coffey Series, Book 6) – Jinx Schwartz
45. The Trumpet Lesson – Dianne Romain
46. Into the Heart of Mexico: Expatriates Find Themselves Off the Beaten Path – John Scherber
47. Millionaire Teacher (1stedition) – Andrew Hallam
48. Our First Lady Pope – Victor Villasenor
49. The Apocryphal Gospels: The History of the New Testament Apocrypha Not Included in the Bible – Gustavo Vazquez
50. The Shadow Queen – Sandra Gulland
51. The Nag Hammadi Library – Gustavo Vazquez
52. Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing – Ted Conover
53. Just Add Salt (Hetta Coffey Series, Book 2) – Jinx Schwartz
54. Poet in New York: A Bilingual Edition – Pablo Medina and Mark Statman
55. Beyond Rain of Gold – Victor Villasenor
56. Russian Mojito (Detective Emilia Cruz Book 7) – Carmen Amato
57. The Routes of Man – Ted Conover
58. Distant Neighbors: A Portrait of the Mexicans – Alan Riding
59. Pancho Villa: The Life and Legacy of the Famous Mexican Revolutionary- Gustavo Vazquez
60. The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. – Sandra Gulland
61. Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico (Book 1) – Terry L. Terry L Turrell
62. Into the Beautiful North – Luis Alberto Urrea
63. Big Brown: The Untold Story of UPS – Greg Niemann
64. Jamie’s Muse – Bonnie Lee Black
65. 43 Missing (Detective Emilia Cruz Book 6) – Carmen Amato
66. Fairy Tales: The Origins, History, and Interpretations of the World’s Most Famous Fairy Tales – Gustavo Vazquez
67. The Mission Walker – Edie Littlefield Sundby
68. Unlikely Warrior: A Jewish Soldier in Hitler’s Army – Georg Rauch & Phyllis Porter Rauch
69. Diablo Nights (Detective Emilia Cruz Book 3) – Carmen Amato
70. The English Speaker’s Guide to Medical Care in Mexico – Monica Rix Paxson
71. Hat Dance (Detective Emilia Cruz Book 2) – Carmen Amato
72. The Last Deception: A Leine Basso Thriller – Dv Berkom
73. King Peso (Detective Emilia Cruz Book 4) – Carmen Amato
74. Pacific Reaper (Detective Emilia Cruz Book 5) – Carmen Amato
75. Cuisine and Empire – Rachel Laudan
76. First Stop in the New World – David Lida
77. Troubled Sea – Jinx Schwartz
78. The Secret Wife – Janice Campbell-Paul
79. Mexico City: An Opinionated Guide – Jim Johnston
80. The Art of Ritual: Creating and Performing Ceremonies for Growth and Change – Sydney Metrick
81. The Risotto Guru: Adventures in Eating Italian – Laura Fraser
82. Finding Your Soul Mate, God's Way – Ron Mumford
83. Terror Isla (Isla Mujeres Mystery Book 5) – Lynda L. Lock
84. Land of Mountains – Jinx Schwartz
85. The Global Expatriate's Guide to Investing – Andrew Hallam
86. Yucatán Dead: A Kate Jones Thriller (Kate Jones Thrillers Book 6) – Dv Berkom
87. Burro Genius – Victor Villasenor
88. The New Global Student – Maya Frost
89. Quixote: The Novel and the World – Ilan Stavans
90. The Kate Jones Thriller Series, Vol. 1 – Dv Berkom
91. The Art of Political Murder – Francisco Goldman
92. In the Time of the Jacarandas – Michael Hogan
93. The Hidden Light of Mexico City – Carmen Amato
94. Kabul Beauty School – Deborah Rodriguez
95. Baja Legends – Greg Niemann
96. Native State: A Memoir – Tony Cohan
97. Temptation Isla (Isla Mujeres Mystery Book 4) – Lynda L. Lock
98. Tormenta Isla: Isla Mujeres Mystery #3 – Lynda L. Lock
99. Rich Notary, Poor Notary (Home Based Business Book I) – George Puckett
100. Cliff Diver (Detective Emilia Cruz Book 1) – Carmen Amato

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Why did you move to Mexico?

Crazy ladies - celebrating Deb's birthday at Rosa Sirena's. 
Whenever I first meet a new visitor their questions are frequently the same, starting with; why did you move to Mexico?
The answer to that question is simple, Lawrie and I loved the Mexican culture; plus living on a tropical island, just minutes away from big-city amenities was a bonus. 
We built our home in 2007 and fell in love with turquoise water, the pleasant oceanfront temperatures of between 20 degrees C (70F) and 33 degrees C (95F), the food, and the people.  
Looking back towards Cancun from Isla.
The community of Isla Mujeres is close to the City of Cancun, only 20 minutes via water taxi (passengers only ferry), or about 45 minutes via a car ferry to the mainland. The island has an active group of retired, semi-retired, or still working foreigners from US, Canada, and Europe. There is always someone available anytime you need company, or a few laughs, or a good meal. With the explosion of new high-end eateries, you and your friends can sample their menus and not repeat your choices for months.

Chedraui grocery store. 
Isla Mujeres also has a variety of small stores that specialize in fresh chickens, pork, vegetables, fruit or general groceries.  In 2011 a Chedraui Super Store opened giving the islanders a larger range of food, wine, and baked goods. 
Cancun with a population of approximately 900,000 has the obligatory shopping centers, big chains such as Costco, Mega Commercial, Soriana's, Home Depot, Sam's Club and Walmart. You can find pretty much anything you want, but maybe not every time. The stock changes with the seasons of the year, as well as during gringo-season when the northern home owners return to their tropical homes.
More of my wacky, wonderful American friends.
Turkey, cranberry sauce and canned pumpkin typically start appearing again in late October in time for the American Thanksgiving celebrations and Christmas. Not many store owners have figured out that Canadian Thanksgiving is in early October. It’s today, actually, and our feast features pretty much the same foods. The original immigrants to both Canada and the USA came from the same ethnic backgrounds. 
Back in the 1700’s and 1800’s my immigrant ancestors settled in what became Nova Scotia, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan in Canada, plus the future American states of Maine, Indiana, and Louisiana. I suppose I could celebrate both Thanksgivings, but that would be too much of a good thing.
Dr. Greta Shorey - housecall
On Isla, there a several English-speaking doctors and dentists. The doctors in Mexico still make house calls, and their services won’t break the bank. If you have a serious medical issue Cancun has several excellent and affordable hospitals staffed with American-trained doctors.
There are also numerous well-trained dental surgeons who specialize in dental tourism such as Dentaris in Cancun.
You can get your dental work done, in between tanning and quaffing margaritas. Their driver shuttles the patients from their hotels, the airport, or at any of the passenger ferry docks to their clinic on Bonampak Avenue in Cancun.
And when you want to visit family, friends, or another foreign country, Cancun has easy air access to and from major airports, worldwide.
Sparky enjoying a swim in October.
However, it’s not always margaritas and sunshine. Sometimes things just don’t work out as planned. 
The local water and sewerage company spent the entire summer digging up the road on both sides of the island to install new water connections to the many large homes being built in the Punta Sur area.
Then the second part of the contract was to connect those new homes to the sewer system. The new trench was dug right through the water and the electrical connections, cutting off all services to many homes and blocking their driveways. 

It’s a nightmare for the home owners.
The nightmare!

If you plan to retire here, come with an open heart and a sense of humour, otherwise the administrative silliness will make you crazy. 

I know there are some people who just can't live in Mexico. There are couples that break up because one of them can embrace the culture, but the other one can't and returns back north.  

It’s Mexico! Stuff happens!
Cheers from paradise.

You Won’t Be Able to Put This One Down!

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Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Free today! Treasure Isla, e-book on Amazon

A thrilling tropical whodunit! 

You won’t be able to put this one down.

Grab your copy before it gets away!
Free October 8th 2019 only until 4:30 p.m. MST

Free today only October 8th until 4:30 p.m. MST - on Amazon

5.0 out of 5 stars  A must read!
March 27, 2019
I loved this book from start to finish! Isla is one of my favorite places in Mexico and it is so fun to read about actual places I have been to on the island in the book. I highly recommend reading this if you like humor, romance, and mystery all rolled into one!

Turquoise water of Caribbean Sea - north beach
J. Forness
5.0 out of 5 stars Treasure Isla
July 4, 2019
Wow... what a fun story about my favorite Island (Isla Mujeres). After having traveled to Isla many times over the last 20 years, it was such fun to read...Treasure Isla... Lynda's talent will put you right back on this special island reliving all the places you have been and more you will want to explore after reading the girls adventures with their rescue dog Sparky. What a delight. Hats off to the author Lynda Lock. I look forward to reading more in this series.

This is a clue! 
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun Read!!
August 6, 2019
I have traveled to Isla Mujeres many, many times. I just finished Treasure Isla and felt like I almost took a trip back there. It was cool to picture in my head the many places that are mentioned in this book that I personally have been to. Besides being a Mystery, it was funny, too. Already have started reading Trouble Isla, the next in the series and it is just as good. Very enjoyable read for sure!

#tropicaladventure #caribbeantreasurehunt #rescuedogs #humorandadventure

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Sunday, October 6, 2019

Walking in the colourful and chaotic colonias!

Colourful and chaotic!  

Yesterday was hair day! My favourite stylist Amaranta Ancona Cervera plus her son, baby daughter, and hubby had recently moved to Izamal, an old colonial city near Mérida. 
She was back on the island for a quick visit and offered to cut and colour my fading, curly mess. I walked two blocks south, towards her abuelo and abuela’s casa, for my appointment.
Katy's Isla Retreats 
Walking to their house I passed Katy Hochmayr’s Isla Retreats, Dental Splash, Francisco’s Tapiceria Isla Mujeres (upholstery), the office of the orthopedic surgeon Doctor Jorge Ávila Barbosa, Karen Davis’ Hacienda B&B, Coco Jaguar Restaurant, La Chatita Restaurant, Delfino’s Clínica Veterinaria, Orlando’s golf cart repair service, my favourite fruit and veggie store owned by the Rivera-Lizama family, and the nighttime barbeque take-out place. 
Locals who saw me walking past, waved, shouted a greeting in Spanish, or stopped to give me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. I love living in this friendly culture.
Clínica Veterinaria
Somewhere in this same block are a couple of butchers; one the specializes in pork, the other in fresh chickens. 
A little further on is a laundry service, a tortilla bakery, and multiple tiny stores that offer primarily snacks and beverages. The smells of soap, baking tortillas, and fresh produce are a tantalizing mix.
This neighbourhood is called Salina Chica, and it is crammed with small homes and even smaller businesses. For the most part these stores are around 10 feet by 10 feet in size, and stacked floor to ceiling with an eclectic mix of goods. 
Rivera-Lizama family store
Most of the businesses have owners’ residences or additional rental units attached either in the back or above the tienda. Their minuscule yards frequently contain noisy roosters and clucky hens, or an assortment of cats and dogs. 
In this neighbourhood people walk a few doors to buy their bread, tomatoes, onions, peppers, or tortillas from friends. Items are sold in small quantities to help people who have a limited amount of cash. We once saw a cute little girl buying one disposable diaper for her baby sister.
Isla Brewing - red building. Too far  away for Sparky!
Walking in the Mexican colonias is nostalgic for me. The neighbourhood reminds me of the European towns that Lawrie and I loved to explore, where everything was available within a few blocks. Now, if Isla Brewing was located in this area, life would be perfect, but alas it is further south necessitating a short golf cart ride.
Sure, I could easily manage the three blocks there and back but my almost-famous pooch Sparky would be severely displeased. In his world, he is to be included whenever possible. However, there are a number of dogs that live in and wander freely through this area. Some are noisy barkers or heel bitters. Some can be quite aggressive to a strange dog. And all of them are jealous of his star-status. Sparky prefers to ride in comfort and grin cheekily at the other dogs who don’t have their own personal golf cart and driver.
Karen's La Hacienda B&B 
On my way to get my hair fixed, I stopped at the Sayer paint store to buy a small container of patching compound to fill in a couple of dings in the walls. Short, strong guys moving heavy furniture don’t always see when a table leg is about to connect with the plaster wall. Then with my purchase in hand I continued along the street to Casa Wandy.
At the top of the stairs I was greeted by a cute little guy who looked about seven-years-old. He was tasked with watching for the gringa, to make sure she wouldn’t get lost trying to find Amaranta’s temporary location. Island friend Katie Cain was ahead of me, getting purdy, before her trip back to the US to visit family. Katie and I gossiped as Amaranta completed the assortment of nasty smelling, unattractive processes that women, and some men, suffer through on a regular basis. I was grateful that I knew Katie well enough to relax and forget how ridiculous I looked with my hair poking up in gloopy tufts.

More colour! 
While we were yakking, Amaranta reminded us that we should be conversing in Spanish to practice our language skills. I agreed, but also admitted that when I see a gringa's face, my brain can only remember English words. It’s a problem. I try to learn new words, and torture my Spanish-speaking friends with my mangled pronunciation but frequently a few days later the words have leaked out of my brain. When I was a high school student in Canada, French was mandatory because Canada is officially a bilingual country. However, after five years of studying I was no more fluent with French than I am now with my meager Spanish. It is what it is. I keep learning, and I keep forgetting.

Ninety minutes later I retraced my steps. When I arrived home, Sparky gave me a good sniff, checking for clues as to where I had been. With his terrific nose, I am certain he could have listed in sequential order all of the places that I walked past.


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Come join the adventure. 

There is nothing like the fresh smell of sunshine-dried clothing!

Isla laundry day  Driving around the Isla Mujeres on a sunny day you may notice many houses have a clothesline strung across the front...