One Sunny Day in Chabihau

Our New Years 2014 trip to the fishing village of Chabihau was downright depressing.

I talk about our trips to Chabihau a lot. We have land there now and it’s just the perfect little place to relax and leave everything behind. However, those of you who follow the Gringation Facebook page and all my amigos here in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula know that the past 7 months or so have been filled with mind-blowing amounts of rain, flooding, discomfort and general dreariness. As bad luck would have it, the rain followed us to Chabihau a few weeks ago. We spent 5 days there, most of which I spent stuck inside Jorge’s parents’ Chabihau house (which right now is just a concrete cube with a few walls, a bed and a bathroom) working at least 8 hours a day and trying to get out of bed as little as possible because our room was partially flooded. It was the first time in 7 years that I even realized there’s no TV there. I really could have used some TV that week.

Sunday was the only nice day we had during that trip, and it was just so lovely. The sun came out a little, so I made Jorge go on an afternoon walk with me around Chabihau. Not much to say here, so here come the pictures I took:

 

At the end of the walk, we stopped by the beach. Sadly, the beach has been largely swept away by hurricanes. I am told it used to be amazing and the water was crystal clear a number of years ago. The first row of homes was even taken out by a hurricane, so the homes you see on the beach now used to be almost a block from the ocean! Mother Nature isn’t always kind, I guess.

 

And last but not least, my favorite picture of the day! I dunno why… I think it’s the combination of the path, the scenery and the sheep.

What’s the Difference Between a Timba and a Machacado?

During our trips to the village of Chabihau, we love to stop by and visit Tía Ofelia and Tío Cance for some timbas and machacados. (They’re not really tíos. They’re second cousins.) They own a little shop right by the entrance into town, with sand floors and 3 tables.

This trip, I decided to document the process because I haven’t seen these anywhere else, although I’m sure they exist somewhere.

 

Jorge and I spotted the mamey fruit sitting on the right side of the fruit shelf, so he opted for a timba de mamey while I chose the healthier machacado de mamey.

First, Ofelia scoops the fruit into a glass.

 

Then mashes it up with a mazo (wooden stick used in the kitchen for mashing things… that’s my official definition)

 

Next (my favorite part), Cance gets out the ice shaver…

 

…and puts a block of shaved ice into each glass.

 

Ofelia then pours a little vanilla into the mix.

 

The next part is what sets the timbas apart from the machacados: Jorge’s timba gets a sizeable dose of La Lechera cream, while my machacado gets zip.

 

To top it all off, another scoop of shaved ice!

 

Aaaand voila! The best beach snack ever.

 

So Now I’m the Proud Owner of 4 Coconut Trees…

A few more pics from our weekend in Chabihau. We stopped by our land to do some scouting, and ended up getting some coconuts from our palm trees. (Ok, Jorge and his cousin got them while I took pictures.)

 

Back at Jorge’s aunt’s house, my suegro was kind enough to grab his machete and chop open a hole in one of the coconuts so we could try some coconut water.

 

I was pretty proud because everyone was saying how our coconut water was some of the sweetest they’d ever had! I drank it straight this time, but Jorge’s uncles tell me it tastes great with ice and vodka. Duly noted.

 

My suegro was in the mood for some carne de coco (the inside part that you eat… not sure what it’s called in English), so he carved some out and ate it during the car ride back to Cancun.

 

Have you guys tried fresh coconut water before? 

We Bought Land!!

Jorge and I have been considering buying land in the village of Chabihau for a few years. Our dream is to build a small vacation villa there so we can someday spend more time there relaxing, eating freshly caught fish and hanging out with Jorge’s extended family.

Two weekends ago, we went to Chabihau to check out a piece of land we heard was for sale. Turns out it wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for, so Jorge’s second cousin took us around town to see all the lots for sale. We weren’t overly impressed by any of them (lots of work to do!), but we came across one that we fell in love with at first sight.

This past weekend, Jorge traveled to Merida to sign all the paperwork, and now it’s ours, all ours!!

Chabihau is a beach town, but we’ve always preferred the view of the lagoon, so our main priority was a lagoonfront property. I think we got it right.

Looking at the picture below, it covers everything from the barbed wire fence on the left to the palm trees by the car on the right. (10 meters wide, 25 meters long)

 

Several friends have already mentioned that it looks perfect for camping. We hate camping, but anyone else is welcome! haha

Time to Save Up My Pesos

Not much to say here, just wanted to share some pics.

On our recent weekend in Chabihau, we drove to the edge of town to look at some new houses. Even though it’s a teeny tiny Mexican fishing village, in the past 2 years lots of expats have started to build some nice expensive beach houses in Chabihau.

I shared some other Chabihau house pics here, but here are the new builds we saw last week…

House #1 and its private beach

House #2 (it’s possible that I got distracted  by the flowers on the fence, but you get the idea)

Which one do you like best?

Escaping to Chabihau

I’ve talked about cutting the Rosca de Reyes and some culture shock on our way to our destination, but I haven’t gotten around to showing ya’ll the other pictures from our weekend visiting Jorge’s family in the small fishing village of Chabihau, Yucatan. I was still playing around with my new camera so not all the pictures are perfect, but I love them anyway.

Enjoy looking at our little piece of quiet paradise. 🙂

Jorge's cousins

Jorge's cousins

Hurricane Wilma wiped out all of the beachfront houses back in 2005. Here's an abandoned one that used to be set right on the beach.

There were tons of pelicans on the lagoon that weekend

Jorge and his dad

Jorge's uncle is a fisherman and his aunt makes the greatest fresh seafood. Here's friend fish and a bowl of my favorite: spicy chilpachole soup!

I love Chabihau because it’s so unlike anywhere I’ve ever been. The people are friendly, everybody knows everybody, there’s no schedule, ocean breezes are everywhere, all kinds of birds fly around (flamingos, pelicans, seagulls), there’s always freshly caught seafood, we spend 99% of our time outdoors and I can completely forget about work and stress.

Where’s your “happy place”?

Año Viejo: New Year’s Tradition in Yucatan

For New Years, we once again went to the fishing village of Chabihau in the state of Yucatan to visit Jorge’s family. This year there was even a wedding! Jorge’s cousin Yeni (pronounced like “Jenny”) got married to her long-time beau, Armando.

We also did some crocodile watching out on Chabihau's salt lagoon

I’d heard before about a special tradition in the Yucatan known as “Año Viejo” (“Old Year”), but this year was the first time I got to see it. On our ride from Cancun to Chabihau, we passed through several villages that had dummies set out by the front gate of the homes. These dummies are known as “Años Viejos“, and they’re filled with rockets and fireworks.

Read that again… rockets and fireworks.

On December 31, the Año Viejo dummies are set out by the front door, and at midnight they’re ignited in the street to represent the end of the “Old Year”. Make sure to keep your distance! It can get pretty loud.

An "Año Viejo" in the town of Cansahcab, Yucatan

From what I could gather from Jorge’s family, it seems Año Viejo is a popular tradition throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, as well as in the state of Veracruz.

Since I was at the wedding at midnight, I didn’t get to see the Año Viejo lit up this year, even though we did have some regular fireworks and sparklers. Oh well, there’s always next year!

What did you do for New Year’s?

Yucatan’s Fishing Villages Are Making Money

Set on the Gulf of Mexico, Yucatan’s northern coast is filled with small towns and fishing villages, each with their own charm and natural beauty. In this region, you’ll find brightly-colored salt lagoons, refreshing cenotes, palm tree forests, small Mayan ruins, tiny restaurants serving freshly caught seafood, relaxing beaches and even migrating herds of flamingos in the summertime. Several of Mexico’s most popular celebrities have even built luxurious homes in this secluded and tranquil area.

The local villages are home to hard-working fishermen as well as vacation homes owned mostly by tourists from the nearby colonial city of Merida. In the past couple of years, however, this breathtaking area has fallen under the eye of home buyers and tourists from other parts of Mexico and the world.

The town of San Crisanto has begun to take full advantage of its stunning natural attractions, opening a new tourist center where guests can explore the salt lagoon and purchase tickets for a fascinating mangrove and cenote tour.

San Crisanto's new tourist center

Dzonot Tzik cenote in San Crisanto

In the neighboring village of Chabihau, foreign travelers have begun to use local builders to construct immense vacation homes right by the beach, drawn to the area by the charming, friendly and quiet atmosphere. These homes also help to create permanent jobs, as most owners hire locals from Chabihau as caretakers for the property while they’re gone.

This beautiful compound-style home has been recently built, with several buildings set around a sand-filled courtyard.

A new beachside vacation home under construction

This multi-level beach home caught my eye, with several open-air terraces, palapas and pergolas.

As a frequent visitor to this area, I’m excited to see that others are finally beginning to discover it and help the economy grow. The Gulf coast of the state of Yucatan is filled with fascinating attractions that the locals are thrilled to share with anyone passing through.

Where would you build your dream vacation home?

Disclosure:  I am being compensated for my work in creating and managing content as a Community Manager for the Mexico Today Program.  All stories, opinions and passion for all things Mexico shared here are completely my own.

Father's Day in Chabihau

**Note: If I normally follow you and I haven’t commented on your blog in a few weeks, it’s because about 1/3 of the blogs I follow have been strangely blocked on this computer. Trying to figure out what’s going on…**

Ok, I am a horrible blogger! But it’s been a pretty busy month, which is awesome. I still haven’t shared my photos from my trip to Chabihau, Yucatan with you, and that was almost TWO WEEKS AGO. For shame. We went to the towns of Chabihau and Yobain for Father’s Day to visit Jorge’s family, and it was relaxing as usual!

The best tamales I ever had!

Jorge in his natural habitat… in front of the table.

Happy dogs!

flamingos 🙂 That's as close as they get, though.

Arrow!

"chilpachole de langosta" with lobster Jorge's uncle caught that morning... HUGE!!

A new beach house in Chabihau... I'm going to steal it.

Just Thursday

Just Thursday again!
Outside my window.. 80 degrees and sunny! Beautiful 🙂 Hope this weather holds up over the weekend!
Today I feel.. tired because I stayed up until 2 am last night watching Survivor and Glee.
I am thinking.. about whether Boston Rob will finally win this time. His tribe is just so clueless…
I am thankful.. that I finally found dill pickles here in Mexico. God bless you, Walmart.
Tomorrow I am going.. to do laundry at my in-laws house. Exciting, right?
I am wearing.. my work uniform.
I wish.. that I didn’t have to work today. It feels like it should be the weekend already!
My schedule this week includes.. gym today, packing tonight then watching Amazing Race with Jorge, sending 2 of the dogs to the groomers tomorrow, then doing laundry tomorrow night.
I need to start.. dieting a little better. I’ve been going to the gym and eating a little better, but it’s very slow going. Still, in 1 and a half months my measurements have gone down!
Chest and back: 2.5 cm
Waist: 0.5 cm
Abs: 0 cm
Hips: 3 cm
Thigh: 3 cm
Arms: 3 cm
I am reading.. The Ugly American by Eugene Burdick and William Lederer. A coworker found a 1960s edition of the book, IN SPANISH. Time to step up my vocabulary 🙂 Here’s a picture of the book… the fact that it’s old makes me feel smarter.
I am working on.. translations for work.
Yesterday I.. went to the gym, watched Dr. Phil, went to Walmart and Sams Club to buy our dispensa, then watched Survivor and Glee.
I am hoping.. to have a productive day at work today. I really need it!
I bet you didn’t know.. Ok, remember the post from last week about finances? Well, we had YET ANOTHER unexpected expense this month. Turns out now that I’m married I have to upgrade my visa to an FM2 status… which costs $280. Luckily this is something I knew I had to pay for in July… but I wasn’t expecting to pay it in March! Again, we’re lucky to have the money, but GRRRRR this is frustrating!
This weekend.. we’re taking a bunch of our friends to Chabihau to celebrate our civil wedding! A whole weekend of the beach, hammocks, the lagoon, the breeze and tons of fresh seafood. Can’t wait!