the Yucatan & Casa Hamaca

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  • 2012
    • February
      • Carnival (Marte Gras) in Valladolid
        Amazing how, this morning and yesterday morning, quiet it is in Valladolid. On second thought, maybe not so amazing. It's quiet because people are still sleeping after last night's party in the main square. My helper and I had to stay up late to greet a family since their flight was delaye

    • January
      • New flags I must purchase.
        Not only are our guests well-traveled, they come from a very wide range of countries. Whenever a guest arrives at Casa Hamaca from a new country, I add their flag to my "to buy" list. The flags are then displayed, on a permanent basis, overlooking the the breakfast table in the main dining

  • 2011
    • June
      • Hey, Mom! What's for dinner?
        I wish I had photos but I don't. So you will just have to use your imagination. Jenny, Carlos and I were driving on some country back roads early this afternoon. When we passed a bicycle, I noticed the rider was holding a small piece of tree branch on which was a hornets nest. I asked Carlos wh

  • 2010
    • September
      • Report from the Jungle
        Have returned from the jungle with interesting findings. I need 3 folks with $10K each (plus my $10K). We can purchase this property & have almost $20K in working capital. First year return estimated at a minimum of 9.42%. We will be working with a permaculture concept of sustainable agriculture

      • Off to the Jungle... again.
        Tomorrow's plan (if the rain is not too hard): off to the jungle to look at a piece of property of about 87 hectareas (200 acres). It's all monte alto (high forest) that hasn't been touched for over 40 years so there should be some big trees on the property. No electricity but there i

      • Expat Daily News Central America: Expat Interview with Bed and Breakfast Owner Denis Larsen
        Here's the link to the interview.

      • Notes from 1955... OMG that's 55 years ago!
        Just reread this quote from the science fiction novel "Cities in Flight" (about 1955) by James Blish. I read this novel when it was first published.

        "Under the relentless pressure of competition from the USSR and its associated states, the Earth's Western culture had u

    • August
      • A new addition to Casa Hamaca
        Jenny, the manager of Casa Hamaca, finally had her baby late Sunday, Aug 29, with a C-section. A baby girl. First name is Linda after Jenny's mother, Doña Linda. No second name yet. Baptism may not be until December. Bebe Linda is healthy and fat. Mother and child are both doing well although J

      • Cancun
        We recently had an architect as a guest at Casa Hamaca. He was on the original surveying and planning team for Cancun in the early 1970's. They camped in tents on the bare beach where the hotel zone now sits. This was a planned tourist development, from scratch, by the Mexican government. The o

    • May
      • Help Wanted: Archaeology or Art Conservation/Restoration student, professional or interested Amateur
        Three years ago I had the following mural painted in the grand salon of Casa Hamaca Guesthouse. It is based on a roll-out of a Mayan vase.

        I really liked it but various people told me it was too much! So I had it pained over with another mural of Palenque after an original by Catherwood.

      • Harvesting Wild Vanilla in the Yucatan
        How to harvest wild vanilla plants in the Yucatan. The plants (a type of orchid) will be transplanted to the gardens of Casa Hamaca where they will climb avocado trees. The flowers will be very beautiful, however, I hope to actually harvest vanilla beans in the future if the local species of Melipon

    • April
      • Reading Glasses Distribution on Three Small Mayan Villages
        The women of Christ Lutheran Church, Woodcliff Lake, NJ, USA, donated a large number of new reading glasses to give away in the Yucatan of Mexico. Some of the staff of Casa Hamaca Guesthouse ( and I gave out over 120 pair of reading glasses on April 23, 2010 in three small village

      • the Apocalypse or just another day in Paradise?

        Deal of Your Lifetime
        End of the World at the Center of the World
        €10,000 per night per person for December 21, 2012

        the Apocalypse or just another day in Paradise?

        Where will you and your loved ones be on December 21, 2012?
        Will it be the end of the

    • January
      • Ten Top Things to See in the Valladolid, Yucatan, Area.
        Note: As opposed to some lists, I make no pretense of being able to prioritize these ten attractions. All are worth seeing. Some will have greater interest to various individuals than will others.

        10. The Museo San Roque. Located one block from the Palacio Municipal in a de-consecrated ch

      • Valladolid... Renewed, Restored and Refurbished
        The makeover of Valladolid is just about completed.
        A major effort by the local government has transformed Valladolid with
        new streets, new parks, new lighting and new colors.

        All of the old colonial buildings in the town center have been repainted with colonial colors and all o

  • 2009
    • December
      • Lunch on Isla Mujeres
        This was originally written as an email to a friend on Saturday, December 08, 2001 7:28 AM Subject: Lunch in Isla Mujeres Good morning from Isla Mujeres, Yesterday morning I went to church. I went to see the confirmation of the young son (Freddy) of a friend of mine. The church was standing room onl

    • November
      • A new way to think about "Time-Shares" in the Yucatan
        As some of your know I spend a lot of time looking for property in the Valladolid area. I've looked a property that should be just left untouched and other properties that are already planted with acres of fruit trees. Ranchos that have cattle and all that come with cattle like corrals and wire

    • September
      • A visit to a Mexican Emergency Room
        Contrasted with a visit to an ER in the USA

        Yesterday as I was visiting Merida (the capital of the Yucatan), I started getting an violent allergic reaction (possibly to something I ate). First my hands and feet started itching, then my eyes watered, my face glowed red... I felt as if I we

    • August
      • Vitamin B Complex vs. Bug Bites
        Vitamin B Complex wins hands down!
        Last December a visiting MD suggested taking Vitamin B complex on a daily basis for general health as well as for bug bites. Since that time I have been taking a B complex tablet every day. The vitamin that actually works is B12 but I take at least 100% of th

    • May
      • A Great Time to Visit the Mayan Ruins of Chichen Itza
        I went to the Mayan ruins at Chichen Itza last week as a spur-of-the-moment trip. I arrived at about the time I normally tell guests to leave... about 11:30 AM.

        Usually by this time, the parking lot is full with cars and there are about 100 or more large busses from Cancun and Playa del C

      • Things that Go Bump in the Night... Alux? Spirits? or Ghosts?
        House cleaning, Yucatan-style
        This is a subject that I have been loath to write about for fear it would scare off guests to Casa Hamaca. However, with the economy, the narcotraficante scare and now the swine flu scare, there are not a lot of guests to scare off. Tourist-related business all acr

  • 2008
    • June
      • Witch Doctor is best for you? On Choosing a Shaman. Part one.
        When you move to a new town one of the first things you must do is find craftsmen and professionals you can work with and trust. You ask at the hardware store for a good plumber or at the lumberyard for a good carpenter. You ask at the bank or the real estate office for a good lawyer or doctor or d

    • January
      • Mural, Mural on the Wall.....
        How to Design and Create Original Murals on the Walls of Your Own Home.

        A view of one of the murals in the Main Salon of Casa Hamaca.

        As early as I can remember, I always wanted to be an artist. When I was about 5 years old, the local newspaper in Great Falls, Montana, wa

  • 2007
    • September
      • Oh my God, what did I just eat?
        Cochinita Pibil and Tepezcuintle Tacos

        Yesterday we were invited to share a meal with a family in the small village of Honuku. A visiting curandera from Queretero was in residence at the Casa Hamaca and last week Sofi (our housekeeper and cook) brought her daughter-in-law (Miñela), grandd

    • August
      • The Ups and Downs of Living in the Yucatan...
        What Pyramids and Cenotes Have In Common

        I was born in North Dakota and raised in Montana, so I am used to being able to see a big sky…and flat land. When driving through eastern North Dakota, I used to joke as we crossed an overpass that “This is the highest point in North Dakota”. It ce

    • July
      • The toe bone’s connected to the foot bone…..

        There’s more to dirt than meets the eye…CSI in the Yucatan

        A few weeks ago I touched on the rumor that my property might have been inhabited before the Spanish colonials showed up. Because of it location on a high piece of ground, there might have been a dwelling or even a mo

      • Apocalypto, Mel Gibson and the Yucatan

        Last night I read a number of reviews of the film Apocalypto, directed by Mel Gibson, on iTunes. There were over 250 reviews (some of which I skimmed and some of which I read every word) of the movie. The dialogue of the movie is entirely in Yucatec Maya…the language of the entire northe

    • June
      • What's Past is Present (Part III)

        In almost every place I have lived or traveled to, a rock was just a rock. In Montana the rock might have a bit of agate or quartz in it. In North Carolina, perhaps, a bit of mica. In Yellowstone Park there was obsidian. But basically they were just rocks. Something to skim across a pon

      • What’s Past is Present (Part II)
        The Thrill of Discovery: There's Old Stuff All Around Us

        “Eureka! I’ve found gold!”
        I don’t remember if those were my exact words since I was only about 11 years old at the time, but I know I was very excited. I had found a rock with a vein of glittery, shiny, gold.

      • What’s Past is Present (Part I)

        On of the reasons that Valladolid first grabbed me was the age of things. The antiquity and the history of so many of the colonial buildings blew me away. And underlying the colonial history was the realization that the Mayan people had lived here for a very long time before the Spanish

      • Some Internet privacy concerns: things I forgot…but the Internet didn’t.
        Every so often I do a name search on Google or Yahoo to see where Casa Hamaca stands in their rankings. Today after I ran the Casa search, I ran a search on my name; Denis Larsen.

        When I just typed in Denis Larsen the results were (on Google) about 1,470,000. I thought that was too many

    • May
      • Cipro works for diarrhea? No Sh*t?
        Note: this article was recently rejected by the Editors of InTheKnowTraveler
        as not fitting the needs of their readership. Maybe their readers all stay at really ritzy hotels all the time and never experience tummy problems...or maybe they never actually even leave their house because everyone

      • The Wrinkles of Fate & Learning to Eat Soup Without A Spoon
        I’ve been reading Incidents of Travel in Central America, Chiapas and the Yucatan, Vol. II by John L. Stephens. It was originally published in 1841 and is his account of his journeys, mostly on horseback, through Central America and the Mayan lands of Mexico. Boy, do we have it easy nowadays! As tra

      • The Sounds of Yucatec Maya
        I's not really going to write about this, I'm going to let you hear it and see it at a YouTube video. Yucatec Maya is one of somewhere between 24 and 34 living Mayan languages. Languages, scholars say, and not just dialects. Yucatec Maya is still spoken by about one and one half million pe

      • Building a Swimming Pool.Part I: "Don’t need no stinkin’ permit.”
        When I first decided that I needed to put in a swimming pool so that people could get a real YucaTan, I started looking around my property to find a suitable location. Since all of the northern part of the Yucatan is a more or less flat limestone shelf with a thin layer of dirt over it, most of the

      • How to Make Aluxob (Mayan Leprechauns)
        Alux are leprechaun-like beings who guard the fields (milpas) of the Mayan farmers. An alux (plural: aluxob in Mayan or aluxes in Spanish) is supposed to be about knee-high. Now I'm not sure if that is knee-high to a Mayan or knee-high to a gringo since the Mayan people are generally much short

      • Why Valladolid?
        Over 10 years ago, I started doing mission work in the Yucatan with Mano Amiga. The 1st year I went once, the 2nd yr. twice, etc., until I was going to the Yucatan 3 or 4 or 5 times a year. Many times we stopped in Valladolid for lunch on our way across the peninsula from Cancun to a small villag

      • Cinco de mayo parade
        This morning, about 7, I heard the sounds of drums and bugles coming from somewhere close. The past few days I had heard skyrockets and other fireworks. I did not really put them together until this morning when I learned that the Cinco de Mayo parade was forming up at the park in front of Casa Hama

      • Massage Exchange
        For the past few months a fellow has been coming around every couple of weeks selling raw honey from his fields. Each day of the week he goes to another town and walks his route selling his honey. The honey is bottled in used (but cleaned and washed), plastic, screw-top soda bottles (that's sod

      • Where is Valladolid?
        Greetings from Valladolid, Yucatan. I am located almost exactly mid way between Merida and Cancun. It is warm here today...about 95°F, pretty low humidity with a slight breeze. A nice day. It will most likely stay hot and dry for the rest of May. This is the time that the farmers burn their fields.