Amy F. Quincy Author/Freelance Writer


November 2015

Gringa Goes Sightseeing

dd6Halloween weekend I dragged myself off the lounger, tore my eyes away from jade colored waves (the water’s more green than blue here, hence the name “the Emerald coast”) and left the conch lined walls of the Casa Solana property. Having seen many of the Mayan ruins and other more “official” sites last year, I told Neydi there was only one thing I definitely wanted to see – the Day of the Dead festivities.

El Dia de los Muertos – the Day of the Dead – is a beautiful Mexican holiday steeped in tradition that takes place around our Halloween. Both holidays have skeletons, yes, but they couldn’t have more different meanings. To get a better idea of the significance and meaning of the holiday, check out last year’s post here.

dd8Hanal Pixan is the name of this festival in Merida, the capitol city dd11of the Yucatan, about 90 minutes or so from Casa Solana and Chuburna. The focus of the festivities is on the various altars (ofrendas) to commemorate lost loved ones, complete with offerings of food, flowers like the Mexican marigold (cempasuchil) or photographs of the deceased.

dd16I know my mother will laugh at me, but what I found the most dd15wonderful was (of course) the food. It was all free! Women made fresh tortillas over open flames next to many of the altars and Neydi would just shout “dos, por favor!” as we went by. They were still hot and often covered in pico or lime which I learned basically goes with everything.

I’m having too many technical difficulties trying to write much more from here so I’ll let the rest of my pictures do the talking. Enjoy, assuming I manage to get them loaded.

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Snippets from Solana

Jeff with Oliver
Jeff with Junior

It’s a new day here at Casa Solana and there’s no shortage of fur babies. Meet Ricky. Like me, he’s a paying guest. Turns out in addition to running Casa Solana for humans, Jeff is also a dog groomer, trainer and pet sitter extraordinaire! Here he is with Junior,  a salon client.


Did you know that a breeze through palm fronds sounds exactly like running water? The first week I just thought our neighbor took very long and frequent showers. I still have to open the door to make sure it’s not raining.ss5


The sun flirts with me at sunrise and sunset, kissing all the clouds and making them blush, but never actually letting me see her.ss4


Here’s a decorative plate that was in my room. May you heed its advice wherever you are!ss2

Time Out

unnamed (3)Today I’d like to take a time out from vacation mode. The ocean isn’t beautiful or relaxing today. Today it is lonely. And sad. Because today the little one-eyed pug fell in the pool and drowned.

Her name was Winnie. I got that wrong. See? I didn’t even know her long enough to get her name right and yet I feel so sad. Dogs. It’s amazing how quickly they can get under your skin and into your heart.

But really, I’m sad for Jeff. And Sonya. And another friend of mine back home who I know lost his dear dog since I’ve been here. And I know his heart is breaking.

If there is a lesson to be taken here, it seems to be the one that recurs most often for me – life is fleeting and precious and can change in an instant. My heart goes out to anyone going through a loss of any kind.

So if you have them, hold your furry friends close tonight and give thanks for them. And Mom, I forgot to say it earlier, give Frankie an extra hug for me and tell him I love him.


Serene Solana

unnamed (7)I imagine if you are going to follow along on this journey with me, I should start by introducing you to the other inhabitants of Casa Solana, the heavenly seaside vacation rental where I have planted myself for the next month. For those of you who don’t know, I’m in the Yucatan peninsula on the Gulf of Mexico (in the northeast corner of the country and about as far away as you can get from where Hurricane Patricia made landfall, thank goodness).

Casa Solana is owned and operated by Sonya and Jeff Damon. I’ve yet to meet Sonya, she goes back and forth between here and Canada, but Jeff has proven to be a wonderful host on his own. I’ve even given him a title. Here at Casa Solana he’s the Chief Creative Solutions Director in charge of Handicapped Services.  The property is now littered with little makeshift devices: pieces of red or yellow rope to help me reach some switch or pull a door or gate closed behind me. There’s even hockey tape on a door pull so I can get a better grip. Being from Florida, I called it hurricane tape, but was corrected, dontcha know, by the Canadian – it’s hockey tape.

Me and Neydi
Me and Neydi

Neydi is the local Mexican woman I met last year who, having the somewhat rare commodity of a vehicle, is solely responsible for getting me out and about, though I don’t plan on doing much of that. I mean c’mon, the ocean is in my backyard.

With Lydia
With Lydia

Neydi and her sister, Lydia, have the task of making sure I don’t starve. And Neydi’s daughter, Sarahi, is helping me work on my Spanish. It’s a family affair.

Let’s play!
unnamed (3)
One-eyed Weenie

Best of all, even though I’m without Frankie, I still have puppy love! Meet Solana, the mystery mix (Pit Bull/Boxer/Terrier?) who is tireless in her love of fetching the ball and Weenie, the sweet, one-eyed pug who has an endearing way of cocking her head so she can see. I already feel myself growing attached.

Even though I purposely didn’t make any sightseeing plans so I’d have plenty of time to write, I can already sense time slipping away from me. I think all I accomplished yesterday was starting a new book and staring at the surf. So, I’m making the following disclaimer about my posts: they’ll be less cohesive and themed and more like short snippets and photos. Turns out, I’ve taken my time problem with me. It evaporates just as easily here as it does at home. It must be a disabled thing. It’s time consuming to get ready in a different environment! And all that mindless staring at the horizon doesn’t help.unnamed (6)


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