Eric Chaffee

HatCat

Eric Chaffee

Analog guy on a digital planet tries to make sense of experience, like a flashlight attempting to illuminate its own innards(?). If it doesn't work, simply contact the Designer. Everybody's online these days! So,"There's no place like home." Take a good look, and see it for the first time. Then go out and about; but don't get lost! Remember what you noticed, and trace your way back home again. Seeya around the campus of Life. Don't forget your hat!
~eric. Alden NY, USA



North America » United States » New York » East Aurora July 2nd 2011

It's our anniversary (35!), and we're doing a stay-cation, as we will be driving south to winter in Merida, Yucatan, while a friend sits our house and dog . For lunch, we decided to visit the bustling downtown of nearby East Aurora, zeroing onto the deck at a favorite spot: Rick's On Main. (No Mulberry Street in this town.) But we saw many amazing sights. ... read more
Destination Lunch
Ten Minutes
First we encountered a UFO!

North America » Mexico » Yucatán » Merida May 23rd 2011

The pilot announced we would enter the glide path in four minutes. Soon, coastal villages could be seen, glowing in the darkness. As we descended he told us it was 9:30pm, and the temp on the ground was 91ºF / 34ºC ( which actually doesn't correlate; 34 is 93, but who's counting: hot is hot). This is my first encounter with Merida's famous summer season (April & May) before the cooling rains of June arrive. The heat was a bit of relief, really, after such a long cold winter in Buffalo, which had rudely hung on into spring. But sleeping was a bit challenged by minor inconveniences. My room was right on the sidewalk, with a streetlight above it. I wanted to sleep al nudo. (The locals sleep in hammocks to minimize bed sweating; but that ... read more

North America » Mexico » Yucatán » Merida February 16th 2011

We had a hard time leaving Merida. (Yes, we wanted to stay! But we hadn't found a house yet, and the calendar dictated it was time to fly.) See, the roads are not well marked, and finding the exit is complicated. As they say in Maine: "Ya con't git theya from heya." So we expended much mental effort just finding the road to Cancun, even though I had studied the map before leaving. Our plan was to take the old free road through the Mayan villages to Pisté for an overnight visit to naturalist Jim Conrad who blogs at jimbackyardgardennet. He lives in a grass hut behind Hacienda Chichen, where we spent the night. All the effort to exit Merida found us hungry before we got to Jim's, so we started looking for road food. We ... read more
Mayan sisters
Soooo good.
The pit and the fuel

North America » Mexico » Yucatán » Merida February 12th 2011

Our final day in Merida has been soggy. This is the first day in over 7 weeks which we've spent here, intermittently, during the past year, when we've encountered rain. So I won't complain. But tomorrow we head toward for Hacienda Chichen for an overnight stay before dashing for our flight from Cancun. A few days ago we thought we had found a fitting place, and even agreed on a price. But the seller panicked upon hearing about capital gains taxes on the sale, and backed off to do some research. (A transaction could still come about, but we needed to continue our search.) And searching is better than watching tv, especially HGTV housing shows. And warm rain is better than Buffalo snow and windchill. (Our high today was "only" 75ºF, while Buffalo's was 20º.) We ... read more
A soggy commute
Not for sale
Love the colors

North America » Mexico » Yucatán » Merida February 7th 2011

Looking for a second home can be daunting, but the new digital tools are superb — especially google street view, which allows us to visit a neighborhood almost as though we are driving slowly through it. And, of course, google maps enables us to see the big picture from satellite, looking into the backyard which may not be visible from the street. We came to Merida again with a tall assignment: find a winter residence. The selections are dazzling, if not utterly overwhelming. Everywhere we look we notice SE VENDE (For Sale) signs. So many choices, so little time. But the process has been fascinating, and we're not going to rush, even though we only have a week left. If we're not satisfied, we will come back in the fall, or even rent for the fall ... read more
Make-over artist, overdue.
Typical façade.
Some like it hot!!!!

North America » Mexico » Yucatán » Merida February 5th 2011

We managed to dodge the snowflakes (only by rerouting our tickets to avoid a big snow storm) and now we're enjoying the warmth of climate and culture in the ancient Mayan city of Merida, Yucatan — the oldest continually occupied city in the western hemisphere, and perhaps the friendliest and safest, too. We're here attempting to arrange accommodations for next winter, by purchasing a home, or by deciding we will rent. Observation: the For Sale signs vastly outnumber the For Rent signs. (It looks like a buyers market; we'll see.) ... read more
Dog Knows
Take me along!
Strange avian neighbors.

North America » Mexico » Yucatán » Valladolid December 31st 2010

My friend "Hammockman" Paul Rounds has put up a post at his blog about our November visit to Jim Conrad of BackyardNature.net . I'll now supplement that post with a few additional photos and recollections. Being only a junior-blogger wannabe, and newcomer, I felt it appropriate to let Paul break this story first; and he's done a fine job. He blogs from Merida, and can be found at HammockmanPaul.blogspot.com . I've enjoyed Jim's newsletter for about a year, and found my way to it through Paul's sidebar of blogs which he follows. I was an avid reader of Thoreau when in high school. So it was compelling for me to make an effort to visit someone who was living like that 19th century contrarian in the modern age. And I wasn't disappointed. Jim has a spiritual ... read more
The facade
The front porch
Huitlacoche

North America » Mexico » Yucatán » Merida November 18th 2010

The camera's ability to freeze a moment in time is sublime. One of my earliest recollections of doing art is vividly etched in memory, from kindergarten. We were enjoying our first experience with finger paints. Using the side of my palm, rather than a mere finger, I was watching, enthralled, as vegetative underwater scenes emerged and flowed with the slightest touch or whim, all in "real time video" (which of course was a phrase unknown in 1952). But then the teacher said "OK, everybody stop where you are, and the final work will be allowed to dry before sending it home to your parents." O, NO! My art is no longer moving. But, but, but . . . . it's stiff and dead now. (It was so much more as process.) How frustrated I was with ... read more
The schimee-schimee-shakes.
Sidewalk gremlins
Home for a swim

North America » Mexico » Yucatán » Merida November 11th 2010

We've begun our search for a suitable winter habitation after spending many hours online looking at listings. For our first visit, we asked an agent to take us to a neighborhood near the rail yard. The home is owned by a Greek Orthodox priest who I liked immediately. The house is solid, and the yard is lush, but ultimately we decided the place was probably not for us, (although we haven't crossed it off completely). ... read more
The kitchen
The yard
"In-law quarters"

North America » Mexico » Yucatán » Merida November 9th 2010

On Sunday morning we ventured out to the Buffalo airport and flew to Cleveland, where we caught a paper airplane to Houston (see photo). We boarded the 7pm flight to Merida (which was overbooked, and offering $300 credits to any takers who could waste a day in Mexico City, instead). We arrived just weeks after the hummingbirds which had been feeding at our feeders over the summer in Buffalo. The flight departed Buffalo at 10:30am — a very civilized time to fly. We got to the casita we've again rented by 10:30pm, after a quick pass through customs (we hadn't checked any bags) and picking up our rental vehicle; we lost about 10 minutes after making a wrong turn, but Merida at night is very laid back and gentle. We're here for two weeks, and have ... read more




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