The Land of Maybe posted by on January 29, 2012

Occasionally I invite someone to be a guest blogger. I asked our friend Wendy if she would like to contribute a series of articles. Wendy and Burt they have just moved to Cancùn. I thought that my readers would like to read about how they accomplished their move and their reasons for it.

They are originally from New York State, in the USA. Wendy is a retired school teacher and Burt is a soon to be retired electrician.

 The following is their story:

The Land of Maybe

Hello everyone. I’m Wendy. My husband Burt and I recently made the decision to move to Cancún. Tom thinks that some of you might enjoy reading about our adventures. He just shakes his head and smiles his big smile as he watches us scurry about doing all kinds of things we would never dream of doing in the States. But this is Mexico, the Land of Maybe, and maybe one day we will actually own the condo that we bought last year and the car that we bought last week.

In February of 2011, the year that terrible snow storms plagued the Northeast, we decided to spend a bit of our three weeks vacation at the Royals looking for a possible retirement home here in Cancún.  We never dreamed that we would find it so quickly! Our realtor, now friend, brought us to three or four locations, but it was the second one that really caught our eye. It was located in a very good part of central Cancun, close to shopping, a nature park, and Tom and Suzie, of course.  The second floor condo offered three bedrooms, two baths, kitchen, dining room, living room and two patios. The larger patio overlooks the street and the smaller overlooks a beautiful garden courtyard with two pools . Palm trees wave over and under the bedroom windows framing the casita in the center. Because it was a foreclosure, the price was only $110,000.

Burt looked at me and said, “If you want to do this, then let’s do it.”

I’d love to tell you that we walked hand and hand into the sunset  listening to the happy sounds of a mariachi band, but it didn’t happen that way. (Tom just shakes his head knowingly) Between the acceptance of our bid and the sending of our money from the USA, the bank holding our condo changed it’s status and became a fiduciary bank. The Mexican government does not permit this type of bank to deal in foreclosures, so now the bank has our money and has no way to make the condo ours. Even when we do get title to the property, it will only be a Trust, which lasts for 50 years and must be renewed. Every year a fee is paid to a Notary to hold the trust for us. (So I would tell little Mexican boys and girls to grow up and become notaries. Like copy machine repair people, you are assured of a steady income.) No one seemed to know what to do. Much head scratching. Many assurances that it will be worked out. Burt and I love this place and because we do, we are willing to gamble.

We have a paper from the first bank granting us permission to assume the property, and just two days ago our realtor called to say that the first bank has sold the condo to Santander Bank which is permitted to sell to us. So  maybe our problem will be resolved. Baby steps, but definitely in the right direction. Meanwhile, we are living in our beautiful Mexican home, learning to speak Spanish, and dealing over the telephone with utilities and delivery people. Yesterday I got screens for my patio doors and today I am waiting for the DISH television people to arrive. Again. Maybe they will be here, maybe not. Baby steps. I’ll let you know in my next post.

Thanks Wendy ……..we’ll look forward to the next chapter in your big adventure- CancùnTom




Me and Franco Corelli……1956 Verona, Italy posted by on January 25, 2012

Listen to the “Perfect Tenor” Franco Corelli sing I LombardiL “La mia letizia infondere”

[cincopa AIMAPz6f-LU4]

It was June 1956. My family and I had just moved from Chicago, Illinois to the Northern Italian city of Verona. We were staying 5 minutes from the Arena di Verona at the Hotel Europa . The reason for the move was my father’s assignment to the new American military fort being built in Verona. My father was a career US Army officer. The new fort was called Camp Passalacqua.

In the summertime the city of Verona would hold a series of open air operas inside the Arena which was a Roman Colosseum similar to the one in Rome but on a smaller scale.  A temporary wooden stage would be constructed at one end for the performances. All the big operas were performed.  Aida, Norma, Tosca,  and so on. At the time there was an up and coming male tenor that was going to perform. His name was Franco Corelli. This was early in his career. He was still a young man about 35 at the time. It was the tradition that new singers would perform in Verona as they worked their way up the ladder towards fame and fortune.

I started to play the accordion when I was about 5 and  took lessons up until we departed from Chicago. So I had my accordion with me and would practice for 1 hour each day. Now this was in the days before air conditioning. When it was hot you opened the very large windows in your rooms to keep cool. Since we were new comers to Italy we didn’t know much about the customs of life there. Well one afternoon I was in our hotel room with the window wide open and practicing away with my accordion. Suddenly the phone rang…….it was the front desk. They said that a very important guest had requested that I practice at a different time as he could not take his customary siesta due to the noise I was making. So of course I complied and also learned that when in Italy do not make noise between 2-4 in the afternoon.

(The picture below is of myself at my 8th grade graduation with my classmates singing “Que Sera Sera”)

Europa Hotel today is unchanged from 1956 when it was new

The next morning I was down in the lobby where they had  some comfortable couches to relax on. I had my dog, Bobo, with me. He was a standard size poodle. He was very intelligent and could do many tricks. I had a pocket full of milk biscuits and was entertaining myself and others around me by having Bobo do some of his tricks. I guess that as luck would have it Franco Corelli happened by and saw the tricks my dog  was performing. He sent over his assistant and she asked to speak with me. She said that Mr. Corelli would like to ask you if you could teach his new poodle puppy a couple of tricks. Anyway that is how my family and I met him. The picture below was taken in June of 1956 just outside the front door of the Europa Hotel. From left to right are myself, Bo Bo, Franco Corelli, his assistant,  and his poodle.

( The dogs don’t show up very well because they are really black. Bobo’s tongue is hanging out but Franco’s dog can barely be seen.)

He was very gracious and provided my parents with tickets to his performance. For the next 3 summers while we lived in Verona he would send tickets to my parents along with flowers for my mother. I think he felt bad about complaining when he found out it was me that was practicing.

Franco Corelli went on to fame and fortune becoming one of the most important opera singers of his era. He passed away in October, 2003 at age 82. He had become known as the “Prince of Tenors”.

The following is a signed photograph he gave to my mother in 1957.

As you can see this was back in the days when posing for a photograph with a cigarette was considered sexy.

A thing that puzzles me…….notice the date under his signature? It says “1918”. According to his official website he was born in 1921 and died in October 2003. But if he wrote 1918 under his signature meaning it to be the year of his birth then he was actually 85 when he passed. I don’t know what else he could have implied by that date??? Any suggestions?

Here are a few more pictures of Franco Corelli…….


Corelli with Leontyne Price

 Here he is with Bigit Nillsson

And finally on the right…..just 11 months before his death……November 2002




Driving thru the Zona Hoteleria-Cancun posted by on January 22, 2012

A drive by past Margaritaville, La Isla on Kukulkan Blvd. in the zona hoteleria of Cancun. From “B” to “D” on the map.

I filmed this in the 2nd week of January 2012

[cincopa AMIAgw6Kzz2Y]