Pouring cats and dogs today and yesterday, tried to get a picture for you but got water in the camera instead! (Sat 17th hot and sunny). I like to think that my skill at bargaining is innate but then, looking back I credit the skill handed down from my grandmother and mother whose 'making do' experiences in the depression and WW2 became part of our family way and meant no buying of retail clothing until I was in my 20's and a traumatic moment it was too. Top that off with years of budget and bargaining travel in Asia and the poor merchants at the Merida market do not stand a chance when we go shopping for The Little Mexican Cooking School store! Want some tips? Pretend you know no Spanish and fiddle around looking at things, and wait until a local shows up and listen to what price they are quoted or watch how much money is handed over. When buying in bulk you can often get down to 50% of the initial gringo price, but with just one item you should be happy with getting 20% less. They have huge mounds of pepita molida (ground up pumpkin seeds) the green one is used to make the sauce for papadzules which we had for lunch along with Yucatecan salad and kebbe. We saw the biggest papayas (with Eric of Travel treasures) and biggest grapes ever! Whatever happens a day at the markets in Merida is fun! Top it off with a little dance in the park, delightful gourmet meal at Hotel Lucia, listen to the mariachis in the square and you can even go ice skating! 3.5 hours driving one way, tolls 360p one way, meal with soft drinks 500p, experience - priceless! Continuing on the food theme the new little Mayan Cocina on Rojo Gomez has a little fried fish and cold white wine that is very pleasant, this is Luis and his daughter in front of the menu. Recently visited El Pocito in Cancun, tucked away in a back street it has been serving traditional Yucatecan food for 22 years. My pollo mechado was a delish combo of chicken loaf in a turkey broth with turkey breast, raisins, chick peas and almonds (half size serving was plenty) along with Sour Orange Juice. We also had relleno negro and papadzules! The charity, El Mundo para Puerto Morelos, has been doing a little work doing high season but most of the volunteers have been too busy however some small volunteers, Erik, Freya and Lily Dahlgren went out and sold cookies and raised 500 pesos to help the children at the Primary school in Puerto Morelos. The main reason for giving you a mid-month update is to let you know about the FERIA DEL TRUEQUE - the Exchange Fair. A group of community members Ana Bourget, Oscar, Graciela, Alejandro, Guadelupe and others started putting items to exchange in the little Somos newspaper and now they are launching it physically in the Dome in the Colonia on Saturday 24 April between 4 and 7 in the afternoon. The trueque is an old tradition in many countries where you exchange your goods and services with no transfer of money. So you can bring along new or used goods that you have to exchange or come along to offer your services, hair cutting, sewing, plumbing, odd job person or professional services. Maybe you have a whole lot of plumbing parts you could exchange that for actual plumbing/electrical services, got lots of clothes exchange for food items, yogurt, granola and so on. Saving the Mangrove is back on the agenda with a big town meeting Thursday night in the Ejido hall. The plan is to put a concerted effort together to make sure that all the wetlands from Moon Place to Punto Bravo have a Uso de Suelo (zoning certificate) to protect them. The Mayor spoke passionately about the need to save the area and Guadalupe spoke on the water flow of the area and how it affects the Reef, Oscar spoke on the amazing biodiversity of life that exist in this region putting Mexico high on the World's list of most biodiverse . Eric Jordan Dahlgren, UNAM, spoke about the massive damage already done to our reef by Nature and mankind, in a period of 10 years we have lost half our reef cover! Did you know there are 13 Ojo de Aguas here - mostly on the other side of the reef. We will be having a community petition soon. The new Sativa restaurant on Rojo Gomez had its big opening party recently with I and I from Merida 'reggaing' into the night, 4am I believe, all the usual suspects were there (I have a lot of photos of the ceiling for some reason) anyway all folks had a good time dancing. The Little Mexican Cooking School continues to go well and we meet lots of people from all over the world and they all have a great time. Nearly all of you have never met my sister well I hardly ever see her either, she lives in Kingston, Jamaica where she runs an artist's residency and recently started a program to provide living and workspace for Haitian Artists, here she is with some of her friends in Jamaica! I will leave you with photos from Merida, the School and some great shots from the recent Hennessy PoloCup.