It's Beginning to Look Like a Lot Christmas

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Signs of Christmas are popping up everywhere and Zihuatanejo is quite clever and artistic with how they do Christmas trees.  There are a few cut evergreen tree here, but the weather isn’t conducive to them lasting until Christmas.

I have decorated, put out the nativity scene, a couple of Santa’s here and there hung the

wreath on the balcony and I was done.  Took me maybe ten minutes, at home it took me two days minimum.  I’m enjoying the simplicity.

El Centro Zihuatanejo shines this Christmas season like the brightest star!  All through the pedestrian streets there is a canopy of sparkling lights.  The Zocolo is in full dress with enormous lighted gift packages for people to stand in and have their picture taken.

It makes people happy just to walk around and admire it, take pictures, visit with friends, simple enjoy the splendor. It’s so beautiful it almost makes me sad to leave this beauty to go home for a week at Christmas, but then I am anxious to have all 4 of my children together for the first Christmas in probably 20 years, and to have most of the grand-kids there also.

Yesterday our street decorated their shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe, the patron saint of this state and then carried her through the streets of town to the local church. They were trying to attach lights with bobby pins when I donated a spool of wire to the cause.

Signing off KO

The Parthenon, a Crocodile, and Wine Tasting, What a Day!

I knew Morgan would find the Parthenon interesting.  She had been anxious to see it since she first spied it from the water taxi.  When I last was there you could only get in on a Saturday, not knowing if things had changed I decided we would go on a Saturday and check it out. I had been warned that the Government had now taken possession of it and would be restoring it and you couldn’t get in any more.  I don’t like being told no, so we went any way after a quick stop at the Saturday Morning Market we walked down Calle Adelita, up what I call Mount Irma, past the Hotel Irma to the road to La Ropa and img_2231

further down the road you come to the Military Barracks where there is a side road that clearly says cars are not allowed to go up it.  I think at this point Morgan doubted my ability to read Spanish as it made her a little nervous not following rules by a Military installation.  But then she grew up a Navy Brat so I forgave her her reluctance and we began the very steep, rocky climb up this road.  Neither of us had had the sense to wear tennis shoes and we tackled this climb in our sandals. Once at the top we meet a nice young soldier with the very scary looking gun and I asked if we could go in.  In very rapid Spanish he replied something and pulled out his phone, and finally said to us something but I recognized that we would be called and he pointed to the gate. A man soon opened the gate and at first said no, it would require a permit from the Government in Acapulco but after a bit of finagling he changed his mind and we went in.

This was once the party place for an extremely crooked cop from Mexico City.  It is  in very dilapidated condition, but you can still visualize and feel the elegance that once was there. Because everything from how the land was acquired to the cost of the elegance of the construction of the building and of the parties given there you have to reflect on how many little people were stepped on for him to acquire such wealth. Because of that there is a faction that would like it torn down. I would like to see it preserved, not necessarily restored as it is beautiful, even in ruins. Morgan stated she would have liked to have had 6 changes of clothes and pretended to be on a fashion shoot.

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Our lunch companion

From there we walked further down La Ropa Rd and headed to the beach at our first opportunity and walked down to El Manglar to have lunch with the crocodiles. We were ready for cool drinks and a good lunch as we had logged in 3 miles at this point.  We had a great lunch with a crocodile lazing about 8 feet away from us. and yes there was a 3 foot high fence between us.

img_2272I finish off the day at the wine tasting at the Beach at Sotovento. Interesting, but far to hot at the beach and nowhere was there shade.  Signing off KO

The DIY Project from Hell

I’ve always been a “do it your self person”, partly out of necessity and partly for self satisfaction.  I’ve been sewing clothing since I was 12 a skill that served me well since I had 4 children to dress for school. I sewed the boys t-shirts, the girls dresses and party dresses, one wedding gown and one sport coat.  I don’t say this to brag just to demonstrated I really do have some skill. So you would think making curtains for this apartments three windows in the living room area would be a fairly simple task.  Well it wasn’t.

It may have been partly the very light weight sheer fabric I chose, or the inexpensive singer sewing machine I picked up here, or may be it wasn’t the best thread for the fabric and it may have been just me!  Anyway to make a long story short I was just making panels that were 60 inches wide with a heading at the top and a hem at the bottom and there were to be 4 panels in each of the curtains for the 2 short windows and 8 panels for the slider door as the fabric was shear I wanted volume so you couldn’t see right through from the outside, but wouldn’t feel closed in inside.

img_2219Well the seams puckered and as the fabric frayed it had to be double seamed which seemed to make it worse and the full length of the slider made it difficult to manage sewing on that much slippery fabric and as I kept adding panels, even though the fabric itself was lightweight, the bulk of it became heavy and pulled as I sewed.  But I finally got the curtains constructed and it was time to hang them.

I had bought new curtain rods and needed to take down the old ones which had probable been used over the last century and the walls have had many coats of paint which made it difficult to get them down.  I finally had to get help from my upstairs neighbor to get the screw out on the two small windows.  Then I was able to put up the new ones.  When it got time to do the slider door, thankfully I had a friend who was willing come over and remove the old rod and hang the new rod since  it was going in a slightly different place. So the rod is up, curtains are all done except for sewing the rings on that I  had brought from home.  What a mistake that was, first of all my math skills are legendary and I was short 15 rings. Then I had planned to sew them on with the sewing machine.  Well I couldn’t do it with this machine, mine at home would have, but not this one so it was all done by hand.  Then as I couldn’t match  the missing  rings I ended up using plastic electric tie loops  for the missing rings and the damn things are hung.  But I like them, they do exactly what I wanted, the side short ones give just img_2197enough privacy with out blocking light the slider door ones pull clear off the door for the day time, and a quick pull at night and they give just enough privacy at night that we are not visible from the street.  I happy, the project is done, I will never, ever, ever make curtains again and probably only use this machine for mending,

I only have one more DYI project and that is recovering the couch.  I’ll let you know how that goes. Signing off KO

Social Life in Mexico

With the weather here being lovely and warm, actually it is quite unseasonably hot this year many days in the 90’s, you get your business and shopping done in the early morning, then beach or siesta during the hottest part of the day. I’ve almost become a img_2114commuter to La Ropa beach where I have never spent much time in previous years. It’s a 10 peso bus ride about 50 cents, takes less than 20 minutes and almost unending choice of restaurants and lounge chairs.  It’s not my favorite place to swim or play in the water, but it’s great for relaxing with a cooling breeze, lunching or dinning or socializing or watching the sunset.

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Morgan at El Mangalar

Morgan wanted to eat at El Manglar where the crocodiles swim in the estuary right beside your table.  We chose to have dinner there and had a great dinner, but too dark to see any crocs.  The waiter promised her if she would come back for lunch he would call them for her.

I’ve been attending several of the” meet and  greets” at Paty’s with the cool breeze that blows in through her upstairs pavilion. It is marvelous in the late afternoon.  It is also a  great opportunity to meet many of the folks who enjoy Zihuatanejo.  I frequently find I’m the only American in the group as the large portion of the seasonal population is Canadians. It’s OK we all play well together and  enjoy the exquisite sunsets there.

Friday and Saturday nights Steve and friends play great rock and roll music at Rossy’s on La Ropa catering to a crowd that is primarily gray but can still dance like junior high. They play from 5-7 allowing folks to be back home before it’s too dark or go on to other places for dinner. I can still catch a combi back and not have to pay the higher taxi fee but at that time of night it is full of folks returning from work and you may be ridding with 20 or more folks on a 15 passenger combi. Such is Mexico.

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Solo Tres

Spent a lovely afternoon at El Pirita listening to Solo Tres, who sing the most beautiful Mexican music, one of those special groups where the blend of their voices is pure magic.

Several of the bars in El Centro, the downtown part of Zihuatanejo where I live, have live music on various nights. Jimmi Mamou is a long time favorite in Zihuatanejo, 10 years ago he was invited to play at Guitar Fest and he never left.  Folks are friendly and will invite me to join them and some times I img_2220-1invite myself which I did one night only to  discover the lady was from my home town, Port Orchard.  I don’t know who was more surprised, she or me. Life here is warm, friendly and casual.. Can’t ask for more than that. Signing off KO

Woke Up Feeling Great

I woke up this morning feeling great, it’s the first time in 2-3 weeks I can honestly say that. I have had a cough and a bowel disturbance for the past few weeks, but I didn’t consider myself sick.  I feel so good today I now realize, I was sick.  Guess I was in denial.  I think it’s the first time I’ve been sick in 10 years or so.  Glad it’s over,  time to get on with life and do a little catch up here.

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Chile Gato

About a week ago I went on a nature hike guided by Elizabeth Brady, a local gal with an  abundance of knowledge of the local natural plant life. We walked through an area  that was completely wild, meaning nothing there had been planted it was all natural plant life. I learned about toxic plants, for one the “chile gato” plant that has a quite attractive flower and a small fuzzy  tail that is some what a cross between a cat’s tail and the marsh plant referred to as “cat tails”.  I’m glad I’m aware it’s toxic as other wise I would be drawn to it to either pick or touch.    There were many lovely

blooms and interesting trees.  One the fruit grows on the trunk of the tree rather than the branches and another was a parasitic tree, but it also can live independently of its host.

One plant produces a fruit that can be used to launder your clothes with.  Saw a couple img_2133of beautiful spider webs complete with occupants and caught a glimpse of a small herd of cattle who are lucky enough to reside there.img_2146-1   All in all it was an interesting morning.  Signing off KO

Settling in to Every Day Life

It didn’t take me long to settle in to a pattern of every day life here in lovely warm Zihuatanejo. I swim 3 days a week, I discovered that with all the lovely improvements at the pool they now have a daily fee of 25 pesos and a monthly pass 225 pesos.   Obviously the pass is the better deal , so for a month of swimming I pay about the equivalent of $11. At home when I swam at the Navy base it was free, but when I return home I will need to join the Y and pay $60 a month.  I walk to the pool usually about 7 ish, takes me about 20 minutes then I lap swim for 30 minutes and walk back.

Now the walk back can take a long time depending on what errands I have, the route takes me by two fabric stores and the Mercado where I can wander and find just about anything I could possibly need from clothing to vegetables to fish to tiny restaurants.  I have bought parts for my cook stove there rope for my clothesline, you name it can find it but that sometimes in the problem. Naming it! Not only do you need to know the Spanish word for it but also how to pronounce it correctly. ” Google translate” is my friend.

In the mid afternoon when it is the hottest, I either keep to my apartment or go to the beach where you most always find a breeze and read there.  My apartment is equipped with 3 ceiling fans. One in the kitchen, one in the bedroom and one in the living room.  To conserve electricity I try to only run the fan in the room I am  using and try to remember to shut them all down when I am gone. Between the fans and the fact that a breeze blows in from the bay, just a block away , in my back door and out the balcony slider I am quite comfortable and never use my air conditioner. And therefore keep my electric bill down, which all the Canadians refer to as the “hydro” bill.

Two days a week I take Spanish classes.  I am finding it challenging, but important. Usually after class, my friend Fay and I go for coffee,  trying many new and different places. I have joined a book club and frequently attend “meet and greet” affairs in the evening.

One day a week I go to the “Laundaria” and  for 45 pesos (1.45) I do a load of wash which I bring back to my apartment and hang my clothes to dry on the back porch.  They are dry in just 2-3 hours, I let the laundry do  my sheets and towels and it usually runs about about the equivalent of  $5 a week for them to wash and dry and fold. I don’t have room to hang them.

I take the little “combi”  buses just about everywhere I don’t want to walk. 10 pesos            ( $.50)  gets me any where in Zihuatanejo I want to go.  They hold ten to 15 people

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My new little desk

comfortably but not uncommon for 20 plus folks to cram inside. Taxi’s are 35 pesos for in town, which I use only for grocery shopping on when purchasing big things like my new little desk.  I thought it might double for a sewing desk, but I do prefer my card table for sewing.

Beach days and lunches with friends, keep me busy, also I find that I am a bit of a “sun-

downer” once the sun goes down and the air becomes so soft and cool I love to walk about town.  I’ll stop and listen to the music at many of the open air bars, stop for drinks with friends or just wander around.  It’s a lovely way to spend an evening.

I have a TV, but I swear it is cursed. I can’t operate it. It is only a year old and is supposed to be a smart TV, I can only find NBC in English and I know there are many other English speaking channels, but I am remote control challenged and can’t even find Netflix.  So when I want a movies I do Netflix on my computer.  Signing off KO

 

Dia de la Revolucion Parade

Mexico’s Revolution Day (Dia de la Revolucion) is a national public holiday that celebrates a 10-year revolution that began in 1910 to end the struggle against dictator José de la Cruz Porfirio Diaz Mori. It is on the third Monday in November, near the official day of November 20. In Zihuatanejo it is celebrated with a huge parade with most of the schools participating. It was a perfect day for the parade, Zihuatanejo gave her brightest  blue skies for the event, temps in the low to mid 80’s.  The parade route goes down my street, so we watched the parade with our morning coffee from the balcony.

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Parade start

The parade was scheduled to start at 9.  Nothing starts on time in Mexico but at 8:40 the parade was coming down my street.  Never heard of anything ever happening early than the announced time, usually an hour late, but the parade was here and we watched all 4 hours of kids dressed up as revolutionary characters in traditional dress, drum and  bugle groups, dancers in beautiful costumes. Teen age students building human pyramids, others somersaulting through  hoops of fire.  Like everything in Mexico, it was loud, colorful, beautiful and very  interesting.

After a morning of no internet, signing off KO