Carnival Zihuatanejo Style, Kayaking, and More

IMG_1050Zihuatanejo is dressing up for Carnival.  Zihua’s Carnival never coincides with traditional Carnival dates, it has a mind of it’s own and occasionally it just doesn’t show up and then it pops up again at the whim of whom ever is currently in power.

The current administration appears to be big on celebrations, decorating the town

with lots of color and lights, making Zihuatanejo very welcoming and tourist friendly. Among other things they crown a king and queen, but the big deal is the parade, it’s about 2-3 hours long with the most incredible floats I have ever seen.  Not the traditional flowers and a pretty girl type, but highly creative, done with many recycled items.  One year there was a jaguar made entirely of plastic water bottles and spray paint.  It was incredible.  There will be traditional dancers, and probably the show girls from the Hotels in Ixtapa. A very colorful event, with loud music and hopefully horses.

Went kayaking again, this time took a couple of friends with me to the lagoon at Barra de Potsi. We thoroughly enjoyed our day in the sun on the water.  It’s quiet and peaceful there.  The water near the shore is very shallow and full of sand bars for some reason I’ve had no trouble finding my way to deep water headed out, but coming back is a whole different story. Also we were paddling into the wind making us work a bit. My friends decided just to take the shortest looking distance and ended up walking and pulling the boats over the sand bars, I was determined to paddle all the way in and almost succeeded in getting to deep water when I got stuck on a sandbar. A nice fellow we had met on the bus coming over to Barra offered to pull me off the sand bar to the deeper channel. Next time I will master it.

Guitarfest is in full swing this week, usually I attend the opening to see a bit of most of the musicians, but I had already made plans with friends to attend a Blues IMG_1069Festival in Ixtapa. It was poorly attended and I wasn’t impressed by the band, but there was a girl singer who I would have liked to heard a lot more from her, but she only did a couple of songs, she was really good.

There are lots of good beach days, I spend most of my beach time at Playa Madera as it is just a short walk from my apartment, the waves aren’t so big that I have no problems getting in and out of and I can really swim there without fear of jet ski’s or IMG_1095para sail boats.  I was fascinated by this game of Moki that friends were playing.  The sand was too hot for me to want to join in, but it was really quite interesting. Signing off KO

 

 

 

 

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

I took a taxi tour with 3 other friends to see all of Zihuatanejo, the good the bad and the ugly.  It was eye opening to say the least. The El Centro part of Zihuatanejo is flat, but a large part of the residential areas are on the steep hillsides.  To access these areas you travel on very steep, winding roads that are narrow, have lots of speedIMG_0971 bumps and pot holes the size of a Volkswagen.  Some are paved, many are not. I was surprised to see there are a large contingent of small buses/vans called combi’s that service all the hillsides until you get to the parts that are stairs only.

As we started up the hills the houses were mostly cement and brick and appeared quite nice like in the town center.  It was explained that this was the middle class, neither rich nor poor.  Most owned their own homes.  Most communities I’m familiar with at home, the higher IMG_0903on the hill the more exclusive and expensive the housing.  Not so in Zihuatanejo, the higher on the hill the poorer you are with tickey tacky patched together wood and tarp and wire fencing shelters.  We came to the area that was hit by a devastating fire a year or so ago, that wiped out 40-100 of these very rudimentary shelters that were home to these folks. They had very little and still lost it all.  Some are just now rebuilding, but once again very rustic post and pole wood structure, some require a ladder to access their homes from the street as it is so steep.  But the view is to die for, absolutely stunning. On IMG_0978 happy note there is and has been a wonderful community outpouring that has and continues to help these families. Throughout these hillside communities are IMG_0953sprinkled tiny little churches and laundry stations where the women were enjoying each others company if not the work of washing clothes by hand.

But this was not the poorest region. We then moved on to the dump.  If any of you have read John Irving’s “Avenue of Mysteries” you have heard about folks living and working in the dumps.  It’s a bit unbelievable as the homes are about on a par with some of the worst homeless camps in the states, if that good. But there is a school there that is a very bright spot.  Education is the only way out for these children for a better and more promising life. Other than the classrooms are

exceedingly rustic, inside it looks like any primary school.  Colorful displays on the

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School administrators

walls and happy smiling children who are out going, friendly and eager to learn from dedicated teachers. Fortunately there is a group of Canadians who have taken this situation to heart and have built and furnish structures and help any way they can. As do many other local and visiting folks.

Visiting the schools at the dump is encouraged, especially if you bring school supplies, food or clothing.  It helps to

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Manuel with me

spread the word of the need.  We all dug deep into our pockets and left a small but heartfelt donation for food for their breakfast and lunch program. If you choose to just donate supplies for the families that live there, there is always someone set up at the Ecco Tianguis Saturday morning market to accept your donations.

Their living conditions are the worst I have ever seen.  And the job their parents do for them to survive is unbelievable.  I don’t think I ever really understood poverty until this day. Signing off KO

Trips to Barra de Potosi, Playa Linda, and Punto Gorobo

Been a busy week beginning with the Spring Street Fair in Barra de Potosi, it is a fun and colorful annual event.  It is full of local hand made items for sale, many made by

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Street Fair Barra de Potosi

the village children.  Lots of great homemade Mexican food and drink.  This event helps to support their animal protective society which funds neutering of dogs and cats, help find homes for otherwise unwanted animals. I went with the plan of purchasing 4 kid designed and painted place mats and some flavored sea salts.

A couple of days later went back to Barra de Potosi to

kayak in the lagoon. Great place for kayaking, smooth water in the lagoon. We did a double, and it was fun.  But I prefer a single, easier to paddle at your own rhythm.

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6 turtles and an iguana at the croc sanctuary

I’ve been to Playa Linda many times, but just as a stopping of point to catch the water taxi to Ixtapa island.  After visiting the crocodile sanctuary, our group settled in at a table at one of the many restaurants and watched the huge waves that day.  No swimming for any of us.  That evening I was on to a cocktail party for Sailfest volunteers at Punto Garrobo,  a new upscale,

luxury establishment high on the hills overlooking a small inlet on the far side of the light house, sort of behind Playa Las Gatas.  Lovely facilities, absolutely top notch, but not for me.  Property is on a very steep hillside, lots of wide stairs but of course no railings.  They “vanned” us down to the “Beach Club” which is exquisite, the road is very, very steep with a hairpin turn that takes  two two three passes to complete the turn.  It is walk-able for the young and healthy, but not so much for senior citizens and it is too steep for golf carts to pull.

The beach club  infinity pool in-spite of it’s slightly irregular shape is long enough for lap swimming and is gorgeous as are the views.  It was a very pleasant evening complete with a drinks and tapas.

My birthday last week was perfect.  The concert was a fantastic, wonderful entertaining singer followed by a local mariachi band. Forgot to bring my phone so no pictures.  Signing off KO

ART IN MANY PLACES

I love art galleries, but I view them like I view a museum. A place to visit and enjoy great beauty, not a place to shop.

Art can be found all over Zihuatanejo, in the many galleries, murals on walls, sometimes on gates or doors and even the pole in the laundromat. Many artist display their paintings or crafts in open plaza.

There are murals on walls, walkways, all through town.

Even one in progress

IMG_0776I also tour the fabric stores with the same type of mentality as the fabrics here are beautiful and the selection immense.  The difference between the fabric stores and galleries is  I can shop the fabric stores as the prices are extremely low compared to home prices.  What I find odd is that you can buy anything you need for sewing except a pattern, not a pattern to be found. The bottom fabric will be my new curtains.  Signing off KO

The Pool, The beach and Birthdays

I had become lazy about getting to the pool on a regular basis.  So yesterday I bought my monthly pass and have resumed swimming.  I swim 3 days a week and  on the other two week days I have Spanish lessons.  The swimming is going great, the Spanish not so great.  It is a bit  of a struggle for me and I know I should study more and practice more.  I’m finding composing sentences difficult, my vocabulary is fair but conjugating the proper verb in the proper tense just takes a lot of thought.  They say this is good for the older mind as it keeps it active.  If frustrated is active I’m doing just fine.

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Cute Pinata

My friend Vicky had her birthday party last week, really a great party, great band, even a pinata. She had the most

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Best cake ever

delicious layered cake as each layer was a different flavor. Unfortunately she had to  she had to enjoy it on crutches as she is recover from an earlier fall getting on a motor scooter and broke her leg. No one can accuse us oldsters of not being  active or having fun in Zihuatanejo.

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Vicky and Dave

My birthday is next week, there is a big fund raiser concert that same evening for the local Humane Society that does a wonderful job rescuing street dogs and spaying and neutering.  Friends convinced me that it would be a great way to celebrate my birthday as not only is there a concert, but also food, wine and raffles . So I bought a ticket.

A few days ago went with a group to Ixtapa Island snorkeling.  The snorkeling was the best I’ve seen in several trips there.  The water was clear, not too heavy of wave action and the fish would literally swarm all around you.  While doing a quick stop to check out the croc’s in their sanctuary I noticed a turtle swimming up on the back of a crocodile and literally taking a ride on his back.  Who knew they were friends!  Signing off KO87106730_10221538254714196_5834019868189392896_n.jpg

Ecco Tianquis, Swimming with the ladies and Fabric

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Saturday Market

My Mexican life has settled into a fairly normal pattern, I usually visit the Eco Tianquis Saturday Morning Market where I can find home grown produce, bread, pastries, hand crafted jewelry, purses, embroidery work and organic foods all done by local folks. Usually there is entertainment, music and/or dancers. There are bins for my recyclablesIMG_0582.jpg, I donate what I can to the food bank and visit with friends.  It’s a lovely way to start a Saturday.

Friday was the annual street fair on Calle Adelita, with food, auctions and dancing in the streets  I really enjoyed the bands, but was just too crowded for me.  But that’s OK as it was a fund raiser for both the home for the elderly and the orphanage and it raised a lot of money for those worth while projects.

Sunday usually finds me at Escollera the lovely infinity pool swimming with the ladies, when you are single the group dynamics change so I have really enjoyed these Sundays.IMG_0593.jpg

The fabric store in Zihuatanejo is one of my favorite places to visit.  I can spend hours perusing the multitude of fabrics they have.  I have never seen such a large display of home decorating fabrics and the prices are dirt cheap in comparison to my fabric.jpg
home fabric store I purchased fabric to recover my 2 bar stools at home, total cost is equivelant to $6.37 US at home 2 yards would have cost between $20-40. Now I’m trying to decide which fabric for my table runners.IMG_0581.jpgIMG_0580 fabric.jpg

I had a nice sewing project for my friend Brenda, she needed removable seat covers for cushions for the stools in her bar, aptly named “Brenda’s Bar”.  People will stay longer if they have comfortable seating, so I made 10 of them for her she has another friend who will do the rest.

Monday I’m going snorkeling at Ixtapa island with friends, tomorrow is Spanish class and in the evening a birthday party to attend.  Life is much more social here, warm, relaxing, and friendly.  Signing off KO

 

 

 

I’m Back, Well I Never Left, Just Busy

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Dinner with Mike, John and Gloria at Casa Bahia

I’ve not posted in several weeks as I have been having too much fun keeping company with a charming gentleman from Canada.  He had to return to Canada for knee surgery yesterday.  Now I am back to having free time to explore Zihuatanejo on my own and sharing it with you.

I had a brief episode of extremely low blood pressure and found it necessary to go to the Clinica Maciel one afternoon.  I was impressed with the the doctors, and the level of care.  I would never hesitate to go there again if I felt the need for medical treatment.

Escollera, with it’s infinity swimming pool has become a favorite spot.  I also have spent

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Pool at Escollera

quite a bit of time at La Madera beach, easy walk to get to, no water taxi’s or buses to contend with.

Sailfest has come and gone again this year I worked the T-shirt sales desk and enjoyed an afternoon on the Catamaran Viva, a true luxury cat. With all the rest of the sailboats we sailed to Ixtapa but

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Enter Deck of the Viva

then went on to Ixtapa island where we

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The Picante

anchored.  Last year only a couple of us swam to shore, this year half the boat opted to swim in rather than use the launch that Paradisio Escondido sent out to transport folks to shore.  All part of the adventure! Also had a lovely evening  doing the sunset cruise on the Picante with friends.

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Big cruise ship seen from the Picante

Almost every evening there is a place for dancing, most of it caters to the “grey panther” group that is in the majority here.  But to watch folks dance, it’s with the same energy they always had.  We did have the best music, and it is still alive and well  in Zihuatanejo.

A group of us started a book club,  it fizzled out but not before introducing me to a couple of excellent reads.  Cutting Stone and the Tattooist of Auschwitz.  I highly recommend both, not quick beach reads, but real meaty stories and the Tattooist is a true story of the will to survive.

Still fighting to find and move pictures to where I want them.  I don’t know why it is so difficult.  Signing off KO

Cruise Ships

Zihuatanejo was host to two cruise ships this week end.  They always add a little excitement to the community with the town making an effort to keep the tourists and their money in Zihuatanejo instead of Ixtapa. I saw one group of tourists being guided through El IMG_0195Centro on their way to the Mercado as they passed through my alley.

Dancers performed at the artist park where many local vendors were displaying their wares.  I’m always amazed at the stamina of the dancers in full costumes and masks that all look to be heavy and hot.

 

The next day an even larger cruise ship , but was only here for a few hours, went down to Playa Madera to get a good look at it, but I couldn’t get a decent photo of it due to the way it was moored.  I thought when we walked down the beach later we would get aIMG_0203 broadside view, but then it was gone.  On the walk back to town we saw the ice cream man.   I swear the best ice cream ever comes from the guys with these big stainless steel tubs that offer 3 flavors, coconut, vanilla and lemon.

I’m assuming it was because of the two cruise ships being here, but a real show of security was  seen all about town.  Military, Police and National Guard all highly visible all through out the town on foot, trucks, motorcycles on the beach. Quite impressive!

I’m starting to get the hang of moving pictures around with I cloud, but it’s time consuming process for me, but a least I can do it now.  Signing off KO

 

Beaches, Pools and Late Night Dancing

I am enjoying myself here in this sunny warm place called Zihuatanejo, I am often alone, but seldom lonely. I enjoy the company of some long time very close friends, but I also enjoy the company of a wide circle of very interesting women from all walks of life and a

variety of provinces and states.  Some are lucky enough to live here full time. We gather at the beaches, lovely pools like the infinity one at Escollera, in the out door bars and restaurants.  Most of us agree if we were back in the cold north we would be huddled in our homes in front of the TV.  Life is bigger and bolder here, more vibrant and colorful.  Lots of energy and few complaints.

I’ve just about finished with redecorating my apartment. Much of it is to simplify life, reduce clutter and rid myself of things that I have no use for or give me no pleasure. I’ve reorganized the kitchen to just the items I need to prepare the kind of meals I like.  I know I need to tackle the closet, but that may wait until the end of the season when I am positive of what needs to go home and never return and what needs to just go away and what needs to stay.  At home I lead a “jeans and t-shirt style life”, with a few rare occasions to wear dresses.  Here I wear dresses regularly as they are so comfortable in this weather.

There is so much wonderful music here, some for dancing other just for listening, and some of it late night.  I’ve had the opportunity to go dancing a few nights and I can still out dance and out last men 10 years younger than me. I’ve always loved to dance and it’s nice to have an occasional partner now and again.

Can’t post the pictures I would like to because they are attached to a different email account that my WordPress account is. I’m looking for someone who is skilled in managing pictures on the computer to teach me. Other than that color me content. Signing off KO

 

 

Everyday Life in Zihuatanejo

Even the most ordinary days seem extraordinary to me here partially because of the weather, partially because there is always something to do if you want to, everyone is friendly and helpful, the Mexican people are warm and caring. Everyday is extraordinary in it’s own way, but not necessarily “exciting!”

There are three beaches that I frequent ,

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Playa Las Gatas

Playa Las Gatas you take a water taxi to and I like to swim and snorkel there, Playa La Ropa, is a fifty cent bus ride away and is great for socializing, lunching, listening to music, and going in the water to bob around, but I don’t like to swim there. Too many boats pulling para-sails, jet skiers. Ixtapa Island, where one side of the island is great for just swimming and the Coral Beach side, a short hike over the hill has great snorkeling, but  difficult for me to get out of the waves and surf on the Coral side.  I need someone to haul me out as I don’t have good balance on sand that is shifting fast under my feet.

I love music and just about every night of the week I can find a good music to enjoy. Be it classic rock and roll, blues, balladeers, or classic Mexican music it is here. Most of it is played early in the evening around sunset or just after and most end before 10 Although the typical Mexican music scene might not begin until 10 and last until 4 or later, one club that features fantastic Mexican music caters to the gringos on Monday night and play an early set at 6-10 pm. 

There is fun to be had all around in Zihuatanejo, it helps to check out the local message group, Zihuatanejo Let’s Chat to learn about activities and events and share experiences. The meet and greets on Tuesday evenings at Patty’s on La Ropa are a great opportunity to connect with folks and meet new friends. Even though I am traveling solo this season, I have no problem joining in activities or finding friends to accompany me.  Life is good.  Signing off KO