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

Christmas and More

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Thanks for a great Christmas Eve

We had a wonderful and quiet Christmas. Christmas Eve we were invited for A & A (alcohol and appetizers) at good friends Faye and Paul’s apartment. Appetizers were so delicious and plentiful it definitely doubled for dinner. Christmas morning we joined friends Charles and Christine in Ixtapa for breakfast at the Krystal Hotel’s lavish buffet. A few phone calls with family but mostly the day was spent just relaxing.  Then finishing the day with turkey soup leftover from Thanksgiving. Actually a great stress free Christmas.

Saturday mornings are one of my favorite times, it is the time for the little Saturday morning market, the Ecco Tianguis (sorry my computer doesn’t spell check Spanish.

It is a home made, recycled.re-purposed and organic market. It is my source of lovely gifts for my family, much of the jewelry I wear. The Senor and I always enjoy the very healthy breakfast I bring home from it. It is bright, colorful full of music and friends. Just a very happy place.

Two days before Christmas tragedy struck Zihuatanejo. IMG_0960
Children playing with fireworks hit a power line that set off a blaze that consumed 150 homes high on a hill that was difficult for the “bomberos” (Firemen) to reach. This was an area where some of the poorer folks live, but the community pulled together, both Mexican and gringo, and within 4 days enough donations had poured in to fulfill the basic needs of all the families with only 60 families remaining in temporary shelter. And the help and donations are still coming forth.

IMG_0953Everything in Zihuatanejo is labor intensive,  This is how the city streets get swept each morning.  Signing off KO

Mexico, How It makes me happy

This is me celebrating my sons birthday with a mango margarita. Too bad he wasn’t here to enjoy it with me

Let me state to begin with I’m happy just to still be on the planet earth when so many I have cared about are not.  I am so happy to be here in sunny Zihuatanejo where the aches and pains of arthritis and other old age maladies seem to disappear.  To a great extent this is a society that subscribes to the “be happy, don’t worry” train of thought.  I couldn’t agree more, by nature I am not a worrier.   Either fix it or forget it.

Erica opening her gifts

Our friend Brenda who is both our friend, local barkeep and our cleaning lady has this adorable 8 year old daughter Erica.  Erica is going to spend the school vacation with her Abuela (grandmother) so we gave her  the Christmas gifts today. How wonderful it is to see a child truly excited over the immediate gift, not just racing on to the next one. A few coloring books and some colored pencils and a carton of “hatchables” little toys that come out of eggs should help to keep her content while visiting the Abuela out in the country with no internet and minus all the modern conveniences. Her happy smiles made us happy.

We have purchased our second piece of art fom the same young up and promiing artist, here she is signing it for us. This will pretty much complete our decorating.  Signing off KO

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Confessions of a former Christmas Junkie

I have always loved Christmas. I loved the lights, the glitter, the excitement and always made it a full on production for my kids which wasn’t always easy as their Dad could be a bit of a grinch about it. . The stocking stuffers were a big thing with my 4 children, a tradition I carried on into their adulthood, soon realizing the fortune I was spending on the little funny stuff would be better spent getting them something useful.

Once the bulk of gift buying was under control I could then busy myself with outfitting a couple of Barbies in all the latest fashions, often not starting my sewing until 9 or 10 at night and sewing until the wee hours of the morning.  There were Christmas dresses for the girls to be made, new vests for the boys. The house had to be decorated, a tree had to located and cut down and decorated. Black Friday shopping was a must. Packages had to be wrapped and some to Post Office. Holiday meal for 10 or twelve folks to be prepared and lots of pumpkin pies, (my specialty) to be made from the Halloween pumpkins. From Halloween to Christmas was a constant whirlwind of activities with Thanksgiving thrown in in the middle along with November and December kids’ birthdays.

And I loved it, even when it just became the Senior and I.  We decorated the house, eight storage boxes, six more for the outside decorations.We did look festive! But with our children and grand children scattered over 5 states and one foreign country there was no more big holiday gatherings and we began to say why? Why are we doing this? And the answer was habit!

Now we have developed this wonderful new habit.  Christmas  in Zihuatanejo. Two poinsettias and a nativity scene and we are decorated. Christmas dinner with friends is a sharing of cooking between our small mexican  kitchens. We now do much of our Christmas shopping while sitting in the shade of a palapa on a warm beach and let the “stores” come to us. It’s so easy to buy lovely jewelry for the ladies in our family and before we arrive home in March most of the Christmas presents have been bought.  We no longer have to contend with pushy, stressed out holiday shoppers, just happy beach crowds. Life is good, no stress, no mess. Merry Christmas to all! Signing off KO

January 6th, Three Kings Day

The last couple of days I saw the construction of all the temporary booths being erected along the main drag of Juan Alvarez to house an enormous amount of what appears to be cheap plastic toys.

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Blue tarp booths along the side walk selling toys and 3 Kings Day cakes

Since I’m told the Mexican children receive gifts on 3 Kings day I guess parents wait util the last minute to shop. Sure solves the problem of hiding gifts from snooping kids. There are also tables and tables of the special cake that has the little figures baked in it. They come in every size imaginable depending on the size of your family gathering. And if I remember correctly who ever gets the baby Jesus in their piece gets to host the whole group to a tamale

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Blue tarp booths along the side walk selling toys and 3 Kings Day cakes

feast on Candelmas  Day. Then there is the “Bike Market” along the canal.

Last night from my balcony I watched the fire dancer perform,  not the best view as the palm tree gets in the way a bit, entertaining none the less.  This was followed by a brief but hard rain shower, all done in minutes

 

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Fire dancer as seen from my balcony

There also has been a mass exodus of Mexican tourists as their holidays ends, the foot traffic around town is manageable again and hopefully the music from the Zocolo won’t be blasting down our street nightly. I’m forever amazed at how folks can party all night until six am. It’s 5:00 am and the bar down the street is still playing music, this morning the music is pleasant and not just the “thump thump” type and not so loud to be heard inside the apartment but surprising pleasant out here on my balcony.

The Senor just suggested going to the beach today. I’m so excited!  Getting him out and about has been a real chore this year. Sometimes I feel a little “trapped” up in our room.  Signing off KO

 

 

 

 

 

The pier, the yogurt and the Christmas Dinner

Christmas morning was very quiet, that is after 6 AM when the last celebrants left the bar around the corner. The streets were empty of people and cars, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this town so quiet and it was PC250069.JPGlike that most of the day.  I walked down to the pier, it just reopened after a major patch job.  It looks great and lets hope it does the job. Many folks were headed to Las Gatas as the town is full of Mexican tourists getting their beach fix during this holiday time. Coming back from the pier I stopped at the new ice cream shop right across from the Zocolo., well it does have ice cream but what it features is frozen yogurt, which I really enjoy. There were several flavors of syrup, I selected Baileys  which he swirled around the bottom and sides of the cup, then added the yogurt  and wanted me to select toppings.  I’m a purist and don’t want toppings. I guess I had expected the yogurt to be just like at home, why I don’t know.  But of course it wasn’t. What came to mind is Al Alto’s song “Con Limon” how everything in Mexico comes with lime. There was just a touch of tartness, but very good. I think I will become a regular there. It has nice seating lacking in other ice cream spots and a great place to watch the daily parade go by.

We were invited to Christmas dinner at friends Joanne and Will’s

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apartment. There were eight of us for dinner and we sort of expected it might be traditional Christmas fare. What we didn’t know is Joanne is fantastic creative cook. And yes there was turkey and gravy and wonderful stuffing and the most delightful sweet potato dish I have ever had, all beautifully displayed and served. It was a true feast!

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Steve and Janet opening stockings

So not only was there this wonderful dinner but stockings had been prepared for each one of us with little treats and goodies and really personalized. I had in mine some of the lovely earrings that Joanne makes  The Senor found a carton of the V8 juice he so loves in his. It was such fun, and so thoughtful. A truly great Christmas!

Our bounty from the Christmas stockings, that should keep the Senor in chocolate for weeks to come.

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Lights of Zihuatanejo from El Hujal colonnia

What has surprised me this year is that even though we are less than a block from the church, I’ve not heard church bells at all.  I miss that!

Signing off, KO

Merry Christmas To All

We had a pleasant Christmas eve dinner last night at Daniels, they had a holiday menu of turkey with an interesting stuffing, I think was mostly

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adjusting the microphone Mexican style, keep tying knots until it’s at the right height

sausage and raisins. We had a wonderful fruit salad and a creamed corn and poblano soup that was just great. Not being one who eats meat I came prepared with a ziplock bag to put my turkey away for the Senor’s sandwiches later

 

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Then we were on to Porto d Mare for night caps.

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Barkeep at Purto d Mare

 

For 3 days last week my right knee began to bother me, felt weak swollen, stiff and was uncomfortable walking. Some times it felt like it might buckle under me when I would stand up. This knee shouldn’t bother me as I had it replaced several yeas ago, I never have trouble with it but I do know that infections can go straight to it. That’s why I take penicillin before any dental or medical treatment. Also my middle finger or my right had became swollen and sore. The joints ached and I couldn’t make a closed fist, that finger just wouldn’t bend and ached horribly. During all this I still went swimming every morning, but one day I couldn’t get warm swimming and quit after 25 minutes.  Which is something I never quit early. All in all I just didn’t feel 100%, napped several times a day, no get up and go, no interest in going much of anywhere that I didn’t have to. Questioned that maybe I was beginning to feel “old”. Anyway to make a long story shorter. I believe I had a mild case of “chikungunya”. I had collected several mosquito bites before we finally got some repellent and I think one of those sucker gave it to me. It seem to only affect my most vulnerable joint, those with previous injuries. I knew chikungunya was in the area, but after I began to feel good again, I looked it up on line and I do think that’s what I had. Certainly not a case of old age.

Merry Christmas from Zihuatanejo Mexico

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poinsettia mart

 

signing off KO

DAY AT LA PLAYA

We decided we have been lazy long enough and decided to visit our favorite waiter Jose, at Gloria del Mar at Playa Las Gattas.

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Very mexican kitten relaxing in a hammock

As we walked through town to the pier we stopped to admire the kittens at the local humane society. This little orange kitty struck me as truly a mexican cat, all  relaxed out in his hamock. Since we left a little later than usual, and weren’t familiar with the new little pier set up that is being used while some sort of repairs are being attempted on the main pier, we hit a traffic jam.  Incoming fishing boats off loading families with their catches took president over out going beach seekers.  The Senor, always the efficiancy expert, still can’t quite relax and just say “It’s Mexico”!

Playa Las Gattas was busy and Jose told us it would get busier towards the

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Busy day at the beach

end of the week. Many Mexican nationals are here from the interior to enjoy the fresh air and warmth of the beach. A couple of drinks, swim a little, vist with folks around you, watch the sights and enjoy the beach sales people. I bought an ankle bracelet from Juanita, I have so much of her jewelry that I really don’t need any more. A short visit with we learned that she is sad as her mama has passed away and now it is just her and her sister.

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Getting the snorklejust right

I did get a nice pair of silver hoops from Jorge. It always amazes me that the silver sales men have a credit card machine with them. But for every one else its cash only and exact change. As no one ever can change a large bill. And all the ATM gives out are large bills. We start to hord our small bills and change because if you run out you are SOL. The cambio across the street from us will usually change a 500 once a day, but if I start going there everyday they soon tell me no, no change. Maybe that is why there are these huge line ups to go into the banks, folks just needing change. Signing Off KO

White crane seen from the "little pier"
Beautiful white crane greeted us on our return.

A LAZY ZIHUA DAY

We went to the movies in Zihuatanejo it’s just across the street from us. It is always an experience. First we have to determine if the movie we want to watch is in english and at what time it will play. If we plan it right we can go on the 2 for 1 night, but last night it was full price 40 pesos each. WE opted to see Navidad del Coopers, a light hearted funny movie with Diane Keaton and John Goodman. To get to the particular room it was showing in, it’s like climbing steps to a tower. Up is not so bad, but down is a bit scary especially in the dark.

I didn’t sleep to good last night, have a joint on one  finger that is plaging me and my “good knee” is sore and stiff.  That shouldn’t happen in this lovely weather. I still walk all over town and find lots of pretty flowers over hanging the sidewalks

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Beautiful flowers over hanging the sidewalk where I wwalk each morning.

Walked out to the pool this morning and was informed that since I am over 60 I do not have to pay to swim, one of the grounds keepers with passable english informed me. He says the lady has just been pocketing my 20 pesos each day. I got there a little earlier than usual and the water seemed cold, I never quite warmed up.  With the new cover on the pool the water is considerable cooler in the morning. Tomorrow I will not pay!

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Alberca de Olimpia, this new cover keepsthe pool cleanerfromleaves, but it is colder as the sun doesn’t warm it likebefore.

Bought a mexican phone today, but neither Doyle or I can figure out how to make them work.  We never had this problem before. I’ll go back to tel cell for instructions tomorrow. Unlike everything in the US that comes with directions in a half dozen different languages, here it is strictly spanish.

With my achy bones and joints I’ve been pretty lazy to day opting to take advantage of the mexican custom of siesta.  While the Senor has his TV I have my computer,my kindle and a whole passel of movies my daughter put on a hard drive for me so it’s been real easy to be lazy. Maybe tomorrow I’ll get ambitious.  Signing off KO

 

WE’RE BACK AND NOW ON LINE

We arrived Monday evening to sunny skies and 87 degree weather.  So happy to be out of the rain.  Breezed through customs, caught a cab and we were back at our home away from home.  Got settled in, unpacked then out to dinner on the Malecon and night caps at our favorite watering hole, the Flophouse Bar.

Tuesday morning I set about getting the computers up and running, and started my blog, but no luck, it would not save and then cut me off Completly, could not stay on line for more than a minute or two before it went away. Very frustrating since the Senor relies on one of the computers for his TV habit being streamed from home.

We did discover that our TV now gets 3 of the Seattle stations and Fox news.  That saved a lot of frustration for him, but he still couldn’t get some stations he wanted. Brought the subject up to Arturo the building owner, he checked out the internet connections and found all was well. He then called a “techie” friend who came over and fixed both computers for  200 pesos about 25 bucks.

I did a quick run to the Comercial (Mexico’s version of a super market) yesterday to get a few basics provisions to last a day or two and then this morning after my morning swim at the community pool I did the frut and veggie run to the “mercado”. I love shopping the Mercado, it is just such a sensory over load. Busy, noisy people, bright colorfull fruits and veggies and spices and cheese and yellow chickens and loud Mexican music.

Christmas is starting to be seen around town, you could get a green, and surpriseingly fresh tree at the comercial today, the pointsetia and pinata markes are in full swing at the Kyoto Circle.Hopefully I’ll get there tomorrow.  Our street is colorful with lights and bright flags.  We strung solar lights along our balcony so we too look festive. Signing off KO

PS Please forgive any typo’s or misspellings as I can’t find the spell check on