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.
Hand made clothing and accesories
Hat from coconut fronds
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. 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.
Everything in Zihuatanejo is labor intensive, This is how the city streets get swept each morning. Signing off KO
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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 like 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
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!
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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My beautiful new jewelry
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!
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
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
Then we were on to Porto d Mare for night caps.
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.
We decided we have been lazy long enough and decided to visit our favorite waiter Jose, at Gloria del Mar at Playa Las Gattas.
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
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.
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