I started back swimming Monday at the “Alberca de Olimpica” the Olympic size swimming pool here in Zihuatanejo. I first do my physical therapy ball wall walking exercises, in the apartment, then head to the gym across the street to ride the bike for 15 minutes, then out to the pool to swim laps. Usually I walk to the pool, but I’m being good and taking a taxi to and from this year. My doctor said walking will just tire me out with giving me no increased strength or range of motion. I miss being able to walk every where, but that will come later. I only swam for about 30 minutes on Monday and a little longer on Tuesday but what a difference it has made. I feel good, I can now navigate the 3 flights of stairs to our apartment as an adult instead of as a two year old and with no pain. Major improvement, makes me feel all will be normal again soon. And let me tell you I have had doubts.
The Senior and I have rigged up a measuring devise to track the “range of motion” improvement from an old hand held fan and a tape measure. Being a regular swimmer, getting back in the water again makes me feel so good.
I felt so good today that I went and had my nails done, my friend recommended a new salon which I tried and seem satisfied so far. I always have trouble with them holding up. For the equivalent of $18 US here, I get a really good
manicure complete with a hand massage. Then I made appointments for the Senior and I to get pedicures tomorrow. And then I followed this up with a beachfront grande mango margarita for less than $5.00. Life is so good here ! Zihuatanejo is not super cheap, but it is very reasonable, and very beautiful.
After 11 days of haggling with Fedex over a package held up in Mexican Customs they have told my son, the shipper, that they have released most of the items. Won’t know for sure what did and did not get released until I get the package. But the Fedex tracker says it is still in Mexican Customs, maybe tomorrow it will leave Mexico City, but I won’t hold my breath.
All of this may not seem like high excitement, but it was an extremely satisfying day. Signing off KO
We have about 3 and a half weeks left of our season in Zihuatanejo. Now I know for some folks that is their whole time here, but for those of us that spend the winter here it is the time to start making our reservations for next year, lists of what we will store here and what we are taking home. Folks that we want to see at least one more time before leaving, places that we might want to go, using up all our Sailfest Certificate for dinners and such. March is the month that most of the snowbirds begin to head back north, so it is saying goodbye to friends that we won’t see again until next year. Some folks are ready to head back home, me not so much, I love the casual laid back life style we live here, but I’m not sure I would like the heat and humidity of summer here. Winter time is perfect for us so I’ll be satisfied with 4 months next year, in November to Mid March.
We have time to finish our agenda for this year, 2 more dinners out, a
Kayaking trip tomorrow for me while the Senior gets a massage, followed by a beach lunch, a couple of lazy days in Troncones with friends, a couple of beach days, and a Santa Prissa Pazole lunch and maybe a movie in Ixtapa and it will be time to go home.
I hope the snow has quit by then. In the Pacific Northwest it’s a big deal to get snow once or twice during the winter. But this year it has snowed on and off almost continuously all winter and is still doing so. It has been a very good winter to be here, I do feel blessed. The Senor is rapidly gaining strength, all is good and right in my world! Signing off KO
Last night I attended a benefit concert for the local Society for the Protection of Animals. Spaying and neutering pets is not the norm in Mexico as a result dogs and cats multiply and end up with out homes to live on the streets. Out in the countryside dogs from feral packs and cause much damage to natural wild life and domesticated animals. .So this humane society takes in street dogs, spays or neuters them, sees to their health needs, bathes them, socializes them with the help of many volunteers, and makes them ready for adoption both locally and internationally. Unfortunately not al are adopted and some have to be returned to the street, but at least they aren’t reproducing. And since they have become socialized some find homes on their own.
Anyway, back to culture!
The concert featured Los Hermanos Morales as the warm up group. Two brothers with excellent guitar skills and voices that harmonize magnificently. Then the lovely Nora Murillo came on stage and captivated us with her first note, which I swear she held for a full minute or more. A real natural talent who sang with so much emotion and passion. Her songs were all in spanish and while the some words could be picked out mostly it was the emotion of the songs was felt. Nora is a beautiful young woman with a real gift she shared with a packed house.
Now for celebration
The Sail Fest volunteers, all 75 of us, were invited to Las
Palmas on Playa Blanca to celebrate our hard work and learn that as a group we way out did the earnings of last year. Folks brought appetizers and drinks, a lovely Mexican buffet was served and a good time was had by all. About 5 pm the folks from
the Turtle Rescue Sanctuary brought out a pan of turtles for us to release and cheer on to their return to the sea. In 15 or 20 years with luck a few will return to that very spot to lay their eggs.
Friday the Senor and I spent a lovely day at Playa las Gatas.
Nothing like a day on the beach just reading, watching the kids play in the water and dig in the sand.
Good food, plenty of warm sunshine, it doesn’t get much better. Signing off KO
The Picante is a beautiful catamaran, designed as a party boat for evening sunset cruises, and daytime snorkel and sail adventures. It is huge, beautifully maintained, and a whole boatload of fun.
Today I went with several friends to sail, snorkel and most importantly ride the spinnaker. The Senior opted not to go, his standard phrase is ” I see no need to go on a boat without a fishing rod”.
We set sail at 10 am for the beautiful Manzanillo cove, which is about 45 minutes away for snorkeling. I mounted the “gopro” camera on my head strap and swam off to capture the fish on film. Once I learn how to download my video I may be able to show you the beautiful fish. My favorite was a medium sized blue fish with 3 bright neon blue dots on each side. They gave us about an hour for snorkeling , the water is clear, with a white sand and coral rock bottom and plenty of fish.Several years ago I scuba dove in this cove.
Back on the boat we headed out to sea to try to catch enough wind to sail, but there really never was enough for true sailing. Then we headed back into Zihuatanejo bay near La Ropa beach for a chance to ride the wind on the spinnaker.
The spinnaker is an extremely light weight sail intended to catch the lightest of winds off the bow of the boat. A sling is attached to the spinnaker upon which you sit and as the sail is hoisted you fly up and ride the wind. You swim to the sling, climb in and then rise high above the boat swinging to and fro as the wind takes you up (with lots of help from a very experienced crew) It is a wonderful feeling to soar and glide through the air swinging back and forth. It’s like being a child again on the most gigantic swing imaginable. Fantastic adventure and another great day in paradise.
I’ll post the video of me riding the spinnaker on facebook.
One of the most fun parts of Sailfest is the Sail Parade where for 300 pesos (less than $15) you can spend a day on a sailing on a sail boat. The the best thing is all that money goes to build and improve schools for the poorest children in Mexico, and there are no paid administrators to siphon off the funds.
This morning around 300 people lined the pier waiting for the pangas to take them out to the various boats they has signed up to spend the day on. My companion Faye and I decided we wanted to do the Patricia Belle again because she is such a FUN boat. The Patricia Belle is very large, some 60 feet of deck space and 30 of us enjoyed the captain and the crew’s hospitality. This boat was built some 20 years ago about 10 miles from where I live. Built of timber logged off the captains property behind the Bear Creek Store on the old Belfair Highway in Washington state.
We led the sail parade around Zihuatanejo bay and then out past Ixtapa, paid our respects to the Port Captain then sailed off to do some middle of the ocean swimming. About two thirds of the passengers and all of the crew jumped or dove overboard and swam along side the boat as she gentled sailed on, and I do mean gently as there was almost no wind at all. There are lines over the side that you can hold on to if you aren’t comfortable swimming away from the boat.
We had packed picnic lunches complete with salmon, cheese, capers, olives, crackers, jicama and of course wine It’s just a fantastic way to spend and afternoon sailing, eating, drinking and swimming in the ocean where the water temperature is about 82 degrees and meeting so many new friends. Signing off KO
Wednesday night was concert with M-Dock, a Michigan based band that we have heard many times over the last few years. While we have always enjoyed the concert the venue was only so so. Food not very good and service extremely slow as probably a couple of hundred people show up. This year the venue was excellent at the Casa de Cultura but the food that a vendor was to provide was MIA and Sail fest was doing the bar and unfortunately it was running out of supplies by 9:00
pm. But by that time with no
dinner and we had been enjoying wine and beer since 6:30 and even though we were dancing, it was time to leave and get food. Next year they will have the bugs worked out.
Thursday was much looked forward to chili cook off and silent auction. They had a live auction Tuesday evening, but it is a little too rich for our blood so we skip that event.
The Senor danced to much at the concert and was nursing aches and (he hasn’t moved that much and that quickly in the last year) said he wasn’t up to going out and handed me a fist of money and said enjoy the silent auction. So I did!
I managed to get 6 dinners and one breakfast and a 2 hour ocean kayak adventure for me. Had 2 mango margaritas, and with the tip went back to the apartment without a single peso, but happy. This guarantees the Senor will take me out to dinner at some new and interesting places and the money goes to a great cause, the poor children of Zihuatanejo.
As the Senor was feeling a bit better today we headed out to Playa Las Gatas. In a drawing I won tickets for the water
taxi so we took advantage of them today. As always we go to Gloria en Mar and visit with Jose our favorite waiter and friend. I tried the go pr again to catch some under water life, but it is a complicated camera for a non techie like me. But as always the beach and the swimming was wonderful, we ate a different type of fish today, good, but not a favorite.
The money eared from last years Sailfest went to building a high school. The first new high school in over 20 years and this one targets kids who dropped out of school for a myriad of reasons, most commonly financial. They needed to go to work to help support their family, sometimes drugs or pregnancy are the issues. I would equate this somewhat with our “alternative” schools except that these students already know what life is like with out an education and are now highly motivated to continue their education. They come from very poor families, but are all promising students and this school is free. An unbelievable opportunity for them. Many poor children here little or no schooling past their 12th birthday when they start helping earn an income for the family.
The road to the school high on a hill overlooking Zihuatanejo is probably the worst road I have ever ridden on. Steep, switchbacks and only roughly graded. Many rocks, pot holes Truly only a road fit for ATV’s and we took a 15 passenger van up to it. The kids come by combi (small van type bus) to the bottom of the hill and walk the rest of the way looking sharp in
their school uniforms. A nice breeze blows up on the hill negating any need for air conditioning except in their computer lab. 6 classrooms, 14 teacher and 130 kids who like to try their English with you as do their teachers.
There studies are heavy on math and science with ethics and economics also taught. Art, music, dance and sports are relegated to after school clubs which are all a large part of their
culture. The students performed several regional dance routines and performed a tragic play of some of the problems of today dealing with guns and violence. While it was done in Spanish we all got the gist of it. The “leading lady” played her role with such emotion that I would not be surprised to see her on “the silver screen” someday.
Our second stop was to visit a tutorial school,
where children come from their regular schools and get additional help, or study time or simple spend time better occupied than “hanging around”. The primary kids attend in the morning where the big draw is food. They get both breakfast and lunch and for many kids these are their only meals.
They have a wonderful teacher who loves what she is doing and loves doing it in Zihuatanejo. signing off KO
Sailfest officially began last night with the street dance at Casa Arcadia. We arrived at a little after 7 and the place was packed. Luckily our friends and neighbors had secured a table and I went around and found a couple of extra chairs and joined them. The band was Expressions Inmune a group of young Mexican kids that specialize in Beetles and Creedence Clearwater type music . They got their start practicing in the street in front of the keyboardist’s mother’s art gallery. Which happened to be directly under our balcony. They would draw huge crowds to the street to listen to them practice twice a week.Folks both Mexican and gringos would be dancing in the street to their music.
That year Sailfest hired them for their first professional gig and you could say the rest is history. They now are professional musicians playing regularly 3 times a week at the Baracruda Bar.
Casa Arcadia was packed, but true to Mexican style, no additional staff was put on. I wonder if that is so the regular staff can maximize on tips from a larger crowd. But I always think with more staff and faster service tips would be bigger and less hassle for the staff. Oh well it’s Mexico.
We enjoyed the music and took up an offer to have our portraits drawn for a Sailfest donation. Not bad and I felt he was kind to our age.
Afterwards we went to Don Memos for dinner, one of the best spots for good food and very reasonable. We ran into friends Jim and Linda and took up there offer for us to join them. Doyle had his favorite spaghetti and my preference is always the fish, this time in a white wine sauce. A short walk back and we were home. Just another great evening in paradise.
We used to vacation in Mexico, now we live in Mexico for 3 months of the year and next year it will be 4 months. The climate agrees with us, I think it actually improves the Seniors health. He gets out much more here, is more active and more relaxed. Folks always ask us what we do in Mexico and my stock answer is “as little as possible”. But that’s not entirely true. The difference between vacationing and living here is how you spend your time. During a vacation you try to spend as little time as possible, grocery shopping, meal preparation, cleaning and organizing. You want to spend every minute possible on the fun things, eating out, buying gifts for friends, beaching, touring. Now that we live here I spend a great amount of time grocery shopping and enjoy every minute of it as it is in its self an adventure. I have checked out all the stalls at the Mercado and have selected my favorites, the ones that are most helpful with my fractured Spanish and have patience as I figure out the money. I know the fellow with the wheelbarrow full of avocados in the back has the best ones and he will pick out 1 for today and 1 for tomorrow. And they will be perfect every time. I know the best strawberry vendor and who to buy my eggs from. The chicken lady knows exactly what I want when I approach her and I have decided on the best fish monger. I love mangoes and have learned how to peel them using a drinking glass, less mess and nice mango slices.
Where i buy my chicken
Fruits and veggies
Another fruit stall
Young fruit monger
For some thing I do need to go to the Comercial Mexicana which is a super market somewhat like ours, but with less organization, much more clutter in the aisles, some recognizable brands and an adventure all of it’s own.
They have a store here similar to our $ stores, with the same theory, buy it when you see it as it may never be there again. They have a wonderful fabric store with beautiful fabrics at unbelievable prices. I usually buy fabric and bring it home to make something. This year I bought fabric and am bringing it to “the sewing ladies” to make a dress for me. They shortened a pair of pants for me for about 25 cents. The fabric cost just under $6. Signing off KO
As I sort through my pictures I am reminded of the many interesting things I see here. Some things are very much the same as home and other wildly different. The Mexican people want to please, want to make you happy. Which sometimes leads to great misinformation. If you were to say ” the bus comes here frequently ?” They would agree with you, “Oh yes frequently” even if it only comes occasionally. Because they answer with what they think you want to hear. So you have to be careful how you phrase your questions.
“Gringos” are frequently frustrated by what we consider slow service in restaurants, but we forget that food here is cooked from scratch and slow cooking is usually it’s own reward. They won’t give you your bill until you ask, to give it to you as soon as you are finished would be considered rude, and you could sit for hours after the conclusion of a meal visiting with friends and “no problema.”
Last week at Playa Larga the restaurant dealt with a crowd of 16- 20 of us, mostly single individuals in the most efficient fashion I have ever seen. They gave each one of us a blank bill (in triplicate), we were to write our name on the top and write our meal order in the center and our bar choice at the bottom. When it came time to request our meal they took the top copy and we continued to tally our bar orders. At the end of the day it was very easy for all to reconcile our bills. I always give my name as Catalina, Spanish for Kathleen or Katherine, and they do have trouble with Doyle, absolutly can’t wrap their tongue around that one. Last week my new acquaintance, Heather, gave her name to the breakfast waitress as”Esmerelda” but come lunch time at a different location she said “Lolita”. Simply stated she said “they can’t pronounce Heather, so I can be who ever I want to be.” Love the attitude! Puts me in mind of the old play The Importance of Being Ernest”.
There are not a lot of beggars here but those that do and are almost always infirm, missing an arm or a leg or blind. No young, able bodied folks with signs saying “down on my luck”. The Mexican people are generous with the folks that have a need and drop a few coins regularly. Signing off with hope for new improved internet manana KO.