Every day I learn something new

img_1151Yesterday I finally made it to the swimming pool, now I am talking about the Zihuatanejo’s Olympic size Alberca de Olympica at the sports complex.  I have been swimming there for years, quite frequently I would be one of two or three people in the pool at 8 AM,  nice for lap swimming.  A few years ago they covered the pool with a Quonset hut type roof and it kept the pool cool as the sun didn’t beat on it, but it was ice cold in the morning.  The locker room was a disaster,  gang showers that didn’t work, toilets that flushed with a bucket, doors missing and no running water.  Few gringos would venture forth, but I am dedicated lap swimmer and you would find me there most mornings at 8.  I knew they had remodeled and I hoped it would be nice and and is it ever nice.  Stall showers with actual running water, new flush toilets, sink with running water.  It is  beautiful, they did an amazing job

My next surprise was when I went to get in the pool, it wasn’t ice cold. Very pleasant to  jump right in, none of that shock of taking your breath away as you hit the water.  Now that may be just because the temperature has been so hot, or possible a heating system, time will tell.

So today my second pool day I carefully read the new signs posted where you pay at the entrance and between the sign and my conversation with the attendant in my fractured Spanish I learned I can buy a month log pass for $150 pesos.  I can swim as much as I want for 30 calendar days for that price, twice a day if I like, ( but that’s not going to happen) or I can pay 15 pesos every time I go  Even if I only swim 3 times a week I’m ahead!  I like this new system.  But the down fall is so does everyone else in town!  The pool is busy with both lap swimmers and classes.  But that’s OK, I’m up before the crack of dawn and I will just start swimming a little earlier in the morning and maybe avoid the class of 10 or so young boys racing across the pool. If you haven’t ever tried the pool or if you have and were turned off by the experience give it a chance. You should like it.

From the pool I walked over to the Megga. There is a real bad intersection to cross near the new Waldos where another lady and I stood there for an eternity kind of shaking our heads wondering if we would ever cross.  She saw a break in the traffic, grabbed my hand and we ran across the street together, safety in numbers. People here are so helpful, how can one not love Mexico.

At the Megga I discovered how to sign up for a “frequent flyer card” so maybe by the end of the season I will have enough points to save a few bucks on something special. And I bought packages of grated cheddar cheese, nothing in a block, but cheddar none the less.  Signing off KO

 

 

 

 

Zihuatanejo, How I Will Miss You

Dear Zihuatanejo,

I will miss your lovely, warm weather. I will miss your colorful sights and sounds.  I will miss your parades, my early mornings and late nights on the balcony. I will miss all the good fish at the restaurants, and drinks and socializing at Brenda’s bar and Jimmi Mamou playing rhythm and blues. I will miss being called Catalina and attempting to inflict my newly learned Spanish on the local people.

It will be good to get home, we have a cat that has been lovingly cared for by my son Shawn and I miss him.  Well I actually miss both of them, not just the cat. I have missed all my kids, but cheap cell phone service here has kept us all in touch.

Of course I already have plans for next year.  The list of things we need to bring is growing. There is room in the entry way to our apartment that with 2 good hooks on the wall I could store a small kayak and then strap a small wheel to it to pull it the block and a half to the bay. I don’t need a sit inside one like I have at home, just a little 8 or 10 ft. sit on top plastic job.  Something to think about.

We are packed, traveling a lot lighter going home than when we came and if it wasn’t for gifts and such we are bringing home it would be lighter yet.

So Adios Zihuatanejo until late October and Hello Washington.  Signing off KO

 

The Vernal Equinox at La Chole

La Chole is a small community about 20 miles out of Zihuatanejo where an ongoing archaeological site is still being studied.  They have a pyramid, and a ball court and many artifacts from the Aztec era that can be seen in the small museum. As an event was

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Ceremony viewed from top of  pyramid

planned there I decided it would be an excellent location to experience the celebration of the first day of spring with some ancient history.

Six of us set out in the pre-dawn light to catch the bus to LaChole, well as close as the bus goes which is dropping you off in the middle of nowhere just off the highway where we planned to catch the local passajara.  But a car stopped and offered us a ride into the pyramid.  We cheerfully accepted. Saving us much hot waiting time. As we arrived at the pyramid the ceremonies had already started and they were bringing folks to the top of the pyramid in

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Local people performing regional dances

groups of 20. Once on top we were told of the significance of the different areas. As my friend Brenda is Mexican she could translate for us.  We were about the only gringos there. As we came down the pyramid there wre more ceremonies, with smudging and storytelling done with great pride and emotion.

We then moved on to the town for food drink and to watch traditional dancers. I could IMG_1888 (2)have had Iguana stew, but knowing it is illegal to kill Iguanas I opted not to.  The dancers performed regional dances from different eras. It was very colorful and beautiful to watch.  Brenda opted to be blessed

and energized in a smudging ceremony, and both she and I posed with the authentic headdresses of the Aztec dancers.  All in all it was a great day a wonderful way to celebrate spring. Signing off KO

 

 

Valentines Day and The Street Fair On Calle Adelita

This should have poste on February 15, but for some reason didn’t.

In Zihuatanejo there is so much to celebrate.  Valentines Day is huge among the Mexican population. Temporary Bazaars are set up all along the main street hawking all sorts of IMG_1573of gifts. There are little booths with purses, shoes, lingerie and the more traditional gifts of flowers, sweets and stuffed animals and beautiful wrappings and boxes for the gifts. The restaurants are full that evening, we went out that night with 2 other couples and while enjoying an after dinner we were serenaded by a wandering mariachi band.

The next day was the annual street fair on Calle Adelita, a street well-known for its many IMG_1598little restaurants and Boutique Hotels. This fair is a fund-raiser for the local Bomberos, which translates to: firefighters, EMT personnel and crocodile wranglers when one encroaches into areas where they could become a danger to folks.  Twice over the years I have watched the Bomberos, rope, wrangle and tie up a croc then transport him to a preserve.  This year they were raising money for a defibrillator, a worthy cause. Food and drink was available, as was a silent auction and a 50/50 raffle. Couple of different

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This pair of cuties were some of the dancers

bands played and groups of Mexican dancers performed. Always a fun evening and I bid and won a certificate for a “Tres Leches Cake” which is quite appropriate as my birthday is later this week

I have been attending Spanish classes twice a week and really working at it. I’m not going to be “bi-lingual” but I certainly have improved my confidence in attempting to speak with shop keeper and such, can read menus, signs.  My ability to read it is far superior to my speaking ability.  I’m not finding it easy, but quite a challenge.  I think when I’m back home I will once again audit a basic Spanish Class at our local college just to keep my skills up. Not so much to progress but to keep from regressing. Signing off KO

STREET FAIR & MI CUMPLEANOS (my birthday)

 

It was a birthday to remember, one of those absolutely perfect days. After my Spanish

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Coconut ice cream cone

class I hopped on the bus to Bara De Potossi, a neighboring village that was having their annual street fair. About a 20 minute ride and then you get off the bus and climb aboard the “passajera” a lovely spanish word meaning  pick up truck with bench seats in the back. All my connections were seamless and I never had to wait at all. But the best part was the ice cream man was loading his steel tub full of ice cream on the passajera to sell at the fair. The ice cream that comes out of these tubs is the most flavorful ice cream in the world.  And I’m sure it is truly home-made and no chemicals. So I had my cone to enjoy on the trip to the fair. The fair is a couple of blocks long, of hand-made Mexican arts, crafts, food and drink.  I made a couple of purchases and headed back to Zihuatanejo.

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Mexican Bloody Mary’s to go

The Senor picked up the tres leches cake from our auction bid and deliver it to Sr. Pintos restaurant. We had invited friends to join us there to help me celebrate 3/4’s  of a century on this planet. We had requested that 4 bottles of wine and 4 blooming onions be on the table at 7, they came but “on Mexican time”. Considering we were a large group and they had other patrons they did a great job of getting everyone’s food to them in a timely fashion. Their menu is extensive, my food was great, all almost all my local friends were there. Other than 2 extra bottles of wine on our bill it was an absolutely perfect day. I plan on having many, many more just like that.  Signing off KO

 

 

FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS, NOT FOR ME AND MORE CONSTRUCTION

Living in a second floor apartment with an Iron security gate makes it difficult for a drop by visitor. I thought it would be so great to have a hanging rope that would ring a bell  and then we could throw down the key and out friends could come up.  Its nicer than hollering from the street which due to traffic noise out side and TV noise inside isn’t very effective.  After much searching I found the right bell a lovely brass bell, this was after

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My beautiful brass door bell

 

the Senor said the bicycle bell I had previously found would definitely not do.

To me every thing is a simple process, hang a rope, with the bell tied to the railing and let our friends know about it. Not so with the Senor.  He is more logical. No a rope wouldn’t last , heavy fishing line would be better, and would need to strung thru a series of eye hooks to position the bell in the most advantageous position for us to hear the bell and not bind He installed it as planned but the command strip eye hooks would not stick on the cement railing and the bell bound against the iron railing when pulled hard and someone cut the fishing-line and removed  the pull handle. So now he has a plan be requiring supplies from home. So maybe next year.

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They moved 2 cement truck loads by wheel barrow to make the cement  floor of this restaurant

The construction project behind our apartment has been a great source of entertainment watching a crew of about 5 men  build this restaurant behind our apartment from the ground up.  They work very hard in very hot weather and it is all manual labor. The only power tool they have used is a “tamper” to compress the soil after the dirt has been redistributed all over the site by wheel barrow.  It sounds like a helicopter that is going to take off only it never takes off.  They also have a manual tamper.

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The man in the green shirt and white hat bought sodas for the crew

 

Last Friday they poured the concrete floor over interlaced re bar. Two cement truck loads were wheel barreled from the front of the site and distributed through out it. It attracted the attention of a tourist whom I’m sure was a cement truck driver back home.  He conversed with the driver inspected the the truck was obviously quite interested in the project and then did the nicest thing.  He went to the store round the corner and returned with cokes for the guys. Definitely a very nice, kind, thoughtful person! Signing off KO

 

Sailfest a Busy and Fun Time

 

Sailfest is a week of fun events that raise money to provide school classrooms and other educational needs for the poorest children of Zihuatanejo. During the week there are daily opportunities for sunset sailboat cruises, a sailboat regatta/race, chili cook off, concerts, dances, dinners with mariachi bands, auctions both live and silent and opportunities to purchase T-shirts, hats, cook books, raffle tickets,

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The Senor accepting a bottle of Big Boy tequila won on a raffle ticket at M Dock concert

and other souvenirs. It originated with a few of the cruisers (boat folks) who wanted to help and brought down educational supplies and has morphed into a wonderful week with 20 plus yachts and sailboats participating along with over a hundred non-sailing volunteers.  One of the amazing facts about this non-profit organization is that there are no paid administrators or other staff, the only paid staff is the required accountant.

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silent auction

Since I am part of this community for several months I do participate, not only by attending events, but also by manning the sales desk for several shifts. It has been a wonderful way to meet people to make new friends and really feel a part of the community.  Besides it’s just a whole lot of fun.  But more importantly is the benefit to the children.  Many of which have previously been attending schools in sheds

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chili cook off

reminiscent of  a chicken coop now will have a modern classroom with running water for bathrooms and kitchens which can prepare lunches for hungry children. Over 2 million pesos were raised during this week.  Signing off KO