Yesterday 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
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
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.
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.
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
I have developed a deep loathing for the nasty little critters along with developing a
near”allergic” reaction to their bites. These Mexican mosquitoes are tiny, I never see them. Also they are very silent I never hear them humming around me, yet every day I’m plagued with a new bite that swells up way beyond what I would consider normal. I have taken to spraying my self head to toe with off before going out, especially at night and I still come up with one or two new bites. My new perfume, “Channel number Off” And some times a whole group of bites. Now the Senor never gets touched by them, even when we are together. I don’t know if his hide is too tough or grouchy, old man blood has no appeal. My mother used to take garlic pills and said that worked for her, I may try it next.
I’m for ever amazed at how reasonably one can live in Mexico and fully understand why
so many gringos live full or part-time here. It’s not just the weather. It’s the cost of living. Our monthly rent is comparable to our monthly house taxes, we each pay about $12.50 a month for our cell phone service, internet is approximately $25, manicures 10.50 and similar for pedicures, The Senor got his hair cut including having it washed for $7. We have our apartment cleaned weekly for less than half of what we pay at home for a bi-week cleaning. Our electric bill was $40 for two months. I’m sure it would be quite a bit higher during the summer months as it gets hotter and more humidity and we would need to run our air conditioner. But we are seasonal and not here during the summer. Taxi’s in town are $1.60 buses from local at 40 cents to $1.40 if you go 20-30 miles. The swimming pool cost 75 cents. Groceries are not super cheap but are reasonable especially if you use local brands instead of gringo brands. Beer is $2-$2.50 wine $3-$4 a glass,
The Mexican people are lovely, warm friendly people. I had the sweetest thing happen to
me a week a go, I was trying to hail a cab on a very busy street and most of them were going on the opposite side of the street I was standing on. A little girl about 8-9 ish came and offered me her hand. She thought I wanted to cross the street, in my very best Spanish I told her no, I was waiting for a taxi. With that she put two fingers to her mouth let out a high, shrill, loud whistle pointed to a cab he made a u-turn and I had my cab. I thanked her and put a 5 peso coin in her hand. Signing off KO
The Chick Party is an annual Zihuatanejo event that has been going on for many many years and I can’t even tell you how it originally began. I’ve gone for the last 4-5 years, each year I try to bring someone who hasn’t been before. Vickie and Laura were the
newbies this years. It’s kind of a “see and be seen” social event for the ladies of
Zihuatanejo. Where they gather together to socialize, purchase some local and hand made items from the 4-6 vendors, have a bite to eat, drink some wine and possible win a door prize all while watching the sunset from the largest and most gorgeous patio high on the hill over looking Zihuatanejo and the bay. A very pleasant evening! I did marvel at the cat that wandered through this group of about 150 women, making it quite obvious that this was his home and no amount of noisy women were going to make him feel uncomfortable in his own home. Signing off KO
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
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
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.
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.
This is the second year I have volunteered to help with Sailfest. The Senor and I have always been big participants, with one or both of us attending almost all of the events. But I believe since we are here for 3 months I can donate some of my time to this very worthy cause. Among scholarships and other necessities, last year’s Sailfest raised enough money to build the first new high school Zihuatanejo has seen in 20 years. It is complete with a computer lab. This is in conjunction with donated supplies, labor, etc.making the local people personally invested.
Somehow Faye and I seem to have picked a couple of the busiest days to work the desk selling T-shirts, caps, boat flags, koozies and sail boat rides. It gets crazy trying to keep up, but it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet folks from all over. And very proudly each of our 3 shifts have taken in close to, or like yesterday, the equivalent of $1,000 US in pesos. But now it’s time to get back to some serious relaxing so with a group of friends we are headed once again to Escollera and it’s beautiful infinity pool.
Still no internet, going to stop by the office with my phone translator and see when I might expect it. This should be interesting. Signing off KO