Another Adventure into the Wilds of Mexico

Fishermen at Barra de Potosi
The Senor in the pasajara

Well not exactly the wilds, but out into the countryside.

Sights along the way

We had won on a raffle tickets to “El Refugio de Potosi”, the  wildlife eco park. We decided Friday would be a good time to go, it had sprinkled the night before and was very cloudy with sprinkles predicted for the day. And we thought that it would have been better for viewing the wildlife when it’s cooler and they are more active.  We had the brochure, so we knew the hours and days of operation and once again we plan to take the bus. We have been there before and we know the name of our bus stop, Los Achotes, as you pay by your destination when you get off. We knew it would cost each of us 13 pesos or about a dollar each way for the 10 mile ride.  This bus stops at every cross roads or when anyone waves it down.  After getting off at Los Achotes, we then catch the” passajara” which is a big pickup truck with benches on the sides and a tarp canopy over the top for the next 5 miles to the Refugio.  It has no schedule, it just leaves when the driver feels he has enough passengers, we are the first to climb on and eventually we are joined by 6 other Mexican passengers and off we go.  It stops long enough at the entrance to the Refugio for to get off and it goes another 3-4 miles to Barre de Potosi village and lagoon where there are many ocean side restaurants, outside palapa type are located.

As we approached the entrance we see the gate to the parking lot is shut, and a sign is posted on the gate that very clearly says in spanish, new hours of operation only open Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday.  Even I can read it with my limited language skills. Now we are literally 3 – 4 miles from anywhere and no clue as to when a “passajara” will pass by again.  We decide we will go on to Barra de Potosi for lunch rather than just return back to Zihuatanejo.  At this time we didn’t  know quite how far it was to Barra de Potosi and rather than stand around waiting we decided we would walk and if we got tired we’d flag down what ever passed by first, passajara or taxi.  We hadn’t gone far when a taxi came by and we climb in and rode the rest of the way and glad we did as it was a good 3-4 miles.

I’ve only been to Barre de Potosi a couple of times and there are these very large eating establishments, many, many picnic tables on the sand and covered from the weather with tarps and no one there. I think they get quite busy on weekends with mexican families and large groups.  We picked one at random, ordered our drinks, asked the waiter how many oysters were in an order he said 12 so we decided to share an order of oysters. My spanish is limited to nouns and verbs and simple phrases and I do ok in restaurants and stores reading menus and asking simple questions.  We had read the menu it listed several types of fish and how they were cooked, but the oysters were just listed as “ostiones” (sp?) and sure enough we were brought 12 raw oysters on the half shell. Now one or two raw oysters I can do but not a whole plate of them, I finally was able to convince him that we wanted them cooked, cocido was as close as I could remember and yes he brought them back beautifully cooked and we had a great lunch before returning to Zihuatanejo.

A siesta, dinner by candle light on our balcony, then Senor opted to stay in and watch TV while I went out to watch our “local boys” play at Pacalos.  Just another interesting day in paradise.  signing off KO

The Concert & More Sailfest

The concert was fantastic! The Senor at first didn’t want to attend as he going to be fishing all that day and thought he would be too tired, since no fish was caught that day he changed his mind so I didn’t have to go solo. A mere 100 pesos each we had our tickets to a concert that was featuring 5 local performers  It was held in the large open , with court yard restaurant of El Publito with vines and open lattice-work over head.

Mexican singeer, can't remember name

We arrived about 30 minutes before starting, partially so we could find it and also we wanted decent seating.  We ordered our dinner, barbecued pork ribs for the Senor and chile relleno for me, and drinks.  The concert started on “Mexican time”, late with the first performer being a  well-known Mexican female singer who normally sings and plays her guitar, but had a sprained wrist and couldn’t play her guitar so had to cut her session short.  The organizers of the event were concerned about how to fill the time that they asked the other performer to bring some of their musician friends to help fill out the time.  As was the concert started a little before 7 and ended after midnight. The lady sang beautiful traditional mexican music, she was very good.

Kitsap/north Mason musicians Steve Calert, Alan Aldo and Bud Lilly

Next came Steve and Allen, the local Bremerton and Belfair boys, but they added Roberto and great mexican guitarist and a drummer, I mean a full set of drums which is almost unheard of in Mexico. Instead of the usual classic rock and roll we are used to hearing them play, they played “Mona Lisa & I left my heart in San Francisco a lot of light jazz, it was fantastic and then we learned the drummer, Bud Lilly was from Lake Tahuya.  I never knew there were so many really good musicians from our area. Next was Zima Juanito, I knew he played around the local area, but I had never seen  him before.  But I definitely will again,  of some of his Mexican musician friends, not only is he very handsome he is very charismatic on stage.  He alone would have been great, but he brought a whole slew of his Mexican musician friends to help fill the playbill.

Latin percussion with Zihua Juanito

One group of very young fellows had 8 or 10 different types of drums/percussion instruments and played very up beat latin music. accompanied by a small 8-year-old playing a very tiny , but hot trumpet! Along with Juanito they played and sang and when they did “Pretty Woman” almost every woman in the joint came up front to dance.  He also sang and played with the “Los Juans,” 2 fantastic local Mexican Guitarist, with beautiful harmonies. The played so long and with such enthusiasm  that the MC almost had to drag them off stage so the next act, a good mexican troubadour could perform.  We left during his performance as the Senor was tired and sadly we missed the last act a Michelle Lavalle who I have been wanting to hear.  She tends to play in the high-end dinner houses which is not where we tend to dine at nightly. It was after 11 when we left and since the night beautiful we opted to walk the 6 blocks back to our apartment.

about an 8 year old with a hot tiny trumpet

The next days Sailfest activities consisted of a Chile Cook Off, street fair and a silent auction.  During the week I had won 3 different raffles and now had two dinners out and a trip to the wild life Refuge and didn’t see anything much in the silent auction that interested me, but I did buy a cute purse from one of the Mexican/Indian vendors.  Sampled some of the chile and every year I manage to pick one of the hottest, and then had to get a margarita to cool it down.  Visited with lots of people and generally had a great afternoon followed by a movie in Ixtapa that evening.  Following the movie we had planned to have pazole, as it was Thursday night which is Pazole night everywhere, but after popcorn at the movies I knew I couldn’t do justice to Pazole so settled for mango ice cream served in a mango shell and we headed home as a few drops of rain fell.  Back at our apartment the wind really picked up and blue quite strong through the night..  In the morning the streets were damp, but no real rain of any significance.  I think we will head out to the Wild Life Refuge today, it will be a bit cooler but also a bit sultry as the skies are cloudy.  Signing off KO

Un adventura

Yesterday we embarked on a great adventure. We wanted to go to the shell beach that Wil had shown us on our tour with him. When we were there before Wil was driving, but this time we were going on our  by bus.  I knew where the “bus depot” is having been there once before, well at least I thought I did after 3 wrong turns I found it.  Good thing I had scoped it out the day before and really did know how to find it. Now when I say “bus station” you enter throw a very narrow hole in the wall walkway and find yourself in a courtyard with lots of parked buses.  A young man asks us Donde? and we tell him Troncones he points to a bus  and starts it up, we get on  5 minutes later with 2 other passengers we are on our way.

It’s slow going, no chickens or pigs, but 2-3 blocks down the road  the ice cream man loads  his 5 gallon stainless steel tub and the wheelbarrow carts he transports it in on to the rear of the bus, folks get on others get off and finally we are out in the country side hoping we will recognize our stop.  Almost an hour later we Where we had lunch, shell beach other side of rock pointdo recognize our stop, a sign post helps, and we get off at the cross roads to Troncones.  There there is a palapa where we wait for the next bus that takes us in to our destination.  This bus is a small van with benches dow the sides and across the back and the back of the driver’s seat. It’s a dusty ride as the pavement has ended.

We keep looking for where we want to get off, and don’t see it, we think we’ve gone too far so the Senor suggests we get off and have lunch at the same place we did last time we were out in Troncones.  As soon as we sat down to eat, the Senor recognized the area and we knew we just hadn’t gone far enough, so after a great bowl of Poblano Soup we walked about a mile down the road and found the wonderful shell beach. No sand all shellsand each of us had a bag and sifting tools and loaded up on great shells for my bird houses.  Most of the shells are quarter size or smaller and we picked up about 5 lbs.  We started walking back , knowing the little bus would soon be by and we could just hail him down.  He  came, we reversed the whole procedure and surprisingly enough we ended up exactly where we started.  We now feel like we could go anywhere we wanted to on the bus.

After a brief siesta I plan to go to the opening festivities of “Sailfest” this is a live auction and usually lots of fun.  The Senor has begged off saying he’s tired from his day

Some of the sail boats in the bay

in the sun, which is probably true.  But also he has a terrible time at auctions, he is “IN TO WIN” and I think he decided the best way not to spend too much money is simply not to go.  I, on the other hand, can be cheap and frugal, unless it is something I really, really want.  And fortunately I came home empty-handed except for 2 raffle items I won.  A 200 peso off gift certificate for dinner on La Ropa Beach and tickets to the Animal Refuge Park.

The Senor is going fishing again today, so I’m going to go swimming at La Madera beach.  It’s just a short walk from town and I feed my flock of chickens on the way.  Madera beach is very shallow for a long way, just rolling waves none that pull the sand from under your feet.  Couldn’t take a picture of it as the Senor has the camera to take pictures of his catch, but alas there were no fish to be caught today.  Another siesta and we are headed out to attend the Sailfest Concert.

Interesting tree we saw on our walk, suspect it is a vine growing on tree

The concert is featuring 5 different groups that perform in the area.  It should be great fun, and the location sounds interesting, an old colonial building with a court-yard garden.  Signing off KO

Just Another Lazy Day In Paradise

Today is a holiday here, Constitution Day, of course every day is a holiday for us.  the big excitement of the day was fixing short ribs in the crock pot. Never done it before, but recipe said onions garlic, bar b q sauce and a can of coke.  Turned out pretty good.  A little cooler today, about 82 and cloudy.  Tomorrow we plan to take a bus to Troncones or at least to the intersection of Troncones, about 45 minute trip, and then either catch a cab or a combi into town, well just out-of-town to the shell beach to collect shells for my bird houses.  We are taking a picnic lunch.  Cheese and avocado for me, roasted chicken for the Senor. I never tire of going to the Mercado here, I love buying my eggs in a plastic bag.  I tell my egg man exactly how many I want and he bags them up.  It’s the next best thing to getting them chicken coop.

I’m always amazed at the ingenuity of people here in Mexico, I’ve seen parades where floats have been beautifully constructed from pop bottles , and in the butterfly preserve I noticed the unusual grommets or washers used on these roofs on the shacks where they sell their wares.

Bottle caps used for gromets

OSHA or WISHA would have a field day here, and I doubt there is a word in the Mexican vocabulary that means “liability”.  Everything is so much more basic and  simpler here.  I think that is one of the charms of the area.

Yesterday was Super Bowl Sunday here, and a great day for most of the restaurants and drinking emporiums.  The Senor has his favorite place for watching the game and I have my favorite place to have cold avocado soup where the game in’t on. I’m on my 4th book on my kindle and have down loaded  a new one that looked interesting.  Everyone here has a cell phone, and next year we will get them.  That way we can keep in better touch with each other, especially as I love to wander around and the Senor is more content to relax with his TV.

Every Sunday there is something happening at the Zocolo and basketball court. Last night there were dancers both traditional and modern.  4 men with masks of old men  and with canes did an excellant tap routine and a group of young dancers doing a jitterbug routine plus many more singers.  We cn hear the singers from our balcony and maybe with binoculars see the dancers.  It’s like everyon3 in town turns out.  Signing off KO

Sailfest is this week, I was concerned that our trip to Morelia would cause us to miss it, but it hasn’t.  We

sailfest, lots of boats in the bay

bought our T-shirts today and will attend the auction kick off tomorrow.  Lots of sail boats in the bay now.

Back Home in Zihuatanejo

The senor and I are glad to be back in Zihuatanejo after 3 days in Morelia which is quite cold compared to Zihuatanejo. The trip was good, but one of those that if it could go wrong it did, even our on bus ride home.  60 Kilometers out of Zihuatanejo the air conditioning on the bus went out, a brief stop to fix it with no luck so we finished the trip with the doors to the bus wide open. It took almost 3 hours longer on the return trip than it did on the going trip, don’t really know why as it was also a non stop trip. Upon our arrival back at our apartment we discovered we had no electricity. Now it 1030 PM on a Friday night with the Mexican Hootnany going strong down below, but the building manager contacted the owner who got the electrician out to fix the problem.  And with in a couple of hours the problem was fixed.  The Senor was quite amused at the electricians tester, 2 wires and a light bulb, but what the hey, this is Mexico.

Our day was a quite day, laundry day and then a stroll along the waterfront and lunch at the

Jimi Mamou at Daniels in Zihuatanejo

Sirena Gorda, bean soup and smoked fish tacos, much later in the evening a visit to Daniels, a beach side restaurant as Jimi Mamou plays there regularly. I got to visiting with him and discovered he has a San Francisco back ground and we knew several people in common.  Once again, small world.

Sailfest is this week, which is sponsored by the “cruisers” those folks who live on sail and power vessels.  The harbor is full of sail boats and the proceeds of the weeks events go to helping the poorest schools here.  We bought our Sailfest T-shirts today and plan to attend most of the events.  Signing off KO

Mariposa Monarcha or Monarch butterflys

Our tour did pick us up on time this AM and we headed out to the sanctuary.Our driver was excellent but with very limited English. I hadn’t quite realized that it was a 3 hour drive from Morelia, but it was an interesting drive, once out of the city the country side reminded me of the area in California where I grew up.  It could have been the old  highway between Vallejo and Fairfield, with the brown rolling hills sand sparse tree.We went thru tiny towns, bigger towns, most built right to the road.  There was the basket town with every imaginable type of canasta (basket) available, and the next town was the pan( bread) town..

High loadof recycled plastic bottles

We came across some interesting vehicles on the road such as the truck carrying a huge load of recycled plastic bottles, and in front of him a log truck with the logs loaded sideways. Soon we were headed up the mountain and th road got steep and then it became a partially cobble stone with brick pavers as runners.  You sure knew it when you crossed into the cobblestones.  At last we are at the sanctuary, we locate our guide who speaks almost no english, and locate our horses. With an altitude of 10,00 plus feet and the Senor and I both having knee issues, we knew we weren’t up for the climb. And the path is quite steep in some places.  Well I provided great amusement for all hauling my self up on this horse from. Even starting by standing on a chair it still took 3 people to push, shove and pull to get  me on.  And to think I once was fairly graceful! The horses were led, so all we had to do was sit back and hold on for dear life.  Actually it was quite fun.  As we neared the pine trees were the butterflies are we dismounted and walked the rest of the way.  At  first it was quite disappointing as it was cloudy and the butterflies don’t fly without the sun shine,  We could see them in the trees so thick the branches drooped, looked like solid gold on some trees.

Monarchs flying once the sun came out

But the clouds gave way, the sun came through and the butterflies began to fly, butterflies were everywhere, but like birds they rarely

hold still for pictures. We took tons of pictures, the Senor’s aim is better than mine, but my hand is steadier, between us we got enough pictures to prove we were there.When we returned to our starting point our guide took us t

Male & female Monarchs in that order

o a place for lunch. We watched as this ancient lady hand make the best tortillas and fill it with cheese for my lunch while the Senor had Chicken in a pot.  Very enjoyable meal.  We were both ready to return to Morelia for good nights sleep.  We decided just snacks in our room would suit us just fine.But then I remembered that I hadn’t attempted to photograph the beautiful cathedral at night  So the Senor snuggled down to watch some TV and I headed to the cathedral.

The front gate at the Cathedral

I got several shots and decided I would go inside for one last look around.  Quite a few folks were there so I took a seat and kneeled down and suddenly the whole cathedral reverberated with the priest’s booming voice beginning the mass.  I was mesmerized!  I hadn’t been to mass in more years than I care to remember, but it was such a beautiful place, with beautiful sounds and I even greeted and shook hands with all my Mexican neighbors.  Following the communion the folks who brough their dolls and statues  were asked to come forward and have them blessed as it is Candlemas Day, which of course I had completely forgotten, but of course I knew it was ground hogs day.  A lovely end to a wonderful day.  Signing off KO

Things Are Improving, But Not Quite Great !

We now have a window! Not only do we have a real window that opens to the outdoors it also gives us a view of a beautiful plaza.

View from our window, now that we have a window

The room is twice the size with 2 beds. I had booked this room through Priceline, and they followed through when I expressed my dismay to them and contacted reservations here.  Anyway the room is good.  Our tour to the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary didn’t happen, our “tour desk” failed to make the reservation!  But all is well, the reservation now definitely made for tomorrow and surprisingly enough the Senor has handled all these mishaps with more grace than I imagined possible.

Morelia is a beautiful city, at least the central historical area.  It’s a busy city people are busy, hurrying everywhere. People walking, young and old women walk arm in arm, seeming to enjoy the closeness of their relationships, folks spend time in the parks, eating and drinking in the sidewalk cafes.  Men wear business suits and have their shoes shined while enjoying their coffee, folks are dressed like it’s winter with scarves and coats, and in general the women in Mexico wear their slacks and jeans tight, but here they are extra tight .  Looks uncomfortable to me. But maybe I’m just envious, although all sizes wear them like that.  Except the indian women who wear skirts or dresses. I’ve seen no strollers, all the women carry their babies in thick blankets in their arms, and there are lots of babies.

Mercado de Dulce

We visited the Mercado de Dulce,  the candy market, with booth after booth of candies of so many varieties and all of which are unknown to me.  There are also other tourist items, and t-shirts, but not a sweatshirt to be found and as it is cool here today, 65, I could have used one.

Stained glass ceilingOne of the hotels has a beautiful, stained glass ceiling, and a person playing breakfast background music on a grand piano in their restaurant.I visited the cathedral, unbelievably gorgeous. It's what I call a real church, still has the kneeling benches, several naves, candles to light and church bell s that chime all through they day. We can even hereMoerelia's Cathedral

them in our room.  I felt very comfortable in this cathedral in spite of its size It has a real organ with 2 stories of organ pipes. I wish we were going to be here on Sat evening as I understand the organ is played on Sat evening. To dark to get any decent pictures.

We found a great little hole in the wall place for lunch, just 5 tables, about a block and a half away, I think we will try them for breakfast in the morning. As we are off to the butterflies in the morning.  Signing off KO