As I am now a full time resident it was time to look for a doctor and establish a relationship. I selected Dr Salgado because of positive statements from folks who’s option I value and hoped I would agree with them. One of my priorities was my doctor would need to be fluent in English. When it comes to medicine and medical decisions there can be no room for language misinterpretation.
My appointment was made for a physical and a review of medication for Tuesday. Here in Mexico Dr offices are not necessarily grouped in large medical buildings but may be an apartment in an apartment building and are quite basic. Over my years in Mexico I have been to 3 or 4 different doctors offices and have been impressed with how very basic they are. No fancy art work on the walls, furniture so basic you think it may have been donated by the Salvation Army. Yet modern equipment. No frills. I like this, feels like it keeps the costs down. My doctors office is nice. but not fancy. He was through, even measured my bmi, did an in-office EKG and told me my results and gave me a copy my results for my records. I like that.
The next day I was scheduled for lab work. I arrived at 8, a half hour after they opened thinking no one would be there so early. Wrong! The office was crowded to standing room only and only the most basic of basic chairs for furniture. No one spoke English and I cannot yet converse that well in Spanish, so google translate had to help out. They were efficient and traffic moved quickly. I had a chest X-ray and the young tech showed me my X-ray and said it was bueno. Back in the US I would never see the X-ray itself and week or so later after the radiologist examined it I would get a message that would say it was ok or to return to my doctor. After my blood draw they told me I could return after 3:30 and all my results would be ready for me to pick up. And it is up to me to get them to my doctors office which I did as I had an appointment to wear an EKG halter for a couple of days for a more extensive EKG.
Dentist offices are very much the same, very basic office but equipment and procedures are just like north of the border. Dermatologist use lenses on their I phone that projects what they see on to a screen so you can see what they see. Pharmacies don’t require a prescription for anything short of narcotics. And the cost of medicines is considerably less. I have 2 very expensive medicines I take that are half the price here. All things considered health wise, I am very comfortable with my decision to reside here. Signing off KO
Coming from a cool climate it takes a little time to get used to the high temperatures and the high humidity. The good thing is I have spent the past 6 months getting used to 80-86 degree weather and think I acclimated quite easily and comfortable. But take into consideration that I am a cold person by nature. I’m always the first to put on a jacket or sweater and always kept my home at 72 or 72 plus. So the heat of the sun has always been my friend.
On the down side, I perspire heavily. I learned years ago that the make- up that give you that lovely flawless complexion look, just runs in rivers on my face and I gave up wearing it while in Mexico along time ago
We are now where the daily high is hovering at 89-90 and cooling to 75at best in the dead of the night. And I don’t think the indoor temp has been lower that 76 ever in my apartment. All winter my balcony has been in shade all day long and it is where i have been eating all my meals. The sun is now shifting so that I will have lots of balcony sun and hot sunshine streaming through my windows all summer long. The solution I chose to keep me more comfortable rather than full on air conditioning 24/7 is “parasinas” which is Spanish for shades. These are sun screen shades that roll down to my balcony railing and beautifully filter the light. I can still see out but it keeps my balcony shaded. This will help to keep my apartment cooler and hopefully keep the air conditioner off as much as possible. I’ll be letting you know how well I think these sun screens help as time goes by.
Now this is just the early days of summer weather, and I’m told that it will get hotter. But once your set up for hot weather you expect it and are prepared for it. None of this 3 days of super high temperatures followed by a week of 65 degree weather. You know you never go out with out water and a sweat rag. Be your busiest during the morning and evening cooler times. And take that siesta, weather you nap or not is of no importance, but relax, read a book, rejuvenate. It really makes sense. Also I’ve learned not to hurry. since I am fully retired it’s easy to accomplish. I make sure I have lots of time to get to wherever I’m going.
In my apartment my rule has been that I would turn on the ceiling fan if I started to sweat. And that’s worked great up til now. But now I am sweating most of the time my fans are almost always on continually depending which room I’m in. I have 3 ceiling fans one for kitchen, living room and bedroom. I try to only run only the fan for the room I am in, but quite frequently all three will be whirling around in concert.
Preparing meals under a fan has some interesting aspects. Please remember I’m no cook, and anything with more than 3 or 4 ingredients is gourmet and I leave for the experts. But when grinding salt or pepper for my salads I find a large grainy circle surrounding my plate where the fan has disbursed half the salt and pepper. Same thing happens when I tear open the packet of Splenda for my coffee, most of it is flys halfway down the countertop. I laugh to think of someone needing to sift flour.
Sweeping the floor is another issue, as you sweep the fan is busy redistributing your sweepings. I think I need a housekeeper as it is to warm to clean with the fans off and quite impossible to do with them on. Maybe that’s when I should turn on the air conditioner? Still like the idea of a housekeeper.
I’ve started my Spanish classes and as always it is much easier to do the written work than the oral work. I go 3 days a week with private instruction. I think I’m making progress but it’s a lot to try to remember.
My swimming occupies two other mornings each week and I’m hanging in with 10-12 laps each day and a mile plus walk back home. I do run some errands on the way back. I’m thinking that is adequate.
I still have lunch weekly with some local ladies, swim with friends at Escollera, some beach time at Maderas and have an occasion dinner out with friends. Pretty much the same only at a slower pace.
Since I now have my residency I have acquired a dermatologist for those annual skin checks, and will be setting up an appointment with an internist in the next few weeks for a review of medicines and general health check up and to see if he recommends a cardiologist. Everyday just goes on.
The weather is slowly warming up, int’s now in the the 90’s, or 32 as they would say here. I need to learn Celsius. Damn one more thing to learn! I’m finding I have the fans in my apartment going more and more. Still don’t need the air conditioner on. I’m no longer able to eat dinner on my balcony as the sun has shifted and now it is full on sun from 3 PM on. My tomato plants are a good 2 feet tall and noticed the first blossoms this morning. I find it incredible to have tomato blossoms in early May. Back in Washington you might not even have planted your tomato starts, and these I planted from seed, not starts. I’m excited!
Life is moving on at a slightly slower pace than during the season, i miss my snow bird friends but there are quite a few of us full timers, we were 8 or 9 at our last Ladies Lunch. Life is good in warm and wonderful Zihuatanejo. Signing off KO.
PS to see the small pictures larger just click on them
The big news is I now have my temporary residency card and it is good for 4 years when I can change it over to permanent. I was very nervous about obtaining it as I am a little shy on the monthly income part. But all went well thanks to my good friend Tonio who helped with translation and just plain understanding the procedure. I have bought and sold property with far less paper work and signatures. It’s about a 2 hour procedure including fingerprinting, eye printing and photographing. But no formal application. My name address phone number and e mail were all just written down on a piece of scratch paper. So now that I am “almost Mexican” I will sign up for Spanish classes and change over to a Mexican phone number.
My friend Cheryl has been taking guitar lessons while she is here and her class had it’s recital last week. They learned such great songs as Proud Mary and Mustang Sally and we all got to sing along. It was a fun evening at the Restaurant Adalinda.
My little garden is growing nicely, but I may have killed one of my poinsettias with kindness. It appears I have over watered it and it is very unhappy and shedding all it’s leaves, the second one is in better shape and probably will survive. My tomato starts are doing great, looking forward to fresh tomatoes.
I’m usually willing to try most food. Which may sound odd since I do not eat meat or chicken. Dishes that have them I can usually pick around the chunks of meat or poultry and enjoy the rest. I’m pretty much a “fishaterian, (my word.) So one would assume I would enjoy oysters as they pick them fresh here in the bay. I have stayed away from them here as I come from an area of great oyster beds and I do love them. But have been carefully taught you only pick and eat them during months that have an r in them as those months the water is colder. So when some of us were at a restaurant that always has a large pile of oysters still in the shell and someone shucking them we decided to give it a go. They were OK, but for fresh raw oysters to be at their best they need to be ice cold and a smaller size. But what the heck it’s Mexico and they can do it there way. But I wouldn’t do it again.
As I was returning to my apartment from the Saturday morning Ecco market there were 4-5 young boys running up and down the alley laughing and playing. They had an empty 1 liter plastic bottle and were throwing it and kicking it, playing games of keep away, catch, and soccer. All of their own invention, making up rules as they go, having a wonderful time using their bodies and their minds. Reminiscent of my generations “kick the can”. It did my heart good to see kids doing the work of children, having the freedom to play, to invent to socialize. I’m sure they were having more fun than any organized “little league” as as there was no pressure to perform, no one was watching, just me gazing in admiration.
This winter season is rapidly coming to a close, everyday it’s a “goodbye party” or another “last supper” as my friends pack and return to their other lives. This winter has been the most fun for me, I’ve been super busy with friends and events and it’s been a wonderful vacation. But now I’m ready to start the business of just living here in beautiful Zihuatanejo.
I have one more hurdle to jump before I can formally say Zihuatanejo is my home. I have an appointment with Migration on the 18th of April for my official Residency. It’s a little scary as this will determine if I can stay year round or if I will have to leave the country for a few days every 180 days as my tourist visas expire.
So what have I been doing, well I had a birthday. It was the most fun birthday party I have ever had, just one of those extra fun nights. I also attended many other birthday celebrations. Parties are more fun in Zihua!
The food and the restaurants are good and plentifull which makes dining out one of the major activities. There are beach restaurants both feet in the sand type and and those with stunning views over looking the bay. I have never eaten out so much in my life, but I’m really enjoying it as cooking isn’t my thing. And cooking for one is about the worst.
Ok, that’s a start, I’ll continue to play catch up Maybe holidays and events next time. Signing off KO
The snow birds are packing and leaving one by one. By the end of the month most all will be gone . Replacing the gringo snowbirds are Mexican nationals here to enjoy a warm beach visit during Semana Santa holidays, the week prior and following Easter. So town is bustling with large families traveling back and forth from their hotels to the beaches. They come supplied with fully stocked coolers, beach chairs, umbrellas, babies and ancient relatives , some in wheelchairs. No one is left behind.
Earlier this morning there were groups with a couple pop up tents on Playa Principal, an hour later they had been taken down. I’m guessing at the request of the authorities. It is frequently lamented that when the snowbirds leave they they leave a lot of cash behind. but when the Semana Santa group leaves, they leave more trash than cash. If that is the case I believe that it is a matter of education to improve the outcome.
Temperatures seem to be rising but actually it’s only humidity that is rising making it feel warmer. The longer hours of daylight also have it warming up sooner and not cooling off until later. But the nights here are marvelous, never needing a wrap of any kind. I have yet to turn on my air conditioner, I find between the natural breeze and my ceiling fans I’m quite comfortable in my apartment.
I am expecting full on sun on my balcony as we get into summer, whereas all winter the balcony has been completely shaded. I’m wondering how my little garden will fare in the full sun. I started my tomato plants from seeds. They are doing quite well. I expect about June I should be harvesting tomatoes.
It has been a whirlwind of activities this month. Most importantly I’m back to a regular regimen of swimming. I swim 3 mornings a week at the lovely “Alberca de Olympica” the Olympic size community swimming pool in Zihuatanejo. And yes the water is on the cold side at 8:30 in the morning, but that is good for lap swimmers. I started off at 10 laps [this pool lanes are crossways], so a full crossways lap is 50 meters. Each week I’m adding a lap with my end goal being 16 laps which is about a half mile if my math is right. This week I’m up to 14 laps. That’s half of what I used to swim pre covid, but I’m not in training for anything and I’ll be quite happy with 16 laps. I’ve been taking a taxi to the pool and walking back and doing errands along the way as needed. I’m not the good walker I used to be, I find I’m not enjoying long walks, and I walk so much slower than I used to. I’m finding my friends walk much faster than I do and it’s a struggle to keep up with some, but I’m going to walk at my own pace and get to where I’m going at my own time.
What keeps me busy is groups of friends with some regular activities of weekly lunch gatherings, a biweekly dinner group with a goal of trying some of the “better” restaurants in the area. Beach time, pool parties just a lot of fun and frivolity. But now that I live here I need to do more that just play, so this week I am doing my first volunteer project of sorting and labeling seed for local folks to do future plantings and self sufficient gardening. With plans to do more of these types of projects.
A group of us, 9 ladies, chartered a sailing and snorkeling trip with a delightful young Mexican couple who not only took out sailing, whale watching, only saw one, snorkeling, saw lots of fish, and then served us lunch and cocktails. It was a great day even if I got a little sun burned.
On a sadder note, my only sister died this week. It was expected as Parkinson’s disease had rendered her helpless as a baby. She was ready, but I will miss her. We had been spending a lot of good phone time together recently. Signing off KO
Christmas Eve a large group of friends gathered at Rufo’s on Calle Adelita for an excellent dinner. Christmas Day was a smaller gathering at Ben and Lesley’s apartment where she prepared a delightful spread of ham and turkey and all the fixings.
As so many of my friends are Canadian I was invited to a “cold table” Boxing Day event. Everyone brought something cold to share. Turned out to be quite the spread and 13 of us enjoyed the hospitality of Anne’s balcony that evening.
For New Years’s Eve a group gathered at Daniels for lovely dinner and waited for the fire works to begin. They had to spray down the palapa roofs with water prior to the fire works. As usual the fire works were fantastic and it appeared that most of the town and all the visitors and tourists were along the beachfront to enjoy the spectacle.
On New Year’s Day the braver ones of us gathered for a Zihuatanejo take on a “Polar Bear” swim and hit the water at Playa La Madera at 11:00 AM. It was most delightful. Followed by mimosas at Vickie’s poolside.
I don’t do New Years resolutions, but I some times set some goals. Now that I have finally figured out the hours and the new entrance to the local community swimming pool, my goal is to resume lap swimming. I have hardly swam since covid closed the pools, and having spent the last summer on Mount Rainier with no where to swim I am really out of practice. I’ll start with 3 days a week and see how it goes. Signing off KO
I live at the corner of an alley and a very busy one way street which my balcony over looks. This is the polar opposite of the bucolic lake front view I had in Washington. Yet I enjoy it almost as much. Mexican street life is very vibrant, colorful and yes noisy. But I find it exciting, varied, interesting and amusing.
On my one way street cars park on both sides of the street and no one, except some of us gringos, find it odd that it is perfectly OK to double park. And not just for a minute or two. They will double park and go in to a store to pick up a couple of items, or wait for someone they are picking up no matter how long it takes. Mean time the traffic slows and snakes their way past the double parker, with surprising skill. I have yet to see a car sideswiped. It amazes me. Some prefer to park across the entrance to alley instead of double parking. I would prefer they double park as this is when it gets noisy. It seems like as soon as the mouth to the alley is blocked one or more of the alley residents wants go some where or will be trying to return home and they lay on the horn until some one comes and moves the offending vehicle. But no cross words are ever exchanged, it’s just how it is done. If the car is one that is trying to return he may have the street blocked back with up to ten cars behind him all waiting. Sooner or later someone in the line up gets impatient and starts honking his horn also, but oddly enough it’s usually someone who has just pulled up to the back of the line that honks his displeasure about being held up.
Impromptu parties happen frequently on my street, sometimes its pedestrians fueled by the large beer drinks the store down the block sells. And conveniently enough for them there are a couple of concrete benches right across the street from me where they can sit, drink, laugh, and sing until the wee hours of the day. Last week a newer pick up truck parked across the street, opened up the doors, turned the music up and 5 or six of them had a lovely tailgate party right there in the middle of this block.
A parking violation is cause for the local policia to remove your rear license plate. In order to retrieve it you must go to the local station and pay the fine. If you don’t do that and get a second violation the front plate is removed and another fine is levied. Of course driving with no plates is a separate violation and of course it will open you up to much policia attention. Gotta love Mexico!