I’m Back

This will be my earliest arrival in Zihuatanejo, October 26.  I wanted to be in Zihuatanejo for day of the dead.  I know this isn’t the biggest “Dia del Muerta” but it’s a good start for me.  A “life changing event” occurred this summer and I am learning to handle it with grace.  The Senior and I had been married 23 years but he has chosen to live his life on a different path and filed for divorce. So I am moving on and am finding life as a very independent lady quite exciting, interesting and at times daunting. I’m looking forward to renewing old friendships and making many new. As usual I will post as I see interesting things to share with you.

I should add I am not arriving alone, my number 1 granddaughter Morgan, is going to be with me in Zihuatanejo for a couple of months.  She is a wildlife biologist and in between jobs just having finished a season in Alaska giving bear tours on a remote island. So I convinced her to check out the “wildlife in Z”. It worked out great as she is flying on what was the Senor’s companion fare.

We arrived at my apartment to find beautiful bouquets courtesy of my wonderful landlord and wine courtesy of my fantastic neighbor

A great welcome.

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 Saturday Morning Market “Eco Tianguise”

This little market appears every Saturday from about 9-2ish across from the museum next to the school. It is all organic, homemade, recycled and re-purposed. It is colorful, lively and highly social. One could attend just to see and be seen as you will surely meet friends old and new there.IMG_1104

You can find almost everything there, handmade bamboo furniture, purses and totes from coconut bark, home baked bread, squash blossoms, flavored mescal, embroidered blouses and pillow cases, paintings and art work and of course organic food and coffee.

I buy jewelry there from a lovely Senora who makes her jewelry from compact discs, bottle caps, paper and even limes. When you purchase something from her she puts it in a paper bag she made from old magazines. Zero waste.

I get the “Tamale de Championes” for the Senor’s breakfast and I usually have a vegetarian spring roll wrapped in rice paper that is very good. On other days our eco2breakfast consist of fruit, mango, grape fruit, watermelon, little bananas and the occasional egg. I do my egg scrambled with peppers and mushrooms. I think we eat much healthier here. No Jimmy Dean sausage for the Senor.

I will miss my Saturday mornings at this lovely little market. 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

IMG_1189
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

IMG_1232
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

 

 

Carnaval Zihuatanejo Style

IMG_1128Not to be confused with a “carnival” that has rides, or a Mardi Gras Carnival that takes place before Lent.  Which surprises me as this is a catholic country. While it has some similarities to a Mardi Gras carnival, it is scheduled at the whim of the local government and some years not scheduled to happen at all. It would be impossible to schedule a visit around “Carnival Time” because nobody seems to know if, or when it will happen. This year it was scheduled with the 3 day holiday weekend celebrating the birthday of Benito Juarez when town was full of visitors from the interior. .

The festivities began on Friday night with dancers performing on the stage that was set up in the basketball court in the town Zocolo, A Queen was crowned and a King of Ugly or Bad I’m not sure of the translation, all done with ear-splitting, loud and booming music and a IMG_1149short but magnificent fireworks display. The crowd was so dense it was difficult to walk through and it was impossible to get close enough to see the stage.  The back stage had a blinding,continuous, psychedelic laser light show playing.  Everything the Mexicans love in a fiesta was there, loud music, and colorful entertainment. I guess I am now part of the population that “if the music is too loud you are too old”. I’m old, the music was past being musical, it was just LOUD.

There were more festivities again Saturday night, I choose not to attend, but curled up with a good book and tuned up a movie. I learned later the volume of the music was greatly reduced. Must have been as we didn’t hear it at our apartment 3 blocks away..

Sunday was the big parade, a full 2 hours, of very large, creative floats, beautiful dancing-girls and handsome men, charming children, lots of local color, costumes and culture and yes loud music. It was a great parade. One of the best, most fun parades I have ever seen.  There was even parade participants offering spectators small samples of mescal. And of course the fiesta went on until the wee hours of the morning. You just got to love mexico.  Signing KO

We are in our count down phase

Guitar fest is an 8 day series of concerts of talented international Guitar players performed under the stars on the beach and in several local restaurants. The proceeds from these concerts go to purchase musical instruments and scholarships for the young aspiring Zihuatanejo artists. A very worthwhile cause. I only attended one of the beach concerts this year but truly enjoyed it. Following the concerts the musicians usually gather together at one of the local bars for a jam session which I always thought might be the best of the best.  But midnight is getting to be a little late for me these days.

As I sit on my balcony tonight surveying the street scene in Mexico, which is so much different than at home, I ruminate on the many differences. I don’t mean to imply criticism, just amazement.  Everyone rides in the back of pickup trucks, mamas hold their babies and toddlers in their arms in the front seat of vehicles, and car seats are not the norm.  Few people wear seat belts. 3-4 people on a motor bike or scooter is normal, few wear helmets.  Teenage girls hold hands with their friends and with their mamas.  Children play outside until 10 or 11 O’clock at night.  Parents walk their children to and from school, all school children wear school uniforms.  Not all children go to school. 6 people in a taxi is not too many.

I don’t know what all business is transpired in a bank, but the lines are very long and folks wait patiently.  Grocery stores have no concept of “nighttime stockers” it is all done in the daytime blocking aisles to the point you can’t get your cart down the aisle.   To stock the top shelves they just climb up the lower shelves. Eggs are not refrigerated in the stores. You can buy just about everything you need here, but maybe not your preferred brand. USA brands are more expensive, so buy local whenever possible.

Life here is different, slower more and more relaxed. Far less rules, regulations and efficiency.  But it all adds to the charm, according to me.  The senior is frequently frustrated by what he perceives as inefficiency and knows just how to fix it.  But this lack of efficiency keeps everyone working here.

At home when I shop I buy many fruits and vegetables frozen or canned.  Here I buy everything fresh.  Mostly because it is easier.  If I were to go to the grocery store, Mega Soriana and buy frozen items they would be un-thawed by the time I got them back to our apartment in a taxi, and canned good are heavy and have to be carried up a flight of stairs.  So I go to the “Mercado Publico”, just a couple of blocks away and buy fresh fruit and veggies and now I’m even buying much of our meat and fish there.

The Mercado is a cornucopia of sights and smells.  It is the way folks all over the globe have shopped since time began. I find it fascinating, other turn up there nose at it.  Signing off KO

Campamento Tortuguero Ayotcalli Turtle Rescue Center

 

IMG_1100
This who it is all about

The Senior and I had the opportunity to go to the Turtle rescue to help release some hatch-ling turtles and spend the night at the lovely Casa de Tortuga.  All this because I had the winning bid at a Sailfest auction .

I f you have never been there for a sunset turtle release,  go. Go now, go next year but by all means go. Turtle releases are done from August to March .

The volunteers do nightly turtle patrols the 15 Km of Playa Blanca and Playa Largo to locate the female turtles. Then they

IMG_1759
Turtle nests in incubation area

stay with her to protect her from predators and poachers while she lays her eggs and see that she gets safely back to sea to repeat this cycle again.  Next, they move the entire nest of eggs to their incubator area where the eggs are placed at the same depth they were found. Each nest is labeled as to type of turtle eggs and the approximate date expected to start hatching. During prime turtle season, they patrol the beach from 10 or 11 at night until dawn.  This is very important to locate and protect as many turtle nests as possible. The survival rate is only 1 in 1,000.

The night we were there, March 6th, we and about 20 others arrive at a little sheltered

IMG_1096
Standing at the line

class room area for an interesting educational presentation of the life cycle of the turtles, how the waters of Mexico are home to many varieties, and what the general public can do to help more turtles survive.  After a question and answer session, we adjourn to the beach and lined up behind a line drawn in the sand.  Just as the sun is setting, the volunteers place 2 hatch-lings in our bowl, then we are instructed to slide the turtles out of our bowls onto the sand and watch them head

IMG_1080
My two turtles, both were very fast

towards the ocean.  This an extremely important step, and a beautiful site to watch as they move over the sand memorizing this exact location. If she is female and if she

survives to 10-15 years of age, she will return to the very place we released her.  She will come ashore to lay her eggs and the cycle will continue.  If he is a male his sole mission in life other than survival is

IMG_1088
Run for the ocean at sunset

finding a female at the right time.

On this night about 200 hatch-lings were released, some were very quick as if they knew exactly what their mission was, others were slower and a couple didn’t quite know which direction to go, but eventually they all got to the ocean and we wished them success.

We went back to the classroom/store made our donations, bought souvenirs, happy in the knowledge we had done something to help. As this very worthwhile project is funded

IMG_1763
Our quarters for the night

strictly by donations.  We retired to our lovely quarters to relax and sleep as I need to be up at 5  to go on turtle patrol on the ATV.  As it is very late in the season for turtles to be laying, they are only doing one patrol a night, we did not see any turtles or nests.  Still  a pre dawn ATV beach ride on Playa Larga and Playa Blanca offered an exceptional view of a sky full of  stars, than I have seen in years, crabs skittering across the sand and few birds and a

IMG_1744
KO and the ATV

duck or two, a 30 mile round trip that had me back just after first light of day.  Quite the adventure!  One I plan to repeat next year during prime turtle season. Signing off KO