The senor and I went to the Comercial Mexican to pick up a few items and then back to the apartment to put them away. That seemed to occupy the whole morning so it was siesta time for the senor and I headed out to the mercado for fruit & eggs. I’ve selected on booth where we purchase most of our fruit and veggies. The young gal doesn’t seem to mind that I’m an idiot with Mexican money. But today I think I have actually mastered the coins and I am able to give her exact change correctly the first time. This brings a big grin, from both of us! Then it’s on to my egg man where he counts out 12 eggs and puts them in a plastic sack for me to put in my shopping bag. Next I find my cheese man who unrolls a yard of cheese for me, probably should say a meter here. Then to the bank atm to withdraw cash, the atms give better rates, are quick and easy, especially the one we go to as it is also in english. That eliminates the fear factor of banking in a foreign language. On my return I ask Javier who manages the apartments and has a scooter rental and liquor store (unique combination) under our apartments how I get a new garrofon of water I give him 20 pesos and I mind his store while he goes around the corner to the water store, returns with the garrofon hauls it up stairs and puts it in the port.
Now all my housewifely duties completed I can start what I think is book #7 and then on to my dive class.
I walk to Adventure Divers in La Madera neighborhood at 4, and arrive just ahead of my instructor Paco. He speaks perfect english and he teaches me the hand signals and the safety theories of diving and then we cross the road to a small hotel that has a small pool. For the next hour I am either laying on the bottom of the pool, or kneeling on the bottom of the pool while “Paco” teaches me how to find my respirator should it fall out of my mouth, or get pulled out and how to get in back in my mouth. This is not to difficult. How to “clear your ears” to help with the under water pressure, this is not to difficult. Next came clearing your mask of water should any leak in. This sounded easy enough, but it wasn’t. When there is water up over my nose inside the mask I just really want to surface, but I did learn to do it, most of the time. I learned to swim in the superman position and how to inflate and deflate the air in my vest. So I’ve passed the class and am ready to dive. I will meet Paco art the pier on Tuesday at 2 for my undersea adventure. The senor is so happy that his health issues, asthma, sinus, high blood pressure,
keep him from going, this way he can simply say “I can’t” instead of” no way in hell are you getting me down there”. He will come along and take pictures.
After swimming I’m starving and we decide to eat a a beach front restaurant called Daniels as Jimi Mamou is playing there. Great dinner, great music another great day in paradise. Signing off KO
2 5 11 What a great day we had yesterday, the skies were partly over cast which made it a great day for sailing. We signed up (with a donation of course to sail fest boarded our boat to benefit the local kids) to take a day sailing in one of the many boats visiting Zihuatanejo. Ours was a 46 foot beauty called “The Rose” We had the company of 2 other couples, one from Iowa the other from Powell River BC, our Captain John a retired harbor pilot from San Francisco and his wife Pat. Of course we motored out, but eventually the sails got set and as the wind in very light in this area we didn’t go fast or far, only about 3 -5 miles beyond the bay in the open ocean. Thank god for sun screen #70, While the Senor is beginning to look like a local, I’m able to maintain my lily white color which is far preferable to the bright red I normally have after anytime in the sun. We were served drinks and lunch, the senor took a brief time at the helm, fished some, got 2 really good hits, but they got away. Some of our compatriots went swimming, I was not dress to do so or I might have been tempted. Well maybe not as I’m not sure what else out there might have been looking for something big and white to eat. It was a great day! Signing off KO
1 2 11 Today was very interesting! This AM or my morning caminando (walking) I located my dive shop, and then I stopped to have coffee at a open air coffeeshop. I asked a solo gentleman if I could sit with him as I hate to occupy additional tables for 1 person. I know this sounds like a pick up line, but people here are friendly. It’s nice that way. He was glad to have the company. He was Minnesota, fleeing the cold for 2 months. We had coffee and he had breakfast and thenI was on my way. Tourisim is down here and it is tough on the little guys. Many busineses are just barely hanging on. I returned to my dive shop after it opened and I’m set for my beginer class on Sat at 4 PM. Then if I’m comfortable with it we can set a date for a sea dive going only 20-30 ft . Our class is conducted in a pool. The Senor can’t dive due to asthma, high blood pressure and other things, secretly he is over joyed as he had no intention of ever doing it anyway.
We attended the” Sailfest chile cookoff” this afternoon, lots of great chile, but it sort of got to the Senor’s “wimpy digestive system” again. They also had a silent auction I got something Inca for Morgan, and some thing interesting things for the other grandchildren. Sailfest is a great happening for the kids, the poorest kids in Zihuatanejo, we now have dinners at an upscale restaurant, one at Las Gatas beach, (not upscale), one at Franks in Ixtapa, and we took our Canadian friends with us to dinner last night all on things bought at the auction, things we would do anyway. And we also bid alot of other folks up, making more money for the kids. The Senor loves a good auction!
Our Canadian friends convinced us to repeat out “time share whore routine” so that we could accompany them on a day pass to an all inclusive day at a resort. I guess they don’t know how much free booze we can consume when it is offered.
Now our calendar is getting full, last night we took our Canadian friends with us to dinner at Rufo’s Grill in La Madera, and we still have 1 upscale dinner at Amulettos (sp), 1 meal at Las Gatas beach, I dinner at Franks in Ixtapa, Scuba diving lesson and then a dive at Manzanillo Beach, a trip to Refregio de Potosi all purchased with Sailfest activities to benefit “Los Ninos”. We are so busy how can this be a vacation!!! Signing off KO
2 2 11 I had planned to go to Las Gatas beach with our neighbors & friends today but when the Senor woke up he said he was feeling better and could also go. So we set off for the water taxi to take us across the bay to our favorite beach where we settled in on the beach lounge and ordered drinks, and lunch later. The snorkeling was great, more fish today than I have ever seen at this spot. So I tucked some tortilla chips into my swim suit and when I got out to the reef area I tore them into tiny pieces and began to feel pied piper of the sea. Suddenly there were 30-40 beautifully colored fish all swimming under me eating the bits of tortillas. They followed me around as I swam, there were stripped ones solid one tiny neon blue ones, and a pair of rather plump black fish, (about eating size) with white polka dots all over. It was the first time I ever saw any like that. Fantastic experience! Back at the beach our friends had ordered nachos, absolutely the worst nachos I have ever seen in Mexico, a few chips on a plate with “cheeze wiz” spread across them. They sent them back, they were ugly! But our meals were good. I had avocado stuffed with shrimp and octopus. I had to pick out the octopus as it is far to dense and rubbery for me to eat, but that was ok as there was plenty of shrimp. We swam some more and then back to the water taxi for the return trip. Thank god for strong young men as the tide was such that the water taxi didn’t match up with the stone steps and we all needed help hoisting our old creaking bones from the boat to the pier. A few pesos for a tip keeps us all safe and smiling.
Back at our apartment we have just enough time to shower and head out to Rafa’s Bar, just a 1/2 block away for the Sailfest opening auction. It’s very crowded and noisy, you can’t hear the musican for the talking and our young waiter doesn’t seem to know any english and can’t seem to understand our spanish. The Senor ordered a Pacifico and I tried to get a Kailua and milk, he returned with the Pacifico but no on my drink, so I ordered a mojito and he returned with a Pacifico for me , I said no and he returned with another waiter who spoke some english saying no mojito’s (appears there is a lack of mint in Zihu and/or it takes to long to make them when they are busy) so I order Kahlua on ice it comes in a glass with 2 huge chunks of ice on top of the Kahula, strange, but I drank it and next round I ordered white wine, he brought me a bottle of water, sent it back and he finally brought me the wine the next round I ordered white wine again and yes I do know how to do it in Spanish, he brings me the check. We had to call over another waiter to convince them we weren’t ready to leave. I think it was wishful thinking on his part as I’m sure he thought we were the customers from hell, but our reality was he was the waiter from hell.
The auction was great, all proceeds from this week-long event go to supporting schools for the poorest children in Zihuatanejo. It is strictly a volunteer organization that provides materials, so parents of these children can build the school themselves. Rotary International then donates the tables chairs and such. The basic school will usually be a wash-house and one room that looks more like a rustic out-door shelter than what we think of as a school. This money is also used to pay the wages of a teacher. Many children in Mexico never have a chance at any education, many are working full-time by the time they are 12 or 14. Anyway back to the auction, the Senor does love an auction, he bid on many items, but we picked up a couple of dinners out, I bid on a painting I really wanted until it got more than I could pay, but I did win out on a scuba diving trip for 2. I’m really excited about that, the Senor isn’t and I doubt that he will dive, but I will. And so ends another busy day of leisure here in sunny Zihuatanejo. Signing off KO
1 31 11 Yesterday while at a beach side restaurant this young girl about 6 plopped one of the items she was selling on the cover of my Kindle and began to fiddle with the buttons like she was invited. She was about 6 years old and found the numbers and poked them and counted to 10 for me. This little girl,with her mother not far away, will sell these little bobble head animals until the bars close for 20 pesos each (about $2 ) and unless she gets more that an a basic education she will do that for the rest of her life. She has probably been doing this for 2 or 3 years already. Want to talk about child labor laws ?? She was very sweet and of course I bought.
The Senor paid a visit to El Doctor Grayeb today as he has a “wimpy” digestive system. This seems to be an annual event, but this year caught it quicker so just pills no need for a shot. Already he is better. Me being the wonderful nurse that I am abandoned him to go swimming at La Madera Beach this afternoon. I had some of the best nachos I’ve ever had. definitely my style, chips refried beans and chopped tomatoes and grated cheese. Super yummy and of course dos margaritas. After a brief siesta we watched a movie supplied by my daughter April. While sitting on the balcony this evening listening to the evening sounds of Zihua I noticed a crowd of folks about a 1/2 block up the street. So I went to investigate, it was definitely a private Mexican party, and I think maybe wedding, but across the street at Rafa’s bar I heard the most haunting music in the vein of Peggie Lee and Julie London. Her name is Josie Kuhn, a true blues singer I caught just the last songs of her act ,Fever and Moonglow. But let me tell you I will be back tomorrow night. The Senor spent most of his day with the news of Egypt. I hate to say it , but I’m on vacation and a modicum of news is welcome, not hours of it. But he likes it and his old westerns. Thankfully our sling box has worked great and has kept him happy with American TV. Our neighbors have invited me to go to Las Gatas beach with them tomorrow. I will surely take them up on this invite, maybe the Senor will be well enough to go also.
It’s 10:30 here, but still lots of street activity, not noisy, but sounds coming up from several different areas, some music, some the clang of the “garage” doors being rolled down to close up their business as almost all of them are only walls on 3 sides with the street side being wide open untill the doors roll down, there is a roof dog barking a couple of buildings away, children calling out, happy conversations as people head for home. Somewhere a game is being played, either on TV or a field as a cheering crowd in the distance can be heard. Night time in Zihuatanejo. Signing off KO
1 30 11 Today the citizens of the state of Guerrero will elect a new Governor. I’m told that they have a dry law that went into effect Sat midnight and lasts until Sunday midnight. Except the restaurants that cater to tourists can still serve beer and booze with a special permit. It’s kind of like their traffic laws, they are “more suggestions than laws”.
Yesterday we did some grocery shopping, we went to the Senor’s favorite store the Comercial Mexicana, and I will admit they do have just about everything and it is fairly quick to shop there. We can even use the debit card there. It’s a 20 peso cab ride away, which is the equivalent of almost $2. And the same back. We bring our groceries back and then head out to the mercado for fresh fruits and vegies. Bought our daily supply of avocados, papayas, tomatoes, and even found some mangos. We bought kilos of sea salt for friends and family at 5 pesos each about (50 cents) and some of the best string cheese I’ve ever had. I must have bought about a yard of it, he kept unfolding a continuous strip about 2 inches wide until I said alto, stop. A few more purchases then we walked back to our apartment for lunch, followed by siesta time
Later in the evening I tried, unsuccessfully, to find a good place to get a sunset picture and ended up watching the basketball game in the zocolo. Then back to the apartment for dinner and then across the street to the movie theatre. Saw Los pequenos Fockers” or so the playbill said. It was in english. Signing off KO
It was a great day, our guide Wil of “bluemorphoecotours.com” picked us up at 10 as promised and we climbed into his late-model PU and headed into the back country going up into the mountains. We traveled about 60 KM out of Zihuatanejo up into the mountains on a windy switch back road. Only the last few miles were on a dirt road. We stopped at a lovely place where the owner is beginning his plans of having a small out-door restaurant for visitors and began our walk to a series of falls and pools. Along the way we learned about the termite nests in the trees that do not harm the trees and the termites are considered a good thing as they rid the forest floor of decaying wood. The termite nests also provide a place for wild parrots to nest inside. These are huge burl like looking masses high in the trees and the eggs are kept warm inside. We saw philadendroms growing wild. many ferns and pine trees. The huge parotta tree was especially beautiful and most had wild orchids or other types of flowers and plants growing on them with neither being a problem to the other. Of course our guide knew the names of all of them and of course I can’t remember any of them. I have pictures but they don’t show up well in this format. Wil seems to have 2 assistants from the village, Reynaldo 13, and Carlos Juan 10. They are 2 of 8 siblings. I called them our “Sherpas” as they carried our beach bags with our towels and water in them. Along the way we see many butterflys, including the blue morpho with a lot of blue color on their wing and the vivid Juliana that could be mistaken for a flying gold fish. We stopped at the first waterfall, the high falls and young Reynaldo shows us how he jumps into the pool below the water fall from the rocks about 30 ft above the pool, then scrambles up the rock wall with the help of a rope the kids have hung there to do it all over again. The pool is bout 30 feet deep in places and the village kids all know exactly where to jump to. This pool can only be entered by jumping from on high so we pass. The next fall is medium high with 2 sets of falls and Doyle opts to try this one the rock he jumps from is about 15 ft above the pool, he then swims down to the second falls and leaps off it. To get to the next set of falls we have a couple of suspension bridges to cross. That made me a little nervous at first, but it was really fun. Then we are at the 3rd falls and this is the one the kids slide on. It must be a 40 foot top to bottom rock slide with many right and then left turns. I opted to watch our “sherpa” Renaldo demonstrate. Of course it took almost no encouragement for him to do so. This is the best pool to swim in as you can enter it from a sandy area. Both Doyle and I and Will took a cooling dip. And boy was it cooling. Kinda took your breath away at first, but then you get used to it and it felt good. After our swim we climbed up a set of stairs made for giants, or at least it felt that way to get us back to where we started from for our lunch. Lunch was prepared for us by one of the village ladies, we had tortillas that were hand-made from corn ground that morning, a ground beef and sauce dish, steamed (rancho) beans and a wonderful cheese made in the village. Quite the experience, it was very, very good. Every one enjoyed the meal. After lunch we strolled up to the village of about 80 people which is probably only 6-10 families as the families are quite large. Their dwellings are small by our standards and quite poor in consumer items, but there was nothing there that said poor in spirit, the kids were happy, a bit dusty, no fancy name brand clothing, they have their own school, and a real sense of family and community. Their homes have what I call “subsistence” gardens, where they plant every thing and anything that they can grow and eat later including chickens, turkeys, many variety of trees and plants and you can be sure it’s all organic and “green”. Here burros are still one of the main type of transportation, but fortunately not the only type because as we were leaving we noticed a pickup truck actually speeding down the mountain road. As we were to learn later the older sister of one of our Sherpas was bitten by a scorpion and they were rushing her to the next village where there was anti venom for her bite. I’m not sure that’s the correct term, but I’m sure it gets my meaning across. The houses in the village were adobe bricks, very open air, kind of made me think of not much more than back woods camp out shelters, but they do have electricity, running water gravity fed, and they can have satellite TV. It isn’t nearly as expensive as it is here. But there are no phones and I believe there is also no internet. I can feel no pity for them as they aren’t suffering, they are subsiding as folks have for eons and appear to have less worldly problems. Life is different, but still good. Wil’s tours will bring some money into the community, we bought hand work one of the women in the village who does beautiful needle work, we tipped the kids that so graciously helped and entertained us, We bought one of the best and most authentic lunches we have had in Mexico and hopefully brought a tad of prosperity to a charming village that gave us an insight into the lives of others who live differently from us. It was a great and educational and fun day. signing off KO
1 28 11 One of my biggest pleasures in Mexico is the amount of me time I have. At home I feel obligated to be doing something productive and there is always something that needs my attention. Here life is simple, no garden to tend and the most housekeeping I do is make the bed and a few dishes each day and the maid comes weekly do change out the linens and clean. We eat one maybe two meals in most days and and one out some times more sometimes less. It’s our big decision of the day. Yesterday afternoon we spent our time with our neighbors at a beach side restaurant drinking beer &
mojito’s for me and visiting and shopping from the wandering vendors when we wanted to. Very laid back afternoon. Watched a DVD movie later that night. I’ve managed to read 4 books on my kindle and will start a new one this morning. At home I find very little time to read. I walk around town when I fell, do some shopping for gifts or groceries, have just enough language skills to as the necessary questions, I still have a little trouble with the money, I’ve mastered the paper money, but not so good with the coins. The shop keepers don’t keep much change on hand and prefer exact change or close to it.
In just about an hour we are to set off for our “outback adventure” with an american guide/naturalist who is married to a Mexican lady and has lived here about 10 years. I’m hoping to get some great pictures. Signing off KO