January 6th, Three Kings Day

The last couple of days I saw the construction of all the temporary booths being erected along the main drag of Juan Alvarez to house an enormous amount of what appears to be cheap plastic toys.

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Blue tarp booths along the side walk selling toys and 3 Kings Day cakes

Since I’m told the Mexican children receive gifts on 3 Kings day I guess parents wait util the last minute to shop. Sure solves the problem of hiding gifts from snooping kids. There are also tables and tables of the special cake that has the little figures baked in it. They come in every size imaginable depending on the size of your family gathering. And if I remember correctly who ever gets the baby Jesus in their piece gets to host the whole group to a tamale

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Blue tarp booths along the side walk selling toys and 3 Kings Day cakes

feast on Candelmas  Day. Then there is the “Bike Market” along the canal.

Last night from my balcony I watched the fire dancer perform,  not the best view as the palm tree gets in the way a bit, entertaining none the less.  This was followed by a brief but hard rain shower, all done in minutes

 

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Fire dancer as seen from my balcony

There also has been a mass exodus of Mexican tourists as their holidays ends, the foot traffic around town is manageable again and hopefully the music from the Zocolo won’t be blasting down our street nightly. I’m forever amazed at how folks can party all night until six am. It’s 5:00 am and the bar down the street is still playing music, this morning the music is pleasant and not just the “thump thump” type and not so loud to be heard inside the apartment but surprising pleasant out here on my balcony.

The Senor just suggested going to the beach today. I’m so excited!  Getting him out and about has been a real chore this year. Sometimes I feel a little “trapped” up in our room.  Signing off KO

 

 

 

 

 

TIME IS GETTING SHORT

Had a wonderful day at the beach with friends new and old. Because some in our group have difficulties boarding the pangas from the pier,

Juan our friend and proprietor of Paradiso Escondido on Ixtapa Island offered to transport us out to Playa Linda where we would board his boat from the beach. It is much easier to board a beached boat than a bobbing one. But first a stop at the “cocodrillo preserve” to see the crocks and iguanas.

At the island we ate, we drank , we swam, shopped with the silver salesman, visited and had a great time, closed up the Island, literally we were the last folks off the island all the ferry pangas were all finished for the day. Once again Juan brought us back clear to the beach.

We are on our last few days of being in Zihutanejo. We used our last sail fest certificate for lunch at Arenas on La Ropa. We liked Arenas, nice tables under palapas, and not crowded together. hopefully a few more evenings at the Flophouse, and the difficult task of sorting and packing up. We are fortunate to be able to store some things here, but don’t need to overdo it.

We have shopped very, little while here, a beautiful fruit basket and fabric for new curtains for the RV, (fabric is so inexpensive here) and a couple of items of clothing for each of us is it. So no worries about over weight suit cases.

This year it feels ok to return home, 3 months is just the right amount of time. We will miss our many friends we’ve made here, but we will see them again when we return in December. We are now making the lists of what we should have brought and what we shouldn’t have what we plan to store and what we will pitch.

signing off KO

I FOUND JESUS …….AND THEN BLACK CORAL FOUND ME

Friday is maid day and we usually go out for breakfast and head out to the beach. This day the beach was to

Beautiful Las Gatas beach
Beautiful Las Gatas beach

be Playa Las Gatas and breakfast at Tres Amigos and on to the beach.  The water and waves have been quite active over the last few days and we were pleased to see it didn’t look like it would be difficult to board the panga for the trip to the beach.

The Senor and I on the panga to Las Gatas
The Senor and I on the panga to Las Gatas

Our favorite waiter Juan waved to us as we headed down the beach and we settled in at Gloria del Mar. I decided I wanted to swim out to see the fabled sunken statue of Jesus just beyond the reef. This is the statue where the heart of Jesus is made from donated keys from the people of Zihuatanejo.This statue is 4 meters tall and made of bronze.

I was told there was a small orange buoy marking the spot, but I couldn’t find it then another snorkeler asked if I was looking for the statue and said to follow him.  Which I did. Well no wonder I couldn’t find the orange buoy as its the size of a orange and to make matters worse the buoy was under water.  I don’t know if that was due to the tide or wave action, but I never would have found it with out help. So I grabbed the knotted rope and pulled myself down to the head of the statue, touched the statue and chose to go up as my ears bothered me a bit.  I don’t normally dive, I’m good swimmer, but I don’t like to swim under water. My one experience at scuba diving taught me that it was not to be my sport. Once on the surface I got my bearing as started the swim back, but I get directionally challenged and soon discovered I was heading towards the pier and not the beach and I really don’t like swimming with moving boats. Changed course, but sure didn’t pick the proper one as suddenly I found myself over the coral rocks with not enough water to clear the coral.  I tried to find the pathway out of this predicament but the waves began pushing and pulling me on top of the coral rocks. I got tumbled several time over and over on the coral before I finally caught a wave with enough water to push me off the rocks. Before I got fully standing a man came over to ask me if I was alright. I said yes now that I’m out of the rocks, he looked at my hands and pulled a couple of coral thorns from them and I went on to the beach. Back at our lounge chair our waiter got some cactus thorns and started digging more and more of the coral splinters from my hands. I didn’t dare ask him to pull the ones from my rump. That job fell to the Senor upon returning to our casa. After checking on line I learned they should dissolve after soaking in vinegar for 30 to 60 minutes. Problem is I don’t have a pan large enough to sit in.  The Senor pulled all that he could and then I spread a piece of plastic on a chair, soaked a towel in vinegar and sat on it for and hour, and more could be picked out and repeated the process again this morning. I’m bruised, a little tender, jammed/sprained fingers on my right had to the point I had to tape 2 fingers together as the movement was killing me. I’m a strong swimmer, I really don’t know how I ended up on the coral rocks I think I didn’t swim far enough around the jetty and the strong wave action that was still happening pushed me where I didn’t want to go.

Morning rendered me in much better spirits, just feeling bruised and I had lunch with my friend Bonnie, she is leaving Wednesday and I was anxious to hear of her recent travels to Patzcuaro, Morelia, and Mexico City. Nothing she said has given me a great desire to go to Mexico City, I’m really not a city person, but who knows maybe some day. Bonnie has been great fun and I look forward to seeing her again next year.   Signing off KO

ON THE BEACH

Playa Las Gatas
Playa Las Gatas

One of the main differences I see between a beach in Washington state and a Mexican beach is people actually go in the water!  At home my experience has been very few adults venture into the water, some kids will, but not all.  Some will just splash around the edge because it’s cold.

Al ittle late snappingt his one
Al ittle late snappingt his one

And only in Mexico would you see a full marching band complete with a tuba on the beach. Here the water is warm and at Playa Las Gatas where we were yesterday the reef protects it from any wave action so it’s like swimming in a very large pool with beautiful colored fish.There are yellow fish with black stripes bright neon blue ones some big ones and little ones. fascinating to snorkel along the reef. We have been returning to the same spot there, Gloria del Mar and have over the years made friends with Juan the waiter.  He recognized us walking down the beach and waved us in, which was good as they are no longer allowed to have the sandwich board signs in front of their restaurants, the authorities decided it impeded strolling along the beach.

Life is good!
Life is good!

We had a wonderful red snapper fillet for a late lunch, soaked up some sun, getting abundance of vitamin D and generally just relaxing and visiting. My spanish professora would not be too pleased with me as I m still slow to use my spanish, and much english is spoken here. But I have learned a few new phrases and this will be a great help as we venture out more into the country side.

We had another lovely musical evening, again at the Baracruda this time with Steve Calvert and friends.  We have been following Steve  around town since we first heard his music several years ago coming in through our hotel kitchen window as it backed up to the now defunct Pacalos. He’s from Bremerton, but now lives and plays full-time in Zihuatanejo.  Once again we are a music groupie!

We are becoming more Mexican as we find it hard not to go out at night

Sunrise Feb 19, 2014
Sunrise Feb 19, 2014

and enjoy the soft warm evenings, there is always activity somewhere and it’s just pleasant to stroll, greet friends and people watch. Although this might change for the Senor if we get connected up with TV tonight.  Signing off KO

PLAYA LAS GATAS

 

Playa Las Gattas
Playa Las Gattas

Playa Las Gatas is the favorite beach for the Senor and I. It’s a short walk to the pier, 2 40 peso tickets and we are on the water taxi and on our way. We did find our favorite waiter Jose at Gloria Del Mar, at least I think that’s the correct name of the restaurant. As they are side by side all along the beach it can be hard to distinguish one from another at first glance. This day we got the right one we were looking for. Will and Sylvia accompanied us and we staked out our lounge chairs and table. I seem to be the only swimmer in the group, everyone else comes to eat, drink and enjoy the ambiance of the beach, shop and people watch.

Beautiful margaritas
Beautiful margaritas

Juanita, my favorite beach vendor always has beautiful and interesting bead and shell necklaces, bracelets. I always find something I like and this day was no different. I would love to shop the silver vendor, but silver

Juanita changing the length on my necklace while Sylvia looks on
Juanita changing the length on my necklace while Sylvia looks on

makes me itch. The candy lady comes by, as does the lady who hauls a huge load of beach wear around, it must weigh 50 lbs. I am always impressed with how hard these people work, long hours, physically demanding work and then hear they earn very little. I love lying on a beach lounge soaking up vitamin D and having the stores come to you. I know some folks find all the vendors annoying, but I enjoy them. The Silver salesman even carries a visa swipe machine with him.

I choose to swim out to the point of Owen Lee’s beach property. Swimming against incoming swells at times, I

Point I'm swimming to
Point I’m swimming to

 

could feel the rise and fall of the swells, kind of fun. It was a much easier swim on the return as the waves

give you a push. I’m so directionally challenged when I swim that I had to walk back past a dozen or so restaurants to get to our location

The senor, Kathleen, Will Sylvia
The senor, Kathleen, Will Sylvia

Our fish was cooked to perfection, our drinks were perfect (not the killer kind) it was anther great Zihuatanejo day, with enough of a breeze to keep one cooled off. Signing off KO

ON THE BEACH

ImageYesterday the Senor and I went to Las Gatas Beach. We take a water taxi to get there, while it is not an island it is most easily accessed  by water. Now that my knee has completely healed it is much easier getting on and off the boat. Last year it was a bit of a challenge. I’m always thankful for the young men who are there to help and we tip generously.  We went to the same beach restaurant we did last year, but the Senor’s favorite waiter wasn’t there, the food wasn’t very good.  But they did make killer margarita’s.

Chips with guacamole best part of lunch
Chips with guacamole best part of lunch
This is a killer maragrita
This is a killer maragrita

More on that later. My snorkel mask’s frame broke, but the senor said he thinks he can glue it back together so I rented one for the day. No sooner than we got there than I realized not only had I forgotten my mango drink powder that I have become addicted to but also I had not packed my swim scarf.  I can’t swim with out something on my head or I would burn to a crisp. So I had to buy a big scarf and fold it up

Improvised swim scarf
Improvised swim scarf

many times before I could tie it on, but it worked.  I was just out of luck with my powered drink mix.  I’ve learned if I drink 3-4 bottles of water each day I don’t get leg cramps at night. But I hate plain water, so I flavor it with a non calorie drink mix. I brought some from home, but have found a great mango flavor here that  I’ve also acquired a swim shirt.  I swam out past the reef which was teeming with fish some in large schools that you swim right through. We ordered fish fillet in garlic which we share and fortunately it came with chips and guacamole as the fish was dry. I had a margarita with my lunch, went out for another swim came back and had another margarita while we watched this young man shoot up out of the

Walking on water

Higher
Higher

water on this jet pack until he was 20ft in the air.  It is powered by a hose from the jet ski behind him. Looks interesting, but I’m sure it would take more balance than I have.

 

 

And higher
And higher

I’ll be content to be a spectator. One more Margarita and back to the apartment where I have a crock pot of ribs waiting for the Senor.

I had a bit of trouble navigating back to the apartment, but once there safe and sound, well you know the old saying one tequila, two tequila, three tequila floor.  Well that is exactly what happened I fell flat on the floor, slit my lip and woke up to a black eye.  I will look lovely at the M-Dock concert tonight.  Lessons learned, don’t go the beach with out making sure the bag is fully packed, head scarf and mango powder included.  Never more than 2 margaritas.

Evening time in Zihuatanejo

1 20 11 Evenings in Zihuatanejo are just short of magical. It’s 9 pm, it’s just 80 degrees with a soft wind blowing, I’m sitting on our balcony overlooking the pedestrian street we are located on ( 3 blocks either direction no cars) I can see the Zocolo ( think town square) where there is always something going on.  A show of singers or dancers or fire throwing baton twirlers accompanied my a whole slew of teenage Romeos pitching woo in every dark corner.  Lots of people activity, not only in the Zocolo but lots of folks walking around as the shops are still open.  Right now I can see the fire batons being thrown in the air.  We are only a block from the Zocolo and the beach beyond.  From our third floor balcony the view is excellent.  The people here are very warm and friendly.  In the grocery store you are apt to run across someone who speaks about as much english as I speak spanish, but they want an opportunity to practise their english and they start talking to you.  Where are you from , how do you like Mexico? Today “the Senor” and I each bought a pair of pants at a store where the shopkeeper spoke quite good english, so she speaks english to me and I speak my spanish to her.  We both get to practice.  Life is very relaxed here, mannana does not mean tomorrow , just not today!  Zihuatanejo has many Americans visiting, but many more Canadians.  2 of the 3 couples in our building are Canadian.  Our building has 6 apartments finished with 1 still under construction.  They are newly renovated, very comfortable with air conditioning and internet service.  No cable TV so our sling box is doing us very well. The Senor is happy to get all the news, gloomy as it may be.  He has picked out his favorite bar for football viewing for the weekend ball games.  Speaking of bars, I’ve had to adjust, wine is too expensive here and I have had to go to margaritas.  Pity!  The Senor and I spent a couple of hours earlier today at a beach establishment watching parasailing, jet skis, kayaks and a fleet of sail boats bobbing at anchor while enoying beverages at very reasonable prices.  Like I said it is a tough life here, one month is not nearly enough.  Signing off KO