Zihuatanejo life

I have been happily busy of late. Eating, swimming, and have even learned to play a board game. Friend and chef Tonio Diaz catered a fantastic Mexican dinner for a group of us at Casa Roja where friends are staying this year. The food was fantastic, the company great and the view to die for. I highly recommend Chef Tonio and Casa Roja.

Couple of nights later a group of us enjoyed an excellent dinner at Casa Bahia again with that gorgeous view.

I’ve almost become a regular at Playa Madera this year and have even acquired a bit of a tan. Well tan for me is more of a light beige. But none the less I have been getting large quantities of vitamin D. Even in these restricted times there are the strolling musicians but I must admit I never expected to see and hear a harp on the beach, it is just heavenly.

Heavenly harp music on the beach

Speaking of musicians, these two brothers are among some Zihuatanejo’s finest professional musicians. But here they play for the pure enjoyment of watching this tiny tot dance when they start to play. She stops when they stop and starts again when the music begins. I’m not sure who was enjoying this encounter more.

Dance to the music

Progress along Zihuatanejo’s waterfront is moving at a snail’s pace. Change is difficult to adapt to especially as many of us saw no need for this massive redo. At this point the entire waterfront is torn up from the museum to where the fishermen are. Not one segment of it has been completed. Some how it strikes me that if they would complete some part of it and show that the end product is going to be truly lovely, it might ease a lot of minds. Right now it is all just an ugly mess where beauty once was.

Had lunch with friends at Hotel Irma. On the walk to the hotel this crane posed for me on a pipe crossing over the canal. Hotel Irma has a Cavellina tree, one of two that I know of in Zihuatanejo. One can watch this fascinating tree’s blossoms slowly open at night, producing a bottle brush type bloom in bright pink. The other is on Calle Adelita by the bridge.

Zihuatanejo has moved back to Corona virus “red” warning from now until Feb 14. Most likely due to the long Christmas holiday that brought in folks from all over Mexico. This red designation limits the occupancy of hotels, restaurants, pools to 25% occupancy, beaches must close at 5. Masks are required. Bars are supposed to be closed. Still I feel just as safe here as I would be at home. I eat better here, get more fresh air and am more active all which boosts my personal immune system. So happy I decided to come. To enlarge pictures just tap them. Signing off KO

SAILING ON THE PATRICIA BELLE

One of the most fun parts of Sailfest is the Sail Parade where for 300 pesos (less than $15) you can spend a day on a sailing on a sail boat.  The the best thing is all that money goes to build and improve schools for  the poorest children in Mexico, and there are no paid administrators to siphon off the funds.

Faye holding the sign to assemble our group
Faye holding the sign to assemble our group

This morning around 300 people lined the pier waiting for the pangas to take them out to the various boats they has signed up to spend the day on. My companion Faye and I decided we wanted to do the Patricia Belle again because she is such a FUN boat. The Patricia Belle is very large, some 60 feet of deck space and 30 of us enjoyed the captain and the crew’s hospitality. This boat was built some 20 years ago about 10 miles from where I live. Built of timber logged off the captains property behind the Bear Creek Store on the old Belfair Highway in Washington state.

We led the sail parade around Zihuatanejo bay and then out past Ixtapa, paid our respects to the Port Captain then sailed off to do some middle of the ocean swimming. About two thirds of the passengers and all of the crew jumped or dove overboard and swam along side the boat as she gentled sailed on, and I do mean gently as there was almost no wind at all. There are lines over the side that you can hold on to if you aren’t comfortable swimming away from the boat.

Faye and me on the pier after a day of sailing and swimming
Faye and me on the pier after a day of sailing and swimming

We had packed picnic lunches complete with salmon, cheese, capers, olives, crackers, jicama and of course wine  It’s just a fantastic way to spend and afternoon sailing, eating, drinking and swimming in the ocean where the water temperature is about 82 degrees and meeting so many new friends.  Signing off KO

La Playa, Street Market and Sailfest

Friday morning arrived and we decided, it’s beach time! We headed out to Playa Las Gatas with our friends Will and Sylvia even though the day was overcast. None of us  were worried about “working on our tans”, just wanted a relaxing day, eating, drinking and people watching and enjoying the friendship.

Our favorites pot is Gloria Del Mar, the tide was way up so the Senor and I hit the water right away as it is easier to get in to swim. The Senor likes to bob in the water and I went out for a swim. A few drinks, some good seafood and suddenly the day is gone. We always come back from the beach tired and worn out, like we had really done something. Somehow a day in the sun does that to you even when it is hid behind the clouds. It’s a good kind of tired.

I love Saturday mornings at the street market in front of the school. It was pleasantly cool yesterday morning by Zihuatanejo standards which made the market extra enjoyable. As usual I bought the Senor his mushroom tamales for his breakfast some tofu taquitos, more of the delicious pasta salad for lunch later and a grapefruit for tomorrow. Visited with the folks from the turtle preserve and other friends and headed back to the apartment as I will have a busy day as I’m working the t-shirt table for Sailfest today.

Did a brisk business in T-shirt sales, koozies and a few caps. And I get to do it again Sunday afternoon. 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

Back in Sunny Zihuatanejo

 Cruise ship from our balcony

Cruise ship from our balcony

And it feels like home, almost. We arrived to a few quirks at our apartment. Yesterday the air conditioner burnt out literally. This is the second time we have had an air conditioner go out in a shower of sparks in Mexico. Took all day but it was fixed good as new. We’ve eaten out the last couple of nights so we weren’t aware until this morning we the Senor went to cook breakfast that our stove doesn’t work.  No problema we have a microwave.  But lo and behold the microwave has been inhabited by goblins or spirits of some sort. He plugged it in set it for 3 minutes and the time came up 22 minutes.  So we shut it off and a couple of minutes later it started it’s own. You have to stand there and watch it and open the door when you want it to stop.  Then unplug it. Not the easiest way to cook eggs, but possible.

Our first day here we went to the commercial, the Mexican equivalent of a super market. Like Walmart it carries everything, but varies from time to time what is available. But they do have fresh Christmas trees and cheaper than we see at home which is amazing considering they may have been shipped from home. Less than $14 for 5-6 ft trees. It is also one of the very few stores that have cash register.  All the shops just use little calculators.

Today we went to the Mercado for fruits and vegies, my favorite shopping place, it is definatly  a sensory over load. There are baskets of spices that I have no idea what they are, yellow chickens complete with heads and feet, strips of beef hanging, flies flying and ladies waving fans over baked good to keep them away. Every thing from food to hardware under one roof.

Back at our “casa” Aurturo, the owner came and got both the stove and the micro wave up and running.  I got busy on skype and called dish, Centurylink and Verizon discoverer ou tv problems here are because our internet at home still hasn’t been repaired. I think that will happen tomorrow. If Trish got my message and can hang around the house in the am. Problems all solved, feeling good.  Signing off

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.

Beach life & Zihua Saturday night

1 22 11 Saturday night in Zihuatanejo is a unique experience. Sort of a cacophony of sounds. From our balcony I can hear about 3 different bands, and a couple of radios. Some of the music is pleasant, one is just a loud band with very repetitious drum beat. 

Earlier this morning as I returned from my walk, they were setting up enormous speakers, with huge banners hanging from tall scaffolding. Guerrero state elections are at the end of this month. In the late afternoon and early evening there was a huge political rally at the zocolo.  Looked like everyone in town and more were there.  We could view the scene from the balcony, which was as close as I would want to get involved in Mexican politics.

Sort of started at the end of my day working backwards.  After my morning walk, we headed to Las Gatas beach to swim and snorkle.  Since it was Saturday the beach restaurants were busy with many Mexican families.  Not many tourists.  We tried a new place, Mesa de Pescador and had good beach chairs with umbrellas, plenty of beer and margaritas and a nice fish fillet for lunch.  While I snorkled “The Senor” was picking up little pieces of coral for my bird houses.  A little girl about 3 or 4 watched him and then started picking up coral and bringing it to him.  She was soon joined by her sister and brother all bringing him coral.  It was really quite sweet, but had a little trouble telling them enough. We met up with “my jeweler” Juanita.  I’ve purchased necklaces from her every year we go to Las Gatas.  She greets me like an old friend. And of course I bought 2 beaded necklaces and a pair of earings. It’s always a bit of an adventure riding the boat out to the beach, well the adventure isn’t in the ride it’s the getting on and off. The pier and the boat are not quite at the same level, but for a few coins there are young men to assist.  Still can’t do it gracefully!

I’ve been unable to send any email for the last couple of days, receive yes, but no able to send, with the help of my neighbor nI fixed the problem or more correctly was able get around it.  So if any of you recieve a Help message from me, ignor as the problem is corrected.

Friday night we went out to dinner with our Canadian friends Dwight & Lynn at a courtyard restaurant.  The waiter was very entertaining and renamed the gentlemen in our party El Rey and El Guapo, said it was easier than trying to pronounce their names.  Had a good dinner, good company, all is well and right with the world. Life is Zihuatanejo is most enjoyable.

 I’ve tried to post several pictures to illustrate much of the above, I’ll give it one last try.  I wanted the pictures in the appropriate places, but I guess I don’t know how to figure that out yet.