We know it is time to go as the weather has warmed up, not so much the temperature, but the humidity is rising. This gives us a taste of what it might be like during the summer season. Too much for us, “snow-birding” is the way for us. Most of our “snowbird” acquaintances have headed back already as we will in a week.
Since December I have not worn any clothing with sleeves, nor shoes with laces. I have eaten at least two meals every day out side and regularly swam outside. I have become accustom to mangoes and little 3 inch bananas for breakfast and fresh fish for dinner. Life is good! Returning to Washington with it’s dreary spring weather will be a period of adjustment, but we will be busy. Only two weeks to get my tax information together, Doctor, dentist, eye exam appointments for both of us are scheduled as we resume the rat race. I look forward to visiting with my sons, both my girls live out of state and those visits will have to wait. It will be great to see our local grandchildren and of course trying to make amends to Denzel our cat for our long absence, even though he was well spoiled by my oldest son who house sat, cat sat and even took care of our chickens.
Last night we enjoyed Coconuts happy hour, followed by a great dinner at
Don Memos with friends Faye and Paul, and new friends Rick and Shelia. We are all headed out to Troncones for a last couple of R&R days before we tackle dreaded job of packing up, what go what stays and saying our last
Today was my last “Saturday Market” My green papaya salad from the “Eco Tianquis Sanka” aka the “Saturday Morning Market” was the best I have ever had, The Senor always has me get him a Championes Tamale, but today it was Tamales vedura which he ate with no complaint.
While enjoying cold drinks at the waterfront and people watching a young man dressed in medical clothing asked us if we would like our blood pressure taken. We agreed and both of us had low blood pressure.
The young man explained to Doyle that he may not need to take his blood pressure medicine during the months he spends at the beach and he should talk to his doctor about it once he gets home. Of course we gave a “small donation”. A new interesting way to pan handle or was It a young medical student gaining experience? It doesn’t matter it’s all part of the Mexican experience. Signing off KO
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.
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.
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
The money eared from last years Sailfest went to building a high school. The first new high school in over 20 years and this one targets kids who dropped out of school for a myriad of reasons, most commonly financial. They needed to go to work to help support their family, sometimes drugs or pregnancy are the issues. I would equate this somewhat with our “alternative” schools except that these students already know what life is like with out an education and are now highly motivated to continue their education. They come from very poor families, but are all promising students and this school is free. An unbelievable opportunity for them. Many poor children here little or no schooling past their 12th birthday when they start helping earn an income for the family.
The road to the school high on a hill overlooking Zihuatanejo is probably the worst road I have ever ridden on. Steep, switchbacks and only roughly graded. Many rocks, pot holes Truly only a road fit for ATV’s and we took a 15 passenger van up to it. The kids come by combi (small van type bus) to the bottom of the hill and walk the rest of the way looking sharp in
their school uniforms. A nice breeze blows up on the hill negating any need for air conditioning except in their computer lab. 6 classrooms, 14 teacher and 130 kids who like to try their English with you as do their teachers.
There studies are heavy on math and science with ethics and economics also taught. Art, music, dance and sports are relegated to after school clubs which are all a large part of their
culture. The students performed several regional dance routines and performed a tragic play of some of the problems of today dealing with guns and violence. While it was done in Spanish we all got the gist of it. The “leading lady” played her role with such emotion that I would not be surprised to see her on “the silver screen” someday.
Our second stop was to visit a tutorial school,
where children come from their regular schools and get additional help, or study time or simple spend time better occupied than “hanging around”. The primary kids attend in the morning where the big draw is food. They get both breakfast and lunch and for many kids these are their only meals.
They have a wonderful teacher who loves what she is doing and loves doing it in Zihuatanejo. signing off KO
Yesterday the senor and I walked over to Madera Beach Along the way we watched a father and son fish with nets, saw benches and
stairs newly decorated. As many years as we have participated in the Sail-fest activities we have never gone to the play day at the beach. As we arrived we saw what sail fest was really all about. It isn’t just the fun of bidding at an auction, winning a dinner out, tasting chili or buying crafts. It’s not just spending a day on a sail boat or helping crew in a race it’s about the kids.
Yesterday was the day the children from the extremely impoverished hill areas of Zihuatanejo are brought to the beach for a play day. I’m told that for many this is the first time they have been to the beach. About 110 kids of all ages were happily playing in the surf, some older ones kicked a soccer ball along the beach, there was food and drink for everyone all under the watchful eyes of volunteers. This is Sail-fest at it’s finest!
The rest of the day was spent doing those everyday things that always seem like more of an adventure here than at home. We did some shopping at the Comercial Mexicana trying not to pick up more that we know we can use as our trip is rapidly coming to an close. We actually had to look at a calendar for the first time and plan out when we would use our certificates for dinners out and what we needed to purchase for dinners in. Most days we breakfast on the balcony, lunch time is usually too hot for the balcony so we eat inside. We’ve learned to leave all doors and windows open and we get a nice breeze blowing through and seldom ever need the air conditioner on except for maybe an hour or so in the late afternoon. Come evening doors and windows are open and we get the breeze again.
We eat out quite often and since neither of us are big eaters ( I know you wouldn’t know that to look at us) we frequently share a meal or if we order separately we get the doggie bag and have left overs for either lunch or dinner the next day. We’ve kept our cooking simple, mostly crock pot cooking. We don’t really have a favorite restaurant as we have been trying different places and all have served us great meals to have served us great meals, We don’t do the fancy ones, but I do prefer the ambiance of eating at an outside table along the malecon, watching the continual activity, saying hola to passerby that we know, hearing the waves on the beach and feeling the cool evening breeze. signing off KO
Sundays are quieter here, many shops and businesses close, more families on the beach, restaurants are full. Come evening and the Zocolo Zihuatanejo’s Square or plaza is rimmed with food vendors, not like we would see at a local fair or event. No trailers with windows, at best a folding table for food vendors, others may just spread a blanket on the ground to set up shop. At best to describe the Zocolo it is a basketball court, set down 4-5 steps on all sides arena style, and backs up to the beach, On the front and sides of this court is a large plaza complete with a gazebos, some trees and a few benches. Fronting the plaza is one of the main streets of town, but narrow so there is only one lane of traffic. On each end are the beach front restaurants The zocolo is always busy, the social point of town but is special on Sunday night as this is the only night the vendors come out. They have all kinds of different foods that I really don’t know about. There is corn on the cob, slathered with mayo and then hot sauce dribbled over it
Lots of foods cooked in banana leaves, several with pick and choose ingredients, fried bananas, ice cream push carts, large variety of iced drinks dispensed from 3-4 gallon glass jugs in flavors I’ve never heard of. And people, people everywhere, young, old and in between. Groups of teenagers out checking out the social scene. Sort of like “cruzin” with out the cars. Old women gossip, babies and children wheedle parents into buying them cheap carnival toys.This happens every Sunday year round.
Most of my Sunday I spend quietly reading at “TaTa’s”, a beach front restaurant enjoying my mango margarita while the Senior is off watching the playoffs. On my way to the beach I stop to feed a flock of chickens our table scraps. The coconut man just across the bridge to La Madera has taught be how to call chickens in Spanish, they don’t respond to chick, chick chick like ours at home do. To call them you say ado, ado, ado real fast. I’ll have to give our chickens at home a spanish lesson.
Monday I have big plans, the senior and i are going for pedicures and I am going to purchase cell phones for our use here. I like to be out and about much more than the Senior does so it will help keep us in touch, make it possible to change plans, let each other know if something is happening. Signing off KO
Sunday night in Zihuatanejo is always an experience and our last Sunday was no exception. A carnival had come to town and st up just a couple of blocks away. A very large carnival with lots of rides including roller coasters. Pretty much a rag-tag out fit compared to what we have come to expect with our Fathoms of Fun Celebration in Port Orchard. I’m usually up for most new experiences, but you couldn’t have paid me to get on one of their rides, especially in a country where there is no “liability issues”, which can translate to no safety regulations.
From the carnival I headed to the Zocolo to watch the dancers perform the native folk dances, couldn’t get close enough to get any good pictures, but as I turned to leave an impromptu Mardi Gras parade came thru, just a few folks with clever costumes complete with a band playing music. A great end to a last Sunday in Zihuatanejo!
Our last day in Zihuatanejo and so much of it is taken up with the organization of packing. We came with 2 large suitcases, and 2 small carry ons. when we arrived we picked up a carry on size suitcase we had left with our shopkeeper friend. This year we are leaving one of the large suitcases with our apartment manager which has everything from various kitchen items including our new crock pot to our beach and bath towels. some items are heavy others are just bulky and it just makes it easier if next year all we have to pack is our clothing and our personal care items and a couple of computers. So we are returning with 2 carry ons and one large suitcase. I think this is progress
So with the organizing done we head out for lunch after dropping off our laundry at the Laundaria. I had a great new soup, I think it was squash corn and poblano chile in a great broth, the Senor of course had a hamburger. We walked around town, visited with some friends for the last time this year, learned that pedicures cost 120 pesos, about 10 dollars. Surprisingly enough my manicure has lasted 6 weeks, I haven’t even changed polish while I’ve been here. That’s what a life of leisure (and a good manicurist) does for you.
We spent the afternoon in siesta mode, reading and watching TV then got real busy and went and picked up our nicely folded laundry and headed out for dinner. Being a “fish-aterian” I absolutely love the food here and always try new menu items. So tonight it was fish tacos al pastor, which was absolutely fantastic. Topped of with ice cream at our favorite ice cream shop. They have such a variety of wonderful flavors, with mango and capachino being near the top of the list. Tomorrow I will take what little produce we have left down to my chickens, and anything else left in our cupboards we will offer to our neighbor or our shopkeeper friend.
Tomorrow we will sadly pack the rest of our belongings,
For the second day in a row we have had some rain. But this is not a problem, it has lowered the temperature enough that my day time wanderings don’t leave me prespiring. Still wear the same sun clothes, not enough rain to really get wet and the temperature is still close to 80, tourists are loving it, but some locals have to put on long sleeves and long pants. They think it’s cold.
I did a little local shopping for some things we are getting low on, trying to be careful so we don’t have too much as we are definitely on our down hill run and aren’t sure what is going to work for storage here. Have a couple of possible options, but nothing positive yet. Spent most of the day on the balcony reading, with the cloud cover and some sprinkles it wasn’t necessary to retreat from “the noon day sun”.
This evening we went out to dinner at Puerto del Sol on La Ropa. It had a nice view, folks there told us the view was much better before the condo’s were built. But none the less I got a couple of nice sunset shots. I had my favorite, cold avocado soup and the Senor had a steak he declared quite delicious. We then stopped by the Flophouse Bar for a drink, it’s one of our favorites and then we moved on to have ice cream at one of the many ice cream shops in town and back to the apartment. The Senor headed upstairs to the apartment while I opted to stay downstairs as the gathering of locals and tourists was beginning to happen in front of Javier’s liquor Store and Scooter Rental establishment. During the course of the evening I
The view at sunset
visited with a senior couple that have been married less than a year with homes in Vancouver and Sequim WA, a young couple with 2 young kids traveling with Grampa from Ukiah CA and a gentleman from the Pendleton Oregon area and 2 or 3 mexican gentlemen, some with some without english capabilities. All in all another interesting evening. Tomorrow we attempt the Refugio again. Signing off KO
Well not exactly the wilds, but out into the countryside.
We had won on a raffle tickets to “El Refugio de Potosi”, the wildlife eco park. We decided Friday would be a good time to go, it had sprinkled the night before and was very cloudy with sprinkles predicted for the day. And we thought that it would have been better for viewing the wildlife when it’s cooler and they are more active. We had the brochure, so we knew the hours and days of operation and once again we plan to take the bus. We have been there before and we know the name of our bus stop, Los Achotes, as you pay by your destination when you get off. We knew it would cost each of us 13 pesos or about a dollar each way for the 10 mile ride. This bus stops at every cross roads or when anyone waves it down. After getting off at Los Achotes, we then catch the” passajara” which is a big pickup truck with benches on the sides and a tarp canopy over the top for the next 5 miles to the Refugio. It has no schedule, it just leaves when the driver feels he has enough passengers, we are the first to climb on and eventually we are joined by 6 other Mexican passengers and off we go. It stops long enough at the entrance to the Refugio for to get off and it goes another 3-4 miles to Barre de Potosi village and lagoon where there are many ocean side restaurants, outside palapa type are located.
As we approached the entrance we see the gate to the parking lot is shut, and a sign is posted on the gate that very clearly says in spanish, new hours of operation only open Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday. Even I can read it with my limited language skills. Now we are literally 3 – 4 miles from anywhere and no clue as to when a “passajara” will pass by again. We decide we will go on to Barra de Potosi for lunch rather than just return back to Zihuatanejo. At this time we didn’t know quite how far it was to Barra de Potosi and rather than stand around waiting we decided we would walk and if we got tired we’d flag down what ever passed by first, passajara or taxi. We hadn’t gone far when a taxi came by and we climb in and rode the rest of the way and glad we did as it was a good 3-4 miles.
I’ve only been to Barre de Potosi a couple of times and there are these very large eating establishments, many, many picnic tables on the sand and covered from the weather with tarps and no one there. I think they get quite busy on weekends with mexican families and large groups. We picked one at random, ordered our drinks, asked the waiter how many oysters were in an order he said 12 so we decided to share an order of oysters. My spanish is limited to nouns and verbs and simple phrases and I do ok in restaurants and stores reading menus and asking simple questions. We had read the menu it listed several types of fish and how they were cooked, but the oysters were just listed as “ostiones” (sp?) and sure enough we were brought 12 raw oysters on the half shell. Now one or two raw oysters I can do but not a whole plate of them, I finally was able to convince him that we wanted them cooked, cocido was as close as I could remember and yes he brought them back beautifully cooked and we had a great lunch before returning to Zihuatanejo.
A siesta, dinner by candle light on our balcony, then Senor opted to stay in and watch TV while I went out to watch our “local boys” play at Pacalos. Just another interesting day in paradise. signing off KO
“The Senor” knew he needed a crown on a tooth so we made a dental apointment before arriving in Mexico with a highly recommended dentist. Actually a pair of dentists, they are twin sisters. The directions we were given were pretty vague, so we assumed it would be obvious. WRONG! The cab dropped us off per our directions and we wandered asking at every business for the location of the dentist. No one knew of them. We had allowed lots of time which was a good thing as we are wondering around a very Mexican neighborhood where no one speaks english trying to find the dentist. Finally I stopped at a paint supply store and not only did the clerk speak english, but she called the dentist office to get exact directions, then went out on the street and hailed a cab for us and gave him directions on where to take us and we arrived on time, barely. The visit cost about $70 us and “the Senor ” has to return next Monday for his crown. Total cost will be less than $300. While I waited for him I had the company of 3 different americans either waiting for a spouse or for their appointment. I had planned on reading my kindle, but the company was very enjoyable.
Our next stop was the Mercado for fruit, and meat. I will post a picture of a butcher slicing up a carcus in the open air market with a young girl somewhere between 12 & 14 apprenticed to what I assume is her father. Life is very different here. Most bag boys in the markets are 12- 14 and work for tips. And these are not after school jobs, they are full-time. After picking up enough groceries for a day or two we had lunch at one of the “fondas” at the Mercado, very mexican, very good, probably as close to “fast food” as you get in Mexico. I had a Chile Relleno and the “Senor” had Albonigas soup. No english is spoken here or is the menu translated for you. My knowledge of spanish while not good steadily improves. I can translate menus for “the Senor” as he chooses to limit his Spanish to “cervesa por favor”
So back to our apartment to put away groceries when we discover we didn’t buy olive oil or salad dressing. So I set off again to seek out the missing items, as I return I decide to treat myself to a margarita at a local outdoor establishment, when our Canadian neighbors and friends of theirs arrive and join me. Three margaritas later I return having given enough time for “the Senor” to have napped. So we dinned in having steak and salad.
It’s now 11pm, I’m sitting on our balcony drinking a glass of wine with just summer clothes on, listening to music drift up from 2 or 3 establishments thinking life just can’t get much better than this! Signing off KO