Social Life in Mexico

With the weather here being lovely and warm, actually it is quite unseasonably hot this year many days in the 90’s, you get your business and shopping done in the early morning, then beach or siesta during the hottest part of the day. I’ve almost become a img_2114commuter to La Ropa beach where I have never spent much time in previous years. It’s a 10 peso bus ride about 50 cents, takes less than 20 minutes and almost unending choice of restaurants and lounge chairs.  It’s not my favorite place to swim or play in the water, but it’s great for relaxing with a cooling breeze, lunching or dinning or socializing or watching the sunset.

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Morgan at El Mangalar

Morgan wanted to eat at El Manglar where the crocodiles swim in the estuary right beside your table.  We chose to have dinner there and had a great dinner, but too dark to see any crocs.  The waiter promised her if she would come back for lunch he would call them for her.

I’ve been attending several of the” meet and  greets” at Paty’s with the cool breeze that blows in through her upstairs pavilion. It is marvelous in the late afternoon.  It is also a  great opportunity to meet many of the folks who enjoy Zihuatanejo.  I frequently find I’m the only American in the group as the large portion of the seasonal population is Canadians. It’s OK we all play well together and  enjoy the exquisite sunsets there.

Friday and Saturday nights Steve and friends play great rock and roll music at Rossy’s on La Ropa catering to a crowd that is primarily gray but can still dance like junior high. They play from 5-7 allowing folks to be back home before it’s too dark or go on to other places for dinner. I can still catch a combi back and not have to pay the higher taxi fee but at that time of night it is full of folks returning from work and you may be ridding with 20 or more folks on a 15 passenger combi. Such is Mexico.

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Solo Tres

Spent a lovely afternoon at El Pirita listening to Solo Tres, who sing the most beautiful Mexican music, one of those special groups where the blend of their voices is pure magic.

Several of the bars in El Centro, the downtown part of Zihuatanejo where I live, have live music on various nights. Jimmi Mamou is a long time favorite in Zihuatanejo, 10 years ago he was invited to play at Guitar Fest and he never left.  Folks are friendly and will invite me to join them and some times I img_2220-1invite myself which I did one night only to  discover the lady was from my home town, Port Orchard.  I don’t know who was more surprised, she or me. Life here is warm, friendly and casual.. Can’t ask for more than that. Signing off KO

Woke Up Feeling Great

I woke up this morning feeling great, it’s the first time in 2-3 weeks I can honestly say that. I have had a cough and a bowel disturbance for the past few weeks, but I didn’t consider myself sick.  I feel so good today I now realize, I was sick.  Guess I was in denial.  I think it’s the first time I’ve been sick in 10 years or so.  Glad it’s over,  time to get on with life and do a little catch up here.

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Chile Gato

About a week ago I went on a nature hike guided by Elizabeth Brady, a local gal with an  abundance of knowledge of the local natural plant life. We walked through an area  that was completely wild, meaning nothing there had been planted it was all natural plant life. I learned about toxic plants, for one the “chile gato” plant that has a quite attractive flower and a small fuzzy  tail that is some what a cross between a cat’s tail and the marsh plant referred to as “cat tails”.  I’m glad I’m aware it’s toxic as other wise I would be drawn to it to either pick or touch.    There were many lovely

blooms and interesting trees.  One the fruit grows on the trunk of the tree rather than the branches and another was a parasitic tree, but it also can live independently of its host.

One plant produces a fruit that can be used to launder your clothes with.  Saw a couple img_2133of beautiful spider webs complete with occupants and caught a glimpse of a small herd of cattle who are lucky enough to reside there.img_2146-1   All in all it was an interesting morning.  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 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

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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

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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

 

 

Blood Moon Over Zihuatanejo and the Search for the Elusive “Blue Tooth Dongle”

I find myself busy and not always sure what I have been busy with. Time goes by so fast.  It’s hard to believe we have been here 3 months already. Everyday here is interesting, not like when you are on a tour and every place you go is spectacular, but interesting none the less. Watching the progress on the building behind us is interesting, observing everyday life in mexico is interesting. And from time to time you get invited to a party

that is spectacular. We were invited to attend the full moon party at a friends 5th floor roof top. Not only was it a great party with tons of great food and drink it afforded one of the most spectacular vistas of Zihuatanejo. On one side was the setting sun, on the other side the moon rising over the town and in front lay Zihuatanejo Bay.  Even with out the Blood Moon this party is always spectacular.

Not only is our TV not blue tooth capable but also it turns out that neither of my computers are blue tooth equipped. My wired head phones have fallen apart and I wanted to replace them with  wireless. Hence the need for a blue tooth dongle to make the computer blue tooth comparable.

Not a single dongle to be found in over a half-dozen “eltronico” stores that  I have ferreted out.  Which is no small task as my Spanish is limited.  So when I ask in my very basic Spanish if they have a blue tooth dongle and they say no but proceed  to give me rapid fire directions as to where I might try, of which I may only recognize a word or two. Finally one store says they will order it for me,  might be here in a few days. Which in Mexican time and can mean any time in the future.  KO

Mosquitoes! Bah Hummmmbugs

I have developed a deep loathing for the nasty little critters along with developing a

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Sunrise on Zihuatanejo Bay

near”allergic” reaction to their bites.  These Mexican mosquitoes are tiny, I never see them.  Also they are very silent  I never hear them humming around me, yet every day I’m plagued with a new bite that swells up way beyond what I would consider normal. I have taken to spraying my self head to toe with off before going out, especially at night and I still come up with one or two new bites.   My new perfume, “Channel number Off” And some times a whole group of bites. Now the Senor never gets touched by them, even when we are together. I don’t know if his hide is too tough or grouchy, old man blood has no appeal. My mother used to take garlic pills and said that worked for her, I may try it next.

I’m for ever amazed at how reasonably one can live in Mexico and fully understand why

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Fresh fruit at the Mercado

so many gringos live full or part-time here. It’s not just the weather.  It’s the cost of living.  Our monthly  rent is comparable to our monthly house taxes, we each pay about $12.50 a month for our cell phone service, internet is approximately $25, manicures 10.50 and similar for pedicures, The Senor got his hair cut including having it washed for $7. We have our apartment cleaned weekly for less than half of what we pay at home for a bi-week cleaning. Our electric bill was $40 for two months.  I’m sure it would be quite a bit higher during the summer months as it gets hotter and more humidity and we would need to run our air conditioner. But we are seasonal and not here during the summer. Taxi’s in town are $1.60 buses from local at 40 cents to $1.40 if you go 20-30 miles. The swimming pool cost 75 cents. Groceries are not super cheap but are reasonable especially if you use local brands instead of gringo brands. Beer is $2-$2.50 wine $3-$4 a glass,

The Mexican people are lovely, warm friendly people.  I had the sweetest thing happen to

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Janet dancing with the handsome cheese man

me a week a go, I was trying to hail a cab on a very busy street and most of them were going  on the opposite side of the street I was standing on.  A little girl about 8-9 ish came and offered me her hand.   She thought I wanted to cross the street, in my very best Spanish I told her no, I was waiting for a taxi.  With that she put two fingers to her mouth let out a high, shrill, loud whistle   pointed to a cab he made a u-turn and I had my cab.  I thanked her and put a 5 peso coin in her hand. Signing off KO

Bienvenido 2019

img_1141When I was a child, about 8 years old, my parents explained to me that it would be 2000 before we had a new century.  I got to figuring it out and I was going to be in my 60’s and flatly stated that was terrible, I would be too old to have any fun on New Years.  Well we aren’t quite the party animals we were at the turn of the century put we still went out with friends, ate , drank, saw the New Year in with our toes in the sand watching the fire work all around Zihuatanejo Bay.  Little did the 8 year old me know, it’s 19 years past the turn of the century and I’m still not to old to have fun and celebrate.

The Senor went fishing with his friend Dave both of them caught a dorado.  They are really good eating.  I put up enough fish in our freezer for at least 12 meals. img_0976 While the Senor went fishing my friend and I went shopping, but first a stop at “Fishers” at the Ixtapa marina for breakfast.  They have the most delicious breakfast cocktails where I indulged in a Pepinillo a mix of liquid cucumbers, lemon and lime soda and Tangarey and a fantastic poblano enchilada and egg dish. Then on to the shopping at the MicMac shop which specializes in very cool clothes made of img_1144very cool cotton.  It’s hard to say who enjoyed the day more, the Senor and I.

This morning when I arrived at the swimming pool for my morning laps there was no one in the pool.  There usually are two or three other folks enjoying the pool, but this morning I had the entire Olympic size pool entirely to my self for a full 45 minutes. Great way to start a day. My ” Sharkfest” swim is just a week away. Signing off KO

 

Christmas and More

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Thanks for a great Christmas Eve

We had a wonderful and quiet Christmas. Christmas Eve we were invited for A & A (alcohol and appetizers) at good friends Faye and Paul’s apartment. Appetizers were so delicious and plentiful it definitely doubled for dinner. Christmas morning we joined friends Charles and Christine in Ixtapa for breakfast at the Krystal Hotel’s lavish buffet. A few phone calls with family but mostly the day was spent just relaxing.  Then finishing the day with turkey soup leftover from Thanksgiving. Actually a great stress free Christmas.

Saturday mornings are one of my favorite times, it is the time for the little Saturday morning market, the Ecco Tianguis (sorry my computer doesn’t spell check Spanish.

It is a home made, recycled.re-purposed and organic market. It is my source of lovely gifts for my family, much of the jewelry I wear. The Senor and I always enjoy the very healthy breakfast I bring home from it. It is bright, colorful full of music and friends. Just a very happy place.

Two days before Christmas tragedy struck Zihuatanejo. IMG_0960
Children playing with fireworks hit a power line that set off a blaze that consumed 150 homes high on a hill that was difficult for the “bomberos” (Firemen) to reach. This was an area where some of the poorer folks live, but the community pulled together, both Mexican and gringo, and within 4 days enough donations had poured in to fulfill the basic needs of all the families with only 60 families remaining in temporary shelter. And the help and donations are still coming forth.

IMG_0953Everything in Zihuatanejo is labor intensive,  This is how the city streets get swept each morning.  Signing off KO

SHARKFEST 2018

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Dave, me and the Senior at Mi Casa

The Senior and I along with friends Dave and Vickie went to Troncones on Friday to stay and play at Mi Casa Es Su Casa before doing the 1.1 mile  Sharkfest swim on Saturday. Enjoyed the food and the pool there but have discovered cabs are very expensive in Troncones and in future years will stay closer to Hacienda Eden where us Sharkfesters assemble Saturday morning.

There were 22 entrants this year, with the youngest swimmer being 24 years old and the oldest 79, I was the next oldest. The surf was quite flat which pleases me easier to get in and out of. And I have learned a bit about riding the waves or diving through them and they are not quite as intimidating as before. But nonetheless  getting in the water at Majhua was a bit of a challenge as we were walking on rocks for quite a way before the water was deep enough to swim and one swimmer never made it off the beach due to a stingray.  Once I get to water deep enough to float then I can get my fins on, I prefer to do this after I have passed the breakers, but didn’t wait today as I wanted off those miserable rocks. Now my fit-bit says I swam just  mile and did it in 47 minutes.  That’s about a standard time for me swimming in a pool.  I was sure I swam more than a mile as the paddle boarders who keep us on course were forever turning me in the right direction.  I can’t swim a straight line in a pool and sure try to head out to sea in the open ocean.

This is not a competition, there are no time keepers, most of us are happy to finish

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Swimmers coming in

swimming strong, and of course I never want to be the last one in.  I had asked the senior to be ready to help me get standing after the swim.  I always find it difficult to stand up at the shore edge with the sand and waves pulling you back and with my

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me at the finishline

new knee my balance is still a bit unsteady at times.  Once at the shore edge I had a heck of a time getting my fins off as the breakers, small as they maybe, kept pushing me around and by the time I got the right one off I had done some damage to my 3rd toe.  Probably just a sprain, but it hurts and is purple and has me limping a bit.  Swimming is easy, getting in

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Purple toe

and out of the ocean is not easy for me.

The Senior only had his “pre smartphone” cell phone to take pictures with and then the only way I could transfer them to the computer was to use my phone to take a picture of the picture on his cell phone. So picture not so good.  All and all it was a good day, I will keep lap swimming and participating.  Signing off KO

Living in Mexico vs Vacationing

We used to vacation in Mexico, now we live in Mexico for 3 months of the year and next year it will be 4 months. The climate agrees with us, I think it actually improves the Seniors health. He gets out much more here, is more active and more relaxed. Folks always ask us what we do in Mexico and my stock answer is “as little as possible”. But that’s not  entirely true.  The difference between vacationing and living here is how you spend your time. During a vacation you try to spend as little time as possible, grocery shopping, meal preparation, cleaning and organizing.  You want to spend every minute possible on the fun things, eating out, buying gifts for friends, beaching, touring. Now that we live here I spend a great amount of time grocery shopping and enjoy every minute of it as it is in its self an adventure. I have checked out all the stalls at the Mercado and have selected my favorites, the ones that are most helpful with my fractured Spanish and have patience as I figure out the money.  I know the fellow with the wheelbarrow full of avocados in the back has the best ones and he will pick out 1 for today and 1 for tomorrow. And they will be perfect every time. I know the best strawberry vendor and who to buy my eggs from. The chicken lady knows exactly what I want when I approach her and I have decided on the best fish monger. I love mangoes and have learned how to peel them using a drinking glass, less mess and nice mango slices.

For some thing I do need to go to the Comercial  Mexicana which is a super market somewhat like ours, but with less organization, much more clutter in the aisles, some recognizable brands and an adventure all of it’s own.

They have a store here similar to our $ stores, with the same theory, buy it when you see it as it may never be there again. They have a wonderful fabric store with beautiful fabrics at unbelievable prices.  I usually buy fabric and bring it home to make something.  This year I bought fabric and am bringing it to “the sewing ladies” to make a dress for me. They shortened a pair of pants for me for about 25 cents.  The fabric cost just under $6. Signing off KO