We come to Zihuatanejo for the warm weather, but the beach is a great bonus. We are not true beach people, we don’t go to lay in the sun to bake and marinate and work on
our tans. We do enjoy the beach, but don’t go every day even though it is only a block away. And you ask why? It’s because we live here 5 months of the year vs vacationing. Much of our time here is spent on the daily tasks of just living, cooking, laundry, errands and Spanish classes . I will admit we do have plenty of personal time to enjoy, The senor with his TV and I am on my 13th book this season, Larry Mc Murty’s Comanche Moon. Not usually a fan of westerns, but a big fan of Mc Murtry.
Earlier this week was the Sailfest Volunteers Appreciation party held at a remote beach resort, Puerto Parisio on Playa Larga. Quite secluded and right on the beach where about 75 of us spent a fantastic afternoon eating and drinking the goodies we brought to share and enjoying the pool.
I’m not sure if it is quicker to errands here or at home. But is definitely less expensive. I My computer wouldn’t turn on. 50 pesos ($2.60) and 20 minutes of time it was fixed. Next on to the bakery to order my birthday cake. I had the winning bid on a cake from an earlier auction.
My last errand took me to the beach to reserve a kayak for Sunday and while there I went swimming. Pretty good planing on my part. It did take the better part of an afternoon. But no fossil fuel was expended, I got to swim and logged 3.80 miles on my fitbit. A productive but enjoyable day. 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
Our time in sunny Mexico is drawing to a close, sadly we are on our last day. I love Mexico and Zihuatanejo with all it’s quirks and interesting culture. There is so much I will miss, but there are somethings that you just have to say “Ah it’s mexico” and overlook. I will miss all the friendly faces that speak to you on the streets and greet you with a quick Hola! or Buen Dia even when they don’t know you at all. I will miss warm days at the beach with
the breeze blowing, I will miss nights without ever needing a sweater, I will miss 25 peso cab rides, and riding water taxis, I will miss the pigeon who lives in our balcony planter and the iguanas that entertain us during dinner on the balcony at night. Let’s face it I will miss my balcony!
I will not miss toilets with no seats in public facilities. Where do they all disappear to? I won’t miss needing to discard TP in the waste basket instead of the bowl. I will miss daily fresh fruit. I will miss fresh fish cooked to perfection. I will not miss Mexican bars that play music until 6 am, but I will miss yummy drinks expertly prepared. I will miss mercado shopping, but not barking roof dogs, but I will miss the sweet, gentle street dogs.I will miss swimming long course at 8 am at the “Alberca Olympica.” I will miss walking all over town and taking 10 peso bus trips for longer distances. I will miss our Zihuatanejo friends new and old.
I will miss always seeing folks I know where ever I go in town. I will miss taking my camera every where as there is always something interesting to see. I will miss the time I have here to read book after book with out guilt. I will miss having time to blog about simple daily events. I won’t miss washing dishes by hand.I will miss coconut palms, flowers and greenery all winter long.
I will miss my trips with Sylvia to the the little Saturday morning market, where everything is home grown, or made or recycled and hand made or organic. I will miss lovely sunny mornings as we return to gray rainy weather, but all good things must come to a close. So this is my final blog of the season Signing off until December 30 2016. KO
Super Bowl Sunday the men in our building planned to watch the game at Fireball a newer bar on Ejidio just 2 blocks from our apartment. It was chosen because of its wall projection TV, but also because it was new and maybe not so crowded. Well it was crowded, but they discovered the owner is a very congenial fellow from Minnesota and a nice new establishment. The ladies of Casa del Mar plus an additional friend choose to spend Super Bowl 50 at the beach restaurant Tata’s. It was Myra’s last day in Zihuatanejo and she wanted all the beach she could get. We had a great time visiting, eating and enjoying Mango Margaritas and Daiquiris.
That evening M-Dock band was doing a free concert at the Zocolo that was hugely attended.Since we could hear the music perfectly from our balcony I avoided the crowds and enjoyed it from home. The welcome party was the next evenings event with the Expressions Inmune providing the music.
This is the young Mexican band that started playing in the street, got their first “professional gig” with Sailfest several years ago and are now playing in many of the local restaurants. I did my third day selling T-shirts, concert tickets and such today. The live auction was tonight, but it has been a little too rich for my blood the last few years. And of course the Senor isn’t feeling up to going anywhere.
Took the Senor to the Doctor again today. Medical practice is certainly is different here. The doctor actually took his blood pressure instead of an assistant. This time the doctor prescribed a series of 3 cortisone B 12 and some pain medicine for his on going sciatica. So we went to the pharmacy to fill the prescriptions, took 2 pharmacies to get both, then went to the pharmacy next door when the shot was administered and where he will return today and again tomorrow to complete the process. So far no fantastic results, but we are hopping. She mentioned that he should get another ct scan, but there is no ct machine in Zihuatanejo. I can’t remember where she said the closest one was.
That really surprised me. Actually I’ve been in Mexico long enough that very little truly surprises me, but so many thing I do shake my head in bewilderment. Signing off KO
This first week of February is full of Sailfest activities, there is definitely something for everyone. And it’s a wonderful opportunity to meet folks from all over the world and do some good for the children of Zihuatanejo. Last night at the concert the opening with the “The Brothers Mendosa” very traditional mexican strolling trubadores, followed by the very talented Mexican gentleman whose name I can’t remember, and should have as he was excellent singing a variety of songs about Zihuatanejo.
Next on the bill was the very, non traditional Mexican hold time rock and roll band,
Xpresion Immune. These young Mexican musicians had all most everyone up on their feet dancing and swaying to the music. They have become favorite of the snowbird crowd who first became acquainted with them last year when they played on the street for tips, hopefully someone will help them get a Cd together. They would really sell here. The next group was the extremely popular rock and roll band headed up by long time, Zihuatanejo musician Steve Calvert that also had the same effect on the crowd, having everyone on their feet rocking and rolling to the music we all grew up with. We were disappointed that Michelle LaValle had to cancel as she is one of our favorites, so as Steve was winding up the hour was getting late for the Senor ,we headed out for a night cap at the Flophouse bar.
Thursday is the Senor’s favorite event, the chili cook off and silent auction. The Senor loves the chili as long as it doesn’t have too much heat, and I don’t care for spicy at all and just stick with the key lime pie. The Senor also loves an auction, something about the thrill of the win.
Since we had won 2 dinners the night before through the raffles, we decided that we would plan on just picking up 2 more dinners. These auctions can become a contest of who is more determined than who to win despite the cost, but
the Senor was on his best behavior and when the prices got to high he said well we can just go there anyway. Our big desire was the lunch at La Chula Vida on Playa Blanca, as we had one of our most memorable evenings there last year with friends, but we will just have do it on our own as it wasn’t to be ours this year. A couple of dinners later the auction was over for us and we retreated to the shade. Another great event, another great day. Only to be followed by Fridays sail boat parade, another day another story. 02 05 2014 Signing off KO
The concert was fantastic! The Senor at first didn’t want to attend as he going to be fishing all that day and thought he would be too tired, since no fish was caught that day he changed his mind so I didn’t have to go solo. A mere 100 pesos each we had our tickets to a concert that was featuring 5 local performers It was held in the large open , with court yard restaurant of El Publito with vines and open lattice-work over head.
We arrived about 30 minutes before starting, partially so we could find it and also we wanted decent seating. We ordered our dinner, barbecued pork ribs for the Senor and chile relleno for me, and drinks. The concert started on “Mexican time”, late with the first performer being a well-known Mexican female singer who normally sings and plays her guitar, but had a sprained wrist and couldn’t play her guitar so had to cut her session short. The organizers of the event were concerned about how to fill the time that they asked the other performer to bring some of their musician friends to help fill out the time. As was the concert started a little before 7 and ended after midnight. The lady sang beautiful traditional mexican music, she was very good.
Next came Steve and Allen, the local Bremerton and Belfair boys, but they added Roberto and great mexican guitarist and a drummer, I mean a full set of drums which is almost unheard of in Mexico. Instead of the usual classic rock and roll we are used to hearing them play, they played “Mona Lisa & I left my heart in San Francisco a lot of light jazz, it was fantastic and then we learned the drummer, Bud Lilly was from Lake Tahuya. I never knew there were so many really good musicians from our area. Next was Zima Juanito, I knew he played around the local area, but I had never seen him before. But I definitely will again, of some of his Mexican musician friends, not only is he very handsome he is very charismatic on stage. He alone would have been great, but he brought a whole slew of his Mexican musician friends to help fill the playbill.
One group of very young fellows had 8 or 10 different types of drums/percussion instruments and played very up beat latin music. accompanied by a small 8-year-old playing a very tiny , but hot trumpet! Along with Juanito they played and sang and when they did “Pretty Woman” almost every woman in the joint came up front to dance. He also sang and played with the “Los Juans,” 2 fantastic local Mexican Guitarist, with beautiful harmonies. The played so long and with such enthusiasm that the MC almost had to drag them off stage so the next act, a good mexican troubadour could perform. We left during his performance as the Senor was tired and sadly we missed the last act a Michelle Lavalle who I have been wanting to hear. She tends to play in the high-end dinner houses which is not where we tend to dine at nightly. It was after 11 when we left and since the night beautiful we opted to walk the 6 blocks back to our apartment.
The next days Sailfest activities consisted of a Chile Cook Off, street fair and a silent auction. During the week I had won 3 different raffles and now had two dinners out and a trip to the wild life Refuge and didn’t see anything much in the silent auction that interested me, but I did buy a cute purse from one of the Mexican/Indian vendors. Sampled some of the chile and every year I manage to pick one of the hottest, and then had to get a margarita to cool it down. Visited with lots of people and generally had a great afternoon followed by a movie in Ixtapa that evening. Following the movie we had planned to have pazole, as it was Thursday night which is Pazole night everywhere, but after popcorn at the movies I knew I couldn’t do justice to Pazole so settled for mango ice cream served in a mango shell and we headed home as a few drops of rain fell. Back at our apartment the wind really picked up and blue quite strong through the night.. In the morning the streets were damp, but no real rain of any significance. I think we will head out to the Wild Life Refuge today, it will be a bit cooler but also a bit sultry as the skies are cloudy. Signing off KO
Yesterday we embarked on a great adventure. We wanted to go to the shell beach that Wil had shown us on our tour with him. When we were there before Wil was driving, but this time we were going on our by bus. I knew where the “bus depot” is having been there once before, well at least I thought I did after 3 wrong turns I found it. Good thing I had scoped it out the day before and really did know how to find it. Now when I say “bus station” you enter throw a very narrow hole in the wall walkway and find yourself in a courtyard with lots of parked buses. A young man asks us Donde? and we tell him Troncones he points to a bus and starts it up, we get on 5 minutes later with 2 other passengers we are on our way.
It’s slow going, no chickens or pigs, but 2-3 blocks down the road the ice cream man loads his 5 gallon stainless steel tub and the wheelbarrow carts he transports it in on to the rear of the bus, folks get on others get off and finally we are out in the country side hoping we will recognize our stop. Almost an hour later we do recognize our stop, a sign post helps, and we get off at the cross roads to Troncones. There there is a palapa where we wait for the next bus that takes us in to our destination. This bus is a small van with benches dow the sides and across the back and the back of the driver’s seat. It’s a dusty ride as the pavement has ended.
We keep looking for where we want to get off, and don’t see it, we think we’ve gone too far so the Senor suggests we get off and have lunch at the same place we did last time we were out in Troncones. As soon as we sat down to eat, the Senor recognized the area and we knew we just hadn’t gone far enough, so after a great bowl of Poblano Soup we walked about a mile down the road and found the wonderful shell beach. and each of us had a bag and sifting tools and loaded up on great shells for my bird houses. Most of the shells are quarter size or smaller and we picked up about 5 lbs. We started walking back , knowing the little bus would soon be by and we could just hail him down. He came, we reversed the whole procedure and surprisingly enough we ended up exactly where we started. We now feel like we could go anywhere we wanted to on the bus.
After a brief siesta I plan to go to the opening festivities of “Sailfest” this is a live auction and usually lots of fun. The Senor has begged off saying he’s tired from his day
in the sun, which is probably true. But also he has a terrible time at auctions, he is “IN TO WIN” and I think he decided the best way not to spend too much money is simply not to go. I, on the other hand, can be cheap and frugal, unless it is something I really, really want. And fortunately I came home empty-handed except for 2 raffle items I won. A 200 peso off gift certificate for dinner on La Ropa Beach and tickets to the Animal Refuge Park.
The Senor is going fishing again today, so I’m going to go swimming at La Madera beach. It’s just a short walk from town and I feed my flock of chickens on the way. Madera beach is very shallow for a long way, just rolling waves none that pull the sand from under your feet. Couldn’t take a picture of it as the Senor has the camera to take pictures of his catch, but alas there were no fish to be caught today. Another siesta and we are headed out to attend the Sailfest Concert.
The concert is featuring 5 different groups that perform in the area. It should be great fun, and the location sounds interesting, an old colonial building with a court-yard garden. Signing off KO