SOME OF THE MANY PLEASURES OF “LIVING THE GOOD LIFE” IN MEXICO

One of my many pleasures I enjoy in Zihuatanejo, Mexico is the freedom to read. With so little responsibilities here I have no problem waking up in the morning rolling over and grabbing my book and laying there reading for a couple of hours before I get up. But then I am prone to waking up around 5 AM. At home I can’t do that, I have to get up as soon as I wake up. It seems like there is always something to do, places I must go, work to be done, schedules to be kept. At home in Washington I feel like I’m lazy if I just sit around reading. Like wise with the TV. It can’t be turned it on until the evening. Here I no longer feel compelled to be “doing something”. Here the living is easy!

Eating out and socializing friends has become one of my greatest pleasures. There are so many interesting people here from all walks of life and from all over the world who have done so many interesting things and traveled to interesting places. I’m finding I can do more of this since I now check out my books from my home library to down load to my kindle. I to purchase them of from Amazon. Sorry Amazon, but this has saved me a bundle as I read 5 or 6 books a month. And I love the dictionary feature that the kindle offers. I miss that when I do read a “book book”.

Swimming is one of my pleasures. I lap swim at the community pool where there is rarely more that a couple of other swimmers. It’s an Olympic size pool and because it is covered, it is cold in the morning at 9ish when I like to swim. I’m only doing about 10 laps which is about a third of what I used to swim and the pool is laned crosswise. Covid stopped me from being able to swim on a regular basis and now that I’m not training for anything I just swim for the pleasure of it. I also swim in the bay where the water is warm and salty. You just float like a cork.

Signing off KO

PLAYA BLANCA TO PLAYA LA ROPA

Spent a lovely afternoon at Escondite Resort and Beach Club on Playa Blanca for lunch and a dip in the pool at the suggestion of my friend Faye, who is alway up for something or someplace new and interesting. A beautiful location, a lovely pool, although a bit awkward to get in and out for those of us who are no longer graceful and prefer something to hold on to until safely ensconced in the water. Had a nice lunch, relaxing and watching the waves roll in.

Walking the beach at La Ropa I enjoyed watching the “sand architects” and following a baby turtles trek in the sand towards the towards the sea. I was happy to see the turtle rescue efforts on La Ropa. I can’t help but think with so many people wanting to help the turtles their numbers will increase.

Turtle tracks in the sand

When I arrived from a very raining northwest in October I happily hung my sunshine flag off my balcony to celebrate the change in weather but now it is getting on to Thanksgiving Time so again the flag is changed. Signing off KO (tip: tap the small pictures to enlarge)

IT’S JUST LUNCH

I love the big chair and the oversized swing along the pathway to Playa La Madera. Great photo opportunities. Playa La Madera is one of my favorite places for ocean swimming, but the waves seem bigger than last year. Hope they will settle down a bit as the season progresses.

Big chair on the way to Playa La Madera

At Playa La Madera my favorite place to eat is Maderas Restaurante where I enjoyed a great “fish ball” soup. Consistently good service and good food. I also like their onion rings, it’s a big enough serving to call it lunch in it’s self.

I have been enjoying a weekly “girls lunch bunch” at TaTa’s where the kabobs come highly recommended. Met several new faces, enjoyed lively conversation with group of very interesting ladies. But yesterday Mother Nature entertained us with an impromptu turtle release.

Right beside our table a tiny turtle poked it’s head up through the sand, someone quickly noticed it and gently started scraping the sand away, just a little bit at a time. A bucket of seawater was brought forth and as the hatchlings fought their way out of the sand they were deposited in the bucket.

In less than 20 minutes the nest had emptied itself and the bucket of swimming baby turtles was delivered to the edge of the bay were they begin their perilous journey to the ocean. If those that are female survive, a few years down the road they will return to that same spot to lay their eggs and the cycle start all over. I think the survival rate is about 1 in 100, very small but one can hope that some of this bunch may make it.

Swimming babies
And the journey begins

Signing off KO

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

Time is Starting to Get Short

Mexican friends, makes me think of the story of “The Owl and the Pussy Cat

Dinner with long time friends Dwight and Lynn at El Perla Negra

We have about 3 and a half weeks left of our season in Zihuatanejo. Now I know for some folks that is their whole time here, but for those of us that spend the winter here it is the time to start making our reservations for next year, lists of what we will store here and what we are taking home. Folks that we want to see at least one more time before leaving, places that we might want to go, using up all our Sailfest Certificate for dinners and such. March is the month that most of the snowbirds begin to head back north, so it is saying goodbye to friends that we won’t see again until next year. Some folks are ready to head back home, me not so much, I love the casual laid back life style we live here, but I’m not sure I would like the heat and humidity of summer here. Winter time is perfect for us so I’ll be satisfied with 4 months next year, in November to Mid March.

We have time to finish our agenda for this year, 2 more dinners out, a


Fish Therapy for my scaly feet, they tingle a bit

Kayaking trip tomorrow for me while the Senior gets a massage, followed by a beach lunch, a couple of lazy days in Troncones with friends, a couple of beach days, and a Santa Prissa Pazole lunch and maybe a movie in Ixtapa and it will be time to go home.

I hope the snow has quit by then. In the Pacific Northwest it’s a big deal to get snow once or twice during the winter. But this year it has snowed on and off almost continuously all winter and is still doing so. It has been a very good winter to be here, I do feel blessed. The Senor is rapidly gaining strength, all is good and right in my world! 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

A VISIT TO A MEXICAN HIGH SCHOOL

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.

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The high school

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

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Young girl narrated program in very good english

 

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

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Dancers

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,

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Dance with machetes

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

Street Art, Ixtapa Island and Chula Vida

One of the pleasures of being a pedestrian in Zihuatanejo and varying your route from time to time is running into unexpected visual treasures.  They may be in the form of architecture, flora and fauna, or wall art. One of the problems of being a pedestrian is that at times you feel like a visual target for the Mexican motorists,or maybe just open season on gringos. Anyway to avoid a particularly problematic street crossing I decided to adjust my route back from the swimming pool and that’s when I discovered this lovely street art. The long wall is actually the far side of El Pueblito, the others are located at the front side of  El Pueblito just past their big wood door.

With the Senor not feeling up to par it has been a great pleasure to have friends to go

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Kathleen and Bonny at Parisio Escondido Ixtapa Island

places with. Bonny and I did Ixtapa Island.  It is one of my  most favorite beaches as I can swim out and around where the sail boats moor and then go snorkeling on the other side of the island  where the fish are beautiful and plentiful. On our return we watch as a generous fisherman was feeding the pelicans.

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Hungry Pelicans enjoying a handout.

We visited ChulaVida yesterday with our friends and neighbors Will and Sylvia.  We had been looking forward to this trip as it always is a bit of an adventure. We bused to the airport and planned to wait their for the pasajera for the trip along Playa Blanca. The Senor

was up for this trip,but struggling with sciatica pain so we choose to wait in the little restaurant for the truck.Several taxi drivers tried to get our business but we choose to wait for the far less expensive pasajera.  Well I think we got “Tom Sawyer-ed” as we were quite sure we could see from where we were when it  would turn around but we also thought either the man at the fruit wagon or the taxis might signal us.Secretly I think they told the driver to turn around and then told us it came and went.   No harm ! We took the taxi and got there just the same.  After some mango daquris which were so thick they were almost a meal in itself we had a delicious fish pronounced “wahoo”,  don’t know how to spell it correctly but it was very good with a side of ratatouille. The Senor seemed to be in a bit of a hurry to get back so we didn’t stay for the sunset, disappointing, but I try to understand his discomfort.  Every day is a good day, every day is an adventure here in Zihuatanejo. Signing off, KO

 

A Little Bit of This and a Little Bit of That

I was up a little earlier than usual, it was one of those mornings that was so still, nothing was moving. Then from the hillsides of Zihuatanejo I could hear the roosters crowing, which in turn woke the dogs and started them barking, which in turn work up the people, and then came the glorious orangy, pinky, purple sunrise and the people of Zihuatanejo prepare for another day.

I love the sunrises and sunsets here.  As of yet I don’t think I’ve quite caught either at their most magnificent orangy pink. But I keep trying.  The foreground from our apartment isn’t the best, but I’m just after the colors.

One of the things I like about walking everywhere is the little things you see. As I pass it every day on the way to the pool,

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I’ve been watching this Guanabanana tree that is growing up out of the dirt beside a light pole along one of the busiest main drags here. It is producing fruit like crazy,  and some one is harvesting it, I just don’t know when it is ripe an ready for picking or I would be picking it.

My big excitement was finding the pool has now strung the ropes length wise. Ever since I’ve been using the pool it has been roped cross wise which I have never seen anywhere else. But now you can swim long course which are 50 meter laps  It is so pleasant to turn up my music and zone out and swim.

I need to pick up eggs at the mercado.I used to buy a dozen at a time and he would pick them out ,weigh them and put them loose in a plastic sack,now I buy quince (15) and they come in a half flat, easier for him and me. The avocados here are to die for, always perfect. I have my fruit man pick them out for me.  I ask “un por hoy, un por mannana” so I have one for today and one for tomorrow. I bought a package of cut up veggies, everything from cauliflower to diced squash. It’s probably scraps from stuff they were needing to discard. When I took off the plastic wrap it mushroomed up and out and I ended up with 3 baggies of cut up veggies.   Cooked up one as a stir fry and it was really good, one I’m saving for chicken in a pot tomorrow and one I gave to the neighbors. Signing off KO