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

 

Campamento Ayotcali

Our plans for the afternoon were to visit the Campamento Ayotcali on Playa Larga to witness the “tortuga liberacion”, or turtle release  program.  If you haven’t been, put it on your list of must do’s. We were a  group of 4 and there were 2 other P1180494.JPGcouples also visiting. The program was interesting with a lot of back ground about the turtles of the area. It was informal so we could ask and get all our questions answered by the knowledgeable staff. We learned how they locate the turtle nests,relocate the eggs so they will not be ravaged by ferral dogs and other preditors. When mama turtle comes ashore to lay her eggs  the staff will sit with her and wait while she lays her eggs as she is not afraid of people. They guard her from ferrel dogs while she is nesting. She is very vulnerable to attack from dogs as turtles cannot retract their flippers.

But of course the highlight of the evening was, just before sunset a pan of 60 or so hatchlings was produced.  We each were given a bowl which we scouped out a baby turtle then set him on the sand and wished him well on his journey to the sea. The

Senor’s turtle was “speed racer” as he was off like a speeding bullet headed for the waves, mine was close behind. The gentleman next to me had a turtle that was a bit dyslexic and or directionly challenged and kept turning the wrong way back to shore. In 13 -15 years the surviving females will return to this very same spot to start the cycle all over again. With a survival rate of 1 in a thousand, they need all the human help they can get.

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I’m so happy to have played a small part in helping this species continue to exist. Signing off KO

 

 

 

January 6th, Three Kings Day

The last couple of days I saw the construction of all the temporary booths being erected along the main drag of Juan Alvarez to house an enormous amount of what appears to be cheap plastic toys.

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Blue tarp booths along the side walk selling toys and 3 Kings Day cakes

Since I’m told the Mexican children receive gifts on 3 Kings day I guess parents wait util the last minute to shop. Sure solves the problem of hiding gifts from snooping kids. There are also tables and tables of the special cake that has the little figures baked in it. They come in every size imaginable depending on the size of your family gathering. And if I remember correctly who ever gets the baby Jesus in their piece gets to host the whole group to a tamale

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Blue tarp booths along the side walk selling toys and 3 Kings Day cakes

feast on Candelmas  Day. Then there is the “Bike Market” along the canal.

Last night from my balcony I watched the fire dancer perform,  not the best view as the palm tree gets in the way a bit, entertaining none the less.  This was followed by a brief but hard rain shower, all done in minutes

 

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Fire dancer as seen from my balcony

There also has been a mass exodus of Mexican tourists as their holidays ends, the foot traffic around town is manageable again and hopefully the music from the Zocolo won’t be blasting down our street nightly. I’m forever amazed at how folks can party all night until six am. It’s 5:00 am and the bar down the street is still playing music, this morning the music is pleasant and not just the “thump thump” type and not so loud to be heard inside the apartment but surprising pleasant out here on my balcony.

The Senor just suggested going to the beach today. I’m so excited!  Getting him out and about has been a real chore this year. Sometimes I feel a little “trapped” up in our room.  Signing off KO

 

 

 

 

 

LAUNDRY AND A NIGHT ON THE TOWN

The  Senor decided we (he) needed some V8 juice and we were out of eggs. There is only one store in Zihuatanejo that carries V8, The Bodega.  It’s about a 1/2 half mile from the pool where I swim. Since it was Saturday and I don’t swim on weekends I thought I would just walk up there as it was still early morning.    It was a pleasant walk and like all shopping trips you go for one thing and come back with 4 bags full. So of course on the return trip I took a cab.

We have a leisurely breakfast on the balcony  and I decide to do our laundry in house instead of the Senor taking it to the laundry as we have always done previouly.But last year there were some issues. I said I would do the laundry which is normally the Senor’s area of expertise. The roof top washer fills at a drip drip rate so to help it along I filled big buckets of water to add to the machine and it started to wash.  Of course the rinse cycle is again at drip drip rate, but I went and took a nap and when I work up the clothes were washed and I hung them to dry, starting the second load the same way. Fixed and ate lunch and the first load was dry and ready to hang the second load.  Watched some TV and went and retrived the second load from the line all except our big towels they needed another half hour. I find if you hang things nice and tight on the line they look as good as if freshly pressed. The laundromat folds and packages your clothes so everything ends up with fold marks.

We have been taking it quite slow for the most part but we decide to go out for dinner at Daniels. The Senor never seems to learn that he will always be disapointed by his steak. Beef here in Mexico just isn’t what we are used to.  On the other hand you can’t go wrong with fish, it is what they do here.

20141231_173641From there we strolled, watch a sand artist at work, found a nice street dog to give meat scraps to and at a small kids arcade a birthday party was in full swing, litterly. The pinata was about to be hung,  hit with sticks,

broken and candy and small trinkets scrambled for among the shrikes as a half dozen young boys.

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Jimi with a friend joining in

A couple of drinks at Zorro’s and on to the Barracruda to catch the great Jimi Mamou and renew old friendships. Agreat night on the town, Zihua style.  Signing off  KO

WHO I AM AND WHY I BLOG

WordPress is offering on line” blogging classes” of which I’m participating. The first assignment is to write about why one chooses to blog. So here goes. I am Kathleen Ottarson from Port Orchard, WA, originally from Northern California.I am a wife, mother of 4, grandmother of 16, senior citizen, and daily swimmer. My husband Doyle and I are budget travelers and have now choosen to “snowbird” in Mexico. In addition to wintering here in Mexico we are rv’s and make several much shorter trips from our home base. We pretty much  go to the same places at the same time of year as that is my husband’s comfort level. I’m the more adventurous one. We wouldn’t be doing what we do if I hadn’t initiated the idea, and did enough research for him to feel comfortable going somewhere new. Now you would think it was all his idea as he quotes facts and figures of up coming adventures.

The Senor and I enjoying the evening. Photo cour test of Patty a great photoGrapher as this is about our best picture
The Senor and I enjoying the evening. Photo courtesy of Patty a great photographer as this is our best picture

Originally I just wrote a few posts on face book, but my granddaughter suggested I start a blog to keep family and friends informed. So I started zihuathyme, and originally it was designed for family and friends, but as time goes on I find I really do it for me.  I like to write! I enjoy ruminating over the days pictures, remembering how wonderful the day was, and I want to share my day with my loved ones and anyone else who might be a vicarious traveler, or someone who is here and might enjoy doing and seeing some of the things I find interesting. In my “zihuathyme ” blog I refer to my husband Doyle as the Senor and I frequently poke fun at the Senor and his “22 years navy bos’n mate unworldly attitudes.” It’s easy to do especially since he brags to everyone about my blog, but he never reads it.

I love Mexico and all the quirky differences, especially the differences. Mexico is loud and colorful, full of friendly people. I try to photograph the odd and interesting differences, show how colorful it is, and how beautiful it is. I’m not much of a photographer, but my readers requested more and more pictures  and we all know how much a picture is worth.

My blogging goals are simple, keep on blogging as long as I enjoy it. I rarely look at my stats, but I do appreciate comments from readers. I hope I can inspire people to travel no matter what their budget is or what their age is. I would like to inspire readers to go, see, do. To live life, be a participant instead of a spectator.Signing off KO

SALSA AND MORE

While the Senor was footballing again on Sunday, my agenda was to go to El Pirata on La Ropa to listen to the music and watch the salsa dancing.  As luck would have it my balcony neighbors were

Neighbors Dwight & Lynn
Neighbors Dwight & Lynn

just leaving for La Ropa so we caught a cab together and headed for the beach.  We found El Pirata  no trouble, found  shady spot to sit and enjoy the

KO at El Pirata
KO at El Pirata

afternoon and watch the dancing. It appears to be the “in” spot for a Sunday afternoon as just about everyone we know was there. Including the handsome cheese vendor from El Mercado.  Who knew he dancer!  A few drinks, some  nachos and guacamole, a lovely sunset and  another lovely day has come to an end. We took the bus back, and in the future I would take the bus the bus both ways.

Donna and the handsome cheese vendor Bernardo
Donna and the handsome cheese vendor Bernardo

Easy enough to do and cheap, 7.5 pesos.

This morning I set out to locate the municipal pool, I had information that it was olympic size and very nice.  I used google earth to locate the pool and the streets that I need to walk to get there. I got to the sports park that it is located in, but still didn’t see the pool, a couple of quick questions and the parking lot attendant sent me toward it on the opposite side of the park, as a gentleman passed me I asked if I was going the right way to the pool.  He understood my spanish but as luck would have it he spoke a little more english that I do spanish. And as always the mexican people are so willing to help he walked with me to the office/reception area and I checked with the lady as to the time it opens and making sure it was open to the public, and the cost 20 pesos, less than $1.40.  I thanked my new friend Deno for all his help and said I would return manana.  I checked my phone and it was 1.60 miles, an easy walk in the cool of the morning.  (Yes there is an app for that). I can either walk back or take any  “El Centro bus” . I’m not sure what bus I would take to get there, and I don’t mind the walk and maybe I’ll learn the bus system yet. At home when I was working, that was one of my great skills, teaching the inmates how to maneuver the county by bus. Kind of excited to be swimming again in nice clean pool. After swimming in the open ocean at Troncones which is clear and clean, I really didn’t want to go back to swimming at La Madera where my suit smells fishy after swimming. Signing off KO

Sunset from La Ropa
Sunset from La Ropa