Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Malecon Walk

There are high clouds today and for my afternoon adventure I decided to take a walk on the malecon behind our lot.  I wanted to see if people on the malecon could see our camp spot or not.  They can't see much of anything which makes us feel good.
From the malecon, over the laguna, looking at Barra.

This stone walkway runs along the laguna for about five blocks.  Just recently they have been cleaning it up and making repairs to the walking surface.  It is a very nice area, too bad it is as short as it is and that they let it get so run down so much before making repairs.

I took some bird shots and was able to capture a photo of a big Iguana.  The raptor looking bird is the one Linda calsl the "Maniacal Laughter Bird" because we do not know what it is and its call is like a maniac laughing. We will get with one of our friends and have him identify it for us. I'll let you know in a future post.

***Linda talked to our friend Bruce and found out the bird is a Snail Kite.

The Snail Kite.

Happy Birthday To You!

Today is Kobi's birthday! He is 7 years old.

He really wants people to know about this special day, but we are in Mexico and all his friends are up in the states. Kobi would be checking his Face Book page to see all the birthday posts all the time today, if he had one. That would cause problems because his nails scratch the computer.  It is also a problem because he can't use the space bar due to the opposable thumb thing. Allhissentenceslooklikeabunchofletterswithnospaces. All his sentences look like a bunch of letters with no spaces. Hard to read isn't it?

The most resent photos are ones with Kobi in the shirt we bought him and make him wear while he is around the camp site.  It's not that we have a dress code, it is because of his elbows. When we were at the Pink House, Kobi would hide from the fireworks under the bed.  He would drag himself in and out when ever he was frightened, which was pretty much all the time. He wore big scrapes on his elbows and we have been trying to get them to heal.  The long sleeve shirt was our final attempt at keeping the dirt and rubbing down to a minimum and we think it is working.  We bought the shirt for 5 pesos.  Don't tell Kobi, he thinks we got it at the Gap and that he is very cool and styling.

I'll end with Kobi's favorite birthday song.

You say it's your birthday
It's my birthday too, yeah
They say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you.

Yes we're going to a party party
Yes we're going to a party party
Yes we're going to a party party

I would like you to dance (Birthday)
Take a cha-cha-cha-chance (Birthday)
I would like you to dance (Birthday)

I would like you to dance (Birthday)
Take a cha-cha-cha-chance (Birthday)
I would like you to dance (Birthday)

You say it's your birthday
Well it's my birthday too, yeah
You say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you.

Monday, January 27, 2014


Today I took a trip with the gang to a Mexican acequia, or communal irrigation canal on a banana plantation. Linda was under the weather and so I have to fend for myself on this adventure.

We loaded into Larry's truck and a couple of cars and ventured on the highway in the direction Manzanillo. Once we passed the road to Barra, we turned off the pavement and bumped our way along a small river bed until we reached a little oasis. 
On the drive into the oasis.

The water flows in and then out into the canals.
At this spot we found a palapa and a wonderful pool of water pumped directly from the aquifer. The system of irrigation canals feeds over six miles of banana trees, mango trees and coconut palms and this pool is the start of that journey.

Antonio, the owner of the Red Lobster Restaurant, is also owner and operator of a banana plantation. As a side venture he will provide you breakfast at the Red Lobster and then a day of refreshments, swimming and relaxing at this little oasis with a finale consisting of a late lunch of BBQ ribs or fish. You get all of this for 300 pesos.  

As you can see by the photos it was a very relaxing day. I felt bad that Linda wasn't with me, and even worse that she was not feeling well. 
Pump house and source of the cool water.
As happy as a pig...
The pool was 5 feet deep and the water was always moving.
They even set up a volleyball net for us!

Very cool how bananas grow.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sunday's Art Walk

Artist doing a portrait during the festivities.
Another trip over the hill to La Manzanilla let us experience the 2014 Art Walk in all its glory. Our day started early so that we could get our chores completed in time to catch the 9:30 AM bus.  We walked Kobi and prepped for the day and were able to catch the bus before it got very crowded.  By the time we left Melaque the bus was packed so full they were turning away people.

We exited the bus and walked up to Jennifer and John McLeod's house where we met them and had a cool drink.  From there we all walked around La Manzanilla visiting the various homes where the art was being displayed.  The art was very good, but the real fun part was getting to look inside many of the houses in this seaside town.
Being cool at the walk.

After a couple hours we ended up at La Kasita a small restaurant where we rested and had lunch. It was very good food!  We were joined by two friends Ives and Manon. We all talked and ate and as we did it seemed like everyone we knew from Melaque came by and chatted.

At the end of the day we walked to a gallery where our friend Renaldo was selling his rugs. Renaldo was ready to leave and he invited all of us to ride back to Melaque with him.  We loaded up, four in front, Ives in the back of the truck laying out on rugs. The ride went very fast and once at Renaldo's rug store we walked back to our place and immediately hit the swimming pool. 

Loading up for the ride home.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Breakfast at Banana's

Sunrise reflects off the windows at the Grand Bay.
Heron keeps a watchful eye on me as I snap his photo.
Sunrise over the laguna.

Banana's breakfast group.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ay, Chihuahua

I got a wonderful opportunity to go sailing today. Frank Keys, one of our volleyball players asked if anyone wanted to go out for an afternoon sail. I immediately volunteered of course. How could I pass up an invitation like that.  It's rare that I can get out on a sailboat away from Coeur d'Alene let alone a sailboat on the ocean in Mexico.

Birthday boy Frank Keys.
Frank picked Hal and his wife Gretchen, Dennis and I up at 1:15 PM and we drove to the XOXO for gas and beer.  Once we had our gallon of fuel and the cooler full of beer we headed to Barra. Frank dropped us off at the water taxi and then went and parked the car.  We payed our 20 pesos and loaded into the taxi. Then when Frank arrived the driver took us directly to Franks 26 foot Hunter sailboat and dropped us off.

We got everything stowed, detached the boat from its mooring and motored out of the lagoon. We hit the bay with all sails up and full of wind.  The day was the usual bright sunny Mexico day, but there was also something very special, wind!

We were on a broad reach in no time sailing at about 23 knots. Frank and Dennis grabbed the two fishing rods and put out the hoochies. Now this was sailing! I busied myself tending the jib and fetching beers for the Captain and crew. I was in seventh heaven.

About 45 minutes into the trip we caught our first fish.  Frank hooked up on a Sierra and was able to drag it into the boat. Dennis smacked it on the top of the head and blood went everywhere. I have been with quite a few sailors on many boats but I have never been with a guy as casual about the boat, blood and sailing as Frank.  He grabbed the fish and tossed it to me. "Find a bucket and grab a bit of ice for the fish!"  he shouted, I replied "Do you want a bucket to get the blood off the boat and clean up?" Frank smiled and said in his Texas drawl "Sure, I guess we should do that." Then he smiled and said "What a great birthday, volleyball in the morning, sailing and catching fish in the afternoon!" We were all surprised that it was his birthday but that made the trip even funner.

The afternoon continued and so did the wind.  We broke out of the bay and headed south to look at some of the beaches down there.  We made our way out past the rocks of Punta El Coco where we hit our second Sierra.  Once the fish was in the boat and on ice we sailed on around the punta and checked out the beaches owned and used by the Grand Bay.

We came about and started working our way back to Barra.  By this time the waves were getting moderately big and the wind was very brisk and steady.  We hooked another fish. This time we caught a Barralette. Barralette are not the best eating fish but this old boy was beat up and bleeding so we tossed it in the bucket. 
This boathouse is a trailer on stilts.

The afternoon was getting more exciting.  The wind picked up and the ocean got rougher.  I was riding rail helping to hold the boat down a bit and by this time Frank had turned all jib duties over to me.  

Heading out Frank lined up to make the tack that would take us along the rocks of the point, passing just off the roughest snarl of rocks out into Bahia de Navidad. The cut was about a 100 yards to soon.  Frank and I worked as hard as we could keeping the sailboat as high to the wind as possible, but the waves and currents were working against us. 

We kept pinching up into the wind and were moving well but we also were losing ground to the point.  A pod of five dolphins started playing off the bow of the boat and we enjoyed watching them but we couldn't take our eyes off the shoreline for to long. 
Dennis and Frank, all smiles!

Frank looked at me and asked my opinion. I said that I thought we needed to tack away from the rocks soon.  He said he needed to make a decision to tack away or to start up the boat motor and push us up into the wind and around the point. I said "What every you want to do you better do it now!"  At this point we were getting close to the rock point and something needed to be done.  Frank decided to start the engine.  I was working the jib trying to dump wind so the boat would slow and come up a bit.  Frank frantically was pulling on the engine cord and I was as calmly as I could saying "Frank, get it going or tack away!"  Our problem was that Frank has left the auto pilot on and its course was heading right for the point. I was just moving for the auto pilot to tack away when Frank fired the engine and turned the boat into the wind and away from the rocks.  I think we were about 20 feet from hitting them, but it could have been farther or closer.  The rest of the folks were very quiet at that point so I turned and smiled and said "Wow that was fun!"  Frank had gained control and he was smiling and he said "I guess that was closer than I thought." 

Everyone laughed and we headed off the wind, safe around the point heading for home.

Back in past the break water we cleaned up the boat and stowed everything.  Frank called the water taxi and we loaded on board for the trip home.  I looked at the bow of Franks boat and spotted her name. In nice script painted along the bow were the words, Ay, Chihuahua. I looked at Frank and said "What a great name!" He said "Yeah, it was the original name so I kept it." We made our way back to the docks.  All I could think of was Ay, Chihuahua we almost hit those rocks.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Another Good Cause

Sunday morning and we were gathering in the main plaza with about fifty other bike riders for a fund raiser to support the local animal shelter.

Kobi had strongly suggested supporting this cause because his street buddies use these services all the time.

We rode out of town across the highway and back.  I road with about four folks that we have met down here playing volleyball.  We had a great time talking and riding, so great that we missed a turn and had to be chased down by the fellow that set the course.  We had only gone a few blocks off the route.

After all the fun of riding we went back to Larry and Maggie's and played volleyball followed by cribbage.

At 5:00 PM we were gathered with 20 other Seahawks supporters to watch the game.  A win is a win, but I wish they could do it in a less dramatic fashion.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Prine Numbers

Talk around the pool the other day turned to guitars, singing and mostly John Prine. Linda told everyone my secret about singing in college and the next thing I knew we were having a hoot-a-nanny over at Ted and Penny's place. Larry knows everything John Prine ever wrote and Ted had been practicing some of Prine's songs on his guitar. The other Ted spoke up and injected that he played guitar and sang a bunch of Prine's songs.  It was on for 2 PM today and there was no getting out of it for me.

We all met at Ted's upper music room. The two Teds (or Ted squared), Larry, Ted's wife Elaine, and Berry a neighbor. Linda joined us later. While the two Ted's played and sang the rest of us did the best we could to follow along.  At times I think a lot of dogs in Melaque were covering their heads with their paws.  We had fun.  Both Ted's were very good guitar players and their music covered up many of our singing mistakes. When Linda joined us the tequila was a flowing but the songs we winding down.  Most everyone had commitments later on in the evening so we had to Prine to rest and call it a day. It was great fun and I don't think I embarrassed myself too much.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Picture Evening

Linda and Kobi at the fund raiser.
This afternoon and evening we spent at a fund raiser for the special needs students of Melaque and Barra.  It was quite the event and down here they do it right. Music, prizes, food, drinks and special performances by the children, it was a special afternoon. All the funds go to support these students. The government pays for the teachers pay and electricity only! Everything else has to be payed by the parents, who can not afford to pay, or by fund raising events like this.  They told us that they think the government will not be paying for the electricity next year so there will be a greater need for support.

After the event wound down a bit we walked over to the beach and watched the sun set. Hope you enjoy the photos.

Dances by the students were the highlight.

Gotta have a couple sunsets!