Friday, January 29, 2016

Hummm... What to Say.

Today, Linda loaded onto a bus with five other ladies and they made their way to Manzanillo to do some shopping. I would have joined them if the group had been smaller or even made up of another spouse. Didn't feel comfortable as the only male, so I stayed home. I sent the camera with Linda so we will have to see what photos she takes, if any.

We are in that time when our daily pattern of living in Mexico is set and we are just going about enjoying the weather while letting the days pass. Speaking of weather, we are in a bit of an overcast period. Clouds dot the sky and the air is a bit humid in the day. No rain yet and the nights are very cool and comfortable.

Yesterday (Jan 28th) was Kobi's birthday; he is nine. I can't believe he has been with us that long. Sollengers sent us a bunch of pictures via email. It made my eyes tear up a bit because I miss the little stinker a lot! It is funny how that happens. He is with me every morning at home and we sit and pet every night. Kobi usually is outside or sleeping behind my chair during the middle parts of the day. I can't wait to get home and see him. It makes me feel much better knowing he is safe with a super family.

The internet in Melaque has been out, off and on, the past few days.  You don't generally think about those things happening when you are home. Once in a while we will have a big storm and our internet goes out, so we just use our phones and go on about keeping abreast of stuff. Down here, the internet goes out and that means the entire town is not connected. Granted, we don't use our phones as phones down here. Others can connect via their phones. It costs too much to keep our phones going in Mexico and who needs them anyway! Except when the internet goes down.

Linda and I spend quite a bit of time talking about the people we know down here and our choice to live down in Melaque during the three or four months that we do.  All is good, the people are great folks and we actually save a bit of money when we are down here. We do miss our "peeps" from home, though.

There is a rumor that someone is looking at the Casa Rosa (Pink House) with thoughts of buying it. They are supposedly from the Seattle area. This has caused quite a bit a chit chat about all the what ifs and possibilities. It definitely would be different, but maybe change would be good. I know that the owner sure could use the funds from the sale to make her life better.

I'll continue this post once I get the full story on Linda's big shopping adventure to Manzanillo. Maybe she will take a picture, but she will definitely have a story.

Linda's post:

We had a very fun time in the "big city" of Manzanillo. We rode the bus into town, got off, hit a Starbucks, and then shopped for shoes at a place called Flexi. They are a very nice shoe, very comfortable, lots of styles, and a bit more pricely than the usual - but worth it. I didn't find any this time (actually, I found some really cute ones, but didn't want to spend the money at the time - may go back and get them if we go into town again).

After shoe shopping, we walked for a bit until we came to the Oaxacan market set up just in front of the Soriana (a store sort of like Walmart/K-mart). There were about 40 or 50 stalls of wonderful arts and crafts. There were many examples of different types of mole (a very traditional Mexican sauce, usually used with chicken), lovely embroidered clothing, beautiful pottery, silver and craft jewelry, and my favorite - many examples of homemade mezcal and tequila and creme liquores. I felt it was my duty to try all flavors at every booth and then give my suggestions for the best. It was a wonderful experiment. Many of us purchased some delicious examples. After made our choices of things at that market, we took a quick trip into Soriana and then headed to El Fogon for lunch. It was delicious and we had one of the best margaritas I've ever had. I know I say that a lot, but it was true! Such a great place with a very nice staff, fantastic food (the many types of salsa with chips prior to lunch was a huge hit; a couple of the salsas were so good, we asked for some to take home. They brought us two containers full of our favorites - no charge), and wonderful company. We rode the bus home and arrived tired but happy. Thank you, Jill, Karen, Maggie, Penny, and Zoey for a great day out.

Dean's edit: When Linda got home I kept asking her if she saw Christopher when she was in the market. You know, Christopher Oaxacan. She smacked me  pretty hard the first time I asked, now she just give me that look. I guess I better let it pass.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Happy Van to La Manzanilla

Beach time followed by drinks and then a great dinner; that's the recipe for another spectacular day in La Manzanilla.

Kids in the Happy Van!
We loaded into the Happy Van and Barry drove us up over the hill to the beachside town where we spent the afternoon and evening. Of course, we played dice, cribbage and watched the beach walkers. It was another laid back day.

When evening came we walked down and had drinks at Magnolias. On the way, we ran into our friends from Coeur d'Alene who had just arrived in La Manzanilla. Steve and Dana Wetzel own a beachside casa and they were stopping over before they went to the Yucatan for a week or so. We hope to be able to get together while they are in the area.

Burros can be a bit stubborn.
After drinks, we walked to Martin's where we met Larry and Maggie and ate dinner while watching the sun set. The sky was blood red as the sun sank into the clouds out on the horizon. I wish I had taken my camera up to dinner with us.

After dinner, Barry drove us back, in the dark, and we called it a night. Don't know if we can take too many of these adventures. Just kidding!
Yes, that's my happy face!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Birria with Barry

Sunday morning and we hit the road to Cihuatlán to find what Barry Vincent says is the best Birria restaurant on the coast. Birria is a spicy stew, traditionally made from goat meat which has been cooked in clay pots that have been sealed in a wood fired oven. 

Our trek took us to La Birria de las 12 located about six blocks up the hill from the main street in Cihuatlán (Map here). On this outing, Barry brought a good friend Gabriel, who is a contractor in Melaque and the four of us enjoyed a wonderful meal together.

One of the reasons Barry wanted to take us to this restaurant was that Linda had never tried Birria before.  Being her first experience we wanted it to be a good one and the stew here did not disappoint! We were served Birria with freshly made tortillas, queso fresco, refried beans, and all the fixings.
Birria ovens, one open, one still cooking.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Back to the Banana Plantation

Geo and Hal on the ride into the plantation.
After eating a great little breakfast at The Red Lobster, 26 of us loaded into trucks, cars and vans for a 15 minute drive out to the banana plantation and the cool waters of its irrigation pools. The trip has turned into a much-anticipated annual event.

Once at our destination we spent our time hiking up the river, playing games, singing and swimming in the pools. Drinks included beer, pop, water, pina coladas, and the occasional shot of tequila.

The lovely Linda with the pool in the background.
Mid afternoon arrived and we were presented with a wonderful BBQ rib dinner or a fish plate all served with salad, baked potato, and bread. Everyone ate their fill! Linda, as you know, doesn't care for fish and prefers not to eat red meat, so they made her and Barry (he's a vegetarian) a lovely plate of  quesadillas, rice, beans, and salad. She was very happy.

We continued our relaxation and games after our meal for a little while longer and then we began gathering items and getting ready to head back. Larry took us home. We managed a couple of games of cribbage, some conversation with neighbors, a shower, and some popcorn before we fell into bed. We were exhausted. This retirement stuff is hard work.
Jill, Linda and Dennis enjoying the sun and water.
Looking down the corridor of pools.
Dennis relaxing at the pool entry.

Pool boobs!

The music makers; Ted, Ted and Geo.

Ted sings another Saskatchewan favorite.
Frog in the. pool
River walk, moving up the river bed.

One of the pups that hiked up river with us.

Cards kept us entertained.

This time lapse of the pool didn't turn out as planned. It was too far away and then only a few went into the pool during the hour I shot it. Oh well, live and learn.

Friday, January 15, 2016

La Manzanilla Por Cinco

Thursday rolled around and our plans to go over to La Manzanilla for a beach day had a little hitch.  Linda was not feeling well all night and so when time came to meet Jill, Barry, Iris and Dennis, Linda had to bow out. It was very sad for both of us because she loves the beach and I don’t like leaving her home when she is not well.

Our little group rented Leone’s van and drove over the hill to the little town on the big bay.  We parked at Pedro’s Tacos and set up our day camp right in the middle of the shade. As usual, Pedro was all about service and smiles. He is such a great business man.

Using this as our home for the day we played cards, swam, read, ate, drank, walked, ate, played Farkle, talked, ate. Did I say we ate and drank?  It seemed that whenever there was a food mistake from the kitchen our group volunteered to eat it. What a sacrifice!

I took the GoPro and went out swimming. Not many fish and I found it hard to control where I was pointing as I swam with my two feet and one hand.  It was fun and I was able to make a short very boring video of the event.

We were back in Melaque by 5 PM and when I got home Linda was doing much better. I downloaded the pictures and video and showed them to her. We laughed at the number of pictures I took. Without Linda there, I guess I don’t take as many pictures as I usually do.

Monday, January 11, 2016


Last year we moved into the Casa Grande in January for a three-month stay. One of our neighbors, at that time, was a lovely old lady we came to know as Rose.   She lived directly below us and was a fixture sitting out at the picnic table chatting with our other neighbors.  She had arrived at the casa early in December and left for home before we really got a chance to get to know her.

She would have been 90 years old soon, but passed away down here sometime in December.  She was loved by the people we know at Casa Grande, and from the turn out last night at her celebration of life, many of this community felt the same way about her.

In a wonderful ceremony lead by her son, Gary, Rosie was toasted and stories were told about her life and the visits to Mexico that, in essence, extended her life. She loved this place and from the response of the 50 plus people who attended, the feelings were mutual.

My best memory of Rose came the first day we had moved into our room. I walked down and Rose came out of her room dressed to the nines. Even at 89, she loved to dress up and go out. She walked past, smiled, and then jumped on the back of a waiting motorcycle and was off. Probably to dance and drink her gin and tonics. I hope I am that young at the age of 89.

Thursday, January 07, 2016

Kings in Smoke

Five of our friends arrived today and we met up with them to watch the sunset.  After the show, we walked with Jill, Barry and Karen into town and down to the square for some food. As we sat waiting for our drinks a huge gathering of 4x4s, motorcycles and scooters took over the street, revving their engines and spewing exhaust. After about ten minutes a truck arrived that was decorated up with twinkle lights and sparkles.  In the back were three men dressed as the three kings from the bible.

The truck made its way into the 4x4s and the parade began. Candy and gifts were tossed out of the truck by the three wise men and a throng of children soon surrounded the vehicle. The parade wound around the square, the noise and exhaust was amazing! Then it was over. 

We ordered dinner and ate in relative quiet. The only excitement after the parade came when Linda realized she had lost all our money. Her little money wallet was nowhere in her bag and she panicked. We looked through all our pockets and bags and finally I spotted the wallet lying on the ground. It must have fallen out when she took her glasses out to read the menu. The excitement of losing our money was over. We ate and then went shopping. Pretty much a normal night in Melaque.

Saturday, January 02, 2016

2015 into 2016

My last post showed some photos of Holly, Ryan and kids. It was hard to see them leave, they were so full of energy and such fun to do things with.  They went from here to San Diego and then on to the freezing, but beautiful snows of Coeur d'Alene.

Our days are filled with walks and rest. This week we walked to Barra with Bill and Teri Burch who joined us in Melaque last weekend. The Burches are usually up for any kind of adventure be it food or fun (ask them about their swim in the ocean - could have been way worse, but they are gonna be sore for awhile).

We checked out the playa which is under repair after the hurricane damage. As we walked we had to navigate through the cut in the playa where the lagoon had been set free. When the lagoon gets too full the water is released into the ocean so that the streets don't get flooded with overflow. Also, the surfers release the lagoon because it cuts through the sand and moves this sand into the bay where it creates a surf break. The break provides some good surf waves. This type of release is controversial because the lagoon needs to be filled for all ecosystems to work properly. All the surfers think about is getting a good ride and not what it is doing to the wetlands up above the playa.

 It was market day in Barra and just after the new year so the place was packed. Nice to see so many people in town spending their money.

Speaking of the new year, we spent a low-key evening cooking a wonderful marlin dinner. After we ate our fill we joined our neighbors on the beach for a bonfire, where we watched the fireworks and sent globos up into the sky over the Bay of Navidad. At one point there were over thirty of the silent little space ships glowing over the water. It was a wondrous spectacle, something we will never forget.

This is Saturday and tomorrow the Burches fly out to the wilds of Idaho and we move out of Casa Rosa. Our home for the next two months will be the little bungalow at Casa Grande. This will be a new chapter in our story; a new perspective.  Looking forward to the change. Happy new year to all, and thank you for being a part of our lives!

They are rebuilding the damage caused by Patrica.
Bricks, bricks and more bricks!

And then I said "smile!"
A visitor to our yard.