Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Some Final Photos

The Edwards left and now the Burches have arrived.  Here are a few photos of the final couple days of the Edward's visit.

Monday, December 28, 2015

And the Moral of the Story Is…

With the cookies, churros (or Cheerios and Anika called them) and milk all set out and the kids finally tucked into bed waiting for Santa Claus, the grownups earned some time for themselves and so we sat down to play Hucklebuck. Our fun nightly card game has been a bit of tradition when Ryan and Holly visit and we look forward to playing whenever we get some quiet after the little ones head off to bed.

As usual, Ryan wanted to spice up the evening’s competition. Usually, he suggests a change in the rules, manipulating the face value of the cards so it makes the game more “interesting.” But, as always, Holly and Linda are steadfast concerning the rules of the game and Ryan’s attempts to add some spice were shut down quickly. Ryan being Ryan persisted and eventually came up with a solution that he felt would make the game assume.

A bet was made! The loser of the night’s Hucklebuck game would have to get a henna tattoo or one of the tattoos from the beach vendors. This tattoo would be selected by the three other participants, who could then choose the location of said tattoo, with the only restriction being that it could not be placed above the lower neck area on the body.

As you can imagine, the tension and concentration of everyone was amped up as the game began. The bet hung heavy over the game and from the start Ryan used it to try to intimidate all who played.
Holly took the lead in the first hand which Ryan took as fuel to stoke his taunting about the bet. Out of the gate, Ryan was relentless teasing Holly as to where the tattoo was going to be placed when she lost.

By the end of the fifth hand, his strategy had paid off. He took the lead and his comments went from a general taunt at all of us to zeroing in on Linda who was, at this time, losing.  Smiling he actually said “Hum, too bad I am ahead; I would look good in a nice tattoo!”  Then he followed up with a comment that put Linda at ease, he sealed his coffin by making a comment that assumed his victory was in the bag. Linda knew that he would eat those words and soon, he did.

The next hand Ryan was poised with three cards showing and the three unknown cards left. If you have played Hucklebuck you know that you have three cards that you look at the beginning of your hand and three that you place face down and don’t know the value. You have to either exchange these three unknown cards for lower ones you draw, or you keep them and turn them over hoping that luck is on your side and that there is a low card there and not a higher numbered card or worse yet the dreaded queen.

At this, Ryan looked at Holly and smiled and then said, “I think I’ll live on the edge!” and he reached to turn over one of the top three cards. Pointing at the one on the right he started to grab it when Holly said, “If you are really going to live on the edge, you will choose the middle one because that is where we always find the queen hidden.” With all the confidence of a Vegas con man, Ryan reached for the right card again and then smiling turned the center card up. There she was, the queen!

The queen is the highest value card in the game of Hucklebuck  - 13 points.  It is hard to flip over a queen and then come back for a win and with this in mind, Ryan saw his dynasty start to crumble.
Ryan’s happy chatter of the six prior hands ceased and a clamor grew from the rest of us who had been coerced into the bet. The taunting was now relentless as Ryan’s luck went down to drain.
In the next several hands his lead shrunk and by the final two hands he had lost the bet!

At the end of the game, all Ryan could do was try to convince us that the bet was just for fun and more of a joke. The taunting became louder. “I think it should be a Rainbow Bright or My Little Pony tattoo.” someone said.  “How about a Hello Kitty on the bicep?” was thrown out to cackles and snorts. I tossed my suggestion of a tramp stamp of a teddy bear or unicorn.  Ryan parlayed with suggestions of a Seahawks logo or a man’s tattoo like a dragon. None of those went over well with the “tattoo committee”, so he tucked his pride away and went to bed.

We spent the next two days dropping hints and suggestions of what would be coming.  Ryan dodged the best he could until finally their last day in Mexico had arrived. Linda and Holly walked into town and within an hour came scurrying back into the casa. They had found a tattoo vendor and he was waiting for them back in town.  They grabbed Ryan and dragged him along back into town.  I stayed with the kids and waited with anticipation for the results.

When they rejoined me at the casa, I was told the story of the tattoo.  The young vendor turned out to be very nice, but he was very confused about who was going to get the tattoo.  We think it was because the final choice was a beautiful butterfly and he could not understand why one of the beautiful ladies was not having it placed upon their body. A delicate butterfly design like this one does not go on a man’s bicep; men have eagles, barbed wire, or dragons, not butterflies!

It took the vendor about 30 minutes to prep Ryan’s arm and apply the tattoo.  He said it would last about two weeks and that it needed to dry completely before it could be touched.

Linda, Holly, and Ryan walked proudly home, making sure that anyone who looked their way saw the new body art.

Back at the casa, the kids and I greeted the trio and gazed at the tattoo. Ryan showed it off and then took Zane aside and explained that the skin art would wash off and that it was the result of his dad making a bad bet and paying the consequences. Zane understood and Ryan went on about his packing anticipating all the explanations he would have to do over the next two weeks. Holly just smiled.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

A Fish Story

6:30 AM and Geraldo backed slowly in front of numeral Uno on Reforma. John tucked his bike away as we loaded into the cab of the truck. At this time in the morning it is usually a bit chilly, but not today. The cooling breezes from the surrounding hill sides had not arrived during the night and the air was sticky warm.

We drove over to the dock in Barra where Geraldo’s boat is moored. Falling in line, we walked past the old disco and onto the docks. Geraldo went about preparing the boat as we stood and chatted. There were more fishing boats tied to the docks this year. Not as many sail boats.

Still dark, we idled out of the slip and entered the labyrinth of canals leading to Barra’s fishing port. Geraldo drove by instinct, having taken this path a million times. We joined a few other boats heading out of the mouth of the port. Our captain nodded good morning to each as we passed.  The day of fishing had begun and the sun had not even brightened the eastern sky.

We pointed out to sea and Geraldo accelerated to about fifteen miles per hour. Our course told me that we were heading off shore in search of marlin and sailfish. If we had headed up the coast or even down towards the airport, then I would have guessed we were searching for Dorado.  The El Nino waters made for better odds that we would find some of the bigger fish. The unusual temperatures, water in the high 80’s and low 90’s have driven the Dorado and Tuna away, leaving the marlin and sailfish to cruise and hunt.

Our destination for the day was a large reef 20 to 28 miles off the coast of Melaque.  The reef juts up from the ocean bottom to about 900 feet and this causes currents that provide food for smaller fish and so the big boys stalk this area looking for their prey.

Three fish on one hook. Two Remoras one marlin.
At right around 10:00 AM, I was watching our lures bouncing behind the boat. Geraldo had set out five rods with lures to entice any predators that were stalking the area. Glancing back at the lure set out furthest from the boat I saw a splashing that was much different than the lures movement. The splashing subsided, but I knew we had attracted a fish. I poked Geraldo and told him we had a fish back on the far lure and he sprang to the rod. Moving the lure back and forth, up and back, he teased marlin until it struck. Within seconds, the fish had taken the lure and was hooked. I slid into position and took a hold of the rod waiting for the burst that comes when the marlin realizes that he is hooked.

The burst never came; in fact, a second run never came. I reeled and Geraldo maneuvered the boat and within 7 minutes the fish was in the boat, the fight over, victory was ours.

We looked over the fish and realized a possible reason that it didn’t fight or jump. When the hook was set, it went into the mouth and had jabbed up into the eye. We figured this stunned the fish enough that it couldn’t fight and so it just allowed us to pull it in. The fish was a striped marlin and measured over six feet from tip to tail. It would make a great Christmas dinner for all of us, we were pleased.

Now try and smile.
Back on the hunt, we pulled the lures for four more hours.  During that time, we had four hits, two from marlin and two from sailfish.  The two species of fish attack the lures in different ways and Geraldo was able to, with almost certainty; tell us whish strikes were from which fish.

On the way back in we motored close to the shipwrecked Los Llantinos when we came back to Barra. Man, that ship is huge and it rests on the rocks like the captain had parked it there.

By the end of the day, we were tired and hot but we did have a big fish to take home for dinner. 

During our day of fishing, the temperature hit the mid 90’s and we found out that the humidity was hovering around 86%. This mixed with being out in the sun about killed me.  All I could do was to get in the pool and then lay in the air-conditioned bedroom for the rest of the evening. 

Los Llanitos shipwrecked of Barra rocks. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Cuastecomates Day Trip

We rented Leone's van and drove to Cuastecomates today and spent the day on the beach.


Monday, December 21, 2015

La Officina for Football!

Our morning was spent in the pool and then we went to La Officina and watch the Seahawks win. Fun afternoon and great food!

Ryan was styling in Crocks and socks.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

R, H, Z & A

The Edwards have arrived and we are in the midst of all the chaos that accompanies 5 and 8-year-olds. What a blast! We played volleyball in the morning and then walked to Tito's and spent the rest of the day there. At Tito's, we met a couple, Corrie and Scott. Here are some photos of our first day.

Going fishing.

Corrie and Zane playing football.
Seaharwks Vs Corrie!
Clean up time!
Maybe a few more things for Holly.