Sunday, August 24, 2008
To see you there
Walking on a beach
In your island sundress
I see the heat surrounds you
Like the history of the world
You appear through light
Confident and alone
How does your silhouette walk through time
In such silver
With a land behind you
And tides at your feet?
Perhaps the oceans are your sidewalks
And the light you step out from
Are the dreams of others
To see you there
Walking through time
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Easter weekend turned out to be quiet which was a dramatic switch from the festivities of Semana Santa in Chacala! It was a welcome change though. I needed some quiet time to get adjusted. We did celebrate Easter the following weekend when everyone was home. Meagan made a gourmet feast as usual. We dined on Coq au Vin (sp?) with all the fancy fixings. Yum. In honour of my trip, she also made some homemade salsa as an appetizer which was the best I have tasted.
My son, Ryan and his girlfriend Christine made the trek to Detroit to pick me up at the airport. Thanks so much Ry and CK!
I took some photos of some of the people who I got to know in Chacala. Trini and Cundo were really great. Whenever I had a problem, usually a communication problem, I went to see Trini who was always so gracious and helpful even though she was busy with her own things. She is due to have her baby in June. I left a little baby gift behind to show my gratitude. Trini mentioned that she read my blog so if you are reading this Trini .. thanks once again for all of your help.
I took this picture of Aurora a few days before I left as she was talking on the porch to some renters from Montana. She's such a lovely woman. I will forever remember her on the last morning I was at Casa Aurora. I had gathered up my suitcases and placed them on the terrace. Being the spoiled gringa that I am, I fully expected the driver to help me transport these bags to the van, which had grown considerably in weight since my arrival. Aurora picked up the heaviest suitcase and lugged it down a flight of stairs and out to the van. I was amazed at the strength of this woman! We had some trouble communicating but still managed to understand each other on a different level. I will definitely stay at Casa Aurora on future visits and I highly recommend it. Aurora was a very good friend of Andee's as was Trini.
Buenos Noches everyone ...
Monday, March 17, 2008
Here's my view from the patio and a few pics of the inside. I love my little cocina (kitchen) ...
And here's the one that shows the whole property. There's a unit on the main floor and one above on the right. I walk up a set of stairs entering between the two buildings around the back. I will have to spend more time here on another trip. I'd like to support the "Techos de Mexico" program fully next time, now that I know more about it. The plants are so well cared for. It's easy to grow things here. Just plant and water. And Aurora is a sweetie.
The noise from the disco last night was deafening. I woke up several times in the night and suddenly remembered I had brought ear plugs! After 2 am or so, I finally fell asleep and they were still going. I can't believe this is the same Chacala. It's 7:30 pm and they have started again but it sounds like a live band tonight with lots of brass instruments. Kind of almost like "oom-pa-pa" music like you would here at Oktoberfest. I'm liking the sound of it and may wander down there later just to check out the action. The whole town is alive with sounds and sights. It's kind of exciting ... just so different than what I have been used to.
I told that boy to say "queso" (cheese) ... and he did!
And low and behold, I do have a wireless connection at Aurora's. I asked her today because I tried to get online and it showed there was a network but I needed the password. She gave me the password later today. I went over to Kate and Luiz's Casa Monarca this morning and used their rooftop but I won't need to be doing that now. I am still going over to take a family photo before I leave. Luiz gave me one of his original art pieces before I left. He used to paint and sell his art before he met Kate and had a family. How sweet that he gave me one. I have it hanging in my bedroom at Casa Aurora's. Here it is decorating my "clothes closet" .. It will be framed and hung when I get home.
I've moved around a lot since I've been here but I've enjoyed the different experiences I've had in each place. It takes at least a day to get set up and get your bearings each time though. I wake up that first morning thinking "ok, where am I now?" I've been having the most vivid dreams since I've been in Mexico. I've written them out in a dream journal. A lot of them are things that I am dealing with from the past. Freud would be fascinated, I am sure!
I was walking the quiet road today, and Pancho drove by in his truck and stopped to talk until the traffic got so busy behind him, he had to move. He will be in town for a few days so I hope to see him before I leave. He has a new job taking photos for a website so isn't doing the yoga anymore. Thanks for telling me Pancho. I went to the beach at 7 friggin am for 3 days!
It's camerone time amigos (I don't know why this suddenly showed up in italics but I think I will leave it just as it is.)
I am so hungry now ....
See ya at home. I miss my hija and hijo, Meagan and Ryan.
Buh bye for now......
Side note to the above: the music changed drastically since I wrote about the oom-pa-pa. It's back to the thumping disco music of last night. Where are those earplugs? :)
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Well, quiet little Chacala is changing rapidly. Semana Santa has hit town and according to those who know, this is nothing yet. Supposedly next week, says Luis, "will be a nightmare". It's hard to find a clear path to walk the beach. The nerve! :) After having the beach to myself practically. Families from Guadalajara, Mexico City, Tepic and other inland towns and cities have set up their tents and are ready to relax and have a good time. I don't feel comfortable going up close to the campsites and snapping pictures of families but they have sure made themselves at home with propane stoves, coolers and all the fixings. It appears they are here to stay for the duration of the holiday. The Policia were parked in the campground today and I realized it was the first time I had seen them. There is no crime in Chacala that I've heard of.
Mmmmmm ... Mantecadas (muffins) .....
People are building little shelters along the road above the beach in anticipation of more folks arriving and needing a place to stay. What ingenuity.
It doesn't take much to make a home in Mexico.
Speaking of home, or my second home, I am leaving Casa Monarca tomorrow afternoon and moving to Casa Aurora. Aurora and her family have been long term residents in Chacala and have added to their property with rental units. This has been made possible by the "Techos en Mexico" program, which is government funded. It is a great way to add to the family income. There are many "Techos" home in Chacala which are rented at reasonable rates. I am looking forward to interacting a little closer with a local family. It will be a great way to end my stay here. I am a little sad to leave Casa Monarca. I have felt very much at home here.
A new fruit I have discovered is jikema (hee-ka-ma). What a delightful taste treat! I've been buying it at the roadside stands where they cut it up for me and offer to put hot sauce on it but I have been declining the hot sauce ... no gracias. It is mild in flavour and is kind of a cross between an apple and pear taste. It's crunchy and looks kind of like a turnip and has a similar texture. It's low in fat, and it loaded with potassium and Vitamin C. I think they are a little heavy for my suitcase ... too bad. Eating a steady diet of fish, vegetables and fruit and walking around town and the beach all day long has benefited my weight immensely. I have lost a substantial amount of weight and can feel it in my clothes. Wow. Amazing.
Tonight I went to a concert at Casa Pacifica on the rooftop. Paul Swan was playing again, who I mentioned in an earlier post. This time he had friends though. Someone printed out songbooks and we all had a great time singing our hearts out. It wasn't meant to be a St. Paddy's celebration but with the singalong happening, it kinda felt like it. In this picture, we are singing along to "Downtown", that old Petula Clark tune. It was a lot of fun. The guy in the hat claims all songs originate from Green Bay, Wisconsin! You had to be there, I guess. He was quite the ham and very entertaining.
I won't have internet access at Casa Aurora's but Kate and Luis said I could use their rooftop for access for the rest of my stay. I may or may not be blogging before I come home or if I do, it will be brief (if such a thing is possible.)
I have so much more to share! I will have to catch up when I get home.
Happy St. Paddy's Day everyone. I wonder what the equivalent to the Blarney Stone is in Mexico?
I have a massage booked on Tuesday at Majuaha with Carmen. I just couldn't resist that place. It will be a nice way to relax my way home.
I have been cooking up some pretty good business ideas here and have a lot of people's encouragement and support. More on that later ...
Tonight just around dusk, I noticed chickens up in the trees! I didn't know they could fly up that high. Some kids told me that's where they go to sleep.
There was a very strange creature walking along the wall at Casa Monarca tonight. It was something I had never seen before a little larger than a cat and long and skinny with a pointy nose and long tail. Now I am hearing fierce sounds outside, similar to raccoons at home, and I have locked my door and have no intention of going back outside until the morning!
Every moment here is a little adventure. Oh .. I will so miss this place (sigh). I've been wondering why my attitude has changed so much since I've been here. By attitude, I mean how I feel about life, how I feel when I wake up in the morning. I know I'm just on vacation. My feet are solidly on the ground about that fact. But I think the difference is the beauty that surrounds me everywhere on a daily basis. It gets into your soul. There are many beautiful places at home too but I guess I'm so far away from them that I forget the beauty until I make an effort to go somewhere peaceful and beautiful. In my own city, I don't see much but traffic and shopping malls on a daily basis. I guess we don't realize how this affects our attitude over time. I'd like to hear other people's thoughts on this as well ....
Tonight I was speaking to someone about this at the concert and he said being in Chacala was like being in the womb. It's safe ... it's warm ... and you feel cared for. I kinda liked that analogy.
It is now Palm Sunday (since I am editing this in the morning) and I'm going to church which I could throw a stone to. Kate tells me they have really big palms fronds here! Then Kate is giving me a ride to Aurora's but not without getting a family photo first! And then who knows? Someone said there's a transvestite show at the beach tonight. How's that for changing the subject drastically?!!
It's only 8 am but the fishermen are driving up the road from the ocean with their catches of the day. There have already been several trucks driving through town announcing something or other on their loud speakers. I did recognize camerones (shrimp). It's a little overcast but that blue sky and sunshine is peaking through. How can every single day be so beautiful? I would usually be going for my daily morning walk along the beach by now but I'm thinking I will forego that today with all the people jamming the water's edge. Besides I want to get packed up and ready for church. This time I won't have sand on my bum and feet when I get there. :)
Good thoughts to you. Thanks for reading ...
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Ummmm .. me thinks a massage booking is in order?
I have discovered more iguanas in the rocks along the path down to the beach. I really find these creatures quite fascinating to watch and they don't creep me out in the least.
And where there's one, there's always more. I had to be really still and quiet to take these and it took quite a while to catch them. The least little movement and they are gone. Am I becoming an iguana stalker?
There's a marina that I pass by every day where the fishing boats dock. These good fishermen give us the mouth-watering fish at the restaurants every night.
I finally found out when the church service was and attended Mass Tuesday evening. It was a spontaneous decision. As I was walking back from the sunset after meeting Lindy and Amy, my butt and feet still full of sand and the bottom of my pants still rolled up, I heard singing coming from the church and decided to just join in. I must be really relaxed eh? I didn't understand a word but the same rituals of a Catholic service took place and I found myself genuflecting, saying Amen and making the sign of the cross all at the right places. The communion host is still received on the tongue here but it is dipped in wine! Viva Mexico! "Peace be with you" is said as "La Paz". I even knew a few of the people in the congregation. I left when I thought it was over but as I was walking home I heard everyone singing so I guess I left too early. They really sing their hearts out too! They need to cushion those kneeling benches though. Ouch.
Update on Semana Santa ... this morning I walked the beach and one bus load had already arrived. Families are setting up tents and kids are playing in the waves. I will keep you updated with pictures as the festivities progress.
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Here's Kate feeding Mrs. Iguana with a long pole ....
Someday, I will look back at this and realize that Casa Monarca was where I found my mind. :)
A contortionist (man this kid was good!)
These kids were watching the festivities and I think are also students here. They were mentioned as part of a group of kids who go around and pick up garbage on a weekly basis around Chacala. Bravo! One of the classrooms is shown in the background.
Traditional dancing ... Ole!
These kids were terrific!
If the spirit moves you, you can offer a donation to this program or even if you want to find out more about it, go to ...
I'm no engineer but this system appears to work quite well. Someone told me they are put on rooftops as a safety measure in case of hurricanes. The last hurricane which hit here was around 2001 and it apparently did a lot of damage. Luis told me his monthly water bill is around 160 pesos ($16 Cdn). I think I heard that right? I just paid my water bill for last month and it was $80!
I find the water system in Mexico interesting. Here is a picture of a tinaco (tee-na-ko) which sits on the rooftop next door. All of the homes have a tinaco on the roof. The water is pumped up from the town water system to the tinacos and when a tap is turned on in the casa, a valve opens and the water flows to the tap by gravity.
I saw Allan and Magda on the beach the other day and Allan caught me again with that camera of his! Don't I look unhappy to be here? :)
The roosters are crowing but it's just after 11 pm. They will be back around 4 am and then again at 6 am. I have no idea when they sleep. While I was writing this, I heard someone practicing guitar from a distance but it was with an amplifier so I could hear it quite clearly.
It was another busy Sunday with the beach full of families. Everyone is gearing up for the upcoming holiday Semana Santa (Easter) where not a room will be found to rent in the whole town. Families from inland all flock to the beach towns for this holiday and the beaches are jammed with campers. I hear it's a lot of fun but a bit crazy for about 2 weeks. I will be leaving just before that happens. I think I am thankful for that but who knows.
Buenos Noches amigos and amigas ... sleep well. We now can enjoy an extra hour of daylight. I hope all that snow I've been hearing about will be melted by the time I get home!