Thursday, January 16, 2020

Happy 28th Birthday Uncle Nico! El Dieciséis de Enero, 2020

Today Nico is 28!  I often wonder what he would be doing.  So many of his friends have careers, are married and have children.  I hope life is good for him wherever he is.  He was so much fun-

I certainly see him in my two grandchildren-

We were down on the beach early this morning and the first thing Andi did was face plant in the sand.  She hates being dirty-

Nico loves ice cream, especially chocolate mint.  He gets a cone a day-

Jane and the kids spent the day at the kid’s pool which they love.  They wear life jackets so they can float all day.  I made a grocery run to Walmart and luckily found a carrot cake!  It was good, but certainly not one made with love by Janice at NBCHS-

We sang Happy Birthday and then the kids blew out the candle.  Andi had already broken the “2” in half and ripped out the wick so there was only the “8” to extinguish, however-

The candles I bought were non extinguishing so Nico would blow it out and it would re-light.  Or, maybe Uncle Nico was having some fun with his nephew-

Andi decided she was missing out-

Finally they had it!  We had a great day and are looking forward to more fun in the sun and water tomorrow!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta, el quince de Enero

OMG!  That’s all I can say.  The only thing in the world that causes me anxiety, besides hospital tests, and that’s from living with Nico’s problems for seven years, has proven that I had a reason to be anxious.  I missed my flight!

I was up plenty early but waited until first light to walk the six blocks to the Main Street where I was told, by an employee at the bus depot, that I could very easily flag down a bus going to the airport.  So, I was there at 7:30 and three buses went by.  Two did stop but just shook their heads at me.  So at 8, I decided to walk to the bus depot where I guess I should have gone to begin with.  If only I’d have known.  So, I bought my ticket and was on the milk/mail/slowest route in hell by 8:20.  It’s only about 35 kilometres but it took one hour and forty minutes.  The driver was an old guy who seemed to be driving like he was out on a Sunday crop tour.  It got worse when one of his friends got on and they chatted.  The bus route was very busy so the driver also spent a lot of time making change and stopping and starting.  The bus does not go into the airport, it just dropped me off on the highway.  To cross, I had to go up and over a huge ramp and then the run/walk began but it was difficult with my luggage.  From the highway to the terminal is 1.1 km.  Once inside the terminal, I eventually found the desk for Aeromar - there appears to be only one, but no one was there.  Not good because that meant the flight had been closed.  The woman at the next counter sent me on some wild fucking goose chase to find Aeromar’s counter and I ended up coming back to where I was to begin with.  They sent me to Aeromar’s office which is down a dark hallway but because they were loading the flight, no one was there.   I tried calling but got some voice message that made no sense to me so I went looking for information.  What a nice man works there!  He called Aeromar - no answer and then suggested I come back in about 20 minutes and he would call again and try to get me set up on the 2:15 flight which is the one I was going to take initially so I would arrive at the airport at the same time as Jane and the kids, however, I thought - what if that flight is cancelled for who knows what reason so I booked the earlier flight.  That was probably a good idea because if I’d have had the same things happen getting here this afternoon, I’d have missed that flight too.  Fricking hell.  

Once my first flight left, the employees were back in their office. I managed to get another flight - they said the last seat on the plane so of course it cost a lot as in an extra $228 but at least I got here.

I had to wait about an hour in the airport for the family to arrive.  We caught an Uber to Paradise Village Beach Resort and Spa and got checked in, had supper and get the kids to bed.  It’s been a long day for everyone!

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Ajijic, Mexico, el catorze de Enero, 2020

I was awakened early - Dyne was coughing up a lung.  I had my coffee and read the paper and by the time I got up, he was gone, as in left, not dead.  I was debating not going for the hike but was ready in plenty of time so I went and am glad I did.  A whole bunch, probably 50+ gringos meet a couple mornings a week to go hiking.  They have a ‘president’ who speaks about any news and announces activities in the works.  Then, each hike leader talks about their hike - the elevation and how long it takes, then people split up and go.  I’d say the average age was about 70.  Doris, Wayne and I went in the Chapel group which is the shortest and they ask that all newbies start with that one.  There were fourteen of us and it was easy.  There are stations of the cross along the way-

The view is nice and believe it or not, the lake is in the background.  It was very misty so it just looks like clouds-

The chapel at the top-

We walked down the same way and it was exactly an hour.  I’m glad I went and it’s a great way to meet others.  I visited quite a bit with Sven who is 82 and has been coming here for 12 years, usually for six months but this year he waited too long to book a place so is only here for two months.  He’s an electrical engineer turned electronics teacher and gymnastics coach. There were a lot of Liberals, I mean Ontario people in my group.  I didn’t Ike any of them because I’m blaming them for the mess we are in.

After, I went back to Nuevo Posada to see Pedro about some estambre but he didn’t have any and won’t until March.  Disappointed, I carried on to the Malecon where there’s a labyrinth in memory of Marie Dwyer Bullock with a message to walk the road to the centre of the heart for a spiritual feeling and peace-

There’s also a skateboard park-


Some wall art-

And men fishing-

It was my turn to supply the beer for our happy hour.  We like Modelo Negro but not a single tienda had it so I decided I needed to go to Walmart.  I was going to catch a bus and there just happened to be one sitting at a red light so I started to run towards it and this little wild dog came after me, nipping at my heels.  He didn’t bite but he distracted me enough and I charged back at him, wasting enough time for the light to turn green and the bus to take off.  So I walked - there and back which was fine.  Unfortunately the only Negra they had was in bottles and sold in 12 packs so I settled for Especiale which is almost as good.

I spent a couple of hours with Doris and Wayne, then went to a great Thai restaurant for Panang curry-

I’m in my room and there is live music playing, it sounds like they’re under my bed they’re that close.  They’re playing Goldie oldies and so far I don’t mind.  They started at 7 and due to the age of the audience, it will likely end by 9!
I’m catching an early bus on the street corner to go to the airport as soon as there’s daylight.  I get to Puerto Vallarta at 11:30, hope to check in, get to Walmart to buy groceries, then get back to the airport for 4 pm!  Looking forward to seeing Jane, Nico and Andi and the next two weeks!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Ajijic, Mexico, el trece de Enero, 2020

It’s kind of weird being in someone else’s home after having my own apartment the last two and a half months. I got up around 7 and in no time Dyne was up too.  It was as if he was waiting for me to wake up so he could get up.  As usual, I had a leisurely morning - Dyne has a beautiful patio where one could spend days.  I went walking - I’m looking for a piece of estambre which is Huixol string art and I’m not having much luck.  I saw a couple pieces in Guadalajara - they were about 18 inches square but I didn’t like the colours.  I’ve only found a very small one - about five inches square here for the same money as the big ones in the city.  Now I’ve got a line on Pedro whom I’ll meet tomorrow morning to see what he’s got.

I wandered around town and eventually ended up at Walmart.  It’s pretty much the same as at home except it sells booze. I was in line at a cashier, looking at a woman ahead of me thinking she looked an awful lot like Doris Fennig when she looked up and said “Allison?”.  I guess it was Doris.  And it turned out they are staying at the end of my street so this afternoon I wandered over for a beer.  They are in one of four casitas in a gorgeous complex.  They have a rooftop patio that is just being finished and a lovely garden outside their apartment. They are here until February 1 when they go to Guayabitos.

I came home and had lupper - huge camarones and then went for an evening walk along the Malecon.  It’s much quieter today than yesterday.

I may join a hiking group in the morning but 8:15 comes pretty early and I’m very lazy so we will see.

I am enjoying the weather - I can see why people flock here. It’s not too cold - only down to about 10 at night and during the day, it’s a comfortable warm.

Looking forward to more sun tomorrow.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Guadalajara to Ajijic, Mexico, el doce de Enero, 2020

I took my time leaving Guadalajara, some on purpose, some not.

I had to have tacos doradas ahogadas once more before I left-

Crispy shells stuffed with barbecue pork topped with more pork, cebolla, cabbage and salsa.  Delicious.

I finally left the apartment at noon because that was checkout time and after ten minutes waiting, caught a bus.  Sometimes two to three of a same number will go by and not the one I need.  Once I got on, it seemed to be going the right direction and then turned and went the opposite way.  I was watching on my phone and showing the driver and all of a sudden all the old people on the bus started arguing about where I needed to go to catch my bus to Ajijic.  Soon we stopped and a man was telling me, I think, that I had to change buses and he’d show me.  I was going to walk but he said it was too peligroso - dangerous.  Oh, whatever.  I hate it when people say that.  It creates a tension that may or may not exist, depending on so many factors.  So I waited at least fifteen minutes for the next bus and decided for $2.29 I could get UBER.  What Took me so long?  Along the way my driver said that there were some streets closed and routes changed so my bus probably wouldn’t have came anyway.

The bus depot was mild chaos but soon I was on my way to Ajijic.

It’s a nice lake town with a Malecon-

There’s no beach and the water smells-

So it’s a resort kind of town.  There are many Canadians and Americans living here permanently.

After finding my house, I went wandering.  At first I thought this was a bar -

What a perfect set up.!  Mom and Dad can drink while the kids amuse themselves in the bouncy house.  But no, it turned out to be Victoria’s-

third birthday.  Those are gift bags beside her, stuffed with candy.

I came home and visited with Dyne who is originally from a small town outside of Santa Barbara, California.  He was a commercial diver - cucumbers, sea anemones etc. A good day was $1500!  Holy.  His Mom and Dad moved here in 1990 and a few years ago when his Mom got old and sick, he quit his job and came to look after her.  She died a couple years ago - he’s not sure the day??? maybe today, maybe next week.  Anyway..... since she died, he’s alone so rents out a room.  I’ve been lucky that most places on this trip, in fact this might be the first one not, I’ve had my own apartment but now I’m sharing his ‘home’ - it feels a bit weird.

I’m looking forward to wandering tomorrrow and finding a pescaderia for camarones.


Saturday, January 11, 2020

Guadalajara, Mexico, el once de Enero, 2020

I can’t believe I’ve been here a week  Time is just flying by.

I caught the right bus towards Bosques Los Colomos and ended up at a large shopping mall.  I walked through it, marvelling at the similar stores to home and the people.  People everywhere - shopping -  buying things they probably do not need.  Rather than catch another bus, I walked about half an hour to the park entrance.  It was a beautiful and quiet place in the middle of bustling Guadalajara.  I mainly came to see the Japanese Garden-

It had a few ponds and a few bridges but no really cool Bonsai trees.  There were quite a few koi-

Big koi-

And hundreds of these bushy tailed rats, looking for food-

Afterwards, I wanted to catch a bus towards Gran Plaza, the newest mall in the city and knew I would also have to transfer. Three super full buses didn’t even stop at the parada even though people had their arms out.  Finally, I called Uber and for $5 and no hassle, I was dropped off at the front doors.  Gran Plaza is huge and has a food court on the top level with many North American restaurants.  The busiest one was KFC.  People buy buckets of chicken and then sit around with their families having lunch.  I ate at Hot Burger and had an awesome 250gram Philadelphia burger.  I could hardly get my mouth around it - ya, that big!  And the fries were so good.  There was a DQ but I was too full for a Blizzard.  I checked out the movies but there was nothing for me to see, then walked across the street to the Harley Davidson store.  They had one XL t-shirt and it was too big.  The rest were S and XS.  Don’t ask me why - Mexico is right up there on the obesity charts.  Anyway, nothing fit so I walked away - hard to do but I did it.  I caught another bus back to Centro then sat in my favourite park listening to the gushing fountain.  I fell asleep and had the shit scared out of me when a panhandler asked for money.

Tomorrow I’m off to Ajijic which is on Laguna de Cajititlan for three nights.  I’ve enjoyed Guadalajara but am looking forward to moving on.  It’s the last stop before my company arrives!


Friday, January 10, 2020

Guadalajara, Mexico, el dies de Enero, 2020

I had a leisurely morning then decided to go to Parque Colomos which is a Japanese Garden.  All I needed to do was walk two blocks, hop on bus 54 or 50 and I’d be there in no time.  Well, luckily I asked the drivers before getting on because none of them went to Colomos.  One driver told me bus 51 did.  Well there was no bus 51 for 45 minutes so eventually I thought I really didn't need to go that badly and walked to the centre.  I bought a couple pounds of coffee from Starbucks so I’m well prepared when Jane comes which is in five sleeps and then I had lunch.  I noticed a sushi restaurant a couple of nights ago because they have a sushi train.  When Nico was sick and we were in Winnipeg, we’d go down to The Forks where they had a sushi train.  He loved sushi!  I wasn’t crazy about it then but it has grown on me.  So, I went in and wouldn’t you know it but it was a buffet so for $14, I paid and shit, what a mistake.  Everything on the ‘train’ was a California roll with a different garnish.  Then, the buffet - I hate buffets, was cold.  Everything was freezing cold.  I asked the worker for some hot fries and all he did was reheat some - they were bad.  They had pretty large shrimp but you had to peel them.  I ate a bit of this and a bit of that, certainly not my money’s worth.  The best part was the raspberry ice cream, although it had thawed and been refrozen - you know how ice cream gets crystally when that happens.  There were five different kinds of cookies and they were the best part of the whole meal.  Very disappointing.

My next stop was at the Teatro Degollado which was built in the 19th century.  Thanks to Arturo.e.delarosa for the photo, I forgot to take one-  

Inside it’s typical for theatres of this time period-

There’s a huge chandelier in the lobby-

Unfortunately there’s nothing playing until the 19th. I came home and relaxed then decided to go to a movie. I caught the bus to ‘modern’ Guadalajara which is like any large Canadian city.  I paid for El Faro - The Lighthouse.  I have had the chance to see it in a few places but it’s been my second choice so thought I’d watch it today. Well, it’s black and white and takes place in the ‘olden’ days.  The men in it don’t really talk and the old guy who does has a Scottish accent that I could hardly understand so after 10 minutes I thought - I’m out of here.  Life is too short to watch bad movies.  I wandered around the theatre looking for It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood because that started half an hour later.  I went into a few theatres looking for something in English and just starting.  I thought I’d found it and asked a man who was deaf - he pointed to his ear for me to talk directly into it.  He said I was in the right place so I found a seat and the movie started.  It turned out to be Richard Jewell which I’d already seen.  Eventually I found the right place.  The movie has a good message - love, forgiveness, patience, acknowledging feelings, accepting people for who they are at this moment in time and being present but I found it a little slow.  Anyway, it was something to do.  I caught a speedy bus home and enjoyed my walk in the dark. I don’t go out much at night - I’m usually pretty tired from being out during the day, I don’t eat supper and it’s a drag going to a bar in the night by yourself.  The city is hopping!  There are drummers in the park, more traffic than in the day and people out and about everywhere.  

Tomorrow I’m going to try to get the right bus to Parque Colomos and maybe go to a big shopping mall, just to see.  There’s a Harley Davidson store near it that I’ll probably check out.  Looking forward to another warm day.  It’s -40 at home with the wind!


Thursday, January 9, 2020

Tlaquepaque, Mexico, el nueve de Enero, 2020

Tlaquepaque is a town that has been swallowed by Guadalajara.  It’s mainly for tourists and to be honest, I don’t know what the attraction is but it’s where I spent the afternoon.

I took the bus there and back and you sure have to be on the ball.  The buses come down the street really fast and if you don’t get your arm out quick enough, they just whiz right by.  Sometimes they have two or three route numbers on the front, sometimes a route number is up on the flashing sign.  I missed the first bus I needed and had to wait another half hour.  It wasn’t even in the lane by the curb and went by before I even saw it!

The tourist area in Tlaquepaque is probably five blocks by four blocks.  There are a lot of bronze sculptures scattered around including Hidalgo declaring Independence-

Dancers and musicians-

A gallo, a sound I’m not missing all night, every night-

A fat Mexican - come to think of it, I haven’t seen one sombrero, not even for sale in the tourist shops-

Not sure what this is about-

There are some restored mansions-


Our Lady of Solitude Sanctuary was built between 1742 - 1882 which is why it has so many architectural styles-

Plazas and fountains-

Pedestrian streets-

Tequila shops-

selling huge jugs of the rot gut-

Murals with anybody who was anybody in Tlaquepaque represented-

City hall was built in the 19th century-

And all kinds of street art-

Don’t forget the sign, or the ‘letters’ as the locals call it-

For lunch I had chicken mole in the local market and a beer later on in a cervezeria.  I like how they just add “eria” to any word to make it a shop.

Once back in Guadalajara’s centre, I strolled past Templo de Aranzazu-

which is very ornate-

And San Francisco de Asis-

I walked to the cambio street and got 18.10 pesos/US dollar.  I tried at an Electra in Tlaquepaque but the computer told the teller not to give me any money.  They take a copy of your passport and need to know where you’re staying.  So weird.  She asked when the last time was I used Electra and it was in Mazatlan.  She made a funny face, I’m not sure what the screen was telling her but I walked away empty handed.  Downtown at the cambio place, I gave the teller my money, she gave me pesos.  Simple.  No questions asked.

I had an okay day - I’m not sure what I thought Tlaquepaque would be like and am not sure what I’m going to do tomorrow.  I’ve pretty much seen everything that interests me and there aren’t many English movies playing so it might be a slow day.  I don’t mind lazing in the sun.

Happy 28th Birthday Uncle Nico! El Dieciséis de Enero, 2020

Today Nico is 28!  I often wonder what he would be doing.  So many of his friends have careers, are married and have children.  I hope lif...