Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Zihuatenengo, Mexico, el dieciocho de Febrero, 2020

Well things seemed a lot better today  I had a great sleep and after reading the paper and a couple pots of coffee, I went walking before it got too hot.  The streets were pretty empty and it was relatively cool.  I walked to the alberca Olímpica and for about $18 I can get a month membership so I’ll start swimming tomorrow.  After, I walked and walked looking for the only CrossFit gym in Zihua.  I final found it high on a hill.  They offer 7 different classes a day but they have no air conditioning and after walking the 2.5 km there, I would be so hot it would be a repeat of PV in early November.  So, I walked home for breakfast.

Before breakfast, I went to the bakery just around the corner and heard “Alli” but paid no attention to it because who would be calling me here?  Then I heard it again and also heard footsteps.  It was Angie my landlady here because city workers were coming to verify that the apartment is where she lives, no longer a tienda and not a rental unit.  They were actually hanging out by my door when I got home from my walk and said “renta’ when I opened the door.  Owners have to pay more for electricity and water if it’s a tienda or a rental so she wanted to make sure they thought she lived here and that I was her visiting tia - aunt.  Not your sister? -she laughed.  She came in and decided I need more toilet paper, more towels and new batteries for the remote so she’s coming back at 8 tonight.  She works at a cyber shop with 6 computers 7 days a week.

After she left and breakfast, I caught a combi to the bus station to buy my ticket for Morelia which isn’t until March 7 but when I checked online, there wern’t many seats left.  The combi driver has lived here all his life and never been on a bus!  He dropped me off and sent me walking only for me to find out I should have stayed in the combi another block and I’d have ended up right at the front door!

I came home via the market where I bought what looks like awesome bacon and half a kilo of shrimp.  The vendor even peeled them for me and had them for lupper.  Very good, as usual.

I had an idea while walking that I should volunteer at a school to teach English so just around the corner from where I live is-

which offers programs after school for kids.  I went back and forth three times until the director was finally there.  He seemed very excited and is sending out a promotion today stating there will be intensive English classes offered for beginners starting this Thursday and running until Friday March 6 from 4-7 pm.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll have one student, maybe I’ll have none but I thought it would be a way for me to fill my days.  I’ll have a white board, black markers, a table and chairs. Now I have to figure out how I’m going to fit in all that I have planned to see and do in the area in the mornings.

later, I walked down to the beach for a beer and found another statue-

Because of the heat, most of the sidewalks are covered with roofs which make for shady walks-

Tomorow I’ll go swimming and probably to La Playa Ropa.  Things are good.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Manzanillo to Zihuatenengo, Mexico, el diecisiete de Febrero, 2020

I spent quite a few hours at the pool yesterday although I wasn’t there alone.  Four young guys were drinking beer - I kind of think they snuck in and it looked like the guard eventually asked them to leave.  I swam my lengths and Wally came to say goodbye.  Another man showed up and we had a good visit.  He worked as a fashion designer for Levi Strauss in Mexico City for 25 years.  He’s now retired and living in Real Del Country, the condo complex where I stayed.  He was very spiritual - is a Buddhist and can see auras. We had a very interesting conversation.  Eventually I caught the bus to the depot - after awhile I asked the driver to make sure it went to the depot because we were off the path according to my map but we finally got there.  When I went to get off, a cord on my backpack was lodged underneath the seat and I couldn’t get it out.  Another passenger tried and eventually the bus driver had to help.  Usually you get to the door before the bus stops so you can get off quickly but I delayed the trip by a few minutes!

Unfortunately, the website is wrong and the bus didn’t leave at 6:30 but at 7 which meant I had even more time to kill.  I thought I should eat because I had no idea if the bus would stop for supper.  Outside there was a taco stand and I had the worst shrimp taco ever - so dry and over cooked and then  I had a hamburger in the depot that didn’t appear to be made of meat at all.  At 8:30, we did stop at a great restaurant but I wasn’t hungry.  Another surprise was that the length of the trip went from 5 hours and 15 minutes to 8 hours!  Yuck.  And, just like my last long trip, the bus sucked.  There was no wifi, my tv wouldn’t work and I couldn’t charge anything.  To make matters worse, I had chosen seat 5 which is near the front where it’s usually cooler and you don’t get any toilet smell but apparently with this bus line, your seat number means nothing - you take what you can get so I ended up at the smelly back.  There were four young kids - a girl and three boys, that were travelling alone to Acapulco.  The girl was the oldest and maybe 12.  The youngest boy ended up sitting with me which was great because he was little.  Throughout the night he slept all bent over, leaning on me.  I too slept quite a bit but it was cramped and uncomfortable.  We arrived on time at 3 am.  I messaged my hosts and they met me at the apartment.  It’s going to be okay - it’s right in the centre of town and I like that but it is windowless which is typical because the buildings are all built sharing side walls.  The bed is very comfortable-

I have a great air conditioner which is awesome because this place is hot - 33 today!  I also have a television but it only has Spanish stations-

and the kitchen seems well equipped with an induction hot plate-

Once I was up and my hosts had brought over a blanket and big jug of water, I wandered around and had excellent fish and shrimp tacos for brunch-

I also had Agua horchata.  It’s made with rice, almonds, cinnamon, evaporated milk, almond milk and sugar and is really good-

A few blocks away I found the main beach-

which was basically deserted.  There aren’t a lot of tourists here, at least not where I’ve been.  There are however a lot of statues-

I came home and had a cold shower and read my book.  Later I went out again and found a grocery store and the market-

I also found some pastel tres leches which looked too good to eat.  Pastel tres leches is a regular baked white cake that then has a cup of whipping cream, a can of condensed milk and a can of evaporated milk poured over it.  It’s covered in whipped cream and to die for-

After, I came home to the air conditioning, had another shower and read my book.  I’m going to have to find some way to spend my days because I’m here for three weeks and you can only eat, drink, shower and read so much!  I’m not complaining and maybe it’s because I’m tired after last night so we will see what I think come tomorrow.  

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Manzanillo, Mexico, el quince de Febrero, 2020

Yesterday was typical.  I went to the pool in the morning and then went to Wally and Sharon’s at 2:30 because at 3, it was happy hour at the Oasis - 2 for 1 margaritas and beer.  Win, win!

Today, I caught the bus about 11 because we were going to Santiago which is just down the street.  Wally and Sharon were waiting at the next bus stop.  Sharon went to the dentist and Wally and I had a couple beer at Gringo’s Corner.  It’s like The Stump Bar in Guayabitos - everyone sits on plastic chairs on the sidewalk.  After, we went for lunch and I had a Michelada Especial-

It’s a regular michelada with shrimp, cucumber and oranges around the rim.  After, we went to the market where the strangest vendors were selling tables and tables of hair bows-

and used tools -

The only thing I bought was an avocado that I had for supper with tostadas.  A shoemaker works out of a booth beside the street-

We caught the bus home-

and I went to the pool.  I have permission to stay in my place tomorrow until 4 pm.  Checkout is at 11 but no one is moving in and the cleaner lives downstairs so she doesn’t mind if I stay late.  My bus leaves for Zihuatenengo at 6:30 pm.  I can’t believe I’ve already been here a week!  Time flies in lovely Mexico!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Barra de Navidad, Mexico, el trece de Febrero, 2020

Yesterday was slower than usual - if that’s possible.  I found a Starbucks so now hopefully have enough coffee to last the next month, I got a few groceries at Walmart and spent some time by the pool.  The end.

The weather at home has been pretty decent, until this morning-

-45 wind chill!  Glad I’m not there!

Today I went to Barra de Navidad, which is one hour away by bus.  I was very lucky because when I got to the front gate, the bus was coming down the road!  It took an hour to get there with the stops and starts and it’s a nice, small place filled with Canadians.  Two marlins welcome visitors to the town-

The market was in progress-

I really like these small wooden bowls that are sanded smooth, painted and vanished-

I found the beach and it was practically deserted-

I had coconut water and red wine-

A couple boys, I would guess 10 and 12 were surfing from the shore.  The smaller boy was really good.  They had some vicious wipeouts but never quit-

I visited with a couple from Toronto for awhile.  They spend 6 months here.  Wow!  What would you do all day?  Well, he reads and she cross stitches.  Anyway, I eventually ventured in the water - the waves were huge and crashing on the shore.  I got out okay but then the food I’d ordered arrived and the waiter had my change so I was trying to get out and got absolutely demolished.  There was sand in my hair, inside my bathing suit and in my mouth!  My lips were scrapped up and I was killing myself laughing!  I went in and out a couple more times without difficulty.  After a few hours of staring at the waves, enjoying the heat and peacefulness, I went to the bus depot, only to learn the bus would be another hour.  So, what does one do in Mexico when they have an hour to kill?  Find a bar.  I visited with a man from who lives on the hill at Silver Star in the Okanagan and who was a guide for 25 years, taking people skiing in the outback, either via helicopter or by his favourite way, climbing.  He did it until his knees gave out.  I also visited with a woman from Idaho who lives in Barrie full time now but first visited in 1997 and with an oil trucker from Brooks, AB who knew a few people there I know.  Eventually my bus came, I got home just fine and went swimming for an hour.

I had a great day and am looking forward to happy hour at the Oasis tomorrow with Wally and Sharon.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Manzanillo, Mexico, el once de Febrero, 2020

I had another leisurely morning.  I went to the pool to lie in the sun and swim my lengths then went to Wally and Sharon’s for 2 pm.  There’s a funny sign on the street on the way-

No music or scandals allowed!   I had a taco for lunch in the street and then we caught the bus to HOA - Hostel Olas Altas which has 2 for 1 margaritas on Tuesdays-

There, we met Don and Donna Woodworth-

The place is packed with old gringos-

who dance to great music and play Jenga-

There are painted poems on the walls-

including one by Nietzsche-

There is a large umbrellaed beach area but we stayed inside-

We caught the bus home and I went to the pool for another half hour of swimming.  I’m really enjoying swimming, it’s something I haven’t  done for years but I may pick it up once I’m home.  Tomorrow I think I’ll go into Manzanillo to have a look around but I will spend the afternoon on the beach!  Life is awesome and the days are passing much too quickly!

Monday, February 10, 2020

Manzanillo, Mexico, el dies de Febrero, 2020

I had a leisurely morning - drinking coffee and reading the paper.  Eventually I wandered down to the pool which except for another couple from the Toronto area, was my own private place-

After my win, I wandered to nearby GOM gym which is very modern and cheap - $18 for a week-

Unfortunately they only offer Zumba at 7 pm and CrossFit at 9 pm!  I would never sleep if I worked out that late!  I think I’m going to just keep swimming in the pool because once in Zihuatanejo, I won’t have one.

Lunch was shrimp soup but they left the peel on the shrimp so it was kind of messy eating.  It reminded me of the time my family came for Thanksgiving.  I made a seafood soup but had never used that particular brand of shrimp before and didn’t realize they weren’t peeled.  No one was impressed-

A young fellow was hanging around the restaurant so he practiced his English and me my Spanish.  He drives a 15 passenger van as a taxi and mentioned he was taking a group of Canadians to Barra de Navidad later this week and if I wanted to come, I could pay my share.  He’s charging them $271 so that’s about $39 each!   It’s possible to go down to the main bus terminal and catch a bus but he said it’s a long way away.  I asked him if it wasn’t possible to just hop on a bus going by on our street which goes to the main highway.  He looked at me, hesitated and lied.  That was the end of our conversation.

I wandered over to Schreiber’s for a visit and a couple beer.  They are in such a nice complex-

We went down to the beach where there was a bocce ball tournament going on.  They raise money for a disabled man who was almost beaten to death and now needs a lot of help-

Wally and Sharon-

We wandered down the beach-

towards “The Village” which is a bunch of restaurants set up under umbrellas. It’s where the Mexicans hang out-

There were more people in the water-

and more boats-

I came home via a couple grocery stores so now have provisions for breakfast.  I was hot and the sun was just setting so went back to the pool for another swim.  The water felt like a bathtub.

Tomorrow there’s an event happening around 2 down at the beach and margaritas are 2 for 1.  So.....

Zihuatenengo, Mexico, el dieciocho de Febrero, 2020

Well things seemed a lot better today  I had a great sleep and after reading the paper and a couple pots of coffee, I went walking before i...