Sunday, February 23, 2020

Petatlán, Mexico, el veintitrés de Febrero, 2020

Even though there’s no paper to read on Sunday, I can still spend hours doing absolutely nothing!  Eventually I walked to the combis to go to Peta which is about an hour away.  I like to sit in the front with the driver so I have a window and can see out forward.  Taped to the dash was a funny sign        “This seat in front is not a hotel.  Do not fall asleep!”-

Heading south of Zihua, the land is rolling and very dry-

Petatlán is known for it’s magical church. Many miracles have happened so there are a lot of tiendas selling statues-

other religious paraphernalia-

as well as t-shirts-

that say “Remembering my visit to the Sanctuary of Father Jesus”.  I didn’t buy one-

Mass was in progress and the church was packed so I wandered around.  Next door is a statue of Padre Jesus carrying his cross.  There is a table next to it where someone, I saw a nun and then a man in plain clothes sprinkle holy water on people-

On the other side of the church is a room where one can light candles in remembrance of people and to ask for favours.  I like that it’s not in the church because the black smoke makes a mess of everything-

The town is also known for its gold shops and there are many-

I had an agua con piña which was so good, then tacos dorados with cerdo.  They were tasty too-

Finally the church cleared out, sort of.  Guadalupe is a Mexican national icon, thanks to Hermán Cortés, the Spanish conquistador who overthrew the Aztec Empire in 1521.  He came from Extremadura, home to Our Lady of Guadalupe. By the 16th century, the Extremadura Guadalupe , a statue of the virgin said to be carved by Saint Luke was already a national icon.  Sundays are huge days in Petatlán and there was even a photographer on site, ready and willing to take your picture in front of  Guadalupe.  There were many people walking around with their 8 x 10s-

A man explained to me that there have been many miracles have occurred in the church.  All you have to do is ask.  I will say that there was very strong energy there.  I felt huge pressure on my breast bone the whole time I was in the church.  

There is another statue of Padre Jesus with his cross above the altar-

Sundays are also big baptism days and the families were gathered in the centre of the church with the priest for this sacrament-

I caught a combi home and had a cold shower and lay on my bed in the air conditioning.  Frick it’s hot.  Tonight I went to the Zorro Sports Bar to watch Einarson barely beat Homan in the Women’s Curling Final.  Homan just doesn’t give up!  I visited with Joy, a retired teacher from Kelowna who is here for 5 weeks with 4 other women.  There was also couples from Minnedosa, Shoal Lake and Quesnal, BC.  Everyone was cheering for Manitoba.

Tomorrow I’m back to the pool, the beach and then to class.  Life is tough!

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Playa las Gatas, Mexico, el veintidos de Febrero, 2020

After reading the paper, I went to Carmelita’s Cafe, the number 2 of 234 restaurants in Zihuatanejo, for breakfast.  I had Huevos Motuleños which is fried eggs on a tortilla, topped with frijoles, chorizo, tomato sauce, cheese, ham, avocado and platanos.  It was excellent.  I also had agua con pepino and limon which is something I’m going to try making at home.  It was really refreshing and not too sweet-

My plan was to go to the pool afterwards but it’s closed on the weekends!  How weird is that!  Now I wish I’d have gone yesterday.

I wandered to the playa and caught a small boat to playa Las Gatas which is supposed to be one of ‘the’ places to go-

We passed by a monster, the first one I’ve seen all week-

Looking back to Zihuatanejo-

The beach is popular apparently because it’s a reef so there’s a lot of snorkeling, poor snorkeling but still.  The bottom is all coral so it’s very hard to walk on with bare feet but most of the people were Mexican and well prepared, wearing water shoes-

The beach wasn’t very busy when I arrived-

so I went for a small walk up the hill to el faro, the lighthouse.  The path was well looked after-

but the lighthouse was not.  It had been living quarters but is now vacant except for wild animals and there’s a lot of garbage lying around.  The view is still nice-

The bay looking back to Zihuatanejo-

Once back at the beach, I found a lounge chair beside two girls from South Dakota.  We visited a bit and then they left for Playa Ropa.  I honestly don’t know why anyone would choose this beach over Ropa but people just kept coming-

Eventually I caught a boat back to the town, had an average burger and went home.  Patty Dupuis, an old friend from North Battleford has a place in Ixtapa and she texted that she was going to a restaurant nearby so I met her there.  We had a great visit and plan to get together next Saturday in Ixtapa at Experience the Doors Again with The Crystal Ship Band from Mexico City.  It’s a fund raiser for kids and street animals.  And speaking of street animals, I’ve seen posters asking Canadians to consider taking a stray animal home to Canada!  As if we don’t have enough of our own!  I’m sure some quacks do it though.  

Tomorrow I can’t go swimming so later on I’ll head to Petatlán, a town 36 km away, to check out it’s magical church!

Friday, February 21, 2020

Zihuatanejo, Mexico, el veintiuno de Febrero, 2020

What a lazy day!  I read most of a book - The Silent Sister by Diane Chamberlain.  I didn’t go to the pool, I didn’t leave my place except to walk to the bakery for a fresh warm bun for breakfast and then to the market to buy red snapper (it was so delicious!), a potato, a head of cauliflower and avocados for guacamole for lupper.  By the time I’d bought everything, I could have practically eaten out for the same money.  I guess that’s why there are so many restaurants - that’s what the tourists do of course but also many locals.

Unfortunately at 10 to 4 I had no choice but to go to the Cultural Centre where I had 10 students show up for my English class.  I noticed some improvement from yesterday which is encouraging.  Violeta is the mother of Alexis and Isiah.  She won’t leave them alone - she’s constantly whispering  to them and telling them what to say.  Finally I had to separate them from her!  Isiah looks handicapped - his eyes are really close together but once he was allowed to answer on his own, he’s pretty bright!  Believe it or not, the two hours passed quickly but during the last 15 minutes there was a loud band playing.  I thought it was in the courtyard of the centre but when I left my classroom, I could see a parade was in progress, celebrating Carnaval.  There were girls ribbon dancing-

Weird masks and costumes made of gunny sack material-

A man with a whip chasing a dog-

More masks and beards-

and girls in traditional dress-

The police were also present-

In the evening, I wandered down near the water front and came across a bar showing the curling.  I never imagined it would be on but I’ve sort of lost interest since Saskatchewan is out.  Downtown was just hopping - people eat supper so late - 9 pm!

Tomorrow is another day!  

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Zihuatanejo, Mexico, el veinte de Febrero, 2020

I had a great day - typical leisurely morning and then I walked to the pool and swam a kilometre.  I thought I had been swimming at least that all this time but after calculating, no.  So, I’ll increase it by 100 meters/day until I leave March 7.  I was all alone in the pool until the last 5 minutes - my private Olympic sized pool!  Crazy!

Right after swimming, I caught a combi to La Playa Ropa which is just down the road from Zihuatanejo.  What a gorgeous place!

The beach is small-

and the sand feels like powder.  There are no big crashing waves and the breeze coming in off the water was awesome-

The beach is very flat and black sand ripples with the beige.  It’s a very nice place and may be where I spend a lot of my days from now on-

I had thought about not even going here because I’m not into beaches really, maybe I am, but Valeri, whom I met yesterday at Playa Linda, is staying close by and she suggested I come today.  She’s from San Francisco and a Jehovah’s Witness.  She got talking about God a bit but I didn’t say anything to cause an argument.  She’s full of life and likes to have a good time-

I left the beach at 2:45 in time to get home, get cleaned up and get “to work”.  I really wasn’t looking forward to going and was sort of hoping no one showed up because then I could spend all day every day at the beach!  Everybody there knew who I was and some of the adults even called me Maestra - I laugh at them when they say that and they giggle too.  I was shown to my classroom-

which has an AC unit that is way too small for the space, and a ceiling fan that was moving the air around.  At 4 which was starting time, there were 6 students.  By 4:30 there were 14.  We learned introductions, numbers 1- 10, days of the week, the date, colours, the alphabet and classroom objects. We played some games and at 5:30 I gave them a 15 minute break.  Learning a second language is hard.  You have to stay switched on all the time and you get really tired.  One woman had to leave to pick up a child at 6 and 2 men had to go to church.  After the break we talked about the length of the class and decided we would start punctually at 4 - no Mexican time allowed and quit at 6 without a break.  They seemed relieved with that so I assigned their homework and away they went-

During the class, two different men came in and recorded what I was doing, took pictures and even participated.  Another man brought me a big bottle of water.  The classroom is part of a large complex where there are all sorts of activities happening - music classes, traditional dance and Zumba out in the courtyard with music blaring.  It’s not the quietest place but it didn’t phase any of them so it’s me who has to get used to the noise.

Tomorrow, I’ll go swimming again, then go back to Playa Ropa, teach and then there’s supposed to be a MoTown night at a local restaurant that I’ll check out.  Life is great!

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Ixtapa and Playa Linda, Mexico, el diecinueve de Febrero, 2020

It was a normal morning - paper, coffee, and breakfast.  I was at the swimming pool by 10.  I swam a little more than usual but now know the distance of the pool and I have not been swimming much at all - very disappointed so I have decided to increase my number of lengths every day from now on.  One month cost $18.29 which of course is a steal!  I had my own lane and there was a super clean bathroom where I could shower and change afterwards.

I caught a combi to Ixtapa and am very glad I’m not staying there.  The beach is lined with big resorts-

It seemed like a whole bunch of Paradise.  When I saw these huts, I thought they would be pretty cool to stay in-

but they are massage huts, not accommodation.  The small hotels and apartments seem a long way away from the beach, sort of in the hills.  That wouldn’t be convenient for me without a car so I’m glad I am where I am.

I left the beach and walked a bit to catch a bus to Playa Linda.  They have a few crocodiles and turtles in a swamp right where you get off the combi-

Playa Linda is a lovely small place with chaise longue restaurants!  Yeah!  I’ve been looking for these since Bucerias-

I had a coco loco which is a combination of rum, tequila and coconut water.  It was very strong but not tasty-

I spent about 4 hours on the beach, visiting for a while with Valeri from San Francisco and watching hordes of little kids play in the sand.  There were parasailers but they didn’t go very high-

Lupper was guacamole and it was close to the best I’ve had this trip-

I got home about 5 pm and enjoyed my AC, watched Meryl Streep in The Laundromat and planned my lesson for tomorrow afternoon.  It’s kind of hard because I don’t know how many students I will have or what their level of English may be.  One thing I know for sure is that I don’t have any resources so 3 hour classes are going to seem super long. Oh well, one day at a time!  

Petatlán, Mexico, el veintitrés de Febrero, 2020

Even though there’s no paper to read on Sunday, I can still spend hours doing absolutely nothing!  Eventually I walked to the combis to go...