Friday, December 30, 2011

Hurricane Jova Video

This video was made by a Storm Chaser and was taken in Emiliano Zapata which is about 50 kilometers north of Melaque. The winds there were much stronger than I experienced in Melaque. Good video


From Footage from the violent inner core of Hurricane Jova as it raked Emiliano Zapata, Jalisco, Mexico on 11-12 October 2011. The wind starts to really pick up at 2:29, steadily building to a ferocious climax at 4:26.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Tamales

My sister emailed that she was listening to an NPR program on Christmas posadas in Mexico so I visited their site.    Didn't find anything on posadas but did find this tamales article on their food blog.   Got my mouth watering for tamales tonight.

NPR article by Maria Godoy

It's Christmas Eve, and many Latinos will celebrate the holiday tonight by unwrapping a delicious little present: tamales.

At its essence, a tamale consists of masa (a type of starchy corn dough) that's been wrapped in leaves, then steamed or boiled. Some come bundled in corn husks, others in plantain, banana or mashan leaves. Some are sweetened with molasses, others spiced with mole. Some are plain, others filled with meats or vegetables.

Indeed, Latin America has hundreds of interpretations of the tamale — these vary not just by country but often by region. In Mexico alone, "we have over 200 tamales," says Iliana de la Vega, a chef-instructor at the Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio, who is documenting Latin American foodways.

So whose version is best? That's a question likely to elicit a fiercely partisan response.

Full NPR article

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Night of our neighborhood posada

Tonight is the night for our neighborhood posada and altho it may start a little earlier, the pinatas are scheduled for around 7pm. It's getting dark here by 7 so I took these fotos of the two pinatas I bought in case I get none of the party. There should be two more, possibly hand made by neighbors.

I bought these two in a little shop across from Cruz Roja in Cihuatlan, $130 pesos for the star and $110 pesos for the horse. The horse was filled with newspaper and no space for candy so I had to cut his back open and stuff the best I could. The star has a ceramic pot that was easy to fill.  Hopefully will add a few more fotos tomorrow if there is a little light tonight.

Pinatas for neighborhood posada in Pinal Villa, Melaque

Ava just brought over her hand made pinata and I filled it with candy. They then took it over to the party site and hung it ready to be beaten to death. I guess hers is going to be first. I'm empessed with the quality.

Well it was too dark to get any pinata breaking fotos but it was lots of fun. This is an IPhone foto of the line up for 'ponche' (punch). My old Sony camera was not working in low light at all.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Stove made of clay or barro

One of the benefits of hurricane Jova (I guess) was all the mud like clay it brought down from the hills. Eventually the mud must break down and become decent soil because this is a very fertile valley. I wasn't nearly so happy with the mud/clay that filled every space in my car.

However my neighbor knew the value when he built this stove of brick covered with clay. The clay hardens like in a kiln near the fire and the rest hardens in the sun. I was over looking at his hammocks and thought the stove very ingenious

Clay stove in Pinal Villa near Melaque Mexico

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Trying my IPhone camera

Tried my IPhone camera yesterday while at the open mic at Sirenitas. There are no adjustments so you get pretty much what you see. This one is a little darker than reality and a different angle might have helped. Keeping it steady is the most difficult part .... practice and more practice. You can switch from still foto to video and my few video trys looked pretty good. Still not ready to edit videos or uploading to YouTube over Telcel WiFi.   The fotos are quite large so have been reduced a lot for the web.

IPhone foto of Melaque beach

This IPhone has GPS and uses Google Maps. I was wondering if fotos from the camera were automatically embedded with the location GPS data. I found this site GPS Visualizer that allows you to upload a foto and it will create a map if the foto contains GPS info. The map above shows what I got when I uploaded the beach foto on top and it's right on. So far this is just interesting as I haven't found a way to easily connect a map to a foto. Right now the location maps for Blogger are not working and it doesn't seem to be a Google priority.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Escape raft seen off the south Jalisco coast

At least that's what we surmise. Almost 3 weeks ago prisoners from the Penal Coloney on Islas Marias were picked up by the Mexican Navy on a raft off the coast from Puerto Vallarta (a bit of the story below). This foto was taken by a fisherman off the southern coast of Jalisco near Bahia de Navidad.   The raft had the name "Liberti" written on the front.

Raft called "Liberti"

Six inmates from the last island penal colony in the Americas were recaptured at sea after using buoyant containers and planks of wood in an attempt to float and swim to freedom.

The Mexican navy said the inmates used empty plastic gas or water tanks to help them stay afloat as they swam about 60 miles south of the Islas Marias, a Mexican penal colony in which prisoners live in small houses and are normally not locked up. Inmates are allowed to tend small gardens and grow food.

The six men were around 58 miles off the Pacific coast resort of Puerto Vallarta when they were seen by people on a passing boat early on Thursday.

Complete article

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Back in the connected world

I've been trying to get back into the connected world since I moved to my house outside of Melaque where there is no telephone or Internet. Two weeks ago I got my first cel phone, the Nokia 1616 below. That's the cheapest phone and for $350 pesos you get the phone and $100 pesos of airtime.

First cel phone in this day and age ... yes I know, I should have had one before. Had to have a neighbor teach me how to use it. Pretty easy really and things went well for the first week.

In the mean time I was evaluating my Internet options including a radio type transmission from a nearby community. That would have involved building a tower and buying sending and receiving dishes. Quite a bit of money for only a shared signal that may not be around next year.

Everyone said Iusacell was cheaper but the signal was weak in our area so I finally went into Telcel last week to see what was available. What a surprise to find they had an unlimited Internet service with a USB modem and an IPhone for $700 pesos a month. That package does require an 18 month contract and a credit check ... but I was approved and it's not much more than a 2meg service from Telmex.   And no I didn't have to pay extra for the Iphone or USB .... it's included in the contract price.

I'm now using the USB modem with my desktop and was quite excited to start using the Iphone to browse the web and check email. Sadly Telcel messed up the activation and neither one of the phones work even tho I had $100 peso credit on the Nokia. The messages say my SIM cards are not registered. I can guess at the problem but this will require another trip to Telcel in Manzanillo.

Oh well, at least I have Internet on this computer and will report what the mis-configuration problem was later this week.

Seems the SIM cards were reversed so problem solved. Another correction is that the USB connection thru this computer has a 10 gig limit. Only the Iphone has unlimited Internet time and gigabites.

I added the Speed Test image which is from a server in Guadalajara. The servers in the US gave me .85 megs and 1.2 megs. The service is rated at 2.5 megs.
The construction of the house finished in April 2011 and I'm pretty much settled in. As of March 2014 I'm in preparation for rain mode for this coming summer. That includes sealing and painting things and dealing with drainage issues from last year.

Sparks Mexico Web
Manzanillo Information
House building in Pinal Villa

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