Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year on the beach

I have 8 visitors down from Jocotepec and luckily we got our two perfect beach days in over the weekend on the west end in Melaque. Today the remains of a North Pacific storm just blew in and it has been raining since 10am. They are out checking out Barra de Navidad like tourists need to do since they are lucky to get to the beach once or twice a year.

Four adults, four kids and my neighbors family rented two tables with a shade umbrella. They had made up a lot of seviche so we just bought coke, beer and a few goodies from beach vendors. Lots of fun playing with the kids, dodging the diving pelicans who were after the sardines. Even fishermen in boats came in for the sardines with their throw nets. Haven't seen pelicans for almost 6 months. Ocean is starting to get chilly but still swimable. Next month it will probably be too cold for me.

Diving pelicans

Beach crowd from the water

Raspados (shaved ice) in the shape of a Xmas tree

He just had to do it

Caracoles (sea snails) the kids caught
They also caught some chocolapas (sand crabs)

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I awoke this morning to ...

.... this sweet old neighbor cleaning the front of my house. He lives around the corner and is always a pleasure to meet. Always lots of smiles, jokes and general jabber. He doesn't hear very well and didn't know I was there until I walked up to him. His progress below shows where he took a break but he was soon back and finished it all. Just another pleasure of living in Mexico. I'll try to give him 100 pesos tonight or tomorrow if he'll accept it. We'll see

Monday, December 24, 2012

Tomatoes gone wild

I planted about 6 plants and ended up with two. Any cherry tomatoes I've had in the past have never taken off like this. Maybe there are miniatures? I've since read that they can cover the wall of a house if conditions are right. I'm just glad I planted these next to the column in the planters or I would have had a heck of a time supporting them. I put a 1 meter wire basket around them but they quickly topped that and are now tied to the column. Also read that letting the branches droop is OK and they seem to be OK with that. Very soon to have lots of tomatoes.

My sister gave me some sprouting radish seeds when I was in Seattle but I figured since they are radishes they could also be planted. I ended up with great salad greens but no radishes. The Thai Basil and the Cilantro are doing great and are considerably larger than they show in the foto. Large enough to use some of the Basil.

Don't know what it is with corn and me but my second crop is failing. Two more melon plants have popped up in the compost pile. Had black and curly leaf hit the lime trees again and had to spray. Found a family of caterpillar like worms on my third lime tree and soapy water took care of them. Another caterpillar worm on the tomatoes who was very green inside from munching on the leaves. Bananas are huge but maybe another year for fruit. The Star fruit tree must think it's winter because it's dropped a lot of leaves. I think everything likes the cooler weather (me included) because they seem to be growing faster than they did this summer. Winter in Mexico

3 meters high

Lots of tomatoes and a finger

Radishes, basil and cilantro

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Jaluco Cocodrilo moved to La Manzanilla

This one was found in the upper canals of Laguna del Tules which reach into Jaluco and out of concern for children it was moved by Proteccion Civil to the Cocodrilo sanctuary in La Manzanilla. We do see Cocodrilos along the road to Pinal Villa during the rainy season in the mini-lagoons that form there but usually much smaller and younger.

Foto by David Dagoli

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Coca Cola Santa

We picked up Euriel at the Secondaria at 7 when it lets out. The rumor was the "Santa Parade" would be from 6;30-7 and we expected to miss it. We got to the plaza and the two new bars were trying to outdo each other for volume. The kids (lots) loved it - bouncing around the plaza and top honors go to the new one over 7-Stars for choice of music.

If we hadn't felt like a few tacos and beers we would have been long gone ... but come 8:15 along came the the "Coke Float" with lots of balls and candy to throw at the crowd. It was a big crowd but Coke cut it's costs this year. In years past there have been real floats and a number of them, this year just the one. Lots of fun and lights around the Melaque plaza


Friday, December 14, 2012

Melaque Sand Sculpture Contest

I posted about it on my Melaque Blog as one of the Festival del Mar events but we were busy all day and weren't able to get there until almost 4. Buying school things, dropping off two animal cages at the free animal clinic, picking up a donated counter top stove for my neighbors, taking Euriel to CAM for physical therapy and then dropping him off at Secondaria for the last 3 hours of school. He was missing his only day of English classes on Fridays so the school said he should come after CAM. I'll go for him at 7pm and really look forward to school vacation next week.

So about 4pm we dropped by the central Melaque beach where the sculptures were just to see what was left. They were reported to be in front of one restaurant but actually stretched for several blocks. The problem is they quickly dry out and/or people trample them for whatever reason. So here's a few of the best remaining.



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Foto Geidy in Melaque

The best foto I got at the quinceañera was outside the church with Wendy in front of a nice black pickup. I was ready to enlarge the original when the store owner suggested they could remove the truck and put in another background (fondo). We looked at a bunch and decided on this one with some green to match her dress. This is a foto of the print with my IPhone so quality is poor but the print looks good. $200 pesos for the print which is about 10x12 and 80 pesos for the background.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

My Christmas tree

My Christmas tree ... a gift from a neighbor. We went shopping for the stuff to make them but I had no idea what she would come up with. I gave her the box from my water heater so she has enough to make a few. She calls it a "pino" or pine.


Arbol de Navidad

Cambio de la Presidencia

The day the new President takes office happens on December 1st every six year and that day is a holiday.   I was planning to pay my bills at the bank yesterday and of course couldn't.  I tried Friday and the orderly "take a ticket and wait your turn" machine was broken so a line was formed.  The three tellers waited on the same people for 20 minutes ... then a second line started in front of one teller with people just arriving.   The bank managers couldn't be bothered to do any policing so I just walked out planning to pay yesterday.   We'll see what happens Monday

I got some of my car problems fixed while dealing with the bank.   They found a loose steering arm and a bad front bearing.   Bearings are expensive bringing that cost to $1200 pesos.  Mechanic thinks I need to get it aligned and I agree.  A 12 your old car and it has never been aligned.   Monday I have a date with the auto electricians to fix a tail light and the headlight switch.   Poor old car is getting tired and being in the Jova flood did not help at all.

Yet another party last night ... this time a birthday party.   About 70-80 people on the street in front of the house.  The MC was a clown with a powerful music machine.   Lots of games, contests and 3 pinatas.  The two year old who's party it was slept thu most of it.   Drinks, gifts and pozole for everyone.   These parties are open to anyone that happens to pass by.   Well that's my week and back to painting the bodega which is looking much better than the cement grey.

Clown and a game

Girls dancing

Monday, November 19, 2012

Fishing with Ron

Well setting up an inflatable is not my favorite thing, I'd much prefer trailering it and just dropping it in the water. Neither is bouncing along at a rather fast trolling speed in a 10ft light boat. Besides that it was good to be out on the water and we had a really good time.

We caught a Barrilete right out of the Barra de Navidad harbor and we let it go. They were jumping everywhere so thought we might be pulling in a bunch. Out around the point to Playa de Cocos and then up to Cuastecomate. No more hits on that run heading west. On the way back closer to shore we had 5-6 strikes and at the mouth of the bay Ron hooked one. We first thought another Barrilete but then it jumped. Barrilete's don't jump.

With a very light pole and tackle Ron wasn't able to muscle it in so played it for about a half hour. We weren't sure it was a Dorado until it surfaced close to the boat. It was a female so didn't have the big head that males do ... but was about a meter long and weighed 8-9 kilos.

It made for a wonderful dinner made by Dora and her mom. I brought my neighbors so the kids could play in the hotel pool. We watched the sunset and headed home very full.

Dorado on the surface

Dorado in the boat

Ron with fish and mother in law

Getting ready to eat

Melaque sunset

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Día de la Revolución

Revolution Day is actually the 20th but Friday is the day for all the schools to march. This is about the Primary school in Pinal Villa and the kindergarden kids. My neighbor was in the dance group so she wanted me there for fotos.

There is supposed to be more marching on Monday in Melaque and a big party on the plaza come Tuesday night. Ron and Dora are here from San Miguel so we'll probably go.

Kids gathering

This was to throw firecrackers into

Jardin de Ninos or kindergarden

Front of the parade

The dance troop with Jania front left

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Wendy's Quinceañera

By far the most impressive Quinceanera I've been to and I'm sure the family went into debt to pay for it. Wendy and her mom are neighbors of mine and I've been hearing about this for months. My Canadian neighbors arrived about a week ago and they are also good friends with the family. We did contribute but sure hope many others did.

It started with a Misa (Mass) at the church that was an hour and a half long. I didn't understand any of it but am sure it's a ritual of coming of age (15 year old girl) and income for the church. Probably 60-70 people at the Misa which started at 5:30.

The party started at 8 at Marisco's Ruby. They rented the whole hall for the night. Food, beer, a bottle of tequila on each table, fancy music system and light-show. Must have been 300+ people there, mostly from our community but probably most of the teenage boys in the area. Jimmy, Sandy and I were the only gringos. I took my Mexican neighbors family and we left early because they have a 2 year old ... and the Disco music was ... well, disco music. Very fun party.

Wendy arriving at the church

Her court

Her court at the party

The disco as the teenagers took over

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Retirees forced out of Mexico

Well it certainly seems that  way with the new immigration rules published this morning.   I know tons of people who either own a home or rely on cheap rent so do well with the old income requirements of $12-1300us a month.   To raise that limit almost $800 is going to be a problem for many.  It gets especially spooky when people who have lived here for 10+ years as home owners talk about being forced to sell and leave because their house is not worth $195K and they have a modest income.   Then we have all the people, mainly on the coast, who own Ejido land and don't have title so value of the house is irrelevant ... it's not really theirs.  I'm in the twilight zone as far as income but adjusting it now would not give me the 6 months required in January.   Do we need to look for another place to live?

TEMPORARY RESIDENTS
  • Original and copy of proof of investments or bank accounts with an average worth over the previous year equivalent to $95,000.00 USD;
  • Original and copy of documents that prove that the foreigner has had for the previous six months an income from a job (outside of Mexico) or a pension that pays at least $1,950.00 USD per month;
  • Proof of a any familiar bond with another Temporary or Permanent Resident or a marital (or equivalent) bond with a Mexican;
  • Original and copy of a notarized public deed showing ownership (or trust rights) to a property in Mexico worth at least $195,000.00 USD; 
  • Proof of participation of at least $100,000.00 USD in a Mexican company;
  • Proof of ownership in heavy equipment or machinery in Mexico worth more than $100,000.00 USD; OR
  • Proof of doing business in Mexico and legally creating at least 5 jobs for Mexicans.
PERMANENT RESIDENT
  • Original and copy of proof of investments or bank accounts with an average worth over the previous year equivalent to $95,000.00 USD;
  • Original and copy of documents that prove that the foreigner has had for the previous six months an income from a job (outside of Mexico) or a pension that pays at least $2,400.00 USD per month;
  • Proof of parent-child bond with a Mexican citizen by birth (this would be birth certificates of everyone involved, plus any other documents proving the citizenship of the Mexican citizen);
  • Proof of the same parent-child bond with another Permanent Resident; OR
  • Proof that you have enough points (based on a points system that still hasn’t been published).

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Last rain of the year?

Hurricane season isn't over until the end of the month but last week we'd thought the rain was over. Suddenly this 'Invest' which now has a 50% chance of becoming a storm showed up giving us 48 hours of rain and very cool temperatures. Not at all unwelcome after the October heat which I believe was the warmest month of the year. A nice relaxing cool weekend.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Turtle release Melaque

Second time is the charm. We heard that Wednesday there would be a baby turtle release on the Malecon around 8PM and since we pick up Uriel from Secondaria at 7 we thought we'd give it a try. No sign of anything at 8:20 so we walked down to the college turtle pen and they didn't have any ready to leave.

The next day, Thursday, there was notice saying there would be another release in front of Hotel Dorado about 8:30 to 9. The kids really wanted to see them so we tried again. The ocean temperature and the breeze made waiting easy. Sometimes late in the summer the ocean feels like and smells like a bowl of fish soup but right now it's perfect.

They brought 200 turtles in a large plastic tub and then gave us a lecture on the life of turtles from the laying eggs in a nest, how many survive and return and how far they range. The organizers did have flashlights but flash cameras are not allowed so I borrowed some fotos below. About 30 of us rubbed our hands in the sand so the turtles would get the sent of the beach and then one by one we let them go in the surf. Some babies very strong and ready to go and others more docile. If a big wave came in we had to stand still to avoid stepping on any that might be washed back. First time for all of us and a great way to educate the local kids about turtle preservation.

Melaque beach waiting for dark

What they looked like in the tub

More or less but we did each by hand

Monday, October 22, 2012

My birthday and the Whirling Dervish

Jorge is a special kid and is the son of one of the guys that built my house. I can't ask Oscar over without including the whole family and that includes 9 year old Jorge. He goes to a special needs school in Barra de Navidad (CAM) and we see him there every Friday when we take Uriel to his physical therapy class. Of the 40-50 kids he is the most disruptive and needs constant mangement. He's not mean, understands his parents, doesn't speak and has a huge amount of energy.

So yesterday at my birthday party he knocked over 2 potted plants, banged the wind chimes, broke anothers toy, swung in the hammock endlessly and finally dove thru the screen door. It was really funny and just glad he didn't hurt himself. The cat regularly pulls the screen loose so I've been wanting to put an aluminum panel in that lower section. Guess I get to find out if it can be done. Good party by the way.

The target

Just a foto of recent painting

Friday, October 19, 2012

It's Chili season again

The area is full of migrant workers that are here to plant this season's crop. They plowed the field below for 3 weeks before creating the planting rows. A machine lays out the plastic and tucks both sides into the dirt. The last crop for that field was corn but it has also produced watermelon and papaya.  The mango season is all but over and while some mango work goes to migrants, most of it is done by locals.

The growing season lasts for about three months so I'm not sure what the workers will do in the meantime unless it's weeding.   The plants can be picked multiple times before completely mature.  At the end of the season when the chilies start turning red they are used for Chipotle (smoked Jalapeno).   Jalapenos get there name from Xalapa (Jalapa) in Veracruz.

This one just planted

Planted by hand

Workers planting in another field

Monday, October 15, 2012

We made a microscope

Not this one but didn't look that dissimilar. The foto is just pretend but ours was "real". A secondary school project that the neighbors left till Sunday when no stores are open. We were all tired after about 3 hours so I forgot the camera.



Ours called for magnifying glasses (2), a mirror, a clear dish, a light source and using 1.5" PVC as the tube. One of the kids remembered a neighbor that sells magnifying glasses (lupas) and we got 2 4cms across for 10 pesos each. I didn't have any 1.5 PVC so we used one inch. We duct taped the lupas to 1" couplings on either end of the 12mm tube. You could move the couplings a bit and I guess they were to focus tho it didn't work very well.

Below the tube was a shoe box on it's side with a small truck side view mirror tilted at 45 degrees. A flash light shinned into the mirror is directed upward to a hole we cut. Over the hole we placed a clear tupper ware cover and sprinkled some sugar granules to test. More duct tape to hold a number of things in place. The microscope didn't really work that well as I assume lenght of tube, distance between the lenses and ability to focus have a lot to do with it. Hopefully the project was just to get the idea.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Zero gravity and the scorpion

I was sitting in Shoes old zero gravity chair on the patio last night visiting with neighbors.   What is a head rest in the foto is a lumbar pillow on my old chair.   That's the way it was when I got it so thought that's how it should be.

Anyway I got up to close the screen door to the house that my cat opens but refuses to close.  While I was gone one of the kids noticed a scorpion in the middle of the seat that must have been under the lumbar pillow.  It wasn't moving and turned out to be dead ... but did I kill it by sitting on it?


I've seen lots of small grey ones here in the brick piles during construction but this one was about 3 times larger and dark brown.   How I escaped getting a stinger in the rear I don't know.  We had the usual conversation about getting a shot at Centro de Salud but just glad I didn't have to make that trip.

Monday, October 08, 2012

Pinal Villa Fiesta

Last night was the finale of the annual 7 day celebration in honor of the local patron saint. All week long surrounding communities paraded into Pinal with a small band, dance group and maybe the town princess. Each parade rather small and non-impressive. All that ended this weekend with music, dancing and food on Saturday and well over a thousand last night for the castillo.

I've heard polka like music in Mexico before but never seen anyone dance to it. Last night there were 4 couples looking like they just dropped in from Bavaria absolutely dancing a very energetic polka. They were followed by 4 folklorico couples with the usual swirling of colors. Not sure why but the local female impersonators showed up and lip synced too many songs. Oh well!

They actually lit the castillo a little after 11 when it's usually midnight or later. Very impressive display and nearly as large as the ones in Melaque. Not quite as ornate but still a great show. What was different was the "errant" rockets that flew thru the crowd making us glad we had moved to the other side of the plaza.

Horse dancing to the band

The amusement center

The crowd

Putting together the castillo

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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