Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Nothing Remains Static - Changes In San Miguel de Allende


We're enjoying the weekend here in SMA.  The weather is a delight and you couldn't ask for more this time of year.  The sun can beat down on you taking into account a sunny day and the elevation.  That given, the temperature is much more agreeable than Monterrey.  In the north, they are enjoying 42C and here it was 25C today.  At night, 12C.  You have to close the windows sometimes because you can get chilly.  I'm loving every minute of it and have absolutely no complaints.

Saturday has always called for a trip to the organic market.  The market was located next to the Instituto Allende on a piece of property owned by the Rosewood Hotel.   They didn't renew the lease with the organic market group and they were forced to move.  Now they are two doors down from the OXXO on San Antonio.  Not sad, but changes they do come and now it has lost its flair.  The crowd was much less than before, the air of the music, artisans, cheese producers, fresh vegetables as well as the never-ending food stalls has come to an end.  It seems very commercial and U.S. to us.  Still nice, we had some great food; a quesadilla and a tortilla with a fried egg and pork with sauce on top.  Someone was selling gourmet hamburgers for $6.50 U.S.  Yikes!  Whoever heard of such a thing.  Where we parked the car, there was a nice family restaurant with enchiladas with beans and rice for 50 pesos $2.50 U.S.  

As a side note, I have my doubts about organics, free-range, etc.  I can't find the documentary right now but here is a CBC article that exposes the truth behind some Canadian farmer's markets.  'People are being duped': CBC exposes homegrown lies at farmers markets "  I mean really, $15 U.S. at the market here for a pound of cheese?  Sorry, I guess I don't have that "acquired" taste. 

The Angela Peralta Theater (Angela was an 18th-century soprano known as the Mexican Nightengale. 

We attended the flamenco concert last night at the Angela Peralta Theater.  A wonderful place to sit and watch any performance no matter what it might be; folkloric dance, acapella groups, singers, musicians, and flamenco dancers.   I'm no expert on dance but I have seen quite a few flamenco dancers in my day but the expert sitting next to me said that if it were a competition they would have received a 4.5.   Overall though, with its history steeped in gypsies, Arab rule of Spain in the 8th century, it was fun and entertaining.  

What a great view of the city from where we are staying.  At night with the city lights, it is magnificent.

We headed home and up to the wonderfully delicious terrace that overlooks the city of San Miguel.  If we were rich gringos this would be a place for us.  The views, the light, cool breezes and the quiet that surrounds the neighborhood is more than indescribable.  We enjoyed a drink or two up there and had a great conversation.  Pea, the fur child we are caring for, joined us and listened in intently. 

Today is Sunday and we, as always, head to the "mercado grande" on the road to Queretaro or as others know it, La Luciernaga or Soriana.  They have all kinds of things from tools, to fresh produce to clothes and food stands.  We split a slice pizza, 30 pesos de carnitas, and come home with two fresh out of the oven brownies.  This woman had just opened up her stall and there were ten people in line to buy cakes, loaves of bread, and pies all at very reasonable prices.  Brownies were $.75 U.S., a slice of delicious pecan pie (that we bought to share tomorrow) $1.25 U.S. and chock full of pecans.  

The downside is that the old market no longer exists.  It was an intriguing labyrinth of precariously draped tarps, some with stands others with tables or just laid out on the floor.  Since we were here, they have constructed huge metallic hangars, for lack of a better word with giant concrete slabs.  It is definitely cooler, cleaner and easier to move around but it has lost its je ne sais quio.  

All of this is part of what change, advancing is all about.   Now if we can just get all of these people enrolled as tax payers and contribute their fair share.  

As a side note, I was surprised no one said anything about my "UFO" picture.  I found it intriguing to say the least.  As you can tell from the original and the close up, the object was huge.  I'm still researching it though.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Did I Spot A UFO? (Enhanced Photo 07/14/19)


This week I drove down to SMA by myself.  It was a beautiful drive and I had the opportunity to listen to talk radio in Spanish.  The topic is our illustrious president who has, in less than six months in power, plunged the country into a recession, implemented an austerity program that has cut all scientific research, given money to adolescents to study (sounds great but they are spending it on cellphones, alcohol, and pot) and has already had 19 cabinet resignations, two of which are for the secretary of finance.  And he wonders why S&P, Fitch Rating, Moody's, Bank of America and even our own Banxico have downed rated the country three times already this year.  

I took our most popular route across the mountains.  I didn´t want to take pictures while driving so I only got a couple:

You can see a white speck in the middle of the picture above the third peak to the right.

I attempted to enlarge it but not very successfully.  If you can do it, it appears to be a square-shaped box with a pyramidal top. 

There was not a of traffic on Hwy 57 from San Roberto but it was a long enough day I decided to stop and continue on the next day.  I also got a late start but figured, I'm not in a hurry anymore. 

So we are housesitting for the next week.  Juan took the bus down last night and arrived today (Friday) around 8 a.m.  With our new senior discount card the fare was only 500 pesos and they served him a beverage, sandwich and snack plus individual movie screens and headphones.  What a deal!

Our friend Barbara took off on a short trip to the U.S. and we are guarding the fort and caring for her precious fur kid Pea.  She's a dream but she misses her mom.  We take her for walks and try to keep her entertained.  

The house is located in a small compound and it is very comfortable, well-decorated and we could stay forever.

Tomorrow is a hike in the morning and in the evening a flamenco concert.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Tioga and George Are Slowly Drifting Away


This will probably be my last post about George.  I still go back to his webpage and read a blog post or two.  It's a great library of information and I'm just not sure how much longer it will be around for us to read.   Check it out if you get the chance Tioga and George Vagabonders Supreme

I noticed last week that George's blog has dropped off the main page of Croft's Wanderings.  It's still there but you have to go into the "show all" at the bottom of the list.   Some good reads in there and good memories.

Here is a mail I really liked from George.  He and I had talked about his first trip to Mexico.  In February 2005 he had just returned from his first Mexico adventure.  I wrote to him about some of the comments viewers had left.  This is what I wrote and his response in February 2005.

Date sent: Mon, 28 Feb 2005 08:44:26 -0800 (PST)
From: CMB 
Subject: Back Home
To: george@vagabonders-supreme.net

Thanks for a great three-month adventure. 

I hope that everything is fine with your son and you are back in business, boondocking that is. 
I see you are getting Ms Tioga ready for the road again. 

Your trip plan sounds like a real winner.

 I am heading out again on March 20th for two weeks. All boondocking. 
 First heading back to Hacienda Viejo Padilla (Tamaulipas), Barra El
 Tordo (coast of Tamaulipas), Tajin Ruins (Veracruz) there is a great 

 festival there I want to check out, heading back to the beach and home
 again. Two days here to enjoy the newly remodeled pool, and then off
 to San Antonio, TX for the TESOL international convention.
 I'm glad you enjoyed yourself and had no problems in Mexico. It would
 be good to see a page on your blog dedicated to this trip with a brief
 on what was good and what was difficult. It then could be used as a
 tool for those wishing to venture down here without discouragement from

 the naysayers.
 Keep up the good work.
 Chris Bauer

Not sure why, but it took me three years after this mail to start my own blog.  Here is George's response:

"George S. Lehrer"  wrote:
Hi Chris,

I understand what you would like to see in a webpage. And, I
understand why you want such a page.

My blog speaks for itself, Chris. Those who read my blog understand
what a wonderful place that Mexco can be for an RVer. Those who
are looking for negatives about Mexico, will always be able to find
those negatives.

There is a certain amount of xenophobia concerning Mexico. My blog
opens up the reality of Mexico, so that readers can see what actually
happens to an RVer while visiting all over the Baja.

Do you agree?


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Sad Side of Social Media


We've been planning a trip to San Antonio.  From there we will fly to my brother's memorial service at the end of July.  We've made a lot of friends there over the years but like everything else, distance and time take its toll.  

Most of our friends are people we met while living there in the early 80s and some were friends of friends.  The majority, like my family, are much older than we are and don't use social media such as Facebook.

Our friend Rickie had been ill this last year with lung cancer although she was never a smoker.  We kept in touch via FB sending messages back and forth and sometimes a couple of months would go by.  

My last conversation with her was on March 8, 2019.  She said she stopped the chemo treatments to reduce the inflammation which worked and she was feeling just fine.  Last night I sent her a message to let her know we would be there and that I had hoped she was doing well.  Considering she wasn't a big social media fan I wasn't surprised not to get an answer right away.   I got a FB message this morning saying it was her birthday and I had started looking for a great picture to post but instead I went to her "wall" to see what others had posted.

Rickie had passed away on May 18th in the evening.   Her husband doesn't do social media but her son had posted a message to someone else who had asked about her.  

The downside to social media is just this.  I have friends who died 10 years ago but no one has updated or turned off their accounts and they still receive birthday greetings. A sad commentary about social media and being in touch, isn't it?

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Weekend In Tequila - Tour And All


We left early Thursday morning meeting the group at the airport in Monterrey.  It was early as the flight left at 7:00 a.m.  Everyone was there on time and VivaAerobus makes sure you do that or you don't get on the flight.  

The airline is a super-discounter but they charge for every possible extra.  No printed boarding pass, that's $10 U.S., you want an assigned seat that's another 60 to90 pesos, 10kg of carry on includes your carry on and anything else you have in your hands.  Over that, without previously declaring will run you up to $50 U.S. plus the cost of the weight.  I was .2 kilos over my weight but they asked who I was traveling with and one person had less than the 10 kilos so they let me go.  We did pay for all of us to sit in two rows to reduce confusion.  Some are not very seasoned travelers so it was worth it.

We rented an AirBnb and we were on a group budget, but low-budget.  This place is low budget.  But it works for the two nights we will be here.  I'm going to report it to AirBnb when we get home.  We needed three bedrooms and at least two baths.  It works and we have had a meal or two prepared here at home.  Anything beats a hotel when you are traveling in a group because it's hard to communicate with each couple and make decisions.   We had a project in mind when coming anyway so the target was looking for birth and death documents.  We pretty much hit a dead-end but it helps to put some things to end and bring comfort.  

Several in the group have trouble walking long distances so we took a traditional tour.  The guide took us in a trolley to a tequila plantation, walked us through the agave and explained how the plant grows and produces the precious liquid for making tequila.  Then back to town for a tour of the town and historical places.  After, we picked up another group and we went to a distillery and toured the production, took pictures, toured the gardens and did quite a bit of tasting.   We were gone for over three hours and the tour was 150 pesos.   We started at 250 per person and we agreed for the group 150 pesos was a good deal.  It was! 

The town is really beautiful, well-maintained, good streets and sidewalks.  Lots of history, museums, and of course Tequila.  The production is controlled by the government although now there are only two producers that are still Mexican owned.  The Japanese bought one distillery and it is now a very commercial operation.

Tomorrow we head back to Guadalajara around noon to catch our 4:40 p.m. and when we get home we have a wedding to go to.  The wedding is our near our house so it will be fun and we won't be home too late.

Monday, June 24, 2019

Back Home - Where To Now?


As I had said, we were going to drive without stopping.   Well, we stopped many times along the way.  Friday afternoon I had the worst attack of food poisoning ever.  I don't know where it came from, what I ate or what I drank.   I almost gave in to stop and spend the night in Matehuala.  Taking turns driving we made it in less than 11 hours.  I haven't driven that much in over 40 years.  Today is Monday and it's early in the morning and I feel fine.  I thought it would never pass.  Update:  Looks like it could have been a flu virus going around.  Many people have or had the same symptoms in the last two weeks.

When I woke up it was already 30C inside the house.  We slept with the A/C on and will continue to do so at night.  The water in the pool is warm now and we aren't even in the month of July.  

We leave for Tequila on Thursday morning coming back Saturday afternoon.  I have things to do to the trailer should we decide to sell it.  

We are looking for a van now and getting estimates on importation as an option. I doubt I want to do a conversion in this heat.  We have three more trips before the end of July and we are looking forward to SMA sleeping in cool air not to mention very elegant accommodations. 

I've talked about what I want to do with the rest of my life.  I'm not really sure but I've had such a wonderful life and it has been relatively easy though it has taken lots of hard work and like any human being with its ups and downs.  I watched a couple of videos about the life of Gloria Vanderbilt and her son Anderson Cooper from CNN and they were both born with gold (not silver) spoons in their mouths but they too have/had tough times.  No life is perfect except in the fact that you have one.  

I feel I need to do something humanitarian.  I never had kids although I've always wanted some.  They never had to be my own because I've never believed in that.  Any child can be your child.  Giving someone an opportunity, sharing your knowledge, giving a hand to those who have less and sharing with them things that will improve their lives.  My dream has always been to help those that I see on a daily basis everywhere I've been, be it in Mexico, the U.S. or Central/South America who suffer from maladies such as a badly repaired cleft palate, a lazy eye, dental problems that keep young men and women from building their self-esteem and character.  It doesn't cost a lot, I'm not looking for fame, but give someone that hand they need to move past those difficulties that society sees as a detriment.   If I'm lucky I may have another 25 years on the planet and want to leave knowing I wasn't being selfish.  I've seen that in so many retired rvers over the years.  They just pass the rest of their life sitting on their laurels and some even say, "to heck with everyone else, I've earned it and I deserve it".   Human beings weren't made that way unless it is an illusion and as the famous Mexican song says, "la vida no vale nada".  (Life has no worth).  Let's hope not.

Friday, June 21, 2019

The Time Has Come - Heading Home


I can't believe the six weeks went by so quickly.   It was fun, relaxing and gave me time to think about what I want to do with the rest of my life.  I'm not interested in flying to the Moon until they rv shuttles and I really don't care to skydive, climb Mt. Everest or do something that would jeopardize my 62 years.

We're going to try and make it home in one day because there are so many things to do before we leave for Tequila on Thursday.  The heat is currently in the "off the radar mode" so a few days here and a few days there will make it bearable. 

We're going to miss the dogs.  They were fun but the last week we have been weaning ourselves and them off of the friendship as they will not have access to the house but stay in the barn at night and roam around during the day.  The worker loves dogs so I'm sure they will be okay.

More later.