Saturday, December 9, 2017

Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow

Dee asked if we were having snow.  Well, we did and we still do.  The mountains are covered and only 16% of students went to school.  

Here in the north we have snow occasionally, but this time around the cold makes it even worse.  It dropped down to a low of  -6C and it will continue tonight.  The snow on the ground is gone but last night all the water froze on the trees.  This morning it was raining under the palm trees.

Yesterday I received a call from a U.S. number on my cell phone.  I was headed home from school and figured it was the guy who worked on the house in San Antonio.  It was Sue and Brian who had crossed the border yesterday and were heading to San Miguel de Allende.

Croft posted this story but they were stranded on the highway between Laredo and Monterrey.  They wanted to know what was going on and I found the Policia Federales twitter site and it said snow had shut things down.  Great website by the way because it is constantly updated.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

December - What Next

Don´t know if I posted this or not, but it´s bread baking season.


I worked in Puerto Vallarta on Friday.  I left Thursday afternoon and came back less than 24 hours later.  Funny though, how cheap travel by air in Mexico has become.  I started out dreading the travel agency´s mainstay of Interjet.  They have great on-board service but they are always delayed by  hours.  They don´t have enough aircraft and one is out of whack the whole system suffers.  

I checked my favorite for business travelers, AeroMexico but the cost was not justifiable.  I then moved to my last choice, Vivaaerobus and was pleasantly surprised to find out the following.  Here is the price breakdown of my particular travel plan:

AeroMexico 13,000 pesos
Interjet            9600 pesos
Vivaaerobus   4400 pesos

But here´s what happened.  I was late in the week, less than seven days due to the scheduling of the event which was out of my control.   I went with Viva because, believe it or not, is the only airline with a non-stop to Vallarta from  Monterrey.  They have one flight coming and one going.  It really worked out because AeroMexico had a pilot´ strike this week over medical benefits.  So even though it wasn´t an advance purchase, it only cost $237 U.S.  You just can´t beat that and rvers and snowbirds who come to Mexico should take advantage of that.

Not sure what Santa Claus has planned for us.  The house in San Antonio is showing regularly so there is interest and it won´t be long before we have an offer.  

Several things I want to talk about involving ex-pats living in Mexico, all good things that would help them make decisions on where to live and how to do it but I need time to sit down and write. 

The rv is getting some minor modifications for our winter trip if we take one and still not sure where to go.  I´d love to make it to the bloggers fest in Quartzite but that seems to be more of a dream than anything else only because of schedules.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Wow! I´ve Been Called Out By A Blogger

And the blogger even used my full name!  Isn´t that great! You can read her blog post attacking me here:

I call em´ as I see em´.  However, you´ll to read the complete blog posts to understand my comments that she misquotes.  Turns out that others who have met her on the Isla seem to find her in the same light as I do.  

I just find her take on Mexico to be typical ex-pat and undermines Mexicans and their culture.  I have never been blocked from someone´s blog before.  Never knew someone could be so hateful.

My name will go down in infamy!

You be the judge!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Cheddar Cheese and Pueblos Magicos

We´re on a three-day weekend here in Mexico celebrating the Revolution and it happens to be Buen Fin.  I won´t go into the Mexican Revolution.  It was over 100 years ago, and as I have written in the past a complete failure responsible for the current condition of Mexico.  Buen fin though, is an idea that was generated around five years ago to combat Black Friday in the U.S. and help the economy here not there.  Well, it´s been such a success that this year has surpassed previous years by over 20% and not all the data has been collected as the sales continue at this moment.  We even participated and the savings are overwhelming. 

Yesterday we attended a grand event at the Cintermex Convention Center in downtown Monterrey.  Pueblos Magicos, with more than 110 towns represented marketing their artesanal goods, tourism and business investments.  We took advantage of it to plan our Christmas vacation.  Several good spots for boondocking as well as formalized camping.  

Here are two spots in particular that interest me:

San Joaquín, Queretaro  located about an hour and a half from San Miguel de Allende and another hour and a half to the Natl Park Campo Alegre.

The other is here in the north in Guerrero, Coahuila close to the border an hour from Piedras Negras.  A bit warmer weather than San Joaquín which says it is the coldest spot in Queretaro. 

We know that many foreigners have a penchant for their native treats and cheddar cheese is one of them.  Mexican cheddar does exist and one particular producer insists that his cheddar can stand next to any Canadian or American if not better.  Cheddar is a good cheese but I usually don´t buy it or eat it.  Mexican cheese is my favorite and I prefer it.  We bought a half pound after trying it and it is, well, very cheddar.  He says there are many producers but they are not marketed nationally.  Located in Aculco, Edomex.

The palapa now has its floor and tile and light waiting for the ceiling fan.  The next step is the sheet rock in the ceiling and the columns.  That´s next.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Received An RV Present

While waiting for the water to come back and  the palapa floor finished, I received a very nice and long awaited rv present.  Since we bought the rv, I've always had one issue.  My side of the bed doesn't have a night stand.  In other words, I have no place to put my glasses, mug of coffee, ear plugs and cell phone.  Believe it or not, I stuff a lot of things into the side light next to the bed.  They've never worked although when I had the new headlights put in the VW, I asked the electrician if he could fix them.

So, in the dark light of all the things going on here and in San Antonio, there is a spark of bright light.  This was handmade and the workmanship is incredible.  Very light and should I bring in the slideout and forget it is there, it will scoot it's way until I hear it and take it out of the way.

Fits beautifully!  I'm blessed to have someone who thinks so much of me to have this done.  Now that most of my earnings are being converted into dollars for the repairs on the house in SAT, we won't be going there this weekend.  Since it is a three-day weekend, we may take off for Montemorelos and enjoy the cool weather for a couple of days and I can try out my new nightstand!

Monday, November 13, 2017

Boondocking Skills Are Handy At Home Too!

Mural in the Leon/Bajio International Airport in Leon.  The airport is currently under expansion.

Got home from Leon yesterday afternoon only to find out that we had no water.  I tried everything possible but the pump wouldn't come on.  They are extending the floor in the new palapa and tiling also.  I thought maybe they had cut an underground cable.  The pump man came today and pulled up 180ft of pipe.  He took the pump in for evaluation and possible repair.  We replaced that pump 14 years ago with one that was more efficient.

We are using buckets of water out of the pool for flushing and bathing.  I figure it's chlorinated and we are limiting our cooking to reduce water use.   We had to get a couple of garrafones of water for cooking and drinking.   Pool water doesn't taste so good :)  We're peeing outside and as far as water, apart from bucketing, we have about 45,000 liters before the pool is empty.

Good friend and colleague Lou Pineda, who happens to be from Guadalcazar, SLP, giving orientation to newcomers.  When she started this a few years ago, she only had ten teachers in attendance.  Now it has swelled to 150.  

Teresita is from Monterrey and always finds a venue to speak at.  Very talented and comes from our state university.

The convention was great.  Over 3000 teachers packed into the Poliforum Convention Center in Leon.  It was fun meeting up with publishers, coworkers, fellow teachers, speakers and student teachers.   

Poliforum Convention Center in Leon.

We attended two to three workshops or presentations everyday along with a plenary.  It was very informative and you just never stop learning.  I guess I beat the curve with my work on Mindfulness and Social and Emotional Learning, talks I have given at two conventions over the last year.  It's all the rage now in teaching.  I don't know how to sell myself, I've never been a good salesman.

Our hotel was right across the street and it included very ample breakfast buffet included in the price.  We skipped lunches and opted for nice dinner out.  We found a winner!  If you are ever in Leon and want an elegant dinner out with wonderful service, excellent ambiance, Agaves is the place.  It is two blocks from the convention center at the Stadium Hotel.   They have two rooms.  The first, when you enter, is open and set up like a bar/restaurant.  The back room is something else.   Judge for yourself.

Now this is how you serve mexcal!

Three of us had ample drinks (2X1) all night, appetizers, main dishes and expresso for 1400 pesos or about $25 U.S. per person.   We were there for three hours and never went without something in our hand be it a fork or a drink of some kind.

Most of the passengers coming and going on our flights were teachers.  Juan sat next to a friend from Saltillo who teaches at the university.  Believe it or not, four years ago she weighed 300 pounds.  She has stuck with it.  Gorgeous.  

Our flights were on Aeromexico.  I'm loving my android.  You can download your boarding pass to your phone saving you checkin and you walk right to the gate.  Both of our flights saw us at the airport just 20 to 30 minutes before takeoff.  In other words, we walked right onto the plane from our car or taxi.  I did the same thing this last trip to CDMX and Ecuador.  International flight to South America from Mexico City only need an hour check in time.

The house in San Antonio is officially up for sale and on the MLS system.  We have a very interested buyer who wants to raise the price and have us cover the closing costs.  She is waiting to see the house after all the details are done.  Let's hope!  We may have to go again this weekend but it is a three-day holiday so it won't be so bad.  At least the house is clean and painted.  I had to laugh when I spoke with the realtor this afternoon.  She said she replaced all the light bulbs with incandescent as they show better.  If anyone has ever stayed at our house they know we practically live in the dark :)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

The Rest of The Story

I've been so busy I haven't had time to post.  Well, not really.  It just isn't anything exciting or related to rving.  Here goes!

My return trip from Ecuador was long.  We finished our school visits around 1 p.m. on Friday and headed out for lunch.   You saw the pic of the traditional encebollado.   That was a delicious dish and when I go back I am sure to devour more.

Heading to the airport was easy.  It's within arms reach of everywhere in the city.  My flight wasn't leaving until 6:30 p.m. so I had time to take a nap.  Immigration was easy.  It took a couple of minutes in line.  I am now using my android for boarding passes so I was able to go straight to the gate.   I found what I thought was the perfect place and it truly was.  I used my backpack as my pillow and put my earplugs in.  It wasn't 15 minutes later that a parent brought three screaming kids, 4 to 8, and let them run around me for half an hour.  He thought it was funny but didn't.

The flight was on time and quite comfortable.  This aircraft didn't have individual screens but they put on an inflight movie.  Dinner was Ecuadorian consisting of empanadas, salad and fried banana with cookies and coffee for dessert.  Bar was open and we all sat back with a cocktail of choice and finished the movie.  On our descent into Panama City a small aircraft decided to take our airspace and the plane literally took off like a rocket heading straight up into space.  It was smooth but we knew something was up and the pilot later explained as we made the go around.

Arriving in Panama, it was off one aircraft and the walk down through the duty free mall to the other end of the airport.   I literally walked right onto the plane.   The flight to CDMX saw me sleeping off and on.  I arrived in CDMX at 1:45 a.m. and was scolded by Mexican immigration.  I always use the foreigner side of immigration as I am a resident but still a U.S. citizen.  He asked why I waited so long when I could have used the Mexican citizen lane.  He smiled and said it was my right and I should take advantage of it.  He was happy to see I have lived here so long and happy to be here.

I headed for the hotel in my Uber.  10 minute trip and I hit the pillow hard.   Three hours sleep and up and off to the airport again.  Caught the 8:30 to Monterrey and was in the house by 10:45.  

This last weekend was a holiday weekend.  I headed to San Antonio and lined up the painters and the people cleaning all the debris from the backyard.  Mostly junk and lots of tree branches that the ex-tenant said was always being taken care of.  I had to take care of the electricity and water, run errands, look for materials and the list went on.  There was no time for visits or shopping.  Like last time I took the air mattress with me and set up my bedroom in the house.  The house smells like cigarette smoke and leaves anything you take in the house smelling the same.  The painting and carpet cleaning will take care of that.   I never liked central air conditioning.   The snakes are out.  Investors pouncing on it thinking it needs to be a quick sale.  We are holding out.  As I told the agent, "once we start repairs and painting, the price goes up".