Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving In San Antonio 2011


Hi all.  We had a great trip yesterday to San Antonio.  We decided take the libre instead of the toll road.  What a treat.  We used it coming back in September.  Free, free, free and in very good condition.   Unless it falls apart we will continue to use it and many other libres, as all of them are in better condition.

The libre running alongside the toll highway

 Top of my head.

Libre meeting up with the autopista.

We went for lunch once we arrived and today we are having our Thanksgiving feast.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Lisa, This Is For You!

My niece Lisa was diagnosed with breast cancer two months ago.  I shaved my head today to show support and solidarity for her as she goes through the changes brought about by chemotherapy. 

I am a proud uncle of many, many nieces and nephews but have lived most of my adult life here in Mexico.   So I haven't really been around much for them and haven't done much for them either. 

I hope this is a sign that I care about Lisa and all my nieces and nephews.  I love them all as if they were my own kids.  I know others in my family will follow suit once they see my post.   I also know that Lisa will get through this just fine.  I have lots of faith and prayers for her and her family.  

Lisa has a large support group within her family, two brothers and sisters (Mike and Anna) who love her very much.  She has a wonderful husband (David) and two beautiful children.   She is a good mother and wife and has been a good daughter to my brother Bob and his wife Barbara.

Get well soon Lisa!  We all love you very much.   Soon this will be a part of the past and things will be back to normal.  I'm sorry you have to go through this and if I could I would carry the burden for you.  As your Grandma Bauer used to tell me when I was a kid, "If I could, I'd make it all go away".   Lots of hugs and kisses.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Only One Way To End It!

This song says it all about our trip.  Another good month on the road.  I will be posting our expenses for the month sometime in the next week.  Enjoy the video.

BTW, this was also going to be the theme song we were going to share with our good friends Chuck and Sam in San Antonio.  We had been friends since the early eighties when Sam sold me a house there.  The four of us did everything together.  We would visit San Antonio or they would come to Monterrey.  We spent holidays together, cooked together, just about everything.  It was a dream for all of us to retire and travel.  After we bought our first rv it was almost set in concrete that we would all rv together too!  One of our favorite holidays was Thanksgiving in South Padre Island.  We would all pack our cars with goods and head from the north and the south and meet in the middle.  We would rent a condo for the four days and fix Thanksgiving dinner.  Go for walks on the beach at night, look at the stars, ponder our futures.  It was really a time to remember.   Unfortunately, the last Thanksgiving we had in SPI was seven years ago when we scattered Chuck's ashes along the gulf shore.   Chuck had suffered from liver cancer and after only two chemo treatments decided to throw in the towel.  His decision and we stood by it.  I spent the last month with him and helped Sam watch over Chuck. 

I have always thought, "Chuck, why didn't you tough out the therapy, maybe it would have worked and we would all be here together now following "that detour sign"."  I guess I'm being selfish when I do.

We may surprise Sam this Thursday by driving up to San Antonio and fixing a Thanksgiving dinner.  They were really magic moments that we thought would never end.  Miss ya Chuck!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Goodbye SMA - It Was Fun!

So much happened over the weekend that I didn't have time to post.  This will be a quick trip through two days.  Saturday afternoon we visited with our friend Susan who with her husband Carlos own JasmineDaySpa on Jesus St.  They do massage along with a list of other services.   They have two teenage daughters and have lived in SMA for 19 years.  Susan is a writer too and has written a couple of books about life in Mexico.  We chatted up a storm and then headed over to Weber's to visit with Les.  When we arrived, he was sitting in the sunshine reading a book.  What a life!  We were hoping to see the girls but they weren't there.  We talked about rving, Mexico, where we were going, who was coming.  It was fun.

Saturday night we were in the main plaza watching all the activities.   This weekend we celebrate two events; the Mexican Revolution and Buen Fin.   Buen Fin is a one-time weekend program to stimulate the economy, get people out shopping and spending money, and most of all to help create jobs.  This is done by merchant large and small, posting the sign in their window, advertising on television and newspaper, discounts they are offering for the three day weekend.  The president kicked it off with a shopping trip in D.F. on Friday.

SMA is packed this weekend.  A good sign for the city, Mexico and the economy.  Sunday brought us to a long tour of the botanical gardens.   We have been through the gardens many times but always rushing.  Yesterday we took our time and followed the map.   We also had time to take pictures of Land Art which is a mix of nature and art.  The park is beautiful and we are now yearly members.  The membership is 600 pesos for 15 months.  I encourage anyone who comes here to visit the park.  It is truly something. 

Last night we had dinner with our new friend Judy.  Remember we met Judy at La Gruta hot springs last week.   We had dinner at Socialité just two blocks from the center of town.  A fun time had by all.

We were also invited by Brett from Shanti San Miguel, another great spa in SMA, to Thanksgiving dinner with friends.  We graciously declined as we are heading back to Monterrey today.   We will spend tonight at the Las Palmas Hotel and Rv Park in Matehuala.

Pictures will be added later, I just discovered a threat in my camera card.  :(

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Another Day In SMA!

You've just gotta love this place.  We are really enjoying ourselves here in SMA.  Yesterday we found ourselves up at the crack of dawn, firing up the generator to charge the batteries and to make a hot pot of joe.  Checked our emails and off we went to the gym.  Here, I am not the oldest guy at the gym like at home.  

After, we headed for the hot springs at La Gruta.  But first, we drove into Atotonilco for one very special reason.  They make the best gorditas in this part of the country.  The best in Mexico are found at El Divisidero near Creel in the Copper Canyon.   The the town of Atotonilco recently underwent a remodel.  New facades on the buildings, new streets, and a place for vendors to sell their goods.  Delicious gorditas, one with picadillo and another with picadillo and cheese.  We also split a tamal from the stand next door.

After filling up, we headed to La Gruta again, but got side tracked.   We had stopped once in the morning leaving SMA to look at a new neighborhood, Villa Antigua.  Way out of our league, land at 300 dollars a square meter and the houses were 350K at least, small lots but very nice.   As we left Atotonilco we passed a quaint little neighborhood with only 26 lots.  Land prices are 75 dollars a square meter and it is  part of a hotel.  Owners have access to all the amenities of the hotel and the lots are huge.  It is so quiet out there, peaceful, and the neighbors are nice.  The owner of the hotel wouldn't let us go.  He is a very nice person who takes pride in his hotel.  

La Gruta was a trip.  We swam, waited for the water to shoot out of the wall at 1 p.m., I got some sun sleeping on a lounge chair and we met some really cool people.  We hope to be in contact with them in the future.   There are several pools, the tunnel which leads to the "room" and all of it is fed by natural hot springs.

Last night found us at a fund raiser for El Charco del Ingenio, the botanical garden where we are staying.  It was held downtown at the Posada Corazon B&B.  We had a great time and met tons of ex-pats, Mexicans, people from as far away as Australia who were just visiting.  The park needs new members.  Memberships are very in expensive and run 600 pesos for 15 months and you can bring two guests whenever you visit.  The park is a real jewel here in the heart of SMA.  Many people volunteer here at the park, there is hiking, birdwatching, lots of natural flora and fauna.  Even if you only visit here once a year, a membership is a good thing.  We drank a lot of wine,  and talked up a storm. 

Our friend and director Mario.

Artists responsible for "Land Art", using nature and its tools.

Those responsible for making the garden what it is.
Not checking for spelling or grammar this morning, gotta run to the gym.  Bye bye.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

So Much To See In SMA

Grab any local rag here in SMA and there is a list of things to do and see.  Today we set the alarm for 6:30 a.m. so we could go to the gym.  Yes I know, a bit late for me, but this week and next is the telenovela "El Encanto de la Aguila", the story of the Mexican Revolution.  It starts at 10 p.m. and is only thirty minutes long.  Not sure why it starts so late, you would think it a good thing for kids to watch instead of the normal crap they show on television.  But who am I to judge, I'm a crotchety old gringo who teaches morals and values.  

So the gym was a good experience, everyone remembers us and welcomed us back hoping we would stay for the winter.  We then took off for Weber's Rv Park or Tennis Club which is right around the corner.  We thought we would bother Les for a bit but he was already off on his motorscooter. 

Home we went for a quick breakfast and shower and then headed to Paseo El Chorro which is located at the top of the hill just below the Casa de Cultura.  It was the original station for the Spanish in 1550 and there still flows fresh water from an underground aquifer.  We walked up the hill and found a public lavadero or laundry.  I may take my personals there for an outdoor wash as the local laundries charge an arm and a leg to do laundry.  We did find one that was willing to wash our blankets for a decent price.  In Queretaro they wanted 60 pesos to wash our blankets.  Here in SMA it was a load for 12 pesos a kilo which came to 36 pesos.

El Chorro and the public laundry slots.

Looking up the hill at the Casa de Cultura.

The church above the Casa de Cultura

Somebody likes bugambilias

We headed home after our walking trip, picked up the laundry and took a nice nap.  After, I took the highway to Los Rodriguez along with one of the LP tanks for a fill up.  The station had closed already but the city delivery trucks were on their way back.  I waited for one of the trucks at the gate and they filled it up.

We headed for the mirador that is on the hill down from the Soriana towards the Mega (all local landmarks) and took pics of the sunset. 

A great bottle of wine with a delcious chicken and veggie dish and now it is time to prepare for the next episode of the Revolution story.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Settled In San Miguel de Allende

We got things ready to roll this morning.  I had just showered and as I was getting dressed Juan walked outside and exclaimed, "hey, it's Les".  Our friend Les aka The MexicoKid, dropped by on his scooter to visit us.  He arrived here this week too and is taking up residence this winter at Weber's Tennis Club, at least for the time being.

We chatted for a bit and if you check his website, The Never Ending Journey, you will see our photo there.   We made arrangements to get together once we are settled.  

We walked over to the office at the botanical garden to see our friend and director, Mario.  He was happy to see us and we were there to leave a donation.   We talked for quite a bit about our project and about his at the garden.  Before leaving, he said we could stay as long as we like realizing that it is a public place and they wouldn't be responsible for security.   We spend such a quiet and peaceful time here we aren't too concerned about that.  So, we have taken him up on the offer and will stay here through the weekend so we can visit some new sights we haven't seen. 

Just Itchin' To Go Outside

We mentioned to Les that we were actually on our way to San Ramon and would stop by the old Los Lagos Trailer Park that once existed down by the lake in the neighborhood of Los Frailes.   We ended up going for drive after breakfast just to check it out and it is no longer.  The land was purchased and a beautiful upper class neighborhood, Residencial Los Huizaches, is now in its place.  It must have been something in its day.  We still have the old edition of Mike and Terry Church camping book and they say in their description that it was a pine tree covered area.   We continue to lose rv parks in Mexico to new developments and highrises.  I guess that is progress.  If I only had a half a million dollars to lay out, I would build one.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A Short 65 Kms - The Remains of La Siesta (Pictures Added)

We finally left our resort dwelling in Flamingo Inn in Queretaro.  It was truly relaxing and we will go back for sure.   At 250 pesos a night you can't beat it although it isn't boondocking.   We headed north on Hwy 57 and took the  111 east to SMA.  We were there in no time, less than an hour.  We have been in the search for a gas adapter for our radiant heater.  I want to run it off of one tank with its own regulator and have the other tank for rv use.  No such animal here and we have exhausted our search.  We need to have a "T" connection put in under the stove and be done with it.  I just don't like the idea of cutting into an interior gas line.

First business of the afternoon here was to stop by La Siesta.  The office is still open but everything has been bulldozed.  The office checked with the owner if we could boondock there but the old fart said no.  He said there was too much large machinary passing in and out and he didn't want our rv to get hit.  It is really gone now. 

We took an hour looking at other rv possibilities in SMA.  One is a good idea for a one nighter, it is the El Cardo parking lot where the buses park during the day.  For one vehicle it is 16 pesos an hour, speak with Martin.  We could have left the rv at Mega during the day and then parked there at night arriving at 9 p.m. and leaving at 7 a.m. with a cost of 160 pesos.  It is secure, well-lit and open 24 hours.  From La Siesta drive four blocks into town passing the Real de Mina Hotel and the OXXO.  Turn left up a small incline and 20 meters on the right you will find it.  Good part is, you can leave your rv knowing it is secure and have fun at night in SMA.

We are now parked in front of the botanical garden.  We took a nap and were abruptly woken up when the rv began rocking.   I knew what it was, it was the same horse that we encountered last time getting a good back scratch on the slideout.  It is so quiet here I wish we could stay forever.

We already bought some good bread and are enjoying now during happy hour with cheese, olives, some turkey slices and a cold vodka with three ice cubes.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Visit to Peña de Bernal

Yesterday we went out for Sunday breakfast.   Chilaquiles are very popular here and there are places that specialize in them.   We went to a place around the corner from the hotel where the restaurant is located in a warehouse.  The food was great and also very inexpensive.  The orders come in plain chilaquiles or with many extras and in three sizes; small, medium and mega.  We ordered a mega with papas and chorizo and split that with a cup of pretty good coffee. 

 We had been out late on Saturday night so we went back to  the rv and took a short nap before driving to Peña de Bernal. 

We were there with Croft, Norma and Les in 2009.  We climbed the big rock walked around the pueblo magico and had lunch back then.  This time it was for a stroll, shopping, and a coffee and gordita.

Quite a crowd showed up and there is a lot to do there in terms of sightseeing and shopping.  Restaurants are everywhere and there is a new hotel just about ready to open up and it is really beautiful.  Based on the construction technique, it will last for a couple hundred of years.

We walked all over the place, sat and had a coffee with a really good pastry.  Kind of like a giant cinnamon roll, but instead of cinnamon it has candied fruit inside and smothered in a delicious glaze.  Yummy!

We left for home around 6 p.m., the sun was going down and I don't like to drive at night.  I highly recommend this place as a day trip.  The road from Hwy 57 to Bernal is excellent and would be a perfect place to open an rv park.  Somewhere in between Queretaro and Bernal would be 20 minutes on either side.   Beautiful countryside and pristine vistas.  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dinner Out With Friends - Queretaro

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag Patrick!

Last night we were invited to a friend's house.  Adrian lives here in Queretaro.  Juan met Adrian when he was volunteering at the International Forum in 2007 in Monterrey.  Adrian was born in Monterrey, lived there off and on but grew up in Puebla before moving for work to Queretaro.

Adrian stopped by to pick us up and see the rv.

Adrian also had the opportunity of visiting Kansas City last year for a two week seminar program.  He was looking for a place to stay and had asked us if we knew of anyone in  K.C. or a way to find a place.   He didn't know at the time that I was from Kansas City.   We hooked him up with my oldest nephew and dear friend Patrick.  Patrick celebrated his 49th birthday on Friday, 11-11-11.  It was a real humdinger of a celebration we were told.

At dinner, Adrian's roommate Tomas who hails from Switzerland, prepared a wonderful pasta dish for all of us and two of Tomas' German students, Rodrigo and Fernanda.  They are great kids doing their part for a better Mexico.  Both graduated from the university and working in import/export for major Mexican companies.

Tomas preparing our delicious dinner.

We spent the night talking politics, sex and religion.   We also shared stories about how we all met and how Adrian enjoyed his stay with my very special nephew.  Patrick, by the way, is a published author of several books one of which was his first novel, Seldom Seen.  We have several published writers in our family although my work is mostly boring  text revision and Americanization.  We have my dad to thank for that.  We were always reading something and summers were spent at the public library.

Adrian said that Patrick and I were pretty much alike in many ways.  "Hmmm Patrick,  I'm sure he meant that as a compliment."

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Taking In The Sights In Queretaro

Today was another free day.  I had a Skype meeting at 4 o'clock so we decided to take advantage of the morning.  First off we went to the gym for a good workout.  Strength training is easy, weight control under the current food conditions is tough. 

We ate a light breakfast and went off to find a good laundry.  Took us a while.  With the cold weather people are less likely to do their own laundry.  We finally found a place and it was pretty reasonable.  All of our bed linens and clothes cost us 80 pesos, around 6.50 u.s. 

Heading downtown we found our light lunch as well.  A slice of pizza, monstrous in size, and a small glass of soda for a whopping 10 pesos.  Kevin, can you beat that? 

We toured the downtown area for quite a few hours.  There is so much to see and do.  There are walking tours in English and Spanish, including the legends of the area.  The tour guides are dressed in 16th century garb and walk you through some of the historic buildings where legends and ghosts to this day live on.

As a side note, and a sad one, we lost our Secretario de Gobernacion today in a tragic helicopter accident, Francisco Blake Mora, QEPD.   It was a severe blow to Calderon's cabinet.   A great man, and along with him part of his cabinet and several military guards.   May they all be remembered for their heroic work in Mexico during these tough times and may they rest in peace.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

A Cold Day In Queretaro

We woke up this morning well rested and ready to take off for the streets of Queretaro.  Got up a little late, sleeping in until 6:45.  We went to the gym here at the hotel, excellent equipment.   Then a hot shower in the locker room and off we went looking for a local market.  Found a good one.

This is the Mercardo Escobedo on Ocampo Street.  It is an indoor market and has just about everything.  We were looking for a late breakfast but that was already over.  So we opted for an early lunch.   Chili relleno with rice, beans, homemade corn tortillas and a bowl of hot soup.  The temperature was mild when we left the hotel but really started to drop throughout the day.

Lunch was 38 pesos, or about 2.75 based on the current exchange rate.  I could have eaten more, there was such a good selection of foods.  Being s hungry we didn't get the chance to make the rounds and missed the seafood market where they were selling soups, tostadas, complete lunches and more.

After, we came back for the truck because we wanted to drop by CostCo for vitamins.  They were out of vitamin C and so we are running low.  Not sure if Walmart will have what we are looking for. 

We were also in the search for some bolts we needed for the WDH.  The stirrups had the wrong size bolts and were a bit loose causing the ends of the stirrup to bend.  We had one fixed in Morelia at a mofler shop.  Then the other one started to bend.  Home Depot Morelia didn't have the bolts.   I made a mexicanada and it got us here to Queretaro.  So we popped by Home Depot here and they have the same stock.  However, and I really  mean it, people here in Queretaro are super, super nice.  The kid who worked in the screw department took us outside and showed us how to get to a shop that specializes in bolts, screws, etc.   We found it right away but no luck.  The owner showed us on the map the largest supplier of nuts and bolts in all of Queretaro.  Took us ten minutes to get there and the counterman fixed us up right away.  What a deal!

Came back home and took a nap.   Got up and it was even colder.  I did a good vacuum of the trailer, dusted and washed the floors.  We have the heat on now and fixing a delicious pasta dinner with salad and wine.   Juan got the chicken breast for 20 pesos, a half a kilo. 

The view from our rv.

We will watch a movie from Blockbuster and hit the hay.  Tomorrow we visit the education department, find a place to do laundry and go sightseeing.   You gotta love this place.  Also, tomorrow I have a meeting in Mexico City via Skype to discuss the next project.  I also received a call for work in December in Baja for a week.

BTW, Juan bought a couple of baskets for the cats beds when we were in Morelia.  Today he walked up to the fabric store and bought some filler and fabric to make cushions for the baskets.   What do you think?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gracias Queretaro - What a Difference A State Makes

We never got anywhere in the Estado de Mexico with education officials, in fact, the most difficult state to ever work in.  We returned to the rv this morning and asked for an escort to the Arco Norte to Queretaro.   Our escort took us to the border with Tlaxcala and off we went leaving behind a bad memory.  I will be posting in Spanish in the next day or two to demonstrate my inconformity with the most corrupt state in the Republica Mexicana and I dare anyone from Edomex to post a comment or send me an email.

We arrived safely and with open arms to the state of Queretaro.  Doors opened automatically and the wonderful people of Queretaro welcomed us and invited us into their city.  We chose the Hotel Flamingo Inn which is listed on OnTheRoadIn, a website by Bill and Dot.  Only change was an increase in price to 250 pesos a night.  The best part is that it is conveniently located in the center of the city and has room for motorhomes up to 40ft, toad not included.  There are only six sites but it includes the following;  electric and water, dump station, wi-fi, access to all hotel amenities including heated pool, showers, towels, soap and shampoo, gym, and restaurant.  We have a huge garden all to ourselves.  A bit expensive for us, but keep in mind their rooms start at 990 plus tax. 

Considering we already have an answer from the education department, and one that seems eager to help us, we are well-located and have a gym which I need on a daily basis.  So you figure two people at 20 pesos a day each just for the gym our price goes down to 210 pesos and it is right here on the grounds.  

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

We Made The Move

I arrived in Mexico City at 2:30 and took a taxi to Texcoco. I was already wondering if we would have a place to move to as planned. The driver took me straight to the hotel. Amazing how they can know there way around D.F. and all its surrounding suburbs.

The trailer was safe and sound just like I had left it and Juan had things ready and secure for our departure. We were being guided at night, leaving around 10 p.m. to avoid transito as well as traffic. It was still early and I couldn’t sit still. I was able to get a nap in which helped to pass the time. Still it was only 6 p.m. and we had four more hours to go.

We went for a walk in Texcoco. The mail plaza is only two blocks from the hotel and it is a beautiful place. A huge indoor market that sells everything from fresh produce, meat, seafood, electronics, clothes and more. Lots of colors and smells but not the usual stinky markets we sometimes run into.

I had been wanting a coffee for quite sometime and there was a small coffee shop next to the hotel parking lot. The minute I walked in the owner started asking me questions about where I was from. She even attempted to speak a little English, pretty well too!. Her father had a small coffee plantation in Puebla, she sells the coffee in Texcoco, ground roast, whole bean and fresh brewed. Her husband works for an American company in Ohio and she practices her English with him and their two children. She said her kids had wanted to see the rv all weekend. We invited her over for a look and exchanged emails.

Then we went for a slice of the best pizza we have had in a long time. I was getting my ego back as everyone was talking with us and treating us so well. It was good to shake that feeling I had been carrying on my shoulders all weekend.

Nine o’clock rolls around and we took a walk to the main plaza again, this time to find our taxi driver. He wasn’t answering his cell phone and I was getting anxious. We asked for 220, his taxi number, but they hadn’t seen him. We sat on a bench and watched people for awhile and then decided to head back to the hotel. As we began walking, 220 drove up. He said he was waiting for the key to the gate where we were going to stay. Ah, a sigh of relief. We headed back to the hotel, got the trailer turned around and ready to head out. The night guard unlocked and opened the gate and just then the 220 drove up. He stopped traffic, pulled his taxi out in front and we followed behind. I knew then we were in good hands. It was a twenty minute drive across town and we drove pretty slow with our emergency flashers on. Not much traffic and very patient drivers.

Juan knew the route so as we got close he said, “this is the finally street”, home safe. What a production that followed. I would say six of the houses on the street are all family members of 220. People were waiting at the gate, the kids in tow, and they walked down the street as if it were a parade, people in front and people behind. We arrived to our parking spot and just like some goofy rv park scene from a movie, everyone directing me, “a little more this way”, “no, over here, it’s not straight”, “try it again”. I was in too good of a mood to let chaos bother me and we finally got FuFi in place. The kids were fascinated, and I think the adults to, when we put the slides out. It was a real show, especially after we got the cats out of the truck. Then everyone wanted to talk and spent another half hour in conversation. Some relatives came for the event from other neighborhoods too.

Off to bed. We put on the national Mexican news, fixed a drink and had a nice piece of dark chocolate. I drifted off to sleep and was happy to be back in my bed safe and sound. This is the good side of Mexico that I love so much. Today, Tuesday, we will see how our research project will take off. If we don’t get a satisfactory response we may head off to Queretero via the “Arco Norte” , or head to warmer climes.


Sunday, November 6, 2011

Ready To Head Back Home (to the rv)

I changed my flight today to leave for D.F. tomorrow at noon.  I need to go to the bank and then to our local transito office.   I want to get a letter from them or the regulation regarding trailers and the additional sticker which we don't have.  In Mexico a remolque is a remolque (a trailer is a trailer).  Mexico doesn't recognize the difference between a trailer for transport, a trailer for ATVs, a flatbed trailer, or a travel trailer.  All pay the same rate for the plates. Foreign rvs and the aduana is another thing, but I am talking Mexican plated.   Here in Nuevo Leon the cost is 643 pesos for new plates or renewal.  There is no sticker because Mexico doesn't sell travel trailers so there are no windows on trailers to put the sticker.  And that is where it is supposed to go on your car.  I want to ram the regulation up someone's tailpipe when we get back, report the sinners, and find some gratification be it real or just feel good.  My fear is the retribution, but we won't be back to that crappy little town anyway.

We found a place to stay.   Juan went to get his shoes shined yesterday.  After, he wanted to take a taxi to see some possible rv sites.   Well, his driver was the same guy who guided us to the hotel.   He has offered us a place to stay, which is near the university we will be doing our research at.  He has a house for sale in a gated community, not top drawer by any means, but safe and he is willing to let us use his electric.   He will also guide us on Tuesday from downtown Texcoco to his place.  He has family members there who will keep an eye on things when we are gone during the day.  Sounds like a deal.

Juan will also visit the university tomorrow to see if we can strike an on-campus deal and stay there. 

I can't wait to get back.  Sorry my post the other day was such a downer, but I get my feelings bruised very easily.  I find it hard to accept that there are evil people in the world, yes I know, how naive.  Who would want to hurt someone like me?  I mean most people like me.  

Anyway, it is time to get back to rving in Mexico, enjoying the sights, sounds, and foods.  Viva Mexico!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

What A Difference A Day Makes

I took the taxi from the hotel in Texcoco to the airport.  It was a fast 45 minutes.  I flew on the discount airline Interjet.  It was a new Airbus A-320.   Very nice flight and in an hour we were in Monterrey.   Took another taxi home and picked up the car before heading out to the university.

I was in heavy traffic coming back home because there was a football game at the university.   But let me tell you, it was the best feeling in the world to be in a place with over 1 million cars on the road and no one bothers you.  

The house is fine, our never ending pool leak was detected and fixed.  Amen to that.  I woke up early this morning, 4:30 and did some things around the house.   I went to the rv parts store in Monterrey and they were out of roof vents, they had one MaxAire vent cover and a screen replacement.   We will find some other solution until we cross the border in January.

I drove back down south to our land in Allende where the neighbors were having a meeting.   We had gates put up at the entrance, have hired a fulltime gardner and guard to watch the place, along with some other security measures.   These are not related to the current problems but to sticky fingers in the area that don't give us easily.  We recommended this four years ago but no one was interested.  Now that just about everyone has experienced some kind of theft or vandalism, they have all agreed to the changes.  Better later than never. 

I have a couple more errands to run and work on my weekly project tomorrow.   When I get back to Texcoco on Monday we will start our plan to take action against the transito officials that gave us trouble.   Once we are out of the Estado de Mexico, we will begin our plan to contact the chief of police and the head of transito and see that these guys are at reprimended even if it is only superficial to please a tourist.  We are researching the transit laws now, Juan picked up a rule book and we will go from there.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Big Tamal - Mexico City

For years we have traveled for work and pleasure here in Mexico City.  For us it is a tourist's paradise.  So many things to see and do, 3000 years of history all in one spot and not to mention the food.  Hotels get old after 35 years of work travel and we love the rv life.   My work situation has always taken good care of me putting me up in nice hotels and expenses but it's not like our travel trailer.

Yesterday we left Patzcuaro around 9:30 after gassing up and getting an invoice for LP we bought the other day.  The  day started off well and we had our plan to drive to Texcoco all put down on paper.  Paper is a great thing as you can always tear it up and start over.   I wish we had.

We decided to take the Perinorte around the city from Toluca.   I know Toluca but I've never driven through there but have heard the horror stories.   We sailed right to town and headed up the moutains to La Marqueza.   The views are fantastic and the drive amazing.  Many places to spend the day camping and don't forget all the great food.   It gets vey cold there at 9,000 ft and it was just to far.  Here in Texcoco we are closer to town and I will take a taxi to the airport today in around 45 minutes, non-peak hour.  

As we came down the mountains we followed the signs and were right on target.  We had just given each other a high five not 10 minutes before when all of a sudden we crested the hill and what lie before us?  Vertical buildings all around us.  We had made a mistake and ended up in Santa Fe.   We pulled over immediately, found a policeman who told us how to turn around and he even let us back up, guiding us, some 50 feet.  We followed his directions and I am sweating up a storm, worried about transito and more than that getting stuck.  We found the U-turn but you won't believe it.  They had just put a steal girder over the road so that tall vehicles couldn't enter.  The tow truck was still holding the steel beam in place.   I crapped.   The police there (not transito) helped us again.   We got stuck on a turn and had traffic backed up by 30 cars on each side.   People here are not very nice in traffic let me tell you.

We got through it, hired a taxi and off we went again on the Perinorte.   Each caseta guided us through with map and we were well on our way.    Then, all of a sudden, our key signage disappeared.   We had entered the wrong caseta and he told us to pass through and how to turn around.  That was the beginning of the end.

We screwed up and transito nabbed us in Tultitlan.  It was't a good scene.  They saw us  coming and they really screwed us big time.   We don't pay bribes but they got us for not having the sticker that matches our plates on the vehicles.   We had them with us but not on the car.   We cried foul but they didn't give a shit.  They showed us the regs in the transit book.   Pick up vehicles, impound them, fin of 9,200 pesos.    We went back and forth for over an hour and they wouldn't give in.  We asked for their supervisor and he showed up in 5 minutes.  He was relentless.   He claimed it was for our own protection as plates were being stolen.

We struck a deal and went to the office to pay a lesser fine.   I still think it was a setup but we got off with a fine of 2500 pesos, for us, a huge expense.   We had no other choice.  They had called the tow truck that would lead us to impound the vehicles and it was there ready and waiting.   They weren't fooling around and they weren't asking for cash which we wouldn't have considered.   The deal was that they would lead us to the correct caseta that would get us out of that town.   They did and off we went.

We made it through the worst part of the Perinorte which is a truck route and the road are rotten, I mean really bad.  Atroscious can't describe what we went through.  Fufi was shaken badly.   We started looking for hotels to spend the night but in this neck of the woods hotels are small with little or no parking.   As we neared the center of Texcoco, which now that the nightmare is over, I can say is a beautiful town, we hired a taxi who said he knew of a hotel that had a large parking lot but it was in the center of town.  We asked about transito but he said they are no longer.   Fine.  Streets were good but even he got lost.   He stopped in the middle of Main St., put on his emergency flashers got out and signaled to Juan to go with him.   I was left alone there by myself, Friday night 7:30 p.m.   Again, it wasn't nice and people can be evil.   I was there for only 10 minutes but it seemed like an eternity.   Then came the flashing lights and a policeman came around me.   He stopped, looked across the front seat of his patrol car, I looked at him and he took off.  Whew!

In the end, a very nice hotel owner, with a large parking lot took us in.   He was a bit puzzled by the rv and said because he didn't know what was going on we would have to pay for one night hotel stay and not use the rv.   We gladly accepted.  We set up the rv for the cats, packed what we needed and thats when I noticed something funny about FuFi.   I called Juan into the bedroom and told him we had left the vent open over the bed and rain was coming in.   As I went to close it, tight and all the way, the rain continued (light mist).   The whole frame was still there but the plastic bubble wasn't.   We were able to fit plastic into the frame and close it tight for now.

My weekend in Monterrey will be full as I need to find the vent cover.   We have a place that sells rv parts and I know they carry them.  Apart from my talk we have a problem again with our land south of where we live and I need to go to a meeting with neighbors.  I will return to D.F. on Monday.  The hotel has airport service which the company is paying for and I will easily make my flight coming and going.  I hate leaving Juan alone here, but I know he is in good hands and begin the search for a place to stay.

One good note is that he has established his contacts here and they are willing and ready to help him in his research project.  They are very friendly and I am sure the rest of our stay will be a good one.

Heed the warning of the wise.   Use the Arco Norte, stay out of D.F. with an rv.   There are more things that happened along the way to rub salt into the wounds but we are here now and I apologize for my cryptic and depressing tale last night.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

We Were Warned

It was worse than I have ever experienced in my life.  It wasn't life threatening, but it was a day that will never be forgotten by two seasoned rvers in Mexico.

We are just recovering from the experience, in a hotel in Texcoco.  One part of Mexico we will avoid in the future.  So sad.  Fufi the Funfinder is okay too, a little bruised but will recover.  I am heading home tomorrow via air for a talk I need to give at the university and will return on Monday.  I hate leaving Juan alone but I need to get a replacement part for the rv, a paper we forgot and drowned myself in pity and alcohol. 

I'm too exhausted to say anymore, I will fill everyone in this weekend.  All in all, we are fine now.

Tomorrow it won't even be a big deal.  Honest, we're fine.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Villa Pátzcuaro Rv Park

Here are the pics from the rv park here in Pátzcuaro.  Entering from Morelia is a breeze, access to El Cento, Soriana, Bodega are all within in minutes.  In town, three plazas to walk around in, sit and have coffee, lunch or whatever.   Got a haircut today for 40 pesos, excellent job, the guy's name is Jose, the only estilista with that name.

 Website  the rv park.

Sign from Ave. Lazaro Cardenas entering from Moreila

Main gate to hotel and rv park.

Pool Area

Club house and showers.

Rv spots.