Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On The Road To Culiacan

Here I am in Culiacan. Staying at the tried and true San Marcos.  Beautiful rooms, always remodeled and up to date and a restaurant to rave about.   

I had a great day and a great group of interested teachers.   We started on time and all 100 showed up.   Quite a crowd although I like them bigger.  Many I know from previous courses over the years and they have fond memories of me.   We worked hard, had fun and laughed a lot.   Isn't that what learning is all about?

Here are some pics from my flight from D.F. to Los Mochis.  After all these years, the sheer size of Mexico City still amazes me and it continues to grow.

 This aircraft if the Embraer 190.  Pretty quiet interior but it really can pack 99 passengers into the cabin and that includes a first class cabin.   Full bar service but at only two hours there is no food service.  I sat next to a gringo from Florida, late thirties, dry as a bone.  Only answers I got were "yes" and "no".   I quit talking.  Get on a plane with a Mexican and by the end of the flight we are inviting each other to meet our families.

This was about 20 minutes out of D.F. to the northwest.

After the course today we had lunch at a very elegant seafood restaurant in Los Mochis where you have private rooms.   Very good food and very reasonable.  After, we gassed up and hit the road to Culiacan.  My driver was Alejandro.  Very nice guy who has a degree in Marketing and has big ambitions.  He speaks great English so we switched back and forth and chatted all the way.
Great highway all the way and it was a fast trip.  We saw lots of federales doing their job patrolling the roads.         

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Off To Sinaloa

I got a call last night sending me to Sinaloa.  I will arrive in Los Mochis today and work there tomorrow.  Then it is a short drive to Culiacan where I know I will be treated well and also have some good food!   After Culiacan, another short drive to Mazatlan where I will stay until Friday afternoon.   I hope to meet up with Colin and Contessa sometime Thursday.   I read their blog, know people who have met them and now it is my turn to meet the famous 5Cs. 

I'm sitting here at the Monterrey airport.   I left the house at 12:30 and pulled into the airport parking at 13:10 thanks to all the new changes in town.  Not bad for driving through a city with 5 million people.  Not one stop light all the way, 30 pesos for the autopista and boom, here I am.   62 kms.  

We got an email from our German friends we made in Hacienda Contreras, Peter and Barbara.   They should be at our house when I get home Friday night or sometime Saturday.  We are looking forward to their visit and show them around our neck of the woods.

BTW, I call this work but this is very easy.  Groups of 100 to 150 teachers for four hours and I know the subject like the back of my hand.  I guess hardwork and study does pay off.

5 p.m.
Here in the D.F. airport.  Had a salad for a late lunch, 50 pesos.  Not bad for airport food prices.  Now the AeroMexico terminal has lots of food choices, even a 7 Eleven, prices are a bit higher as the rent here is astronomical. 

My flgith leaves in another 40 minutes.   We had a small problem on the flight from Monterrey.  As the food cart came down the aisle, some guy started getting up.  They tried to get him to sit down but he insisted on going to the back of the cabin.  They moved the cart so he could get by thinking he needed to use the head.   He stood around in the back.  The flight attendant took note of his seat and reported it to the captain.   As the guy went to the back, they stowed all the liquor up in front, not sur why or what he said.  He acted strange the whole flight and kept hitting the flight attendant call button.   I pictured having to subdue the guy and taping him up with duct tape :)

8:30 p.m.

As we say in Spanish, "installed in my room".  The rep for the area picked me up on time.  Had an uneventful flight except for the cocktails.  I had one, she said to tell her when to stop pouring.  I did, it was a normal drink.   This is a two hour flight from D.F., so I asked for a "freshen up".   She came back with a full glass of vodka apologizing that she had overfilled the glass.  She asked me if I wanted her to throw it out. I said, "no way".   I sipped on it and finally gave it up and asked for a coffee.   

My room is okay for Los Mochis, not my usual but I have a king bed, excellent wifi and cable.  Room service just brought me a very good chicken breast with steamed veggies and a diet coke.  Now for some down time.  I took some pics from the trip which I will post tomorrow.

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Short Winter

Here we are barely finishing the end of January and the trees are already budding.  Reminds me of years past.  Last year, if I remember correctly, it wasn't until the end of the second week of February.  We have work to do around here and one of them is to remodel the pool.  The deck has been patched over the last two years, there is a minor leak somewhere,  and the grout needs to be redone inside the pool.  I also want to replace the 300W pool light with a dimmable LED.   We never use the light, it attracts too many bugs.  

Yesterday it was a warm 29C and at night 13C.  So it's not hot and the nights are delicious!   

All three of my contracts have come through and it is only a total of 20 days between now and the end of May.   Excellent!  I have an editing job but  that weekly and via internet, very easy to do and relaxing to boot.  I am very happy that we are off to a good start.

It also looks like we will fly to New York on the 18th for a week to celebrate Juan's 00th birthday.  I want  see the show, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe".  Let's hope it works out.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Day Drive Down South

Motorized hang glider over Allende.

Got up early this morning at usual and read my RvTravel news letter.   I made sure everyone was awake and made the announcement that I wanted to go for a ride to see some of the lots we own to see what is up with them.

It turned out to be a beautiful drive.  We stopped for breakfast, read the paper and continued on our route.  As a side note, in the local newspaper was a large write up about how the situation has changed in the rural areas of our state.  Our new state police department is doing a kickass job and extortion is all but disappeared, kidnappings and murder rates have dropped significantly.   All the rural municipalities have hired retired military higher ups to run local police departments and it appears tourism is up and people are returning to their weekend homes in the country.   Hunters have been out and about for the last three months and many coming from south Texas.  Let's hope the trend continues.

We went to our place south of here where we once had a 40ft travel trailer.   Things look good and the views are to die for.  A neighbor is building a house, mind you there are only 27 lots, so that makes six houses in the small now gated community.  Kevin and Ruth remember the big palapa there and we are thinking of staying there for a week to clean up our lot.

Moving on from there we headed further south to our place at a resort where we bought two lots.  The place is gearing up already for Semana Santa.  They are painting, grouting pool tiles, general maintenance all around.   Many members have built houses and some with pools even though the club has three large ones.  It is really looking good.   We hardly ever go there but we do like to invite family for a weekend camping trip to get the kids out of the city.

BTW, all rvers are welcome to come and stay here.  We always have passes that are good for one night.  The palapas are very nice, have grills, lights and electricity (15 amp).  Just let us know and remember you don't want to be there during Semana Santa!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Innocent Until Proven Guilty

You may not be aware, but Mexico has undergone many changes in terms of criminal law, human rights, and the change from a bench trial system with legal defense to oral trials with juries over the last 10 years.

Today, the Mexican government announced sweeping changes to the legal system.  The number one and most important change is "innocent until proven guilty".   

I need to research more but this will change the negative face that many foreigners have of Mexico.  Let's see what happens.  I know there will be "those of little faith" but I truly believe change has come to Mexico based on the last 10 years.

Route Change - Heat Avoidance

Boy, what was I thinking!   The route I had mapped out was 4000 miles round trip and went through Utah  and Nevada before hitting California.   I began checking average temperatures and I quickly decided to take a rain check on that idea.  

I reduced the trip considerably and we are now debating that idea.  We are thinking about my plan that I have mentioned several times, utilizing the great deal in New Mexico State Parks.   The non-resident pass is $225 dollars a year and that is a camping pass.  It entitles you to entrance into all parks for camping, water and use of a dump site.   Electric is $4 more per day if you choose.

I have found a total of 10 NMSPs that have wi-fi which we will need.   Three of those parks are at altitudes of more than 7000 ft which would provide cool nights if not cold.   We now have our mammoth solar panel on top that would provide ample power for our needs including our electric blanket at night.  We would use the parks at lower elevations in the beginning of summer and continue to climb in altitude as the weather gets  hotter.

Another advantage would be the  amount of miles not being driven and reducing our fuel expense for the three months.   We will be able to concentrate on the great outdoors instead of being distracted by big city conveniences taking hikes, learning more about wildlife especially birds so I can catch up with my brothers.   We will also entertain the use of Natl Forests along the way depending on altitude.  

I just need to escape the heat of northern Mexico for the summer, it's not about money although if we can live cheaply even better.  

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Kicking Around A Summer Trip

I didn't do squat today.   I got up early, went to the gym and stopped by city hall in Santiago to pay the property tax.  It was a whopping 1620 pesos, almost broke the bank.  Yesterday I had to pay the car tax and tags, that was a truly whopping 3290 pesos and that was for the VW Pointer.  Next year that will drop down to 800 pesos.  The SUV was 800 pesos because it is now getting old.

I spent the morning working on a possible refinance on the house in San Antonio.  Market values are so low in the neighborhood it is sickening.   However, because of that the person I spoke to said the default rate was so high that we may be eligible for a new rate.   She said a year ago may have been more difficult than now.   It comes with a price but could be well worth it.   That is why "I am hoping something good is happening".   We bought the property to help so meone out with the idea we would sell it a year later, well you know what followed.

On to brighter matters, as I sat around thinking about money matters I thought "plan a trip".  That is always something fun to do.  Summer is free this year and I have been wanting to head out west in the U.S.  May not be such a "hot idea" because the last time we passed through Arizona it was 35C at 5 a.m. in the morning and you know how I hate rv air conditioning.

The thing is, we have so many people to see out there;  West Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Southern California.   I am open to suggestions.   I am thinking we should take a route north through Texas like Hwy 385 to Colorado and then cut across.   Juan has never seen San Francisco and Sequoia Natl Park where I once worked as a kid.   Then we could come down the California coast and make a dash for Mexico to avoid the August heat.

Another issue is leaving the cats at home.   As much as I love 'em, they are a pain in the ass being cooped up in a travel trailer for more than a day or two.   Maybe an outside room where they can romp around.  Still checking that out.   Leaving them at home would be way to much.   As much as they like to spend time outside, the also love to be by our side.   I'm too soft I guess.  

Anyway, post your ideas and comments.  I never delete one unless it is spam so have at it.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Looks Like We Have A Winner

Short comment today.  Watching Hillary in action, I think we have a strong candidate for president.  Now, it is convincing Americans that a woman can do the job.   I am from neither party, but I believe the U.S. needs a strong president that will take action, kick ass, and take names later.   She is a real go-getter and proved that as First Lady. 

On another note, I still don't feel good about social security.   Penalizing someone from earning money because they retired and may need to return to the workforce because the banks are crooks and screwed everyone they slept with.   Socialism penalizes people for making money.   I'm against that.  

I am fortunate in that I always felt I had no option but to take care of myself.   I have or will have SS from both countries.  I know people though who have fallen prey to a bad economy, a bad banking system and a congress that continues to use SS as a petty cash box.   No one can predict the future, and trust me, I am a free market believer but don't make me pay into a system that dictates how my money will be used and when I will get to use it.  By the time I am 65 they will raise the age to 80.

If you are fortunate to be collecting your "stipend", count your blessings.   I may never see it.  The future for boomers is looking slimmer everyday.   There won't be shortage of cashiers or greeters at Walmart.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

This Is Mexico - More Cold Weather?

Last week was miserable, at least at night.   We hit 0C once.   Fortunately with the minisplits, gas radiant and electric blanket its not so bad.   We didn't use all of them at once but I love the electric blanket.  I know some people like cold when they sleep but I can't stand a cold head and nose.   And no, I won't wear a hat to bed.  

Saturday came and it started to warm up.  Yippie!  Sunday was even better and I sat out in the sun to warm my bones.   Here it is Tuesday afternoon and the sky is turning black and cloudy, the air is chilled again and it is supposed to rain.  Yippie! 

This is Mexico.  In August it is so hot the snakes and scorpions try to get in the house or the pool to cool off.   The cats shed like crazy to avoid the heat and I hunkered down in the bedroom with the air conditioning on.  Did I mention the fact that the water in the pool after July is so hot even the kids don't want to get wet.

So I ask, What is the deal with all the cold weather?  Climate change?  Mother Nature's revenge?  Must be something and I wish it would stop.

I also found out today that once you retire in the U.S. and decide to go back to work, you can earn a measly $15K, after that they reduce your benefit by 1 dollar for every 2 you earn.  Sounds like a socialist country to me.   I guess they want everyone to join in on being poor.  No thanks Uncle Sugar!

Monday, January 21, 2013

It Only Took 150 Years

Not big on U.S. politics since I haven't lived there for awhile but I did get a glimpse of the Presidential inauguration today.   Truly amazing to think it only took a civil war, Martin Luther King, and many other civil rights leaders to make a change after 150 years.

I remember those days in the late sixties.   The city was on lock down.  National Guardsmen covered the city in jeeps with machine guns on the back.  They were stationed on top of buildings.   We were walking home from the Country Club Plaza in front of what was then the IBM building.   A car passed with some blacks in it.   Like white on rice, military pulled them over and literally yanked them out of the car and gave them the shakedown.  We were on-lookers and told to get out of there.   I always wondered their fate that afternoon.

Kansas City always was and still is a city divided by color.  The Avenue Paseo is still the DMZ between whites and blacks.  You dare not cross the line especially at night.  Funny to think, as a kid it was all around me.   My dad worked for the USPS as an inspector.  One Saturday he took me down to the office, a huge towering building for an eight year old.   We walked into the lobby and in the same stroke my dad said hello to the guy who sold newspapers, cigs and candy, an older black man and also told me as I ran towards the water fountain, "better not use that one, go over there!".   It never occured to me until I grew up what it was all about.

High school took me to a private Catholic school on The Paseo.  First time I had ever had  a black classmate and there were quite a few.   A new experience that made me realize then that I was not unique and that we were all made equal.   

Times haven't changed much though.  Sure, the rights of an individual are more respected but the mentality of most humans hasn't caught up with the rights. 

I'm not a pessimist but I don't think we will see another black president in my lifetime, and for many reasons.   Let's hope my lifetime proves me wrong.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Reader Help - Considering Linux Software

Like everyone else, we have all had attacks from viruses and adware.   I have read off and on for the last couple of months the glories of Linux.   It says you don't need adware, virus protection and you are not constantly bombarded by Microsoft with upgrades.

I read an article about a guy who collects old computers and laptops no longer able to run, wornout and useless.   By installing Linux, he has brought them back to life and put them to good use in schools.  Just another testimonial to its greatness.

My question is how do you use Office programs in Linux?   Have any of you readers ever made the change?  It would be interesting to receive some feedback.  We have an old HP laptop and we are  thinking of giving it a try.

On another note, we went to visit family today.  Sat outside in the warm sun for a few hours and chatted about all the goings on while we were gone for six weeks.

We also received an email from our latest rv visitors who are now installed at Weber's in SMA saying they had a great stay and a wonderful trip down. 

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Fun Saturday!

After our new friends left yesterday, I decided to get the rv road ready again just in case.   I cleaned out the refrigerator and Juan washed the bedding.  We have flannel sheets and I think they have met the end of the road.  My foot got caught in a small hole and made a bigger one.  That fixed,  it happened again.  But before buying new sheets I think we need a new matress.  We have the original from the factory, not bad but not like the orthopedic we had in the smaller Fufi.

This morning I woke up early and piddled on the internet and setup the flat screen from the trailer in our new tv room attaching it to a laptop to watch U.S. news and local news.  It works great.  We have a projector too but until we can get it mounted on the ceiling and all the cabling for the stereo I like this setup.
The water heater petered out or so thought.   Turns out it was the regulator on the tank.  Got that fixed and back in business.  

We headed downtown to the Theater of the City for a talk on the history of folkloric dance costumes for the state of Nuevo Leon.   I thought, okay, I'll bite.  Turns out it was very interesting and I learned a lot.  Plus, we saw some other dancers from the Fiesta Mexicana dance troupe.

On our way home my reward for being a good participant in today's activity was a lunch out.   We opted for Chili's.   I haven't said anything yet but I gave up carbs for 21  days.   Working good so far except for the drink.   I had a soup and salad.   I have to say that I feel much better and also notice quite a difference in stomach relief.  Carbs make you a bit gassy.  Right, I know, TMI.

Time for a movie!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Rvers Come For A Visit
I received an email from David and Marina last week wondering if we could help them with a boondocking site here in our great state of Nuevo Leon.  They were interested in going to the cenote about two hours from the house in the municipality of Galeana.   I not only gave them the info they wanted but also invited them to stay for a couple of days here at the ranch. 

They took us up on the offer and they arrived Wednesday from Laredo in their VW Westy.   A super cool van and one we have been considering although there are few left on the continent.   They met me at the Soriana on the northside of Monterrey.   This is a good meeting place as it is easy to find.

First order of business was to get them connected to the internet by purchasing a Telcel SIM card.  The kid at the mall was more than helpful.   Marina has an Apple pad and only needed the SIM which costs 200 pesos plus you receive 50 pesos of airtime.  They bought 3G of time which lasts 30 days.  The guy who helped us spoke English, did all the transactions online and by phone and also showed them how to open the webpage so they were good to go.   Took 20 minutes.  I will use him again.

We had a blast for two days.  We are experiencing a cold front so the nights are down to freezing leaving frost on the cars and the grass.   We went for a hike yesterday at Parque Nacional Chipinque.  Unlike our short hike with Kevin and Ruth, we actually started at the visitor's center and worked our way up.  It was a lot of fun and we talked about all kinds of things.

Last night we sat around the living room by the fire and Dave gave us a photo tour of Chiapas, a trip they took a couple of years ago.  Dave and Marina have traveled extensively and know a lot of places around the globe.  

They took off this morning and I hope they enjoyed their stay.  I told them they are welcome back anytime whether or not we are here.  The door is always open, mi casa es tu casa!  They are headed to San Miguel de Allende and then for a stop in Hacienda Contreras.

Many people are surprised that Mexico has national and state parks.  We even have state parks with camping areas, palapas, restrooms and electricity.

The Westy parked in the driveway (they slept in the house, it was so cold)

A brown titted whiplet (correct me if I am wrong)

Cerro de Las Mitras on the other side of Monterrey.

 Another symbol of Monterrey known as the "M"

The visitor's center and restaurant.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Someone Asked Me Again

We took off from Matehuala early this morning without a hitch.   Well, not really.   Las Palmas is an older rv park and hotel and the rv park doesn't get used  much.  The place is immaculate and very well maintained.  The wifi is super fast and can be accessed from anywhere on the property.  So we were ready to leave and I wanted to dump the tank.   I stuck the hose down the hole and pulled the trigger.  At first it flowed as smooth as silk and then it started backing up and out of the drain all over the parking lot.  I couldn't stop it and when it finished I hosed down the area the best I could.   We stopped by the office to check out and I let them know the mess I had made.  They were  very apologetic and said not to worry about it.

We were waved through two checkpoints and the day was truly fantastic, beautiful skies, good roads, great company and music that Jerry and Paula had downloaded for us to listen to on the trip.  It was loaded with songs about Mexico.  We had a blast singing along.

We took the road from San Roberto to Linares over the mountains.   The whole route is new road and the views are incredible as you can see from the pictures below.  At the intersection of Linares and the Hwy 85 there is a city park called "El Nogalar".   We have always wanted to stop there to see if we could spend the night.  They have a small tourist office in the park and they gave us the green light.  They said the park is secure, has a guard at night and the entrance gate are big enough for double wide motorhomes to pass through.   There is a large Soriana at the intersection and the town has lots to see, one place in particular is the Ex Hacienda de Guadalupe.

We headed home from there and just as we were 25 miles from the house I was pulled over by a federale.  He came out, shook hands and said he wanted to check the registration.  I got out and showed him the VIN number and he checked the title and my license.  He then asked where I was from and where my name came from.  I told him Yugoslavia and then he asked the big one, "¿usted pertenece a algun circo?"   "Do you belong to a circus?"   We made it home safe and sound, pulled the rv into the driveway without a problem.  Colder than a well digger's ass in April.  0C is the forcast for the next four nights.

Turn off from the 57 north to Linares

Heading up the mountains towards the west.


Monday, January 14, 2013

San MIguel de Allende - Matehuala

You can tell by the pictures below the road and the scenary today was excellent.  The sun was covered by overcast skies.  We left SMA at 8:30 and headed out to Los Rodriguez, also known as Ciudad de Topes because it has 14 topes that you cannot avoid.  This route took us to the famous Hwy 57 heading north to Matehuala. 

There were some rough spots as the north bound lanes are awaiting resurfacing.  But overall we had a great  day and not a hitch along the way. We have found three places we want to visit that are on the route and we may come back in the summer.  One of them is called Santa Maria del Rio, there is a church on top of a mountain.  It looks like a long climb up and it is all stairs.   They say it takes an hour to reach the top.   The church was built after a religious celebration on the mountain top left five children dead after a huge storm and lightning strike.   Another is called Lourdes, SLP and has a history of over 500 years.  

We arrived safely to Las Palmas Hotel in Matehuala which has a very strong wifi signal in the rv park.  We just ordered a salad by phone from the restaurant and they delivered it to our trailer.  A Walmart is across the street and we did an rver walk through there.

In the end, today was bittersweet.  Some very good friends of ours have suffered a tremendous loss and we couldn't help but spend the day talking about them and how wonderful they are.   Our hearts are heavy and our prayers are with them.   Bless you.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Weekend In Breve
It has been a wonderful six weeks but we are heading home today.  We enjoyed all of our sta ys and will continue to over the next three days.   I will keep this short, the wifi signal is only good at the office here at San Jose del Tajo in Guadalajara.

This is a shot of one of our youngest academic consultants.   Peter gave us some commercial information on material that has been written for the Mexico market.   We did this for two days, ten hours each day.   It was tough but it is over and I won't have to do it again for another two years.  As I said the other day, I won a good six month contract with travel opportunities that will also give us more travel money.   We want to go to the Big Apple in February and then to Germany before summer hits.

As I told our friends Jerry and Paula, the best restaurant in Mexico City is La Strega.  Here is the maitre`d prepared my martini at the table.  The best martini in Mexico.

Here is the finished product which I savored before dinner.

The violinists played all night.   They played my favorite of course, Canon in D.  Tears, pure tears.  However, I wasn't able to share it with the person I wanted to.

Finally heading home, this is a view of "part" of Mexico City.  Enormous, overwhelming, inviting, friendly, cosmopolitan,  . . . . .

Here we are this morning in San Jose del Tajo.  Nice park in terms of its setting, location, and friendly people.  It is a love/hate relationship.  If I had 150,000 dollars I could make wonderful changes.  But it looks like in the next few years it will hit the chopping block and become 300K dollar homes.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Day 2 In the Big Tamal

Long meetings here in D.F.  Now I realize why I don't work in an office or full time anymore.  10 hour days are brutal.  It is fun seeing all the people I have worked with over the years here at the publisher, all of us are free-lance consultants so we have a lot in common.

Apart from the meeting the company has a wonderful lunch at a restaurant nearby, happy hour, a wonderful stay at the Holiday Inn Trade Center and some interesting work for us coming up this year. 

I am behaving myself unlike past years, I kind of have a reputation as a trouble maker.  Lip zipped.   However, that being said, I am looking for travel opportunities and  I have made that clear.

Went out for a great dinner at my favorite restaurant last night, La Strega on Maricopa at Insurgentes in Colonia Nàpoles.   I highly recommend it.  I have pics to post when I get back to Guadalajara tomorrow morning. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tuesday's Long Drive to Guadalajara

We said our sad goodbyes to everyone at Hacienda Contreras.   I am a real sentimental guy when it comes to that so we took off as fast as we could.   It was a lot of fun but time to move on as we have other things to do as well.

Worst part was all the parties.   I woke up Sunday night and felt something pulling at my insides.   The ole liver decided it didn't like being dry and went for a hike.  It was moving across the floor of the rv like a snail slithers across a rock.   I pulled out my mighty reel and pulled that puppy back in.  Can't live without a liver.   I think we are dry now, not that we're heading back for more either.

The drive was fun as usual and didn't take more than two hours.  First we stopped at San Luis Soyaltan to pick up a package from Estafeta that we were waiting on from Mexico.  Actually the package only took to days to get there but we took a week to pick it up.  Great service.  We had a fantastic taco at Toño's Tacos on the way out of there.  Heading to Guadalajara it is on the south end of the road just before leaving town.  

We stopped at Roca Azul and said hello to Ken and Kris.  Brian and Sue weren't there, too bad we missed them.  Nice park and nice people there.  We will most likely stay there for a night or two on our next trip to HC.

We arrived at San Jose del Tajo just as the rains started.  Got setup, had a snack and had a wonderful nap in the rain.   The cats have done nothing but sleep so I guess they were worn out too.  They attended all the parties as well and the last campfire.   We did a little shopping over at the mega Mega store and then split a chicken burger and fries from the restaurant in front of the rv park.  There are four places, burgers, antojitos, coffee shop, and pizza.  All are owned by the same company but work independently.   We highly recommend the place.   Chicken burger with cheese and fries and all the extras you want to put on for 71 pesos.    Excellent!

Today I was being watched as I dyed my black shirts.   Got to keep them as black as I can, they fade after a few wash cycles.   I hung them on trees to dry.   I guess the neighbors think we are traveling priests of some kind (circus type, you know, big tents, rvs, etc.)

So off I go now to the airport for a couple of days to the Big Tamal.  It won't get any better.  I have more people wanting to go for a drink then we did in HC,   I don't think I will ever recover.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

All I can say is that the laptop was in the shop, there were some minor issues with the wifi and that has kept us from posting.  We are ready to take off this morning heading for Guadalajara.   Here are "some" of the wonderful people we know or we have met and now are great friends.   Rvers seem to have this type of comraderie but rvers in Mexico even more so.  We are a special group.  We shared a lot of stories, our lives, the good and the bad, and we now know each other even better.   In many cases we are have made good friends for life and that just keeps the draw to Mexico even tighter.   We want to thank Sal and Barb for putting up with us and having such a magical and wonderful place for all of us to come and enjoy this great country.   We love Valle de Juarez and we love Hacienda Contreras.   

 Peter and Barbara from Germany who we hope to visit in April and May.  The nicest people we have met in a long time.  They are very good hosts and opened the door for us to Europe.

The winter would never be the same without meeting up with Croft and Norma.  They keep us in line and never have any good parties.   According to Norma, Croft and I have one thing in common, our imaginary internet friends! 

Brian and Sue are think are Mexicans in disguise.  They have been hanging around the country forever.   I met Brian a couple of years ago on RvNet but never had met in person.  They have a lot of experience, seem to be quiet at first but look out!  Like all Mexicorvers, party animals and they always have good snacks.  We are very glad we finally met them.

 My favorite picture of the year, Norma and I singing "Guadalajara".  Priceless!  Thanks Norma.

And these guys need to get on the whip and start writing their book on Mexico travel.   Kevin and Ruth have been giving advice to many Mexico rvers for a couple of years.  Kevin's reseach is incredible and they have found many boondocking and economy rv spots throughout the country,

 In the end, it was a great trip and it isn't over yet.   We head to Guadalajara for the rest of the week and I will fly to D.F. for a two day meeting and will meet up with Mexico writer, journalist and politician Darren Popik for dinner and conversation.   Sunday we will start our three day trek home.  

Remember that any Mexico rver is welcome to our house, we have a 30 amp for small rigs and if you are a big one you can stay at the resort we belong to which is in Montemorelos; pools, tennis, new bath house, club house and more.   Viva Mexico!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Can You Believe It, I Got Sick

Well, not sick in the traditional sense.  We had a wonderful last night with Croft and Norma.  We were there for about four hours talking politics and laughing about our finances and how we manage our stuff.

As we headed home I felt a tremendous pain in my upper abdomen.  I blew it off to eating too much although that wasn't the case.  I woke up around 11 p.m. with the pain of death.  It was as if I was going to explode.  I had no upper body pain, no stomach distress but this persisent pain that was intense.
I lay awake until 5 a.m. when I had a tea and an ibuprofen.  I fell asleep for three hours but woke up feeling worse.  Juan sent for Barb who is an RN.  She gave me the nurse's drill and seemed to think it was muscular.  She called Sal's second cousin, Dr. Salvador Contreras, who took me in right away.  He ruled out any heart issues and determined after a few tests it was a pulled muscle right in the middle where the ribs join.
I spent the rest of the day in bed sleeping and just walked up to happy hour to see what was going on.  Good thing is it hasn't affected my appetite and I am happy to say I feel about 50% better and I am sure tomorrow will be better.
Paula dropped off a small stick in a pot that she decorated.  I told her tomorrow I will put a small string of lights on it.  So for now, it is more bed rest.
Kevin and Ruth took off in the "little blue car" for Morelia but not after Kevin finished installing our solar panel.  I posted pics on Facebook and will do so here on the blog tomorrow.  We had a full staff of workers here supervising and Croft dug in with Kevin to get the job done.  I learned a lot of stuff about electricity and solar and we are waiting for the charge controller and we will be in business.
So being the paranoid person I am, I now believe there is no obstruction in my gut and that I will live to see tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Fiscal Cliff

If this were another country the U.S. would have intervened by now, toppled the government and jailed the hooligans. Funny isn't it!
The "Fiscal Cliff" has reprocussions that not only affect Americans today. Think of how this will affect us in a global sense. The world is watching one of the greatest governments in the world make fools out of it's citizens. How many people will or are suffering from decisions being made by two political parties that are at each others throats.   They aren't thinking about us, they are thinking about themselves and their party.  Will they suffer any consequences if they don't take care of something that they have had over 14 months to fix?  Of course not, they will continue to receive their salaries, bonuses, benefits, to adnauseum.  How did we let this happen?  How did we as a people allow our "public representatives" to lose sight of their jobs and their responsibilities.  Afterall, they work for us.   
Have your local, state and federal representatives lived up to their campaign promises? Why are we sitting by passively watching them play "Monopoly" with our hard-earned money?
You should be angry but I guess life is still too good that we can't see what is happening.  I recall a conversation with a Hungarian friend who told me about his country and fascism.  "It happened little by little.  We didn't even know it was happening.  Then, one day, we woke and found ourselves under the control of a fascist dictator."

New Year's Eve 2012

We ended the year with a good start yesterday.  I woke up early and looked outside to see this beautiful sunrise.   Kevin and Ruth went with me to Sahuayo to look for parts we needed to complete the solar panel installation.    We got lucky after going to about five different shops looking for cable.  The screws were easy to find thanks to a tip from Sal who recommened we go to Tornillo Loco.   They had what we needed.  I also learned that a lock nut is called a tuerca de seguridad.  We stopped by the Bodega supermarket to pick up a few things before headed back to Valle de Juarez. 

The installation began and everyone in the park got into the act .  Good thing because everyone had something to contribute.  Croft has a basement full of tools and supplies, Keeble helped with the riveting of the brackets, Kevin prepared the cable run and where we would put the controller once I purchase it, Jerry and I supervised the work and contributed when we could.

The party started at eight o'clock but we arrived fashionably late with Croft and  Norma.  Actually, it was raining pretty hard so they invited us over for a drink.  I was blessed by ending the year with some of Croft's $300 bottle of scotch.   It was really good and I hope someday to buy a bottle for myself.  Below is an excellent photo of friends Paula and Norma.

We played a Mexican game called "wink".  Lots of fun once we got it going.  I think the women did a better job of playing than the men.  We danced, drank and ate a lot of good food.   We didn't take enough pictures but Paula posted some good shots on Facebook.
Kevin and Ruth enjoying the party with some New Year's

We had a good run in 2012 in all respects; health, happiness and even money.  We spent time in the U.S. as well as Mexico and learned that we love Mexico so much more.   I guess we are just accustomed to the culture here and are happier living in this place.   We met new friends, we lost a few, and we hope to meet up with more rvers and bloggers this year.
My one wish is for my family, that we can be together sometime soon.   That was one thing I didn't accomplish.  I miss them all very much and hope that will change this year.   They won't come to Mexico, some live in far away places, and others have their own families with kids, grandkids and great-grandkids.  Oh well, life isn't perfect but I couldn't ask for more.   We have it all!  Happy New Year to all!  Live it like it is your last.