Monday, January 28, 2019

Back To The Hospital

Little Bit went back for his creatinine test and his levels actually increased.  This isn't as bad as it sounds.  This is a sign his kidneys are reacting to the treatment.   He will spend the next two nights at the hospital and then be tested again.  His levels should drop as they give him intravenous solutions to help digest the proteins and activate the kidneys again.   Let's see what happens.  He wasn`t happy to be left there.

I have to say that this vet is very inexpensive and the hospital is a real hospital.  They have an operating room, x-ray room, and chemo and radiation areas.   The overnight stays with all the treatment included is $20 U.S. per night.   We've never spent much on this little guy other than vaccinations and check-ups.   This is like Custard's last stand.   Either he improves and we continue treatment, or we bring him home so we can all enjoy the last days.  (heartbreaking).  But, I'm prepared.  I'll save all that for the end.  

I'm off again for Ecuador on March 9th for two weeks.  This time it is Quito and Cuenca.   Cuenca, as I have blogged before, is a magical city that is now a World Heritage Site and home to many foreigners, mostly Europeans. 

Other than that, the nights here are cold, down to 0C and the days are warm.  Plans are coming to fruition as the days go by.  So much ahead to enjoy.  I am doing some more changes to the rv as well as looking for a new tow vehicle or a Class B.   

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Temporarily Home

Bit is doing better.  The results of the treatment will take about two weeks.   He was on intravenous rehydration until noon today.   Doc says he needs to stay inside, eat a special diet, take his steroids and antibiotics.  

The T4 thyroid test came back negative so that was good.  He goes back on Monday for another creatinine test to see if there is any change.  This will tell us if his kidneys are reacting positively. 

He was very happy to see us walk in and made quite a stir with his meowing.   

Friday, January 25, 2019

The Kid Is In The Hospital

Little Bit hasn't been feeling well for over a year.  We had him checked, changed his diet, and he did improve but the last few months he's lost weight, his hair is lackluster and he has some intestinal issues.

I took him to the vet on Wednesday and they did some parasitic testing and everything was negative.  We returned today, and they did quite a bit of blood work.  He was and has always been, one of the best-behaved pets, so loving and kind to everyone.  Well, he's not gone yet.

What we know so far.   He is approaching 19 years old.  He has had good care and up until now has been very healthy.  He has a great set of teeth without any plaque.   His kidneys are not in good shape.  His urine has no color, his proteins are on the high end and his risk of kidney failure, on a scale of 1 to 4, is a high 3.  

I just spoke with the doctor and he says the patient is behaving beautifully.  I told LB to be on his best and just relax so that is good to know.   He probably has one of two things;   chronic intestinal inflammation or lymphatic cancer.   He is responding to the rehydration treatment and we will know in the morning if his kidneys respond.   If it is renal and intestinal, he can do well with a change of diet and medication.   The other, well, we know that the end will come eventually.  Based on his age, we kind of prepared over this holiday trip.   

Based on a famous Mexican saying, I will live forever.   Yerba mala, nunca muere.  The bad seed never dies!

Either way, I'm prepared.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Lake Chapala

Finally getting around to writing about our stay in Ajijic and Chapala.  The lake is beautiful, the locals kind but there are just way too many gringos and the culture has been affected.  I can understand though, why foreigners want to live there.   Home prices are a bit high but the cost of living is very low.   Everything is in English, with many shops and stores that cater to the foreign element.   It's a good thing for the economy but I feel like it is all about shopping and eating out.  

I'll post pictures and give some descriptions of what we saw and what we think.   As you know, anywhere in Mexico is beautiful but we are more the outdoors type and prefer walking, hiking, and being boondockers.   This trip we were pretty much hooked up most of the time and it was okay but more like being at home and not out and about on vacation, if that makes any sense.

In the main plaza of Chapala, there are several art exhibitions as well as theater options all of which are in English. 

Very beautiful sculptures located around the plaza along with a handsome tourist!

This is the malecon at Chapala.  The lake is beautiful and there are many places along the way to stop and enjoy the view including restaurants.   I have done some research and there are 12 monitoring stations around the lake that track the quality of water.   Mercury is non-existent and all other levels of chemicals are below acceptable levels.   There are areas where E-coli is a bit high but those are areas where there is a high concentration of older homes.   Water Quality Analysis - Lake Chapala  This report is in Spanish but the graphs and charts are easy to read and there is also a glossary of abbreviations needed to understand the charts.   

A heron basking in the sun.  This is a great spot for bird watching.  Lots of water foul, finches, hummingbirds, and believe it or not, pelicans.   I just can't find the picture right now.

We came across this restaurant and as we passed we heard someone on a microphone, "B5, and then we have G18".  It was bingo day and the place was packed.  Too funny!

There is a Walmart in town just before heading up the hill to Ixtlahuacán.   It's a bit on the small side but it appears you can find all kinds of foreign foods along with the Super Laker market in Ajijic.   We did go to Walmart to pick up a few things and ran into Heinz and Ulli who were stocking up on some items.   I stood in one place with the shopping basket and watched people walk around in circles looking for items because they didn't know how to ask.  It's a two-way street though.   People should learn some Spanish, use their cellphones for translation and at the same time, Walmart could recruit younger people who have knowledge of English.  

I let one gringa pass in front of me.  I said, "pasale, adelante".   She replied, "you must be German, you're speaking German".   I had to chuckle.

We enjoyed our day, please don't get me wrong but it is a bit too much for us.   Not the gringo part but too much shopping and restaurants and people with a lot of time to do nothing but walk around.  Too much concentration on the touristic part and not on the culture or nature.  Reminds me of why we don't like Yellowstone or Grand Canyon, everyone is rushing around and not smelling the roses.  

Monday, January 14, 2019

I Thought I Smelled A Rat!

Contessa asked if I am going to post more about Ajijic and Chapala.  Tomorrow I should have a post.   We liked some of it and disliked parts of it.  I will include more about the rv park as well.

Not sure where I left off from the gasoline shortage and I promise not to go on a rant over that.   We made it to Matehuala Friday afternoon.  It was a great drive and we listened to some great music all the way.  I have been using Spotify, the free version, and it has everything including my "In The Now" talks by Eckhart Tolle.   As long as you have internet signal on your phone the free version works great.   Telcel has the best coverage although we still keep our Movistar on the other phone.

We stayed at the Hotel Oasis again.  They are very nice to us and have pretty good wifi.   We watched the movie "First Man On The Moon" and had dinner.  Saturday, with a late start we made it across the mountains and to our country resort in Montemorelos.   Again, another good walk, happy hour and a movie.   This has been the most relaxing month-long vacation ever and we have plans to take off again soon.

Sunday morning brought us home early enough to miss the traffic.   Pulled into the driveway and unpacked and unhooked in less than 30 minutes.

Once in the house though, something didn't smell right.   We had found that a mouse may have died although we can't find it yet.   But he did leave his mark.  He got into my nightstand next to the bed and made a mess.   Take a look.

The mouse ate everything from paper, plastic, pens, melatonin, and if you look in the lower left corner you can see a small plastic box.  I keep a ring in there.  He ate off the clasp and dragged the ring across the drawer and hid it.  Little devil.

Then he did this.  I had about fifty dollars in Colombian pesos in a clip.  He ate the edges off of them.  However, he must have something against the Dominican Republic because I have a 5000 peso bill and he didn't even touch it.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Stranded - No Fuel - San Jose de Los Lagos

You can't beat this for a boondocking spot!
 Disconnected the SUV and got in line for fuel.

OXXO is now installing electric car charging stations.

As you know, Mexico is suffering a government-planned gasoline shortage in hopes of stopping or slowing down the theft of fuel from the pipelines that run throughout Mexico.  This was instituted by our new illustrious president I have named T2.   An idea that is collapsing the internal infrastructure of the country.   This is not my opinion but factual information presented by Coparmex () and documented in daily newspapers.  

We left Ixtlahuacán, Jalisco this morning at 9:40.  Great travels on highway 80 to San Juan de Los Lagos.  We began looking for fuel before heading to the Kikapú Aquatic and Rv Park some 38 km from Lagos de Moreno.   In and out of the highway we went only to find station after station closed.   Not nervous, we could park anywhere and stay for days with all the services and food we have on board but we do have a plan and I have another cardio appointment next Tuesday.

We pulled into a gas station at the intersection of Hwy 5 and Hwy 80.  We lucked out as you can tell by the picture above.  The gas station had no fuel but the OXXO next door has a drive-thru lane that hasn’t been put into service yet.  It includes a small grassy picnic area.  If this were our pad at an rv park we would be thrilled.  Level pad, covered picnic table, pad, manicured yard with palm trees and plants.  We went into the OXXO asking if we could park in a semi parking lot behind and the manager offered us this area.  Safe, well-lit and pretty quiet for the night.  When you boondock you can run into some of the best rv spaces on the continent.  And get this, there is an electric car charging station they have installed and goes online next month.  Looks like OXXO convenience stores can see the future apart from that old, rundown, union-led wreck of an oil company our president hopes to revive by spending 20 billion dollars on old technology.

Enough said.  Fuel came at 5 p.m. and they came and told us to get in line.  We disconnected the SUV and got in the lineup.  A full tank will get us to San Luis Potosi, 165 km and from there depending on whether there is fuel on Hwy 57 we will continue to fill up in small spurts and head to Matehuala for the night. 

I’m really excited.  I haven’t had this much fun in a long time.  Adding to the fun, our new Mexican batteries from LTH made by Johnson Controls couldn’t work better.   We’ve got lights, laptops, just about everything you can imagine going and we are at 12.8.   Tonight it will be 6C here so the electric blanket will keep us toasty.  

This has been one heck of an inaugural trip.  There are many more to come.  We are happy to have seen many of our great rving friends on this trip and will continue to do so.   We hope to meet up with Kevin and Ruth’s caravan as they exit Mexico.   I’ll stop here.   Good night.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Last One Out - Close The Gate - On To Chapala

On Sunday, we pulled out of Victoria Rv Park in Valle de Juarez.  We were the last to leave of the gang of four.  It was a fun stay.  

Here we are leaving the park on Sunday and closing the gate.  We left the park empty but a big thanks to Chema and Cristian for their hospitality and great rv park.  As I said, they have great 30 amp power, water, and sewage.   

This was our last sunrise for the new year in Valle.   A big thanks to Sal and Barb too for the great get-togethers they threw at their house on the hill and it was great seeing them again.  

Saturday night we were invited to Heinz and Ulli's house for dinner.  Ulli made Bavarian potato soup and crepes for dinner.  It was like a homecoming for me.  We have some things in common from our past such as great European foods that I grew up with as a kid.   We started with a chat on their patio overlooking the lake and then dinner.  It was a great close to a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

As we left on Sunday morning there was the threat that a gasoline shortage was underway.  Pemex and the Mexican government closed a major pipeline that supplies fuel to other parts of the country in hopes to reduce or stop the theft of fuel, some of which has been sold to the U.S. in south Texas.  We bought gasoline next door to the rv park and headed to Chapala.

We could see the lake coming closer and closer.  At first it looked like low-lying clouds as we crested the hills.

I have to say that the roads were in very good shape most of the way.  Many had recently been paved.  We followed the lake around to the southwest and made our way back around heading to the east.   It was a great three hour drive to the rv park and we were surprised at the rv park which is new and still under development.

There are only 11 spaces right now and they offer sites with 20, 30 and 50 amp.  Prices differ depending on the amperage you choose.   We parked out front of the gated park and could see Sue and Brian's motorhome along the edge and we gave them a shout.  They have a key and opened the gate for us.  The owner, Alma, showed up 10 minutes later.

It is a terraced park overlooking the valley that includes Talaquepaque.  Apart from the excellent electric, they also offer the best rv park wifi we have ever had.  Even though there are other rvers here, we were able to easily stream Netflix last night.  We watched Ellen Degeneras stand up.  Funnier than s"·%!   I laughed my ass off.  The park has a palapa with a few and its own wifi router not to mention the view.  Bathrooms and showers are underway.  There are two gates, one is for rv entrance.  The other, which comes with a remote control, is for vehicles entering and exiting.   

Linda and Peter, who are now in Ajijic, are moving here shortly.  They have been instrumental in helping Alma develop her rv park.  I will post more later about the park, but it is approx 6 kms over the hill from the Ajijic Walmart.   You're not near the lake but also not near all the traffice.   There is the town of Ixtlahuacan, and easy off and on ramp and retorno in both directions where you can easily use the OXXO, Pemex, and LP gas.   This will become a great rv park, which I think it already is.   

Last but not least, we had a meet and greet with the neighbors that lasted for a few hours.   You`ve gotta love rving!   You meet so many wonderful people.   18 years rving in Mexico and I can only count two rotten eggs.  That's quite a record.  

Today, we toured Talaquepaque with Sue and Brian.   We had a blast and I will post about that tomorrow.  One of the neighbors poured a humungous pad the other day.   It was cured and they moved over today.   Very nice.  They will love their winters here.  I will also post the park info on Ruth and Kevin's "Rving In Mexico" Facebook page.   The rate, by the way, for 20 amp is 200 pesos a night.  We're not big on rv parks, but at that price you sometimes just can't pass it up especially if it means being with friends.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Saying Goodbye To Friends - Day Trip To Mazamitla

As Paula and Jerry got up on the highway, Paula screamed, "Hasta Luego".  I replied at the top of my lungs, thinking she wouldn't hear me, "What are you doing?".   She replied, "I'm riding in the truck".

We were up early with the cows so we could say our goodbyes to Paula, Jerry, Gail, and Bill.   They were ready to take off for Melaque and we received word later in the day that they made it there safely with a little scratch or two.  They will be missed but we too will be moving on tomorrow or Sunday for Lake Chapala.

The day before we said a short goodbye to Sue and Brian.  They headed down to the lake where we will join up with them for a few days.  It is a new park and we are looking forward to exploring it.   BTW, here at Victoria Rv Park, they charge 1800 a week for full hookups.  The only downside for some might be the lack of a pad but the ground is nice and level.  We are definitely rural here but with all the amenities.

So, after they left the big surprise came.  I had mentioned to Contessa that we were going to do an rv redo but it never took place.   One side of the rv was looking tired for some manufacturer structural problems and a very very minor leak that was fixed but left an ugly stain on the outside.   I wanted to paint it but at home, there were no takers.   Too far from the city, people around us don't like to work that much and one guy wanted 10,000 pesos to do one side.   Here in Valle de Juarez, many of our rving friends have had their rvs painted and/or touched up.  Jesse is the guy to go to.   He charged us much less and did the job in two days.   I am waiting for the decals from the factory when we get home.

While Jesse worked with the help of his wife, we took off for another day trip to Mazamitla.  We wanted to pick up a few things and take pictures.  The architecture is very different from some other places around here and reminds me a lot of Trujillo, Peru.   Also, I have come to realize that I should be writing a Mexican food blog as it seems all of our trips revolve around food and wine.

Here are two scrumptious gorditas.  One is mole dulce with pork and the other is chorizo with cheese.  I also had a leche con Nescafe (hot milk, no water, with Nescafe and sugar).  

Around the main plaza, Christmas and the holidays are still going stron.

Yep, that's me, how did you guess?  I love walking and people watching.

The central market in Mazamitla is very small.  On one side you find fresh meats and on the other, fresh fruits and vegetables.   I have been looking for some chicken livers.  I like them breaded like fried chicken.   I'm not a beer drinker but they go great with a cold one.  You've got to love Mexico not only for the prices but for the freshness of everything.  No wonder so many people here live so long not so many or no processed foods.

Happy hour last night was at our home time of after 5:30.   As much as we love getting together, 4 p.m. is way too early for us and we end up a bit slushy by bedtime.   We kept to our old minimum of two drinks and a light dinner and then a good video.  We watched the 25th-anniversary edition of Saturday Night Live.

And every morning brings a new sunrise.  What a great way to start the day!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A House Warming and A Walk By The Lake

We were invited to a house-warming party other night.   Jerry and Becky, as I had mentioned before, moved to Valle de Juarez two years ago.  They had traveled full time in their Montana fifth wheel for a few years before making the move.  Once they were here they decided to build a house.   It is a beautiful two-bedroom plus loft and has so many great amenities.   They are just a few minutes from town.  

Becky fixed a fun dinner, make your own nachos.   She had all the fixing and we gathered in the kitchen around the island and prepared our own style of nachos.  The food was great, the drinks the best and the bonfire in front of there house really topped it off.

 Here we are gathered in the kitchen.  Doug is sitting at the table but you can't see him as he is hidden by the poinsettia. 

Fires are always fun and this was nice and toasty.   We hung out after dinner for a couple of hours and chatted with old and new friends, some of who are preparing to move to the area.

Sal gave us all a treat by adding his magic touch to the fire and adding some color.

I started doing walking laps at the park in the morning.  It was a bit boring.  So now I head down to the lake and walk out on the pier and back and then up the hill to the main plaza and then back home.  I try to take a different route through town each time.  This is the malecon or walkway that follows alongside the water.

I guess they call it a pier but it really a dam that holds the water back.  Fishermen go out and do some fishing.  There are some pretty big fish in there.  

One of our walks out on the pier.  I never get tired of walking out there.  A lot more to see than just the water, there are cows on one side, farm animals, people walking along roads and paths going to work or picking up groceries for breakfast.

Paula and Jerry introduced us to Loncheria Mary`s a few years back.  It is right on the main street into town.  You can't beat the great tasting food or the prices.  This is a dish of chorizo with egg and a hot coffee.   It was really delicious!

The owner of the park and his son come every day to let their three horses in and out of the barn so they can graze and get some exercise.  This filly, Lucero, really has some spunk.  She likes to show off a bit and Christian really knows how to get her to do that.   It was some show and there are some great pictures and video of her running from one end of the park to the other.  
Sue and Brian left this morning and are heading to the Chapala area.   We will be following them down next Monday.  We are having some painting done to our rv and it will take a few days.  Can't wait to see the finished product and show some pictures here on the blog.  

Paula, Jerry, Gail and Bill are leaving tomorrow morning for Melaque down on the beach.  We're going to miss them and it's been a fun week and a half.  We'll have the park to ourselves so we can reduce both food and happy hour.   I need a break!!!!