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January 31, 2008

A Fun Week

 What a Sunset


     All good trips should start with a Sun Rise but few of us get up early enough to capture one of those on film, especially not me now that I have joined the ranks of retired so a picture of a sunset will have to do.

     When Scott, Angela, Zak, and Ellie made plans to come down to Mexico to visit us we wondered how many sunsets would we have together?  We haven’t been writing in the blog lately due to having the priority of spending all our time with them.  We were lucky to have shared six sunsets at the end of very busy days.

     Like sugar plums dancing through their heads Zak and Ellie dreamed each day prior to their trip that they would be able to “hang 10” on their boogie boards, and boy, did they ever give it the college try.  We were all amazed at how well they did.  Zak was constantly sharing what he was learning with his little sister and she was a quick study.  There were the spills and the swallowing of a little salt water but Dad, Mom, Grandma, and Grandpa were always handy to come to the rescue.

     Scott and his Family stayed at the Don Jose Hotel in La Penita.  I would generally pick them up around 8:30 and we would all have breakfast at the pool side restaurant cooked by Rubin and Cece.  There were so many things to do that at times it was difficult to choose.

     Zak and Ellie became the official score keepers and volley ball chasers for the adult pool volley ball games at 10:00 and even though the beach was a strong draw for them they usually wanted to finish their obligation to the teams.  That gave us adult’s time to get organized for the rest of the day.

     Each day we tried to plan a different beach outing.  One day we did Cave Beach and several car loads of our RV park friends joined us on the outing.  The drive through the jungle on a goat trail and the steep decent to the beach did not disappoint our guests.  It was a spectacular day for us all as the whales that were migrating along the coast put on quite a show when they jumped and caused huge splashes that were easily visible to the naked eye.  The waves were gentle and Zak and Ellie got in a lot of practice on their boards.  There was a school of very small fish hanging close to shore and from time to time some barracuda and small tuna would charge in to the school and send them flying out of the water.  The water was a little murky on this trip and our snorkel gear did not work as well as it had in the past.  We finished the day at Chacala which is a small sea side village with a magnificent beach, our favorite restaurant with tables set under palapas in the sand, and swimming beach that is second to none.  Zak made friends with a young Mexican boy his age and even though there was the language barrier, they had no trouble laughing, playing, and boogie boarding together.  Dinner of Mahi, Mahi, (Dorado) cooked over an open wood fired grill and one of the most spectacular sunsets we have seen to date put an end to a beautiful day.

     On one of the days we ventured off to Syulita which is a well known beach that is popular with Surfers and we all enjoyed watching the action while again feeding our face under a palapa on the beach.  Angela is a collector of beach glass and she and the kids made some excellent finds.

     There were many hours spent on the La Pentia RV Park Beach, taco Tuesday at the Pavilion on the point, time in the park pool, and even some plain old R & R at the motor coach.  Several meals out and about in the local communities, and even a carry out of Karina’s wood fire grilled chicken.

     The day of their departure there was time for them to experience “Market” in La Penita.  The purchases were typical of tourists on holiday and that only made the carry on bags a little heavier for the trip home to Seattle.

     As parents we could not have had a more wonderful time with our loved ones and already we miss them. 

     The slide show of pictures that follow are but a small collection of hundreds that were taken but should give a pretty good idea of our week together.  Enjoy!

                                                    Slide Show


January 21, 2008

Typical Winter Day (La Penita Style)



     Everyone is allowed their time at which they tend to roll out in the morning.  Of course that can vary depending on what activities you choose to get involved in.  So far I have managed to not get involved in those that would require me to have to roll out too early.  I do best when I can sleep in.

     As an example this morning I got up at about 8:15.  Kathleen had left for an organized exercise group that she has been participating in around 7:30.  At about 9:00 we both went over to the pool and had breakfast.  I ordered the “Kitchen Sink Omelet” and Kathleen had the “Media Fruita Platter” and we each had a freshly squeezed glass of orange juice.  At least one of us orders healthily.

     We came back to the coach and I started a clean and polish project on the rear of the coach that I have been putting off.  Kathleen did some inside cleaning and then continued with an ongoing task she has been doing of scanning pictures and getting them in to folders on the hard drive of our desk top computer.

     At about 12:30 the sand, sun, and ocean waves were calling and we packed up with a few snacks and cokes and headed for the beach.  Several sightings of whales had been reported and we took the binoculars just in case.  From 12:30 to about 3:30 we basked in the sun watching some local Mexican boys from town trying to catch waves on their surf boards, this of course in between checking the inside of my eye lids for damage.  Several of our friends from the park came to join us and several topics were covered in conversation. 

     One can only lay and absorb the rays so long so a stroll up the beach at the breakers edge to gather shells that are being exposed adds to the afternoon enjoyment.  The boys are doing their best to surf, pelicans are in constant movement trying to catch fish off shore, and occasionally a sail boat is spotted far off shore as they are making their way South.

     Thoughts do occasionally pop in to the head wondering about our Northern Friends and what kind of weather is greeting them at the moment, but we try to keep those thoughts to a minimum.  We probably would stay longer at the beach today but the Packers are playing the Giants in the play offs.

     I think we will stop by the pool and order a pizza from our Mexican Friend Ruben, delivered to our coach at about 6:00 p.m. that should fit about right with half time of the game.

     No whales spotted today so that just means we had better do it all over again tomorrow.  One of these days we will get lucky and catch them blowing and jumping as they pass on their way north toward the Sea of Cortez and their annual migration to have their calves.

     Life is good!


January 20, 2008

La Penita RV Park Activities



     It never ceases to amaze me that interest in the park activities remains at record levels.  Last night was a chili cook-off.  We heard almost from the beginning of our arrival in the park that there would be a chili cook-off.  In order to have a worthy competition there would need to be at least 8 contestants, each making 10 quarts of chili.  Last nights event had 13 contestants preparing their secret chili recipe.  There were approximately 175 of us who showed up to sample the 130 quarts of chili and then cast our ballot for the people’s choice of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place.  There were also 3 judges who had been secretly selected days in advance so they would have a chance to prepare their palate for taste and their lower gut with the pink pepto for what could follow their assigned task of sampling and voting for the overall best chili.  With 175 plus of us each sampling 13 pots of chili and enjoying the hot dog and free beer that was part of our 50 pesos ($5.00), you can imagine the potential cloud that was to hang over the La Penita RV Park for the next 24 hours or so.  It was announced that one should probably refrain from smoking or the use of lighters of any kind.

     Two of our closest friends here in the park were entered in the competition.  One of them, Marion Schryer from Sooke British Columbia Canada won the overall pick for number 1 by the panel of judges.  Our friend Ken did not place with his entry but as I remember from the tasting it was pretty good.  Marion’s chili was in pot #4 and Kens was in pot #8.  No one knew prior to it being announced at the end whose chili was in what pot so it was very secretive.   I voted for the chili in pot #10 so I guess that goes to show what little I know about good chili.  Actually all thirteen were very tasty.

     Following the chili cook-off event the evening entertainment was a Mexican band called the Perez Brothers.  Four young clean cut young Mexican boys playing lead guitar, base guitar, key board, and all capable of singing put on one heck of a show.  Here we are in a small ocean side community, small by Mexican standards, and we are being entertained by four local lads who only perform in this town, and then only on a limited basis.  This was a group that I and probably all of us would have paid good money to travel a lot of miles to hear.  They were outstanding.  When they stepped to the mike and spoke it was with a very heavy Spanish accent of the English word, but when they sang the English words were as clear as day, and with out any hint of an accent.  Kind of reminded me of Mel Tillis who stuttered terribly when he spoke but could sing through a whole song with out any hint of a stutter.  This band entertained from 7:00 to 10:00 but was overwhelmingly encouraged to play on for another half hour.  To close my eyes and hear the Everly Brothers, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Johnny Cash, Conway Twitty, the Big Bopper, Richie Valance, Willie Nelson, Freddy Fender and a host of others who I can’t name.  To hear the first part of every song done in Spanish and then have them finish the last half in perfect English was just amazing, but even more amazing was the range of their combined voices and their ability to sound as near to the original entertainers as could be possible, and all that well south of the U.S. border.  Who would have ‘thunk’ it?

Just another special event added to an already incredible winter in paradise.

January 16, 2008

Reading Andee's Blog

     When we first arrived here in La Penita RV Park I wrote about our trip to Chacala and my looking for Andee.  I copy what I wrote then, for you now:


     "We have been taking exploratory trips in the jeep almost daily and have had some neat experiences.


     One of our first trips was to Chacala.  A small sea side village, mostly inhabited by and frequented by native Mexicans.  There is however an American lady, who came to Chacala some five years ago, decided she liked the people and location, settled in, and has been living there.  She writes an almost daily blog and I have been reading her off and on for about 3 years now.  She also has always done a great job with adding local pictures to her blog.  She is a bit private about talking about herself and one never sees a photo that she would be in, also over the three years I have been reading her, the best I could come up with was her name was probably Ann.  She appears to be living on a very meager SS check, but then her needs are kept quite basic.  I have had other observations about her and was anxious to see if I could find her.


     While having a fantastic meal at one of the beach side restaurants I tried with my very broken Spanish to ask if anyone knew of her.  No one did.  On walking back to the car there was a few 5th wheels parked along the beach with Canadian plates and some of the people were sitting in the shade under the coconut trees.  After visiting a bit and finding out they had been coming here for several years I asked if they knew of an American lady who lived in or around the area.  “You mean Andy”, one of them said.


     It appears that she is around throughout the day and can be found hanging out in various places.  The gentleman who knew of her offered to help me find her and even to take me to where she lived if I would like.  I declined, for the moment, but promised to take him up on his offer later on.  After all we are to be in the area for a good deal of time. "



     We have been to Chacala three times now and although I look for her I must admit I have not made a sincere attempt to meet her, always going away with the feeling that, “after all we are to be in the area for a good deal of time”.


     I have just learned in the last couple of days that on the 13th of this month (January 2008) Andee Carlsson had passed away.  She was well known among the Bloggers who wrote from their various pieces of paradise here in Mexico and I am sure she was known too many like me from North of the Border who were fascinated by her blogged descriptions of her piece of paradise, Chacala.  I am going to include a link to her blog because maybe her State side family will leave it up and running and those who never read or met her can go back through the archives and get a sense of a lady beach bum, (and I mean this in the most respectful way), who had a captivating way of talking about her day.  Her pictures were always very good, even though she constantly felt her abilities at taking photos were lacking.

     One of Andee’s last postings to her blog, January 3rd, 2008 was her comments about the beautiful sunsets from the Chacala beach, with several pictures that she had just taken. 

     I note now that Andee's son has posted her passing on her blog but once you read past that please make note of Andee's entry of January 3rd.  It speaks volumns of what Andee was all about.


     It is that entry to her blog and her beautiful pictures that I will remember her by.  I will miss reading your blog Andee.  May you rest in piece.

                                             My Life In Chacala


January 08, 2008

Chacala Revisited

Chacala's Beach















     Give us an invite, a reason, launch time, and we would never turn down a trip to Chacala to walk the beach and have lunch with friends.  Today January 8th, 2008 Ken’s sister Carol and her husband Chuck were visiting and Ken and Debbie asked some of us to join them to Chacala.  Brian and Olga, Kathleen and I made it a group of eight and away we went.

     Chacala is about a half hours drive north of La Penita but is well worth the drive.  It is a sleepy little beach village where the primary focus is fishing and the little harbor is home to the local fishing fleet.  Depending on the time of your visit they may all be out fishing or returning to load their catch in trucks ready to haul the fresh fish to the various markets.  Today we seemed to catch them returning and some were already repairing their nets getting ready for the next trip out. 

     Chacala is not a tourist town per say, and spotting gringos is not a common thing but the entire beach is lined with palapa restaurants and other than walking the beach our prime purpose in coming to Chacala is the excellent meals we have had there in the past.  This trip did not disappoint.  Once again Kathleen and I enjoyed a half kilo fillet each of Mahi-Mahi grilled over an open hearth wood fire in the center of the facility.  The chips, salsa, guacamole and cerveza were a great appetizer preceding the main meal.  Conversation and getting to know Carol and Chuck made the day complete.  This was our third trip to Chacala since arriving in Mexico and no doubt we will return several times more before our visit south of the border comes to an end. 



                                                    Slide Show

January 03, 2008

A Walk in the Park

     The week of Christmas and the week after, the La Penita RV Park took on a character all its own.  We had been told by the RV’ers who have been at the park in previous years that many Mexican families would be coming to camp and that every available space would be filled with tents.  Many of these families, now with families of their own, camped here with their parents when they were just children.  The Mexican personalities that came to occupy the park were as diverse as us foreigners who were already here.  We had many mixed functions in the evenings such as Karaoke where someone with a heavy Spanish accent would try a Johnny Cash tune and someone with a Texas accent would try Solomente.  There was lots of laughter and it was fun to watch the cultures come together.  The pool was filled from morning to night with a large contingent of Mexican kids, but as if on cue they would give way to regularly scheduled events such as 10:00 volley ball or adult water aerobics class.

     The beach took on a totally different look.  There were simple shade shelters constructed between wood poles using a plastic tarp as a roof.  There were elaborate shelters that had circus tent like structures to hold the tarps and the kids running in and out of the water kept their parents busy.

     A Walk through the Park as you will see in the slide show that follows shows a sample of what the park was like.  There were both elaborate and plain Christmas decorations.  One could find a friend working on his wood lathe.  As crowded as it was some streets were quiet.  Tent city in the overflow area was jam packed.  The beach was crowded and much more active with some surfers having a go at the waves.  Those participating in Line Dancing Class ignored the cameras presence.  Flowers were in bloom everywhere and with all of this it was difficult to remember that this was Christmas.

                                                          Slide Show

January 01, 2008

Christmas Week Special Friends

Our Cozy Location















     Just concluded is a very special Christmas Week south of the border.  This blog is intended to talk a bit about our new made Mexican friends that we were privileged to have camp next to us on both sides and the impact that was felt throughout the La Penita RV Park by all of us foreigners who have chosen to vacation here.


     To be fair, not all was wonderful in paradise.  There were those who rightfully so, felt a bit overrun with their Mexican camping neighbors, perhaps being a little over zealous as to how they fashioned their structures and utilized the space they had been assigned.  Even I at first was a bit overwhelmed by how crowded it was becoming, but all in all it was a pleasant week.


     As you will note from some of the pictures below the RV Park took on a whole new atmosphere as virtually every space available was occupied with tents and canopies to protect from the morning dew.


     Camped to the driver’s side of us as you look at the above picture were the Ramirez Family, Raul, Grandmother Susie, Mom Susie, and other members of the family, but especially Diego, the little bebe shown in one of the pictures below.


     Camped to the passenger side of us and utilizing two camp sites with a very nicely constructed dining canopy were the Lopez and Padilla Families.  Their focus for coming from Guadalajara was obviously to enjoy the warm weather, but mainly to fish as they brought two boats with them and all the equipment needed to troll for Dorado and Sailfish.  During their stay they did manage to catch many Dorado and did also get a very nice Sailfish.  Upon leaving at the end of the week they offered us a Dorado fillet and we will be enjoying fresh fish soon.  Many in the Lopez and Padilla Families spoke very good English and we enjoyed visiting with them.  Julio Padilla and his wife have suggested that when we visit Guadalajara they would like to show us the city and there favorite restaurants.  Ramon Lopez also extended his offer of assistance.  We hope we can take them up on a very kind offer.


    I truly feel privileged that we have been given the opportunity to meet these camping families and I hope that our paths can cross again in the future.

Baby Diego
















Diego, Mom, Grandma,


















Packed Tent Area
















Our Park Beach
















Nice Dorado
















proud fisherman
















Padilla Family

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