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December 26, 2008

Half Done

Bob and Judy















     Its a tough life but someone has to do it.  When we get up in the morning we start the day with nothing to do and when we go to bed we hope we only have it half done.

     Today was beach day.  Someone makes the general announcement to anyone in hearing distance that at 1:30 we are going to the beach and before you know it more than a hand full of friends are ready to head that way.

     Pictured above are our immediate neighbors here in Lo de Marcos Bob and Judy from Penetang Ontario.  When we all gather we still have nothing to do and that makes solving the worlds problems a great part of the conversation.

     Today we were all treated to a jumping, and chasing fish display by a few dolphins and shortly thereafter a large hump back whale cruised by fairly close to the beach breaching and blowing as he went.

     Several locals riding their horses came by on their way to the river outlet to give them a bath.  The beach is a little more active for at least the next week as a few bus loads of inland residents have come to vacation over the holidays.

     Pictured below are two of our newest friends from Canada, Ken and Gayle.



Ken and Gayle
















     The slide show for today is just a montage of our friends on the beach.


                                                    Slide Show

December 25, 2008

Entrepreneurs in Mexico

Oysters on the half shell Anyone















     First let me say I have never been a fan of raw oysters.  My mom used to make once a year or so oyster soup and I found that to be delicious but that slimy raw thing sliding down my throat just never excited me.

     The other day I was having a Hamburgasaa Irene (hamburger with cheese, bacon, lettuce, and tomato) and fries on the side when this entrepreneurial fellow showed up next to the restaurant with a knapsack on his back, carrying a five gallon pail full of oysters that he had just picked off the rocks south of town.  He also had a couple smaller pails in his other hand.  He approached someone of authority at the restaurant to secure a table for his use and also filled one of his small pails with water from the spigot near the building.  He looked around and found a large rock and that was to be his anvil.

     It wasn't long and local patrons from the restaurant and those who were just showing up were stopping by his table to order oysters.  One young girl in her twenties joined by her (most likely) grandma and grandpa ordered twenty.  The young man reached in to his knapsack, got out a platter, and with one hand splashed a little water from the bucket on it, rubbed it with his other hand making a washing motion, and then dried it with his tee shirt.  He proceeded to put the oyster on the rock and with a large pliers he would whack and crack an edge off the oyster.  Now he was able to insert a knife like tool and open the shell.  Throwing the top part of the shell away, he washed the oyster and half shell in the same bucket of water and placed the oyster half shell on the plate.  It didn't take him long to have the 20 completed and reaching again in to his knapsack he pulled out a couple of limes, cut them in half and served them in the center of the plate.  Grandma, Grandpa, and the young lady devoured the 20 in no time at all, while I am a few feet away now having trouble just swallowing what was a darn good hamburger

     The same scenario was repeated several times, same plate with a quick splash and wash as previously mentioned. 

     Those of us from North of the Border know enough to be cautious about the use of tap water and although getting fresh oysters like this within just a few hours of them being pulled from the rocks and water and then served by the same fellow for a price, that would be unheard of anywhere but here, is probably not a good idea.  The South of the Border revenge, if you know what I mean can be wicked.

     It sure was interesting watching this chap ply his trade.


Whats Christmas Like South of the Border?

Front Door of the Tininthewind


















     Christmas in Lo de Marcos Mexico is like Christmas anywhere the only difference for us who hail from North of the Border is that it is hard to get in the spirit when the temp is 80 degrees F when you get up and 80 degrees F when you go to bed but at some point during the day we tune in the weather from home and we are reminded of just how lucky we are to be here.

     The photo you see above is what greets us as we step out the front door of our coach.  In everyones space there are flowers blooming, some with bananas growing, strange birds flitting about, and the occasional cloud that passes overhead.  Yes, we are in the tropics.

     Kathleen has been participating in Choir practice with a group from the RV park in preparation of singing Christmas Carols for the 10:00 p.m. Mass at the local Church.  Most of the Choir participants are our French Canadian friends from the park and most of the songs were to be done in French with a few English versions thrown in for good measure.  Many of us attended the Christmas Eve Mass not only to hear them sing but also to have the complete experience while guests here in Mexico.  The people of Lo de Marcos have been wonderful to us and this was no exception.  I managed to get a picture of the Choir and one of the inside of the church before moving outside to give my seat up to a local lady who arrived late and the church was packed.  When I moved outside I discovered that there was standing room only and many were outside the main door looking in but were still able to participate in the Mass and of course the Lords Supper that followed the Mass.  The Choir from North of the Border sounded very good and it was obvious that the locals appreciated the gesture.  It was near mid-night when we turned in for the night as Christmas day was going to be special for us as well.

     On Christmas day about 20 of us who also had Christmas together in Mexico in 2007 got together again to celebrate.  Ken and Debbie hosted us all at there pad just two sites over from ours.  Ken and Debbie prepared two turkeys and each couple was assigned a dish to prepare and bring to share.  As is always the case there was more than enough very good food.  I continue to be in awe of the number of superb cooks in our little circle of friends.  The following slide show is just a glimpse of what our afternoon was like as we all did our best to get in the spirit and try to convince ourselves it really was Christmas day.


                                                      Slide Show

December 22, 2008

Join me for Dinner?

Joined for Dinner















     Kathleen and I went out for Dinner this evening and as can be the case here in Mexico you don't always get to dine alone.  Lets see, just in the last week or so I have been joined by a chicken pecking on my leg, and now a little kitten that both wanted to play and in the end was just looking for a comfortable spot to take a siesta.  Look closely at my feet under the table.  Our dinners of Pollo Asada were excellent and we will try this little restaurant again.  Check out the slide show that follows.


                                                        Slide Show

December 21, 2008

You could be a Liar



5:30pm, Sunday Dec 21st, at the Palapa


  Bring your cocktails, and maybe a snack, to an hour of fun and laughter at the Palapa this Sunday. 

We've brought together four of the best liars in Lo de Marcos to entertain you with their explanations of the meanings of some very strange English words. Will the team at your table be able to identify which one of the panelists is telling the truth? 


Don't miss this chance to broaden your vocabulary and meet the El Refugio Liars Club. Please try to be seated by 5:15pm - the fun starts at 5:30pm

The Four Potential Liars










Let me set the stage for the evening.  The Four distinguished that you see above were to present their definition and description of a word and then those of us sitting at numbered tables were to work as a team and vote for whom we thought was telling the truth.


     One knew that it was going to get very interesting as the four were composed of three retired members of various law enforcement groups in Canada and one retired Canadian Politician.


     The event was held in the beautiful central palapa that has become the gathering place for some of the smaller functions.  Some of the descriptions given by the four did drag on a bit long but all in all it was very entertaining and humorous.


     There was a 50/50 raffle held with 50% of the proceeds going to a 12 year old girl from the Lo de Marcos Village who was just this past week injured severely in a bazaar collapse of a basketball pole and hoop near the church.


     The winning table would be announced at the end of the evening based on how many times they correctly identified the person who was actually telling the truth.  The winning table would then not only win 50% of the raffle but also a nice bottle of tequila.


And the winners Are

Don, Louise, Kathleen and George











It was only right that we agreed that the injured 12 year old should receive the entire amount of the raffle and she will therefore be getting 920 pesos and a lot of prayers for a full recovery.


     A good many of the RV park residents participated in this fun evening and perhaps you will recognize some of them when you run the following slide show.


                                                Slide Show

Circle the Wagons

Let the Party Begin















     The Wagons (coaches/5th wheels) are circled.  Now its time to put out a few tables, circle the chairs, proclaim there is a block party scheduled, put on some music, make your favorite finger food to share, and everyone in section "B" is invited. 

     Throw in any other excuse you can come up with such as a birthday to celebrate, its too nice a day to waste, nothing else is planned, or I don't want my 'baileys' to get stale, and you have the makings for a great reason to get to know your neighbors better.

     A couple of days ago with the organizational skills of a few we did just what I have described.  A real down home block party for our area of the RV park.  The only difference with a block party way down here in Mexico verses the one some may have had at home is when you look around virtually everyone is showing a little leg (temperature does that to you) and a little grey on the top floor (not sure what caused that).

     You can not believe the quality of the cooks and the number of outstanding dishes that appear.  Everyone seemed to have a wonderful time and many new friendships were formed.  I need to wrap up this blog as I believe there is another party about to begin.  Enjoy the Slide show.

                                                            Slide Show

December 18, 2008

My sadness for Chacala



     Following our recent visit to Chacala I can’t seem to stop thinking about the little village by the ocean.  Eight to ten years ago when I first started reading a lady's blog that was being published from this little Mexican village called Chacala I was captivated by her day to day description of life in this far away place.  She wrote with such a style that it was years before I was able to determine this was a woman writing.  It was even years after that when I finally was able to learn her name and that was only days before I learned of her death.  In all of this time I had but one desire and that was to one day visit this place.  I did that during the winter of 2007/2008 when we drove the “tininthewind” some 1,200 miles south of the U.S./Mexico border.

     It was as Andy had described it.  Immediately on stepping foot in the community and walking the beach I felt that I had indeed arrived in the heart of Mexico and could experience the laid back existence of sitting under a palm tree, listening to the waves crash the shore, with my sombrero tipped down over my face while I contemplated what I wasn’t going to do for the rest of the day.

     Now, on this visit, watching the trucks, bulldozers, and workers through the huge chain link fence I felt sadness for those who lost their homes and laid back livelihood because they were probably forced  to accept this new progress with the promise that with progress will come a better life style for them.

     I am immediately reminded of when Miguel met Michael.................Click Here


A full day

     Thursday is market day in La Penita and though we don't go every Thursday it is always fun when we do.  The plan is to always leave early, find a place to park, hit a street side restaurant for breakfast and then walk the market.  Since it stretches for near a mile I guess I should say, we walk some of it.

     Today following the Market we decided to continue heading North and make a return visit to the little beach side village of Chacala.  I wrote extensively about this little community during last years visit to the area as it was where my blogging friend 'Andy' resided.

     We had heard from a friend that Chacala has been grossly changed because a high dollar developer has purchased much of the town, fenced off the area, bulldozed the beach side huts and restaurants, and is planning to build a huge high rise hotel complex.  The rumors are true.  What we witnessed today took a moment of pause.  They call this progress?  I'm not so sure?

     On our return trip toward home to Lo de Marcos we again passed through La Penita and we noticed that the little highway side restaurant of Karina and her fire grilled chicken was open for business.  Last year though we spoke hardly a word of Spanish and she, even less English we counted her a friend as we stopped often to enjoy what still is the best grilled chicken we have found.  Below is a picture I took last year on one of our first visits.



Karina at work















     Last year Karina had a broken wrist for much of the time we were in La Penita and yet most every day she tended to her little restaurant.  We fussed over her 'ouch' a lot and perhaps that helped to cement our friendship and bond.  Today when we stopped the smile and hugs told us that she hadn't forgotten us and once again we enjoyed one of her special dinners.

     This time she had more to share with us as she introduced three of her grandchildren to us and a grandma's pride is truly universal.  Both Kathleen and I got to hold the newest little Nina (female) also named Karina.  What a bundle of joy.



Grandma Karina's Pride















Baby Karina













December 14, 2008

Its a beach of a day

Lo de Marcos Beach















     I had just returned on my scooter from ordering our Sunday afternoon meal of rotisserie chicken and vegetables from the street vendor who only fixes them on Sundays when several of our friends started talking about going out to the beach and enjoy the day.  Four of our very good friends decided to join us but they were going to do dinner at the beach restaurant first.  Since I had about 3 hours before I would return to get the chicken dinners that I had ordered we all set off for the beach.  The above picture shows our chairs set up and the little restaurant on the sand that our buddies went for dinner.  All this is a very short distance from our Rv's.

     It is Sunday and you can get a sense of how uncrowded the Lo de Marcos beach is.  When we do this on week days it is really quiet.

     There were several shrimp boats anchored off shore and on the horizon a sail boat was visible as it headed south along the coast.  The pelicans were extremely active as they dove for fish.  It is quite a spectacle to watch the pelicans fold their wings and dive straight in to the water as they go after the fish.  It is another matter to catch them on camera as they plunge in to the water.

     Looking both North and South from our spot on the beach shows just how few folks were enjoying the beach.  We wish all of our Northern friends could come and visit us as we would love to show this area off.



  Im taking a photo














Looking North















Looking South















Common Scene















Common Scene













December 12, 2008

Shopping Day

Produce Truck about 10:00 a.m.















Fresh Bread and Pastries















     A couple times each week there is produce available right in the park.  The fellow with the produce truck usually shows up rather early in the a.m. and then drives through the park honking his horn to signal his arrival.  The bread truck usually slowly drives through the park with one of the ladies kids driving as both ladies walk along side the truck singing out "fresh bread" with a very heavy Spanish accent.  Those who have needs eventually surface from their individual units and the shopping commences.  The produce is as fresh as can be, especially that grown locally. The bread and pastries were made during the night and are incredibly fresh.  Shopping day is always fun.

     I include a picture of tonight's dinner as it is one of my favorites to do here in Mexico because everything is so fresh.  On the skewers to the right are shrimp, pineapple, peppers, and onions.  On the skewers to the left are ribbons of chicken breast.  A very fast meal, and healthy to boot.




Tonights dinner













December 11, 2008

Our RV Park Welcome Party

The Party is about to begin















     I took the above picture while sitting at our table waiting for the RV Park Welcome Party to begin.  As you can see from the  picture not only was a near full moon as it rose from behind the mountains adding to the beauty of our surrounding area, but also contributing were the table settings, decorations, balloons, tiki lights, and overall just the central area of this complex.  Surrounding us as we sat on this freshly painted basketball court are some of the bungalows, restaurant, bar, pool, soccer field, and the huge palm tree's.  All of the above we see every day, but tonight we were privileged to be the guests of the owners and staff as they wanted to thank us for coming to spend our winter in there complex.

     Yes, there were a few speeches, all delivered in Spanish, English and French. Following those we were treated to an excellent meal of baked chicken, mashed potatoes, pasta, and a dinner roll.  Mexican dancers doing their traditional dances and dressed in their finest costumes entertained us throughout the evening.  There was DJ type music for dancing and some entertaining games that filled the evening.

     Check out the slide show that follows to see if you recognize anyone...


                                                            Slide Show

December 10, 2008

Lookin' in --- Lookin' out

Our Pad















     We are very comfortable with the lay-out of our pad and tend to spend most of the day just hanging out (literally).  Neighbors feel comfortable to just drop in to sit and visit.  One of our near by neighbors stopped in with her beautiful Cat this evening and we were able to get our Kittie fix. 

     Our Christmas lights are up and we have them on a dusk sensing timer so they come on at dark and then turn themselves off automatically two hours later.  The entire park is taking on a Christmas festive atmosphere but I must admit it is difficult to get in the Ho-Ho-Ho spirit when the temp is in the 80's and beads of sweat come easily with any exertion.

     Today I sat out side and took completely apart a digital camera that is not working correctly.  I cleaned what I could and used canned compressed air to blow any dust out of it.  I put it back together and it still doesn't work.  At least it is giving me the same fault code that it had before I took it apart so I feel good at least to have re-assembled it properly.  The next thing will be to use a hammer on it.  When all else fails sometimes that will fix it.

     Many flowers are in bloom now and we have a lot of different colors just around our pad.  We haven't been able to attract the hummingbirds like we did last year but we will continue to try.  Four couples came from La Penita to visit us today and we all walked out to the beach side restaurant for burgers and fries.  We gave everyone a good tour of our park before they left. 

Life is good!




Our Pad 














Our Pad












December 08, 2008

Perez Brothers -- "A night to Remember"

Perez Brothers Band















     The Perez Brothers came to our Tlaquepaque RV Park to provide three hours of "50's -- 60's Rock and Roll as only 4 brothers from here in the local area can do.  When the instruments play Johnny Cash "Folsom Prison" or Chubby Checkers "the twist" there is no language issue.  When the boys sing it in that beautiful Spanish language, and then kick over to English with a hint of a Spanish accent, you listen in awe.

     It was an enjoyable evening to again have the opportunity of partying on with our fellow Park Residents and it was heart warming to see the Park and Hotel staff also enjoying themselves.  For some it was also an opportunity to renew friendships with acquaintances from last years visit to the area, as the park made all welcome who wanted to come.

     It is difficult at best to get good pictures in the dark and my sore foot tells me that I should have danced a little less, but if you do not see your self in the following slide show, it might just be because you were 'movin and grovin' way to fast for the camera to catch you.

                                                         Slide Show

December 04, 2008

Punta Mita Mexico for Lunch

Punta Mita Luxury Hotel















    It was such a nice day (heck, all days are nice here) that we decided to just go for a drive and so we set out for Punta Mita via a coastal road that lead out the back side of Syulita.  The drive was interesting in that the road was black top and in pretty good repair.  The jungle growth was right up to the edge of the road and driving the 'tininthewind' on this road would be a no-no, but the jeep could maneuver around the overgrowth.

     Punta Mita is one of the first beach side communities just North of Puerto Vallarta and the building of high rise hotels is taking place on a grand scale.  The one pictured above is the one we chose to try for lunch and we were not disappointed.  The food was excellent, and the prices were a bit more than we are used to in Lo de Marcos but then this is one of those areas that caters to the tourists who fly in to Puerto Vallarta and want up scale surroundings.  There were a number of surfers of all ages hanging out at the bar and they parked their surf boards outside much as one would rack a bicycle.

     There are so many up scale hotels in this area that moving people between locations and restaurants is done by water taxis like the one pictured below.  It struck me that these pelicans decided not to fly but to take the water taxi instead.  Problem was, the driver decided to take a siesta.




Taxi Please















     We decided to return to Lo de Marcos via the main road from Punta Mita and just before joining that highway we stopped to photograph Puerto Vallarta off in the distance.




Puerto Vallarta Skyline in distance













December 01, 2008

Monday's Lunch

Beach Restuarant Scene















     There is nothing unique about the beach restaurant in Lo de Marcos or is there?  Kathleen and I decided to give it a try for lunch today as we skimped a bit on breakfast.  The scene is typical of all small communities in Mexico.  Sand in your feet, the sound of waves crashing on shore and a gentle breeze to make everything very comfortable.  Today we also were treated to a bunch of dolphins jumping and chasing fish near the shore.  Sorry I wasn't able to capture them at the top of their leap.  Next time.

     One thing I can tell you.  The last thing I expected was a peck on my leg.  For a moment, startled and quickly withdrawing my leg from under the table, I thought I had got a new religion.  On further inspection, I must admit, things are kept very clean and neat around the area.  I don't think I will order any thing exotic from the menu.  It just might taste like chicken.




Chicken Little













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