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January 28, 2009

Mom/Grandma and Dad/Grandpa getting ready

Boogie Boards ready















     We have been busy getting ready for the arrival of our boys, Scott and Bill, and their families.  Just a couple more days and our eye's will be skyward as we will be exclaiming:  de plane, de plane!

     We are as excited as any mom, dad, grandma, grandpa can be and look forward to their visit so far from "home". 

     Last year we purchased boggie boards for everyone's enjoyment, especially the little ones and when the vacation was over we donated them to a couple Mexican families who very much appreciated them.  They are too large to be taken back in the plane by our kids and our rolling house is already stuffed to the brim.  We will do the same when this years visit is over.




The Patio Bar















     Anyone who knows us is well aware that even though we are not tea-total-ers we are not know to overdue partying either.  It just wouldn't be a South of the Boarder vacation without a "Margarita" or two and if that is what my hard working Son's and Daughter-in-laws want---I am ready.  I have been getting lessons in the art of making a good one and am anxious to show off my new learned skills.

     Now if I can just find where I put those little umbrella thingies!

January 21, 2009

Moving About

     There are short-cuts here as there are everywhere, you just have to know how to find them.  For example one can take the short-cut/back-way out to the highway. Just drive the River bed.  See below.


River Drive















     The view from most everywhere you go in this part of Mexico is enjoyable.  When you walk to the beach for a day in the sun watching the aquatic action, and glance occasionally at what is walking the beach life is good.  When it comes time to return to the RV Park you are greeted with this view as you make your way "home".  See below.


Beautiful Mountains















     There are beautiful flowers everywhere.  The one below happens to be right out side my friend Allan's Casa.
















     It seems that on nearly any street and town in Mexico there are little sidewalk type restaurants that feature barbecue chicken done as only the Mexicans can do it.  Since one of my favorites anywhere in the world is chicken I have sampled quite a few and my hands down favorite is "Karina's" little spot in La Penita.  We frequented it often last year and have been back several times this year.  There is just something about the rub she uses before the chicken is placed on the "barbie".  If your in the area, give it a try.  See below.


Karina's Roadside Restaurant















January 13, 2009

Traditional Mexican New Year's Eve - Feliz Ano Nuevo - 2009

This is a guest blog by Judy Lambe, a neighbour of George and Kathleen in Lo de Marcos, Mexico.  My husband Bob and I along with 3 other couples from our RV Park had the privelege of spending New Year's with my hair dresser Yanette, and her family at her "papa's mountain rancho" which is 25 minutes south of Lo de Marcos.  See picture below - Yanette & Alonso



Yanette & Alonso















Yanette's parent's live in Lo de Marcos and the rancho is run by hired hands.  The casa is a big brick and cement open sided building with running water - cold only.  No electricity, but a generater to light up everything .  There were decorations, flowers, and balloons everywhere and a whole raft of boom box type speakers.....they do like their musica loud!.



The Rancho Casa















Yanette is 1 of 9 children and all of her family was there including her mom and dad.  So I believe there were about 25 kids, a few teenagers and about 30 adults, not counting us. There were hugh pots simmering with stuff everywhere.  Fruit with sugar cane in one and 2 kinds of milky drinks.  A mammoth vat of corn soup called pazole which you add lime juice, onion, chili, radishes and lettuce to yourself.  Another hugh pot of tamales.  Our group brought salads, pork roast and smokies but was not a big hit....just not their kind of food.



















Soups On















The kids had lots of pinatas which were fun to watch and they also had a gift exchange. The all stood in line until their name was called and open their gift, each one individually.  After each opening the child then hugs the one whose name is called next.  They are very patient children!!


































There was one game we played where the husband's stood on chairs and the wives had to pass a lemon up one pant leg and down the other.  It was hilarious!



Pass the Lemon (Risky Business)














 At 11:45 the generator was turned off so we were in the pitch dark!  The sky and the mountains all around us were beautiful and everything was peaceful and serene.  Then a couple of children quietly lit candles and stuck them in the ground.  At midnight the fireworks started and they were fabulous. When they were finished the hugs and kisses started and they were genuinely pleased we were there.



Enjoying Fireworks















Once again, we have had the warm experience of a Mexican tradition and how family comes first.  Their hospitality is impecable!

January 09, 2009

Mexican Families Work Together

     Kathleen and I sitting with friends at a beach side restaurant when I had yet another chance to witness a young Mexican family working together to generate a little more household income.  I state it that way because perhaps mom and dad have jobs and what was about to unfold was a little side line business on the beach because indeed this day was a Sunday.

     I had noticed the crude palapa on the beach when we had arrived at the restaurant and at that moment it was not occupied but on close inspection one could tell it had just recently been erected because the leafy covering was still green and the foliage not wilted.  See below.

looking lonely














     It wasn't long before a well used pick-up appeared near the restaurant.  Mom, dad and three girls close in age piled out and began setting up what would become their little beach sales booth for the day.  This was the start of a long two weeks of Christmas/New year vacation time for the affluent Mexican families to flock to the beach for some R & R.  Not much different I would say from what we would do North of the Border, but what was different was how without any prodding what-so-ever all of the children assisted in making this venture a reality and made trip after trip back to the truck to get what they could carry.  Note the pictures below.



even the littlest pitch in










































     As the items began to take shape the three little girls finished their immediate task and mom and dad set about getting their little enterprise organized.  It appeared to me that dad had his piles of coconuts set up near his chopping block and the machete was at the ready.  Mom was organizing the various fruits and it looked like she was going to make some sort of drink.  The work continued diligently as little by little the beach took on a much busier atmosphere as people began to arrive and enjoy the day.  The girls were now allowed to play.  See below.



Dad getting set up
















mom getting ready














     Once ready, mom gets an order and she sets to work.  Notice in the pictures how the oldest daughter stops playing with her little sisters and all attention is on what and how mom does her thing.  To learn and perhaps be able to apply what is learned is very important within the Mexican family, as who knows, one day it may be there only way to survive.  See below.



daughter watching















daughter watching














     The first two customers.  See below.



happy customers














     It is amazing what families do to help with the household income.  There are vendor carts everywhere, everyday, selling various home made offerings and when the Mexican folks come to the beach communities from the inland cities it is time to sell, sell, sell. 

January 07, 2009

"It Took a Year"--Huichol Indian Village Visit

     Hard to believe that a circle drawn around a body of water on my Mexico Map has lead to what I will try to describe to you in the following paragraphs.



A Possible Bass Lake















     One doesn't just travel to Mexico without giving it serious thought and high on my priority list when planning our first winter travel to Mexico was to get a map and circle all of the potential bass fishing lakes.  Hoping that one day we might be near just such a spot.  All of this thinking and circling on the map took place several years prior to the reality of our traveling for our first winter to Mexico but in the winter of 2007/2008 (one year ago) we found ourselves spending four months in La Penita Mexico and wanting to fish bass the closest circle on my map was the Agua Milpa Reservoir just North and a bit East of Tepic, Mexico.  It was in November of 2007 that Kathleen and I made an exploratory trip to the Reservoir and I blogged about it at that time.  See the following link.

                                                           Nov. 2007


     What we discovered on the above trip but did not mention in the blog was that the Colorful Indigenous Indian tribe known as the Huichol (pronounced 'Wheatsill') Indians lived in a very remote village accessible only by boat. 

     Many times when our discussion and plans were in progress for our Winter of 2008/2009 Kathleen would mention that she would like to give by way of donation to the Huichol Indian people school supplies such as pencils, writing paper, erasures, etc. that she would acquire while dragging me from dollar store to dollar store when the opportunity presented itself.  Also joining in with humanitarian thinking of donating, were are two son's, daughter in-laws, and especially our four grandchildren who began gathering clothing that was in excellent condition and no longer fit them.  It was there efforts and our hauling in the basement of our motor home eight large bags of clothing for boys aged about 7 and girls aged about 5 that resulted in our wondering, "how are we going to get these in the hands of the people we want to receive them, the "Huichol Indians"?  We in Lo de Marcos were beginning to think about our options, not for a minute, thinking that what I am about to describe would happen.  But first, a few pictures.



Male colorful dress for special occasions






























Children greeting our Visit















     A short time ago it was my mentioning the Reservoir, bass fishing, and the remote Indian Village to my RV neighbor Lloyd, that the fantastic trip just completed began to take shape.  You see, Lloyd and Gille another neighbor like to put together "mystery trips" and with as little fan fare as possible off they go with those who want to tag along.  They have led several and all who go have a great time.  This trip started with small scale thinking and within the span of just a few days grew from a few car loads of folks, to a couple of 'collectivos' (van type taxi), to a full fledged bus with plush seating, A/C that worked, and a 'Banio' (bathroom) on board.  The bus was as big as they get with seating for 45 and on this venture there were 43 who signed up to go.  I must tell you how with the help of Stephane,  our local RV park go to person, these enterprising chaps put together a full day bus trip to the boat landing, then a 45 minute boat ride to the remote village, a dinner served at the village by the locals, a cash donation to the village, tips to the 4 boat operators and our bus driver, and a stop in the down town central square area of Tepic on our return for dinner on our own, all for the cost of three hundred pesos each, or about $22.30 U.S. 




Picture worth a thousand words















     I could go on and on describing in detail of the bus ride, the scenery, the boat ride, the dinner and tour of the remote village, the walk around with dinner on our own in Centro Tepic but in the end it might be best to let the pictures do the talking.  You are going to see through the pictures and expression how 43 of us from North of the Mexican border come together as a diverse group, enjoying each others company on an outing of such magnitude.  You are also going to see through pictures of the Indigenous people and their surroundings the most primitive, but yet, to them, adequate needs to sustain their daily lives.  You may suspect that you see in some faces of the 'natives' a longing for better, but if the laughter coming from the school as we passed on our 'walk about' of the village is any indication there is much happiness in there simple way of life.  We thank the 'Huichol' people of the 'El Potrero de la Palmita'  village for their hospitality and sharing of their privacy.  Kathleen and I especially want to thank those in our group who helped with getting the clothing and school supplies from bus, to boat, to village, and it goes without saying, that all 43 of us want to thank Lloyd, Gille, and Stephane for making it happen. 

     The Huichol are known for their beautiful bead work and in the following picture you will see Kathleen's treasures from the visit.



beautiful bead work   














     As promised I am going to let the pictures do the talking through the following three slide shows. 


                                                  Slide Show 1    (the group of 43)


                                                 Slide Show 2    (the scenery)


                                                Slide Show 3   (huichol village walk about)

     One of our group fell exiting the boat on our return from the village and sustained multiple fractures to her left arm.  Two of the gals in our traveling group came to her aid in a most professional manner.  It is now reported that her arm has been set and casted.  I am sure that in some manner more information will be coming as to her well being. We all hurt for her and wish a speedy recovery. 

     The following two photo's have been sent to me by Stephane.  Enjoy.



The group descending














The group ascending   










January 04, 2009


      On Sundays It has become somewhat of a routine to gather a few friends and head out to breakfast.  We try to pick somewhere new that most of us have not been to but someone has heard is a good place to eat.  We usually plan to leave around the crack of nine and caravan to where ever we are going.  Today it was to a restaurant close to the Mission in Rincon and I am embarrassed to say I did not catch the name.  There were ten of us today and everyone said what they ordered was very good.  I know that what Kathleen and I had was excellent.  Kathleen had a fresh fruit cup with yogurt and granola and I had a omelett mega with shrimp and hash browns.  We were all served fresh buttered warm rolls and jam with our meals.  Most had coffee and fresh squeezed orange juice as well.  What you see in the picture cost Kathleen and I 95 pesos ($8.95) total.



Excellent Breakfast















     We arrived back at the Park at about 10:15, just in time to make a meeting of friends at the Park Restaurant getting together to discuss and plan a "mystery tour" that about 30 of us are going on Tuesday.  Should be fun and I will write about it after its conclusion.

     About mid-afternoon Brian, Olga, Kathleen and I jumped in the jeep and headed out on an exploratory drive to find a beach that we had heard of in a neighboring town.  We stopped to ask the boys who had their truck pulled off the road and in to a creek if we were headed in the right way to find the "playa" (beach).  We were, so off we went.



Washing their truck















     The road wasn't bad considering it was gravel and in places large stones or just plain dust and dirt and the scenery was intriguing as we wound our way up in to the mountains before cresting and then descending to access a very remote beach area.  The picture below is looking back at the village we first passed through before beginning our mountain/jungle climb.



Town in valley below















     When we did finally crest the mountain and descend to the beach we discovered a hotel of sorts with a no vacancy sign posted.  Apparently there are about 10 rooms that can be rented.  Interestingly there is no electricity at this hotel and the rest of the amenities are equally lacking.  It was primitive to say the least.  On our return from having a look at the beach we noticed a lake off in the distance further back in the valley and all of us agreed that we would save finding access to it a trip for another day.



Lake in the distance













January 03, 2009

Baby Grows Up

     In February 2008 eleven months ago we were in the La Penita RV Park and the pregnant Mexican gal who tirelessly opened her little restaurant near the pool each day so many of us could walk over for a great breakfast or a pretty good sandwich mid day delivered a little nina, bebe Karen. 

      Mom to be "Ceci" as she was affectionately known became a friend to us all as her big smile, dedication to her task, and daily presence could be counted on as she progressed through her pregnancy.




New Mom Ceci 2008

















     Cesi worked up to near the day she delivered and when she did deliver news spread quickly throughout the park and those who were closest to her planned a baby shower much as would be held in the U.S. or Canada.  It seems that many of Cesi's family came to the event including grandma's, sisters, cousins, and etc.  For those of us in the park it was a wonderful moment to be able to share the joy of this new little person and for a moment we felt like family.  Below is a picture of Kathleen on that day holding little 'bebe Karen'. 




Kathleen with bebe Karen  
















     Today at eleven months of age little Bebe Karen appears to be happy, healthy, and the apple of her mamma's eye.  Her surrogate auntie and uncle are pretty pleased as well!




11 mo. old bebe Karen













January 02, 2009

Vendors are Active

Sugar Cane Vendor















     This is a major holiday week in Mexico for both Christmas and New Years and the streets and beaches are very busy.  All this activity causes anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit to take up their spot on the street or on the beach to ply their trade.  In the picture above this hard working gentleman was stripping sugar cane, cutting it in 2 inch lengths, bagging it and from his table seen in the background, selling it.  I had seen the kids riding around town on their bikes sucking/chewing on the stuff and decided to give it a try.  I have chewed on a few plain 'ol sticks in my life time and the only thing I detected different today was a little sweeter taste perhaps.  I wasn't too impressed and I don't think those who I passed out samples to in the park were either.  Maybe I need to be more like a kid, to truly enjoy it.  That could be arranged.

     In the picture below this lady vendor is selling pop-overs filled with a pudding substance that is pretty good.  I was just finishing lunch of a Hamburgesa Irene, pappa fritos, and a pacifico beer so I bought two to go so Kathleen could have a treat when I got back from my daily venture.




















     Looking North up the beach from the little restaurant shows that there is a little more activity on the beach because of the holiday. 




Lo de Marcos Beach













January 01, 2009

New Years Day 2009

New Years Eve On the Beach















     It's New Years Day 2009 now as I sit outside on our Patio here in the Tlaquepaque RV Park here in Lo de Marcos.  Click on the link if you want to explore it.

                                         Tlaquepaque RV Park

     The picture of the bonfire above was taken on the beach just outside the Park last night as many of us gathered to sit around the fire (in shorts at 75 degree's) to usher in the New Year and watch the fire works display put on for us by the complex.  It has to rank as one of the best New Years Eve parties I have attended.  Earlier before walking out to the beach six of us went out to dinner by walking only a short distance outside the complex to a restaurant and all had meals that we all would order again in a heart beat.  We toasted the coming of the New Year there.  Two of the owners sons came to our table to practice taking our order even though their sister Rosa had already done so.  See the pictures below.




Our table for Dinner
















Future Waiters















     The Park inhabitants are a bit subdued today as there were groups going to various functions of celebration and many no doubt did not return till the wee hours of the morning.  Our French Canadian friends and neighbors, Gilles and Diane Beland, kept with a New Years tradition of theirs, making French Toast and delivering to everyone in their coaches, a plate for each.  It was a great touch to add to the waking of the morning and delicious to boot.  See below.




French Toast in the Making















     As I sit here typing this blog the hummingbirds at our three feeders are being very vocal as there are a few dominate males wanting to claim it all for themselves.  They zip around chattering and dive bombing each other constantly.  There must be 10 to 15 at any given moment.  Very entertaining.




Rare Moment
















Quick the bully is Gone















     As you enter our complex through the Hotel/Bugalow lobby here at Tlaquepaque the staff have created a Christmas Nativity Scene that is a bit unique.  Here in Mexico in addition to Jesus and the Manger Scene the Devil plays an integral part.  Note what happens when you take the wrong road.  See below.




Nativity Scene
















Don't take the wrong Road















     We want to take this opportunity to wish all of our friends and blog fans a very Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year.  We know that many of you are shoveling snow and vacationing vicariously through our blog and pictures and we appreciate all the kind words sent our way.  I will leave you with a few pictures of the last few days via the following slide show.


                                                       Slide Show

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