Thursday, December 31, 2015

lunch in El Real

We have a delightful friend from Milwaukee who has one of the apartments in the casa.  In fact, the apartment he bought is the very one we used to stay in before he bought  it and we bought the house.  Each year when he comes down for his vacation we get together for  a lunch or dinner to talk about old times and our mutual affection for Marie.  This year we went out to El Real to the Crab on the Beach, a huge open air restaurant with fantastic views and pretty good food.

We got there around 1:30, a good hour before the usual crowds arrive for comida.  Mr. C and I both had camerones al mojo de ajo and Al had filete al mojo de ajo ~ you know the rule; if anyone has garlic, EVERYONE has garlic.

There were about 20 shrimp swimming in garlic-infused butter that wafted around the table in the most wonderful aromatic cloud.  The meal was very good and all of us enjoyed everything.  NOTE:  I always take a little plastic box with me to bring home leftovers, and this was no exception.  Between the two of us we brought home enough shrimp for today's lunch.

 This is the view from the dining room.

Really not too shabby.  The reindeer on the right is part of the restaurant's Christmas decoration.  When was the last time you went to a resto that had a creche as part of its display?

It was a lovely lunch with good food, good views, good talk.

It's the last night of the year and so far it has been quiet down here at our end of the malecón.  I have no idea what's to come.  But as we close down for the night, here's the last sunset until 2016.

Like the year almost past, it's not really a spectacular sunset, but it is colorful and satisfying.  Some wonderful things happened; my trip to Europe with daughter Alex, a couple of great visits with g-kids and g-dogs (in Bozeman), good health news for both Mr. C (9 years since cancer treatment) and me (no cavities, low test numbers, and  the surgical wound is healing nicely), some good books, some good movies, some good food and drink.  All in all, it was a year worth living.

Happy New Year, dear readers, and I intend to recount new adventures in the coming year.

Good Night and Good Luck, as someone once said.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

what's in your backyard?

We came home this afternoon after a lovely lunch in El Real with our Pal Al (more on that tomorrow) to discover this pair of Guinea hens nestled under the palm tree in the back garden.  I don't know where they came from, how they got into the garden or how long they are planning to stay.  They didn't say.  But they're quite beautiful and I'm happy to offer them shelter while they need it.  I don't know if they're nesting, if they're a pair ~ boyfriend and girlfriend ~ or if they're just a couple of freeloaders, but it's nice to have something back there besides iguanas.

Monday, December 28, 2015

the line was dead

Well, dear readers, it happened again this year.  The phone/internet line ended up lying in the street and we were completely cut off.  No news.  Nothing about the world, the homeland or even the Kardashians.   It was hard being in the void.  But today when we returned from our morning trip to the market, the lights were flashing and we had a dial tone.  I figure that the reason it happened so quickly ~ last year we were without phone/internet for 2 weeks while the lines lay undisturbed where they had fallen ~ is that one of those affected is a legislator from Colima.  It never hurts to have neighbors with influence in high places, aka Telmex.

To recap briefly.  Christmas was quiet and very nice.  Saturday night the influential Colima neighbors had a HUGE quinceanera party that went on until about 5:30 AM Sunday morning.   Even though your faithful reporter was totally dragged out due to lack of sleep, we decided to keep our date with Colima on Sunday morning.  Off we went to all the big box stores ~ Home Depot, Sam's Club, WalMart ~ with long lists and a fist of pesos.  Four hours later we were back home with a car full of stuff we had decided we needed plus a couple of "finds" we hadn't planned on.  Unpack, put away, regroup and it was off to Fernando's for comida.  This has become another ritual puesto visit;  Dago's on Friday, Fernando's on Sunday.   

Up and out this morning after a very quiet night.  The market was busy and full of it usual beautiful produce.  I browsed the tables piled high with the usual wardrobe enhancement offerings but made no purchases this week.  My last week's skirt will hold me for a couple of weeks.

It's actually a little cooler today which is greatly appreciated.  I realize it's the tropics, but enough is enough already.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas

It's Christmas Eve here in the humid tropics.  Last evening was the season's first party down at Chuy's puesto.  It was a "y'all come" hosted by one of the J Boys (Jordan) who bought a big mess of beef and beer and invited us all to come down and enjoy  carne asada and cerveza.  It was all  wonderful and  a fine way to kick off the season.  Thank you Jordan!

 If you are dreaming of a warm and wonderful Christmas, think about  coming to Mexico and putting your fanny here and watching the sunset.

Right now it's time to go to sleep and dream of sugarplums and Santa and tomorrow's Cerdo con Salsa Verde that I cooked for our Christmas dinner.  Can hardly wait.

I hope all your Christmas dreams come true, no matter what they are.  You undoubtedly  deserve them!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015


Here it is, almost Christmas, and we are wilting under really hot, humid days and nights.  We have the fans going non-stop but it is very uncomfortable.  I checked back in the blog over the past couple of years and at this time we were having cool, rainy days and nights.  But this is ridiculous!  I get out of the shower and, after drying off, I'm as wet as before.  This, too, will pass but right now it's no fun.

We finally got our Christmas lights up (I'll take a pix tonight) and things are looking almost festive.  I bought some noche buena plants at the Monday market to get myself in the mood.  And some red/white flowers with lots of greenery for an added touch.  Still, when it's 82º with 85% humidity it's hard to be very jolly.

Mr. C has gone off to Armeria for a hair cut and it's time for me to bustle around and red up the place.  It's still quiet in town; crowds won't start until Thursday evening.  I think there is a disco at the north end of the malecón (we're at the south end) for some entertainment over the weekend.  The city fathers have encouraged everyone to clean up around properties (they do that twice a year; Christmas and Easter) so there's a lot of weed hacking and tree trimming going on.  The beach is still a sorry sight; I played dominoes at Chuy's yesterday and took a good look at the destruction wrought on his puesto.  Almost half of the front is completely gone.  But little by little the owners are getting things back in order to welcome (they hope) next week's vacationers.

Other than the above mundane news, it's life as usual here at the beach.

Reading a splendid book, the biography of Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson.  An excellent read, especially in this time of political buffoonery.  What a remarkable gentleman he was; wise, witty, crafty, temperate in all things, a very compelling personality.  Isaacson does a wonderful job of making him come alive and seem almost contemporary.  What the book tells me, among other things, that society hasn't changed much in 300 years. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015

usual tropical blahs

I don't know what happens to us nortes when we get down here in the tropics but it's utter ennui and sapping fatigue.  Last Sunday and Monday, right after arrival, we were as busy and bustling as ever.  But as of Tuesday, it's a huge chore just to roll over in bed.  I rested Tuesday morning so I would be at least semi-conscious for the afternoon domino game.  I was, but it was a true miracle.  Here's the view from the domino table; you can see the ruination of the beach and the umbrellas, but the view is spectacular!  Chuy suffered a lot of damage but has managed to put most of it all back together.  We'll go to Dago's for dinner tomorrow night and see how he fared.

We learned from Omar the Gardener that the missing oleander was NOT, in fact, destroyed in the storm nor did it meet a "plant death" but instead was "liberated" from its place against the wall.  Here's another picture of the wall, taken from the balcony.

Now I need to go inside the wall and paint it so I don't see ANY grey cement.

Friends Blanche and Bob arrived yesterday afternoon and unloaded our two big boxes of vital belongings.  Thanks again, you two!  Now Mr. C has his peanut butter and I have my Christmas lights.  I'll put them up tomorrow (if I have the strength!!)

One other change this year.  The owners of the house across the street planted a row of palm trees when they built their place.  The trees obscured our view of the sea but I knew that eventually they would grow up and we'd be able to glimpse the surf again.  Well, this year it has happened!

Tomorrow it's back to Tecoman to try to do the bank business again.  I hope I have enough energy for this.  I know the blahs will pass and I'll be my usual energetic self.  I can hardly wait.

Monday, December 14, 2015

some firsts

First time I've really looked at "the wall" since we arrived.  We lost one oleander, which we will replace as soon as we get to the vivero.  Part of the wall could probably use another coat of paint but otherwise, it looks quite good.  I can tell you that it's a whole lot nicer to look out of the window and see a blue wall than a dull cement gray one.

NOTE:  This one's for you, NPW.  The house is available for you, the Mrs., and the girls any time!

Last night was the first evening sky of this trip.  The angle is not good for seeing a real sunset but we get to see the glow nonetheless.

And this morning was the first tianguis of the year. Fruits and veggies at the usual spot, meat (castillos de cerdo (pork ribs) and colas de res (oxtails) at our wonderful butcher shop,

Then it was off to Tecoman to try to pay our annual property fees but the bank was jammed so we'll try again on Friday.  To the Bodega for household necessities and then home.  All this running around is not conducive to a relaxing day.  I napped, Mr. C trolled the internet.  Salsa, tostadas, left over chiles rellenos and now it's time to turn off the lights and declare this day's party over!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

¡Hola! from Beach Headquarters

We went from the sleek, streamlined terminal in Sacramento to the utter chaos of perpetually-under-construction LAX to the poster child of disorganization in Manzanillo, all in a matter of a few hours.  A note about our final stop:  it was pouring rain when we landed in ZLO.  The plane parked out on the tarmac and passengers walked from there to the terminal.  Once inside there was a lot of milling around that eventually ended up in a long line of tired travelers waiting to have papers and documents scrutinized, stamped, and approved.  Then on to the chaos ~ and I mean CHAOS ~ of the baggage claim.  In this hall there are sniffer dogs roaming around looking for any sort of contraband ~ one sniffed at my carry-on and I had to dig around to find the plastic bag of crackers/peanuts I had, but I didn't have to surrender them.  I forgot about the coffee but so did the dog.  Meanwhile, luggage is s-l-o-w-l-y being loaded from the plane onto baggage trolleys and ferried, in the pouring rain, to a carousel outside where more rain was dousing it while dogs walk on top of each bag, sniffing and barking.  The bags wend their way through the hall and, if unclaimed, out into the rain again.  We were among the first passengers off the plane and through the documents check and among the last to claim our bags.  Then once you get your bags you get into one of two or three haphazard lines to have your bags screened once again.  These various and several lines must eventually form into one line and there is a lot of jockeying and glaring along the way.  Mr. C picked up his thrice x-rayed bags and made it outside.  I got stopped at the door by another gentleman looking for food.  Again I produced the bag of crackers and had it promptly snatched away.  This guy evidently went to a training class with more stringent "dangerous food" training.  By the time we were out, there were still many people waiting for their bags, especially those who had gate-checked.  What that airport needs badly is an efficiency expert who has traveled enough to have some idea of how these things should work. 

But we made it home, thanks to Fernando, by about 6 PM through a heavy rain most of the way.  The house has withstood whatever Hurricane Patricia could throw at it and looks wonderful.  No cracks or water stains on the beautiful sala walls.  The garden is lush and green but we did lose our huge philodendron on the upstairs terrazzo in the Patricia winds.  There was dinner on the stove, the furniture all arranged, chotskies on display, and the bed made.  Chuy knows this house ~ and where everything goes ~ better than I do.  A delicious dinner and so to bed.  We could hear the rain in the palms trees outside the window and the sounds of the surf; lovely lullabies for our first night.

This morning is still grey and cool and, occasionally, showery.  First glass of fresh orange juice, my usual Sunday treat; not as sweet as it will be in a month or so but still mighty good.  Now it's time to unpack and get the kitchen organized ~ where ARE the knives?? ~ and start a list for tomorrow's street market and first foray to the super.  I guess we're here.


Friday, December 11, 2015


The papers have been stopped, Netflix notified, the pool guy and the garden guy and the no-bug guy have all been paid for several months.  We've almost eaten up all the left overs so the fridge will be empty.  The cars have been plugged into the "battery minder" gizmos that prevent dead batteries from lack of use (a usual malady when we return). We'll see how that works.   I've had a pedicure, seen the wound doc for the last time ~ healing nicely, thank you ~ and today I'll get my last massage.  Our friends who are driving down to the beach from Canada arrived last night to pick up the boxes of  our "essentials" that we MUST have, and they went on their way early this morning.  And finally, I'm actually packed and ready for tomorrow's early departure.  If everything is working as it should, I'll be able to send a post tomorrow evening or Sunday morning.  So until then, bien viaje to us!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

and then she wrote . . .

As usual, there's good news and bad news.  First, the good:  I'm just fine, according to my wonderful doc and all the tests she ordered for me.  What's supposed to be low is low, what's to be high is high.  I suggested I was "cured" and no longer a diabetic but, alas, she did not agree.  OK, that's the good news.  The really, really bad news is that she is retiring in April.  She has been my medical guardian for more than 15 years.  The last thing I want to think about is telling the whole story all over again to someone else (who will then retire, etc.).  Not only has she been my doc but we have become good friends.  So post-retirement we have planned to see one another ~ she lives in Davis, too ~ and she has told me to feel free to contact her any time for medical reasons.  How great is that?  For Mr. C, good news only.  His cataract surgeries have been a complete success and he can now even see to drive at night!

It's pack-up-and-go time around here. We have one week to get it all done.  The shuttle will come to fetch us at - GASP! - 3:30 AM for a 6 AM flight.  It has several other stops along the way which is why it's so early.  Flight leaves from LAX at 10:15 AM so we'll have plenty of time to schlep bags from one terminal to another and then sit and relax before flying on to Manzanillo.  We should be sitting down for one of Mr. C's marvelous margaritas by around 6 PM.  Chuy will fix our favorite chiles rellenos picadillo to get us in the mood for the next few months.

We've had beautiful weather up here in the valley; cold nights, bright days, a bit of rain with more expected on Sunday.  Lots of snow up at Tahoe, a very good thing indeed.  Erin and I have been walking when we can and most times, Daisy comes along.  Here she is at 4 1/2 months.

She has lost her "foxy" face and is looking like a real Golden Retriever.  Her coat is beginning to curl and wave and lose its downy softness.  She is a very well behaved, smart, curious and friendly creature.  Wow, by the time we get back she'll be at least double in size!

Put this one on your Flix® list:

It has a scene in it you'll want to watch twice; I did.  You'll know it when you see it.

So now it's back to packing, sorting, tossing out.  You'd think by now it would be the work of a moment.  Apparently not.