Friday, January 29, 2016

birria for dinner

On our way to Tecoman yesterday to do some errands we passed this restaurant. 

We've been eyeing it for some time now but just never got around to going in.  But we decided it was time so, on our way home, did a big U-turn and went in.  We got two orders to-go; one chivo and one res.   Order included tortillas y frijoles and a couple of little plastic bags of HOT sauce.  All in all a very delicious meal.  There is another rather disreputable looking spot on the outskirts of Tecoman whose birria is better and would undoubtedly be favored by Mexicans who really know their birria.  But we've satisfied our curiosity and will probably make the trek to the other, more out-of-the-way place.  Chuy tells me there is also a good place in Armeria ~ Birria de Dama ~ which we will try next.

Last Saturday we went to an absolutely lovely dinner party at a beautiful home down in the colonia.  Our host/ess have three gorgeous female champagne Standard Poodles who were very much in evidence.  I remarked to the host that my understanding is that this breed were very smart dogs.  "Well, yes," he muttered, "but not these three!"  I was utterly enchanted by these creatures.  Here are a couple of photos sent to me by their owner.

Something  we always get  in Tecoman are these potatoes.  They're  the closest we can get to Idahos, good for mashing, baking, making oven French Fries.  They're called papas tierra or "earth potatoes."  The only place I've ever seen  them is in a big warehouse in the market section of Tecoman.  They are very different from the usual spuds in the tianguis or supermarket, which are white and waxy-skinned.

That's about it for life at the beach.  Weather is cool and overcast so no viewing of the alignment of the planets here.  Dago's tonight.  Tomorrow's opera is Turandot, one of my most favorite.  I will be enjoying my shrimp salad while listening to Puccini's  glorious tunes.  

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Happy Birthday Wolfie!

Two hundred and sixty years old and still looks like a boy!  Thank you, Mozart, for your sublime magic.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

so far, so good (so far)

A TelMex fellow actually came to our house this afternoon to see what the problem might be.  We have had no internet since last Saturday afternoon ~ after the opera, fortunately ~ and I think the company was getting tired of the complaints.  We did have a couple of windows of connection on Sunday, but since then, nothing.  Actually, the entire town was out on Tuesday due to the slicing of a cable.  But as of midnight, ours was working sporadically.  But this gentleman came carrying a new modem.  He checked all the necessary connecting cables, pronounced them fine, hooked up the new modem and here we are.  No more phone-to-internet messing about.  We've had good internet all afternoon.  I am very grateful.  Just think; we could have taken in the old modem a month ago for a replacement.  But then I wouldn't have had anything to write about.

These beauties came from the Monday market.  They're as luscious as they look.

For dinner I decided to use up the eggplants I bought last week before they went bad.  So I sliced them, some large zucchini, a couple of onions, a BIG tomato and layered it all into a baking dish, poured over some home-made tomato sauce, some fresh oregano, some Parmesan and stuck it in the oven.

It took longer to bake than I had imagined; eggplant takes a l-o-n-g time to get really creamy and totally done.  But it was absolutely delicious.  More tonite.

Dominoes Tuesday, always a very fun afternoon.  It's a time for us all to get caught up, talk about what we're reading ~ Mrs. NN is into The Martian ~ and where we've been, what new shops we've discovered, where we're planning to travel.  I look forward to this afternoon very much.

Tomorrow we are off to Colima for Mr. C to visit the gastroenteroligist again, this time with his lab results in hand.  Absolutely NOTHING can be found in his blood or intestinal tract, very good news.  We're planning to go to a resto recommended by NN for brunch, then some errands at Home Depot, Sam's Club, see the doc, swing by WalMart and then head home.   I am very relieved that whatever was ailing Mr. C a few years ago has not returned.  That was a real ordeal with some absolutely killer drugs.

Here is a photo of some beautiful shadows out on our terrazza.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Domingo a la playa

Sundays are usually pretty quiet here.  We do the orange juice thing in the morning, have coffee and something either sweet or savory~ this morning it was some left-over tomato cheese tart ~ and then bustle around until it's time to go to Fernando's Puesto El Barcel for comida.  The "bustle" today involved cleaning out a pot with several generations of aloe plants.  Mr. C brandished his machete and hacked out about 5 plants, which we will put in other pots or into the garden in the lot.  The "mother" plant was mighty glad to get rid of those greedy children and grandchildren plants and will now, I hope, put up some flowering stalks to draw the Kisskidees who will arrive in a few weeks and sip the nectar from the aloe blossoms.  We'll see.

Around 2 PM we strolled down to the beach to enjoy a delicious fish meal prepared by Chuy. 
We had to bring our own beer today because this is the date of the state elation for gobernador and there is no liquor sold anywhere for 24 hours.  So Indio it was!  One of the cutest guests at the puesto was Fernando's granddaughter, Fernanda (28 months old) who was making the rounds, greeting all the customers.  She is absolutely fearless, greets everyone and has much to say.  Huge brown eyes with eyelashes out to HERE!

After comida, back home to get caught up on the internet's offerings.  We have been "in the dark" since yesterday afternoon about 4 PM when, for some reason, both the phone and the internet went dead.  We were out of touch until Fernando called us at 1 PM to ask if we were coming down to eat .  Suddenly everything was working again and has been OK since  (it is now 9:30 PM here).  Nevertheless, we are going in to Tecoman to TelMex tomorrow, after tianguis to lodge another complaint and  try to explain (that would be MY job) that somehow the internet and the telephone lines are mixed up.  I'm checking the dictionary for the appropriate words.

Lovely evening.  First, a puesta del sol.

When we first got here this sinking sun would have been to the left of the palm tree.  Now you can see it's moving north.  Pretty soon it will sink behind all those houses and we won't see it at all.

And finally, these lovely silhouettes.  Buenas noches.

Friday, January 15, 2016

¡Muy Mexicana!

We bought the paint for the doors and gate and Pedro has spent the last couple of days sprucing things up.  I am SO happy with the way things look.  Bright eye-popping red to rescue the house from being a "brown study."   In a couple of years, if we still own the place, I'm going to repaint it purple to make it a real Mexican hacienda!  Here are the new puertas rojas.

Tomorrow's opera is The Pearl Fishers that includes one of the most beautiful duets by a tenor and baritone.  It's worth tuning in just to hear it.  This version is with Jussi Björling and Robert Merrill.  It's said to be the gold standard of this particular duet.

And finally, some bright kolanchoe that I have added to the downstairs garden to cut the green and  brighten things up.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

sail away

For all the pleasure you gave me I am profoundly grateful. The lift of an eyebrow, the slight sniff, the shift in posture, the voice ~ you were the best!

We will miss you.  Truly.  Madly.  Deeply.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

dry day, wet night

We went off to Tecoman yesterday morning, list in hand, to do some chores.  We decided NOT to go to TelMex because the lift-the-phone-to-reconnect, although a total bore, seems to be working.   Fernando came to check this morning and said he'd relay this strange set of circumstances to the company and see if he can get them to actually show up and check the lines.  ¡Que milagro!

The section of town we had to go to is in the heart of market streets adjacent to Cathedral Square.  I absolutely love this area, the sounds, the smells, the sights.  Ladies with their big shopping bags crammed with goods, sidewalk vendors hawking delicious looking tacos and tamales, stalls selling nopales  and strawberries, bolillos and taleras.   Lots of  interesting shops selling all sorts of things including this place which I call the Everything store.

The store goes way back and is crammed with everything you can imagine, including this huge display of cookware.  A pot for every need.

First stop was the warehouse to buy potatoes ~ 4 kilos of a variety that makes the best hash browns and papas fritas ~ to be divided among us, Blanche and Mrs. NN.  Next to the bacon and cheese store for said products.  Then on to the paint store to find a new color for our garage and front doors and lot gate.  I've never really liked the color I chose a couple of years ago; too brown.  I really wanted the red that ship hulls are painted but couldn't quite match it.  So the new color will be much more red but I think it will look just fine.  I'll put up a sample when I get the paint.   While we were there I asked the proprietor, a very delightful chap with whom we've done much business over the years, if he had one of his usual colorful calendars for this new year.  He gladly gave me one; here are a couple of pages.  It is a  beautiful addition to my desk.

Next stop was the vivero for a bag of soil.  What I saw, to my great surprise, was a SE VENDE sign on the gate.  The gentleman inside assured me that the nursery is not for sale, just the property it sits on and if it should actually sell he will move his outfit down the street a few blocks.   I was relieved to hear this as it's a particularly good nursery and the closest one to our house.  Otherwise it's up to Colima.

A quick stop at La Bodega and then on to the chicken joint in Armeria for a rotisseried dinner.  Back home for a quick lunch then off for the Tuesday domino game.  The day had started out warm and beautiful but was gradually getting windier and darker.  By the time I got home around 5 PM it was clear that some sort of weather was headed our way.

Sure enough, at 10 o'clock it started to rain but only for about 20 minutes.  However,  a really heavy rain began falling later and kept it up most of the night.  We had earlier taken down the lights in the front of the balcony but not the electric luminarios on the stairs.

Sometime in the  night Mr. C got up and unplugged them and gathered them up.  His opinion is that they may have been flooded might henceforth be unusable.  We'll try them out when things get dry.

Here's what we found in the living room this morning.

Right now, at 11 AM, it's not sunny but it's not raining either.  Earlier something ominous was heading our way from the southeast but it seems to have faded, although the weather report says occasional thunderstorms ~ of which there was a BIG one in the night with very loud thunder that set off the neighborhood dogs.

 It's a good day to stay in and read, I think.

Monday, January 11, 2016

how things work

I really have no idea how or why the internet does or doesn't work.  I know that if nothing is plugged in it won't work.  But why, when it is all plugged in and the modem is blinking and you get full bars on the screen, doesn't it work?  Then there's this:  yesterday when Fernando telephoned TelMex (yet again) to report the outage, suddenly everything lit up and we had a good connection.  That lasted several hours.  Then it went out.  Then someone called us and Bingo! we were connected.  The preponderance of evidence now shows that we can make the damned thing work by either placing or receiving a phone call.  Just a few minutes ago the light went off, Mr. C picked up the phone ~ didn't call or even dial, just picked it up ~ and we're connected.  As I say, I don't know how it really works but I've figured out how it works in our house!  Oops!  It's just cut out so I'll wait a minute or two, pick up the phone and see what happens.   Yep, dialed Jack, hung up and we're back in business.

Tomorrow we are going into Tecoman for several errands; buy bacon, cheese, spuds, some potting soil at the vivero, then some groceries.  But first a stop at Telmex to see if they can figure out what's going on and fix it.

Today's tiangues yielded up the usual goodies including three beautiful, shiny eggplant.  I also bought some zucchini and tomatoes to make a tian for dinner one night this week.  Jack has abundant basil just ready for the picking so I've got all the proper ingredients.  I wish we had a grill so we could pair this yummy dish with a nice steak but alas, no.  Perhaps b-b-q chicken from the superb take-away shop in Armeria.

But right now I am about to start a big pot of tomato sauce for various and sundry pasta dishes over the next few months.  It will all go into the freezer, ready for whatever seems right at the time.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

i lied

OK, well not on purpose.  The internet was just humming along for about 45 minutes.  I got all sorts of things accomplished and then it was over.  I waited about 10 minutes.  It came on again for about 5 minutes, went off and hasn't been heard from since.  So it's off to Tecoman to find out what the heck is going on.  I have a tiny suspicion that it just might be the modem, so we'll take that in, trade it for a new one and see if that helps at all.  Meanwhile, I am sitting on the patio at Jack's bootlegging off of his service.  I'll certainly let you know what the upshot might be.

Meanwhile, yesterday we went off to Armeria to pay our taxes and water for the year.  On our way back we took the back road through Paraiso ~ really badly hit during Patricia ~ and then on home.  This is the old road that, 25 years ago, ran from Cuyutlán all the way to Manzanillo, before the toll road was built.  Marie and I would walk down the hill from the casa where we both were staying, catch the local bus and ride into the tinaguis along this jungle-fringed road.  The passengers, mostly women ~ many with babies and toddlers~ all knew one another so the entire 20 minute ride was one grand gossip/giggle/gab fest.  We'd do our shopping, lug our bulging bags back to the bus station and climb on and grab seats next to the windows.  By this time it was hot and we were sweating like mad.  Back in town we got off at the bottom of our street and slowly made our way up the hill.  It isn't a very big hill, more like a rise.  But you can't see the ocean from the bottom  About three quarters of the way up we could start to feel the breeze and, a few paces on further and we reached the top and the cool air and the sparkling sea lay  in front of us.  For some reason we both would start to laugh at this point, as though we had defied the dangers of the rickety old bus and survived yet another shopping trip.  Then it was on to the casa where she would immediately start cooking and I'd jump in the pool to cool off.  Such great memories.  Every time I drive up that street I think of her and remember the intense heat and the sudden cool breeze and the laughter and how long ago it all was. 

Dinner at Dago's last night was, as usual, delicious.  Mrs. Neighbor Nelson has arrived and NN is once more a happy man.

Friday, January 8, 2016

i'm back, live at the beach!

After a week of phone calls and a personal visit to the Tecoman office of Telmex by Fernando, we are back online today.  Even the scratchy phone line is clearer than it has been in 3 years.  I don't know what they finally did to make everything work and I don't really need to know, either.  I'm now back in touch, can catch up on NPR and PBS, get mail . . . all the important things in life.

Our trip to Colima yesterday was a complete success.  Got everything done and even had time for comida at our favorite spot, Cronos.  It's just such a lovely quiet oasis in the midst of a busy, bustling city.

We got home in time for a little nap.  Then  it was Margarita time and thankss to Mr. C's deft hand with the ingredients and the blender, this was the result.  Cheers!

Dago's tonite for shrimp in preparation for the opera tomorrow.   It's Donizetti's Anna Bolena.  It's not going to end well for her.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

not today

Again, I am writing this in Word, waiting for a brief (1 minute) window when the internet is connected.  We were supposed to get this fixed today, but as of 2:30 this afternoon, no sight of Telmex.  What this country needs is a competing communications system instead of the Carlos Slim monopoly.  But this is not going to happen in our lifetime so we need to simply accept the idea that perhaps mañana connection may happen.

Meanwhile, the weather has cooled a bit and it is much more pleasant.  Life is going on as usual; Dago’s on Friday (it was mobbed with New Year’s revelers), no opera Saturday because of no internet, Fernando’s on Sunday for a wonderful comida of sopa de pescado, tianguis on Monday, dominoes on Tuesday, and now here we are.  We’re going up to Colima for some errands tomorrow, just to break the monotony!

None of this is very exciting so maybe I don’t need the internet for this post after all.  No news, political or otherwise.  Perhaps a blessing.

Monday, January 4, 2016

no internet

I am not neglecting you nor am I falling short of my (unpublished) New Year’s Resolution of publishing daily.  I haven’t had internet for three days.  I’m typing this in Word and as soon as I get a signal will post it.  I don’t know when that will be but I hope it’s soon.  

Friday, January 1, 2016

don't do this at home

Happy New Year, dear readers.  It's been surprisingly quiet here in our little beach-side village.  I thought there would be discos galore last night but I'm not really sure there was even one.  The hotel terrace next door was a lively place but it was quiet nice traditional ranchero music with some singing and dancing by guests.  But there was one absolutely glorious spectacle at around 11 PM.

I went out to sit on the balcony to listen to the music and enjoy the (relatively bug-free) night, when I looked up into the sky and saw what appeared to be huge fireflies out over the sea.  It was truly breathtaking.  I recognized these as globos de luces, little paper hot air balloons.  You light the paraffin candle, hold on until it begins to rise, then let go and, if you're lucky and the wind is low, they will float up gently.  Last night was perfect; there was no breeze  so they floated up slowly and crossed the night sky at a stately pace.  I noticed more being launched from the hotel next door.  We first saw these at a party in San Carlos on one of our drives down here.  There was a christening party held out on the lawn of the hotel and when it got dark the guests sent up probably 100 of them.

You wait until the air is nice and warm, then let go and up it goes.

UP . . .

UP . . .

I wish these pictures were better but I was so startled to see them that I just grabbed the iPod and snapped away.  Believe me, it was magical.

Now, if you did this at home you'd end up in San Quentin.

OPERA NOTE:  Tomorrow's opera is Joann Strauss's Die  Fleidermaus (The Bat) from the Met with James Levine back on the podium.  It's going to be GOOD!