Thursday, February 25, 2016

the social ramble

As old Satchel Paige was quoted as saying, "The social ramble ain't restful."  He was right.  But he should have added that it could be lots of fun!

Tuesday night we went to dinner at the home of two of our favorite locals.  We spent three hours enjoying good conversation, a delicious dinner ~ both are good cooks ~ and considered it an all-around fine evening.

Then last night we went down to B & B's charming little house for what was billed as a "nacho party."  I wasn't quite sure what that might mean but thought it was "nacho's and drinks and adios."  Not so!

A beautiful table was laid so I figured  we were in for more!

Last year they built a domed oven in their garden.  It is their basic oven for all the cooking.  First, Blanche had roasted heads of garlic which we smeared on crispy toasts.  Then came cheesy, spicy nachos.  Next was a cool, crisp salad made with shredded cabbage and slivered red pepper.  The last thing out of that amazing oven was  marinated arrachera, roasted to perfection.    This was a l-o-n-g way from nachos and beer!

Tonight we eat at home!  Dago's on Friday, of course, for my usual bountiful shrimp.   (Saturday "opera" salad with left-over shrimp  while listening to  Alban Berg's Lulu).  Then what I think will be a quiet weekend.  But you never know what might happen.

We are now half way through our winter stay ~ 10 weeks to go.  I made our return reservations for April 20.  I know it will be here sooner than we expect.  Let me just add that it has been a real treat ~ so far ~ not to have to throw away political detritus coming through the mail or to get robo calls, although I know it will still be there when we get home, and it will be worse.  I am NOT having fun during this election cycle.

Full moon Monday night.  Brightened  sky like florescent lighting!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

weekend (no load) phnotos

On Thursday evening we had guests over for dinner.  The evening was just perfect for sitting out on the terrazza; warm, still, bug-less.  I cooked a luscious tomato cheese tart BUT, as frequently happens, everything that could have gone wrong did.  I have made this particular dish probably 15 times over the years, but that night it just didn't want to come together.  Oh well, it got eaten nonetheless.  Why does this happen???

OK folks.  I have two photos to add.  One is of the wonderful table setting, the other is of our new umbrella in the front garden.  Neither will load onto this page.  I'll work on it tomorrow. 

Meanwhile, we had a lovely, quiet weekend and are looking forward to the same next week.

FLASH!!  Suddenly the photo load worked!  Here they are.  I can sleep well tonite, knowing I don't have to wrestle with this problem tomorrow.  

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

first play, then work

Our weekend in Manzanillo was absolutely delightful.  Hotel was lovely, food was yummy, shopping was 100% successful, old car behaved perfectly.

The hotel has, among its offerings, what it calls a "villa."  That means it has a kitchen, which we always like to have.  So we switched rooms and settled in.  This is the view from the bedroom.

Not too bad.  Wonderfully comfortable bed ~ a very firm mattress on a cement platform.  Just the way I like it!  After a quick trip to buy a few essentials for the kitchen and some take-out for dinner, we enjoyed the late afternoon view.  Then it was sunset time!

We have beautiful sunset skies here, too, but we can't actually see the sun sink.  This evening's show was quite spectacular.

The first stop we made on Friday was to see the Notaria who is handling the sale of the car we want to buy.  This is going to be a very manaña undertaking.  It all must be approved by any number of persons ~ lawyer, notaria, even a judge ~  who (of course) will all have to be paid.  We're reconsidering.  Next we drove up to Santiago and checked out the Artisanias craft market.  It's the place we bought our original plates and glassware about 20 years ago when we were staying at Jack's.  We packed it all up and stored it there for our use during visits.  We still use it.  Anyway, it also sells odd things like lamp shades (we bought two), strange decorative dust-catchers, and the kind of clay dishware I like so much but that's  totally impractical.  And now it has turned into a huge flower market.

 Although they have a very wide selection of blossoms I didn't see anyone in the patio area actually buying anything.  I don't know if the flowers are for retail sale or if it's a floral design service.  But every year when we go back, the flower business has taken up more space.

For lunch we went back to the old Hotel Playa de Santiago, the place where we stayed during our first trip to Manzanillo in 1982.  What drew us to this spot and this particular hotel were the little hillside bungalows it offered.  We stayed there four times including once with our daughters.  It was THE place to stay until the Bolivian tin bazillionaire built Las Hadas over on the other side of the peninsula as a little private getaway for himself and a few of his best buddies. The Playa  fell from favor and has been struggling ever since.  But the dining room is still open, still serves delicious fish tacos, and still has a stunning view of the bay.  We have lots of great memories of our stays here.

Friday night's dinner was at an old landmark restaurant, El Vaquero,  basically a Mexican steakhouse.  Wonderful food, excellent service, quiet (we went at 7:30 and were the only patrons for about half hour, then others started trickling in).  I ordered my favorite~ tampequeño~ and it was delicious; juicy, tender, done just right.  Mr. C ordered the Cow Boy Chico, a small steak that came with a real baked potato, a treat.

With a little cup of very tasty bean soup, some guacamole and refritod, it was a lovely meal.  We will go back!  There are two sites in Manzanillo; we went to the original.  The new one is further into town and is noisy as it's mostly open air and on a very busy street.

Saturday was shopping day and we hit all the Big Box stores, stocked up on goods for the next few weeks, and returned to make our own lunch of left-over steak!  While sitling at the balcony I watched a group of boys, probably 12-13 years old, first play soccer and then hit the water.  They had the best time and it was such a pleasure to see them rolling around in the surf, laughing, not a care in the world.  And why should they have?  Look where they are and how young they are!

For dinner we returned to one of our favorites, Toscana, for a lovely surf-side evening.  I had a big bowl of mussels in cream, Mr. C had grouper in a mussel sauce.  Both of us cleaned the plates ~ no leftovers of any sort.

That's not us but you get the idea.
Sunday morning we packed up and headed home.  But not before I  stepped out on the balcony and snapped this (long range) photo of Las Hadas.(This is where the film "10" was made.)

Nice little playground for you and 100 of your besties, no?

Now the work part mentioned above.  Mr. C decided the screens needed cleaning (they do) so this morning has been spent removing, washing and reattaching all the screens on the 2nd floor.  That's a total of 16, including three sliders, the "front" door, and all the windows.

I, meanwhile, did the laundry and slaved over this post.  I'm exhausted.

Monday, February 15, 2016

colors of the market

Today's post is going to be just about the morning market.  I will catch you up on the Manzanillo trip later.  Let me just explain why I didn't post:  (1) Internet so bad it was almost unusable; (2) I forgot my cable to connect iPod pix to Air®.  End of explanation.

These are the gorgeous colors from the tianguis today.

These are NOT bathing suit tops! 
That's my colorful world today.  More tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

ready for the weekend

This is the view from my "sick bed" in the bedroom.  I've been just a bit under the weather for the past few days.  Nothing too serious but I can report that I am feeling much better and am ready for what's ahead this weekend.  Here in our village it will be Carnival (a few days late but nonetheless . . .) but for Mr. C and me it will be a weekend in Manzanillo.  I don't know why the parades and floats are moved to this weekend but it's something we'd rather leave to the locals.  So tomorrow we will head off for a little hotel on Las Brisas where we will hole up for three days.  That will include some smart restaurant-going, some shopping ~ not so smart as it will include Home Depot and WalMart, but you go where the good are around here ~ and other "big city" diversions.   I will take the trusty Air® with me and keep you informed as to what's going on.

As for things here over the past week, nothing much to report.  We've had the spray truck through to try to keep the mosquito population at bay; there have been a couple of unconfirmed cases of Zika here.  But today I was down in the colonia visiting a friend and the mosquitoes were swarming everywhere.  It's a miracle that everyone down there doesn't have Dengue or Zika or even malaria!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Happy Birthday dear Vicky

Victoria Ann Brown Strane
February 3, 1947 - August 31, 2009