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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Visiting with friends

Wednesday – early a.m.
Been up since five o’clock – like an idiot I went to sleep around 9:30 last night - very early for me - so I’m up early too. For some reason yesterday I didn’t feel like doing anything – even turning the pages of my book took an effort. Maybe one of those “recharging my batteries” kind of days. Wasn’t sick just didn’t have any energy. Bill did manage to drag me out in the afternoon to go pick up our laundry and go to Mega for a couple of things. Found some carrot cake in Mega and bought a couple of pieces – wasn’t that good – too dry. Made my sweet tooth happy though.
This morning I’m rearing to go – Tomorrow afternoon our friends from Indiana get here so we will be busy every day.
Monday night I was keeping track of the Daytona on the laptop – couldn’t see the race but had the lap by lap written information. Only JP Montoya could set the track on fire during a caution! What a spectacle that must have been. Still think that should not be a points race. And Sadler taking out JJ and Danica…..Where we live in Indiana we have a drag race track in Bean Blossom and 30 some miles away in Bloomington is a dirt track. But haven’t gone to either of them. Tony Stewart started racing somewhere around there I imagine. I’m the race fan – Bill isn’t too in to it.
Going back a couple of posts and the girl in her birthday finery. The 15th birthday here in Mexico is really a big deal. In fact there are even checklists available to plan the event. Quoting from a web site on planning the day “Your quinceanera is one of the most important days in your lifetime; you only turn 15 once. Make sure everything goes according to plan by following a checklist.”
Read more:
Quinceanera Checklist | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/list_7245346_quinceanera-checklist.html#ixzz1nmGDGdjg

Check out the site it is amazing – planning starts two years before the birthday. No wonder some of them cost in the thousands of US dollars.
Going back to Monday – we were waiting for John and Carol to get here so didn’t do much. Took the laundry in – told them we were missing a towel from last time and they said they’d look for it. And then we walked around some of the shops selling tourist items along the main road in front of all the hotels. Some stairs leading to the apartments over the stores.
Bill finally bought a big parrot sitting on a swing. He’s been looking at them for years. This one is paper mache and very colorful. It will look great on our covered porch. (forgot to take a picture of it.) We were looking at the colorful blankets but don’t need any. Sure are pretty colors though.
John and Carol got here early afternoon. So we took them for a ride around Mazatlan then stopped at Fat Fish for ribs. After eating we went out to the point by the harbor to watch the sunset. Wasn’t real pretty and it was getting kind of cold and windy.
Bill taking a picture of them.
Back home and found out the race was on. Would have liked to actually seen it but settled for the leaderboard.
When we picked our laundry up yesterday – we had our missing towel. It got sent home with a different customer and the laundry found it for us.
Later today maybe we’ll head over to the Centro Historico and check on the progress of the church refinishing.
I was just reading about the tornados yesterday in the Midwest – they hit basically all along our route home. Lovely. We really try to watch the weather when we’re traveling home every year as we have to go right through “tornado alley.” Right now our hometown is having beautiful weather going to be 67 degrees there today.  Here it only got up to 74 yesterday. And it got so windy last night we pulled the big awning in. Could hear the toppers on the slide flapping all night.  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Pizza and walking around the Marina


The birds are walking on the roof – sounds like elephants up there. How can something so small make so much noise when walking? When I was reading yesterday one flew into the window – scared me half to death. He was okay – just sat on the ledge for a minute or two and then flew away.
Before we knew the Daytona race was canceled we went over to the Marina to the sports/pizza bar there to see if they were going to show it. The place was closed when we got there and wouldn’t open until a couple of hours later. So we just walked around the marina. It is a pretty good sized place. The building in the background is the condo we were looking at a couple of years ago. It has quite a view - the three top units are still available. Interested?

I like the sidewalks – very pretty. Just hope they maintain them through the years.
We had set our minds on pizza for lunch so we ended up going to Dominoes and getting one to take home. It was pretty much like we can get at home except they only have thin crusts.
By then knew the race was on a rain hold and eventually rained out. Looks like it might not even be today cause of weather. We should be Tony Stewart fans as his home town is about 25 miles from where we live. In fact it is where we go to do all our shopping. He is building a big new home there. But..I'm a Kyle Busch fan - he's a heck of a driver. Besides I like the M&M car. Our son John was an Earnhart fan and it drove him nuts when I pulled for Kyle.  

About the only excitement for the day was checking Tioga George’s blog – for the first time since I’ve been reading it he didn’t make a post. Had everyone worried. But I see he did post today. Have to remember he is in an area where electricity is a problem.
When we get back in the states - unless the satellite dish is an easy fix - we'll be at the mercy of campground wifi. Been looking on line at Verison Mifi - maybe with it we could get rid of the satellite at home too.
John and Carol (heading home to Idaho from Aticama) should be here sometime this afternoon. Be great to see them again and we'll go out to dinner for ribs. Other than that no plans for today. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

A quiet Saturday evening in Mazatlan

As you can probably guess we are having lots of quiet time lately. Got out and about a little yesterday. But didn’t get over to check out the progress on the church. Have to do that.
I mentioned we went grocery shopping at the Mega store here. Here is a pic of the moving sidewalk you have to use as the store is on the upper floor. Once on the moving sidewalk the carts don’t move – you can let go of the handle and they just sit there. Some kind of magnetic locking system for the wheels. Can you imagine kids with the carts if they rolled free? Or trying to hang on to a really loaded cart?
Yesterday we went to the big used book store here – exchanged seven of our read books for seven new [used] ones. Cost us about US$1.70 per book. Should keep us busy again for a while.
Barnes and Noble is back to not letting me download any books because I’m using a Mexican internet system. Will have to wait until we cross the border and I can get back on a US system to be able to read them. They were happy enough to take my money though. And yesterday I tried to log on to another site and got back the message – “Only for customers in North America” – funny last time I looked Mexico was part of North America. Some one needs to study geography – or don’t they teach that any more.
Some times I wonder why NASCAR even runs in Daytona – if I was an owner I’d only run my cheapest/junkiest cars there – that’s all you get to take home is junk. Just write it off as a demolition derby. Expensive weekend for KBM – both truck and Nationwide car got wrecked. Neither his fault. Hope today is better.
Drove out to the lookout point on the south end of town to see the sunset – not much of one to see. No clouds to add interest.
Watched these guys fish for a while.
Can not figure out how they got down there. No dry land to walk there. They had to have climbed down the steep cliffs. You can just barely see them way down there on top of the rocks in the left middle bottom part of the picture.
From there it is only a short drive to the Plazuela Machado where we decided we’d have dinner. We got there kind of early for a Saturday evening but there were a lot of people there already. And lots of vendors setting up. Just as we were coming into the plaza we passed this girl. Her 15th birthday outfit getting pictures taken.
Later on as we were leaving we watched a bride and groom have pictures taken. It is such a pretty setting.
The Hacienda Hotel on the Malecón changes the lights on the front of the hotel for the season. They still have their Valentine Day heart lit. Looks neat. 
We didn’t stay in the plaza as long as we usually do it was getting quite cool and damp out. The dampness seeps right through to the bones.
Anyway that has been all we’ve done lately. Everyday more and more RVs leave the campground heading north. In 13 days we'll be one of them. Of course we'll still be a long way from home.  

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lazy Day

A rather cool windy day today spent most of it at home. Giving my foot and Bill’s leg a chance to rest. We did go to Sam’s club this morning but nothing else exciting.
Yesterday we went to the Mega grocery store. It is very modern and has almost any thing one would need. The store itself is on the second floor – you have to take a moving sidewalk to go up and down. Underneath is a parking garage and an area of small stores.
I see that Danica Patrick got the pole position for the Nationwide race tomorrow night. Good for her. I hope she has a good season. My favorite driver is starting well in the back half. But at Daytona it doesn’t make much difference where you start.
Have three library books to read - I forgot to change the checkout days so I have to read them all in the next seven days. One is from a series by Beverly Connor. Pretty good. She writes about a Forensic Investigator named Diane Fallon. I'll have to check more of the series out.
A man and his wife just came by selling home made apple turnovers. Smelled good but didn't buy any. Our neighbors bought four of them so their trip to the back of campground wasn't in vain.  

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Work on church is progressing

Had to look it up to see what day today is – Thursday – easy to forget when there are no plans or specific things to do to remind you.
Thinking more and more about what we’ll have to do when we get home than what we are going to do the remaining time we are here. One thing we have to do at home is replace Willie’s license plates – because they were personalized I wonder if we’ll be able to get the same ones – I bet not because they were stolen.
Went to Centro Historico again yesterday and all the streets are now open to traffic. Most of them had all the Carnaval kiosks and stages gone and were clean. The only ones they were still working on were right where the night before parade was.
This never ceases to amaze me. However many fit. I’d be scared to death that I’d drop the baby. Especially in the traffic here. But then I don’t like riding on one of them anyway.
Went by the church to check on progress. They get a lot done in one day. This section is recemented and marked but still needs painting.
Bill talking to the workers. They use special cement for the refinishing and mix it by hand in a wheelbarrow, put it in buckets and send it up to the workers. This refurbishing should last about 40 years. The padre made them take off all the old cement right down to the bricks. They were going to just put the new over the old but Padre said nope!
The worker is showing us how the lines are made in the cement. With a level and a trowel to make the indentation. While standing up on a piece of board between two pieces of scaffolding.  
Sending a bucket of cement up to the top.
The wheelbarrow it is mixed in and giving a bucket to one of the workers.
The guy WAY up on top who is doing the edge work. He is smoothing the cement with a wooden form to give it its dimension.
The work is fascinating me so every time we go over there I want to walk by and check out the progress.
Went in the Municipal Mercado and walked around a bit. Bought a couple of baseball type caps – 3 x 100 or about US$2.50 each. Saw a guy walking around with a cart with these beautiful plants on them. I’ve never seen anything like it before. He was selling them, but the ones he was selling for about three dollars were only five inches tall.
A close up. If we see him again maybe I’ll get one anyway – see if it ever grows up.
We are now kind of in a holding pattern cause we are waiting for our friends to get here before we go anywhere out of town.
Best sign off, Bill just fixed breakfast and it looks and smells good. Don't know what we'll do today but know we need tomatoes at the market. Feels like it is going to be really warm today. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The church is getting a face lift -Mazatlan

Wednesday a.m.
Can’t tell what the weather will be like here today. The sun is up and there are a few wispy clouds up there. Started out like this yesterday and by afternoon it was windy, overcast and quite cool. According to the forecasts it is supposed to start getting up in the 80s.
Carnaval is over for another year, yesterday was the last day. Today everything is supposed to be open again and businesses and roads should return to normal.
Had a laugh yesterday morning. Bill went to the campground restroom. When he pushed the lever to flush – no water rushed forth…..So he lifted the lid on the tank and found out why. A big frog was sitting in the bottom of the tank stopping the water. He said he just moved him but left him in there as he seemed content. TIM. He did tell the caretaker though.
Saw on the Internet that there was an earthquake in Missouri that was felt in nine states. Wonder if our home town in southern Indiana felt it? If so that is the second since we moved east to get away from such things. 40 years in Southern Calif. We had enough of them.
We went back to the yardage store yesterday morning to return one of Bill’s bottles of glitter glue as it was cracked and the stuff inside was hard as a rock. Again the main street along the Malecón was closed so we took different side streets across town.
We’ve noticed that people have all kinds of ways to prevent other from parking in front of their homes or businesses – this was a new one. The sign on the garage door says No Parking.
Part of the way we were on a wide divided street and traffic wasn’t too heavy. Notice in both pictures how clean the streets are. Lots of signs and billboards everywhere. Lots of noise from vehicles with speakers on them selling everything imaginable to horns continually honking to music blaring from stores and autos. Kind of a sensory over load sometimes.
The streets in Centro Historico are all one way and very busy with trucks, busses, cars and pedestrians. Lights don’t mean anything to the people walking. As long as the vehicle coming towards you isn’t moving too fast it’s okay to walk out in front of them. Well not really but it seems like it. Bill usually has to grab me and drag me with him when he crosses. They walked right in front of us as we were slowly moving around a corner. Interesting outfit.
The other day I posted some pictures of the front of the church being painted. Now they are refinishing one side of it. Kind of interesting. This is what it looked like before they started and will look like again when they are finished.
A closer look – these are not blocks – it is an illusion.
First all the exterior plaster was chipped off by hand! See the piles of it laying on the ground and the raw brick that is left.
They have the front half of this side done. There is a guy up on the roof – he is replacing plaster.
There are three men up on the scaffolding replastering the building. There are ropes with pulleys that they use to pull the full buckets of plaster up to them.
A closer look. Notice it is smooth – no indentations/ lines in it. Bill says they probably use some kind of form to make the lines – then everything is painted again.
The guys mixing the plaster/cement for the workers.
We stopped for breakfast at Panama restaurant. Good food and excellent service. They even have a desert cart. The waitresses all have their hair pulled back into buns and wear green and white uniforms with white stockings.
One of the tourist trolleys – remember this Rona?
A lot of the people who come here for the winter do not bring their cars. But there is no lack of transportation. Busses every where and load of taxis and pulmineas (the golf cart looking thing.) They are inexpensive and go every where.
I spotted these Carnaval sunglasses in a store window. Just thought they were kind of cute.
Walking through Plazuela Machado we could tell Carnaval wasn’t over yet. There were stacks of beer everywhere and the inevitable blocks of ice. Though this one looks like its been there awhile – almost melted away. Bill is walking past what will be a new hotel- it was supposed to be done by Carnaval – maybe they meant next years. One of the old empty buildings is being renovated. So far it looks nice. Has a big curving stair case in the main patio inside. The front exterior of the building has to retain its original look, but the inside can be completely redone.
Back in the car heading home. Yet another side street. It is a one way street going up hill. Colorful homes and very clean neighborhood.
Stopped at the grocery store and again looked at the Chihuahua puppies in the window of the pet supply place. They are so cute and so tiny. Every once in a while we talk about getting one. But then good sense returns and we don’t. And these are so tiny I’d be afraid I’d break it.
Spent the rest of the day at home. Fixed dinner the second night in a row – we’ve got to start using up the stuff we can’t bring back across the border.
Got cold and windy last night. Had the little heater running all night and I see Bill turned his side of the blanket on.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A visit to the Central Market

Well today is Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday – the last day of Carnaval. There is another big parade later this afternoon and more fireworks. Last night about 10:00 there were fireworks for almost 1/2 hour. We can't see them just hear them.
Yesterday morning we went across the street again to the restaurant at the hotel Torres de Mazatlan. Their grounds are so pretty. Got a kick out of this. This little bush is shaped like a basket and someone has set some artificial fruit in it.
Breakfast as always was good. I think a new group of tourists came in over the weekend because the beach and pool area were crowded with people who didn’t already have suntans. Going to be lots of sunburns by night.
After breakfast we headed towards the Centro Historico as Bill wanted to get some glitter glue for his masks. Needed to go to Parisina – the yardage/craft store to get it. It was a challenge to get there as the main street along the Malecon was closed to traffic. As near as we could tell they were still cleaning it up after the parade and celebrations the night before. We did pass one of the floats.
Eventually we made it downtown and were surprised at how many things were closed. Finally found a parking lot open. Bill asked the attendant why things were closed and he told us many things were closed during Carnaval week. Banks, government offices etc. Luckily the stores were still open. And the street vendors were out. This man was selling nuts and candy, he is always here in front of Parisina. I wonder if he makes a living?
And always someone selling donuts on the street. Yummy with taste of bus exhaust.
After Bill got his glitter glue we continued on to the Municipal Mercado – it was really busy.
As always the piggy feet and heads fascinate me.  They look like they are smiling.  
He is sharpening his big knife.
Colorful fruits and vegetables at one of the stands.
I liked this little restaurant in the market. The name of it translates to “The Clean One.”
I had on my new Carnaval t-shirt and jeans and the day really started to heat up – and my personal summer was in full force so I wanted to go home to change. Left downtown and stopped at the grocery store to get my tea then headed home to the a/c.
I got interested in my beading and Bill was playing with his glitter glue on a piece of leather so the day passed.
The temperatures at home in Indiana have been nice this past week – up into the high 50s and low 60s. Hope it doesn’t decide to be winter when we get there. We’re beginning to discuss our route home. Several options. A lot will depend on the weather as we travel. No matter anyway we go it is around 1800 miles. Lots of diesel. Also need to get the satellite working again once we're in the states. Maybe if it gets TV when we get to the US – we’ll forget about the Internet part and stay at campgrounds that have WiFi. It grips me to be paying for HughesNet and not having it. Sure wish they’d of had Telcels Banda Ancha Movil a couple of years ago before we paid all that money for the satellite dish. There is another motorhome here in the park who has the satellite internet – his dish quit working too so he has Telcel. I sure hope by the time we get home some kind of Internet is available where we live so we can tell HughesNet to go jump in a lake. Enough of that – off to today’s adventure.
Finally got confirmation that our friends will be here March 1st - so that will be fun - dragging them all around to see the sights.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sunday was a quiet day

Bill just mentioned that we will be leaving Mazatlan heading towards home in just 19 days. We left home 130 days ago. After we leave here it will take us a while to just get to the border then of course all the way across the states to home. The next 19 days will be busy though. John and Carol who we hung around with in Aticama will be here a week from today on their way home. Probably only overnight though. And around the 1st of the month our friends from Indiana will be here for a week. When they leave we’ll be getting cleaned up and packed up to hit the road. So time will fly and another Mexican adventure will be over.

Not much going on around here yesterday. Roberto, from La Noria, and his brother and son came over so Bill could show them the basics of forming the leather masks.
I got another couple inches of my necklace done – getting back into the rhythm of it and it is now starting to look nice.
A couple of days ago when we were in La Noria I got stung by a bee on my middle finger. Got out of the car and grabbed the strap of my camera and ZAP – never saw the bee but sure felt it. And the tree right by where we were parked was loaded with white flowers and bees. It’s been a long time since I’ve been stung. My finger is still red and a little swollen and itches like crazy. Glad I’m not allergic to them.
The caravan is leaving this morning. They will be taking the ferry across to Baja and go to California from there. Their trip was 49 days and cost US$8,500 per couple. Not counting gas, food (some meals included.)
Carnaval is in full swing. We are staying away from the crowds but can hear when the fireworks go off. No plans for today except go to market to get my bottled green ice tea.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A couple of "You've got to be kidding" moments

Sunday a.m.

Sun is up birds are making a racket seems like it will be a beautiful day again.
Roberto is coming over to get lessons in leather mask making. For anyone interested here is Bill’s web site where he works with the leather making the wind spirits and leather masks. http://www.woodspiritsandleatherartstudio.com/  He is sure going to be busy when we get home. And every day he gets more ideas of what he is going to do.  Here he is playing with some of the leather he just got.
Yesterday we had a couple of those “you’ve got to be kidding moments” the first when we were stopping by the grocery store. I walked by a store window and saw a sign “vestidos para Carnaval” clothing for Carnaval. There were three cute frilly sparkly small dresses in the window. I thought “more dresses for little kids.” Boy was I wrong. Upon closer look it was a pet supply store. These are dresses for DOGS!
The other moment came later in the day. I’m always fascinated by the cakes in the markets. This one looked so good. We just look at them as neither of us could eat it before it got stale.
We didn’t get anything perishable so we headed over towards the Centro Historico to check out the Carnaval preparations – As long as we went into town the back way through the city streets instead of along the ocean there was no problem. The street that follows the ocean is closed to vehicular traffic until next Tuesday the end of Carnaval. Neither of us had eaten breakfast so of course we had to go to the Plazuela Machado for lunch. Boy was that area ever getting ready for the party at night. Huge blocks of ice were being unloaded from a big truck.
They were being left outside on the plaza in front of all the closed restaurants. This ice is chipped up put in coolers and used to keep closed beverages cold. So sanitation isn't too much of an issue.
Next to the gazebo lots and lots of big sound equipment was being set up.
He was wondering “What the heck is going on?”
We sat down and placed our order for hamburgers and fries. And then came our next “You’ve got to be kidding” moment. The restaurant we usually eat at is owned by an older man and woman who we've become close friends with. She is also the manager and the head cook. A couple of people have told us that the restaurant is becoming more of a hobby to them then a business and that some things don’t get done on a regular basis – like ordering supplies. We’ve had our waiter go to the restaurant next door to borrow items they don’t have on hand. But that is kind of a common practice. Any way we were watching the music set up when the lady came rushing out of the restaurant and went over to where her husband was relaxing [dozing] on a plaza bench. She poked him and gave him some instructions – I understood hamburgers” and picked up on the urgency of what she was telling him. Hummmm??? He slowly got up from the bench and seemed to disagree with her. Well that didn’t last long. Another string of strong words and he got on his motorbike and took off.
She stopped by our table to say “Hi” then went back inside. Bill was laughing his socks off. What happened was they were out of tomatoes and she came out to send him to the central market to buy tomatoes. He was too slow getting moving and she gave him a tongue lashing and told him to hurry up. He is unloading the tomatoes from his storage bag.
In no time we had our delicious hamburgers with fresh tomatoes on them. TIM = This is Mexico! We enjoyed our meal and the people watching. Getting back in the car I was impressed with the very blue sky after a couple of days of overcast sky and colors in the buildings around the lot.
Our friend Angelica told us this parking lot used to be a beautiful home. She was raised in this neighborhood. She says there used to be a wonderful brick patio with a huge tree right in the middle of what is now the parking lot.
Yesterday the campground had a Chili Cook Off – we forgot about it and missed most of it. When we got back to the park all the chili was gone and people were starting to leave. But they had quite a crowd – it is a money raising event for children and is an annual event.
The first NASCAR race was last night. And all I could do was watch the commentary on the laptop – sure wish I could have seen it on TV. Hopefully after we get home it will be replayed sometime. Pretty exciting race.
Right now Bill has lots of company - he is showing Roberto and his son how to form the leather for the masks. I'm going to work on my necklace for a while. Just barely started on it.
I'm a little out of practice - will probably end up ripping all of this out and starting over - we'll see....