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Friday, November 30, 2012

Jennie's Spa Day


Before I forget - a Lisa is some kind of fish. It is on every restaurants menu. Supposed to be good. And I try to update the blog every morning with the day befores adventure or lack of adventure.
Sunrise this morning looking towards the back of the campground.
We are surrounded by palm trees. And as you can see the campground here in the back is empty except for a couple of rigs in storage and us and Derek and Teresa.
Yesterday we stayed in the campground all day. First thing in the morning the people showed up to wash Jennie. What a difference a year makes! Last year two guys showed up in a beat up pickup with buckets, rags and a hose. This year a man and wife showed up in a van with its own water supply, long brushes and equipment for cleaning the interior too. Whoopie – they came inside and dusted and vacuumed. My kind of car wash! They did a great job. Bill’s only complaint was that the picture on the Speedy Wash van showed a women in a bikini and the lady who came had on coveralls ….. oooohhhh – too bad. And dumb me I forgot to take any pictures.
Before the washers left the oil changers came. So yesterday was Jennie’s spa day. New oil and filter. The oil changers were also a couple. Both vehicles the women were driving. Mexico is changing.
Speaking of Mexico I saw some statistics the other day that made me kind of mad. The article was about the violence in Mexico as compared to some other places. Did you know that Detroits murder rate is double Mexico’s? Also Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic have murder rates much higher than Mexico. Why aren’t the papers full of that info – tourists go there all the time. I feel safer here than I ever did in Los Angeles or Vegas or for that matter Indianapolis where there is at least one shooting a day and usually more. One of the big RV parks here in downtown Mazatlan is completely empty. There are about 10 RVs in the one next to the beach and about 15 here. It is really a shame. In fact it is so bad it even made the evening Mazatlan news. But the news did say that more and more North Americans are buying apartments here – sales have gone up the last two years “since things are getting worse in the north.”
I worked on my necklace yesterday – got it about ¼ done. I discovered between the pattern and the beads I’m using I have to have really really good light to work on it. So I chased the sun shine around inside Jennie yesterday working on it.
CLOCKS – my challenge is back! The new coffee pot we had to buy before leaving home has a clock on it. It’s been working fine – it was easy to set. Yesterday I noticed the time was wrong. Thought Oh well must have been a short power outage I didn’t notice. So I set it. Later I looked at it and the time was wrong. What the…? Set it again. A couple hours later wrong again. This time I mentioned it to Bill. He just smiled at me….Well this morning it is way off. Gremlins I guess.
Speaking of Gremlins, remember the little flying bugs from last year? We DID NOT leave home with any but every once in a while I see one flying around in here. I think the ones we left here last year have found us!!!
Just about sunset last night there was such a racket outside I had to go out and check. The BIRDS were in the vacant lot next door. Zillions of them. Flying in mass from tree to tree. So many we could hear their wings flapping. This is only a small portion of them. It was amazing.
Later they left our area for another across the street.
they are flying towards the beach
While the birds were flying and squawking Bill was putting some light on Jennie. Now we look so holidayish.
Today we’ll have to do something interesting – go somewhere….but where?  Hum….
It is still very warm here and will remain so for at least a couple of weeks. In the mid 80s but it cools down nicely at night to about 60 thank goodness. Yesterday the wind changed and it was coming off the water instead of in from the desert.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Shrimp fishing and dinner in the Plazuela Machado

Let’s see first things first – What day is today? [check lower right corner of laptop screen] Ah it is Thursday. Only two more days left in November. Today is wash Jennie, we’re having it done we’re not doing it. Change oil in Jennie – again someone is coming to park to do it. And we’ll do some cleaning inside and tighten all the screws etc that came loose during the last couple of rough roads. Sometimes I wonder how this poor thing manages to hold together.
Yesterday morning we went to the beautiful big Mall here. Bill wanted to get a sign for the motorhome but the sign maker wasn’t open yet (10:30 a.m.) so will have to go back. We were going to go to the central area because Teresa needed to go to a Scotia bank but while walking through the mall lo and behold there was a Scotia ATM there.
every guy in the place turned around to look at the lady walking by - 4 inch heels on her
Errand taken care of. But when Bill tried to get some pesos from it it wouldn’t take our obscure bank’s card. So off to WalMart to find a ball for Cassia, look for EggBeaters for us and hit their ATMs. Well Cassia got her ball. We are going to have to give up on the EggBeaters – no one has them. And one of their ATMs was broken and the other didn’t have any money! We did get cleanser to sprinkle around Jennie to keep the ants out though.
Next stop Soriana – another nice big grocery store – first things first – ATM worked and we are now filthy rich – Well in Pesos it seems like it with all those zeros. But then you buy groceries and it is 434.00 you suddenly don’t feel so rich.
Spent the afternoon in Jennie waiting for the car wash people who didn’t make it. Waiting for them now too.
By 5:00 they weren’t here and it looked like the sunset might be nice so we took off to the beach to see it. It was pretty but not all that great.
The people in the background are vendors who have spent the day on the beach selling things. Now they are carrying their stuff back to their cars and trucks that were parked where we were standing. A couple of them had to make a couple of trips up the beach and back. Sure hope they sold enough to make it worth while.
I turned around as saw Bill talking to a couple of men. One was in the water and the other was on the sidewalk talking to Bill. Needed to check that out.
The one in the water was catching little shrimp with his bare hands.
The shrimp were about two inches long.
The one in the stripped shirt was using them to fish with. He was trying to catch dinner. He did catch one fish while we were there a catfish about eight or nine inches long. But he threw it back. He was trying to catch Lisa.
He also told us that sometimes in this water there are crocodiles about two meters long. Oh really? That must make the fancy hotel right next to it happy.
With the sun down it remained warm but a breeze had come up and it was nice out so we decided to have dinner in the Plazuela Machado. As we drove over there the lights in the city were just coming on. Pretty sight along the water.
In the Centro Historico we pulled into our favorite estacionamiento (parking lot) and the lady who owns it greeted us like long lost relatives. She calls Bill the American who speaks good Spanish. And she remembers Willie – at first his license plate confused her MVN ON 2  didn’t seem like a real plate to her.
We walked around the Plaza checking out any changes. Still as pretty as ever. One of the restaurants in the Plazuela.
I took this picture of the full moon over the plaza while Bill was being interview by a group of high school boys.
They had an assignment to interview some tourists. As they talked to Bill one used his cell phone to film and record the interview. Bill says their English was excellent. And he had a good time talking to them. [now I think about taking a picture of them!]
Went to Beach Burger to eat. Lots more hugs and welcomes. The lady who owns the place is always there keeping an eye on it but this year she has to do it from inside in a chair as she broke her foot a while ago. We both had one of our favorite meals Italian Chicken Salad. There was so much of it.
After dinner we walked around again went to check out a hotel that was being built when we were here last. It is finished now and pretty fancy. A boutique hotel. Then past the Theater all lit up.
As we were walking back to the car we passed the music school. One class was in full swing. Stopped and listened and watched through the window. This boy was really into his drums.
The weather was perfect for eating and strolling outside. Just warm enough with a slight breeze off the ocean. Ahhh Perfect. Good company, good food, good atmosphere and good weather. What more could we ask for.
The temperature difference between where we ate and the campground was 10 degrees cooler in the campground.
And that was yesterday. Bill is cooking breakfast and today awaits us.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Out and about in Mazatlan

Another bright sunny day here in Mazatlan. No clouds in the sky. It’s probably going to be another WARM one. Ick. Bill is as happy as a pig in slop but I dislike the heat.
I haven’t mentioned it before but since Huatabampito we’ve been traveling with another couple, their daughter, dog – a beautiful husky type - and cat. They are from Canada and it is their first time traveling around Mexico in their Class B van. They went to El Fuerte with us and are now here at Las Jaibas. Yesterday we spent the morning with them taking them around Mazatlan. First we went to the Jeep dealer and made an appointment for Willie to get his tranny problem taken care of – next Monday morning. Not sure if that will be a diagnostic visit or a get it fixed visit. He is running fine just a little slippage once in a while.
Speaking of Willie – he got so dirty this trip – the detour going to El Fuerte took its toll on his pretty exterior. It is worse than this picture shows! But never fear we got him pampered later in the day and he is much better now.
After the Jeep place we went to the TelCel center so Derek and Teresa could get a Banda Ancha – a TelCel Internet stick. Thank goodness for Bill’s Spanish or it would have been a real hassle. Seems like every time we get one the requirements have changed. When we got ours in Hermosillo a couple of weeks ago we got the stick and put 6GBs of time? downloads? whatever  it’s called on it and it will run out in 30 days used or not. Then we have to add more GBs. Yesterday could only get 1GB and when that runs out they will be able to get 3 or 5GBs added for 30 days. Then renew it every 30 days. Hopefully it can be renewed on line with a credit card – don’t get me started on credit cards again. Or at any number of convenience stores.
So that done we went over to the Centro Historico to go to the central market there. We parked in our favorite parking lot. Again welcome hugs. While there Willie got a super duper cleaning, Inside and out. So he is happier now.
Derek had never been in a big central market. After a couple of minutes in the raw meat and chicken aisles he was ready to leave. They did have some really good looking produce and grapes but forgot to get some……
On the way out we did stop so Derek could look at some clothes. Got a couple of neat shirts.  And I got a blouse – a pretty blue one.
Our shopping done we went to the Panama restaurant for lunch. Always a good meal. I like the use of stained glass in the restaurant. Gives me ideas for a window at home. Gosh knows I have plenty of scrap glass.
After eating we went back to the Central Market, Derek had seen a hat he decided he wanted.
Picked up a sparkling Willie and headed to the the Mega Supermarket to pick up a few things. Still haven’t found any EggBeaters – thought for sure they would have them. Nope. Maybe the WalMart here – if not guess we’re just out of luck. Did get some good stuff from the bakery though. Here they are making buns. Notice the caps and beard masks.
From there back to the RV park. Just getting too hot out. Started another necklace but didn’t get really “into” it so didn’t do much.
Bill has talked to the owner at the park and asked to have someone come in to wash Jennie – Don’t want her to be jealous of Willie. Can’t have that.
Teresa writes a very interesting blog – it can be found at http://www.alifemadesimple.blogspot.mx/
Not sure what mischief we’ll be up to today – it should be housecleaning…..but the outdoors beckons.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rib dinner in Mazatlan

Good Morning from Mazatlan. We got here yesterday afternoon after a rather uneventful drive – thank goodness. The road out of El Fuerte much improvement over the road into town.

We left El Fuerte around 9:00 and got to Las Jaibas RV around 3:30 – 295 miles. Most of the road was very good – it should be it cost us US$76. Up some from March when we went home. And there was one new toll booth. A really fancy one.
Part of the road was under repair. This section is a four-lane divided section. Or it will be once the lines are painted again. 
Took a quick picture of this baggie farm. The plastic just hasn’t been harvested and made into baggies yet. Family joke.
As we pulled into the RV park we were welcomed “Home” by a couple of the RVers here and the owner. There have been some changes here too – there is now a swimming pool. Wow! That was unexpected. But the WiFi still doesn’t reach back where we park. Glad we’ve got the TelCel.
After settling in we headed into town to go to Fat Fish for dinner. Yes! They were still there. Again a welcome home greeting. And we got our 2 dinners for 180 pesos – up 20 pesos since March = US$14.00 – rib dinners. Salad, baked potato, garlic bread and cole slaw and of course a full slab of ribs. Very very good and filling. Bill ate all of his I brought half of mine home for tomorrow’s lunch.
Crap! Just discovered that my “tab” key isn’t working now. What is with this laptop? Last week it was the left “shift” key – but it is working now. One key at a time goes on vacation I guess.
We were watching Mazatlan Tv last night and I was surprised to see they broadcast their Alerta Amber on the nightly news. Even call it Amber Alert.

Monday, November 26, 2012

On to Mazatlan

Soon we’ll be heading to Mazatlan. A little over 300 miles – long drive but mostly on toll road. There is really no where to stop between here and there except Las Glorias and that is way off the road and there isn’t much there to do or see. So we’ll just take it easy and get to Mazatlan around 4 in the afternoon. Park, set up and take off for Fat Fish for spareribs. The way things are going this year that restaurant might not be there any more – That would be a catastrophe!
Yesterday we went into to town a while before it got too hot. Went to the Fort Museum and just drove around a bit.
We did get caught up in a traffic jam as a parade went by. Don't know what it was about but it was a bunch of children with banners and a truck playing music. They had a police escort and all traffic was stopped for them.
then went to a couple of new stores - a new supermarket and a Coppel - it sells household items. Everything from cell phones to kitchen cupboards. They had TVs for kids - shapped like 18 wheelers and cars and fancy pink ones with flowers. Really cute. And we found El Fuertes arch - hadn't seen it before but knew they had one. Came up on it suddenly so the pic is a little blury.
   Breakfast is ready so need to eat and start getting ready to leave.
Will post later in the day after we've had dinner.  

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Walk around El Fuerte, Mexco

Crap! Heated my coffee without looking in the cup first. There is a bug doing the back stroke in it! Thought about fishing him out and just drinking it but decided not to. Problem is I don’t want to make any more right now as Bill is still asleep and we are not connected to water so have to switch the water pump on and it make a loud growling sound when using it. Sooo…do I need my coffee enough to wake him up or not. Humm….guess I’ll let him sleep for a few more minutes. Aren’t I sweet.
Sunday morning – sure hope it isn’t as hot here today as it was yesterday. Couldn’t keep the AC running for any length of time. Wish we’d brought more than one fan. But this morning it is cool enough that I’ve got my fleece throw around my shoulders.
From the drive over the dirt roads both the RV and Jeep look like they’ve been painted a reddish brown. (see post below this one)Poor things. Also Willie is acting up – his transmission is slipping once in a while. So guess visit to Jeep dealer is in store when we get to Mazatlan – which will be tomorrow – getting to Mazatlan not the Jeep dealer. When we get settled in tomorrow our first trip will be to Fat Fish to get some spare ribs. Bill says he can smell them already.
This little hotel has a pretty patio area. Lots of plants, trees and flowers.
One of the tangerine trees with a pretty bougainvillea growing in it.
Went into the central part of town yesterday morning to walk around a little. El Fuerte was settled in 1564! Another town settled because of the Spanish mining of silver. It has also been designated as a Pueblo Mágico. But we came in the back way and didn’t see the arch. We’ll see it when we leave. Many of the old buildings from the 16 – 1700s have been fixed up and brightly painted on the outside, but inside they may not even have a roof. Though every year we see more and more restoration.
El Fuerte was (briefly, from 1824 to 1826) the capital of the Western State, the interim state of Sinaloa-Sonora (which included part of Arizona, stretching as far north as the Grand Canyon)
In all the years we’ve been coming to Mexico this is the first time I’ve seen a man in a Sombrero walking down the street. Usually we only see them on “gringos.”
I really like the architecture in these small towns. So many little details on the buildings. This is a light fixture.
We walked up to the Hotel Posada Don Porfirio where Zorro was supposedly born. A statue of him in one of the patios. Last time we were here we went to “happy hour” there and Zorro performs. Kind of fun.
In the hotel at the entrance to the restaurant bar area there was a banana tree. With a stalk of bananas on it. Wonder if they use them in the restaurant after they ripen?
Continued walking around the area. This is the inside of the City Hall. Its been painted since we were here last. When the government changes things are painted the new governments colors.  
A new mural inside the courtyard.
And of course we had to visit the El Fuerte Hotel again. Everytime we go there we see something different. The original building was built around 1640 – was passed down father to son for many generations. Now it is owned by a couple who have been restoring it for many many years. Just one of the many courtyards in it.
A hallway leading to more rooms. The rooms start at US$54 a night.
Another courtyard.
Some of the flowers growing in there.
Then back towards the main plaza past the church.
Walking down the arch covered sidewalk on one side of the plaza.
We managed to go into a building that is being restored. Looks like it will be a restaurant. Found this interestingly painted ceiling. It is made of bricks that have been painted to look like wood.
Just another one of the pretty buildings.
Went into the small central market. Lots of snake skins for sale along with the food and clothes.
By then it was getting too hot to walk around any more so headed back to Jennie where it was just as hot. Got a little breeze through the windows and the fan stirred it around some. Did manage to get the AC to work for a while. Thank goodness. One of the reasons we are using Jennie this year is because she can usually run on the low power. But this place is just too low.
After it cooled down we went back to town to have dinner at El General. Always good food. And the night before we had been told there would be an “evento” at the plaza. Guess our information was wrong – no evento. But we did stop and get churros from the new churro guy – he is the cousin of the one that moved. They were good! Just enjoyed the coolness of the evening and strolling around.
No plans for today – depends on how hot it is.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

NO Churro Man

We went into town last night to get some churros. And the Churro Man isn’t there any more. He moved out of town! Didn’t he know we were coming back? Time moves on. So we just walked around town a little and came back home and had dinner here.
But we did find out that there is a Fiesta going on and there is an event in the plaza tonight around 7 – 7:30. There was one last night too but we didn’t feel like staying. So will for sure go tonight.
We are at the Hotel Bugamvillas – thank goodness it was still open. We kind of have electricity. With everything else unplugged the AC will work. But have to remember to shut it off if we want to use the microwave. Maybe 15 amps. We are running off an extension cord plugged in one of the rooms. We also can use the facilities in that room. It is costing US$11.50 a night. We are welcome to pick the grapefruit and tangerines off the trees and eat them. Extra added bonus.

Friday, November 23, 2012

El Fuerte - 2nd post today

Second post today.
We left Huatabampito at 10:15 this morning. We drove 108 miles and arrived at El Fuerte at 1:45.  3 ½ hours. At lot of it at 5 miles per hour. A very interesting trip to say the least.
As you can guess the TelCel is working great here – thank goodness. The electricity at the park is a little iffy – but right now the AC is running fine. When we first plugged it it blew every thing out. And popped the circuit breaker in Jennie. Alls fine for now - fingers crossed.
So why did it take so long to get here? Well the first 15 miles from Huatabampo to the main road the 15D is a horrid horrid road. Almost as bad as the one from Kino. We didn’t remember it as being quite so bad. Next time we go in or out of Huatabampo we will take the other road even though it is 25 miles longer and has a toll booth.
For some reason the police – state, federal and agricultural were out in force today.
At least five road blocks. Usually we just got waved through. At one we got stopped though. The officer came up to the window and said, “Are you Mexican?”  What? Bill answered, “Do we look Mexican?” Would you believe the officer answered “Yes.” Bill replied, “We’re American.” Mind you all this was in English. Finally the officer just waved us on. What was that all about? Maybe wanted to practice his English? Don’t know, don’t care.
We are now in the state of Sinaloa.
Made good time while on the main highway. We took the turn off to El Fuerte and got about four blocks when we ran into construction. Major construction – there was NO road. There was a muddy dirt road to the right of the construction but it only went a few hundred feet before it turned out of sight. We stopped and pondered. Then Bill asked a man sitting on the side of the road how to get to El Fuerte – the man indicated the dirt track. Straight and around the corner. Okay! Off we went. Around the corner was this. A graded (washboard) dirt and gravel, I don’t want to call it a road, but anyway path.
If traffic was coming towards us Bill pulled over as much as he could and stopped. And this was the good part of the road.
Then it got a little narrower with of course a canal on our side. Lovely.
Looking down right outside my window – that is the canal!
Then we had to make right turn.
Across this “oh shit” bridge?
And then a left turn. But this one wasn’t marked so again we stopped and waited for another vehicle to come by so Bill could ask them, “Is this the way to El Fuerte?”
Yep! And then the ROAD got really narrow. Before we could make the turn on to this stretch of road we had to wait for on coming traffic to pass us. And for some strange reason the last on coming pick up decided to just stop on the road. In the mean time traffic was backing up to our left as they couldn’t turn because we were in the middle of the road – ‘cause Bill had to swing way out to make our right turn. Finally the pick up started up and went on down the road. We turned and the traffic jam let up. Talk about a Mexican Standoff. Luckily we only met two cars on this stretch. If we’d met a truck we both would have been SOL!
And then we had to make another left turn – if we’d been in the Alfa he would have had to unhook the car to make this turn. As it was we barely made it.
But at least we were back on the highway. The last 20 miles were pretty good.
But by now I was really worried that the little hotel RV park we stayed at two years ago would be closed. It was pretty iffy then.
Was sure glad to see it was still open and very surprised to see two BIG rigs already there. From Canada.
So right now The Driver is resting and I’m writing. Later we will go into town to see if the Churro Man is still there. Sure hope so. Bill deserves one.