Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Quiet Week?

Mike and I had decided that we were going to be very laid back and quiet this week. We were just going to stay at home and do absolutely nothing. So, what did we do?

I did my usual Monday volunteer at the library. We stopped into the Puerto Viejo afterwards, met up with a few friends, had a marguerita and a cerveza each, and came home. We made dinner and ate at home then settled into to watch a movie.

Tuesday, we did the shopping run with Jerry and Diane - we were hunting for chicken wings for next weeks "Wings on Wednesday". More on that later. We stocked up on wine and beer at Sam's (it's much cheaper there) and found the wings at Mega. While we were at it, we stopped to have the oil changed in the car and also found the vet, where we made an appointment to have Abi trimmed. We must have done something else, darned if I can remember! We did eat 'in' but stayed up late on the terrace as it was a beautiful evening and we've been working towards a full moon.

On Wednesday, we took Abi for her haircut. The vet was recommended by someone we have met - her dogs also have 'people' hair, and we're all trying to avoid the usual Mexican 'doggie-shave'. Well, it was close, but not quite. I still think she's adorable, and she can finally see! We've all promised to not to laugh at her.

While we were waiting for Abi to finish her spa day, Mike and I dropped into Home Depot (yes, again, we just can't seem to stay away from that place) because we needed to pick up some ant spray. We have little bitty ants, sugar ants, who have developed a fascination for my herbs. Die, ants, die!!!!!!!!!!!!! The herbs are growing and I'm planning on harvesting some of the basil and oregano for next weeks batch of spagetti sauce.

We drove to the Golden Zone to have lunch and check out the tourists. I have to confess, I really love living here. I look at all those people having such a good time and feel so sorry for them because they have to go home. I know, our day is coming, but we still have almost 3 months!! I also confess that I like the G.Z. in short doses - it's different than Centro, and it's fun. I'm just not sure I'd like to live there. I do like the shops, however.

Before Mike realized what was happening, I managed to drag him into a 'gallery store' - we browsed around a bit and sort of decided that we might like to bring back a mirror to hang over the fire place in the living room. As in, sort of, maybe, let's think about it, can we fit it into the car, can we afford it (Mike), YES, I love this idea, think of all the stores we can look through til we find the perfect one, I'll make it fit (we'll just leave all the clothes behind), of course we can afford it (we don't need to eat), it's going to look great!!!! (Sandie)

We were going to go to bed early, but the moon was getting larger, we decided to put on the Merengue CD we borrowed from Mary and Oscar, our Salsa 'instructors', then we watched the movie, and went to bed, later, much later.

Thursday, we went to the beach .... and everyone knows about that!

Friday was a casual day, we did a bitty bit of housework, couldn't do laundry because the water has been cut off in Centro for a few days to repair water main breaks and we are preserving our supply in the Tinaka, the giant water tank on the roof. More on that later as well!

We headed out to the market as we needed to pick up a few fruits and veggies and then we stopped of at Fish Taco at the Plaza Machado for lunch as we wanted to say Hi to Marcos, our favourite waiter.

Then we woarked our way home, up the hill, had a quick siesta, then strolled downhill to Canucks for the Friday "Meet and Greet", had dinner with friends at Pizza Morena, stopped into The Time Machine to listen to the musican of the evening and then struggled up the hill, again, to bed. The hill seems to be steeper as the day gets longer.

This, remember, is our stay at home, do nothing week.

Today, Mike and I decided we just needed some alone time, so we went for a walk, heading out for lunch somewhere. We stopped along the way to take a picture of one of my favourite restored buildings. I'm not sure what it's being used for but it really is lovely. I know, another building .....

We walked along the Malecon and stopped to check out the fishing boats (yes, I know, more boats, will she never stop with the boats!!!!)

and also the oyster catch of the day.

The Fisherman's Monument caught my eye,

(it's huge - this is just a corner!)

as did this restaurant. We've never eaten there, but it looks interesting.

It's been very windy today.

We don't worry about wind chill factors, however, just whether we can keep lunch on the table!

We did stop for lunch

and managed to hang on to everything. Barely. We found a few dominos in the sand - we're not sure who was cheating and we're going to blame in on the wind.

It was a difficult decision. We decided to try a new spot and there are so many to choose from

and then walked back home as far as we could on the beach. The tide has been unusually high because of the full moon and it has created some amazing tide pools. We never find shells along this stretch of the beach and Mike came home with a pocket full.

When we crossed from the beach up to the Malecon to head home, Mike simply had to stop here.

We came home with a half kilo of incredibly tender pork, a bag a tortillas, two bags of sauces and another bag filled with limes, all for 30 pesos (less than $3.00). So, we have dinner, except we're busy getting cleaned up to head off to Canucks for dinner and Saturday Salsa.

This is a really tough life.

Really. Trust me.

Or not.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Rainy Day at the Beach

Today in Winnipeg the temperature was -18C with a predicted windchill of approximately -33C. I'll admit that since we arrived in November I've slipped in the odd reference to our wonderful weather - sunshine day after day, gentle breezes off the ocean, lovely cool evenings for sleeping, etc. etc. etc.

Well, just to let everyone know, today was payback time.

We had decided on a beach day this week, on Stone Island, our favourite spot. The weatherman had predicted rain for the morning, but it was lovely when we got up, a bit overcast, but still a perfectly good beach day. So, off we went.

There was one cruise ship in today, you can just see it peeking from behind the freighter. The sun is shining.

After the panga dropped us off, we walked through the village, stopping to admire the flowers

and the rooster. These shots are for Ann, our guest last week. Can you see him???

There he is, with the girls.

We're not sure if Ann loved the rooster who lives in our neighbourhood, or if she wants to serve him for dinner. He's a bit 'time challenged' and announces sun-rise from 2 a.m. on some days, rather loudly and very insistently. I'm still hunting for them.

We usually camp out at Lety's for the day, but the tide was unusually high last night

and Lety's and the neighbours were flooded out.

The sun is shining.

They were busy digging trenches to drain away the water, so we wished them well, left them to it and headed back down the beach to a new spot, Molokay's, to try it out. They made us very welcome, cleaned off the loungers for us, brought us tables for our things and kept everyone supplied with everything we could possibly need.

The sun was still shining ...

We chatted with the vendors; they are wonderful, but how many times can you say "No, gracias" to the same person?! I finally explained to one gentleman that if I bought silver every time we came to the beach, I wouldn't be able to carry it all home, and we'd be so poor we wouldn't be able to pay the rent. Once they realized we live here, they leave us pretty much alone, and focus more on the cruise ship folks.

We admired what might have been shrimp boats. Our server, Delfino, said he thought they were fishing for tuna.

and of course, I found another boat that I liked even better.

We're not sure about the ambulance - could it have something to do with the cruise ships folks?
Or maybe for my darling husband?

It was parked there all afternoon and didn't move, so that would be a good sign!

By the way, the sun was still shining, barely, through the clouds, but it was still there.

Until, that is, we decided to have lunch on the beach.

Which we barely had time to finish, when, what a surprise, it started to rain. It didn't just rain, it poured! We'd been watching the clouds move in for at least an hour, but we're Canadians, we're optimists, the weatherman said it would rain in the morning, it's now about 2 p.m.......

Jerry and Mike figured that since they were already wet ....

Diane and I saved a few (semi) dry things for the trip home, and then joined them.
No pictures of that, the camera was tucked into the back pack, with the books we didn't read, hopefully to stay dry.

It did eventually stop raining, so we got out of the water, dried off and headed home. The people hiding under the palapas at the restaurant think we're crazy, but like I said, we're Canadians, we were already wet, and we had the ocean all to ourselves!

We tidied up as best we could at the restaurant, but did stop to clean our feet further up the beach. And these are for the people who are complaining that I never post a picture of myself!

By the way, my feet were very clean and that sink was really high!!

I just checked the forecast, and tomorrow is supposed to be sunny, all day. And yes, I know, it was wet, and we didn't have to shovel it.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Words of Wisdom

I'm feeling somewhat contemplative today.

A very good friend sent the following to me by email this morning. It was written by Erma Bombeck, after she was diagnosed with Cancer:

"I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the 'good' living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have sat on the lawn with my grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, 'Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.' There would have been more 'I love you's' More 'I'm sorry's.'

But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it. Live it and never give it back. STOP SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF!!!

Don't worry about who doesn't like you, who has more, or who's doing what.

Instead, let's cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us."

Another wonderful friend has this on a plaque in her kitchen. It was written by Ralph Waldo Emerson:

"Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in - forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely, and with too high a spirit to be cumbered with your old nonsense."

My thanks to both of them for sharing!


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Visit

It's been awhile, I know, but sometimes time just seems to get away from us. I might also get a bit lazy, but that's another excuse.

We have company right now, a first for us since we've been here, and I think perhaps I'll blame them! It has been a truly wonderful experience seeing Mazatlan, and Mexico, through the eyes of first time visitors. We love this city so much and we're so pleased to be able to share it with friends.

They have been wonderful. We have yet to hear a negative comment and they seem to be loving everything.

We're all a bit exhausted however, as we've tried to squeeze as much as possible into their one week visit. We have walked them through the streets of Centro, during the day and at night.

We've spent several days at one of the hotels on the Golden Zone, doing the beach/pool thing.

This also involved some negotiating with the beach vendors, a banana boat ride and also a parasail ride.

We've taken them to Stone Island for the day and also spent time at Playa Bruja.

The panga ride to Stone Island took us right by the cruise ships in town for the day, a different view than the one from our terrace!

We took the elevator and stairs to the top of the Freeman Hotel to view the sunset and admire the pool. The pool was empty, looks like they're doing some repairs, but the sunset was fabulous!

We've also been to the Shrimp Ladies to purchase shrimp and to Donia's to have them cooked for us. We were serenaded by a Banda Band shortly after we arrived, but we gave them a tip and they left after one set. Wonder if that would work for the bands in the neighbourhood at home?

After eating way way too much, it was decided that we needed another look at a sunset so we all just sort of waddled along to the Puerto Vieja on the Malecon. Slowly.

We also did several runs to the market, one to purchase shrimp to cook Jambalaya at home.

We've also visited several of our favourite restaurants, some of them more than once and have sampled the margueritas at more than one watering hole. We've eaten far too much and will need to do some serious dieting in the next few weeks.

God help us, there are still so many places to go, and things to eat! It's a good thing they're planning on coming back next year.

I just wanted to let you know that we're still alive and kicking. Barely.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A First

We decided one night this week to just stay home and cook for ourselves for a change. We've been busy and have eaten out more than we normally do and it was time to deal with all the food we've been stockpiling in the fridge and freezer. The decision was made - pork tenderloin, sweet potatoes and an assortment of mixed veggies. However, as I was cruising the freezer, I came across the 3 bananas we've collected. We've found that bananas ripen very quickly here and there have been a few times (3 of them in fact!) when one banana out of the bunch just really needed to be turned into Banana Bread, so into the freezer it went, to wait for the perfect moment.

I enjoy baking, and find it to be relaxing, but it's just not something I've done since we arrived in Mazatlan. Mike loves Banana Bread, the bananas were taking up space in the freezer, it seemed like a meal that deserved some kind of dessert, it was just meant to be.

This Banana Bread was an adventure. I had flour, inherited from a friend, and baking soda, which was in the Casita when we got here, butter and salt. I 'borrowed' a teaspoon of vanilla from a neighbour, and bought a chocolate bar at the corner tienda to chop into chips. Mike just can't imagine Banana Bread without chocolate chips. I thought I was set until I started mixing everything together and realized that we had eaten the last egg. Back to the store to get an egg. One egg. I love Mexico.

I didn't have a loaf pan, so I used the casserole dish I bought for Brocolli Casserole, my contribution to Christmas dinner. Into the oven it went and we waited anxiously for 1/2 hour. The recipe said 1 hour but it was ready in 30 minutes. It could have been our oven, or the casserole dish!

My first attempt at baking in Mexico was a success! It was delicious. Unfortunately Mike loves Banana Bread and now that I've done this once .....

This is the recipe I used:

Banana Bread

3 - 4 bananas
1/3 c. melted butter
3/4 c sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
1 1/2 c flour
1/2 to 1 c chocolate chips

Mix butter into mashed banana. Mix in sugar, egg and vanilla. Sprinkle with baking soda and salt and mix. Add flour, mix. Add chocolate chips.

Bake 1 hour, 350F/175C


and After!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Walk on the Beach

A few days ago I went for a long beach walk with our friends, Jerry and Diane. We took the bus to Playa Bruja and then strolled along the beach, almost all the way to the Marina. This by the way was nothing for them as they are serious walkers but it was a bit further than I usually go. We walked for about 2 hours and then stopped for lunch and a drink. I know that they could have gone further and I probably could have as well, but we needed to get home to get ready for the wine-tasting party we were attending later in the afternoon so we just hopped on a bus after our break and headed back to Centro.

I am inspired and have decided that I really need to do this more often. The walking I mean, not the eating. There, now I've said it out loud so I can't back out!!

I had the camera with me, but was so busy enjoying myself that I forgot to take any pictures. I did manage a few though - these are some of my favourites.

The flowers weren't actually on the beach but I saw them while we were waiting for the bus home, and they were so pretty I couldn't resist.