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Puerto Vallarta

On our way home, we had to fly from Puerto Vallarta so we spent a few days with Al and Cathy. Last time we were there we weren’t too impressed as it’s a big city and we prefer a smaller place. After this visit, we changed our minds as we enjoyed it a lot more this time around. 

We left Melaque on Friday morning after dropping off the keys to the house. Again a Mexican experience. I was supposed to drop them at the landlord’s house or, failing that, give them to the guy in the ice cream store next door. There was no one home at the house and the ice cream store was closed. So, I took off back to the place we had stayed in, unlocked the door and left the keys inside. Luckily it wasn’t too hot as I had to hustle. I needn’t have bothered hurrying as the bus left a half hour late anyway.

The trip to Puerto Vallarta was uneventful and we arrived in one piece. Rosalie’s cousin Jeannine was also in PV so we visited her the next day. We walked along the Malecon until we found a nice little restaurant on the beach. After lunch and a few beers and margaritas, we walked slowly back. 

About halfway back we encountered The Zoo, a pub with an animal theme. So we stopped for another beer and was entertained by our young waiter on the dancing pole. Also, Rosalie and Jeannine both got a kiss from a gorilla. Lucky them!Puerto Vallarta

The following day, Al and Cathy took us back downtown to see more of the Malacon as well as the old city. We walked through a market and up to Gringo Gulch. This is where the Gringos built their houses back in the day. We also saw where Liz Taylor and Richard Burton used to live. Unfortunately, the house is no longer there as they tore it down and built a restaurant in its place. Again we had lunch on the beach and then caught a bus home.Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta

Rosalie and Cathy having way too much fun.

As it was our last evening, we walked to the local marina and found a nice restaurant for dinner. Rosalie and I shared a Mexican plate that had a bit of everything on it. 

We reluctantly left for the airport the following day and arrived home at 11:45 PM where Lyn was waiting to drive us home.

 

Tomorrow

Tomorrow we have to go home. (Sob!) We’ve had such a great time down here we don’t want to leave. 

It will be different next year when we come for six months. We’ll be residents, not tourists. The obvious thing to think is that we are having a good time now because we are on holiday, but when we live here day to day living will ho-hum..?! I don’t think so, there is nothing ho-hum about this place. 

There is so much that we don’t know about this wonderful place and we want to know it all. Both of us are determined to improve our Spanish skills which we think is important if we want to live here. Also, there are a lot of places we want to visit, like Colima and Guadalajara. Since watching “The Shawshank Redemption” Rosalie has wanted to go to Zihuatanejo so we may visit there too.

We eat out a lot right now but next year we will mostly be cooking our own food as that’s more practical. I’ll cook a lot more if we get a small BBQ, Rosalie can do the dishes.

We may need some form of transportation (or not). We thought about a motor scooter but I think a dune buggy may be more fun. Anyway, the transportation here is so cheap we don’t really need our own. Also, the exercise is good for us.

We finally managed to set up a bank account. It took nearly two weeks but we finally succeeded. They needed an electricity bill to prove that our address was ligit. This took more than a few days as we had to get it from the realtor, because, well, this Mexico. I now have a new debit card in my new wallet and we get 2.85% interest on our money.

They also offered us their investment program. If we invest $100,000 pesos, about $6500 they will give us 6.5% for one year or 7% for 1 1/2 years. Not bad, especially as we found out that they pay that up front after local taxes. Of course the money would be locked in.

When we get home we have all the practical things to think about. Like, moving out of the condo so that we can rent it out. Do we sell stuff or store it? What will our mailing address be? You know, stuff like that. I also have a lot to do out at the trailer. Finishing the sunroom will be the biggest job. But that’s mostly stuff I can do in the summer when I get bored.

We’re considering driving down next year so that we can take more stuff that we probably won’t use. It will cost a bit more than flying.  There is also the safety aspect, although we have spoken to lots of people and they haven’t had any problems. 

Anyway, whatever we decide will be okay. We just plan to enjoy our last few days here.

Tito’s Bar

Tito’s bar is in the west end of town. We were invited out again by Bill and Connie. I’m beginning to like these people, they get us into all sort of fun places. We had been to Tito’s bar before but not in the evening. 

We arrived at about 2:30 in anticipation of the band starting at 4:00. But of course, this is Mexico and the band arrived at 4:00 and started to set up. We found out that they had been playing a benefit gig for a Mexican family who had lost their home in a fire last week so all was forgiven. Tito's Bar

The leader of the band was Rod Snow, some sort of relative of Hank Snow although we don’t know the exact connection. The music was great and we had a nice evening.

However, this was happy hour, so when you ordered one drink you ended up with two. Also, happy hour lasted for about four hours so we took full advantage.Tito's Bar

There is a strict protocol when you are holding a table. If there is one spare chair anyone can claim it and bring all their friends along to enjoy your company. This is how you meet so many new people. Tonight we met a Leafs fan from Nanaimo, a couple from Sechelt and another couple from Parksville. I also recognised a realtor I used to know in Nanaimo whom I didn’t want to get reacquainted with, so I ignored him.

When we were here three years ago we met a woman from England who was on her first visit here to meet her son’s in-laws who were Mexican. Tonight we met the son in Tito’s Bar along with his cute little daughter. Melaque is a small place.Tito's Bar

The other aspect of partying in a place like this is that you also get the touristy stuff. While listening to the band play old-time country music, we watched the sun go down. On the beach was a guy casting his rod trying to catch some fish. Then a fishing boat gracefully pulled off into the sunset to look for our luch for tomorrow. The change of light as the sun goes down is Rosalie’s favourite part.Tito's Bar

All in all, it was a profitable evening (No, we didn’t leave without paying the bill) we made a bunch of new friends that we will surely meet next year and had a great meal with entertainment.

Just to cap off a great evening we came across some horsemen out for the evening.Tito's Bar

When we got home, Rosalie, remembering the polo match, said that she wanted to get involved. I told her the only Polo she would get is the mint with the hole. The stitches come out next week.

Polo

We went to a polo match yesterday. One more ‘L’ and it would have been a chicken match. Some new found friends, Bill and Connie, go there regularly and invited us along. 

We thought the match started at 2:30 so we got there about 3:00. The guy on the gate wouldn’t let us in as, he said, the match actually starts at four (ah, Mexico). It was odd that he didn’t let us in as there is a restaurant there, where we could have waited and had a beer. So instead, we decided to find a beach bar and have one there. 

Bill and Connie knew a place to go so we followed their lead. We found the place all right. It was a private restaurant and was closed but they agreed to serve us a beer. We, being the generous people we are, offered to pay for the drinks as they had done the driving. We are used to paying 20 pesos for a beer so when we got the bill we were a tad surprised to find they were 55 pesos each. Well, it was a bar in a private club, the setting was spectacular and they probably didn’t want us to come back anyway.

polo

Our view while having a beer.

The restaurant, the polo ground and the thousands of acres surrounding them are all on private property. 

We arrived back at the polo ground and this time got in without any bother. The crowds were huge! Actually, that’s not true: we were the only ones there who weren’t with a rider. There were about nine of us in the stands. We found and spoke to the organiser Susan, a lady from Yakima Washington, she informed us that it was just a practice match today and would start on time at 4:30. It didn’t! She also introduced us to one of the players, a young guy from Winnipeg. His name was Chris too.

polo

Before the match started. notice, no helmet

When it did finally get underway it was an interesting sport to watch. I tried to compare the rules to hockey but didn’t see how you could ice the ball from 300 yards. I’m sure I saw a few offsides though. Apparently, the rules are all about safety for both the horses and riders. The ponies get up to a pretty good speed in a race for the ball so the safety aspect is very important.polo

The polo ground is 300 by 160 yards. There are between four and six “chukkas” in a match. each lasting seven minutes. At the end of each chukka the riders get fresh horses and start again. Not knowing the rules, we couldn’t follow along too well but next time we go I want to read up on them first to be a bit more knowledgeable. One thing we did notice was the language on the field was a mixture of Spanish and English. See the video.

There was a good deal of body position and almost body checking as a player leans into an opponent to keep them away from the ball. They also try to lift an opponent’s stick to prevent them from getting the ball. It was very skilful riding and fun to watch. It was very similar tactics to hockey, except for the horses of course.

They do play serious matches there and players come from all over the world to play. All this entertainment and the best part was that it was free.

Bits and Bobs

Here are a few bits and bobs we picked up while here.

First of all, older folks down here sure know how to party. We went to the restaurant the other night and there was a band from the Yukon playing. They were about our age and were awesome. People were up dancing and having a really great time. We don’t need to binge drink and fall over to have fun. Check this video. 

Bits and Bobs

You can get a lot of Mexicans in a pickup truck.

Bits and Bobs

Mexicans tourists come in by the hundreds. We counted about twenty of these buses in a short stretch. They rent the rooms to the Mexicans so much per head. So they cram as many as they can into a room.

They advertised a big event in Barra with music and art from noon to midnight. We showed up but nobody else did so we had a beer and went home. The bus took about 20 minutes to get there which was outrageous as it usually comes about every 10 minutes. We almost went back for more beer to get over the shock.

Bits and Bobs

Some people own iguanas but don’t want you to take a picture unless you pay for it. I didn’t but they let me take it anyway.

We ran out of water yesterday, the opposite of the crisis we had when the tank overflowed. Apparently, the float switch was acting up again. Ruben the owner showed up and fixed it so now we can take a shower and flush the toilets. He told us that they get their water from a well beneath the house. It only goes down 6 metres and this close to the beach it’s not even salty. Not that we are going to taste it to make sure.

It’s the law in Mexico that all ice cubes have to made with purified water.

Happy hour is between 2 and 8 and beer costs 30 pesos ($1.91) for two beers. We do take advantage.

Bits and Bobs

Some people are just plain silly. Jerry, Esmeralda’s hubby.

There is a herd of chickens that terrorise the local neighbourhood. They don’t seem to be interested in bothering us, although we do get a dirty look now and again. Also, the roosters like to party and sing at all hours of the night, but we mostly sleep through it.

We had a gecko trying to scare us. He liked to hide behind the bathroom door and jump out on us in the middle of the night. He’s gone now and I kind of miss him. And of course, we named him Alex.

So, that’s all our bits and bobs for now.

Tianguis

Tianguis is the local market where Rosalie spends most of our money. It stretches several blocks along the main street between Melaque and Obregon. The stalls line the road and the whole thing is shaded by tarps stretched side to side. As it crosses several streets you have to watch for vehicles going by. Even the local chicken bus goes that way.Tianguis

You can buy almost anything there. From tee shirts and dresses to parts for the gas stove. I bought a whole bunch of the latest movies, four for a hundred pesos. They are professionally packaged and wrapped, well sort of, but there are no titles on the discs themselves. Pirated or not? I don’t know.

Rosalie goes to Tianguis every week and talks to the local vendors while I stay at home. She prefers it that way because she can take her time and spend without me telling her she’s spending too much. She likes the colourful light cotton dresses and is getting quite the collection. I bought a couple of muscle shirt last week, they are light airy and comfortable. Now, if only I had a muscle or two to display I would even look good.

Tianguis

Fresh fruit and veggies.

She also likes the Tianguis food, fresh bread, fresh vegetables, bran muffins and of course the tacos with a bottle of Estrella. She also gets fresh blueberries and raspberries which she likes to have for breakfast.

Tianguis

The Taqueria. Two tacos and a beer each. 80 pesos ($5.18) for both.

On another subject.

Our landlord Ruben came back from California today. He was disappointed that we won’t be back in his place next year. We told him that we would recommend it to anyone we know who will be looking for a place. I think he would need to drop the price a bit though.

He brought the toaster we were missing as well as several water filters that we couldn’t buy here. He also bought a new wireless doorbell that we had asked for. He’s a really nice guy and speaks English well. We would like to stay but the place we are going to is a lot less expensive and a bit more modern.

 

Senior side of things.

This is one of the cover pages on my site. I’m sure a lot of people haven’t read it so here it is as a blog; besides which, I’m running out of things to blog about.

senior side of things

Like eating Chinese food in a Mexican restaurant

Most people think that once you reach retirement age, life stops and you get senile. Especially younger folk think that, and even more especially, our kids. Well, this is the senior side of things, life begins, not at forty, but at retirement. We generally have the money we need and we certainly have the leisure time. We have a lifetime collection of friends that we can now enjoy and have fun with.

Sometimes we have health problems, and a few of us leave life too early, but mostly we have a great attitude about getting older and we get a lot of laughs from it. We can go on vacation and not stress about having to go back to work. And if we do work, it’s because we want to not because we have to.

Enjoy the senior side

OK, so our memories aren’t too good, anymore, that’s probably because of all the knowledge we’ve taken in and there’s no room for any more. We are generally smarter than our kids and know a great deal more. Just because we’re not up on modern technology and the latest movie and music “stars”, doesn’t make us dumb.

We were up on modern technology in our day, long-playing records, transistor radios, black and white TVs, remote controls joined to the TV by a cord, push-button phones, (connected to the wall of course). They wonder about us because we don’t get excited about horror shows and action adventures. We have seen so many of these type of shows in our youth that they are just ho-hum to us now. We’ve been there, seen that and done that. I wonder if they would have survived the sixties? I may be wrong about this of course. Not all younger people think that way.

Anyhow, this site is about seniors having fun. Any contributions, such as stories or anecdotes would be more than welcome.

“The dog who’s too old to learn new tricks always has been.”
Unknown wise person.

Feliz Ano

‘Feliz Ano’ is how the Mexicans great us and each other at New Years. We have been saying ‘Prospero Ano Nuevo’. Both work so we don’t feel too foolish. I knew Feliz Ano was correct when I heard the kids saying it.

Denny and Margo arrived from Canada two days ago so we reserved a table at Jack’s Place restaurante in anticipation. We were also joined by Gerry who may be our neighbour at the duplex next year.

Jack’s is owned by – of course – Jack a Canadian from Toronto who lost both arms in an industrial accident. I like him because he’s a Leafs fan and has a few jerseys displayed. It’s a popular place. We were there the other night and listened to the same band. We also danced a bit.Felize Ano

Around 11 pm we went to the beach to light our ‘Globos’. These are balloon shaped bags made from tissue paper. They stand about three feet tall and have a wire frame around the bottom. The idea is to get them to fly by lighting a block of paraffin wax attached to the wire part. The heat then fills the bag and they rise gracefully into the air. That’s the theory anyway.Felize Ano

We managed to launch three out of six. Two crashed and burned on the beach and one was torn too much to fly. We wouldn’t have gotten the three off if it hadn’t been for a Mexican guy who saw the trouble we were having and helped us out. Next year we will buy better Globos, as apparently, the ones we had were old.Felize Ano

All of us returned to our place and got some drinks. Then, we climbed up to the roof patio to await the New Year. It came in with a bang, literally! We had set our watches but needn’t have bothered. As soon a midnight came around, the intensity of the fireworks increased and it sounded like WWIII. The Mexicans love to make a lot of noise.

We stood there and enjoyed the show. As well as the fireworks there were hundreds of Globos drifting out over the ocean. All in all, it was a good show and a great way to celebrate the new year.

Arrangements were made to meet Denny and Margo at Cowpachino in a few days, then, the guests went home and we went to bed. The Mexicans didn’t, a group of them were still at it at six o’clock this morning. 

Feliz Ano.

Christmas Eve

 As a follow up to the Christmas blog we had some interesting Christmas Eve and after experiences.

We went for a walk up town on Christmas Eve and it was unusually quiet. There was hardly anyone about and the roads were empty. We didn’t even see a tuc tuc or taxi. It was just like the moment before a gunfight in the old west. Everybody seems to have disappeared indoors so as not to get involved.

We strolled up to the main highway and took a long way back as we needed the exercise. When we got home we had an hour relaxing with our books and then headed for the beach to cool off in the waves.

Talking about the beach. Rosalie loves to buy stuff from the salespeople. She doesn’t need anything, I think she feels sorry for them walking the beach in the hot sun all day Anyway, I learned a lesson. I try to get Rosalie not to buy any more stuff, which she does anyway and leaves me looking foolish. (I’m sure I heard people giggling at my humiliation) I now encourage her to buy, which she will anyway, and I get much-needed points.Christmas Eve

Later in the evening we went up to the roof and watched the fireworks. They are more like sticks of dynamite going off. We were somewhat surprised as we only heard a few parties and they weren’t that noisy. We also noticed a few lights heading out over the ocean. These are paper bags with a light of some sort under them to give them lift. We noticed them when we were here last time on New Year’s Eve. Although then there were dozens of them. We look forward to it again this year.

On Christmas morning we woke to another beautiful day. We did all our phoning and face timing which took us up to noon. We had some lunch and headed uptown to see what was going on. Nothing much it seemed. Most stores were open; everybody seemed to treat this as a regular day. Even the salespeople on the beach were at it.

Christmas

I of course never buy from beach sales people. Well, this was an exception, okay?

Later, in the evening, we went across the road to Esmeralda’s Restaurante for a delicious turkey dinner and all the trimmings, including a glass of wine. As we were leaving we ran into one of the guys who had a condo for rent we had been looking at, for next year. He still hadn’t decided how much to charge. Once again we walked uptown and then went back to the duplex for a nightcap.

On Boxing Day, everything was back to normal. The guys doing the construction next door were at it, the water and gas trucks were going by. As Rosalie walked to Tai Chi in the main square she said there were people everywhere. We had survived our first Melaque Christmas.

 

Christmas

This year Christmas is a little strange for both of us. This is the first time we’ve been away from home for The Holidays. It doesn’t bother us as we’ve seen so many, one more or less won’t make a difference. Although I’m sure we will be thinking about, and calling, family and friends on the day.Christmas

We don’t see a lot of Christmas preparations here. There are some decorations in the restaurants and stores. We see the odd Christmas tree. (Some of them are really odd.) But nothing like we see at home. That is until we went to the main square this evening. The whole place was lit up and there was Christmas music playing. (Click to view the video). We even caught the end of a wedding. (Click to view the video).It sure put me in the mood for the holiday season. We walked back home through the darkened streets we were greeted by the locals with “Buenos Noches” as we passed by.Christmas

Earlier in the evening, Rosalie had asked me why I wanted to live in Melaque. I said all the obvious reasons: temperature, how inexpensive it is and how great the people are. But the stroll through the local square really nailed it for me. We feel completely safe here. I can even let Rosalie go for her Tai Chi classes three times a week without worrying about her. You’ve probably guessed by now that I’m overly protective.

Christmas

Mexican Charlie Browns casa.

The temperature isn’t right though. We’re used to it being cold, but today we were sitting on the beach and it was 27 C. The place was crowded and all along the beach we could see dozens of umbrellas. We have noticed more Mexicans on the beach. I guess they are either coming to see relatives or, coming to the ocean for the holidays.

Speaking of the beach. I hear complaints from home of having to shovel snow. Well, let me tell you something. When we are in the surf on the beach cooling off we get covered in sand. The sand here is heavy duty and can be quite painful when you get it in your butt crack. See we’re suffering too so suck it up, you guys.

Also, we don’t hear a lot of Christmas music. When we do you can almost guarantee that ‘Feliz Navidad’ will crop up. I’m sitting here now and I can hear two lots of Mexican music, none of it Christmasy.

We are going to have our Christmas dinner at Esmeralda’s Restaurante across the street from us. They promise turkey with mashed potatoes, cranberries and veggies. Their food is good but they tend to serve too much so we will have to take home a doggie bag. Rosalie’s good with that as she likes turkey buns. Although, this year it will be turkey bolillos.

Gift giving is out for us this year. We won’t be giving each other gifts as we have it all and can’t think of a thing to give each other. Rosalie just muttered something about jewellery but I’m ignoring her. The same way she ignored me when I said I wanted a new 20 peso tee-shirt.

It’s going to be interesting to see how the local celebrations work out. Apparently, it gets noisy. We’ll find out soon enough as the landlord and his family are having a party in the garage below us. This doesn’t sound bad but there are large air vents to take the heat of the garage out and they run right by our bedroom. They were working down there the other day and the noise was very noticeable. We don’t mind, it’s only for one night…hopefully.

Christmas is Christmas no matter where we are and as I said, we will be thinking of all our family and friends and we wish you all “Feliz Navidad”!

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