Revolution Day

We were lazing around minding our own business when we were disturbed by the sound of whistles and marching feet. Uh-oh! Here comes the Mexican army.

Peaking outside we saw a herd of school kids practising for the parade on Revolution Day. It was funny to see the teachers yelling at the kids but the kids didn’t seem in the least bit perturbed.

When the great day arrived, 20th Nov, we were lucky enough that it went right by our house. I took lots of video so am trying to find the best way to present some of them. Ooh! It looks as though I might have succeeded.

Rosalie decided that we had to follow the parade up to the main square in Melaque. We went around to the square in Villa Obregon where we were told that the parade would again pass by on it’s way to Melaque.

After waiting half an hour nothing showed up. I suggested that we walk up to the main square where several parades converge. Part way up there it was decided that I was to go back and get the rental car so that we didn’t’t have to walk home.

I trudged back home and hopped into the car and headed for Centro. I got to the end of the main road but it was blocked by a parade. The only other way I could get to town was by going the wrong way on a one way street. Then I noticed a taxi going up a small side street so I decided to follow.

It was the roughest road in town but led in the general direction that I was going. During the ride, Rosalie called me to tell me where to find them if and when I got there.

At the end of the street I had to turn right as it was another one way street. It too was blocked! Now what? Okay, I had to think like a Mexican so I turned the wrong way up the street until I found a parking space. I then had to do a three (?) point turn in a narrow cobbled street.

I finally parked and got out of the car. Sitting in a pick up truck opposite where I had parked was a Mexican who was as stuck as bad as I was. We both decided that the whole thing was loco and I left him laughing.

I finally found the ladies and we watched the end of the parade. There were all sorts of activities going on, so we found a restaurant on the street and enjoyed them in comfort.

Fortunately the car was where I had left it and the streets were a lot clearer so we got home fine.

We had to take the car back. So early the next morning Rosalie and I took it to Barra and caught the bus home. I was kept busy during the week that we had it and I lost a lot of hammock time but over all we had fun. I think I miss having a car and we plan to buy one next year when we come back.

A car and stuff

It’s been hotter than usual down here. Valerie isn’t used to the heat so we decided to rent a car for a week to do some sight seeing and exploring.

It’s cooled off a bit now as it’s been raining quite a bit. We had to get out our rain gear as it was pretty hard at times.

 We picked the car up in Barra. It was an upgrade on the one we had last year so I was happy about that as now I could actually pass other vehicles.

The day we got it we went to WalMart in Manzanillo to stock up on stuff we can’t usually get in Melaque. It was a nice drive down, uneventful and we had a good day. That afternoon we went to the beach and the ladies had a swim.

Boca de Iguana and La Manzanilla were next on the list. Boca is a beautiful beach town with a hotel where I sat with a beer while the ladies went for a walk.

The beach at Boca De Iguana

Next we went to Isle Navidad. There is a hotel in a huge private estate that we drove through and ended up in the little town of Colomilla. The speed bumps were the worst I have ever seen. They consisted of about three inch square concrete laid side by side and about five deep. I think I may have to go back to the dentist to get some fillings replaced. The car is a five speed standard so I was constantly changing gears.

I’m finally over the fact that you have to be in the extreme right lane to turn left. I don’t know where we will go next but it’s sure to be an adventure. If we don’t go anywhere it’s still a better way to get around town.

There is a bit of a money crises here… again. The BanaMex  is changing out their ATM’s so they aren’t available until 12th Dec. We can get money from our bank but it’s ATM is closed today. It’s tough for tourists as they may have to go as far a Chiuatlan to get money.

Rosalie has been on at me for the last couple of days to have my hair cut. Several years ago, when she first started doing it, I had to give her a few glasses of wine to get here courage up. She hasn’t done too badly over the years, but today she must have been at the tequila as she darn near balded me. She still insisted that I pay her though…Yea right!

I look mad but I thought it was funny, besides, I don’t have to look at it.

So, Rosalie finally got her phone back. A few days later she tried to make a call and found that nobody could hear her. The microphone wasn’t working. We took it back to the repair place and he suggested that it was wrecked when the first guy had it. I had to agree as the previous guy was using a pretty big soldering iron for such a small job. Anyway we will get it back soon. In the mean time Rosalie frets. Probably the reason she was drinking tequila before doing my hair.

Rosalie waiting for her phone.

Party time (again)

We were at Froy’s restaurant in Barra, watching Dave Spinks play a few nights ago. Great as always. He mentioned that he had a birthday coming up and invited us along.

We went to Mike and Pat’s first as we didn’t know where Dave and Roz live. I suppose we could have just waited for the music to start and follow the beat of the bass.

They have just finished their home and it’s beautiful. It was a much smaller place when they bought it so they moved things around and made it more to their taste. There is a large out side area with a swimming pool where the party took place.

Dave of course played and sang and a couple of his friends from the music community joined him for a few songs. We knew a few of the people there including one of the musicians, Sanchez (from Ontario.)

I was drinking wine for most of the evening but when Dave brought out the Tequila he forced me to have some. The rest of the evening got a bit blurry after that but Rosalie saw that I got home safely. A great time was had by all.

Me after the party

Phone trouble.

As I mentioned in the previous blog, Rosalie’s phone has been playing up and won’t charge without a lot of technical jiggling. We took it to a repair store but was told to come back the next day when the charge dropped a bit. (???.)

We went back the following morning and the young lady took the phone. She started to fool with it and we told her we would be back in an hour. She said that no it would only take a few minutes. Eventually, the owner of the business showed up.

An hour went by and I was just about to ask how much longer by way of Google translate when the owner Alejandro called us to the counter and said he could fix it but to come back in two days. We decided to teach them a lesson and come back in three days and see how they like that.

From there we went to the immigration office and picked up our Residente Temporal cards. Then had our lunch on the beach,  then headed back for busy afternoon in the hammock.

I went back for Rosalie’s phone and was told to come back in the afternoon. We couldn’t do that as Val was arriving and Gerry took us to pick her up from the airport. I arranged to get it tomorrow. This is my third visit. I’m curious to see how many it will take before we get the phone back.

Well the phone was finally returned but he couldn’t repair it. I think he messed it up somehow, but that’s my opinion.

We were recommended to another place just up the road from us. So I took it there. I told him the problem and he asked why the other guy coundn’t fix it. I told him I didn’t know. He said he could fix it but it needed a new board. Okay! We hear that in Canada and know it’s a throw away too expensive to fix.

I went back the next day but only his partner was there. He as on the phone speaking to someone in English and giving them heck. I finally asked for the phone and he had to call his partner to see if it was fixed. Wow! it was. And it only cost three hundred pesos. less than twenty dollars Canadian.

I brought it home and handed it to Rosalie who had tears her eyes at such an emotional moment. We tried it out and it worked great. Guess where we will go next time for repairs.


Residente Temporal

As we go to Mexico so often we decided to try for a permanenté visa. This would allow us to stay as long as we want instead of just 180 days as a tourist. We would also get further benefits which are not altogether clear just yet.

We had to go to the Mexican consulate in Vancouver for the first part of the process. We wanted to get full Permanenté but could only qualify for Temporary at this time which means that we have to re-apply each year for a total of four years before it turns into Permanenté. Our applications were accepted and we got an Mexican visa stamp in our passports.

When we arrived in Mexico we had thirty days to complete the process. We looked the forms up on-line and at first it looked somewhat daunting. Of course, everything is in Spanish. We could have gotten some help but found out that it is very expensive.

I wasn’t feeling good with my cold so Rosalie went to the local immigration office to make enquiries. She came back armed and ready to go. It took a bit of time to fill out her form but she succeeded and then she did mine.

One of the problems was finding where I was born. Neither England, UK or Great Britain was on the drop down menu. But Rosalie persisted and I was eventually born in “Reino Unido De Gran Bretania e Irlanda del Norte.” I was quite impressed.

We took the form to the immigration office and crossed our fingers.

The young lady we saw spoke passable English and was very helpful. I was concerned about the second set of forms that we had to fill out as they also looked really daunting. We needn’t have worried as the young lady did it all for us.

After much signing and initialing she gave us yet another form to take to the bank to pay our fees. We couldn’t use our bank for some reason so had to go to the BanaMex.

We walked inside and stood there looking stupid (easy for me, I know.) A Mexican lady helped us out and we took a number and waited. We still haven’t figured out the numbering system. Once again the lady came to our assistance and called us to the counter when our turn came.

The young cashier took our forms but when it came to paying wouldn’t accept our local bank’s debit cards. So, Rosalie sat while I went out to the ATM.

After we paid we had to go get copies of the receipt at a photocopy place, then return to immigration and we were done for the day. Now we had to wait for a couple of weeks before we would hand in a new set of special size photos that we got done at a local store. We also had to get our finger prints taken.

Our notification arrived way earlier than expected so off we went to finalize everything. We handed in our photos and and all the paperwork was stamped. Then they took the same stamp pad and took our fingerprints. We were told to come back in a week for our temporal cards.

It was several hours later and we still had ink on our fingers.

We had been to the bank the day before to update our account and they took our prints electronically. Although I did have a few issues with the scars from my surgery.

When we returned on the appointed day, to pick up our temporal cards, they were not ready so had to wait another four or five days. Ah, that’s Mexico.

By Tuesday of the following week, we went back to the immigration office and our cards were finally ready. Time to celebrate. Off to Papa Gallo’s on the beach and have some nachos and a few “pops”.

Us, the proud parents of our new Residente Temporal cards. Notice Rosalie is doing the two for one thing again. She behaved this time though.

As Faye and Mike said, we now have an immediate compulsion to turn the radio up real loud and rush out and sweep the street in front of the house.

4th Nov 19

We decided to get off our rear ends and go out yesterday.

Rosalie has had some problems with her phone not charging correctly so we wanted to go to the repair shop. It being Sunday it was closed.

We wandered around town for a while and picked up a new SD card for my camera as the old one was acting up. It failed to record a horse parade that came by the house which was very annoying as they had a great band with them. It seems to be a day for things to break.

One of our favourite restaurants on the beach was open with two for one margaritas so Rosalie dragged me, protesting, in to get some. It was nice on the beach with a gentle breeze to cool us. The temperature was about 30c.

I’m not a great fan of margaritas so settled for a ‘ron y coca’ instead. unfortunately not two for one. I had more than one anyway, three if I recall. Rosalie got hers as well as a refill to make it a two for one.

While we were in there we got talking to the waiter who recognized us from previous years and had helped us with our Spanish before. He told us how appreciative Mexicans were about us trying to learn their language. Unfortunately a few Quebecers insist on only speaking French. Which is confusing for the Mexican who took the time to learn English and is now expected to learn French as well. As we all know, most Quebecers speak English anyway.

Fortunately these are only isolated incidents.

The conversation was half Spanish and half English. Rosalie is way ahead of me in the language but we have been coming here for fifteen years so I have picked up quite a lot. I mostly listen to try to get my ears trained.

I explained to the young man that at first I was a little afraid to speak Spanish as I didn’t think people would understand me. Once I got over this problem I realized that I was understood but was afraid that I might not understand the answer. He thought this was funny.

While this conversation was going on, Rosalie realized that she had run out of Margaritas so ordered another one. (Two.) Off raced our waiter so that Rosalie could get truly shnokered.

The conversation continued about the cartels. He reinforced what I have always said, that they shoot each other but not civilians, although some innocents do get caught in the cross fire. Many Mexicans are killed each year but you don’t hear of them going into churches, movie houses or schools and indiscriminately killing people.

We love talking to Mexicans as they are so friendly and helpful. If you ask the right questions you learn a lot about them and the local culture.

It was a great day. As we staggered back home Rosalie knocked over a mannequin standing on the sidewalk. This got a round of laughter from the ladies guarding the shop especially after Rosalie explained that she had had four drinks. I, of course, exaggerate a bit. She did knock it over but the sidewalks are somewhat crowded with such things. Anyway she wasn’t staggering that much.

We got home safely and both had a nice afternoon nap before heading out to the ‘Red Lobster’ for ribs.

All round a great unplanned day. So goes our life here, mostly unplanned.

Update October 30

Nothing much happening here at the moment. We have done all the work for our visa temporal. More on that in a later post.

I seem to have stirred up a hornet’s nest with my blog about getting the boot. A lot of folks thought it was happening right away. Not so, we won’t be moving until we come down next year.

I’m slowly getting over my nasty cold. I had to go to the doctor as my mouth and tongue were very sore. As I told Peter, I had to wait while the Doctor was tending a horse with colic. He gave me some huge pills, told me to make sure I had clean straw and to eat lots of oats. It seems to have worked as I feel a lot better now.

It’s nice being back. As we walk around town a lot of the locals recognize us and stay “Hola.” I think they are friendlier at this time of year because they know we aren’t tourists.

Our language skills have gotten a bit rusty but we are picking up what we have forgotten and will soon be on track again. Rosalie is way better with Spanish than she lets on.

The temperature has been in the high twenties and the humidity hasn’t been too bad. So we are quite comfortable. We slept with the fan on high once but had to turn it down in the middle of the night.

We moved our bedroom to the front of the house so that I don’t have to listen to the f..king rooster anymore. The noise will start to get worse though as the festivals start soon. We have already heard a lot of fireworks going off.

We are enjoying our huge 30″ TV. I hook it to the computer and we watch Netflix. They put a new modem in for us and the WiFi has been pretty good. The one they gave Gerry and Elaine next door wasn’t as good so they hook up to ours.

Our WiFi just stopped working and we have been informed, contrary to what we were originally told, that we now have to pay our own WiFi. Yet another reason for moving. We have reversed the situation and are now hooked up to Gerry and Elaine’s. We will have to pay in the end though.

Most evening we just sit outside until it gets dark; me in the hammock and Rosalie in her recliner. Actually, we seem to spend a lot of our day there. Naps are optional. The biggest challenge is finding a good book to read. We go through a few as it’s our main past-time.

The mosquitos haven’t been bad so that’s a good thing. We don’t want Rosalie getting Dengue again. In fact, they sprayed the other day. No sign of any scorpions but I had to chase a few baby crabs out of the living room. There were also a few ants on the counters but we put down some Ant-Begone and that seemed to take care of the problem.


We got the boot

Just arrived and our property manager informs us that they are about to sell the place and our future looks uncertain.

I have had a fear of this since we first moved in last year. There was a for sale sign up all last year and through the summer. People tell us it’s been for sale for years. The sign was taken down this spring.

The thing is, I don’t trust the property manager. She seems to come up with too many different scenarios. She has given Gerry and Elaine next door a run around when they are trying to rent year-round Also her body language tells me to beware.

So we have been out looking. I put an ad on facebook and received several replies. The first one we looked at was very small but had a Jacuzzi tub outside. They wanted  $13,000  pesos ($892) which was way too high for what they were offering. Next, we looked at a brand new place just off the square. It was nice but again, a bit pricey at $15,000 pesos ($1030). Also, with it being so close to the square,  we were sure it would be noisy.

On to the next one. We were told that the rent would be $8,500 pesos (about $580) so we weren’t expecting too much. It was a surprise to find that it was really nice. It is only one bedroom but otherwise is comparable to where we are now, but much cosier. Also, we would save $2,500 pesos ($170) per month.

The thing with this one is that we would pay rent for six months but have access year-round. This would mean that we could leave all our stuff there and not have to pay storage, another saving of $2,500 pesos. And also, it’s close to a lot of our friends.

We had one more to look at. Wow! What a nice place.

Doctor Eduardo Woo is one of the dentists here and he has a small “ranch” for rent for $9,000 pesos ($618). We called for an appointment and his wife Raquel picked us up and drove us out there.

The property is about 1/2 an acre and surrounded by an eight-foot wall. Well, that takes care of any privacy issues. The place is mostly lawn surrounded by many different fruit trees. There is a large swimming pool that we would share with another tenant in the same compound. Although there are two residences they are far apart and very private. Also, the other tenant is only here for four months.

The far wall is the end of the property with the neighbour’s private entrance. You can just see the other house on the right. The mound in front of the house is the swimming pool. 

The house itself is nice but not quite as nice as one of the other ones that we saw but there is a huge outdoor area where we would live most of the time.

All the gardening, pool and maintenance are included in the rent as is the gas and electricity. The only thing we have to provide is propane for the BBQ.

All this is for $2,000 pesos less than we are paying now. Oh! And we can also leave our stuff there year-round

The problem is that we have to make a decision soon, as these places go quickly. We discussed it all evening and then slept on it. We decided to take it and are all set for ranch life for next year. It’s a bit out of town but we may be able to buy a cheap car to get about in.