Day trip

As we had the rental car a few weeks back, we had to use it to get our moneys worth. Rosalie suggested a trip to Tenacatita and then Punta Perula. Perula is about an hour and a half away so a nice day trip.

We left fairly early (for us) at about ten am. Just outside of town they are doing a major upgrade to the road so we had to struggle through some very bad road conditions while following a huge tanker truck. At one point the dust was so bad that I had to back off by about a hundred metres so that the back seat drivers could see. Parts of the road had been watered down so the car got quite muddy.

They have flag people on the road but it was still confusing. The first one we saw was a scarecrow made of sticks with a hi-vis vest and a flag. At one point on the way back we were on a single lane part of the road with traffic coming toward us. I didn’t see a flag person so I don’t know what happened. I managed to move over until all the vehicles had passed and then just carried on.

Tenacatita is a bit of a way off the main highway but has a beautiful beach. We were there a lot of years ago and it seems a lot better than when we were there last. I vetoed the trip to Perula so we settled in for a day at Tenacatita.

We found a restaurant by the beach and ordered some food and cerveza. Rosalie and I each had a fish dish which was delicious. Valerie had a hamburger and enjoyed that too. We knew the fish was really fresh as we watched the guys cleaning them on a bench in the corner.

After lunch we picked up our cerveza to go sit on the beach. Valerie and Rosalie went for a swim in the surf while I ordered another cerveza. I figured I needed a lot of booze to face the trip back through the road works.

While Rosalie was in the water she got turned upside down by a wave and lost the new very expensive sunglasses (140 pesos. About $9.50) that we had bought the day before.  She tries to play with the big kids but this time went out a little too far.

While there we got a call about Rosalie’s cell phone. They wanted the password to get in so that they could check if it worked. I wasn’t about to give it to them over the phone so said I would call in later.

We somehow returned safely to Melaque and all had a nap for an hour. Then I went to get Rosalie’s phone so that we could change the password before giving it back for the final repair.

When we got it back it worked just great. Now, two weeks later, it’s bust again. The guy thinks that Rosalie has been too hard on the thing. We will see. We want it to hold out until we get back to Canada, as we want to get her a new one from Koodo.

Kaboom!!

1st December 5 am. Boom…Boom! The festival of Guadalupe has begun.

Every morning now the explosions start at 5 am and then again at 6. We also hear a few during the day, as well as the odd parade comes by. This will continue through until 12th December We are pretty well used to it but we met some Canadians who were here for the first time and didn’t know what it was until we clued them in.

We are lucky because the parade comes past our house so I get to video it. The song they sing is always the same but I don’t know what it is.

Rosalie and I woke at 5 this morning and watched a small parade go by in the near dark. They play the same music as they walk and are always preceded by a statue of ‘Our Lady of Guadalupe.’

This guy walks behind the parade and is responsible for all the kabooms.

It’s still very humid down here but we are used to it. Valerie is finding it somewhat difficult as are a few other newbies I’ve met. We keep the floor fans going all the time so it’s not too bad.

I’m trying not to drink too much alcohol but it’s difficult when you have to take in lots of fluids. We have been drinking ‘Jamaica’ (Hamika). It’s made from hibiscus flowers and Rosalie cooks up a concentrate in her Instant pot. She does it just right, not too much sugar.We just add water and a whole bunch of ice, some lime and away we go. We can also get it in the local restaurants.

For some reason It seems to me that there are fewer Nordeños this year. I guess they heard that I’m here again. The vendors in the market seem a little more aggressive so maybe they’re having a hard time getting business. It usually picks up again in early January so we will see.

Bill and Connie dropped by the other day. They came to pick up Rosalie and went to pay for our Christmas Eve dinner. When they came back they invited us to go shopping in Manzanillo. We had a great day. We spent way too much but that’s how it goes when you try to stock up.

On the way to Manzanillo there are a number of small towns. Crossing the road in these towns are large concrete pedestrian walkways. They are rarely used as it’s a two lane road and the locals just wait for a break in the traffic and walk across. There are also large concrete bus shelters that seem a bit of an over-kill. Well that’s Mexico.

Mike got a new tattoo. I don’t like tattoos generally but I like this one. Notice the marching soldiers in the feather.

Our neighbours on the way to the festival. Mum Adriana, Camila and Ivan (pronounced ‘Eeban’)

 

Tonolá and Tlaquepaque

If you think Tlaquepaque is difficult to pronounce (sort of: Tlaky-paky) I got carpal tunnel just trying to spell it.

The following morning, up bright and early again. (This was getting ridiculous).  Having grabbed our very nice complimentary breakfast we set off for Tonalá where they have a huge market every Thursday. But as of 1st Dec they are there every day until Christmas.

They parked the bus on a side street and we went off to explore the market. We walked up and down rows and rows of stall selling all sorts of stuff, mostly TTC. (Tacky tourist crap). We vowed to stop buying the stuff but still ended up with a bag full.

Some of the things we bought were a few flash drives with music on them. Rosalie asked for romantic (of course) and I asked for party (of course). We threw in an oldies of the 80’s and 90’s. It was all Mexican so we had no idea what we had. They came on 16 GB flash drives and when I got home I found that we had 5,300 tunes as well as the three flash drives all for 360 pesos ($24.45). A good deal!

As we were waiting to return to the bus we stopped for a quick lunch at one of the stalls. While we waited, an older Mexican gentleman who spoke no English asked if he could sit with us. Of course we agreed. He sat down and I enjoyed the next 15 minutes listening to Rosalie and him have quite the conversation. I managed to pick up quite a bit of it but it made me realize just how far I have to go to catch her up. Rosalie, I’m proud of you.

When we went back to the bus we found it missing. It had had to move as there was some construction going on. It was only up the street so it wasn’t a problem.

Now, the reason we needed a big bus. It seems to be the tradition that when we Nordeños go on these trips we take advantage of the lower prices and buy everything in sight including furniture. The hold under the bus was crammed and we had to wait because one delivery to the bus was delayed because the driver went to the wrong place. Fortunately we don’t own a house down here or we would have been doing the very same thing.

Our next stop was Tlaquepaque another great shopping site. This wasn’t a market area but had some neat stores. We didn’t want to buy anything major, although I did check out a local guitar store, so we wandered and observed.

The main street is a pedestrian only area and there was a lot to see and hear.

Our trip back was uneventful and we arrived back in Melaque at about 10 pm.

This trip was bought to us by Dan Patman and his company ‘Flip Flop Nomad Tours’. Thanks Dan we recommend you to everyone.

Guadalajara

There was a bus tour going to Guadalajara, Tonala, and Tlaquepaque over two days so we signed up.

Dan, who organized the tour runs a travel agency, is a Brit. He has lived here for eighteen years and is married to a Mexican lady. He is a Mexican citizen and speaks perfect Spanish.

We had to meet the bus in the main square at 8 am. An ungodly hour but we have to make a few sacrifices if we want to have fun. I was told by Pat to get a coffee as she was bringing some Bailey’s. Me being obedient, complied but remembering my experience in Belgium was very carful pouring it into my cup. It was odd because as I started to pour we went over a bump and I really had to steady myself.

It was a about a five hour drive to Guadalajara and we got there in the early afternoon. We checked into the hotel and settled in. There was a tour of the downtown with a local guide named Ofilia. She was very knowledgable and we had a great tour.

We went to the main square and saw a state government building with some amazing murals. Then we went to see the cathedral. My biggest impression was the beggars at the door. Because when we went inside they had a coin operated machine to light up an electric candle. I think that money would be better used for the poor, but of course it will be used for the good of God.

Click to enlarge the gallery photos.

As I’m writing I’m thinking I may have to break it into several blogs as we saw and experienced so much that I can’t imagine doing it in a five hundred words. I try to keep it at five hundred as I don’t want anyone falling asleep in the middle.

We were told by Mike about an LED store just up the street from the hotel so we went to investigate. I was blown away by the prices. We could buy a four foot LED strip light for 33 pesos about $2.23. I didn’t believe the prices until we spoke to Dan and he confirmed that indeed that was the price. We will remember this for future visits.

Click to enlarge the gallery photos.

That evening we went to a restaurant recommended by Dan. It was somewhat expensive so a few of our company got up and left. We decided to tough it out. Rosalie and I shared a meal and the bill still came to seventy bucks. We had shared a bottle of wine with another lady and that alone cost $40. Expensive, but another experience we wouldn’t have had.

The bus we went in was a full-size luxury bus and there were only nineteen of us. This is important as we will see in the next blog. The driver was Jesus and he was great. He had quite a few challenges as the downtown area was under construction for the new metro line under the city.

Guadalajara is the second largest city in Mexico.

 

Construction

Rubii, our cleaning lady and her family are adding a second story to their house. They live just across the street from us so we get to see all the fun.

As I’ve said before, Mexicans are hard workers. They start early in the morning, as soon as the sun comes up. The music they play is great and we often get one fool singing along. They are also laughing and chatting all day long.

On this particular morning they were pouring the concrete for the new floor. Valerie and I just had to go and see what they were up to.

The lady in the blue shirt in front is Rubii. It looks to me as though she’s supervising. Notice the way they work the cement mixer. First some water then they throw in the rest of the ingredients. They only wait a few seconds before emptying it into the five gallon pails. It doesn’t  seem enough time to me but it obviously works.

The whole thing was finished in a couple of hours. It wore me out just watching so I went and had a beer and a lay down in the hammock to cool off.

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.