Social Media

I don’t use Facebook. I don’t have enough time to find out how someone changes their baby’s diapers and how healthy the poop looks. I do have a Facebook page but haven’t looked at it for months. The only reason I have it because the blog ends up posted there.

I think it’s funny about all the angst and drama the site causes. I know of people who have blocked someone only to get a family member to be a friend so that they can still watch what the other guy is doing. They think they’re being clever but in reality, I think it’s quite sad.

I do have sites I look at. I love The Chive, It has a lot of T & A but also has a lot of good entertainment, mostly photos and gifs. Not that I have anything against T & A.  but after a while it gets boring. You see one you’ve seen them both, so who cares. I  also read the news and check on the Maple Leafs., but not all day, an hour or more in the morning and that’s it.

 

Me checking out T&A on  The Chive.

Rosalie’s look of disapproval.

It seems to me to be a place of distant revenge. “You called my hubby a doorknob so I’m going to shame you on Facebook.” Then the person goes on and makes a complete idiot of themselves, and the war is on. “He said”, “she said” unfriend, dislike, block. All because her hubby is a doorknob. He is, I’m sure I know him. Oops! there we go, now I’ll become a target.

 

The time spent looking at this stuff is astounding. If we could just gather up all that energy expended scrolling we would solve the world energy problems. It’s not just a case of spending a few hours when you get home from work in the evening. You take it with you everywhere in the form of your cell phone. Production must have dropped when the cell phone was introduced.

Fake news is also a huge problem. Some people will believe anything just because it’s on Facebook. Unless of course, it doesn’t agree with their own beliefs. Then: It’s all lies, no matter how true it is. We’ve seen this time and again over the last four years or so.

I like The Chive because all you have to do is look at it. No need to make a comment although it has annoyed me at times and I have a wee rant by myself, unless Rosalie’s in range and then she gets it. Most of the pictures I put on the blog are from The Chive. Anyway, I don’t have any more time for this rant I have to get back and see if I can find that lady with big hooters again.

 

Visitors

Cathy and Al came in by bus from PV on Thursday. We walked to the bus depot to meet them and quickly whisked them across the road to Papa Gallo’s for two-for-one margaritas and a plate of nachos before heading home. That will teach them to drop in expectedly.

That afternoon and evening went by quite fast and a few wines and coffee tequilas were consumed along with some jalapeño poppers that I had made as an appy.  Rosalie provided a delicious dinner as usual. We somehow made plans to go to Barra the next day and toddled off to bed.

The next morning we set out bright and early (9:30) and caught the bus. Rosalie had a follow-up appointment with the doctor in Barra so Al, Kathy and I went for a coffee. Rosalie texted after about 10 minutes saying there was a line-up and she wasn’t going to wait. She met up with us and we walked on up to the Malecon.

Then, we decided to catch a water taxi to the little town of Colimilla across the lagoon. The taxi was free provided we ate at the restaurant. Al and Cathy wanted to go for a walk first so we headed into town. The streets there are quite steep so Rosalie and I left them to continue, while we waited for them back at the restaurant.

When they got back they told us that we were actually located in the state of Colima, not the state of Jalisco. This came as a shock because we knew that the border is about 20 km south of us. Out came the phones with Google maps and we looked it up. Sure enough, the thin strip of land we were on was in Colima. However, the tip of the peninsular where the Grand Bay Resort is located is still in Barra and therefore in Jalisco state. No wonder I’m going nuts.

I had my usual Ensalada con Cameron and it’s the best I’ve had yet. It was slightly pricey but so large that I couldn’t finish it all.

We caught the water taxi back and enjoyed a restful afternoon. That evening we went out to ‘Restaurante Albatross’ for dinner and entertainment. Afterwards, we walked up to ‘La Oficina’ to watch Dave Spinks play. Unfortunately, the girls didn’t need a drink so we didn’t stay and went home instead.

Now it’s party day. My first task was to zip up to town on my trusty bike to see if Carlos was there that day, he was. Kathy needed to buy a new purse. Rosalie was pretty tired after the last few days so she stayed at home while I walked into town with our guests as I couldn’t fit all of us on my bike. I guess I’m not as much a Mexican as I thought I was.

There wasn’t one there that Cathy liked so we went to get some groceries. I found a couple of tetra packs of Chardonnay wine so I grabbed them as they were the last two. They were 86 pesos each ($6). Thinking I had got a bargain as this was a name brand wine, I rushed home to tell Rosalie who was equally thrilled. We did a taste test and decided it was no better than the 50 peso variety. Such is Mexico.

The evening went well. We had about 20 guests but only 8 chairs and nowhere near enough plates etc. But we have excellent neighbours in Gerry and Elaine so we raided their patio and kitchen. From them, we borrowed a long table, 6 chairs, plates and cutlery.

The party went really well. I had the idea to call a travelling troubadour named Gerry (a different one) to sing for us. Rosalie had to call him though as my Spanish isn’t quite there yet. She had a really hard time getting him to understand but he eventually got it and even showed up reasonably on time.

The following video is not the best but we don’t have a lot of outside lighting.

Al and Cathy left this morning after a very nice visit.

 

More hot/cold cultures.

Mexican names are interesting. They all seem to have a multitude of names, but for a good reason. Their first name is their Christian name. This is often the saints day that they are born on. Then they may have a middle name but always have two last names.

The first of the last names is from the father’s side of the family and the second name is from the mother’s side. Women do not give up their names when married. Northerners have a problem when a Mexican gives his or her surname as ‘Bello Ruiz’ they only want one name, not two

The question has been raised as to why Mexicans have such indifference to dogs. It’s because they don’t consider them a person as we do. They are just an animal and have no feelings. They are tied up most of the day and as they get older and become less of an amusement they are put on the roof as a guard dog. They get fed last in a family and only if there is enough food to spare. We may not understand this, the same as Mexicans can’t understand why we pamper our dogs so much and consider them a member of the family. There’s a cultural difference.

When there are no tourists in town the people are openly friendly. They say “hola” without being prompted and generally, they know us. However, when the tourists arrive they tend to tighten up a bit. They are rarely unfriendly so if you say “hola” to them you usually get a smile. They also have a great sense of humour.

You can understand why they get a bit up-tight with tourists when they hear things like: “There are too many Mexicans on the beach” or “Why don’t they learn to speak English or French.” “Why are they so noisy” They are wonderful people and unfortunately some of the tourists are not very nice and act badly, forgetting that this the Mexican’s country, not their’s.  We are all, just guests.

There are 8 paid statutory holidays here. Plus 12 un-paid holidays. There are also 20 festivals that start 5 or so days prior to the actual day. The festival of Guadalupe, the patron saint of Mexico starts 12 days prior to the day.  During the festivals, are when we hear the most fireworks. The priest sets one off at 6 am to call people to church.

Linda, the lady who runs the seminar asked the local priest if there had to be fireworks. He just said “Yes.” When asked if they couldn’t just ring the church bell instead; he just said “No”

In addition to this, each town has its own Saints day. Melaque (St Patricio) has its day on 17th March, St Patrick’s day. Duh!! I have no idea what the day is for us in Villa Obregon or what day next year in Pinal Villa.

Rosalie and I after one of our parties.

We and all our friends here feel perfectly safe. Yes, there are a lot of murders. Fortunately not near us. They are usually between rival cartels, the police or the army. As I’ve said before you don’t hear of Mexicans going into schools, or cinemas, or festivals and just indiscriminately shooting people. They just don’t do that.

We plan of staying here for many years. It’s a great place to spend the twilight years. And that’s what my blog is all about.

Hot/cold cultures

We went to a seminar the other night about the difference between hot and cold cultures. It was very entertaining and very interesting!

If you would like to see the whole seminar just click this link. You can see the backs of Rosalie and me (yellow t-shirt) on th right.

Our cold culture attitudes are all about ‘me’, whereas hot cultures are all about family. We notice this a lot. If a Mexican has to choose between being late for an appointment or picking up the kids, the kids will always come first.

In the north it’s all rush and go, go, go. Money is everything. Time is money.  We are always complaining about something. Mexicans are happy if they make enough to last them the day. If not they are still happy. Not all Mexicans of course. There are a number of real entrepreneurs here.

We often thought that Mexicans lied to us but we now know that that it’s not exactly true. They just don’t want to disappoint us. For instance when we asked if WiFi was provided with our rent we were told “yes, of course.” If we had asked when it would be provided we may have gotten a different answer.

Their families are huge. When a baby is born it has god parents. When it is baptized it has more god parents; or sometimes the same ones. When girls reach 15 she has a quinceañera. This is considered the point that they reach womanhood. We have noticed  this is also the time that a lot of them get pregnant.

A huge party is thrown equivalent to a wedding and is very expensive. To cover the cost they add on more god parents. For the dress, for the shoes, for the beer etc. All these god parents contribute and become part of the family. So now we know why there are some many people at the local parties.

Another thing we noticed is that most Mexicans are less material than we are. Some northern people will go and spend $300 on a carving knife. A Mexican will get one from the market that is just as sharp (we have a couple) and does the exact same job for 80 pesos. We’ve seen the local shopkeepers use them and trust me they are sharp.

Many things that Northeners covert are available here, they have no fancy name attached but work just as well. There is less of ‘Keeping up with the Jonses’. They are just grateful for what they have.

We noticed in the restaurant the other day that one of the tables was new and hadn’t been covered with a table cloth yet. It seemed to be made out of rough sawn palm planks. I made the comment that it does the exact same job as a $2,000 dinning room table in Canada. In fact this one was ‘hand made in Mexico’ so would probably fetch a good price from some idiot back home.

To be continued.

Just another day

It’s Wednesday so the local market is open. We scooted up and got some of our favourite sausages from Leon (he’s Dutch). We decided to check out the rest of the market to see if there was anyone we knew.

As usual we bumped in to all sorts of people. Barb and Dave, Mike and Faye, Diane and Ron and of course Carlos. Carlos sells top quality leather belts, wallets and purses. He speaks a little English and once dropped by our casa for a glass of water. We see him often and consider him a friend. He has a tragic past which I don’t want to get into here.

We took our stuff back to the casa, half a block away, and put it into the freezer and then went up to town for the essentials. We got ten litres of wine, a bottle of Agavero tequila liquor, a case of beer and two cartons of milk. I thought this would last us for a least a few days.

It may seem by my blogs that we drink a lot. Well we do, but we also have people dropping in all the time and we are more that happy to supply them with booze and send them staggering on their way.

When we ordered our stuff I tried to tell the Mexican lady who sees us a lot that we wanted it delivered. Although my Spanish is improving I still refer to Google translate a lot. She had no idea what I was saying so I used the magic English word ‘delivery’ she got that.

They said they would be there in two hours so we knew we had at least four hours to enjoy lunch. We went to ‘Papa Gallo’s’ and quizzed Rafael our waiter, on the proper usage of ‘deliver’. He confused me so much that I deferred to Rosalie and she got me straightened out. Rafael is a really good guy and helps us with our Spanish a lot.

It was two-for-one day for margaritas so, as we do, we ordered a couple and a   plate of nachos. By the time we finished our drinks we found that we could speak Spanish fluently.

We went home and rested in the hammock and all Rosalie could come up with was “Quiero soplar una frambuesa en tu vientre” (I want to blow raspberries on your belly”.) She was hooped! The problem we have now is that we have to go out to a show tonight starring our favourite singer Dave Spinks.

To follow up on dog whistle saga I blew a really loud burst the other day. A guy across the street with a hearing aid jumped three feet in the air and Rosalie leapt up and got me a cold beer. I think I may keep this thing. The dogs however kept barking.

By the way, it was three hours ago and our order still hasn’t arrived. Such is Mexico. The one thing we do know is that it may be late but it will arrive if not today then tomorrow. If it doesn’t arrive by then,  I’ll send Rosalie out to start blowing raspberries.

Our order turned up at 7 pm. We were out so they left it with Gerry next door. The problem was that they couldn’t pick up the empties. So we will just give it to them next time we order.

The evening listening to Dave was great…as usual.

 

 

Shopping and tacos

We need to re-supply so we decided to go to a ‘mini super’ in town. It’s a fairly large store with lots of choices.

Our greatest need was more wine. We had heard that they had the best prices in town so that’s why we chose there. We also needed non-essentials like milk and food. We knew that they delivered but we had never used their delivery before. We told the young lady that we wanted it delivered and she called over a guy to help us.

For a while, he just stood there with our groceries and we had no idea what he wanted us to do. Then, he asked for us to write out our address. So we did and gave it to him. He finally picked up our stuff and went outside.

We are used to things being delivered by a truck later in the day but he loaded it into a three-wheeled bike and waited for instructions. We knew we couldn’t make it home before him as we were walking and it would take us at least 15 minutes. We told him to be there in half an hour and we started walking.

At one point I looked behind us and the guy was following along. We hastened our step and he kept pace all the way home. Next time we take a taxi.

Last night we watched a show on Netflix called ‘Taco Chronicles’. It got our mouths-watering.  It’s a documentary about various taquerias around Mexico and featured ‘La Taqueria al Pastor.’ This is the huge spindle of meat that is heated as it turns and carved to make the taco.

We knew there was one in Melaque so we wanted to try it out. We walked around for a while but decided it might only open when the Mexican tourists are in town. Being a bit disappointed we decided to find somewhere else.

We came across a stand in an alleyway. There are a lot of stands along there so we stopped and ordered. It was run by a single person, Lety. She took our order and made everything from scratch. She also got us a large jug of Jamaica so we were set.

She laid out all the side dishes: cilantro, relish, pico de gallo, chopped onions and of course hot sauces. It’s a bit strange because I have never really liked hot sauces before but I’m starting to enjoy them. Perhaps I’m part Mexican, I know our dad got around a bit, so you never know. Or maybe our Mum…No I don’t think so.

We had ordered two tacos each and it was really enjoyable but we had so much we had trouble finishing them. When the bill came it was for 100 pesos ($6.80) for both of us.

I think we’ll be going back.

Español

When we first came to Melaque 15 years ago, we knew very little Spanish. The first day that the guys went out for breakfast I looked at the menu in consternation. Then I noticed a couple of words that made sense ‘Omelet de champiñones’ I was saved. My cornflake box French saved me.

Rosalie was determined to learn the language and took some courses. I went with her for a few but Classroom learning doesn’t work for me so I gave it up.

Several years later I was frustrated with Mexicans trying to talk to me, so, with the help of Google translate  I made up a little Spanish phrase: “Mi Espaniol es pequito. Mi esposa habla mas” This is not correct but I was understood. (“I speak a little Spanish but my wife speaks more.”) When I first used it the guy said “si’ and went to talk to Rosalie.

Up to this point, I thought that I was too old to learn a new language but this tiny exchange encouraged me and I picked up more as we went along.

This year I decided to try harder to learn, so, now, every day, I dig into it for a least a couple of hours and am picking up more and more. I know hundreds of words by using flash-cards but putting them together to make a sentence is really challenging.

Rosalie rested from the learning process for a while but lately has really gotten back into it. I’m happy about this as she is a great mentor. I give her a challenge though as my pronunciation isn’t that good yet. 

We also use the internet to learn more. In one lesson I had to learn about eight new words relating to location: under, over, behind etc. I put them on flashcards and eventually managed to remember them but it took about a week of daily review. Rosalie did the same lesson and remembered them right off. I’m happy that I have her for a tutor.

She also has a bit of an advantage as she has a French background. As in French a lot of sentences are back to front like Spanish.  As a minor example “I am hungry” in Spanish is “Tengo hambre” which literally means “I have hunger.”

As I walk around town or listen to Spanish conversation it’s like a cloud of words, some I understand and some I don’t. I’m finding that I’m slowly picking out more and more that I do know. This, I think is progress.

My English grammar was unused for a long time so I have had to learn all over again. Now a lot of it applies to Spanish. We were both struggling with Spanish conjugations but have come up with a formula that we found on the internet and it’s helping a lot. It’s amazing that one verb can have as many as 70 different conjugations.

Rosalie said that if I conjugate too much I’ll go blind. I wonder what she means?

Me after conjugating in front of the computer for a few hours.

Now we have to get into subjunctives. I think it might drive me mad. However, there are patterns there also so I think eventually we will get it.

I have found though that the more I learn, the more I want to learn and the more there is still left to learn. I’m not afraid to ask for help or to try a new sentence out on anyone especialy Rosalie. Sometimes I get a blank look but mostly I’m understood. I’ve learned a lot in the past two months and want to learn more in the next three remaining months of this season.

Hasta Luego.