More ‘orses

When Christian came by with his horse a while back, Rosalie fell in love with the idea of doing the Sunset Tour with him and a bunch of other people. So she booked the tour and went with her sister Suzanne and hubby Vic as well as our friend Linda.

Christian, his sidekick and partner Gerry and the horses arrived surprisingly on time for Mexico. Then again it would have been embarrassing to miss the sunset. To me, the horses seemed to be very docile and easy to get on with. I ducked out of this one as I’m not sure how my hip would take it. Besides, I had a sinus infection so wasn’t feeling my best.

I watched as they saddled up one by one with Gerry and Christian helping them to get on their horses. Suzanne was a little nervous but Gerry became her protector and gave her lots of reassurance.

They left the house and turned left to head for the beach. As they went along the beach there were tables and chairs in the way so Rosalie steered more toward the surf. Christian immediately redirected her away from the water as apparently, the horses are afraid of the sound of crashing waves. (Woosies!) The tour eventually took them right along the beach toward the other end of town. They wended their way through town and across the canal, hen took the old road to Cuastecomantes.

At the top of the mountain, they stopped to see the sunset and to admire the view of Melaque. Many photos were taken and some beer and water consumed.

As it got darker, they retraced their steps via the beach rather than through town and headed back to our place for some linament and a cold beer.

 

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Pierogi a la Mi

We went to Jim and Ylda’s home for a fabulous meal of cabbage rolls and pierogis. They were so good that even though I don’t eat a lot I went back for thirds. I have always wanted to try making pierogis so I went home inspired.

The following day I mixed my first batch with a potato and blue cheese filling. There were a few problems though. There wasn’t a roller around so I used an empty wine bottle (the fun part was emptying the bottle; of course.) Also, I needed a larger rolling surface. Between Rosalie and myself we did get it done and it was delicious. Now I was in a fever to make a new batch with a different filling.

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The next day we went in search of a roller and a larger cutting board. Both were found at our all-purpose Plastico store.

Back at the duplex, I whipped up another batch of dough and realized I had made an error. I was supposed to use hot water for the mix but I had used cold. Plodding on, I found that everything was getting really sticky. This time I finished the job with a meat and potato filling. It too was good.

The third batch was made using up all the leftover filling from the previous batches and again had trouble rolling the dough. Everything stuck to everything else. Not good!

While looking for more recipes I noticed that some of them said to roll the dough into little balls and roll them individually. This gave me an idea, so we went up to town and bought an inexpensive tortilla press.20190208_113421

We couldn’t try it out that day as we had to go to a meeting about the local Emergency Awareness program. It was a little depressing. They have some ambulances here but they are poorly equipped. The 911 system works but they speak little English and in one incident didn’t answer the phone.

The guy giving the presentation knows of these problems and is taking steps to correct them. He made an appeal for any used medical supplies that we could bring from Canada. Last year the Canadians and Americans brought supplies and someone brought a defibrillator. It doesn’t matter if the instruments are broken as the Mexicans are great at fixing and improvising.

The following day we tried out the tortilla press and it worked better than I expected. We did some with bacon/mushroom/green onion and potato and some with an apple and cinnamon filling. So now we have a freezer full of pierogis just waiting for someone to come along and try them out. That is if I don’t eat them all first.

Journey to Jaluco

Sounds epic, And in some ways it was.

Diane invited us for a bike ride in the backcountry. This is also a safer bike ride to Barra de Navidad. Going along the highway can be a bit hairy.

Dianne and Ron along with Tony and Nancy met us at eight thirty at our place. Rosalie had ridden ahead to let Margo and Denny know that we were on the way. We all met up at Materiales de Pollo and away we went.

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A rare picture of me.

We rode up to Hwy 200 and waited for the green light so we could cross the road. It may seem un-Mexican to wait for a green light but it’s a good idea because for traffic to make a left-hand turn you have to be in the right-hand lane. We didn’t want to get run down while in a state of confusion.

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Ron, Dianne, Nancy, Tony, Short Stuff, Margo and Denny. And if you look closely enough you can see me taking the picture.

After a short time, we were in the backcountry. The road out of town was “paved’ for the first quarter of a km but after that it was dirt. ‘Paved’ being rocks stuck together with concrete. It was probably great for cars but a bit bumpy for us.

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I think they’re growing peppers under the other trees.

The country out in that part is very agricultural. There were plantations along most of the road and of course the odd goat or cow. Quite a beautiful ride.

We got to Jaluco and the decision was made to add to our agony journey by taking another long way around. At about the halfway point we decided to stop for brunch at a restaurant back in Jaluco.

‘Letty’ is a restaurant on a very sharp corner. We piled our bike up outside and the eight of us went in. The staff and manager didn’t speak English so Rosalie and I, using our best Spanish, ordered a ‘cafe con leche’. We were served hot water in one cup and hot milk in another. It was then we noticed the jar of instant coffee on the table.

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Margo and Denny’s order. They didn’t expect it to be so Grande

 

This being Mexico we decided to make the best of it. Rosalie put some coffee in her cup and used some of the milk from my cup and she was all set. I added coffee to mine and I was all set. I didn’t have a problem with this method as we often made instant coffee with hot milk while living in England.

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This lava bowl arrived with the salsa. It weighed a ton.

The food as always was great. We both had a mushroom omelet with refried beans and salad. And, as always, it was inexpensive. Prior to getting our order Rosalie was given a tour of the kitchen. Neither of us knows why.

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What a great bunch!

Feeling nicely full we took a leisurely ride back to town. All in all, it was a great ride. Having said that, before we go again I have to get a much more comfortable seat for my bike. I’ll be limping for a week. We just got back and my knee started to complain so the journey was just the right length,

We travelled about 14 Km and were gone for three hours. I know this because I downloaded a nifty GPS app. I say we travelled about 14 Km because I forgot to turn it on until halfway through the trip. Maybe I’ll remember next time; probably not!

Lazy days

In the last few days, we have been polishing our Spanish and finding better ways of saying things. We often use “quiero” (I want) but we’ve learned this could come across as a bit blunt so we are finding friendlier ways of saying things “Puedo tener” (can I have.) I find it annoying as I only just learnt the old way.

Tired of overtaxing my tiny mind trying to learn more Spanish, I retired to the hamaca for a rest. Rosalie did her usual job of feeding me grapes. Well, that was my dream until I realized she was throwing them at me to wake me up, for dinner.

I’ve only fallen out of the thing twice. Both times I was trying to get in and not out. Fortunately, I didn’t cause myself too much damage. The danger is when Rosalie gets in with me, for a little woman she sure bounces a lot. Twice I almost spilled my wine.

We just get settled in when this happens:

The guy in the red VW sells ice cream,  even a tequila flavoured one. He’s been doing this for twenty years and we have no idea why he hasn’t gone crazy listening to the same recording over and over. The little girl is locked out and yelling to get in; her brother is even louder. We have no idea what the guy on the bike is advertising. The gas truck. Someone selling fruit and veggies out of the back of the pickup truck. And of course that F…ing rooster.

We finally settle down to read our books and before long Rosalie starts to take a nap. This is a tough time for me. When she sleeps on the couch I can at least tiptoe around very quietly and do a few things. In the hamaca I’m frozen. One badly planned move and I would wake her up. Worse yet we could both fall out onto the tile below. It’s only a few inches but it’s a very hard ceramic tile. I can only hope it’s a short nap before my muscles start to cramp up from inaction. The worse part is, that even if I’m brave enough to reach for my wine glass I may have to wait a while to refill it.

To keep my mind occupied I go into a zen state and count the dead bougainvillea blossoms blowing on to the patio. I swear every bush drops their blossoms and no matter where they are on the street, they end up on our patio. Perhaps we should leave them there, it may make our landing a little softer if we do fall out.

 

The bad, the good and the best

We went out to Laguna Del Tule for a meal and to watch the band the other night. The band was good and so was the food when we eventually got it. We waited an hour and a half to eat after we had ordered. I think they want to get people to drink more while they are waiting. I was not impressed. If we go back it will be after we have eaten. Ron was even attacked by a killer gecko.

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The following day we went out for lunch while Rubi was cleaning the place. There is a corner restaurant we pass a lot but have never been in so we opted for that. They didn’t have a menu but offered us Pollo Americano or Steak Americano. After my past experiences with steak here we chose the pollo. The only problem was, that we didn’t really know what we had ordered.

When the food came it was delicious. It was simply a chicken leg with rice and potatoes and a thin tomato sauce. And, as always it was very inexpensive.

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Returning from lunch we came across this lovely little scene.

When we got back to the duplex Rubi was finishing up. It was her birthday so we wished her “Feliz Cumpleanos.” Before she left she asked if she could have the tip money we had been saving up for her; probably for her birthday. As she was leaving she invited us across the road to her casa that evening for some pizza. We knew that none of her family spoke English so I was a bit apprehensive as to how we would communicate. Even so, we were very honoured.

We arrived at eight thirty with some cerveza and a bottle of cafe tequila liquor as a gift. There were a couple of chairs spare so we sidled up and sat down. Introductions were made and so far all was going well.

During the introductions, we met Rubi’s parents and a brand new baby. It was Rubi’s nephew and he sure was cute. Within ten minutes Rosalie had that baby and was cooing to it like its own Mum. As she came back to the table with the baby I got a laugh as I pointed at Rosalie and the baby and said “No para ti” (not for you.)

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Rubi, Rosalie and nino

I needn’t have been worried about the language barrier as within a few minutes Rosalie was deep in conversation with Rubi and her husband Joshua. (Pronounce the J as an H and make the H silent. Sounds something like hose-way.) Having been down here many times, my Spanish is better than I thought. I managed to get in on some parts of the conversation and even contributed a little.

They told us that sometime down the road they want their kids to learn English. I said “This is Mexico you should speak Spanish” but they said it was also necessary to speak English and looking back I think they are right.

 

We had a beer, ate our pizza and after a while went home. It was a great night. We were accepted by the family as new friends and the experience of communicating with them in their own language was awesome.

Local Taquerias

Now that we have rediscovered the local little restaurants, we went out for dinner last night.

We found a nice little corner place “ Rosita’s Loncheria” with tables on the sidewalk.

The owner and waiter was Rosita of course. She took our order and from then on we were then entertained by a young man whom we think was her son.

The first thing he had to do was run off down the street and disappear somewhere to get me my cerveza. He came back with the wrong one so had to retrace his steps and get me the right one. Not that I really cared about the brand.

By entertaining I mean he did all the rest of the serving. He was about 10 years old. We always speak Spanish as much as we can and usually get through a meal without having to speak English. He was well schooled in what to say to us in English, and when.

He had several standard phrases like “How-is-your-meal” “ Is-everything-okay” etc. He was a lovely young man so at the end of the meal we gave him an extra tip just for himself.

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While we sat there Mexican life went on around us. Except for one Canadian lady who was obviously a friend of Rosita’s we were the only other Canadians in sight. It was a typical street scene, kids playing in the road, moms and dads standing talking. There was a severely handicapped man, maybe about thirty years old who was having a hard time walking upright. Nobody took any special notice of him, he was accepted as just one of the crowd. And of course, there is always a bougainvillea bush close by for some colour.

Mexicans are so easy to get along with. Sometimes you find one that may be a bit standoffish but once they get to know you they are the friendliest people around. I think we have an advantage as are seen around a lot and not considered short term tourists. Rosalie usually asks their name and remembers to use it next time we see them. It helps a lot. And of course, they appreciate us trying to speak their language.

When we first came here I wasn’t a fan of the local food. Lately though, after discovering some of the smaller restaurants where the locals eat I only want to eat there. We went out to renew our phone plan and Rosalie dragged me into a roadside taqueria. We each had a mushroom omelet and a coffee, it was the best, and of course, only cost $140 pesos ($9.70) for both of us.

Being here is good for us both. We are living simply but richly. Soaking up the culture, learning the language and above all having a good time. I hope we can carry that attitude back with us in April.

 

La Hamaca

I’ve waited three months but have finally bought a hammock. Rosalie wasn’t interested because she has trouble getting in and out of them. She would end up on her hands and knees with her butt in the air looking totally undignified.

We were at the local market, one block from us when the salesman from the local hamaca company caught me in a weak moment. He offered us a double one for $550 pesos. I beat him down to $500 pesos (about $35.) He caved in and walked away with a big grin on his face.

I knew we had been had when we went back to the market later to buy rope to hang the thing. The salesman gave both Rosalie and me a big hug. I think he had just won Turista Rip-off of the Month award as well as the Salesman of the Month. He was a nice guy, I think he could be our friend. Mind you, if I see him selling hamacas on the beach I may kick sand over him.

The thing about this is that Rosalie said I could have the hamaca if she could buy yet more earrings. Outmaneuvered again! I don’t think it’s fair though that she now gets to use the hamaca but I don’t get to wear the earrings

I wanted to rush home and hang the hamaca but didn’t have any rope; back to the market. We did find some but it was inferior quality and we only insist on the best (?). besides, it would have broken if we used it,

I hopped on my trusty bike and rode to “Materiales Pollo” our local hardware store. When I first saw this place I thought they sold accessories for chickens. Having looked up the word for rope “cuerda” on google translate ahead of time, I went to the counter and inquired “?Tienes cuerda?” She had no idea what I was talking about! It turns out that the correct word for rope was “soga.”

Eventually, I bought ten metres of sturdy ‘soga’ and rode home. I also bought 2 carabiners and the whole thing cost $150 pesos (about $11.)

Having got the thing up and running, with eight meters of rope to spare, I settled back for a quiet afternoon of relaxation. Soon though, Rosalie was looking covetously at the hamaca. There was a corner that would fit her perfectly, so like the fool I was I invited her in. As you can see she took more than a corner.

hamaca

 

Within a few minutes, I had legs draped all over me. In normal circumstances this is a good thing but when I want to relax…not so much. I eventually gave in and put my book down. We started to talk. After a while, we realized that we were doing what we had done in the hot tub and around the campfire. We were solving not only the problems of the world but our own as well. This hamaca thing could be fun for us both after all.