Ole, Ole

What a night! 

Mike and Pat sent an email on Saturday asking if we would like to help with the Christmas parade in Barra on Sunday. All we had to do was sit in the back of his tricked out VW Bug and toss candies to the kids.

It started well. We got to their place in plenty of time and had a few margaritas to get us started and keep us warm. We had picked up a few beers on the way so these went into the cooler in the back seat with me and we were all set.

Mike and Pat’s Mexican friend Cruz and his wife Candy were with us as well as Cruz’s friend Joshua.  Cruz had his dune buggy with a boom box strapped to the front and flashing lights all over. He went first as we didn’t want that blasting at us from behind. Mike’s car was decked out with lights and came next. Joshua followed with a car covered in lights. All the vehicles had advertising for Cruz’s body shop business stuck on them.

After we joined up with the rest of the vehicles driven by a lot of Canadians and the parade was on. There was a police car leading the way which, apparently, was quite rare. 

We’re a bit fuzzy as we had already had a margarita

It took us some time to wend our way downtown as they don’t stop the traffic, people just get out of the way. As the parade got closer the crowds got denser. Rosalie and I were throwing candy to the kids as we went along but Pat warned us to try to save some as we were going to go to the village of Jaluco because the kids there don’t get a lot of stuff. We were also going to do a bit of Melaque. It was tough as we wanted to give all the kids some. I’m sure they didn’t suffer though, as all the vehicles were throwing candy.

 

I’ve never seen so many kids in one place. We tried to target the little ones but often the bigger kids got in the way so as the bigger ones bent down to pick up the candy we would throw it over their heads to the little ones in the back. I would slyly give one or two to the adults as they like candy too.

The thing I liked best was just seeing everyone having so much fun. And the Mexicans really appreciate the parade. There’s nothing official about it; no permits or red tape, just a bunch of people getting together and doing something for the kids. And lots and lots of noise.

 

After finishing up in Barra we took a pit stop at Mike and Pat’s before finishing the rest of the trip. The parade through Jaluco and Melaque was small, just us three vehicles but it was still a lot of fun.

At the end of the evening, our small parade ended up at our place and invited our next door neighbours in. All the time Cruz’s boom box was blasting away. He finally shut it down and turned off the lights because they didn’t want to kill the battery.

Rosalie and I weren’t prepared very well, but next year we will be, should we be invited again. 

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Paco Renteria

Someone mentioned a concert at one of our local restaurants. Well, local if you live at the far end of town. Paco Renteria was reputed to be really good so we paid the 150 peso cover charge each, and booked a table.

We asked Mike and Fay and Glenn and Cheryl to come along and they said they would love to. Glenn and Cheryl’s lodgings are close to the event so it was up to the rest of us to get to the other end of town. I always swore I would taxi it but we ended up walking anyway. We will though, take a taxi back.

It’s about a half hour walk, so by the time we got there, it was time for a beer. Yea right! We had our concert tickets but there was a lineup. Wondering what this was about, remember we had tickets, we asked the young lady who seemed to be in charge. She took our tickets and told us the line up was for more tickets to get booze.

We finally persuaded her to let some of us go to our table. The rest of us (the guys) waited patiently for our booze tickets. Somewhere in all this, the young lady told us that we only had five tickets, not six. She had obviously lost one. This being Mexico she finally said “fine” and let us order. There was a great debate as to whether it was best to get a bottle of wine for 280 pesos of individual glasses at 45 pesos.

Having finally got our tickets and hence our booze we went to our table. Shortly after, we learned that we should have gotten our ticket for dinner at the same time as our booze tickets. Back to the lineup.

 

There were a lot of people there that we knew including Mike and Pat and Barry and Anna who were at the next table. So a lot of visiting was done. This was just as well as Paco showed up an hour and a half late. Our dinner also took a long time to get there, I think Paco brought it with him. The food was really good and soon the entertainment started.

 

Paco Renteria is a passionate guitarist and also very loud. His backup band was excellent and most of us had a good time.

As the evening wound down, people started to drift toward the exit. We needed a taxi so we asked one of the young ladies about one. She told us that a bunch had been ordered and we should wait for about five minutes. Ten minutes later we started to walk. We didn’t pass a single taxi on the way back so ended up walking all the way home, again.

 

The festival of Guadalupe

Again, sitting on our front patio minding our own business, when someone stops by and asks Rosalie if she is Giselle’s sister. Enter John and Anne.

We were having a nice introductory chat when I noticed a police car cruise slowly by and stop on the corner. I guessed what was coming and grabbed my camera. 

Sure enough a few minutes later a parade started down our street. There were girls doing a traditional Mexican dance leading the way so I tried to turn on my camera to record it. The battery was dead! I rushed in to get a fresh one but by the time I returned the dance was over. Drat!

The rest of the parade was worth it though. I’m not sure how this works but I hear these bands playing day and night accompanied by the loud bang of fireworks. The guy setting these off walked at the rear of the procession and set the rockets off by hand. It seems as though the parade starts at about 6 am until about 8 am and then start again in the evening.

For the last twelve days, we are woken every day at 6am by the very loud bang of these rockets. (and the f…ing rooster.) It’s been decreasing in the last few days as I think the holiday ends on the 12th of December. (I wish it would end for the rooster>)

On the 12th, we were woken in the morning by a regular barrage of explosions. Perhaps this is the last of it; until Christmas and the New Year that is. (On the 13th all was quiet except for you know who.)

I went downstairs to put the kettle on and found that we were out of Propane. I went to open the front door to let in the morning breeze and look for the gas dude and found that we were locked in.  This had happened a few times before and the local locksmith had supposedly fixed it. I personally didn’t think what he did would help and I was proven to be right. The problem was that we couldn’t order propane until the door was unlocked.

Rubi, the young lady who cleans the place came by and got our key through the bars in the window, and wouldn’t you know it, she unlocked the door from outside. When the locksmith arrived, he couldn’t find a thing wrong and just couldn’t get the lock to act up again. He did tell us that the lock was from Home Depot and that he wasn’t impressed with it. So we have asked the landlady to get us a new locking system. She will be here with the new lock on Friday so I hope the old one works until then.

Whoa! The letter we sent from home on October 12th arrived on December 12th. Exactly two months later. Awesome!

Dinners and more bikes

Rosalie wanted to have someone over for dinner so we invited Glenn and Cheryl who are in Melaque for the first time; and Mike and Faye whom we’ve known a few years here.

We had a great evening. Rosalie as always did a nice meal. We ended up playing the same dice game that we had learned in PV from Giselle and Gordon.

The following day Rosalie wanted to have more people over as she still had fresh ingredients left from the previous night’s dinner.

We invited our neighbours Gerry and Elaine and Elaine’s brother Hugh and his partner Lori. Again we had a great meal. After dinner Rosalie and I wanted to play dice again but no one else did. Instead, Lori had brought along her guitar and started to entertain us. She was very good and we are trying to encourage her to try open mike.

I have been trying to relearn the guitar for a few years but got discouraged so, I haven’t played for a while. Watching how Laurie played though gave me a lot of encouragement. She played the basic cords, nothing fancy, no twiddly bits, just good rhythm guitar. I realised that I had been trying way too hard. So, when I get back to Canada I’ll bring out the guitar and try again.

Both parties were a great success. we ran out of Tequila but other than that we had a great time. So goes life in Melaque. I love to watch my Hockey games while down here but have missed the last three because of ‘social engagements’. Life’s tough!

Because we enjoyed riding the rented bikes so much we decided to try to buy a couple of used ones. There are a number of bike repair places but the prices seemed a bit high. As we were sitting on the beach having a few beers when we decided to buy a couple of new ones. We had seen some earlier and the prices were only a little more than the used ones.

When we go to the store, we did a bit of  hemming and hawing and finaly selected a couple. “Okay,” says I “now we can dicker,” Buying two new bikes should get us a nice discount. However, the shop owner didn’t think so and only offered us $100 pesos ($6.50) off of the price. We wanted the bikes so bit the bullet.

The bikes are more practical than fun. We like to walk uptown, but often have to carry groceries back, so both bikes have carriers front and back. I wanted a mountain bike but Rosalie wouldn’t let me have one.

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We thought we would be running up a bill with accessories. Locks were needed so we bought a couple. These are heavy duty cable locks that sell for $20 -$30 in Canada but we got them for 75 pesos (about $5).

The bikes had to be assembled so we had to pick them up the next morning after 10 am. We got to the store at 10:30 but it was still closed. As we were about to walk away the shutters went up and we got our bikes.

As soon as we started up the road Rosalie stopped. She tried to start again but said that the pedals wouldn’t turn. I checked and found that it was in the wrong gear. Boy, she has a lot to learn yet.

That afternoon I noticed Rosalie’s tire was flat so I borrowed a pump and re-inflated it but it soon went down again. Meanwhile, my right brake lever snapped. Back to the store,  They were busy so we had to come back in an hour.

To kill time we went to the bank and then ordered our two cases of beer for delivery. Still having time to kill we wandered down to the beach for a beer. Having ordered we drank and listened to the waves crashing on the shore.

Once back at back at the store, we found that everything had been fixed. We had ordered two kickstands, these had been installed for a cost of 110 pesos (about $8).

 

Weekend in PV

Rosalie’s sister Giselle and her husband Gordie were in PV for a destination wedding, so we decided to go and visit them for the weekend. We were told that I would need long pants so we hustled around Melaque trying to find some. I finally borrowed some from a friend.

When we bought our bus tickets a few days earlier in Melaque, the lady selling tickets probably didn’t like us as she refused to give us the senior rate. So we only got one-way tickets and did get the senior rate from Puerto Vallarta for our return.

The trip takes about 4 1/2 hours on a first class bus. We are given a snack as well as a drink to see us through. There is an entertainment system with individual screens for each seat. We didn’t use it though as it’s hard to find a movie with subtitles.

There are also bathrooms on the bus. I’m sure they are there for entertainment purposes. As the bus hurtles around the tight mountain roads, the object is to get to the bathroom without ending up on someone’s lap. Once in the restroom, even the men have to sit down or there could be a nasty mess.

We arrived safely at the PV bus depot and hopped a taxi to the hotel. This was the first time we had stayed in an all-inclusive so we were curious as to what to expect. We met up with Gordie and Giselle and while we waited to check in, Giselle ran and got me a cerveza and Rosalie a Paloma. I was beginning to enjoy this place.

We got a lovely room with a view and a balcony, then went to find some late lunch as we hadn’t eaten for a while. We also had to have a few cervezas to start the party off. 

That evening there was a floor show with dancing girls and the whole deal. It was quite good and we had good seats that Gordie had scouted out for us.

The following day we went downtown for a walk along the Malecon. Gordie decided he needed a pedicure so he went walking with the fishes. 

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Gordie and Giselle

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Miss Marples and the old Geezer.

That night there was another floor show but this was more tuned to the kids. We watched part of it then had an early night.

The following day we took a walk to check out the local shops. In the afternoon back at the hotel, we got a table, a couple of cervezas and played a fun dice game Giselle had brought.

We wanted to have a nice last dinner before we left, so we had to dress up. Turns out I didn’t need the long pants after all but had to wear closed-toe shoes (my runners) and a short-sleeved shirt. They let me in, so all was well.

That evening was Karaoke we saw a few acts (horrible) and called it a night again.

In the morning we said our goodbyes and Rosalie and I grabbed a taxi to the bus depot. We were feeling a bit hungry so we got a burger and shared it. On the way, on the bus, I started feeling terrible. Luckily we had some Gravol with us and that got me through. There is a bit of a bug going around so it was probably that. But, isn’t that what everyone says…?!

“I always get to where I’m going by walking away from where I’ve been”

Winnie The Poo 

 

Another strange week

This was written last week.

I don’t think the weeks are that strange, it’s just that we are no longer on holiday but actually living here. It just feels different. When we go uptown we don’t wander around the shops ogling tacky tourist crap, (T.T.C.) We go for groceries and things we need in the house.

We’ve had some fun with our bank account. First, we couldn’t access our online account. Apparently, we have to use it every month or else they make it inactive. That got sorted out but then the property manager couldn’t cash the cheque we had given her. Off to the bank once more while the property manager waited in the branch in Manzanillo. We got that sorted out too. We didn’t know that we had to Activate the cheques. We are now waiting for the next unexpected bank problem.

I miss the Big Green Egg so we went and bought a charcoal BBQ. It took me the best part of the afternoon putting it together (?) as I only had a bent fork to work with. I did try it out last night. It lit up fairly quickly with help from my personal little fan. We tried hamburgers but they mostly broke up; the sausages were good though. I’m looking forward to our first turkey cooked on the beast. Or perhaps a rooster.

Rosalie has had a few hassles and had to go and see Dr. Rosa. She’s fine but can’t drink alcohol for a couple of weeks. I’m disappointed because now I can’t blame her for drinking all the wine. So now I have no idea where it all went.

I got another new hat last week, lighter than the last one, looks like a Tilly hat ($85) and only cost 80 pesos ($5.22). I love it so far.

It’s starting to cool off here. 21 C when we got up this morning. But it hits 28 C during the day. Our bedroom faces south so it warms up during the day. We keep the curtains drawn and that helps. As soon as the sun goes down we open them up and get a nice cool through – draft from the front bedroom. We have to close our window at night though because of the f_cking rooster.

I tried riding a bike for the first time in years. I haven’t lost the knack, I thought my knees wouldn’t take the strain but they were great. The seat was a bit high and the first time I turned a sharp corner was a bit hairy but I didn’t embarrass myself so all was good We are now looking for a couple of bikes as the walk uptown is getting a bit tedious. We were told we can rent a bike for about $100 a month. We also found out that you can buy a used bike for about $50. Decisions, decisions.

Gerry and Elaine, our neighbours, arrived last night. We ended up with ten of us at The Red Lobster for ribs followed by drinks at their place. Rosalie still can’t drink so she had to drive me home to our casa next door.

Boy! life down here is so hard.

 

A strange week

A strange week indeed. We went to the bank one day last week to get our account sorted out. We then walked over to the Banamex to withdraw some cash. “Why a different bank from our own?” you may ask. Well, the Banamex has a better rate for withdrawing pesos from our Canadian account than our own bank.

On the way, Rosalie spotted a sign offering two for one margaritas so she had to drag me in to try some. They were very good but after one Rosalie starts to giggle so we were a bit concerned that she may not be able to take advantage of the two for one.

At about this time we got a message from Mike and Pat asking if we wanted to meet them at Tito’s bar on the beach at 5 o’clock. We decided to go but, as it was only 3 pm and we had time to kill, Rosalie, being the trooper she is, ordered her second drink.

We eventually strolled to Tito’s and met up with the rest of the guys. We only stayed a few hours as we had been out since noon and were getting tired. Rosalie wanted to walk home. It only takes half an hour but I was insistent on getting a Tuc-Tuc. We walked as far up the town centre but no Tuc-Tucs so we ended up walking the rest of the way.

The following day Mike and Pat took us to Manzanillo on a shopping trip. That blew our budget for the month but we did stock up on a lot of things for our whole stay. For instance, we bought two 1 ltr bottles and two 750 ml bottle of liquor for $42 as well as few non essentials like food and paper towels.

On Friday we went with Mike and Faye to La Oficina. Before we left, Rosalie locked up the house not knowing that I was still in it. When we got there we bumped into Mike and Pat again. We ordered our meal and I got a bottle of wine as we thought it would be cheaper that way. After eating, just as the music started, Rosalie said she wasn’t feeling well and would I get Mike to run her home in Pat’s car.

They left, I put some money on the table for Faye to pay the bill, grabbed my bottle of wine and hurried after them. When I got home Rosalie had locked the door on me again. She managed to get her head out of the toilet long enough to let me in.

Poor kid, she was up all night throwing up. The following morning she was feeling a bit better but I started to feel a bit queasy. I had a dentist appointment to fix a cracked tooth ($32) so I went even though I wasn’t feeling 100%. That afternoon I felt a lot worse and slept a lot. The next day we were both feeling better but hung around the house and napped all day.

This is the first time Rosalie’s has been sick down here. I think it was a mild case of food poisoning but we will never know for sure.

We met Dave Spinks at the market yesterday and apologized for leaving early and assured him it had nothing to do with his music.

The rooster’s still at it. I’m hoping to hear, at about 4 am, “cockadoodle BANG!” I’ll go back to sleep with a smile on my face. The next morning I’ll ask Rosalie to get bbq chicken for lunch and hope it’s him.