Pinal Villa

The move to Pinal Villa has happened at last. We brought our date forward so we could stow our stuff ready for next year when we come back.

We picked up the keys for our new digs at noon. There was a bit of apprehensive about our expectations.  We hadn’t seen the place for several months and thought we may have been inflating its appeal.  We weren’t disappointed

One look at the place again and we knew we had made the right decision to move here. It’s out in the country so that’s why we have a car. If we have to isolate ourselves this is the place to be. Taking a walk around the place today we found mangos, papayas, breadfruit and of course coconuts. At least we won’t go hungry.

The first thing we did after unloading the car was to go for a dip in the pool. Deliciously cool as it’s starting to get warm again here.

The house has only one large bedroom and a large living room. Our biggest problem is that the place is really for tourists so there is little space to store stuff. We will have to go and buy something to serve as a pantry. Also, the counter space is small so we are looking into ways to overcome that.

There is no air conditioning. Neither of us likes it very much anyway. There is a large fan directly over our bed so that keeps us nice and comfy in the night. There are ceiling fans all over the place if we need them. If it gets too hot during the day there is always the pool.

Our main living area is outside on the patio and we spend most of the day there. We also have a couple of floor fans there as well, so we don’t melt too much. We also get a nice breeze in the afternoon which helps. The one problem we have is that as the sun sets it’s right in our eyes so we have to get a sunshade for that. I can hear several people saying “poor babies”.

There is a 3-metre wall surrounding the property so if this virus turns into a zombie apocalypse we would still be okay.

Omar, Rosalie’s pool boy, comes in on a regular basis and cuts the grass as well as maintaining the pool and other odd jobs. When we first met him he said he was a little sick so kept our distance.

One thing we like about it here is that the high walls seem to keep the dust down. That and the fact that we aren’t on the main street sure helps. Our car would get covered in dust in a few days and we would have to take it to get washed. I also find with the dust I cough a lot. Not a good thing in today’s environment, since we’ve been here though, it seems to have eased off.

It’s a lot quieter here…so far. We were used to all kinds of noise at the last location trucks hurtling by, load music parades at all times of the day. Here it’s noisy in the distance and mostly animals. There are lots of animals. On our way here today, we encountered a young bull who had escaped from somewhere. He was happily bouncing up the road and having a great old time. He seemed to match our mood.

Food

One of the many things that Rosalie likes to keep herself occupied with down here is making food. She loves it and works at it constantly.

We smuggled her instant pot into the country in one of our large suitcases and I’ve regretted it ever since. She makes some fabulous food but once in a while…not so much.

In the pot, she makes things like yogurt, bread, ribs, chocolate cheesecake, hard-boiled eggs and lots more. I found out that you can even make wine in the thing but we haven’t tried that yet. But I’m sure we will eventually.

How do you tell the woman you love that her latest creation tastes like a roadkill iguana boiled in motor oil. It’s a tricky scenario. When you taste something really great and say so it’s greeted with “yea so. What did you expect? However, just mention that it could do with an extra hour of cooking and all hell breaks out. And for god’s sake don’t mention that it needs more salt. I did one day and have lived to regret it ever since.

Rosalie has been on a bread-making kick for the last few weeks and mostly it’s great. However, I’m trying to not eat so much bread so I’m walking the fine line between saying it’s great and having it every day and not eating it and suffering that stony silence that you know will be held against you for the next several years.

Rosalie is a great cook,  when she nails it she really nails it. My problem is that I grew up on a diet of fried foods and am used to that. Fish and chips, egg and chips, sausage and chips, and anything else and chips. So our cultural cuisines often clash. When I say often I mean constantly.

I try to adapt to North American cuisine and I think I’ve done a not too bad of a job. I do eat a hamburger once in a while and have a side of fries. Not the quality of fries that I’d get in England but fries none the less.

I’ve found that the potatoes here in Mexico are on par with our English ones and the fries and boiled spuds are awsome. I give Rosalie credit for this as I need all the cuisine points that I can get.

Even our breakfasts are a challenge. If I cook bacon and eggs, she likes her eggs mashed, bashed and beaten and her bacon crispy. I, on the other hand like my eggs gently turned so they are evenly cooked and my bacon not crisp.

Whenever I cook Rosalie loves just about everything I do. I like that. So how can I criticize her cooking? I tried to explain it like this; an East Indian is raised with curries and everything that goes with it, but maybe hates clam chowder. (Rosalie’s is the best). I was raised on all that fried food so tend to lean in that direction. We have to compromise and we do.

We have adapted to each other over the years and we now eat the same foods whether I like it or not.

 

Noise and Quiet

Mexico can be a very noisy place. Our neighbour, Ivan, likes to park his truck outside and turn up the music so loud that we have to go inside and close all the windows and doors. The music is very good Mexican music but a tad loud. He did this today while we were having a quiet time on the patio. It is his country so we have little room for complaint.

I had had enough and got innovative. After about five minutes I turned on our car alarm which was parked right outside. It beeped twice and the volume of the music went down. I hoped that he thought that his music had triggered the alarm. We chuckled and carried on reading our books.

A few minutes later the volume went up again. I waited a while and then pressed the panic button again. This time the darn thing stuck and I had trouble turning it off so it sounded for about a minute. The music finally stopped, Ivan got into his truck and drove away. A minor victory for us with no confrontation. Canada 1 Mexico 0.

As I said earlier, we are self-isolating. However, we do get cabin fever so we went uptown and visited one of our favourite restaurants on the beach, ‘Buganbilia’. Centro was really quiet without all the tourists. There are not a lot of people out so social distancing is easy. Besides nobody wants to talk to us anyway.

We were sitting on the beach having lunch and a margarita and enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.

Our waiter today was Ramon. We had quite the conversation about the craziness up North and we agree that if Nortenos get a cough they run to the hospital to see if it’s Covid 19. Whereas Mexicans go home take a few shots of tequila and wait it out. I stand by what I said in the previous blog, even though this is a serious virus I think we are way overreacting. Anyway, enough of my opinions.

As there are so few Canadians left we tend to talk to a lot of people who are leaving this weekend, Rosalie’s sisters among them. Most of the people we speak to would rather stay but are afraid that they may not get a flight, so they’re going. Fortunately,  we don’t have that problem as we have our Residente Temporal and can stay as long as we want.

 

Rosalie, in a pressure situation with her sisters, called our new landlord and asked if we could move in this weekend. She decided that we need to self isolate even more. (???) So in the next few days, we will be moving to our new digs.  An update will be forthcoming.

That Darn Virus

We are not coming home early!

We have been prompted by several people to come home early as the virus is spreading. These are our reasons for staying here at least until the end of April.

We think this whole thing is blown way out of proportion. People die from cold and flu year-round and nothing is done, life for most of us goes on. The fatalities so far seem to be the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. The death rate seems to be about 3-4%. but this is based on known cases. What of the thousands of people who don’t report. If it was in the 20% range we could see more cause for concern. But it isn’t. Most people who get it have minor symptoms such as a sore throat and cough. We would normally call this a seasonal cold.

I bet if the bubonic plague hit, the panic wouldn’t be this bad. And that’s the main problem. The media starts saying that the sky’s falling (it sells news) and everybody believes them and runs around in total panic buying up umbrellas and toilet paper.

Why toilet paper? If there was a run on fruit juice, aspirin or fruit, and veggies I could understand it. But T.P? I just don’t get it!

Every year when people come down here, they have colds, sneezes, and sore throats that they contract on the plane on the way down. They get over it and so will we.

When we went on the butterfly tour, we came back with those same symptoms and so did Mike and Pat. Because it’s cold and crowded in the interior we may well have contacted the virus. If so, it was gone in a few days. Just a sore throat, a minor cough, and no runny nose.

There is the chance that Mexicans who vacation here in Melaque have bought it with them from the interior. They are here now in their hundreds as it’s a holiday weekend. We have little or no contact with them. They stay on the beach. Sometimes sleeping there. They don’t use the same restaurants or grocery stores that we do, so little contact.

Also, Mexicans don’t panic. They believe that God will take care of them so if they get a cold they just get over it (or not) and carry on. I’m sure thousands of cases go unrecorded because of this attitude.

Why would we leave a low impact area and come home to utter panic? One of the best ways of avoiding this thing is to be in the open air and sunshine. We have lots both here and we live mostly outside.  Also, we have heard that the virus can’t take more than 26-27 c outside the body. Which means it’s less likely to be on door handles handrails and umbrella handles etc.

Of course, precautions should be taken as nobody wants even a cold. Hand washing, coughing and sneezing into your sleeve are just common sense. We will probably get face masks for the flight home as that’s the best place to catch any disease.

People are heading home in droves. They are waiting for hours on the phone to contact an airline and getting totally panicked if they can’t reach one. We’ve booked our flights and if they’re canceled we will just wait, in the air and sunshine, until they start up again. Besides, so far we have lots of toilet paper here and tequila kills germs.

Thanks for your concerns but we are fine and will be home soon.

Some updates

Just after we got back from the tour we both caught colds. Rosalie’s went away fairly quickly but mine was a bit more persistent. After two weeks I finally caved in and went to see Dra. Rosa. It seems that I don’t have a cold just an infected throat.  I wondered about the cold as I didn’t have any other symptoms other than a slight temperature for a few hours. Anyway, I’ll get on the meds and see what happens.

Because of the cough, we haven’t gone very far for a few weeks. We did go to the house of some new-found friends, George and Sue. They live in Ontario but he is originally from Liverpool. They own their house here. There were a few more couples and we had a great time in the pool drinking wine and a little tequila. Only for health purposes of course.

Two more of Rosalie’s sisters have arrived. Delorie and Marina. So with Suzanne, we now have four sisters with one more pending. Giselle!

Oh-oh! Giselle and Gordie decided not to come because of the virus scare. They are in Cabo St Lucas at the moment and decided to go home from there. Both of them have a few health issues so maybe a good choice.

I’m not sure about this coronavirus. I checked and found that worldwide, one billion people catch the flu each year and between 300,000 and 650,000 die from it. I don’t see the stock market going down or people panicking each year. Having said that, this virus is 2% more deadly.

As of today, it’s been suggested that all Canadians return home. Why would we leave an area of the world where there are no cases reported because it’s too warm here, and return to an area where, according to news reports, we’re all going to die? Nope, we’re staying until the end of April and if things get worse we will just stay here for a while longer. One of the benefits of having ‘Residente Temporal.’

I hope this doesn’t interfere with Pub Day when we do get back!

We are getting the keys to our new place early on the 27th March but still have this location until the 15th of April. So we will have lots of time to move our stuff. We can also go and use the pool anytime we like which suits us just fine.

It must be getting close to St Patrick’s day as we are hearing more and more fireworks in the morning and evening.

The overnight temperature hasn’t dropped below 22c for about a month now. Things must be starting to warm up for Spring.

Rosalie’s still cutting my hair of course.

We are going to have to do something more exciting as this blog is starting to sound like a Facebook post.

The family decided to go out to the Albatros restaurant for entertainment. Rosalie and I had to go and pay our cover charge. While we were there the music was great so we decided to stay for a while.

A friend of ours, Carlos who works selling leather goods, showed up and we bought him a Jamaica. I wanted Rosalie to talk to him to improve her Spanish. As  I listened to the music Rosalie was engaged in Spanish with Carlos. I picked up some words of the conversation but I still need a lot more practice. Two margaritas each and we wended our way home. It was a great afternoon.

Re licensing

 

Rosalie was so happy about having a car here I couldn’t get the grin off her face.

Mike and Pat had also recommended Eddie so we knew he could be trusted. I called him and asked what he needed us to do, “bring your passport, Residente Temporal, and 4,000 pesos.” Which we did. The car was going in my name so I took all my documents.

A few days later we talked with Eddie and it turns out that the car has to be in Rosalie’s name as she is primary on our bank account. (Only because she spoke more Spanish than I did while setting it up.) Back over to Eddie’s to change up the paperwork. Our bank account is the only thing we have with our address on it.

After a few delays, Eddie informed us that he was ready for us to go to Autlan to get the VIN number checked. What! Us? We have to go?  Well, I didn’t have to but Rosalie did. I gallantly offered to accompany her even after Eddie told us to pick him up at 6 am.

Autlan is only 105 km away but a two-hour drive. It’s a beautiful drive through the mountains but the road is really twisty and there are often large potholes to be avoided. Also, large trucks use the route and often slowed us down.

We had an appointment at 9 am, and so did about seventy other people. They crammed all the cars, trucks and motorcycles into a large parking area and we settled in to wait. I asked Eddie how long it would take and he said between 4 and 5 hours.

After a while, a guy came by to verify Rosalie’s credentials. Then someone else came and looked at our paperwork and added a comment. The reason it takes so long to get started is that the inspectors start work at 8am but have to drive from Guadalajara, two hours away.

After about 2 1/2 hours they announced that they would deal with motorcycles first. They finally got through them all and started on the cars. As the inspectors got closer I noticed that one of them had a gun stuffed in his belt. Okay! now what? It wasn’t until he turned around that I noticed that he also carried handcuffs. A cop!

I assumed (unwisely) that as an inspection was done that person would get his stamp and go home. Not so! All inspections have to be done and then everybody lines up together to get their stamp. Rosalie was first in line but it didn’t make any difference as we couldn’t move the car anyway as we were boxed in.

I had asked Eddie to drive as he knew the road. I noticed that he went a bit quicker on the way back. After all this, we still weren’t finished. We now had to go to Cihuatlan to get our new plates.

I called Eddie the next morning and arranged to pick him up at his house in Barra. I rounded up Rosalie as she was out playing with her sisters at the market.

Before we picked Eddie up he informed us that we would need an additional 4,000 pesos. This was because some of the previous owners hadn’t paid for their transfers like good little Mexicans. He argued for a discount but was turned down. So we took our lumps, paid our money and went home.

 

Well, we finally have a legally plated car with Jalisco plates.

I’m glad that day’s over.

Now it’s Rosalie’s turn to sort out the insurance.

She sent an Email to the insurance guy in Guadalajara and spoke to him today for 15 minutes. We are finally covered and the car is all ours Yea!

Cars

With the pending sale of our condo, we decided to buy a car here. For one thing, we will be out in the boonies next year, and for another, my hip is getting worse and it’s painful to walk too far. Also, there are a lot of places we want to go and see. Using it to pick up groceries and friends and family from the airport is also a nice option.

We have seen a few that we liked.

                  Rosalie wanted this one, it was okay but I didn’t like the colour.
                                  I wanted this one but Rosalie doesn’t like to be tickled.
             We both fell in love with this one but fortunately, it was sold.

Crazy Cactus, the place where we have rented cars from before, always has a few for sale at reasonable prices.  Our only two requirements were air conditioning and automatic.  Tracye (that is the correct spelling) who owns the place buys them used and spends a lot of money making sure they are roadworthy. Her cars are all licensed Colima so we would have to get it re-plated here in Jalisco. There is a Mexican taxi driver who would help for a small fee. His name is Eddie.

We went to see Tracye again and she had a nice Nissan Sentra. It was a 2006 and had 155,000 km on it. It was in really good shape and she was still using it as a rental. It wasn’t white but we can deal with that. I have brushes???

So we bought and paid for the car, for 67,000 pesos (about $4,750)  Tracye “loaned” us the car for the next week to give us time to see Eddie and get everything finalized and for us to get our own insurance.

 

We finally settled on this one.

The first thing we did was take it for a ride to Pinal Villa where we will be staying next year. On our way out through Jaluco,  we stopped at a taco stand for lunch. We had two small tacos apiece but no drink. They were great as well as filling with the bill coming in at 28 pesos ($2) for both. Our new favourite taco stand.

Click on a photo to see it enlarged.

I wanted to find out if we can turn right on red in Mexico. So I had a conversation with Google about it. The first post said it was definitely illegal to do so. The second post said it was legal to do so. The third post said it depended on what part of Mexico you are in. I still have no idea what is right so I just do what the locals do. Apparently,  it’s also okay to make up your own rules anyway.

Now we have to register it.