Friday, February 4, 2011

I have arrived.....on Stone Island, Mexico

The view was a bit foggy the first few morning......but so wonderfully familiar, like home

The welcome balloon that was in my house when I is the same house as last year
Today it felt like my first day even though I arrived 2 days ago. The first day is always a write off because by the time I get here it’s always late. I Picked up my stuff out of storage and just pulled out the bedding and towels and wiped the furniture up a bit. Went to the nearest place to get some food and toilet paper...note to self...leave some toilet paper next time, I would have been shit outa luck had I arrived on a Sunday, imagine having to go to the neighbours to borrow toilet paper.  All these little things that I need to take note of from year to year. I think I am going to write myself a migration manual and up date it as I learn more about having two homes.
The second day was spent unpacking and organizing and making a list of thing I need from the mainland. For some reason I didn’t leave behind my electrical adapter so I couldn’t even plug in my laptop, I had one last year and don’t know what I did with it. My clothes pins also have disappeared as well as my clothes line. I set off for the hardware store, first I wanted to stop at my friend Kathy’s house to pick up her adapter so I could show the guy at the hardware store as I could not find the right words for it in my dictionary. Before I get there I pass Daniel’s mechanic shop and he asks where I am going, I tell him and he says I don’t need an adapter, I tell him I do, he says no, I try to explain what I need to plug in my laptop, he doesn’t know what I am talking about so he comes with me to the hardware store. He thinks I am talking about a surge protector, I show him how my laptop has 3 prongs but the plug in in the wall only has space for 2. Ohhh, he says, no problem, he will just cut off one prong, he says you don’t need it because it is just the ground. I feel it is important to have a ground and I want to buy an adapter, finally the hardware guy catches on to what I want and gives me an adapter. Then I notice that it still just eliminates the ground...oh well, I have an adapter now. Daniels tells me he will come and put up my clothes line manana (tomorrow) and put some valves on my water hoses (they disappeared too from last year). Then on my way to the grocery store I pass Nina’s house and she invites me in and we chat for a bit and then she gives me some screen and some screws to put in my one broken window to keep the bugs out, I haven’t seem any bugs yet but maybe they just haven’t discovered that there is fresh blood here yet. She tells me Daniel will come Manana to put it up for me. From there I go to Kathy’s house and we catch up on the last years happenings. I finally get to the grocery store and can’t remember what I wanted there so I wander around and end up buying an onion, 2 eggs, and laundry soap (in hopes I get a clothes line soon) I head back to my casa and spend the afternoon puttering around the house, taking my long sleeve sweater on and off as the clouds move past the sun. It was 21C in the afternoon but the locals say they have had a north wind for about 2 months now which makes 21 feel cold unless you are sitting directly in the sun, even then it is comfortable with long sleeves. A few friends stopped by to see if I needed anything, all wondering if I had prepared for this cold. I had, I have good blankets and a sleeping bag, I had even brought some hot water bottles to snuggle up with but I was plenty warm without them. My house is so small it doesn’t take much to heat it up, during the day I open the windows and let the sun in and at sunset I close them, it takes awhile for brick to cool off once they’re heated up. I can’t imagine living in this little house in the summer when it is stifling hot.
After supper while sitting in my sun porch I had to put on pants, socks, sweater and a scarf.

Today I started of by sleeping until 6 am, had not slept that late in a long time, I did wake up at 4:30 as usual but managed to fall back asleep. I Sat outside with my tea until sun up, at least I think the sun was up, it was hard to see through the fog. Fog in the mornings has been a regular thing here for awhile now...most unusual. After showering and a breakfast of an egg and toast (didn’t buy fruit yesterday) I sat around and read for a few hours. I am reading “A world without end “ by Ken Follett and am really enjoying it...can hardly put it down sometimes. Kathy and I had decided yesterday we would make a short road trip to a greenhouse by Villa Union and pick up some plants. Some of my plants from last year did survive my, climbing vines are doing very well, but a lot also died. Can you believe my tomato plant is still alive and has 3 tomatoes on it? Unreal, it’s a year old. We took off at about 10 am, one of her family members came along as well. We have both been adopted, it is quite usual that if a Mexican family gets along very well with a north American that the whole family will adopt that person. Nina’s family, the Cardenas family has adopted me, they treat me like family, the whole family, the mom and dad, the kids, their kids, the aunts and uncles, cousins and nieces and nephews....I am considered family. Kathy has also been adopted by a family. We both feel honoured and I must say I feel very humbled that this family would treat me this way. I feel I don’t do enough for them, I keep my eyes and ears open to try and see where I can help.
We had a great trip to the greenhouse and back, I came back with a Bougambilia and a Hibiscus. On my way back to my house I meet my produce guy (Salvador), I know I can’t carry to much due to my surgery but I would really want fruit for breakfast tomorrow so I ask if he has a papaya, he does, but it looks sad, I am sad, he give it to me for nothing because he can’t sell it anyway and promises me wonderful papayas for tomorrow. He also promises me that even though most of it is garbage the parts that are still edible will be very sweet...I’m excited for breakfast. Back at my house I find out that Daniel hasn’t been here yet to fix my valves and put up my window screen..Oh well, there is always manana.
For supper I met up with some friends from the trailer park and we went to Benji’s pizza on Goat Island (not really an Island either) they had planned on hiking to the top of the hill after supper, I wasn’t sure I was up to it yet, I know walking is good for me but wasn’t sure about hiking up a mountain. I didn’t have to make a decision because they all ate too much pizza (I had fish) and didn’t feel like hiking plus it was close to dark by then. We all decided that we would do it another day and time it so we could watch a cruise ship leave port. If you’re halfway up you are level with ship and then you have a nicer view.
On a little side note here; Benji’s Pizza has Skype, you can Skype him and then he delivers to your door, apparently the people in the trailer park have been doing this.....are we modern here on the Island or what?
Tomorrow I will head into Mazatlan for the first time to pick up some things; I have a list, let’s hope I remember to bring it.

Next day

First thing in the morning I got up and started doing laundry, you have to have the laundry on the line early here if you want it to dry in one day and lucky for me it wasn't foggy this morning. I’m still amazed how I love hand washing my laundry...still. It is so satisfying when it is all washed and dried and ironed (line drying requires more ironing) and put away, because it is truly an accomplishment whereas at home laundry gets done with so little effort it is not even very satisfying when it is all done. 

I laughed at the sight of my longjohns waving in the wind with the ocean and palm trees in the back round.....hey I came from the north, that is what I was wearing when I arrived here.
I had a breakfast of fruit and granola.....lots of fruit, an apple, a banana, a pear, ¼ of a papaya (they are big) I love the fruit here and always miss it so much when I go home. 

I can’t decide if the morning is my favourite time here or if it is 4:00, both are great times for people watching. In the morning everyone is off to work, the farmer, the fisherman, the cowboy, the beach vendor, the life guard and all the other people that pass by that I don’t know where they are going. At 4:00 all these people pass by again on their way home....exciting times.
So after breakfast and seeing that everyone got to work on time I set off for the mainland with a long list in my pocket (13 items) I decided to walk to downtown from the docks, a walk I have done 1000 times. I have to admit that this year as I am walking I do think of all the violence that is going on here, I have read the newspapers and do realize that Mazatlan is not what it was 10 years ago when I first started coming here. I used to walk from the docks to downtown at anytime of night all alone but I don’t think I will be walking after dark this year. Most likely after being here for a month I might become complacent and end up out after dark anyway.....especially if I stop reading the news. Mind you, the increased amount of federal police and narcotic cops driving around with their AK47s drawn might just be all the reminder that I need that there is a drug war going on. I do feel very safe and sound once I get on the narcos here. People here leave their doors to their houses and cars open, windows too. Not saying there is no crime, we have crime but it’s not war, people aren’t getting shot and decapitated and no car theft.
I managed to get almost everything on my list, one item was a blender. The kitchen supply store where I bought the rest of my things didn’t have one; they sold all the parts (you can buy all the parts of a blender separately here, and I think that’s great) but not the actual blender. Every Mexican home has a blender regardless of how poor; they do a lot of blending. Blending is very important and I have found I can’t life without one here either, I used to always borrow one but it’s time I buy my own and I am giving myself one more suitcase of stuff for storage so I feel I have space for a blender of my own. (And a few other things) So I stop at a taco stand and ask the lady where I can buy a blender close by and she tells, and I even understand all her Spanish and I even find the place and I even buy one..Yeah! I’m so excited I start heading home, on a bus this time because I am starting to look and feel like a pack donkey. It wasn’t until I get home I realized I hadn’t made it through my list...dang. Oh well I got 10 out of 13 items and that’s a successful trip for me. Soon as I got home the electrician came by, he was supposed to come manana 2 days ago. I did not have hot water in my shower just luke warm, he explained to me, and showed me, that if I have it turned up all the way the cooler my water will be, pressure takes heat way, so less pressure more heat. Sure’s hot now. Yeah again! Such an easy fix this time. My water problems are all fixed now.....and I have a blender. Daniel didn’t come to put in my screen (he dropped off my clothes line) but then he was supposed to manana as well....that was only yesterday.

For the rest of the afternoon I sat on the beach and watched my laundry dry while I read my Spanish/English dictionary ... it’s a good read. Of course at 4:00 I had to watch and make sure everyone went home on time. Shortly after sunset I had to put on socks and a sweater and head into my is so cold here after sunset, gone are the days of sitting outside and enjoying the evening breeze. The locals were saying the weather would change after full moon which was a few days ago, but we did not have fog this morning so I guess that was a change

A little update: 3 days later a guy came by my house with a little truck full of all kinds of household things, including blenders. Had I been patient I could  have saved myself from schelping a blender from the mainland. If you need something on Stone Island, just be patient and it will come to your front door.

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