Friday, November 29, 2013

Friends in high places

Sunday I head into Maz to attend Spanish church, they have moved to a new location, I have a photo of a map and an address. Along the way I ask 3 people for directions and they all send me in a different direction. I find the church and I am late but I am not. (Mexican church always starts late) I am greeted by friendly familiar faces. The worship is incredible, ,the songs are familiar and I feel Jesus' presence. My Spanish however needs some Spanish brain isn't turned on yet, I remember that I forgot my Spanish verb workbook in Canada, I'm annoyed at myself.
A friend invites me to her mother's house for lunch, she lives close to the Island docks. We take a bus. It's her brothers birthday....and it's a party, I am introduced to about 20 people, my Spanish brain does not keep up. In true Mexican tradition tables are set up in the middle of the street, even a tent (because it's blitzen hot) cars have to detour and they do so without issue and without being told, there are no signs, no police officers directing just happens, it's how we party here. The cake is beautiful, the carne asada tacos are awesome, I underestimate the salsa roja, my eyes and nose start running, I overcome, ceviche is great, (but no one makes it like my Mex. sister) the beans were a new recipe for me, they were awesome. 

The vanilla cake was great  and the ice cream was cool and soft. Once again my Spanish is frustrating me, maybe another Spanish immersion school is needed.....but isn't that what I am doing right immersion?
On my walk home I see another party on the street, and that street is blocked too.....I'll try this when I get back to Canada, just to see how it would go over. 

I have friends that live in high places...really high, high up Ice box hill in Mazatlan, I choose a blazin hot day to visit them and the hottest part of the day to make the climb...what can i say, they are just that special. I pick up 2 slices of pizza and eat them as I climb up. This is a good system, to refuel as you are burning energy, and it slows me down...all that swallowing and breathing you know. Dried and cracked back iguanas scurry as I stumble up the steps. Climbing these rock steps makes me think of my time in Peru, sure glad I went there when I was still young....would die there now. I think of ice cream, I should buy these friends a pail of ice cream so that I can always have a big bowl when I get to the top, but the thought of carrying a pail of ice cream up here isn't good. Could it be any hotter? Has it ever not been hot when I climb up here? It's always hot getting up here. I get to the top and am awed at the view and forget about ice cream.

There are 72 steps going up to ice box hill, of course once you get to these steps you are already halfway up

The view

The view from their living room window. The malecon (sea side walkway is 13 miles long, the longest in the world, is beautifully painted and is so nice to walk day or night

More malecon, great for walking, rollerblading and biking

The Mexican flag

 We have a good visit. We drive down (yes I got a ride down...not up lol) to our favorite papa loca place and eat an amazing papa first of the season, it did not disappoint. Never mind that I just had 2 pieces of pizza....I worked those off, my body didn't even feel them. My friends brought a pencil to make a mark in the doorway for every papa they eat this season, I choose not to count mine. Why is it so comforting to sit at a plastic table on the busiest corner of this big city, eating and talking while the traffic roars by, a mixture of cars, chili trucks, motorbikes, dust and buses.....oh the buses, roaring, honking (because this speeds up traffic), as exhaust fumes float in we eat our papas and talk about how great this country is....and how great the papas are, the chaos around us is there, but the peace of Mexico rides you though it in soft waves of familiar comfort. There is comfort in knowing that when we come back next year, the marks in the door frame, the same waitresses and the same papas, and the plastic tables will still be there. ..... and the buses will still speed up traffic. Things don't change very quickly here, and I like that.
I am alone on the boat across the water to the Island, I love the lights of the shrimp and tuna fleet in the port. The tuna fleet is parked until after new year's. They light the port up like a Christmas tree. The breeze on the ocean is so welcome....I wish I could sleep there, on the boat. I should have bought a fan while I was in town....surely it will cool off soon. Walking home I notice Christmas trees are up in some houses....doors and windows are open in our homes. 3 stumbling drunk cowboys pass me, there are arm in arm singing a love song, they don't notice me, a dog barks in the distance, I hear the surf, the chicken place is still selling chicken, 4 guys are playing basket ball on the court, some friends are eating on the street in front of Patty's, there is the usual cowboy tailgate meeting in front of Los mangoes, aside from the dog barking and the surf....not a sound. I know I have coffee, cream and toilet paper at home, so straight home I go. I wish I had a pail of ice cream. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013


Sitting at the airport I tell my shoulders to relax. I reflect on how many hands it has taken to get me here. Friends and family members picking and dropping me off at bus depos, airports, the golf course, someone picks up my mail, someone deposits money, someone mails my christmas cards, delivers gifts, emails me important stuff, someone waters plants, ..... I think at this moment someone is tiling my bathroom and someone is missing his grandma when he wakes up. I regret that this grandma is a phantom that comes and goes like a surprise schnook. I'm tired, my shoulders are tense, my hands looks like I've been in a cat fight, my big toe nail is blue, I'm dehydrated but I need coffee to make it through my 7 airports in the next 4 days. I think of my new swim suit in my carryon, will I wear it this year. Right now I can see me jumping  in the ocean. I really do. I can't wait to see the ocean.I stop in Louisiana for 4 days to visit some friends, we are connected by our mutual love of golf. I am toured through 4 golf courses and the country side, I see old plantation homes, winding bayous, alligators, rivers, lakes, and the ocean. I see furniture and household fixings to fit the finest of southern homes in the grandest fashion. I eat chicken and pork gumbo with bread that I will never forget, I eat shrimp stew, and a smorgasbord of so many things I can't even spell or tell you about. But let me tell you about the hotdog that I will never forget. A little hole in the wall, and 2 young men with an amazing idea named "Botsky's". It is a little gourmet hotdog shop. First you choose your dog, then you choose your toppings and your sauce. I choose the alligator and pork dog, it's about an inch think, for my toppings I choose red beans, tomatoes, guacamole, onions and for my sauce I choose spicy chipotle.......I will never be able to explain to you how great it was, the dog, the toppings, the sauce and the homemade was perfect and won't be forgotten ever. What a great idea.4 days gave me just a little taste of the south and I will be back for more.  Must come back to see yous  ya'll. I imagine how great it would be to see this place from the back seat of a bike. (sigh)

A plantation home

A alligator getting some sun

If you are ever in Lake Charles Louisiana take the time to have a hotdog at "Botsky's". I recommend the "gator"


I arrive, fast off the plane, I have no luggage. My Mexican brother hustles me into his truck as I in hale deep the soft humid air, I think I can smell vanilla. It's hot, hot and very special kind of hot.  We are in a hurry, it's his father's (my Tio) birthday and there is a party happening on the beach. There are apples rolling around on the floor around my feet. It rained yesterday, the road is a mess, we pass a tractor pulling a dead cow with 8 cows walking behind in a procession. Brother whoops out the window at them in greeting. We struggle with the road and decide to take the beach.

Arriving at sunset....pinch me

 The sun is just setting and I am in awe and humbled at how blessed I am. Brother updates me on the Island gossip, this is why he is always the one to pick me up, gets to tell me his side first. We race along the beach dodging boat anchors, I can't believe I am here. He has been given orders to drop me by "our" sister's restaurant. A very excited 7 year old almost throws me over with her hugs and won't let go, we all group hug. I am told to go home and drop my bags off and come back for the party. I am soaked, it's so hot. Locks have been changed in my house, why? who knows, but my Tia across the street has the keys. My garden is a jungle, I am in awe again. In my house there is a new kitchen table, freshly  built, I smell sawdust, and a quapa tree planted right in front of the house that will block my view one day why? Who knows. Every item in the house is coated in dust, this will take a week to clean but i have a party to go to. I find a pillow and wipe down the futon, this will be my bed tonight. My hair is dripping down my back, my t-shirt is soaked. It's hot like no other hot. I wipe down, roll up my pant legs and find a dry t-shirt and head to the beach....slowly. Many hugs along the way, by now it's dark and I like it,  it's peaceful.

I see lights twinkling in the dark and hear the music above the surf as I approach the restaurant, I feel so at home. Nothing has changed and I like that. As everyone hugs me they all comment on my long hair and how skinny I am, no worries though, they will fatten me up, in one night keeps ending up on my plate. We joke saying there is no food in Canada. My 73 year old tio dances all evening, it's his party. He dances with his wife, with his grand kids with his daughters, nieces, sisters, he loves the attentions and the applause. Grand kids take turns with the mike singing him songs, he's so happy and I forget how hot it is. I can't believe I am here. This party will go on into the night, as my Tio is doing the Mexican hat dance  I sneak away, I've been up since 3 am, a nephew gives me a ride home on his quad. Once home I realize I need toilet paper, coffee and cream, (the necessities)  I walk to the store. It's  still hot but I am no longer sweating, I must be adapting already. From my house to the store it's a meet and greet parade for me. As always there are new babies and many new puppies and people's houses have been painted but not much else has changed and I like that. I fall asleep to the distant soft sound of the surf, roosters letting me know I am in Mexico and the occasional kid whooping in the street, I sleep soundly on the futon.

My house cleaning went very slowly as I keep getting interrupted, I don't mind. I haven't gotten into a normal routine yet. I need  to find  a new system for storing my clothes, lots of them got mold stains from the humidity.First morning walk on the beach was pure bliss, I am humbled again at the faithfulness of God and am ever so grateful. To be able to say that I am living out my dream life is humbling....who am I to deserve this?First sunset is breathtaking, how can it be that the surf and sunset can be so different each time, I never get tired of it...never.  

November 11th, wherever you are....never foget

All is well in mi casita

I'll work on getting some color in here this season

there is so much going on in this tree

regardless of what you washes up ashore it's always beautiful, I think if I took a picture of a horse turd at the right angle and right light on the beach it would be beautiful.

Monday, November 25, 2013

I'm baaaack!

First....sorry for not writing and staying connected, I haven't disappeared, just didn't have much to say. For reason I won't  get into this space is not supposed to be about my work and since that's all I did all, I really didn't have much to write about. I had a garden as usual and 3 chickens but wasn't able to spend  much time at home. My garden had to fend for itself,  thank goodness for some decent rains this summer, it still produced enough to feed me all just didn't look as pretty. I had enough tomatoes to make a lot of salsa, and even freeze a lot. For the first time ever I had a great crop of cucumbers and carrots, beets and amazing garlic, other than that I didn't have much. Peas and beans died due  to neglect and squash got planted so late it didn't produce, except for zucchini....any monkey can grow  zucchini?

My chickens survived just fine and greeted me every day when I came home from work with their chatter and with 3 eggs. 3 chickens gave me plenty of eggs to share with my neighbours. Louise was the same from last summer and she was very friendly but Veronica and Betty were new and didn't warm up to me at all, I just didn't spend enough time with them like I did with Louise last summer.

I didn't knit a stitch, read a book, paint a thing or touch my sewing machine, didn't even bake bread or make a pie. Seriously....just work. Made one road trip in July to see my daughter and grandson and they came up twice, and aside from maybe a handful of quick lunches with a friend that is about all the socializing I did too.

All work and no play isn't so bad when you can let your mind drift off  to a land of sun, sand and surf and know that there is an end to the work, and once it's's over for 5 months, and then it is all worth it and I wouldn't change a thing.

I'll leave you with some shots  of the summer

I love taking photos from the bug's view....from the bottom up

Aside from the horse he has the whole farming thing figured out

Like I said nothing overly interesting ....... yet. Stay tuned...