Synchronicity

If ever there were an overused cosmic words list it would certainly include Synchronicity. OK no argument from me but listen to this.

Anita and I have been looking at a small apartment building to perhaps buy – oh yeah we need more real estate, but that is another discussion.

We are in the finer points of due diligence. This has been going on for a week or so. Yesterday I downloaded [saved] a lot of photos of the prospective property – reason being we can enlarge them and view at will without waiting for the Internet to work.

Anita and I sat together reviewing the downloaded photos. We noticed in a photo taken in a local restaurant nearby the apartment building; there the two of us were sitting at a table – other than the server we were the only people in the photo – how very odd and quite coincidental. There was the Calypso Couple within the many photos of the potential property.

See couple seated far right

Is this a sign? Is that ever a way to get off the course of good process? We cast off any possibility of some cosmic connection. But….

Did I ever tell you the story about how we discovered a photo of Casa LaPuntaEs taken five years before we bought it? That is right, we discovered a photo of our very beach casa amongst photos we had taken on our first trip to Puerto. I mean a couple very deliberate and specific photos of just this very casa we would purchase 5 years later.  Why would I have taken photos of a single house on a street in Puerto Escondido – which five years later we bought for our own – coincidence – perhaps?

We found this photo taken in 2007 of the casa we bought in 2011.

Our friend Gordy says nothing happens without a reason. Of course he also is sure that George Bush the younger and Dick Chaney were involved in the 911 incidences and he lost a one-hundred dollar bet with me that the world was going to end when the Mayan calendar ended. How could I lose by the way?

These signs could indicate providential influence – but I would not take that to the bank. Especially a Mexican bank.  We recently opened two bank accounts here in Puerto. I am still so confused that I cannot write about it here without further investigation. It appears that rules vary considerably between banks here in Mexico unlike the highly regulated banks in the United States – but more on that soon.  Stay Tuned.

Puerto Escondido Winter

As if I have not been a proponent of you coming to Puerto Escondido in the winter time – they say a picture is worth a thousand words – thus a moving picture must be worth millions adding up all those still photos streamed together.

One of our wonderful beaches

I was gathering a couple videos to entice our neighbors George and Pearl; and my sister-in-law Becky and brother–in-law Don to come here next winter. Perhaps even my sister and Jim.

Thought this might be worth posting. Turn your player up to the HD video quality and watch these two videos taken here in Puerto.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=909313289131888&pnref=story

https://vimeo.com/124621132

Pretty irresistible , no?

Stay Tuned!

Sunday in Puerto Escondido

It is 80 F or 26.6 C here in Puerto Escondido on Sunday morning. We had a short, but jolting, earthquake last night exactly 12 hours ago at 8:18 PM. We are listening to some Brazilian music, Putumayo presents Acoustic Brazil (2005), – we catch words and meanings intermittently as our command of the Spanish language is anything but.

It is moments like these that define music as a universal language.

How lucky we are to be here this morning – the birds know it and so do we. Here are a couple photos of a flower in the yard this morning. this flower opens and closes at the command of the sun. The flower I think is Nature’s way of letting us know it has a soul.

 

There is a line that I recall in a pretty wonderful film starring Kevin Kline, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Maggie Smith titled, ‘My Old Lady’ [2014] that goes “A PERFECT FLOWER IS NEARLY OLD “.

If you cannot find Putumayo presents Acoustic Brazil get anything with

Caetano Veloso

You will not be disappointed.

This is not the last salsa or tango in Puerto. Stay Tuned!

San Patricio

EXACTLY ONE HUNDRED YEARS BEFORE I WAS BORN in 1846 a group of downtrodden Irish-immigrant soldiers deserted the U.S. Army to fight for the Mexican Army in the Mexican-American War (1846-48). The soldiers were of San Patricio (Spanish for Saint Patrick), and a long way from home.

This is not a history lesson (maybe it is) as much as an introduction to a terrific album of music I ran across in my collection the other day.  Actually it was the cover that caught my eye – it just yelled out Steve Cotton being embraced by his new community northwest of here, in Barra de Navidad, Jalisco, Mexico, or San Patricio country the areas local patron saint. If the blond haired hombre being held by the Virgin looked a little more like Elton John this would have to be Steve’s logo. Think a younger Steve and indulge me here.

So in honor of my friend and his recent visit – we popped in the CD to have a listen. What a pleasant surprise. Ry Cooder and the Chieftains joined by  Liam Neeson, Linda Rondstadt, Carlos Núñez, Moya Brennan (Clannad), Lila Downs, Chavela Vargas (recently passed) Tigres del Norte. and more. I mean the CD is mine, but I had not listened to it since near its release back in 2010. The fusion of the respective peoples of that history lesson is magic and the music of that fusion is as well.

The Irish (et al) volunteers fighting for the Mexican Army of General Santa Ana when they were overrun by the American forces at the Battle for Mexico City. Let it be said that it was not one of Amerika’s humane moments whether they were deemed traitors or deserters.

If you have occasion to visit Mexico City, go to the Chapultepec Castle in Chapultepec Park and go through the museum and read the Mexican perception of the events of the War and the San Patricios. As in all history, perceptions differ. And when one side loses, perceptions will vary significantly.

Make the visit to Chapultepec Park if possible, but DO NOT MISS this collection of tunes – it will rock you in any case, history lesson withstanding.  Thanks for provoking the reminder Steve. Stay Tuned!

Footprints On The Sands Of Time

Lives of great men all remind us

We can make our lives sublime,

And, departing, leave behind us

Footprints on the sands of time

 Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The dust, or sand, has barely settled as the town goes back to ‘normal’. There were complaints about the mess our beaches were made – however there is credit to be given for the quick clean up.

“The sad reality of Semana Santa on Zicatela, it’s hard relate to this type of tourism, go on vacation to a beautiful beach and trash it.”

In spite of much bad press 2014-2015 have been record breaking tourism -

“This has been a record breaking year for Semana Santa tourism in Oaxaca. Puerto received 50,714 tourists, according to Styde, the state tourism agency, and came out 73 million pesos richer (almost 5 million dollars.) Huatulco made a lot more money – 203 million pesos – with only 38,140 tourists.”

It should be noted that Huatulco is a higher-end tourist destination wherein dollars spent per capita is greater than our little beach burg.

We kept a low profile through the entire week plus. The Calypso Couple celebrated Easter at home with tequila-lemonade, barbecued fresh teriyaki tuna, stuffed mushrooms and quinoa salad ending with home-made pumpkin pie

– we will venture out today to see how our pueblito held up.

All cleaned up and ready…here we go!

Stay Tuned!

I Am Converted

Today is Easter Sunday and Daylight Savings clock changing time all wrapped up into one. There will be throngs of converted folks visiting churches and cathedrals around the world to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  But this is but a tricky entrance to another conversion – that of going metric.

Converting things is a way of life when you live in a country where you have limited communication skills and the measure of anything usually falls within foreign standards. It starts with converting funds and then:

The metric system – wow – major conversions required there.  In the past I have written about how much I like the metric system as opposed to the United States stubborn stance on using something other than about 95 percent of the world.

If you Google ‘The Metric System’ the first thing out of their mouth is, The metric system is an internationally agreed decimal system of measurement that was originally based on…  Did you catch the internationally agreed…?

Google goes on to say, the official system of measurement in almost every country in the world.

Before I left the United States where I was born and bred I did have some decimal system interaction being an engineer type – but my metric acumen was limited at best. So when I came to Mexico, for me what was required was a numbers version of immersion Spanish language lessons.

The Calypso Couple is having their tenth anniversary of living in Mexico as we speak. In that time I am clearly a convert – in the decimals; my command of the Spanish language is, well, not great.

Shortly after getting our new scooter last October, I wanted to purchase a cover to protect the little La Poderosa (we call her, our scooter, Rosa for short).  We went to Auto Zone, yes we have an Auto Zone in Puerto, where an average quality cover started at 300 pesos; one that would not likely hold up through too many seasons of the sun – which is pretty constant here. . We held off deciding to check other options.

We discovered a very nice canvas like cover being sold by a street vendor near the Mercado. We bargained from 400 pesos down to 200, where I was pretty sure we had reached the bottom line. We brought it home and loved it and so did Rosa feeling quite protected. This for less than 14 usd – cool.

4- tarps for 800 pesos or about $55 usd total.

In a short time we decided we had use for more of these tarps around the casa to button it up when we are gone for 5 months. As no-luck would have it, we could not find that or any other vendor selling the tarps for several months.

One time there was an inside vendor selling them – but they were stuck on 400 pesos – you might imagine how hard it would have been for a cheapskate like me to pay double – that was not going to happen

We continued for many weeks keeping an eye out for another vendor of street tarps. Then the other day as we are nearing leaving there was a vendor, the two, on the streets again near the Mercado. And finally here is where the metric system comes in; Even though I had a tape measure in the scooter we just asked the two hombres with stacks of tarps what size or sizes are available? They asked what size we wanted and/or what size was the one we like and want to duplicate, having told them the story to let them know we had already haggled to 200 so let us not back track on that.

The hombres were unpacking and laying out different colored tarps at a rapid pace. I recalled having measured the tarp at home that it was 233 by 275 centimeters which is roughly 7’8″ by 9 feet. “Do you have that size?” I asked.

“Si amigo, we have 3 meters by 3.5 meters.”

I started to convert these meters to feet – this did not go fast enough for these two aggressive sales hombres – that one was already being packed up and the blue one 250 by 300 centimeters came out. O.K. without converting I knew 250 was bigger than 233 and 300 was also bigger than 275 – so that would work. And sounded like a good size. They put the blue aside now we were moving on to the red one. We had told them we wanted three in total as a bargaining chip.

Eventually we had three of various sizes, but all satisfactory and at least as large as the one covering Rosa. As we continued shopping in the Mercado I would set the stack of three tarps down looking at them like a conqueror – finally we have tarps!

Eventually it dawned on me that I want one more. Anita said, “You better hurry and find those guys”. But they were not to be found.

As we were crossing the street there was another street ‘tarp seller’. I asked about sizes. He had a blue one that was 2.5 meters by 3 meters for 200 pesos – he started out at our final haggling price with the other vendors – we did not argue just bought it.

So we got home where I grabbed our existing motor scooter cover and measure it again – it was as I had remembered 233 by 275. I wanted all our four new tarps to be at least that – my brain was a mishmash of centimeters and yards by now.

Scooter Protection

Anita and I laid out each of the new tarps, measuring them.

And here is the kicker; they all measured exactly the same as the tarp covering our scooter – all the same.

I am thinking these guys had to have known this; and probably had a good laugh at our expense.

But we had the last laugh because we got what we wanted all along and do not have to think about which one is what-size-in-metric or inches, feet and yards or which color was what size etc.

Remember these street vendors will tell you what you want to hear – bring a tape measure and use it.  And better yet learn the decimal system. Doing the math arguably Fahrenheit versus centigrade withstanding, the rest is the Decimal System wins hands down – or ten fingers’ and ten toes… right? Stay Tuned.

April Flowers and Lemon Showers

The Calypso Couple are their own gardeners these days since the passing of our constant gardener the first week we arrived here this visit. We have not found a replacement, but have not been looking hard. One theory we have about all the crime in the Hood is much of it is an inside job wherein the gardener and or maid scopes out potential places to hit by knowing the comings and goings and material assets of their employers. This knowledge gained during their services.

Also we have found routine yard maintenance as being quite simple and perhaps even a bit pleasurable. Generally we have enjoyed our little postage stamp lot and location here a few blocks up from the Pacific. On this first day of April rather than trying to fool you we just enclose a few photos from around the yard:

Our front yard.


Isn’t he a handsome fellow?


Catching some rays on the barbecue.

DON’T COME ANY CLOSER!

Our stepping stone with mortar edge – project complete for this visit.

We have a bumper crop of lemons this year – tasty and totally organic ;-) The lemons come thudding down throughout the day – like a lemon rain fall.

We are getting this many and more each morning.

Lemon tree very pretty, and the lemon flower is sweet, but the fruit of the poor lemon is impossible to eat.

Not impossible to eat really. A tequila and lemon drink over ice on a hot afternoon, enjoyed while watching a Pacific Ocean sunset isn’t at all bitter we assure you. Life is Good – Stay Tuned!

 

BIG WAVES

Yesterday I promised more photos of the remarkable wave action we have going on right now.  I collected a number of shots.

In the end there was one photo that pretty much says it all. Kim says he wants to learn to surf; he missed an opportunity to do that here back in 2008.

I suggested we could help him find a beach with appropriate wave action, going on to point out Zicatela Beach here in Puerto is not a place to take up the sport. Again the one photo below says it all.

Stay Tuned

Wave High to Everyone

Dateline: Pacific swell is upon us here in Puerto Escondido – WOW! Last night the sound of the waves crashing was many decibels over the norm.

Awesome stuff at la punta this morning. Grab your boards!

This on the local forum

Good timing for all the tourists in town. Nature can provide some fine entertainment. Wish you all were here – maybe you are.

Stay Tuned!

Call to Order

In Las Brisas Colonial we live within a democracy. Scheduled meetings, the occasional campaign speech and a show of hands voting are procedural – unlike Mexican politics beyond the perimeter of our Hood, we expats have an equal vote – makes no difference what nationality, if you own a place in the Hood you have a vote.  It is more than a privilege here, it is a requirement. If a resident does not attend a community meeting they are fined. They are serious about this.

The meetings are quite an insight to Mexican organization and politics – or lack thereof.

Most of those serving as officers in this little morality play work without pay. It is pretty apparent that their jobs are of the thankless variety.

The sound system is marginal and backless two dollar plastic stools leave an impression on my skinny butt; hard cement seating around the courtyard perimeter is an option; equally uncomfortable.

During a good turnout like we had this past Sunday morning the total vote body count might be 200 with an additional 20 to 30 unbridled children running about. Generally Mexican parents do not expend much energy making behavior demands on their ninos.

The gringos tend to group together – an island of white faces in a sea of brown.

The scene is pretty chaotic, lacking in procedure and planning. Voices get raised occasionally. Mexicans seem to not take criticism well – not at all well. These fledging politicians do not have the hard shells seen on nearly all NOB politicians. Clearly they are more Latin lover than Latin Lucha Libre wrestlers. That suits us just fine.

The meetings always start and end late. Yesterday’s marathon meeting had an 8 AM call and ran three and a half hours –church be hanged. At the onset it was announced there would be 10 issues to cover. Upon hearing the list I leaned in close to Anita, “Ten minutes an issue minimum – meeting the length of a feature film. Oh boy!” This one would be epic, Ben Hur proportion [a 224 minute movie].

There was a lot of discussion, venting, about recent crime in our little Hood. Some seem to feel we have an extraordinary amount of burglaries and thefts. The ladrones are bold entering in bedrooms of sleeping people to steal their iPhones, jewelry and laptops. In some cases these are daytime attempted robbery with physical threats and even physical abuse.

The other day an ATM machine, which was very new to the neighborhood, was stolen – the entire unit was loaded into a van – the machine was freshly filled with a large sum of crisp new pesos – ‘According to the report the company that owned it had put 300,000 pesos into it prior to the theft.’ That is about 20,000 usd. Not a small caper.

It was further reported that a [thought to be] foreigner witnessed the heist and managed to get a photo of the get-away van. The robbers turned around, hunted down the photographer taking his camera and badly beating him. ‘Word is someone took a picture of the truck they used as they were driving away with the ATM but they saw the flash go off, they returned, found the person that took it, took the camera, his stuff and beat the crap out of him….’

A number of people got up to speak their complaint about the lack of police support. Voices and intensity were raised. Here it got interesting:

There were several police officials at the head table. As the complaints boiled over grim faces awash on the police side. In a manner of minutes there were more than a dozen to as many as two-dozen uniformed police sporting their semi-automatic rifles, visible in all directions. Where did these guys come from?

It was pretty obvious someone had got on a phone and called in support; successfully creating quite an intimidating scene. it should be noted when the police were called about the ATM machine around 2 AM they showed up around noon to address the issue. But, here they were in rapid fashion guns drawn.

While it is generally understood that there are in fact no police to call upon within the Hood, there certainly seemed to be no lack of law enforcement personnel at that moment. If there was one there were three in groups all around us, inside the meeting area and beyond its fenced perimeter in the streets.

Here I am thinking perhaps our little community meeting was about to become a riot venue.

Eventually things seemed to lower in heat, flared tempers began to cool and as quick as all those gun toting hombres appeared they were gone. Rest assured their little demonstration got the message across to this writer.

We are of the opinion that there is easily as much crime at our U.S. home base of Las Vegas. We all are taking measures to better secure our property. The Calypso Couple has had no loss of possessions or otherwise robbery problems. We operate carefully, proceeding everywhere with caution. We will have to consider our safety attending those meetings – perhaps the one-hundred peso fine (about $7 usd) is money well spent?  Stay Tuned!