Life Update

We had planned on heading to Xico, Veracruz (our other home) two Sundays past. Recalling our return to Xico last year, it was cold and rainy leaving us wishing we had stayed in Puerto longer. So we cancelled the early departure and will remain here until the 27th – two weeks longer than originally planned.  Follow the sun – the Calypso’s path.

Our Beach Across from Hotel Santa Fe in Puerto Escondido

Jane, half of our friends John and Jane who are living near Xico wrote spontaneously the other day, “Burrr! you two are lucky you did not come back yet”

Because we were nearly packed up to leave we are living a bit awkwardly, not wanting to unpack. Will try and plan this better next year.  In the meantime we are laying low as the town is FULL of tourist enjoying our fair pueblito.

Over on the other side of town Anita’s brother is packing up to head to the States for two months. Sadly he and his mate have decided to leave Puerto Escondido after living here a year and a half. Brother-in-law’s daughter is with child. Grand-parenting is calling, giving him the desire to live closer to Las Vegas and daughter. He will be missed.  We enjoyed having family across town.

We have been shopping online for guitars (yes – more than one). At 67 we have decided to revisit an old hobby with more time to devote to it – time will surely be needed. Author, Malcolm Gladwell says that it takes roughly ten thousand hours of practice to achieve mastery in a field. Ten thousand regardless of one’s possible inherent talent. We are shooting for something less than being a master at guitar playing.

Willie Nelson’s Classic 1969 Martin “Trigger”

Gladwell studied the lives of extremely successful people to find out how they achieved success. In the early 1990s, a team of psychologists in Berlin studied violin students. Specifically, they studied their practice habits in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. All of the subjects were asked this question: “Over the course of your entire career, ever since you first picked up the violin, how many hours have you practiced?”

All of the violinists had begun playing at roughly five years of age with similar practice times. However, at age eight, practice times began to diverge. By age twenty, the elite performers averaged more than 10,000 hours of practice each, while the less able performers had only 4,000 hours of practice.

The elite had more than double the practice hours of the less capable performers.

Natural Talent: Not Important is claimed.  

This suits me ;-)

I called upon my calculator which revealed 10,000 hours practicing 4 hours a day is nearly 7 years’ time – ouch! Let’s just work on being able to scratch out Neil Young’s “Old Man” as a goal.

“Old man take a look at my life
I’m a lot like you
I need someone to love me
The whole day through
Ah, one look in my eyes
And you can tell that’s true…”

I leave you with this appropriate cartoon about Jimi Hendrix shopping for guitars (he did not have Amazon, Ebay or any other computer shopping place)

Peace – Stay Tuned!

An Artists Palette of
Colors and Textures

The Calypso Couple is about ready to start preparing to head north for the spring and summer.

Actually we have already started in that mode – gathering things up to be stored away, covered, or otherwise prepared for 6 months of abandonment.

In that light we decided to take a few photos of the many plants and flowers in our yard today – to serve as a memory when we are gone. So please indulge us in looking at a lot of photos – all taken today, all shots of our property here in Puerto Escondido.

We are more of permaculturalists than gardeners or flower lovers.

A year or so after purchasing this property we went to extensive measures to install a drip watering system. A system that would mostly tend to itself during the time we are gone. In fairness we do have a gardener that comes and checks on things 2 hours a week. He is to make sure our drip system is dripping and kind of keep the major growth down to a manageable point.

The first time we returned here after being away six plus months it was a veritable jungle. Arriving late at night we had to machete our way to the door – truly. Since we have made the arrangement with our friend and gardener Simplicito we have come back to a much nicer situation each fall.

Not only is our Blog an attempt at service to you good readers, it is a memory storehouse for us. So here’s to the memories of the past beautiful six months of beach living and an artist’s palette of color and textures:

Sneaked in a Photo of the New Screen door

Had to include a photo of our neighborhood street dog Pirata. She does actually have a home across the street but we all treat her as our own here on the block.

Thank you for allowing us to indulge in this little home photo essay.

Back on message next time, when we will start reviewing all our home improvements made at Casa El Punta Es. Stay Tuned!

Mexico – Behind the Mask

Some of the best folk-art from Mexico can be found in their colorful masks. Is it any wonder that would be the case when this typifies the character of many Mexicans? Behind the masks can be some very different qualities. Different as compared to your typical Anglo.

“The mechanical punctuality and organization of an Anglo-Saxon society, in contrast seem purposeless. What counts to the Mexican is what he is rather than what he does, the man rather than the job: He works to live and not the inverse.   He can deal with external chaos if his spiritual concerns are cared for, but he cannot allow his identity to be obliterated by man-made forces. Rather he interprets the world in accordance with his emotions. In an environment of apparent disorder, he can improvise, create and eventually impose his own personality on events. And in the end, in the name of expressing his individuality, he contributes to disorder.” Alan Riding (Distant Neighbors).

We love the masks, the folk-art ones. The other night we bought one in the adoquin (Ah-DOE-KEEN). Soon we will find its contrasting angel mate. Hate the devil – love the art.

Stay Tuned!

Tuna Boats a Float

The Calypso Couple are well known, or so it seems,  in the community for their love of fresh tuna off the boat.

Yesterday while visiting our favorite panaderia (bakery) a small little hombre came running up to Doña Anita, breathlessly notifying her that his mom has atún (tuna). The muchacho had crossed the dirt road where his family operates a fresh fish market. I continued on for my pan dulce (sweet bread).

We ended up with 1200 grams of thin sliced tuna steaks. This is $3.47 a pound and the current market price in our area. The odd point to all this is that tuna usually appears in the markets in November through January. Never have seen it here in March.

According to the nice fish mujer (woman) the water got cooler than usual and tuna has appeared in the off shore water. We were happy for whatever caused this cooling, especially since it has been a bit unseasonably warm for the last two weeks?

A word of caution here: Tuna in Spanish is atún (AH-TUNE). Asking for tuna one might just end up with a cactus, prickly pear, or even a bowl of olives  (aceitunas).

We made it home with our tuna stash and began storing our pan dulce when we were beckoned to the gate by yet another charming mujer. This one had a broad weaved basket on her head. She came to tell us she had tuna. A common thread was sensed – the tuna are running.

She thought of us knowing our proclivity for the chicken of the sea. Even though our larder was full of tuna we bought another kilo in thanks for her thinking of us and to guarantee her return.

Mexican tuna is usually sliced thin like most of them apparently like their beef steaks. We have no problem with that – fire up the barbecue. We cook enough to have some to shred for tuna sandwiches another time or two – yum.

We have not had much fish in our diets lately what with all the news and fear mongering of radiation soaked fish arriving on North American shores from Japan and such. Anita encourages me to find a portable Geiger counter that would enable us to arrive at our own conclusion. But for now we trust the local water here at the southern tip of Mexico and just could not resist – see why below:


All this tuna talk makes me want to go and watch a few episodes of Wicked Tuna

Come on by for a  barbecue tuna fry – Life is Good. Stay Tuned!


Below you will find the link to a FREE feature length film.  It is available to view without need to download – a youtube offering.  In my estimation it is a film EVERYONE should see.

Yesterday in the morning news it was reported that BP has had a ban lifted and is again winning oil contracts. “The Environmental Protection Agency is allowing BP to once again bid on new leases in the Gulf of Mexico “

Please take the time to watch the video on Youtube. To quote a statement at the end the film “The gulf oil spill uncovered an unsettling truth: We live in a corrupt system controlled by a small group obsessed with putting profit and power above the health of humankind and the planet”… an excellent documentary and everyone owes it to themselves and to their children and future generations to see.

BP chose not to present its side of the story — the company declined to be interviewed for the film.

Stay Tuned and INFORMED!

Viva Puerto

A local magazine helps Puerto Escondido’s reach and image. Barbara Joan Schaffer, the editor in chief, can be seen scurrying about town collecting news as well as marketing ad space.

Latest Issue Cover

We first met Barbara a few years ago when researching buying property here. Published in 2010 Barbara had a book on local shelves titles, “Oaxaca Coast: The Lay of the Land, Real Estate Tips & Day Trips” We found the small volume very helpful steering us in the direction of a successful purchase of the Calypso’s Casa La Punta Es as well as sending us off on several surrounding area excursions that are indeed fun “day trips” and more.

She starts the Introduction of the book with this “I see you gentle reader, sitting on the terrace  of a beachside restaurant enjoying your 2 for 1 margaritas while the sun sets over Zicatela beach, and you are thinking, ‘I could live here.’ And the next thing you know you are crazy in love with buying or building a house on the Oaxaca coast. I know because I was once that person too. Truth be told, Puerto Escondido and Huatulco and everything in between are places of enchantment.

She had my full attention at “…sitting on the terrace of a beachside restaurant… while the sun sets over Zicatela beach.” Her book had an infectious, personal tone that was as much a promotional piece as it was chock full of detailed information. It truly worked on us.

Because Puerto is a small community our paths eventually crossed. We shared writer’s enthusiasms and we learned of her soon to be project “Viva Puerto” magazine. Just about at closing of our casa purchase the first issue of her magazine hit the streets. Since then we see each other regularly discussing magazine topics, and our shared love of movies; we even have contributed several photos that have been included in both the hard copies and the Internet E’zine versions of the magazine. We have talked recently about collaborating on an updated book on buying land in mysterious Mexico or is it “Mysteriously buying land in Mexico?”

In as much as many of the readers here have an interest in Puerto Escondido, be it a possible vacation destination to a full on place to live, we want to direct your attention to Viva Puerto magazine – Like her book before it Viva Puerto Escondido magazine reflects and exposes Barbara’s bubbly personality and is not to be missed online or in hard copy found all around town.

Barbara is also a regular contributor on the local Tom Zap Forum. It is there she is even feistier. But you must sign-up to read her and other’s comments – the Forum is not for the timid. It can be a rough crowd, yet also informative and definitely worth having a look if you are thinking about visiting or living here.

Stay Tuned!

Bright Lights, Big City – NOT!

Dateline Puerto Econdido: Our little beach town is getting new solar lights along the main highway (Highway 200) into and out of town. A short run that. I believe it is about 5 miles from one end to the other (east to west).

We have noted in the 7 years we have been coming here that it is dark at night (not such a bad thing).  Illuminating the main highway has to be a good thing. And the best part is how they are going about it – with solar panels and fancy high-tech looking light poles.

It has been reported that the Mexican government is establishing a National Energy Strategy with policies to be implemented over the next 15 years, to increase the Country’s electricity generation from non-fossil fuel sources by 35 per cent.

Lots of chatter on the local Forum about the new lights – ‘whose paying for all this?’ Barbara Joan Schaffer, our local editor in chief of VivaPuerto Ecscondido Magazine writes:

“Generally infrastructure improvements, like solar lighting, happen because of federal or state grants to the municipalities, not from business license fees.

I went to pay for my business [license] for San Pedro. New procedure this year. They wanted to see my SAT federal tax ID, a map showing where my business (my house) is, and my birth certificate! So I down loaded a map from Google maps, and told them no way would they get my birth certificate since I don’t have it. Past years they just wanted my name, address and money.”

Mexico’s finances are a mystery and I am pretty sure the powers that be like it that way. Another comment from a popular contributor on the local Forum, Farkem, “…don’t think those extra fees are going to be spent on public works, but rather on someone’s home improvements.”

Full public disclosure might give a clue – however judging from the effect exposure has on the general public north of the border – people could care less that their monies are being wasted and worse. Let there be light!

Time to don the barista apron and make some cappuccinos.

The Calypso Couple Coffee Workstation

Stay Tuned!

Mexico on $150.00 a Month


Ad found in March 1957 Magazine

We found this ad in a magazine dated March 1957. It is all pretty eye-opening – gas for 15 cents a gallon and “Full-time servants… for $15.00 a month” – wow!

Serene living among world’s most considerate people.” Might question that – but hey we are here 57 years later and still surprised at the good deals ;-)   Stay Tuned!

The Tramite (or Process)

The Mexican hombre behind me leaned in within inches of my ear. We were in line for more than an hour by now.

“I came here from California, Santa Rosa north of San Francisco. The motor vehicle department was easier to get through. Maybe I should go back?” he said.

We started in on the usual conversation, “Where are you from? How long have you been here?  Why are you living in Mexico when there is a choice?”

“Why are you?” we asked. Answering a question with a question.

It is a fact that red tape knows no borders – Especially when it comes to getting a vehicle legal.

I KNOW these two are cooking up MORE RED TAPE

This time around this was our eighth trip to Oaxaca Mexico’s version of the motor vehicle department. For the past year and a half we have not had all the papers/stickers and/or correct license plates for our 2008 Jetta – mostly because the vehicle department was lacking in physical plates or finely crafted shinny window stickers.

This go round we had logged more than eight hours – almost all of it waiting in lines.

It is definitely cheaper or easier  to register your car each year in Oregon or New Mexico or Colorado than in Oaxaca – here it is about lots of seeds and red tape.Consider yourselves forewarned.

If you have been reading along you know we have suffered through many hours each year getting our visa permits to live in Mexico. The last time, a three month effort, yielded permanent residency cards wherein we no longer have to return to renew every year – we are golden – at least for the time being. Until some administration or arm of the government decides differently.

But, the car licensing process seems to have filled the void that was aggravation.

A month ago we were turned away after hours of waiting in a crowded space. Sent off without plates, being advised to call every week to see if the actual metal plates that would replace the existing ones would be in. Already we had encountered several police (transito) road blocks checking for proper papers, stickers and plates. Each time we had to explain that the local Puerto Escondido office did not have blah blah blah.

“Call to check on the plates” we were told. If you have been reading along you know we have no phones, landline or mobile. We thought we were clever on this score asking a friend in the same boat to let us know when she called in and heard to go in and get her plates and window sticker.

Three or more weeks passed. Last night we sent an email reminding our friend we were waiting to hear and to not forget us. Too late she got hers last week – “…been very busy….” Grrrr!

Today we did get the plates. But, a day or two ago they ran out of the fancy window stickers. We should return in three weeks or so. This cannot be real!  But, no need to pinch myself it is.

The Mexican guy behind me leans in again and says, “Mexico loves its red tape.” He is smiling.  I am fuming. After nearly ten years of this waiting and red tape I certainly am used to it. But the truth is that fact is not comforting. We are just wired to be unhappy when hours and hours of our time is robbed by inefficient governmental systems. OK we now can get pissed with a bit of a smile on our face – but pissed off we remain.

Got to go. Going go get a beer and hangout in the hammock – time to forget the two plus wasted hours this morning and maybe think about finding a new friend. Stay Tuned!