Our Missing Neighbor

Xico, Veracuz, Mexico: Here in the Hood we are saddened that our neighbor Emilio Cortes is missing. We have lived next-door to one another for 9 years. We watched his daughter grow up.

MISSING!

 

Emilio has always been pleasant and a gentle man. He always greets me with Don John como esta? As he says this he extends his hand. We shake the gentle Mexican shake (Mexican men do not try and out squeeze the hand of the greeter like U.S. men – perhaps they are more secure in their strength?)

Thirteen days ago Emilio told his family he was going out for a little while. He has not returned. He has no history of this kind of behavior.

It should be noted Emilio has had a drinking problem over the years. It is possible he laid down somewhere and or was very inebriated to the point of having a memory problem?

Of course the family has checked with police, hospitals, dry-out hospices and known places he might frequent.

We want Emilio back home with his family.  PLEASE if you have any information contact us here or see the phone numbers on the flier enclosed.

A better photo of Emilio –

Emilio in 2012

PLEASE CONTACT US IF YOU HAVE SEEN THIS MAN

  Stay Tuned!

Moto Review

We have not checked in on our Cruise Azul motor scooter for a while. Also have not reported that we sold our beloved Burgman 650 Suzuki scooter in New Mexico a month ago. It was impossible to get the Burgman in Mexico for a reasonable import fee.

For those that have not been here for these many years – six years ago come October we purchased our 2008 blue motor scooter (better known as Cruise Azul). It is a Chinese knock-off of a Honda 150 cc moto – however built with lesser quality in China as opposed to the more refined Japanese manufacturers – Suzuki, Yamaha and Honda for example.

That October we tossed the numbers around – We could buy FOUR China dolls for one of Honda’s finest. As is often the case, we opted for the cheap route – we would see how it goes. We bought two scooters at Chedraui grocery store in Coatepec. We bargained for a 1000 peso discount (each) buying two – an acquaintance came in with us. We each paid $950 USD out the door. Now we are six years down the road and about 5000 miles later. Not counting maintenance (regular or otherwise) that works out to about $14.00 a month – pretty cheap transportation.

Of course we only ride it 6 months out of the year – but even $28 a month is not bad for reliable transportation.

Did I just write ‘reliable?’ OK well there is some debate on that. With less than 5,000 total miles we have replaced and repaired: new front fork bearing; new battery; new brakes (twice –don’t ask); new brake cable; new starter motor; frame to motor bolt; new rear tire; some wiring problems and as of today a new clutch assembly.

This after doing a recommended 20 + point improvement and care set-up upon purchase. This included changing all hoses and tubes; change spark plug, solder some wiring connections, changing fuel filter assembly, modifying the exhaust system and the air intake box etc. Tear down to tighten and inspect bolts and belt etc.

It should be noted parts are more expensive in Mexico – labor much less as compared to the U.S. In Mexico we have never registered (not required) our 149 cc scooter – so a saving there as well as no insurance cost.

Cruise Azul Circa October 2008

We know a local (here in Xico) mechanic we like.  He is competent and slightly expensive (Mexican expensive). More on this later.

Cruise Azul in the shop yesterday

A little history: Cruise Azul has never left us stranded (mostly). We have had two INCIDENTS: twice we laid the scooter down stopped or nearly so, mostly due to sand.  On one of those spills I had bruised ribs and a scuffed ankle. Anita hobbled on crutches for two weeks (in fairness she has weak ankles). We are fully recovered (except for Senora Calypso’s ankle).

We drove 120 miles one day on Cruise Azul – a lot for a little scooter – sore butts later – not recommended. A scooter here is very handy when parking is difficult to find as well as economical fuel and maintenance as compared to driving a car. It also is a bit dangerous as compared to a car – all factors to consider.

Cruise Azul in particular has a large ‘landing’ space for groceries as well as a nice large box under the seat and ours came with an additional rear stuffing box large enough to hold a helmet or a bag or so of groceries (it has since been replaced with a new one). We could transport 3 bags of groceries or haul a 20 liter bottle of water and more. The design of our scooter is such that it really carries a lot – even more we think than the large 650 cc Suzuki Burgman – the key being a flat floor between the seat and front fork assembly.

We have money from the Burgman sale burning a hole in our pockets! What to buy now? We are again weighing the advantages and not of Chinese versus Japanese (or even German). We are also considering a 4-wheeler to get to-and-from our Rancho up in the mountains.  We would lose some parking advantages as well as needing increased storage area and perhaps more safety issues driving one of those on our Mexican highways. Also have thoughts about a rack on the back of the Jetta that would allow us to transport a scooter to and from Puerto and Xico – that would give us full time usage instead of 6 months per year.

In the meantime the scooter is in the shop: Oil and change; new clutch assembly, installed; throw in 4 Jetta sparkplugs we brought from the U.S.  Oh yeah – we asked the mechanic if he knew where we could get our plugs changed – right here was the answer – cool! His total bill for parts and labor – $1400 pesos or about $110.00 U.S.D.  Not bad ;-)

No fancy motorcycle stand in this garage!

I explained with Anita’s help that I was having a clutch problem – he went right to it.

The automatic clutch assembly is the round protrusion on the side of the rear wheel – attached by belt to a pulley of sorts that is on the crankshaft

We are good to go for another ??? miles. What to buy or do next? Lots to think about regarding two-wheel transportation (or even four). Stay Tuned!

Making Radio Waves

My little corner workstation – Ursulo Galvan, Xico, Veracruz, MX this foggy Sunday morning.

We are getting better with the radios.  I am after all an electronic engineer by education (and much practical experience I might add). The radios to which I refer are ones used to relay Internet connections.  We had a dandy installation between John and Jane’s place (recall the robber’s tienda they lived in across the way a couple of kilometers).

But alas those fun loving, persevering victims, enchanting fellow seniors  and good friends have escaped the house of ladones bounty, moving to safer digs in Coatepec. So we chopped a few sections out of our very tall bamboo mast; lowering the radio to communicate within the Hood and voila we garnered a connection with ease.

Tancho who reads and writes from a mountaintop in Pátzcuaro  turned us on to the possibilities of radioing Internet long distances (in excess of 5 miles). As communication possibilities develop the radios eventually become unnecessary – but before Internet comes to your neighborhood  they are a wonderful thing.

The catch for the Calypso Couple is having to maintain “mainstream” local internet connections at locations wherein we reside for 6 months or less only.  The service providers demand contracts and ongoing connections.  If there is one operating condition in the process of multiple abodes that irritates it is having to pay for ongoing services we do not use. So listen up all you potential part time expats – some of that can be foiled.

We pay for continued water and trash service as well as electric connections in three houses (not counting our storage warehouse in Capitan, New Mexico. You can see the problem – multiple Internet connections really add up and contribute to our services frustrations – hence the radios here in Xico.  We retired their need in Puerto securing a shared connection with our next door neighbors. By the way when we are at our New Mexico casa our neighbor and friend George allows us a logon – ah George he is a terrific fellow in so many ways.

The point here is there are alternative methods to being strapped with ongoing service requirements. It just takes some Yankee ingenuity and friends.

Last night we watched our Cruz Azul soccer team play to a tie on HD television (free air no less). Being connected to the rest of the world makes living outside of the United States a more comfortable situation – rest assured.

We are settling in. Yesterday was the annual Capilla at the top of the drive celebration.  The weather did not cooperate. It was a small and mostly peaceful event (smaller and more peaceful than previous years).

It is cold and foggy this Sunday morning. I will go read my electronic copy of yesterday’s Washington Post and maybe flip through the electronic June Esquire magazine until my Guapa Señora rises. Life is Good – Stay Tuned!

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!

Tragedy in the Hood

 

Back in 2008 we wrote about the December 12th Virgen Celebration in colonial Ursulo Galvan, in Xico, Veracruz.  We have noted in the past few years spending October through April here in Puerto is a different experience from our time living in Ursulo Galvan. There are not the heavy Catholic overtones of Xico. The religion of surfing trumps Catholicism here in the hidden port.

However all the Catholic hormones of religiosity are accompanied by some serious drinking testosterone of some of the hombres of the Hood. In 2008 we wrote this about some of the local Xico borrachos during the December 12th Celebration:

“Before noon the crowds already started to gather – front row seats were expensive; if one considers the fact time is money. Libations were being ingested even before the clock struck twelve noon – the early inebriated being a symbol of defiance and stubbornness towards all things rational – the social lubricant packaged in spent 32 ounce plastic soda bottles.  The mixture within its chief ingredient being agua ardiente  – sweetened straight alcohol. In the stores they call it Liquor de Cana – in the Hood it is caña or agua ardiente; when not around my Gonzo Compadres, I call it sugar with pure grain alcohol. In the Hood it can be purchased in gallon plastic containers for about 30 pesos….

Police and ambulance vehicles were just behind the ten deep crowds. Inside the rails were the machos and borrachos. Mostly clown like shabby little fellows whose job at this time was to entertain or so they thought. They staggered around as if they were bulls themselves, scraping the ground with a defiant foot, rebelliously rubbing empty 32 once soda containers against the pavement and pulling off their shirts to use as toreador capes. Occasionally a couple hombres would help a third from falling – a sign of their undying camaraderie.  You knew some of these fellows were not going to leave that ‘arena’ unscathed whether the bulls showed up or not.”

 

This December 12th it was the innocent that were not all going to go home safely.

With a pickup truck as his weapon of choice a 22 year old drunken kid smashed through the barrier assembled to keep the bulls contained within a few corridored blocks.

In the mayhem that ensued two women were injured and a 65 year old Xico man was killed. One bull was hit as well.

The fellow managed to avoid capture and headed off to the pueblo Coatepec, some five miles away. In the meantime it is reported about 40 men with rocks and machetes had formed a lynching party and were in hot pursuit.

Lucky, I suppose you could call it, the young drunk was apprehended by Coatepec Policia. Most likely saving his life.

So a happy event turned dark. The community dance was cancelled and Ursulo Galvan, a community of about 2000 souls went into mourning.

A couple of years ago, just down the road from our beach casa along the street that parallels the beach, in the early evening, Anita and I were on a walk. As if out of a ‘Fast and Furious’ film a drunken man child with his truck came roaring down the roadway veering side to road side crashing into parked cars at breakneck speed. We literally dove for cover watching in shock as the fool and his truck finally met head on with a local bus. A two block run that terrified beach goers. It was surreal.

Even as the reckless truck forged forward side swiping vehicles, a group of men on foot were in chase. After passing us the truck collided with the front of a package store tearing off the front door and continuing on. When the truck came to rest as a hood ornament to the big city bus the angry men and even a few women pulled the borracho from the steaming vehicle and proceeded to beat him until the police interceded. Justice is often swift here in Mexico

Fortunately no one was injured that day. But there had been beach goers returning to vehicles and others walking to local restaurants, some with children that could just as easily have been seriously injured or killed.

Firewater and the natives are often a deadly mixture here in Mexico. Of course this is not limited to our Country. Nor is danger only lurking here in Mexico. During this same week in the wild west of Colorado a kid brandishing a shotgun, stormed a school looking for an irritating librarian.

It is crazy out there. We can all only hope we are never in one of those wrong places to be at the time. It is hard to say how this terrible event in our Hood might affect future Virgen Block Parties. Hug your kids, your parents and your grandparents tonight knowing they are safe from another wild week in America. Stay Tuned!

Taking the High Road

The Calypsos finally made it up to the Rancho yesterday.

We have a casa in the mountains above Xico, Veracruz. The views are spectacular.

A bit of the Southern Panorama

We would describe our Rancho in real estate terms as follows:

1250 square feet under roof three story casa plus decks and more; 3 Bedroom;  separate two station compost toilet building; semi-protected shower and bath area; catch water tanks and pump system; large RV Carport parking; one hectare property sloping to the south and bordered by a wonderful clean river.  The casa comes with a spectacular view of Xico and Mount Orizaba and within the property perimeter are views of the towns of Xico to the south, Xalapa to the northeast, Coatepec to the east and Teocelo to the southeast. The river can be heard the 700 feet from the casa and will lull you to sleep at night. You will wake up to Mount Orizaba filling your room.

Just 2.75 miles between the two Yellow Push-Pins 

A Bend in the Rio that fronts Rancho del Cielo’s  Southern Border

Close-up of those Incredible Pink Flowers

Because the last two miles of road getting there is little more than a burro path we do not visit as much as we would like – it is a glorious spot to rest and relax (from the stresses of retirement and such ;-)

A new improved road which cuts off a mile of the bad road is partially completed. When and if that road is ever completed visiting will be made easier by a great measure. In the mean time we have the BIG White Ford Truck. It is four wheel drive and a behemoth of a vehicle – although the very long wheel base makes for quite a roller coaster ride getting up and down; the Rancho sits a minimum of a thousand feet higher than Xico.

Yesterday we brought help. Our oft used handy-man Stephen and his Aunt took the ride up with us to help with the yard and house work – our principal mission.

Tia Cleaning

Stephen Clears Some Tall Grass 

After 6 Years We Have Access to Our Carport

A Long Wheel Base Makes for a Wild Ride Up and Down the Mountain

We managed a pretty good dent in recovery of the land and casa – but a lot of work remains. We plan on staying put here in Xico until the place is ship shape. Although it is already starting to get cold at night – especially now that the incessant rains have subsided. The clear skies help reduce the air temperature – burr.

2 Meter Wall Holds Back Earth in an Artful Way

Every Piece Cut to Fit – Moss is Added

Someone recently wrote in a comment, “The more I read of you, by you, the more I’m convinced you deserve all the bounty that these years in Mexico have brought you.

What a nice thing to write. The casa we call Rancho del Cielo (Ranch in the Clouds) is a spectacular place to live part time. Deserve it or not, we consider ourselves lucky to be able to visit such a special spot.

The first photos of the work in progress. Next time KITCHENS.

Stay Tuned!

Getting It from Both Sides

In Norse mythology, Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, and such malevolent weather.

To say we have had a lot of rain in the last week or so would be putting it mildly. In short Thor is putting the hammer down on us!

When we moved to Mexico we had given little thought to weather extremes. It appeared that living 45 miles from the Gulf of Mexico that that would keep us high and dry – too far inland for weather extremes – wrong.

First we found ourselves travelling back and forth between Colorado and Xico during hurricane season. On occasions the roads were virtually impossible to travel on. Then in the aftermath of hurricane seasons the road conditions were abominable. We learned to modify our travel schedules to minimize, not eliminate, problems.

We knew going in that there would be a lot of rainfall in the Xalapa-Coatepec-Xico area – but damn! There is a lot of rainfall in this area. During the many fall and winter soakings we decided to go further south buying property in the beach town of Puerto Escondido. We heard stories about long time ago earthquakes and hurricanes but had our schedules to where we would not be in Puerto during, well the hurricane season anyway.

One must face the fact that living three blocks from any ocean’s edge can be hazardous.

You might recall a year ago we were sweating out a huge forest fire near our adobe casita in Capitan, New Mexico and at the same time worrying from afar (here in Xico actually) about Hurricane Carlotta which made landing in our neighborhood in Puerto.

The fire licked the edge of Capitan and during our recent visit we saw the huge amount of burnt terrain all around – but our casa was safe – saved. Carlotta hoisted a neighbor’s patio onto the edge of our beach house’s roof coming to settle in the backyard. Our next-door neighbors lost their entire roof (and had their car stolen from their driveway the night after the hurricane). So once again we dodged the bullets.

This year we were thinking lightning does not strike in the same place (literally in Capitan) and gross weather conditions would happen places other than ours – well we got ahead of ourselves on that one.

The U.S. Embassy today, September 15, 2013, released a warning regarding:
HURRICANE INGRID AND TROPICAL STORM MANUEL

This is being issued to alert U.S. citizens residing and traveling in Mexico that the National Hurricane Center (NHC), www.nhc.noaa.gov/, has issued a warning for Hurricane Ingrid, currently located in the Gulf of Mexico on the eastern coast of Mexico near the states of Tamaulipas and Veracruz… Ingrid is expected to make landfall Monday on the coasts north of Veracruz and south of Tamaulipas. From there, Ingrid is expected to move inland towards San Luis Potosi. Ingrid is expected to produce torrential rains of 10 to 15 inches over a large part of eastern Mexico. Isolated amounts of 25 inches of rain are also possible. These rains are likely to result in life-threatening flash floods and mud slides, especially in regions of mountainous terrain… people residing in the coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico and areas in eastern Mexico take precautions against the effects of rain, strong winds, and large and destructive waves.

 

Separately, the Government of Mexico has issued a tropical storm watch for Tropical Storm Manuel. Currently, Manuel is moving towards the southwestern coast of Mexico and is likely to make landfall late on Sept. 15. Manuel is expected to produce torrential rains of 5 to 15 inches in the states of Guerrero, Michoacán, Colima, Jalisco, Nayarit, Zacatecas, Guanajuato, Queretaro, Mexico State, Distrito Federal, Morelos, and Oaxaca. Isolated amounts of 25 inches of rain are also possible. These rains are likely to result in life-threatening flash floods and mud slides, especially in regions of mountainous terrain…people residing in the above-mentioned states take precautions against the effects of rain, strong winds, and large and destructive waves.

U.S. citizens should monitor local radio, local media, and the National Weather Service and Servicio Meteorológico Nacional to stay aware of area weather developments. Minor tropical storms can develop into hurricanes very quickly, limiting the time available for a safe evacuation. Travelers should apprise family and friends of their whereabouts and remain in close contact with hotel staff and/or local officials for evacuation instructions in a weather emergency.

In the aftermath of some previous storms, U.S. citizens traveling abroad have encountered uncomfortable and often dangerous conditions that have lasted for several days while awaiting transportation back to the United States. In the past, many U.S. citizens have been forced to delay travel due to infrastructure damage to airports and limited flight availability. Roads were also washed out or obstructed by debris, adversely affecting access to airports and land routes out of affected areas. Reports of looting and sporadic violence in the aftermath of natural disasters are not uncommon. Security personnel may not be readily available to assist at all times. In the event of a hurricane, travelers should be aware that they may not be able to depart the area for 24-48 hours or longer.

Oh Boy!

Both Puerto and Xico are getting swamped with rain right now and a short time ago this from our local Forum (TomZap) in Puerto:

“Puerto Water System Down Due to [Flooding]”

A member of our board translated this from a city engineer:

“The entire potable water service [the water that comes through the pipes] for the city of Puerto Escondido and the colonias will be temporarily suspended due to the flooding of the Colotepec River, it was announced last night by Santiago Aguilar, administrator of the State Water System. The flood water entered the wells and damaged the electrical grid that serves the pumps. The extent of the damage is not yet known, but we may be without water for some days.”

Here I am thinking: So much rain there is no water – what irony – but seriously not atypical.

We are buttoning down the hatches here waiting for Ingrid and Manuel to show up.

We are in a safe place and in no danger. And we are staying put.

Oh – and HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY MEXICO! – please Stay Tuned!

 

Mick Jagger and a Pick-up Band

The situation: You pay to see the Rolling Stones and get Mick Jaggar with a pick-up band. That is what happened to us last night. Well, sort of….

John and Jane had invited us to join them once again at Cafe Alandalus in Coatepec. The band, Los Sonex, was one they had been looking forward to hearing ever since their arrival in the Xalapa area. John and Jane know their Jarocho Music; and our musical tastes run very parallel.

Some Los Sonex Band Members

After the great performance we were treated to last week – how could we not join in the fun? We signed on immediately.

We were graciously picked-up at our Casita door at 9 PM sharp.

The evening started with a strange twist. John had made reservations as the joint, Café Alandalus, operates pretty much at full seating capacity; especially with top name Jarocho bands in the offing.

At the door we were greeted by the owner who would seat us. But, before that he advised us in no uncertain terms that we had not purchased enough drinks and/or food last week – huh?

Last time we had ponied up the 80 pesos each cover charge and had a round of drinks while watching an extended set. I busily took a lot of photos (90 plus). We had been seated in the front.

Now the owner by memory proceeded to itemize what we had ordered last week – wow! He explained that they expected a higher billing total for the seating of four ring side. We assured him we would make great effort to spend more money. Not convinced I suppose, he seated us at the back of the room. Grrrr! Perhaps we had to prove our mettle to gain better seating again in the future?

Understand that the room probably seats 80; at that El Jefe managed to focus on us remembering we four cheapskates from the week before.  I do believe we were the only gringos on the scene last week?

While embarrassing to be dressed down by a club owner, we were not to be deterred from our optimism about seeing Los Sonex; and we did not want to be banished for lack of buying libations or comida from a venue that was sure to have more great music in the future.

Last week we had characterized the 80 peso cover charge as CHEAP! Obviously it was and there was more to it. Truly there were better and more tactful ways of letting potentially regular customers know the management’s desire for you to give up a few more pesos. Or here is an idea: charge an entertainment cover charge and a minimum of two drinks or whatever to get your point across a bit more subtly. Our spirits and anticipation of more fine entertainment remained intact.

Two guitar players, a bass player and an electric violin player took positions on the smallish stage. There were no percussionists which we had seen in several uTube performances by Los Sonex. Even more disappointing was ilan Bar Lavi was amongst the missing; he being an excellent lead guitar player and terrific vocalist.

Here is the band we were expecting – worth a watch!

The stage ensemble had bass duties assumed by what we had seen as a rhythm guitar player on uTube. Early on I remarked to John that the bass player seemed to not be on the same page as the rest of the players – hmm.

We were treated to some fancy footwork from the occasional appearance of a female dancer and from the lead hombre who pounded out the flamenco beats with all the vigor of José Greco. The dancers were unexpected and helped ease the pain of the incomplete banda.

The musical performance was just OK – certainly less than we expected. Bands are regularly changing personnel – but scaling back on players and altering key personnel is likely to disappoint.

Where WERE these Guys!

I Hope You are Watching These – Wow!

We stayed for two abbreviated sets, ending with a bill about 40% greater than our previous visit; trusting we will be allowed back – we will of course bring fat gringo wallets stuffed with pesos – No hay gringos baratos! Stay Tuned!

Saturday Night Live In Xico

We love a barbecue. Our first for the season happened on this fine Saturday afternoon in Xico. In spite of our coal starter disintegrating, we were able to fire up some charcoal, soak some Jack Daniels Tennessee whiskey chips, and throw them and some Alaskan salmon on the barbie. OMG does it get any better than this?

Well perhaps. In celebration with John and Jane’s 34th anniversary and their birthdays all in one fell swoop later tonight we are off to see the master of the Jarana, Ramon Gutierrez, who will be performing at Cafe Alandalus Coatepec tonight with his group, Son de Madera.

I am taking the camera and will report tomorrow.  Thanks for the heads up Paul, wish you were going to be there. Wish you all were going to be there. Stay Tuned!

The Count Down Has Begun

We are relocating just two weeks from today. The transition to the other house(s) is never fun. However there are some enjoyable aspects.

We look forward to seeing our friends in Xico; several local families and our new gringo friends John and Jane (you remember the couple that was robbed several times). Also this go ‘round we will make a trip to the United States where we will see our friends George and Pearl in New Mexico and family in Las Vegas. At the same time NOT looking forward to all that driving.

We have not been in the United States for a couple of years. Other than the aforementioned friends and family, it has not been missed. I must admit there are things we will buy, in fact, we have already started ordering things from Amazon that will be retrieved there.

We are in full transition mode now getting the yard in order, packing items away and items to make the trip north with us. This is our third time launching (lurching) back and forth between Puerto and Xico – are we any better at it? Time will tell.

What have we accomplished? We are alive and healthy – important. We built a new bodega and it came in under budget (TOTAL cost around $900.00 USD). We just completed a few details – we started building in December – so a very slow operation.

Looking down from our second level – the new Jardin Bodega

Many ‘making our casa more livable’ projects were completed including a permanent installation of our instant on pressurized water heater in the upstairs bathroom – I love a warm shower- beach weather or not.

Very Cool (Hot Actually) Device. Read HERE

We started writing a new book on buying property in Mexico – progress is slow. Showing about 35.000 words thus far. In conjunction with not having gotten it all on ‘paper’, research continues. So adding to the book information even as we write.

For instance the other day we visited the very posh Costa Cumana. It is an exclusive Hood about 10 miles southeast of Puerto. We even saw a lot we would love to own there. We studied their CC&R’s with great interest.  However Costa Cumana represents one of the more risky buying opportunities. We may get into that a little here on the Blog – but for sure it will have its story told in the book.

Anita’s brother and his lady friend arrived here in early November of last year. They seem to be getting settled in and appear to be content thus far with their decision to relocate here sight unseen. Ricardo is about ready to make his second trip back to Las Vegas in that time – seems to be typical – we made many trips back and forth in the early days. As mentioned we have not been up there for a couple of years – and like it better that way.

The weather was a bit different this 6/7 month stay from the preceding two years. We had a greater variety of weather including about four days of some rain (a first). All in all the weather was spectacular and one of the key ingredients of our being here. It will be interesting to hear a firsthand report on what the weather is like during the time we are not here via Ricardo who will be here year round.

The Internet was not as fast as last time – we had some problems. But overall considering the complexity of operating our own radios, we had good luck. On that note we also had good luck with our radio system left operational in Xico being used by our friend’s John and Jane (we share). At least until this last week when there was a lightning bolt that damaged their transformer and glitch’d the radio at their casa ;-(  John and I have been working on that problem and may have him up and running before we next speak.

We will be getting more radios or radios repaired in the U.S. I no longer tell people I can help them get a radio system together. Maintaining them is not for the novice technician which is why I suppose it is so darn costly down here. I am glad I have the expertise as it has saved us some $$$ – but perhaps I am short on the ‘expert’ category and thus taxing my brain on occasion?

At the end of the day there is PLENTY we will miss leaving our beach casa. And then we have so much to look forward to including the view of Mount Orizaba from our Rancho. We are getting back just before running out of our Coatepec coffee.

Mount Orizaba from our Rancho in Xico (Enlarge Here)

This weekend we will dine out (we are going to miss the variety of restaurants) and spend some hours over the weekend watching the Masters golf tournament.

Pueblo Magico Xico here we come. Stay Tuned!