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!

Comparison Shopping

In the good news department: Yesterday, Wednesday, Chedraui supermarket was selling Hass Avocados for $1.27 a kilo (Auguacates – 16.5 pesos). That is the equivalent of 5 medium sized green globes. Twenty-five cents a pop!

Six or seven years ago we could buy a kilo for ninety U.S. cents. But, those days are long past and even with a 35 percent increase from those days of yore this was quite a boon. Avocados seem to average about 32 pesos a kilo these days or nearly double the deal yesterday.

Like anywhere you better shop around. Earlier in the week we purchased two LARGE batteries for the BIG white Ford truck resting lazily up at the Rancho for the last nine months or so. Yes, the behemoth truck utilizes not one, but two huge batteries.  The new energizers were purchased at Costco in Xalapa for substantially less than equivalent rated batteries cost at Chredraui.

Obviously all things are not equal. But that written, here in Mexico we are finding prices getting better as compared to these same purchases in the United States. The batteries from Costco, a substantial purchase, were at least as cheap as they would have been in the United States. We think less without perhaps looking very hard NOB. A few weeks ago we wrote about actually buying a notebook computer for Anita for less than it appears to be available for in the U.S.

We also bought a 19” LED television/monitor for the notebook at about U.S. prices. Things are looking up in the electronics department here in Mexico.

Editors Note: You can follow the trail of our comments on avocado prices over the last few years here  http://www.vivaveracruz.com/blog/?s=Avocados

Stay Tuned!

Egging Mexico On

Here in Mexico the cost of eggs has about doubled in the last few months. This all started after an avian flu breakout in Jalisco. Half the eggs produced in Mexico come from Jalisco. According to Reuters Mexico is the world’s number one consumer of eggs per capita. You can imagine the upset. Here in our Hood it is all the talk.

In an effort to stop price gouging “We will even drop tariffs so that there can be unrestricted imports of firstly, eggs for industrial use, and secondly, table eggs if there is not a change in the behavior of producers and retailers,” Economy Minister Bruno Ferrari has threatened.

We heard these kinds of threatened actions a couple years ago when the price of tortillas was going up dramatically due to corn being diverted for the production of ethanol. Tortilla prices increased substantially and did not roll back as most likely will be the case with the eggs.

The government rhetoric, we suppose, is to keep the masses from storming the palace – it worked with the tortillas.

We are starting to hear rumblings of bad economy here about. The other day the motorcycle repair guy mentioned it. Mexico has been slow on the uptake of grousing about a slow economy. There is little room for belt tightening here in the trenches of Mexico. The citizenry has been scrambling to survive rampant inflation, adding eggs to the mix could be a breaking point. Stay Tuned!

When Life Gets in the Way

My brother-in-law and his partner managed to get out of town without the interview we had scheduled. It seems like they were here for a matter of days (a fact actually).

Summing up their drive down from Las Vegas to Xico it can be said they had vehicle troubles that might have been lessened were it not for the fact they had bought both the truck and the trailer mere weeks before heading down here.

They were reasonably prepared for the encounters at the border and the first check point 40 kilometers beyond. They did pay some mordida. However it should be noted that they brought all their worldly possessions crammed in the truck and trailer. The sheer volume would indicate there would be fees. Duty and mordida were not outrageous.

Shortly before making the trip they purchased a Garmin GPS which was some help with the Mexico maps. When I asked my BIL if he thought the GPS helped he was sure it had. I asked why they got off the track so badly and ended up in Perote and at altitudes exceeding 8200′? His answer was he did not pay attention to the GPS or our direction advisement of plugging Cardel in to the GPS as a destination – overriding its and our instructions based on some road signs.

We have used the GPS enough to recommend paying close heed to its suggested routes. This morning for example we took the two to the main Xalapa bus terminal at 4:30 AM. Our GPS got us right to the ADO terminal entrance by 5 AM. They are on a bus to Mexico City, and will stay in a hotel tonight and tomorrow morning fly off to Germany for a couple of months to visit family.

Having only been to Xalapa’s main bus terminal once several years ago, and that by cab, we were unsure where it is or even if we could find it. We were prepared to find a cab in Xalapa to get them to the terminal somewhere in Xalapa. But, Rhoda, our Garmin GPS, came through with flying colors. We were back home within an hour. At that time of morning Coatepec and Xalapa are virtual ghost towns – the driving was swift and unimpeded save for a police roadblock – they asked for us to turn on an interior light in the Jetta – apparently they were looking for a specific individual(s)?

When the happy travelers return from Germany in September we will carpool it down to Puerto Escondido where they will scout out the possibility of living there.

We had a good time with them, albeit very abbreviated. We made a few scooter trips. They brought their Kawasaki Vulcan 500 CC motorcycle. Their new cycle was a recent purchase as well – part of the plan for Mexican transportation.


We pull over to look at some eagles flying over a vast ravine.

While we missed the interview about the trip down, we did manage to get in a ride down to Teocelo, Indepencia, Monte Blanco and Llano Grande. Monte Blanco is bamboo furniture central. Anita and I ordered some bamboo light fixtures for our Casita kitchen project. We also managed to get a kitchen sink-setup constructed while they were here.


On the Road to Monte Blanco – That’s Anita and I up ahead.

So busy times spent catching-up, talking about their future life in Mexico and the impending European trip. While they are in Germany we will watch over their possessions waiting to continue the 500 miles to Puerto in the fall. In the meantime we are here. Stay Tuned!