Pulling Up Stakes

Being organized is more than a skill. I am convinced it is an inherited trait. My wife got the gene.

I am just an accompaniment to the process of packing it up – believe me.

I am the one that reasons out departure and arrival times – little else. I drive the car. But the real driving force of it all is mi esposa.

Going on a trip evolves for us. Gradually a stack of stuff builds in a corner or corners; that stuff goes.

This trip is more complex because we are going to spend time in two places: Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A. and then Capitan, New Mexico. We have family in one location and roots in the other.

 Being residents of Mexico for foreigners like us is sort of like living on the Space Station. We return to earth once a year for supplies, then back to our cozy, lofty living South of the Border. We like it that way.

The trip is long and arduous. I am pretty sure Anita looks forward to it because if you are a planner and organized, challenging that skill set is exciting. Truly an adventure.

For me these days the trips seem to come closer together; closer than ever. It seems as if we are arriving only to start working on where we will be next – what with four houses to care for. Houses thousands of miles apart – one of which we have not seen in a year and a half – and time will be added to that until we return to Xico in a couple of months.

We have staked our claims in rather obscure locations. Capitan, New Mexico; Xico, Veracruz and Puerto Escondido (the Hidden Port) are not on anyone’s ten best places to live list. And we like it that way.

And the beat goes on. I will write you next from on the road to Las Vegas –

Bright light city gonna set my soul
Gonna set my soul on fire
Got a whole lot of money that’s ready to burn,
So get those stakes up higher….

Talk to you soon from there. Stay Tuned!

Wave Review

The POWER of Mother Nature was on display. Apparently the huge waves we experienced here in Puerto Escondido, this weekend past, origin was from a storm off the coast of New Zealand. Cruise ships as far north as off the coast of Southern California had to be diverted from these same waves.

Whatever the cause it was a doozy. Sunday morning the Calypso Couple rode our scooter the couple of miles to Zicatela Beach.

Even before we arrived at the southeasterly most entrance to the area we noticed many cars parked along the main highway, Mex 200. Crowds were gathered along the roadway watching the huge waves pummel the beach and beyond.

It was quite a show from up there. When we arrived at the entrance to the main beach area which is about 4 city blocks above the main beach road we were not allowed entrance, stopped by the police. We were told the road was compromised with sheets of water and no vehicles were allowed to pass.

We knew a way down there living here.  We rode back up the highway a half mile or so, eventually arriving at the corner of the main beach drag.  We parked the scooter and walk down to see the waves and the crowds – it was a spectacle.

I TOOK PHOTOS, seen herein as well as a few grabbed from a couple of places on the web. Some of the photos are truly amazing; and yet being there was an added layer of intensity. Feeling those waves crash the earth. Thousands upon thousands of pounds of water crash landing, chewing away sand and streaming water into local restaurants, even across the highway; there were water mark levels on the buildings on the other side of the road. High tide was still to come in the afternoon.

This was a time we appreciated the four blocks distance from ocean’s edge and 60 foot climb required to reach our beach casa. We think we are far enough and high enough back to avoid being swamped any time in the near future – say 50 years or so?

WE HOPE THE RESTAURANTS SURVIVED the water invasion. Being lulled to sleep at night by pounding waves is wonderful.  Life is Good.

Stay Tuned!

BOXING Reaches a New Low

Here locally a new high watermark was reached yesterday at high tide and it is predicted to go yet higher later today. We have been experiencing huge waves on our local beaches. Surfers from all over the world are flying in to catch a ride on thirty-foot plus waves.

THERE ARE PEOPLE in this photo – BIG wave!

Ironically we are hearing many arrived unaccompanied by their surf boards. Apparently in some flights the boards were being brought by another plane-no boards arrived here. You might imagine the frustration of arriving in Puerto Escondido to catch the big ones and not have your surf boards.

We were pleasantly surprised to find a new free air, just stick up an antenna like the days of old, High Definition local television channel; one that was to carry the BIG FIGHT last night. Anita has been using our 32 inch Samsung television as a monitor for her little notebook computer – she gave it up for the good of the game.

The lead-in to the start of the fight was almost as boring as the fight itself. In more technical snafus than missing surf boards there were pay-per-view connection problems that delayed the start of the fight – better it had been cancelled. You can be pretty sure when Justin Bieber and Paris Hilton, new entertainment lows, get more aired time than Robert Di Niro and Denzel Washington THAT SOMETHING IS AMISS.

A BIT OF PERSONAL HISTORY – I am going to be 69 years young in October. I have seen a lot of boxing matches going back to Joe Louis and Sugar Ray Robinson through all the Mohammed Ali fights, Sugar Ray Leonard, Larry Holmes, George Foreman etc. I saw Mike Tyson chewing off Evander Holyfield’s ear. This was not my first time to a big dance, although in recent years I had all but given up on the pugilist sport. Like Howard Cosell, God rest his soul, before me I decided athletes beating each other’s brains out should not be encouraged as we all watched THE GREAT ONE, Ali turn into a quivering, speech impaired zombie; and witnessed other atrocities inevitable from getting beaten in and about the head too often.

But this was the fight of the new century to beat all fights. I succumbed to watching it when it was available free on local television. I admit my transgression. But as is often the case with transgressions there are paybacks. To say the fight was boring is giving it much more credit than it deserves. For most of the fight Mayweather was running from the Pacman – just like the game. there was no toe-to-toe combat – oh no!

My personal score card was the same as two of the judges in the unanimous decision; save the fact my winner was Manny Pacquiao rather than Floyd Mayweather. I mean honestly could those judges have been watching the same fight I had watched? Ridiculous decision – unanimous or not.

These two guys each made three figured millions. There was perhaps a billion dollars in betting and virtually everyone went away bored and unbelieving that this was the fight of the century.

We are going to go look at some huge waves roll in and take it easy today after staying up late to watch the fight – pretty sure it will be my last.

Stay Tuned!


It would appear that the 15 to 1 exchange rate is holding and perhaps has found a new average level. As mentioned previously the fast raising inflation here is certainly softened by the favorable exchange rate. Somehow the Mexicans seem to survive – but then mankind is like that for the most part.

Nine usd dollars out-the-door for a 12 pack for BOTTLED-NO-DEPOSIT Corona beer is certainly better than in the U.S. Groceries are less, gas is more, however with the economy of the scooter we do not feel that pain much – until we start back north. Which will be happening soon. It still can be written that Mexico is a bargain. We do recycle those Corona bottles by the way.

We were scheduled to head back to Xico, Veracruz on Sunday the 26th. We decided to stay perhaps a few weeks more as the hot weather has been mild. We find relief from the 85-86 F [30 C] plus heat of the day at night. Fans are actually wonderful devices – just moving air around works. Humidity totally manageable.

We both woke up one morning here lately suggesting almost in unison that we should stay here longer. It is a hard place to leave.

The thinking is rather than going back to Xico, Veracruz for six weeks or so and then heading to the U.S. we would stay a shorter time in Xico and get an early start on the U.S. visit and then get back as we have projects in Xico – two neglected houses etc.

We always look forward to seeing our neighbors in New Mexico, our family in Las Vegas and perhaps even a meet-up with our son.

In the meantime other than negotiating around stuff strategically located to be packed in the Jetta and wearing the same three or so outfits of clothing everything else remains the same.

We had our first spill on the new scooter the other day. It was rather ugly for a few reasons. First before we left the house Anita told me to not wear sandals. We try and use helmets and have good shoe protection as a standard. But STUPID ME insisted on ignoring the policy as we were out the door.

Leaving our driveway we have a short half block down a rugged dirt road to a right turn attacking another rugged dirt road until solid highway is reached a further half block. At the first turn, there to the right, my right sandal broke and became a flopping impediment – this where I started to place the foot down to stabilize the sandy, rocky turn.

Virtually stopped, but not, we laid down in the dirt. We did have helmets, as noted when my head bounced – but I had some rib crunching bearing the load of the scooter. Anita twister her ankle and we both had a couple of abrasions. The ribs are still quite tender and making for uncomfortable sleeping.

Of course I feel totally stupid for not listening to Anita’s warning – especially making her have to pay the price as well as me. I am 68 years old – but swear I will do better about listening.

So the delay came at a good time because my tender ribs mending before hauling a bunch of stuff to the car, mounting the car carrier and moving stuff about here will be less painful.

The scooter had very little damage – some tell-tale scratches, even those minor. But it has lost it’s virginity. What is it they say, it isn’t whether, rather when your motorcycle will go sideways. I am getting to an age where recovery is slow – but I AM NOT LIKELY TO GIVE UP MY TWO-WHEEL PASSIONS. Just might decide to throw in an extra measure of being careful and not being stupid. This was so preventable as is often not the case with moto travel.

A positive is my time spent working on learning the guitar has increased – although reaching over the body of the Taylor can be a bit painful – the Paul Reed Smith electric is a better fit while the ribs heal.

To our family – we are OK really.

Stay Tuned

Let’s Rock
A Swarm of Earthquakes

Last night at eleven-thirty we had an earthquake. For some reason in my adult life I have been in a lot of earthquakes including a few major ones like the 1971 San Fernando Valley earthquake; probably the most severe in my personal catalog of earth shaking events.

The San Fernando rocker lasted 12 seconds. Most of that 12 seconds I spent chasing around a crib that was bouncing across the entire second floor of my two-story 40 year old Laurel Canyon pad. That one had 64 casualties.

Last nights shaker lasted but a few seconds – but it was a wake-up call.

On the perception of incongruity: Anita and I automatically grabbed each other hands – we were going it together, that was for sure. I debated our situation as to whether we needed to get out of the casa or stay in bed where a wood and thatch roof might land on us easier than dealing with tons of cement between here and the out-of-doors. As is usually the case it all happened so fast the decision was made for us – we rode it out just as we had the day before in the morning when the sound of a blast like explosion preceded a still shorter duration quake; but a real rocker.

Both were real earthquakes, the epicenters just a few miles to the northeast of us in the mountains.

We live in Brisas Zicatela.

Coincidentally yesterday was Earth Day. During the day amongst other things I am reading I leafed past the history section and got on to the current path of destruction being perpetrated by man as noted by Elizabeth Kolbert in her terrific book, The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History. I can tell you the book is a must read.

[Kolbert] grounds her stories in rigorous science and memorable characters past and present, building a case that a mass extinction is underway, whether we want to admit it or not. (Discover Magazine)

One of our more serious weather watchers here in Puerto posted this on the local Forum-

We are in the midst of what is known as an earthquake “swarm,” meaning a series of many earthquakes. Check out this map for a quick look, and read the list of recent earthquakes, to see that almost half (43 of 99 listed) have occurred between Pinotepa and Pochutla: [www2.ssn.unam.mx] The swarm continues, and I don’t know whether it’s good that we’re bleeding off that pent-up energy slowly, or whether it’s a forerunner of something bigger.

Pinotepa and Pochutla are towns to the west and east of us running along the southern most end of Mexico’s coastal highway 200. Both within close proximity of Puerto Escondido.

Reading Kolbert’s book will leave you disturbed and frightened, despite her matter-of-fact tone. Which is exactly how these recent earthquakes have left the Calypso Couple – disturbed and frightened. Get the book. It is anything but overly scientific and slow. Happy belated Earth Day.

Stay Tuned!


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.



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!

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.