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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Yum Yum Good - Croissants from Malpica

Tuesday
I’m trying to get a good picture of Alfie for the heading of the blog but so far haven’t got one I think will work. Any way here we are in the back part of Las Jaibas RV Park. There are five other rigs back here with us. But still only about 20 total in the whole park. The other parks in town are still pretty empty too.
As I mentioned yesterday we went to the Centro Historico just to walk around some and to get Willie washed. The colors of the buildings still fascinate me. Every block has different colors in it.
Walking in Plazuela Machado we saw this woman and her child. She was begging. The colorful building behind her is a restaurant/bar. They are in the process of repainting it. Same color just not sun faded.
This morning first thing before it got too hot we finished cleaning the inside of the Alfa – Looks and feels so much better now. A clean house is a happy house. Yesterday afternoon Bill cleaned the inside of the Jeep. So to treat ourselves we jumped in the car and headed inland to Concordia. Between Villa Union and the Autopista are a lot of vendors selling grilled corn and dried shrimp. This corn always looks so good. You get mayonnaise with it??? And from what I’ve been told it does not taste good. It is not sweet corn like we’re used to – it is just pretty dry and tasteless. I’ll take every ones word for it.
Before Concordia is the small town of Malpica with its wonderful bakery. So of course we had to stop there. Once Bill said lets go to Concordia neither of us had any breakfast in anticipation of fresh baked goods. Parked out front of the bakery. This is their screen door. It has been mended with reed. The reed is holding the screen to the frame and also mended a slit across the screen. What ever works.
I’ve mentioned before that to get to the bakery we have to go through the living room of the house. The furniture is typical of the furniture made in the area around Concordia.
One section of the bakery – the machine on the table cuts dough into biscuits.
The big oven. It is wood burning. The pans of raw dough go through the metal door into the oven. The burning wood is at the sides of the inside of the oven.
We got there around 10:30 just after the croissants came out of the oven. They were still warm. The lady was laughing cause two of them didn’t even make it into the bag. They are so good – wish I could share them with everyone!
A close up of them. Hummmm think I’ll have another one.
Leaving town we passed this home, they were painting it last time we were here but I didn’t think it was going to turn out quite this PINK.
Another of the homes there. This one must be pretty old. It is sagging in places. The bricks are hand made. Those are old plastic paint buckets being used as planters. We see them being used all the time – once even as part of a musical instrument!
We stopped to visit with out friend Antonio and he happened to be getting a delivery of water for his house. First these tanks are filled then the water is pumped to another tank on the roof. Water arrives in the faucets by gravity. He filled both black tanks plus two other smaller containers from his truck. The other hose behind him is pumping water to the roof to the tank up there. There are no lids on the containers. I wonder about dust and bugs and algae.. I know when we were in Argentina and had an uncovered wooden water tank on the roof of the restaurant it grew green slimy stuff during the hot days of summer. Read about that adventure here - http://www.movingon1.com/retargentina2.html
Just a picture of the water truck. If it gets any rustier it won’t hold water any more.

It looks like it might be a pretty sunset so we're heading out to watch it. Will write about today more later.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday in Mazatlan

Actually it is Monday night already. I've been checking out library books and the time got away from me.
This morning we started to clean Alfie. Drug the vaccum out and got half of the area cleaned really really good. Mopped the tile and cleaned spots off the rugs. And polished some of the wood. Tomorrow morning will finish the job. Except for the blinds - they will take a few days longer.
Then we went over to the old town part of town. Mainly to get Willie washed - the young man in the parking lot where we always park does an excellent job.
Then back home and Bill cleaned the inside of Willie.
Our friend Angelica came over to visit us and Bill cooked dinner. Other than that we had a quiet day. The weather is beautiful - not too hot and the nights get really cool. In fact I turned on the little electric heater this morning to take the chill off.
Diesel is up to 10.10 pesos a liter now and the Peso is 12.50 to one dollar. It was over 14 to one dollar when we got here in November.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Back in Mazatlan and I think Willie is paranoid now.

Sunday p.m.
The men who are replacing the palapas were at work bright and early this morning.
Well we finally left Aticama – went there for two weeks and stayed five – at 9:00 this morning.
We got to Mazatlan at 1:30 with one stop for gas during the trip. 192 miles. We came back a different way than we went so it added five miles to the trip – but was much easier way to go.
We bid farewell to the fine town of San Blas.
Instead of going back up the mountain over the narrow and twisty road [Highway 74]to the 15D we took a little longer but much easier driving route through the towns of Guadalupe Victoria and Villa Hidalgo then to the 15D. No twisty climb – just lots of topes.
Because it was Sunday vehicular and pedestrian traffic was pretty light – thanks goodness – going through the towns.
Just before we got to the Autopista we had to cross this bridge! We were bigger we got to go first.
Then on to the Autopista which is a very nice highway.
But another expensive trip. And since we came down this same road five weeks ago the tolls have gone up – by any where from 12 Pesos to 19 Pesos a stop – a little over a dollar. Everything else is going up so I guess it was only a matter of time. We spent US$77 for 192 miles – and part of that wasn’t Autopista – just regular roads.
It was a pretty day for traveling, blue skies, puffy white clouds and RAIN? All of a sudden we had big juicy rain drops on the windshield. Didn’t last long and was sure a surprise. Only for a mile or two and never heavy.
We were surprised when we pulled into Las Jabias RV Park – there are five other rigs parked in the back where we are usually all by ourselves. Also got another surprise – not the good kind. I guess Willie is paranoid now and doesn’t want to leave us again. When Bill went to take off the locking pin for the tow bar it wouldn’t come off. No way would it unlock. Just ducky….Tried and tried again – no luck. Finally had to hacksaw the pin and knock it out. So all is okay again. We are parked and Willie is drivable.
Went out to dinner at Fat Fish – for ribs of course. Have lots of leftovers for tomorrow. Then to the grocery store. Now just relaxing at home. Tomorrow is another day and we have a lot to do……Well a couple of things anyway. Need to really clean poor Alfie. And will try putting the satellite dish up to see if it will work. If it doesn't start working I'll have to call HughesNet and I really hate calling them. If they can't help me we at least still have the Telcel which works really fast here in Mazatlan.
Funny but it feels like we came home again. 

Leaving for Mazatlan soon

The sun is over the mountain, the sky is blue and the guys are here working on the new palapa already. Guess they will finish it today.
As soon as I put the laptop away I'll finish packing and stowing everything and we'll be on our way to Mazatlan. So will post later - maybe the satellite will work there - if not I have my Telcel.
So later.....

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Activity around El Chaco Rv Park

Saturday p.m.
We are getting ready for leaving for Mazatlan tomorrow morning. Putting things away, dusting the dashboard instruments and noise proofing the dishes, pot and pans. Bill is washing the front window – hard to see out through all the salt and sand on it.
There were some tourists here the other day from Germany. They shipped their RV to Canada, drove across Canada, went to Alaska, drove south to Baja and then crossed on the ferry to Mazatlan. After a two day stop here they are headed for Mexico City. They were not sure how far south they were going to go. So far they’ve been traveling a year.
Just found out from another camper here that the Ultra-lite plane of Chip had an accident. Not while he was in it but after he had landed in a field about 100 miles from here. A big wind gust came up, picked it up and smashed it down. The only parts left intact are the engine and landing gear. Sorry to hear that.
This Telcel Internet is weird. Again this morning there was no service – but eventually it starts working. Maybe it just isn’t a morning thing. But when it does start up for the first couple hours it is pretty fast. And tonight it is cutting in and out. Works for a few minutes then disconnects. Guess it is better than nothing.
Earlier I was watching out the window about six guys starting to rebuild the beach ramadas. It is an interesting process. First the support poles went up. This time they are using wooden poles that are then covered with a white outer pole then cement is poured around the bottom to secure them.
Then the beams on top were put up. They are tied with twine to the support poles. Machetes are used to cut the beams to the correct length and to cut the twine.
A truckload of new fronds was brought in and laid on the grass near the construction.
After the support beams went up the men climbed on top and started putting the new fronds on. One side was completely done by evening.
We went into San Blas for dinner at Tradiciones with John and Carol. As always the meal was very good. After eating we walked around a bit and got to see a procession coming up the street to the church. It is a celebration for the patron saint of San Blas. The fiesta will continue until February 3rd. Then there will be a blessing of the fishing boats out on the water.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Daily Life around the Plaza

Friday a.m.
Yesterday we ended up going into San Blas for a little bit and I took some pictures of everyday life just around the main plaza.
But first … we went hunting for the new ATM the we were told about the other day. And after asking several people (who all gave us a little direction) we found it. It is on the main road to the Playa almost to the end. Just a little beyond the Coco Loco restaurant on the other side of the street. Just past the main gate to the Military installation. Here is a picture of it. It is kind of sunk back into the wall there. And it works wonderfully – fastest ATM we’ve ever used in Mexico. We were told it is never busy and never out of money. WOW
From there we went to the main plaza to go to the market. Most morning in the plaza free Internet service is offered. Including the use of the laptops. We’ve noticed that most of the plazas in the towns we’ve been in have free WiFi connections available in the them. But this is the first place we’ve also seen where the computers have been furnished. I think that is a great idea.
Just a couple of the townspeople going about their everyday business. Don’t know what she was carrying in the tub. Most of the older women always wear dresses, usually flowered prints.
Right past the central market is a little alleyway – down at the back of it is a produce store. The red and yellow building is a TV repair place.
Another older woman in her flowered print dress and apron. The aprons are always freshly washed and pressed. Notice the flip flops also very common. The jug in her left hand has the bottom cut off so it can be used as a funnel. She is talking to a couple of women sitting at the curb selling papayas and other produce.
The plaza was getting some maintenance. All the trees were being trimmed by men up on ladders with clippers and machetes. By the end of the day the palm trees will be cleared of old fronds and the other trees will be shaped.
As we continued around the plaza we noticed that this fountain had water in it. It is usually dry. The pigeons were loving it. We stopped to watch for a while. That is what you do in Mexico – just stop, sit and watch enjoying the life going on all around you – even if it’s just pigeons taking a bath.
A couple of really wet pigeons!
Heading back towards the car. The family is very important here. We see many generations together all the time. They are heading towards the Mercado Municipal doorway – central market.
She is tending her fish market. The fish are on a table covered with colorful oilcloth, the coolers are full of ice. She has her scale to weigh the purchase. The stand next to her is also selling fish and shrimp. All freshly caught.
There are bicycles everywhere. Sometimes, especially at night, there are 10 to 15 parked along the curb or lined up against a wall. They are used for everything. I’ve seen some with a Mother and three kids on them. Other carrying loads of firewood. Some with coolers strapped to the back.
There is always something to see in any small town.
Went out to dinner last night to Lucy in Aticama – saw this interesting beehive outside in a palm tree.
One thing that I’ve noticed here – all of the cooks in the restaurants are women. Where as at home most of the cooks are men And in the chain coffee shops they are usually Mexican men.
Today we’ll be starting to put things back in travel mode for an early departure on Sunday. And maybe take a ride down the coast a ways just to get out.
I mentioned that the palm fronds on the beach ramadas are in the process of being replaced. They are usually replaced every three to five years. A lot of course depends on the weather.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Thursday a.m.
Oops! Forgot to post yesterday – no excuse just forgot!
This is a picture of the laundry at the Casa MaƱana Hotel where we took our laundry. Good price and excellent job. They also have a good restaurant.
And here is a picture of George leaving the Aticama area – he’s waving to me. His post today sounded a little less sure about taking a major trip south.
Ms Tioga and George leaving Aticama
Took a ride down the coast and up through the hills yesterday. Such pretty country around here. Lots and lots of flowers and blooming trees.  This is a philodendron that is growing wild up a tree. Look at the size of the leaves!
On our ride we went through the little town of Santa Cruz about five miles from here. It’s a pretty small town. Here is one of their buildings. Kind of tall and narrow. The bottom is a pharmacy and the top is for outdoor living.
This is another two story house – check out the Bird of Paradise plant it is taller than the house. The plants growing around here are amazing.
On one of the corners in Santa Cruz was this man, he is making churros – got his gas tank and bucket for the boiling oil. The dough is in the galvanized bucket behind him.
After frying the churros are rolled in sugar. YUM!
We came over a small rise in the road to this sight. We came to a dead stop in the middle of the road – no where to pull over.
Isn’t the little cow cute! They just split and walked around us. Notice the motorhome following them – very slowly following them.
Going around us.
Then over the next hill we ended up behind this. Followed him for awhile till we could get a clear view to pass him. Never know what you’ll find on the roads here. This is the road from San Blas to Puerta Vallarta.
We had passed a little town down by the water and as we headed back we turned down the cobblestone road to check it out. Turns out it wasn’t a town with homes, it was a little cove full of restaurants and small fishing boats. There were two women out on the beach cleaning it off. I suspect they were gathering the driftwood for burning.
Got home and watched a very good soccer game. And basically just watched the world go by for the rest of the day. We are getting real good at that. The owners of the campground are starting to replace all the palapas on the beach. Lots of hard work.
I did figure out how to buy and download books for my Nook using the Telcel. Now if I can just remember how I did it. Need to download it to the laptop then open it and then connect my Nook to the laptop and move it over. A couple extra steps then library books.
No plans for today yet……