Sunday, November 27, 2011
This is the scene the other morning when I left my house. No, I'm not traveling to Merida on a "beast of burden" but I just wanted to share this photo anyway. My dirt road in front of my house is part of the Royal Road that used to go through San Miguel from Guanajuato to Mexico City. Remnants nearby are marked with markers telling the story. It is common for groups of horsemen to come by my dining room window taking a shortcut and avoiding centro as they come out of the mountains and are headed "who knows where."
I love being headed "who knows where". It has been a while since I've done that - I think the last time was to Chiapas a few years ago. Gosh, has it really been that long? YUP. Life has intervened. The usual trips to Texas and the beach are trips, but not to "who knows where".
So, I'm excited to be heading to Merida, Celustun,(I've wanted to go there for at least twenty years) Vallodid, Playa del Carmen and "who knows where" for 10 days the end of February. I'll be traveling with Los Vagabundos which is a great group to travel with. If you want to go off on your own, they don't care or you can do everything they have planned. This itinerary is stellar. A few days in Merida. hope to meet mutual blogger friends while there. Then on to the other parts. The only places I've been in the Yucatan have been Cancun and many, many trips to Cozumel - prior to cruise ships. This will be a real treat. I'm psyched. I've paid, I'm going.
The dilemma is that the Maya Conservancy in conjunction with the University of Texas is leading an archaeological tour to very remote sites in Guatemala the end of March to coincide with a special fire ceremony in a remote village. Oh dear, I want to go on that trip too. I LOVE Guatemala. Unfortunately, not being made of money, I can't do both. But, as my son always tells me, "If it's important enough, you'll figure a way". Maybe I'll sell something to take this trip - art, antiques, who knows. It is a "once in a lifetime" adventure.
And as you know, if you read this blog very often, "adventure" is my middle name.
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Yesterday morning about 7:50AM the doorbell rang. I wondered who that could be as the man selling fresh flowers comes at 8:30AM, usually, and the guys selling bottled water come later in the morning. So I opened the gate to the handyman who works in the school across the road. He wanted me to know that I had left my car window down all night on the street side. Oh my gosh, I was afraid to look inside the car wondering what would be gone. NADA, not one thing. So the day started on a great note.
While in centro I stopped in a little store at the corner of Mesones and Reloj to check on a pair of flats with animal print fabric on them. The owner asked me what I was looking for and I told her. She pulled out a book, showed me a photo of the very shoes I was looking for and said she would order them and have them for me next Wednesday! I asked if she wanted a deposit and she said no. Don't you just love it? I can't tell you the name of the store as there is no sign to tell you. Don't you just love that too?
The Brass and Wool Fair is going on around the jardin for nine days. Lots of different, unique items made in San Miguel and villages in the vicinity. Since we now have many Oaxacan vendors selling rugs and woven items here in town, they were exhibiting also. As I came around the corner, here was this Oaxacan woman doing embroidery with the most beautiful face. It doesn't get any better then this, does it?
Sweet things - they are always happening in San Miguel. Viva Mexico!
Sunday, November 13, 2011
One never knows what to expect when a new day dawns. It can be wondrous, sad or aggravating. Sometimes in twenty-four hours it can be all of those things and more.
This was the sight the other morning when I opened the drapes and looked up. Quickly I grabbed the camera and got this shot before they swooshed away.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
The "Grand Family Organizer", my daughter Julie, started talking about a grand camping adventure even before I got to Texas. She knew that I always loved camping. Of course that was "mumble something" years ago when I was a Girl Scout leader for seven years. Yes, a little known fact about my life.
I had never camped growing up but I took to it like a duck to water when my kids were old enough to be in Scouts. What fun! S'mores, streaking, cooking on a campfire. THAT is what went through my mind - well, not the streaking anymore.
The big weekend came. My daughter had every detail taken care of from food to bedding to EVERYTHING that has to go when a family of six plus one goes with you. Geez, it was something. Both her car and mine were packed to the top.
The girls, Emma and Hannah, had fun decorating the windows of Julie's car with all kinds of messages about camping. They were proud! It garnered favorable comments from the people at the front gate when we got to the state park.
We got to our spot. I had never had the "adventure" of a pop up camper. It is really cute inside. Two or more beds. I use that term loosely. I did make a note that the bathrooms were pretty darn far away - especially if and when one is walking at night. Say 1AM!
All set up. It was darn hot that day so we were all chugalugging drinks. (There is a reason I'm sharing that information) The best part is the great conversations that happen with the grandkids. No electronic devices, equals conversation. I heard about potential boyfriends. Things they like and don't like at school. Other stuff that was very enlightening coming from an eleven year old and soon-to-be fourteen year old.
Even my oldest granddaughter drove over from Texas A&M with her boyfriend. He brought his own tent. Smart guy! Super time with all of them.
Then night fell. I gave up and went into the "pop up" trailer. I was blessed to be able to sleep in there with my daughter. All the guys and younger kids were in tents. Glory be, I was glad I wasn't.
As it got really cool that night, guess what happened. Yup, I had to get up and trek down the road to the banos. I'm embarrassed to say it was many more times then once. IT WAS VERY DARK! At one point an owl "hooed" and I jumped.
I lasted about 24 hours. Worn out, looking like Maggie the dog, I decided that this season of my life is over. I retreated to the comfort of my daughter's house, about an hour away, where there were bathrooms, beds, and air-conditioning plus a swimming pool.
THAT is now my idea of a good life!
Tuesday, November 08, 2011
So many funny things happened while on this trip - a few of which I got photos of - and a few were things people said!
I was walking the beach in Galveston one morning. A couple of guys were surf fishing. As I walked back to my car, I saw the sign on the one man's truck and it made me laugh out loud. I went to the car, got the camera and took a photo of it. He came up and said he gets a lot of business because of the sign. I bet he does..........
Then one of the funniest things was while I was staying in Galveston with friends. They were out of town. When I would walk into their bathroom I would here this whirring sound for about 10 seconds. I couldn't figure out what it was. This happened several times until I realized that every time you walked by the super duper toilet called "Toto", the lid went up automatically. Needless to say, I had fun walking back and forth. Super duper it is! The seat is heated and a bidet is included in this device. Price tag - close to $3000 retail. But think of all the fun you can have.........
Last but not least is the sign my son-in-law put up over the alarm system on the day I was going to be arriving at their house to spend the weekend. Made me laugh out loud. I always worry when I'm going to their house that someone will forget and set the alarm and the police will come. I worry about that because it happened one time! Clever way to take care of the issue, huh?
Several funny things said. The "deer hunter" was telling me about trips to the Hill Country with his buddies. I asked if they cook - he said, "Oh no, we go to a little cafe in Comfort we call Huevos con breast!" REALLY! That cracked me up. It seems that the waitresses are very attractive and well endowed. The guys eat breakfast and lunch there every chance they get. Boys will be boys! And waitresses are not dummies.
While at dinner with friends in Galveston, it came to light that one of the men who I had corresponded with on Senior People Meet was someone they knew. They had told me earlier that they knew him but at dinner this night, they told me an unbelieveably funny incident. The conversation started with the husband saying he was glad that I had gone no farther with this man then meeting him for coffee at IHOP. I determined through conversation that he was not someone that I would want to date. Luckily! My friend told me that they knew he was a retired cop and one night saw him standing on his balcony in Galveston in a pink negligee holding a gun. OMG, that so tickled my funny bone that I couldn't stop laughing. We ALL got a good laugh out of that. REALLY!
It's fun to laugh out loud. It seems life gives us plenty of chances - if we're just open to it, daily.
Sunday, November 06, 2011
I hope you enjoy seeing the photos of all the Warbirds that are on display at the Lone Star Flight Museum at Scholes Field in Galveston, Texas.
I had heard about this museum for years from friends who volunteer at this museum. I wasn't prepared, however, for the diversity of the planes and how well they are housed along with the gift shop on the property. It is in a big hangar.
I was taken to see the museum by a friend who flies all of these planes as a volunteer. It was interesting to hear his perspective and love for the machines. It was extremely interesting to hear about people who come from all over the world to fly in and see the Warbirds - WW II Aircraft.
I won't pretend to know what aircraft is what, but if you go to the website at www.lsfm.org they tell all about the fighters and bombers. In addition, look closely at the photos on this post and then look at the photos after Hurricane Ike. It is amazing that from that devastation that the museum is sparkling today. It had to have taken untold numbers of hours by many, many volunteers to bring it back to its present beauty.
Sadly, I've been told by some, that the City of Galveston doesn't really promote this museum as a tourist attraction. I'm amazed. With all the interest by many generations in World War II, it would seem that it would be something that they would be proud to promote..........and fund.
There is a move afloat to move the museum to Ellington Field up near NASA. I can see the sense in that after you see the devastation from Hurricane Ike, but, what a loss to Galveston to not have this treasure on the island.
If you're interested in paying to be a passenger in these planes, you can make arrangements to fly in some of them.
It was fun to open a hangar door and to be so surprised and delighted to see aviation history!
Saturday, November 05, 2011
It's always fun to come home from a trip with presents for the kids - whichever ones it might be. I took gifts to the kids in Texas and then came home to bring gifts to Matilda and Sebastian. It is so darn much fun to see the surprise and delight on their little faces. To see them playing with their toys and loving, in Mati's case, her new ballerina shoes.
The look of happiness on my son's face as he watches his children says it all! Having children and grandchildren is the BEST!
Friday, November 04, 2011
These photos were taken from the nineteenth floor of the highrise that I stay in for part of my time in Houston. It is a lovely place with magnificent views of sunsets and the beautiful trees of Houston and Memorial Park.
I had been warned by many that the drought had caused much damage. What the drought hadn't caused, the wildfires had rushed in and claimed more. At ground level there is intermittent brown mixed in with green as you move along and you don't really get a sense of the enormity of the tree loss. When you get above it, it is staggering.
Over 15,000 trees have to be cut down in Memorial Park alone in Houston this year. They say the damage came from the one-two punch of Hurricane Ike a couple of years ago and then followed by the drought which has weakened and killed this huge number of trees.
The annual budget in Houston for tree removal is usually around $350,000. Not this year. They have just appropriated $4.5 MILLION dollars for tree removal.
Of course it is not only pines, but cedar, oaks and many other old, old trees. A blow to the beauty of Houston as well as to the loss of habitat for birds, bees, butterflies and a whole host of other critters who depend on those trees.
Sad but true, it will be harder to find a shady spot in the future!
Thursday, November 03, 2011
So many things and so little time! I not only drove to the Houston area. Once I was there I was ALL over the place.
For those who have never been to the Houston area, the sprawl of it can be daunting. Having lived there previously for thirty-four years, I'm kinda used to it. So from Kingwood, where my daughter lives, to Galveston is close to 75 miles or more. On the right day, in the right traffic, one can make it in a little over an hour. On a bad day, forget it. I WAS up and down that freeway many times. I should have kept track of the miles while I was up there but heck, I didn't have time.
There were baby kittens to be born my first day there! There were middle school football games to go to! Add to that seeing bridges built on land in Galveston and the Gulf - always the Gulf along with the prolific sea gulls and pelicans.
Riding the free ferry to see the dolphins, the tankers waiting to enter the port and just the fun of it is also a "must do".
Many meals - waaaaay too many meals with family and friends. Then there was Family Time - shopping, eating out, camping and the best part, just hanging out with the kids. Got to see ALL the Texas grandkids - that would be five and of course, Mati and Sebastian are here in San Miguel. Blessings! The camping experience with everyone was quite an adventure - one that I don't need to repeat at this time in my life - unless I go for the day. The night treks to the bathroom, in the dark, is not my idea of an "adventure". However, cooking breakfast on a camp stove again was fun. And, hanging out with everyone was stupendous.
Lots more to share but that will be in the next post.
Leaving Texas is ALWAYS sad! To leave friends, family and the Gulf! Boo hoo.
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
The aptly named CASA TRANQUILO guest house is on the market for rent..........again. Although the current tenant intended to stay "forever", forever turned out to be a short time because of extenuating circumstances.
So, here I am AGAIN, to tell you about the house which, preferably, I would like to rent long term (a year). BUT I'm open to other requests of a couple of weeks at Christmas or a month at a time for short term. Living in Mexico one must be flexible.
The house, as you can see, is open, airy, light and comfortable. The furnishings are above average. The sofa in the living room downstairs opens into a queen bed. It is a relatively expensive sofa so the bed is fairly comfortable.
Statistics are a 1 bedroom (16 x 20 ft), 1 bath on second floor with living/dining/kitchen on first floor and roof terrace on third level. Long term it rents for $750 per month. This is inclusive of electricity, gas, water, house telephone, Shaw satellite, and maid service once a week. Basically all you need to bring is clothes and personal items.
There are all linens provided as well as all items needed in a kitchen.
Hope you like it. Hope you know of someone looking for a place. AND I hope it is rented by the first of December. Gracias my friends.