Thursday, February 21, 2019

This and that

Over the last couple of weeks I haven’t had much to say.  It has become painful to post due to Blogger blocking my draft programs (Open Live Writer) ability to post pictures.  Text uploads fine but photos…no.  I have finally managed to figure out how to do it but it is time consuming.  Briefly…I load my photos onto my computer and put them in a dated and titled file as usual.  I then upload those photos to Google photos and put them in an album.  Next I do my offline blog on Live Writer including the pictures.  Now instead of posting I copy the post and paste it into blogger so I can remove the squares with no photos in them (Google won’t bring them along) and add the photos one by one that were previously uploaded to Google photos.  Did that bore you….well it bores me too!  Why don’t I just do my post on blogger and skip Open Live Writer well….it takes too much data and I only have cell data. 

On another note.   We thought our truck had been repaired but it turns out it was not.  Two weeks ago Eric and I went off to Wal Mart to shop.  The first thing that happened was that the A/C was not working and it had just been fixed.  Rats!   That means another trip back to the A/C shop.  We stopped at Wal Mart, I shopped and came out and after we’d loaded the groceries into the truck Eric turned the key and….the truck with it’s new part wouldn’t start….no way….no how.  Now what?  Well, Eric called Manny because he didn’t have the mechanic’s (Armondo) phone number.  Oddly enough Manny was at the shop and he said he’d come take me and the groceries home and Armondo would try to start the truck.  Meanwhile….our neighbour Fred and his wife Brenda came out of Wal Mart and I asked for a lift home as they were going my way.  I left Eric with the truck and off we went.  Eric called me a little later to say that Armondo couldn’t start the truck and that a tow truck was coming.  The truck was hauled to Armondo’s shop for 450 pesos (about $30 Canadian) and a 50 peso tip.  Manny gave Eric a ride home.  Plus…our 5 gallon water bottles were in the truck as that was to be our next stop.  At least I’d loaded up on beer at Wal Mart!!!

So….over the last two weeks it was decided that the trucks main computer is caput after testing by a technician with the software to diagnose the problem.  These days everything is electronic and you can’t fix anything unless it’s simple.  So now we are waiting for part to come from Guadalahara to the tune of 7000 pesos and that’s cheap. 

Beyond that life goes on.  We have been busy with other matters which I haven’t discussed on the blog but will in the next week or so.  A surprise and hopefully a new direction for our winter life in Mexico. 

Stay tuned. 

Sunday Concert at the Angela Peralta...Gordon's String Favorites

February 17, 2019
We didn’t attend the last two Sunday performances as one was a soprano which didn’t interest us and the second because I just didn’t get us tickets!  Right before we left Eric called his brother Ian who is here with his wife Linda in a condo in El Cid.  They are in El Cid for a month with Linda’s brother and sister in law and then Ian and Linda move to the Cerritos resort and Judy and Craig go home.  I haven’t seen their place so we thought we’d drop over after the concert.   It turned out that when Eric called Ian and Linda they’d bought tickets for the performance as well! 
Eric and I  boarded the bus just before 11am and it was already getting full.  Funny enough Ian and Linda boarded the same bus and ended up sitting at the back.  By the time we got to the malecon it was standing room only and you couldn’t hardly get another person on .  A far cry from a few years ago when the buses were always half empty.

Ian and Eric chatting while we wait in the square.

Linda taking a picture of me….taking a picture of her!

Today’s program.

This was another well attended concert.

Olga has tuned up the orchestra and we are ready to start after….a nice introduction of the program by Gordon Campbell.  Gordon said they would play happy music and that the musicians would really enjoy themselves! 
I took a couple of pictures of Ian and Linda but they weren’t very good.  They started out sitting down below us at the back of the main section.  For the second part of the performance they came up and sat behind us in the raised row which was mostly empty.  Up where we are seated there is no one to block your view and they said that if they come again they will sit in the first balcony the same as us. 

Listo!   Ready to start and as soon as they started to play I could feel my face beginning to smile all on it’s own.

There were a total of twelve numbers played and I could see that the musicians were really enjoying themselves…as were we!

Olga Khudoblyak the lead violinist has just performed a rousing lead number and the audience is very appreciative of her talents.

What an attractive young woman.

The concert is finished and there is a standing ovation which did not result in an encore even though we really tried!  They played twelve numbers in total so we were all satisfied.    A thoroughly enjoyable concert and everyone left happy.

Time for lunch and we wandered off down Carnival St. to Eric’s favorite restaurant “ Mariscos Chon.”   Saw this truck along the way and it is in great condition…almost looks all stock.
Somehow once we all had a beer, ordered food and ate I realized I’d forgotten to take any pictures.  Eric had his usual marlin burritos, Linda had tacos gobernador (cheese inside with shrimp), Ian had fish and chips and I decided to try the fish soup.  It contained a spicy broth with octopus, scallops, shrimp, clams and pieces of fish….delicious!  They only serve seafood here and they do it very well.  There is an old Mexican gentleman that we meet every time we come here on a Sunday and he speaks some English.  He says he just loves the food here and boy can he ever pack it away!  Two tostados heaped with ceviche, a large bowl of soup, a plate with grouper fish &rice and a bunch of tortillas.   That was one big meal.

Lunch was finished and we wandered off down the street to head back to the rear of the mercado to catch the bus home.

Elaborate decor.

They all thought they were funny when I got too far ahead and they hid around the corner where I couldn’t see them.  Haha!

Here we’re on the bus and this little baby was cute as a bug.  She was laughing and kissing her mother and making googoo eyes at all the people around her!
In the end we decided to get off at El Cid and walk into Ian and Linda’s  condo so I could have a look.  By this time I was full and tired and once again….I didn’t take any pictures.  It’s a bit of a walk in and if I was staying for the winter I’d want a vehicle.  Ian and Linda will be here on their own for March and are staying in the Cerritos resort out by us.  Much more convenient as the bus runs right along the street and the resort is on the beach so they can both walk.  Very convenient and as they stayed there (in a different condo) last year it’s like coming home! 
The condo they are renting in El Cid is on the top floor of a house and although it’s very nice the floor plan is very odd.  It may have been a multi family dwelling at one point so that may explain it.  It looks out over the golf course so they have a bit of a view. 
We had a short visit and then it was time to walk down to the main street and catch the bus home.   I still had laundry on the line and I needed to get it in before the dew fell. 

A really nice day and we were both tired at the end of it all. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

A ride to San Ignacio with Frank, Sandi and their son Brad. (Feb. 13th)

Last Wednesday was a lovely day and as Frank and Sandi’s son Brad is visiting for two weeks we all decided to take a run up to San Ignacio.  We were up that way by ourselves a few weeks ago but….it’s always a nice place to visit.

Sorry about the spots!  That’s Brad and Frank in front and Sandi in the back crocheting.  Busy hands are happy hands!

North on the free road to the San Ignacio turn off.

This roadside stand in Coyotitan is always busy…even the big bus is stopped.

We didn’t stop and get radishes the last time we were by but today we did.  10 pesos a bunch and 10 pesos for a good sized bag of tomatoes.  I bought both!  We call this little place “ Radish Town” because of ….the beautiful big radishes or rabanos in Spanish.  Eric just loves them. 

This teeny tiny town now has a new church. 

The gate to San Ignacio.

See that metal pole sticking up…well that’s the water gauge.  A few years ago the flood waters were up to to the deck of the bridge!

A little chat in the square before we walk over to have lunch.

A very pleasant place to sit and rest and there are always people relaxing on the benches.

We were started off with two kinds of salsa and a bowl of avocado mixed with fresh cheese.  Yummy!

Eric had camarones rancheros….just like last time.

Camarones empanizado (breaded and deep fried) for Frank and Sandi as well.

Brad had pollo a la plancha or grilled chicken.

I decided to try fried chicken but I really could have done with only one piece!  Once again…no supper tonight.

Everyone happily eating…always good food here.

Lunch is over and we are ready to head home.

The church is really old…from the 1600’s.

We are just coming over the bridge heading out of town and in the distance you can see the little blue Jeep behind us. 

Another days ride with friends.  Very enjoyable for all of us.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Ladies Lunch at 28 or….Veintiocho!

Last Friday’s lunch was in the Golden Zone at “ Veintiocho!”  We started out with a plan of taking the bus but in the end we ended up in a red truck for the same price.  Took a little longer than the bus as the driver had to go all the way to the south end of the Golden Zone to come back to the restaurant on the one way street that runs along the ocean side.  

Here you can see some of us seated and ready to order drinks.  The last time we were here we sat outside but today it was too sunny and hot.

This is my usual ladies lunch drink….Pina colada.

Lots of us and even more came after.  I don’t really think any of us enjoy it as much when the group gets too big.  Some of us think it would be better to just sit at smaller tables instead of making the table longer and longer. 

It took a while for the drinks and food to show up as the owner was the waitress.  This is a pub restaurant and they are really not set up for a group as large as we were. 

I ordered an avocado shrimp salad and it was very good.

Cathy had a hamburger and you can see that it is quite rare inside.  In the end she sent it back to be cooked a bit more. 

Fries, salad and a chicken sandwich (minus the bread) for Sandi. 

Chicken fettucini for Maureen.  That’s a generous serving of chicken on top and she said it was very good.

Sue had fish and chips….good as well.  I tried a piece of fish as Sue is not a big eater and is always happy to share.

Connie has tortilla soup and here you can see her snuggling up to Robyn when I asked her to lean in for a photo.

Put a little more lime in that drink!

What I didn’t realize was that Vientiocho has a an all day happy hour “two for one special.” All of a sudden another pina colada showed up with the comment “ Your drink had a baby!”  Yikes, one was more than enough and I could only drink a bit of the second one.

Pat had what we would call a chimichanga or deep fried burrito.  This one was filled with shrimp and cream cheese.

Lil and her friend ordered lemon pepper chicken wings which are now on the menu after Lil ordered them a few times and they made them specially for her. 

Cathy finally got her hamburger at the end of the meal completely redone but…still very pink.  They did explain that the meat is a mixture of pork and beef so it stays quite pink when cooked and is very juicy and good.  

So what did we think.  The food was good pub fare and the restaurant is a good choice for lunch.  However, not for a very large group as they struggled to get the food out and Sandi (who doesn’t mind at all) got up to help deliver drinks to our table.  They could have used another waitress and some help in the kitchen.  Yes…we did have a reservation so they knew we were coming.

It was mentioned that they have become very popular since they opened and we would all go back just not all together!

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Ladies Lunch at Agatha

Today we were off to the Golden Zone for lunch.  Agatha does not open until 1pm so the ladies decided to leave at the regular 11:30 time and use the extra time to “ shop!”  I left on my own so I could meet up with my sister in law Linda and it didn’t take long before we all bumped into each other. 

Here we are at Agatha which is on Las Gaviotas in the Golden Zone.

Hard to get a good picture when it is so bright behind…that’s Linda with a cold one and Pat, Robyn, Eddie and Ruth at another table.

I told you they went shopping!

One page of the menu.  An upscale menu with lots of choices.

Everyone relaxing and chatting with a drink while we wait for food.

That’s Sue chatting to Linda.  It wasn’t very busy but it was early in the day and they had just opened.  

Sorry Ruth I caught you with your mouth full!  They are eating small slices of bread that came with a small bowl of tapenade.  Chopped black olives, capers and garlic in olive oil.  Delicious.

The food arriving.  You can see clam chowder, spicy tuna tostadas and crab cakes.

Robyn ordered the crab cakes and tuna tostadas as part of a shared meal.

Pat’s clam chowder and yam fries.

This is my lunch….tuna a la planche with tempura vegetables.  The tuna was the best that I have ever eaten and….I order it a lot!  The vegetables inside the tempura were crunchy and delicious.  A real winner and I did share bites of the tuna.

Bad picture in the light but that is Sue’s unagi roll with breaded shrimp, jalapeno peppers and BBQ eel. 

Eight separate pieces and again delicious.  Sue also ordered the crab cakes which she shared bites of and they were spicy and very tasty.  I am not fond of eel but the unagi roll was also very good and….I liked the eel in it.
We were  a small group of ladies today (7) and we had just the nicest time.  The weather was cool and breezy on the outside area where we were seated, the music was playing softly, the food was outstanding and the service exemplary.  We all walked out after lunch feeling, relaxed, full and thoroughly happy having eaten a delicious lunch. 
I should have taken more pictures as it is a lovely restaurant that will accommodate large groups of people.  We all thanked the staff for a very pleasant experience and said we’d be back. 

A real winner and a good choice any day of the week if you want top quality food and service at a reasonable (for what you get) price. 

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Ride to Copala

Last week we were supposed to go on a ride with Frank and Sandi but they had Jeep problems and had to bail at the last minute.  This week the Jeep is fixed (new battery) and off we went to Copala.  For a few years it was hard to find anywhere to eat there as Daniel’s Restaurant (now in El Quelite) had closed.  After reading Carol’s blog and her recent post about Copala we knew that Alejandro’s restaurant was now open in a new location just off the square.

We followed the vegetable truck out of the park and up the street to where he pulled off at a roadside restaurant.

Getting fuel and then onward.

This week the Jeep is right behind us with my usual shot of the Riu in the background.

On the Mazatlan bypass.

More repairs on a brand new road….

We pay 23 pesos at the toll booth.

We leave the bypass at Villa Union and head east towards Concordia and then Copala.

Usually you see Mexicans with machetes slashing the edge of the road but this is upscale….a tractor with a brush mower.

This very nicely restored Ford truck was right ahead of us and he had a tank of water on the back.  He pulled off into a small field where he had young trees to water.

Don’t you just love the colorful buses?

Lots of nice green crops out this way.

Alright burro….take me to town and….make it snappy!

One of the numerous pottery shops just before Concordia.  Why do they paint the frogs bright green and put happy faces on them and who would buy them?

Eric pointed out the furniture shop and I said I like the furniture in Mesillas where it’s very pricey there and very nice!

On the left Concordia and the big church steeple. 

Anyone need a watermelon?  This guy has lots.

We sit in the sun and the locals use an umbrella to get out of it.   Bet her skin looks better than mine!

If you turn right here and go under the Durango cuota you will come to Mesillas….a whole town in the middle of no where making, importing and selling high end furniture.  Always fun to look but….another time.

The road to Copala climbs and it is very twisty and turny.  Eric has to really pay attention and keep his eye on the road.  He doesn’t get to sight see like me!

Up above the new toll highway to Durango.  This new highway has opened up an easy route for people to come to Mazatlan from the interior of Mexico.  That’s why building in Mazatlan has just exploded over the last couple of years.

Mountains in the distance.  We are on the old highway to Durango and when you get past Copala you would travel on what is known as the Devil’s Spine.  

There were lots of leafless trees with big white flowers on….I wonder what they are.  Magnolias flower before they leaf out but I doubt that is what they are.

Coming into Chupaderos…

No water in that river.

Even the tiniest town has a beer store!

Turn right for Copala.

The “lovely” cobblestone road.  It is awful!  So rough it just about bounces us off the bike and loosens the fillings in your teeth.   The last time we were up this way we took the paved cut off to the right and as we came up the hill there was a big pile of sand in the middle of the road and we ended up dropping the bike.  Loose sand on a hill is not a good thing for a big Harley.  Today we stayed on the cobblestones to be safe.

A pretty little town with not much going on.

Heading towards the square.

Rough cobblestone road the whole way.

The square and up ahead the Iglesia church built in the 1600’s.

The bike is parked and we are in one piece.

Frank and Sandi are parked in front of Alejandro’s Restaurant.

The pretty square.

An old mural that has seen better days. 

Alejandro used to run his restaurant over the bank down behind the square.  Now that there are more tourists returning to Copala he needed more room and opened a bigger facility right next to the square. 

Very nicely done with enough seating for a tour bus.  We were told there was one coming at 1pm so we hustled to our seats and ordered before everyone got there.

Eric’s camarones rancheros.

Frank’s beef machaca.

Sandi had camarones empanizado.

I had camarones relleno or shrimp with cheese wrapped in bacon and grilled.  Very rich and I couldn’t eat the whole meal but….

I did have enough room for a piece of banana cream pie.  This used to be served at Daniel’s restaurant and now it’s served here.  Good!

Eric….quite hogging all the tortillas!  

After lunch we walked across to Alejandro’s studio where he sells leather masks, different carvings and jewellry.  He said business has been much better in Copala over the last couple of years since the cruise ships have come back to Mazatlan.  This means that people from the cruise ships are now coming to Copala on tour buses and business is good.

Lovely masks and we already have one that we bought at Daniel’s restaurant a few years ago.  However I really did like the purple one on the top left!

Back to the square and I saw this horse and dog patiently waiting for their owner.

Time to have a quick look at the church.

We toured this area many times in the past but it’s always worth another look.

That is one of the nicest bougainvillea’s I’ve ever seen.

A peek inside the church. 

Lots of work and money needed to restore it to it’s former glory.  Too much for a small poor town. 

Isn’t that beautiful.

Grass is growing out of the steeple.

And now for the return trip on the cobblestone road. 

The big old tree at the bottom with it’s roots in the air.  Doesn’t seem to mind at all.

Back to the pavement and heading home.

About 40 miles to Mazatlan.

Onto the bypass.

Lots of green crops near Villa Union because of the water from the river.

More road repair on a new bridge.

Tell tale sign that we are almost home….the Riu.

Just next to the park on the north side….trucks heading in with loads of fill and….lots of dust.  The park is just a stone’s throw to the right. 

So a really good ride and a tasty lunch with friends ....what more can you ask for.