Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Kathy’s big adventure and major screw up!

Today I decided to take the bus down to the TelCel booth which is located in the Gran Plaza which is just past the Golden Zone.  I wanted to put time on our internet stick (Banda Ancha) and ask some questions about Mexican phone plans and also about creating a TelCel account online.  I have tried to set up a TelCel account but the site is not user friendly and it keeps kicking me out. 

So…I hopped on the Cerritos Juarez bus and was on my way.  As we got about midway through the Golden Zone the bus made an abrupt left turn off it’s usual route.  What the heck?  There was much muttering among the gringos on the bus who were as confused as I was.  Must be some sort of obstruction on the road that we have to avoid.  Well….that was the case all right.  The second carnival parade is today and I had forgotten all about it.  Swell! 

We were dumped off about 3 blocks east of Mega and the Gran Plaza and we were on our own.  That was not a problem for me as I have no problem walking but for some people it was.  Now the issue would be to get home when I was done.  The parade was moving north past the Gran Plaza and then turning west toward Mega and then south along the malecon.  This meant that all the buses were travelling off their usual routes and in no apparent order. 

First order of business the TelCel booth in the Gran Plaza.  I spent about an hour with a very fluent English speaking young man who attempted to help me with my issues.  Many people are under the impression that their Mexican TelCel phone will work in Canada and the United States.  We didn’t think that was true but I thought I’d ask.  No it will not.  Next up I asked if we could register me as the owner of the TelCel stick which Richard and Carole had given us.  I’d purchased their time back in November when they found their new computer operating system was not compatible with their older internet stick.  No problem doing that either.  I asked if he could set up an online account with Mi TelCel so I could put money on the phone and stick remotely and he said he’d try.  Unfortunately he had the same problems that I did and even after calling his help line it wouldn’t work.  He did say that the chips in the stick and  phone should be good for one year so we shouldn’t have to buy a new one or loose our phone number before we get back next year.  I then topped up my stick (300 pesos) for 2G which is good for 40 days. Sure a lot cheaper than Telus back in B.C.  I told him that 5G would cost $70 per month at home and he was horrified!  Me too!  We have no access to a hardwired internet line at home and must now use cell service for internet or drive to our daughter’s to use her internet. We had dial-up which was cancelled by Telus just before we left home.  Too bad so sad for us.  It wasn’t a very good service but at least we had something.

So business done it was now time to try and get home.  I walked north past the Gran Plaza up to Mega to see if there were any buses passing by and there were but they were whizzing every which way and I couldn’t see one that would take me home.  Now what?  Well I walked east quite a few blocks to Soriana’s where the Toreo bus route is as that would take me home.  I waited and waited and nope….no Toreo bus.  A big green bus did pass by off his usual route but when I waved he just blew by me!  Bas##rd!!!  At this point I was tired, overheated and very frustrated.  Time to take alternate action.  I walked back in front of Soriana’s and found a taxi.  Cuanto (how much) for a ride back to the park?  120 pesos or about $8 …no problem…take me home. 

It was now 12:15 and I had to play cards at 1pm.  I made it home and Eric was wondering what happened to me….mostly because it was lunch time! 

Now  you might wonder what kind of an idiot doesn’t take her phone with her when she goes out.  We do have two phones that work here in Mexico.  One on a TelCel plan and one AT&T phone from our daughter and son-in-law in Pittsburgh.  I could have phoned Eric from Soriana’s and he could have come and picked me up.  We are so unused to carrying and using a cell phone at home that most of the time it doesn’t occur to us.  Next time it will!

P.S. – when I came back from playing cards our friend Manny was visiting Eric.  Turns out he was at Soriana’s and saw me there.  He said he honked and waved and yelled while he was parking the car but by the time he got out….I was gone.  Well…this is Mexico and honking and yelling is a normal sound that I don’t even notice.  Thanks anyway Manny…at least you tried. 

Monday, February 27, 2017

The Last Hurrah! …..Fish Fry

It is the end of February and some of our friends are starting to head north.  Tomorrow John/Anita and Cathy/Doug will hit the road.  On Sunday Frank/Sandi will leave and on and on it goes.  The good news is that most people will return next fall and we will start all over again!

So…Jeri has been wanting to have her yearly fish fry but as the Dorado (Mahi Mahi) has been in short supply she’s been holding off.  In the end she had to settle for an alternative which didn’t make her very happy! 


It is about 4:30 and Eric and I are the last to arrive.  John is in the middle of a speech giving thanks for all of our good friends here in the park.  This includes Dick who has been very ill and in hospital but is now back in the park and on the mend.  It has been a hard year for illness in the park and some people have left early and will likely not return.  John also mentions that whatever money that is left over from our contributions to the fish fry (100 pesos per couple) will be donated to Rosie who owns Gaby’s Beauty Shop.  Rosie is very involved in charity work and we funnel our money and clothes donations through her.  She started with nothing and has worked hard to develop her business.  Many years ago some kind gringos helped her get a leg up and she has never looked back.  At this point she is dedicated to giving back to her community and we are all glad to help.  The poor here in Mexico are very, very poor. 


The crowd is listening to John.


Richard and Boomer.


John’s speech is over and he heads over to get ready to deep fry.  Whenever John wants our attention he blows his dog whistle.  Someone said that maybe he was using it to train Jeri….the next comment was “ It’s not working!!!  Funny.


Marion chats to Hal and Helene and that’s Eddie on the right.


Dick and Val are parked next to John and Jeri and they join us by sitting in front of their rig.  Nice to see Dick up and about.


Happy hour and the crowd is….happy!


Bets with Jeri behind her.  Bets and Boomer are now in the condos down the street and tonite we’ll get to eat one of her yummy desserts.


That’s John.  He and Anita will head out tomorrow morning.


Looks like a serious conversation between Sandi and Marion.


That’s the donation can.  The crowd starts on the hors d’oevres.


Our chef for the fish fry….John.  Sorry I chopped his head!


Jeri has a quick drink before she and John get started.


John asks Fred to say grace.


Sandi is a wine drinker but she is holding up my can of beer.  Look at all the food!   The usual array of tasty delights from all the good cooks.  Tonight I made a mango/pineapple/apple salsa and some sweet and spicy pickled onions. 


Frank in the background while Bets and Marion chat to Cathy.  She and Doug will leave in the morning.  Really nice people and they will be back next year.


That’s Mike chatting to Hal.  Mike is on his own but he has lots of gal pals that he travels out and about with.  He and Eddie know each other from years past and are very good friends.


That’s Anita and she and John will head out in the morning.


The fish is ready and everyone loads up their plates.

I guess I lost interest in pictures at this point when I started to eat.  The food was delicious…the desserts were great….and everyone had a good time.  It started to cool off and the bugs came out so it was an early night for most.  Sandi and a few of the ladies sat around her propane campfire and finished up the evening. 

A good evening with friends.  Thanks once again to John and Jeri for the extra effort creating another park event.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Ladies Lunch at Costa de Oro

Today’s lunch was at the Costa de Oro Hotel which is midway into the Golden Zone and situated right on the beach. 


That’s Ruth welcoming us in!  Note the decoration on the door which means that Carnival is coming soon. 


Ruth and Bets enter the very large and lovely lobby.


Very grand and the Carnival decor is everywhere.


Up the stairs and into the restaurant which overlooks the ocean.


Beautiful view looking south and the speck in the middle is actually a parachute being pulled by a boat.


Marilyn and her visiting sister-in-law Marilyn were already here sitting at a table overlooking the water.  Sandi spied them as we came in and she along with Bets and I went down to join them.


Once again we had a reservation for a large group and so there was a table set up for us.  We could have broken up and scattered to small tables but some people didn’t want to sit in the sunshine. 


In the end the whole table was full so we weren’t missed up top although some ladies said they would have preferred to sit down by us.  Each to their own.


A little chat before the drinks arrive.


Orders are being taken.


Lunch arrived quickly at our small table and this is Marilyn’s  (not the sister in law) clubhouse sandwich.


I had a seafood chowder which was filled with shrimp, fish and octopus.  Very good.


This is Bets’s Mexican plate which I would have ordered if I hadn’t had chile rellenos for supper last night.  It has a chili relleno, burritto, enchilada, rice and salad.  Yummy!


Sandi’s tacos.


Lunches arrived at the big table.


Quite a few ladies ordered the Mexican plate and a couple ordered just the chile rellenos.  The chile relleno order came with two big chile’s and one went home in a take away box. 


Bev thought she’d missed the photos so she gave me a big smile.


So….service was good, prices reasonable, ambiance lovely and the food was delicious.  A good choice for lunch any day of the week!  Quiet and peaceful looking out at the ocean.

Thumbs up!

The two Marilyns, Bets and I headed up the street after lunch.  I wanted to do a bit of shopping and get an ice cream cone at DairyQueen.  Bets and Marilyn had to pay their condo power bills and off we went.  A little shopping and ice cream cone for me and then home on the bus. 

A good afternoon.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Ladies Lunch at Surf’s Up…

Ladies lunch/beer/dancing and a band was on Thursday this week.  It had been decided last Wednesday that the group would go out to Surf’s Up and enjoy all of the above.  So…our faithful Ariga truck driver Sergio was ordered and we all left the park at 12:30. 


Surf’s Up is located at the very north end of Mazatlan out past Emerald Bay on the gravel road.  It would be an easy walk on the beach from the Emerald Bay resorts.  Many people have been here but not me!


When we arrived at the restaurant the parking lot was full of cars, taxis, Arigas and droves of people heading in. 


Twice a week they have a band play and today it was “moldy oldies/Rock n Roll!”  Needless to say the crowd was well seasoned.  Reggae is on Saturdays.


Ruth had made a reservation for 20 and in the end we were 19.  The sign at the road said they were full and there was no room for extras.


We filled up two big tables and a small one up on the tile floor part of the cafe.  The lower part towards the ocean is uncovered and there is sand under your feet.


All tables reserved and waiting for people to come.  The band starts at 1pm and plays until 4pm.  Looking south you can see the Riu Hotel in the distance. 


The band is introduced.  They are called Beggars Banquet and we listened to some of them at Ruth and Jimmy’s 50th party.


and….they start. 


Sharen has received her tequila. 


Ruth decided to order a round of the Naipe beer which is a local micro brewery.  They vary from light to dark and one even has coffee and chocolate. 


I think Ruth’s holding a caesar but she’ll try the beer as well!


That big bottle is the chocolate/coffee and the alcohol is over 7% which is a huge amount in Mexico where beers like Pacifico Lite are 3 1/2%.


The other group doesn’t look like they’re having as much fun as us….maybe they need some Naipe beer!


Geri decided to get in on the fun and she ordered a round too but, not the large bottle. 


See how happy she is!


That’s the third table.  Some of the ladies join us for lunch on Wednesdays. 


It is smoking busy and the waiter is running to keep everyone in drinks and get the food ordered. 


Marion and Jeanette in deep conversation with Ruth.


Ruth’s husband Jimmy was sitting at the next table. 


So….the food finally started to arrive.  The menu is very limited on Thursdays and consists of a few sandwiches, hot dogs and hamburgers.  This is a “no pasa nada” sandwich which is loaded with three different types of cheese, bacon and tomatoes.


The fries were hot and the dip was a spicy chipotle.  Very good.


Eddie’s Bulldog.


Reg is eating too.


This is my lunch which was the very last to come.  Every time the waiter came by he looked at me and asked what I’d ordered and I replied “ No Pasa Nada!”  After two or three times the whole table was chanting “No Pasa Nada!” in unison.  The sandwich was good but a little soggy so I think it had been sitting for a while.  The food is highly rated here but I think the amount of people being served dropped the quality a little.


Fred and Marion are trying to pay their bill.  They drove out on their own and are ready to leave.


By three o’clock the crowd is starting to thin out.  Many people had been here early and had eaten before we arrived.


What a lovely afternoon.


Anyone need a Surf’s Up T-shirt?


This is the flavor of the crowd.  Don’t know this guy but he obviously likes Pink Floyd.


The band is rocking and so are Fred and Marion.  I couldn’t convince them to go out and dance so they just danced in place.


Not so Mike and Eddie.  Hard to dance in the sand but…they managed.


Huge Cacti at the side with blooms ahead of it.


Reg and Mosetta.


The band was really, really good and it’s obvious from the size of the crowd how popular they are.


Don’t know this guy either I just thought you’d enjoy another flavor of the crowd!


At this point we had finally managed to get our bills straightened out and paid.  I think the restaurant is completely overwhelmed by the amount of people that it attracts when the band plays.  So…the setting is beautiful, the drinks were good, the food was okay (apparently much better on a regular and less busy day), and the band was great.  All in all a really good afternoon.


Sergio was right on time and we were headed home.  Some people had already left in other vehicles but we were still enough to make a truckload. 

Fun day.