Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mexico City and Beyond

Just so you know, there are no pictures of our trip across Mexico City. Why?? Because it took all of LW's driving skills and my very limited navigational skills to get us to the other side. I felt like we were in one of the kids video games but I never found the magic compass !!
The plan was to drive to the outskirts of MC find a hotel and stay the night getting up early Sunday morning and getting across before the streets got to bad. Mexico City is considered one of the most air polluted cities in the world. The government started a program of limiting driving in the city.The last 2 digits on your licence plate designates what days you may drive. This includes all foreign plates. Sunday is a free day. This is good cuz it seems to be a disagreement between police on which day which numbers drive.

We made it to the outskirts started looking for the big yellow building of the City Express Hotel. Block after block no luck, until suddenly we realized we were now in the city :c{ and it's 5:30 on Saturday evening. In Mexico the government employees work 5 days a week but almost everyone else works 6. So rush hour is upon us. I was armed with the atlas, the city map in the atlas, and map quest maps LW had down loaded. Piece of cake.... sorry. There are a couple of universal understandings here. Most street sign are none existent or they are posted on the side of a building written on small faded signs. When there is road construction you see the detour sign but never another directional sign after that. Lane designations are only a suggestion, the rule of thumb is, there are as many lanes as you can squeeze in. Drive defensively, and communicate with your horn. :c}street names can change each time they pass through another colonia (neighborhood).

Shortly after we were so proud of ourselves for navigating through 2 route changes we realized we were now some place in the city but we didn't know where. Okay new plan forget the map quest instructions find a way to the airport (as it's in the east part of town) then we can find our way to route 150 out of town. Piece of cake... no again. We passed the airport continued east until the street we were on came to a dead end. LW pulls the yellow Submarine over to the curb gets out walks across the street to read the street sign as it was twisted into the shape of a pretzel. By now we are frazzled, it's nearly dark, we are in a NOT SO NICE part of town and need to get off the road, find a room and start over in the morning. I looked up through the windshield and right in front of us was a really nice modern building with no windows that said it was a "Auto Hotel" I was thinking to myself boy is that what they call parking garages in this part of the country? Cue music, as the light bulb goes off above my head. What a dummy that's a "No Tell Hotel" A "Love Shack" !!!! WE ARE SAVED :c}

In Mexico there are hotels usually on the edges of town that are set up for very discrete shall we say "conversations" It has only been the most recent generations that it has been unacceptable for a man to have a mistress. Since discretion is necessary out of respect for his wife and family, he usually takes his lady friend to a Love Shack. There is another reason for the abundance of these hotels. Many generations of a Mexican family live in one house. Privacy does not exist. So for special occasions or just some plain ol quiet time people will check in. They are enclosed and have garages almost always very clean well kept and inexpensive. Often people traveling through the country will use them because they can pull into a garage and not have to unload their cars for the night. Couple of interesting features. 1) there are no room keys. Once they show you your room, close the garage door there is no way to get back in if you leave. 2) They have really great room service, pick up the phone place your order, in a little while there is a knock at the door. No not the room door, the little butler door off to the side. Open the door take your order, pay the bill and enjoy. 3) There usually is a nice TV with a great selection of "adult entertainment. 4) There are never any reading lamps on the bedside tables!!

Our room cost us $340 pesos ($34ish bucks). Brand new, big screen TV, marble floors huge shower, king size bed. Sorry no pictures, lighting was a bit wanting!! At 6 am Sunday morning LW ask me if I'm ready to get going, I begged for a 1/2 hour more. At 6:10 the phone rings it's the office, we need to be out of the room in 20 minutes:c{ They forgot to tell us one important house rule the rooms can only be rented in 2 hour increments up to 12 hours!! We managed to convince them in our limited Spanish to give us another 2 hours more (for $60 pesos)!! ;c}

Back in the Yellow Sub and on the road. Debbie's is only 5 hours away!!! Just as we pull into Coatepec it starts to RAIN Well it is the rainy season, there is a tropical storm off the coast (45 miles away), and we are in the cloud forests :c}. Coatepec is a small 47,000 old colonial town, which grew up because of the huge Coffee Haciendas. The streets are very narrow and a bit on the hilly side. It's not uncommon to see a burro, horse cow or huge tour bus trying to negotiate the streets

That's Debbie in the maroon car ahead of us. She led us up to her little neighborhood where her house over looks an old coffee plantation. Talk about a plant lover dying and going to heaven. I could here my friend Pat. W. http://gatherings100.blogspot.com/ ooohing and ahhhing all the way from NOB!! :c}

Every morning the Shepard leads the sheep and one goat out to graze and every evening he rounds them up for the night.

The last three pictures are looking out her back porches that over hang the valley below. They show the mist of the cloud forest. Now the mist is only seen during& after rains, early mornings and cool evenings. It was less then 50-75 years ago that the mist was always visible. But with the cutting of the trees to grow sun crops like sugar cane and bananas the cloud forests are disappearing and the temperature is raising. There is a movement to replant the coffee plants but finding the old, big trees to provide the shade is very difficult.

To me this is one of the most beautiful places in my world :c} Some day I would love to call it HOME.

Big News here: P # 2 child called to say that L will go in tomorrow morning for a C section. So I should be a Grandma (for the first time) before breakfast!!! :c} I can't wait ;c}

Have a good evening or day Bloglandians depending in what part of the world you're in! :c}

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Home Again Home Again

Good Morning Bloglandia :c}

We are headed home this morning. It's at least a 3 day trip no matter how you choose to transverse this country :c{. Yesterday was the first day since we have been here that it hasn't rained!! Here in Coatepec The Rainy Season really means RAIN. Oh but how beautiful, green and lush it is here!! :c} Little harder for LW to get use to. I love the plants and flowers so much I don't care about the rain. Unlike the Seattle area it is warm when it rains. But then I'm one of those crazy kids that loves the Seattle rain forest ;c}

Okay kids this is to let you know that we will "be off the Air" ( internet grid) for a few days :c{ until at least the 30th. We decided after the hair raising drive through Mexico City we would find a northern route to avoid it. The trip through the city and the rest of the vacation I promise to tell you about when we get home also all about my DEAREST new bestest friend Debbie :c} :c} when I'm hooked to our WONDERFUL wi fi!! :c}

Wish us luck and think about us as poor LW has to depend on a VERY directionally challenged navigator!!! But I can read maps with the best of them!! :c}
Have a good day or night my friends in Bloglandia depending what part of the world you are in :c}

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Thank God For Internet Cafes!!!

Internet and cyberspace has yet to gain control of Mexico. Granted many if not most of the kids do know how to use and play on computers. However their families will never have the funds to buy one. Many schools have no computers and there are many rural government offices with a manual typewriter and carbon paper!! :c} Sooo even though we travel with our laptop and wi-fi lots of times it's a nice paperweight or if LW doesn't find out a great place to press flowers ;C} You'll find when the internet is available in a town there are internet cafes on every corner, with a variety of of kinds and ages of computers, and mostly dialup service When we are traveling we try to find someplace to check our mails etc. But we don't spend much time after that. There is usually a line of kids hanging over your shoulder waiting for you to turn loose "their" computer:c} So after a few days of that you can understand why wi-fi RULES!!

Chapter 1 of our trip to Coatepec Mexico. We left home with little Ruby and Charlie (chihuahua puppies) and pointed the car towards Guadalajara, which is 5&1/2 hours away ;c} on the newly finished Maxipista (toll road) Tolls are expensive and at the end of the trip I'll add them up and let you know. But I can tell you that taking the first class bus, which are fitted out better then some airplanes, is cheaper then the tolls and gas cost to drive!:c{. Our plan was to stay at a little hotel in a smaller town just east of Guadalajara, Tonala. This Smaller town of over 100,000 people has a reputation for making and selling "Rustico" furniture. It's the the rustic looking pine with dark metal pulls the is usually thought of as traditional Mexican furniture.

We pass through the lower half of our state of Sinaloa, which is the largest suppliers of shrimp in the country. Most of the shrimp is farmed. ( No political statement here on farmed vs. wild. This is just the way it is) The shrimp farms are in the lagoons and estuaries that line the coast. Many of which have been filled in or destroyed due to over development.
Guadalajara is in the state of Jalisco and about an hour or so north west is the town of Tequila. Yes as a matter of fact it can't be called Tequila if it doesn't come from there. So for miles you will see blue agave fields of verring ages. Tequila is like wine in the need to be patient for the plants to gain maturity. It's takes 13 years for agave to be mature enough to be used for Tequila.
I'm sorry these pictures are not the best stopping in undesignated areas on the Maxipistas is a real no no!! :c{ But the field of blue green is the agave plants they are about 2feet tall and about 5-6 years old. The vegetation here is much more dry forest with more catus type plants. and smaller trees.
This is a shrine build by the family or families of road fatalities. Some are very elaborate others are just little white crosses. In the US west and south west the little white crosses are very common. Here the shrine will reflect the family's standing in the community and their financial success. They are always maintained just like grave sites.
Because the maxipistas generally are outside of the towns places to stop and eat are connected to the toll booth. There will be the gas station, a minimart with a restaurant and then a number of smaller local owned restaurants. Some are nothing more then a few tables and chairs covered by a tarp. These are we stop to eat most of the time. You might get one or two choices for a full meal, or tacos or quesadias, juice and some have sodas. We have yet to find a really bad one. We watch to see where the local workers and the truck drivers are eating and that's the one we head for.

Getting through Guadalajara is usually fairly easy because the Maxipista is still new enough that it's on the outskirts of town :c}. Unlike Mexico City!! :c{ There is only one exit for Tonala and fairly easy to navigate in because the main street is the one on the furniture stores are on. Larry had found a little hotel listed on the internet that advertised their rooms for $320 (pesos) had internet and air conditioning. So that's where we headed for. They did have wi-fi intermittently but you had to sit in a certain spot in the lobby to get it. One thing I should mention is that very few hotels in Mexico allow dogs. So when we travel with the little guys we put them in their carrier ( looks like an overnight tote) and walk them to the room. If like this hotel you have to pass through the lobby to get out we are pretty much confined to our room. Well at least one of us. The kids are the best little travelers and most people have no idea they are even there. But leaving them in a strange place alone is only begging to be asked to leave!! There was a really nice little restaurant/ cafe in the lobby where LW found us a couple of nice gooey old fashion cheeseburgers with fries for $35 (pesos) each that's a bit under $3.50 Didn't need the AC as there was a HUGE rain storm that passed through just as we were parking that cooled the air way down. Off to bed for the next leg of the trip, with the stop that night just on the outskirts of Mexico City. We planned on driving through Mexico City the largest city in the world all 28 million people worth, early on a Sunday morning. Ha Ha the best laid plans of Chihuahuas and their drivers.....

Thursday, September 18, 2008


The big dogs are all squared away, Nena,our little street dog went over to Auntie Jan's dog camp. Talli and Nickie the two older Labs will hold down the fort here. Abby will house sit and dog sit. The two little guys (chihuahua puppies) will be riding with us. This takes more planning then it did when the kids were little :c} We have the bags packed, the dog's bags packed, ice chest. Because we are traveling the byways of Mexico we have our emergency travel tote stocked. Because we will be on the road for 3 days that means two nights in hotels. The only two large cities we go by are Guadalajara and Mexico City. Thankfully we don't have to drive into either one of them. We plan on stopping at a couple of towns just off the Maxipista (four lane toll roads) Most smaller hotels don't have any web presence and there are not any "franchise" hotels here. So making reservations isn't possible. Besides that take half the excitement out of the trip!! :c} Okay back to the emergency travel tote (ETT). It takes time, a number of trips, and conversations with fellow travelers to know what needs to go in the bag. We always pack: Towel & wash cloth, soap, bed sheets, our pillows, tea, & coffee, mirror, tee paper, paper towels extension cord, and 60 watt light bulbs!! You can't believe how many times we have checked into a room to find maybe 2 light bulbs in the whole room including the bathroom!! And then they are never over 40watts:c}

Tomorrow night we aren't to sure what we might find. I'm going to be happy with a clean room and bathroom. That being said I'll be surprised if there is internet. So this could be the last posting for a couple of days :c{ Not to worry. I'll be sure LW stops at all photo opps ;c} We do go through some awesome country!!!

I am pleased to say that the jackets are done!!! (Happy Dance :c}) I sure hope that Debbie likes hers, I think they turned out really well. Here are a few pictures of the red and green one. The battery died before I got any of the green and tan one

I really had a lot of fun making these. Especially playing around with the "tarnished bling" and tea dying the cotton lace!! :c}

Well my bloglandian friends LW is giving me the "we have to get up early tomorrow" look. Have a good evening or day depending on what part of the world you are in :c}

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


Yesterday (Tuesday) was Mexico's Independence Day : Like in the States there are parades, picnics, fire works and speeches. Only here we go all out when there is something to celebrate!! The holiday actually begins the evening of the night before. So on Monday night at 11pm things are starting to happen. All evening people have been gathering in our central square, called Plaza Revolucion. People come early with coolers full of food and cold libations. Before too long a band or two or three will show up, set up, turn their speakers high enough that they can be heard in the next galaxy!! No two bands play the same songs much less the same kind of music. See that way there is something to please every one!! Right about 11pm (this is Mexico and here time is very fluid :c} ) on the evening of Sept. 15th the highest ranking town leader will reenact the cry for independence. Here in Mazatlan it is the municipality President (mayor) In the smaller towns and villages it would either be their Mayor or elected leader. Here is alittle blurb LW wrote on the background of the ceremony:
Dieciséis de Septembre
September 16 is Independence Day in Mexico. This is one of the biggest national holidays, and similar to The Fourth of July in the United States.
On this date in 1810 the revolution seeking independence from Spain began in the town of Dolores. Father Miguel Hidalgo rang the church bell, calling in the people. He was seeking their help in the overthrow of the Spanish rulers. At the end of his speech he shouted "Viva Mexico!" and "Viva la independencia!" This shout came to be called "El Grito."
On the evening of September 15, in small towns and cities throughout Mexico, people will gather in their main plaza, usually in front of the Municipal Palace. At 11:00 pm the mayor will ring a bell similar to father Hidalgo’s and shout the "El Grito de Dolores." "Viva Mexico!" "Viva la independencia!" The people then join him in repeating the Grito and shouting the names of the heroes of the revolution. No Mexican holiday is complete without fireworks, which start immediately after.

The city wide parade begins on the morning of Ind. Day. Everyone can and does march. All the schools are represented. Here all school kids wear uniforms public or private. And each school has it's own uniform. Then there is every branch of the military, plus horses, bands and government offices represented.
Independence Day celebrates the first time Mexico fought for it's Independence from another country's control,... Spain. In the middle of the 19th century there was the "Revolution" to throw out the French. Then at the beginning of the 20th century along with dealing with their own civil war the US laid claim to more of the northern part of the country. All through history because of Mexico's natural resources and riches it's people have been forced to protect their country.

The up date on the Jacket project. I have one completed and down to the binding, lace and tarnished bling on the other. Here's hoping I won't have to sleep sitting at my sewing table tonight!! :c{ Here's a little peek just so you know I do have one really done and it's not just a figment of my slightly demented mind :c}

Time to fill up my glass with some ice tea and set the sewing machine on over drive. Have a good day or night in Bloglandia depending on what part of the world you are in!! :c}

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sunday at Stone Island

My wonderful new blog sister Dawn at http://the-feathered-nest.blogspot.com/ "repapered" my wall!!!! :c} Isn't she just the BEST ?!?! I know my life is much more enriched having her gentle, caring, supportive, and of course creative friendship in mine :c} :c}


Sundays are traditionally Family Day. Except for government, and bank employees the average work week is 6 days. Many of the trades will close at 2pm on Saturdays but it's still a 6 day work week. Sunday is the day for church, dinner at grandparents and the day at the beach.

Our house is about 8 blocks from the beach. There are actually 13 miles of beach which is all accessible by the public. For most of our trips to the beach for an afternoon we use those closest to home. Sometimes it's fun to pack the beach bag and take the little water taxi. over to "Stone Island" ( In Spanish it's Isle de la Piedra) Stone Island isn't really an island, more like a peninsula, but there are stones on it sooo the name is sorta correct. :c} There is a dirt road that goes from the Airport road just outside of town to the tip of S.I. But it is WAY out of the way. Usually takes 45-60 minutes to drive from the edge of town. The ferry (actually little water taxis) are caught at the port, it goes across the estuary in about 10 minutes and costs under $2.00 round trip. On the map if you cross the channel from Mazatlan over toward the docks then follow down the little finger that's Stone Island.

The little ferry's are just glorified put puts. with benches BUT always keeping safety in mind we all put on PFDs but you don't have to fasten them :c} OSHA would have a heart attack here:c}

They dock at a small village that was a fishing village. Then on the sheltered cove is some wonderful fine sand beaches with sea food restaurants. So we do what everyone else does and pick our favorite Palapa -( the thatched palm open sided restaurants) order lunch and cervesa (beer, Mazatlan is the home for Pacifico Beer), limeades, or your favorite libation and settle back for a perfect afternoon at the beach. Our favorite is Pili (Peelee- "I" sounds like long "E") Rudi and his extended family own it.
That Cutie in the red shirt is LW ;c}This is the Palapa next door. Saturday was the first day of the shrimp season so in celebration we ordered shrimp ceviche and peel and eat shrimp YUM :c} If you would like me to post a recipe for ceviche leave me a note in the comments.
By the time I got the camera turned on they had just about inhaled the ceviche but you get the idea :c} Ceviche is shrimp that has been "cooked" in the acid of the lime. A few tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and serano chiles umm umm umm life doesn't get much better :c}

Here's a few more pictures of the beach on a Sunday afternoon. Horses can be rented, beach combing (though not much to be found yesterday) But mostly good times with the family and friends. Along about 5 the dark clouds started to bank up over the mountains and the ferry stops running about 6ish. So everyone starts to pack up and head home.

Low tide. The boat is one of the local fishing boats

Couple of trivia facts: The palm trees in the back ground are what is left of miles and miles of palm plantations back in the days when palm oil was king, before all those oils that are now good for us ;c} Now they plant chilies under the shade of the palms. These are coconut palms so there are more recipes using coconuts then you can imagine. The palm fronds are used to make the palapa roofs, rope, and furniture. The Mazatlan coastal area is the largest exporter of shrimp in Mexico. As the coastal estuaries, and natural lagoons are being infringed on the populations of shrimp are disappearing rapidly :c{

OK Bloglandians have a good day or night which ever part of the world you are in!! :c}

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Ice Tea Break

Taking a short break between the lace and trim stitching Well I mean LW is enjoying his afternoon siesta so I thought a break of blog hopping and ice tea was in order.

Seems like this is a good day for give aways:c} So when you have a bit of time slip on over to Marietta at Sweet Old Vintage She is having a give away on the paperdoll ornaments she makes.

Then while you are out visiting head over to Rhonda Mums she is haveing an awesome Wedding Anniversary give away!!

Got to go tea is gone time to get a sewin.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Last Minute Club

I'm sure this never ever has happened to any one else out there in Blogandia. I'm sure that all of you plot your projects out on time lines, and are always finished with enough time to add a batch of home made truffles ;c} I however seem to belong to the "Last Minute Club" !!! And I'm proud of it! :c}

On Sept 19th 2008 (that's exactly 1 week away in case you were wondering) LW and I along with the two smallest of our herd; Rubi, 4mo chihuahua and Charli 10mo chihuahua. The rest of the herd Nena 18 mo street dog, Nickie 7yr old lab, and lastly Talli 11 yr old lab are staying home. We are packing up the Yellow Submarine (Xterra) and heading east for an 11 day vacation. Well I think holiday might be a better word cuz some folks say we are an a permanent vacation these days:c}. Our destination is a small colonial city in the state of Veracruz called Coatepec to visit a friend. It's up in the cloud forests where the old coffee bean plantations were. We will be staying with Debbie for 5 days. Now I don't know about you guys but my Mom tought her kids that you never go empty handed. Soooo I figured if you take a bottle of wine or a plant for a dinner invitation I was going to have to do a little more for a 5 night stay. I know I'll make her a jacket and while I'm at it I'll make one for me too!!

Around these parts we don't need much even in the winter which we refer to as the dry season. I found some great material that looks like it's pieced together with different textured and colored blocks. Wouldn't even have to line the puppy cuz it's already self lined. Then I can spend the time to add "stuff" in the squares. You know a real piece of wearable art :c} That kids was ummm 3-4 ummmm a few weeks ago.

As of Tuesday this is what I had accomplished on my master plan
As of Weds. this was what I had done.And here is where I am tonight

Cool how I painted in those red patches huh? Actually one coat has the red one has only the green. So actually I do have both put together and the edging and lace on the sleeves. Now that gives me a week to put the rest of the edging and lace on then doll up some of the patches, Huh I guess that's doable but what about the two skirts, two aprons and tote bag, that I have to make?? I'm wondering if I can get a battery pack for my sewing machine?? :c{

As I get ready for bed tonight I will keep the many folks as well as our bloglandian friends in the Galvaston coastal areas in my thoughts. The weather reports don't look too promising. I also would like to request that as our friends come through this storm that you please let your friends here in Bloglandia know that you are okay, and if there is anything we can do to help!!

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