Just another average sunset in paradise!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Last post for awhile

I no longer have a camera or computer.  I was robbed on Sunday afternoon by three young Mexicans.  I took care of one pretty well but at my age I decided that discretion was the better part of valor so I watched while two of them kept me in a corner wielding broom sticks while the third one took my computer, cell phone, camera and two bottles of booze.  The theft of the booze really bothers me because it was a bottle of rum for Francisco and a bottle of tequila for Weng!

I only have four bruises; five if you count my pride.  Everything can be replaced but it will take time as I just bought the truck and have three more payments on my dental work.    It may surprise you to learn that I have no intention of moving and the only security improvement I have made is a 30" machete that I carry with me at all times.

I will start posting again as soon as I have equipment!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

A truck by any other name . . .

A truck is just a truck.  Not so!  Today our truck allowed us to bring a gasoline powered water pump up the hill and fill both tenacos (large plastic cisterns) providing enough water at my house for watering the gardens,  bathing, cleaning and for the restroom.  The tasks were accomplished in about one third the time it would have taken using the 12v water pump.
Then while we were pumping the water I received a text message inviting me to Santa Cruz for a birthday party for my friend Gabriele.  Without the truck I would not have attended as I would not take Dod down the hill just for a party.

The party was great and I have not laughed so much in many, many months.

Outdoor patio and kitchen at Gabi's house

Left to right - Glenn, Delia, Gabi and her dog Mouse.

They are sitting in the kitchen at Gabi's house.  This is the house that I described in an earlier post that rents for less than two hundred dollars a month including utilities.  Two bedrooms, two baths, a huge yard and patio and on a very quiet street.  The street goes past a mangrove lagoon on its way to the ocean.  Only about 300 yards from the front gate to the beach.  You are probably tired of hearing it, but I love Mexico!

BTW Gabi is moving from this great bargain to house sit for a Canadian couple who are heading north for the summer.  Cost of her new residence right on the beach with air conditioning and swimming pool is zero!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Our Sunday trip to Tepic

Jesus, Yolanda and I hopped into Yolanda’s Honda Civic for a trip to Tepic to look at cars and trucks.  The trip started off good at 8 a.m. but by 9 a.m. it wasn’t so good.  We had just passed the midway point at a town called Jalcocotan (Jalco for short) and her little Honda seemed to be struggling.  We couldn’t tell if it was the transmission or the engine.  She pulled over at a Pemex station and the brakes were hot enough to give Jesus a blister on his finger from just touching the rotor.

The brake fluid pump had died and was causing the front brakes to be on all the time.  Now, please remember we are in Mexico where life is decidedly easier than the U.S. or Canada.  Within 5 minutes Yolanda had talked to two caballeros (gentlemen) in a truck and they drove her to a mechanic in Jalco.  Within 30 minutes the mechanic drove Yolanda back to the Pemex station and we followed him back to Jalco to his home/garage.  In about 45 minutes he was able to back off the calipers on the front wheels and we were on our way very carefully to Tepic.  Total charge for a couple of hours of a very good mechanic’s time was 100 pesos or about  $7.50  US.  I was thinking that on a Sunday in California the charge would have been closer to $200.

We stopped at an Auto Zone store in Tepic and ordered the pump which will arrive on next Wednesday.  About $60.  Then we left her car in the Auto Zone parking lot and took a taxi to the tianguis (swap meet) for cars and trucks.  We stopped by Yolanda’s cousins house first and then by three “cajeros” (ATMs) before arriving at the swap meet.  Total cost for 45 minutes in the taxi = 70 pesos or just over $5.; I love Mexico.
When we were dropped off at the swap meet the first vehicle we looked at turned out to be the one that we bought.  It is a 1991 Toyota 4x4 with a 4 cylinder engine and is exactly what Jesus and I had thought was the best truck for our needs.  You can’t buy the first truck you see, so we walked around for a couple of hours looking at other trucks and VWs for me.  I found a couple of VWs at prices from $800. to $1200.  They were all in okay condition and mechanically very good.

Jesus, Yolanda and I had a long conversation and we decided that Jesus and I are good enough friends that we can share a truck.  The truck was about $2000. more than Jesus had to spend so I agreed to split the cost with him and forego buying a VW.  I get to use the truck when needed (2 or 3 days a week) like for a trip to Tepic and the Walmart or on date night in San Blas.

The truck made it the 35 miles back from Tepic with no problems whatsoever!  When you consider most of its usage will be a 5 mile round trip from Jesus’ house to the Yaka orchard, the 20 mile round trip to San Blas and an occasional 70 mile round trip to Tepic, the truck will probably be driven less than 5,000 miles per year.  BTW it climbed the hill to my house as though it was level ground!  Now Dod can join my Aticama retirement club and will only be used to go on camping excursions and not as a taxi.  Both Dod's suspension and the road up the hill we be much better off.

Jesus and Yolanda and the truck

There are two trees in this picture.  The one in the back has nothing but leaves but the one in the front has only four leaves but about 20 clusters of beautiful flowers.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Buying a vehicle

Even though we are rapidly completing the "empadrado" (a type of cobblestone covering) I don't want to take Dod up and down the hill any more than is absolutely necessary.  What I really want to buy is a little 4x4 truck so I am going to Tepic today for a huge car/truck swap meet.  I have heard that there are more than 1,000 vehicles available each Sunday.

In one week of looking I have found a nice Honda ATV and a Volkswagen bug available locally.

1995 Volkswagen beetle for $2,000. US.  Mechanically perfect with mostly new parts (brakes, clutch, shock absorbers, tires, even seats).  The seller gave me a ride up the hill to make sure it is acceptable.

2009 Honda 250cc ATV.  Only 1000 miles and in perfect condition.  It was fun to ride and made it up the hill to my house with ease but it is scary.  As I get older I seem to be accident prone.  There is rarely a day goes by that I do not have a new scab.  I think the ATV coupled with my accident "proneness" is a bad combination.

If I don't find a better vehicle/deal in Tepic, I think I will buy the VW.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Si bebe no nade!

This means if you drink, don't swim.  It has been a couple of months since a body has been found on the beach below my house.  There was a drowning the other day.  I was watching the sunset and a couple of police trucks were going up and down the beach road shining spot lights over the surf.  When I looked to the north, there was a police boat cruising the coast.  It didn't take long to figure out what had happened.   Two guys from Guadalajara were drunk and went for a swim.  They didn't know the bay and went into the only section of the water with an almost constant rip current.  They were both drunk and only one made it back.   The body washed up two days later right where he entered the water.  "Si bebe no nade!"

Friday, May 11, 2012

Odd and Ends

What do iguanas eat?  Wikipedia says the adult iguanas are vegetarians.  The guy in the photo below eats just about anything.  Yesterday I poured myself a bowl of corn flakes and then added milk.  Even though the date on the milk had not expired, the milk had and came out in lumps.  I took it to the patio and dumped it over the side.  A few minutes later an iguana was enjoying breakfast.

When the corn flakes failed, I cooked breakfast burritos with steak, eggs, tomatoes and onions.  I threw the ends of the tomato in the same spot off the patio and a couple of ends of a sandwich roll.  Within the hour, an iguana appeared and ate both the tomato and the roll.  

It has been getting really hot here.  At night in Dod it is often too hot to sleep.  I have a small fan but it is 115v and only runs for about 20 minutes before running the battery down so I find myself fanning myself with a paper plate.  I came up with a partial solution and another project.

I made a type of wind scoop and mounted it over the rear window.  The prevailing breeze is off the ocean so it is captured by the scoop and blows through the window.  I also now wire the door at a 45 degree angle so that it captures wind also.  I think it was probably 10 degrees cooler last night.  The wind scoop is fabricated out of a black plastic hose, two strips of wood and more of my red vinyl cloth.

Monday, May 7, 2012

More projects

I have a long list of projects but no real pressure to complete them.  Almost every morning I wake up wondering "What will I do today?"  My answer is always "Whatever I want!"  Most days I do complete a few projects and plan projects for the future.  You may recall that it takes me about 20 hours of planning and procrastination to begin a project.

This week I improved my patio desk/bar/dinette and installed a lighting fixture in the kitchen.  Francisco and Bill left me with some 12v fixtures and bulbs.  Since my only source of electricity is a battery powered by solar panels, the 12v system is essential.  I hard-wired the fixtures to the battery and ran the wires from the battery to the dining room (small patio) and to the kitchen.  Now I can read late into the night on the patio and prepare my coffee before sunrise in the kitchen.  The kitchen fixture is on a long cord which allows it to be moved from the kitchen to the upstairs bedroom with no trouble at all.

Kitchen fixture

I have been carrying a roll of red vinyl with me for over 5,000 miles and several months without knowing why.  All of a sudden I knew why!  It was the perfect covering for my desk/bar/dinette.  I like projects that don't take much time or effort but give noticeable results.  Within an hour I had covered the desk top and secured the umbrella stand to it.

With the cement base and the bracket attaching the pole to the desk, the umbrella could withstand 40 mph winds!  The wind was coming in at about 20 mph when I took this picture.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mi casa es tu casa

I'm sure most of you know this Spanish phrase "My house is your house".  Well, once again this phrase was proved true with my last visit to Tepic.  On Wednesday, Jesus, his wife Yolanda and I went to Tepic to look at a couple of trucks that Jesus wanted to see.  He asked me to join them as he wanted my opinion on the trucks.

My thought was that we would meet the guy selling the truck, go to Walmart and return to Aticama.  Not in Mexico!  It turned out that the guy selling the truck was Yolanda's cousin so before we could even look at the truck we had to have lunch with Chavelo, Isabella and their four daughters.  Lunch was a chicken soup with rice, beans and of course tortillas.  Excellent food and company.  During lunch the conversation included music and when Chavelo learned that my favorite Mexican group was Mana, he put in one of their  music videos and changed seats with me so I could watch the video while I ate.  Next, he wanted to give me the DVD but I fibbed and said I didn't have a DVD player.

After lunch Jesus, Chavelo and I took a walk around the neighborhood to look at a couple of trucks that were for sale.  We stopped at every other house for introductions to neighbors and conversations about trucks for sale.

When we got back to the house, Yolanda's very attractive, 40 year old, female cousin had mysteriously showed up.  Then, in front of the entire family, Yolanda said " David, my prima Maria Lela doesn't have a husband and you don't have a wife."  Maria Lela just smiled!  We are going back to Tepic on Sunday for the car/truck swap meet at the airport and another lunch and meeting with Maria Lela.

Before we left, Chavelo tried to give me a hat and a bottle of Tequila.  I declined both.  Mi casa es tu casa is alive and well in Mexico!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tastes just like chicken . . .

Yesterday morning I stepped out of Dod and almost stepped on an iguana.  Well, half an iguana.  The head, three legs and whatever was inside the body were missing.  Sarah was just sitting there acting like nothing was up.  I don't know if she caught it or just found it.  She doesn't pay much attention to all of the lizards on the hill but who knows.  When we were camped at the beach for a month, she would bring a dead fish into camp almost daily so I am hoping she just found a dead iguana.

Sorry, no pictures!