January 28, 2012

A visit with granddaughter Sasha at Paradise Village

NUEVO VALLARTA, Jalisco, Mexico -- Adm. Fox and I zipped up the highway from Arroyo Seco Friday for a visit to Puerto Vallarta.

We wanted to visit granddaughter Sasha, but also had to pick up a few dozen things to fix hurricane damage and also simply get supplies for the season.

With Sasha on the Paradise Village beach

Until we were on the ground in Arroyo Seco for a day or so, we weren't sure how much time we were likely going to spend, Now it seems we will be there most of the remaining eight or so weeks we expect to be here south of the border.

One of our treasure hunts has been to find replacement toilet seats. Yup, toilet seats. In the hurricane last fall, both were smashed by falling roof tiles and need to be replaced.

In the U.S., simple. In Mexico, not so.

The toilets we bought are fancy, lo-flush units that are environmentally friendly in water usage but a big carbon footprint to try to replace. We checked three likely places in the area, none of which had anything that would fit.

It would seem crazy to have to replace a toilet to get a toilet seat, but, well, it is Mexico.

Beyond that, we need yellow, bug-light light bulbs, hardware for doors and some specialty foods that we can't get in Arroyo Seco, like good refried beans. What? Refried beans not available in Arroyo Seco? Well, some are, but the amount of lard in the cans makes them delicious but less than healthy.

No matter how the treasure hunt turns out today, we head back down the highway this afternoon. Sunday is lunch on the Arroyo Seco beach and perhaps a trip to Playa Chica where the Admiral and I spent a nice afternoon two days ago - the only people on the whole stretch of beach.

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January 26, 2012

In Arroyo Seco, settling in until the Banderas Bay Regatta

ARROYO SECO, Jalisco, Mexico - Admiral Fox and I have been working on getting the Pink Flamingo opened up for several days and are pretty close to getting things in order.

Miraculously, both the Honda quad and my Honda motorscooter turned over on the first try and seem to be running fine.

The telephone is out however, and Tel-Mex says the line is fine... It seems that during the hurricane last fall, all the lines went down and ours probably got connected to another house.

Trying to untangle that is proving to be a challenge.

Because of that, our Internet is being handled at an Internet cafe - brand new to Arroyo Seco this season.

Internet cafe - Arroyo Seco style

The good part is that our iPads work here wireless so we don't even take up space from the villagers who are becoming quite Internet savvy.

We also have made a foray into La Manzanilla for meals at both Fiesta Mexicana and our favorite hangout, Palapa Joes. Manana it will be a fast trip to Puerto Vallarta to pick up supplies some furniture, and see granddaughter Sasha (now three and a half years old).

The beachside restaurant, Fiesta Mexicana

The village remains Arroyo Seco with few changes, a new tienda here, a surf shop opened on the way to Playa Chica.

And as soon as I get the hammocks strung, all will be good for this afternoon.

The beach at La Manzanilla

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January 22, 2012

On the way back to Mexico, one day out

ON BOARD Virgin America FLT 27 - We are cruising at 450 mph over Colorado on our way to SF where I intend to get a good night's sleep before finishing this sojourn Sunday in Puerto Vallarta.

Most people reading this already know that I have been in the US since Wednesday attending the wake and funeral of my older brother.

And most know that his death came as an unexpected shock - a crashing heart attack at a medical appointment.

Such events have strange effects on people and it will be some time before I can put words to how I feel and how the trajectory of my life is now changed.

At the moment? Stuck in memories of growing up with flashes of an adult older brother.

My thanks to the many friends who send me messages of support and condolence. All were - and are - greatly appreciated.

In typical writer fashion, I wrote a column about Tony's passing for the newspaper I now work with in my semi-retirement.

It helped, for the moment.

I hope that some time with Sylvia in the sunshine in Mexico works, too.

Below are a couple of weather photos from NY today just as I was leaving. Mexico is definitely the right place for me to be for a lot of reasons, weather included.

In front of my sister Anne's house in Hewlett

The backyard at Anne's

Runways at JFK

On Virgin America Flight

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January 15, 2012

In Nuevo Vallarta at the Vallarta Yacht Club...aaaaahhhhh

Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit, Mexico - We landed early shuffled over to get our wheels and have already checked out our temporary digs aboard a 40-foot Passport sailboat.

Temps in the low 80s, some change in 36 hours.

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First impression of Virgin Air plane - it's a bloody spaceship

ON THE TARMAC ABOARD VIRGIN FLIGHT - It might just be the weariness of yesterday's US Airways flights, but this plane is like a bloodily spaceship.

I am getting a signal to shut down... More later...

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Flying Virgin Airlines today - not the US Airways experience, I bet

San Francisco Airport - Adm. Fox and I are having a very civilized breakfast in the Virgin America terminal, from which we will zoom out to PV in about an hour.

Compared to most airport terminals, this place is a tiny slice of heaven.

Even the TSA people were polite as we came thru security.

Very Eco-friendly here - not a plate or cup looks like they are plastic or - gasp - styrofoam.

In about 4-5 hours, I expect to be sitting on the deck of a sailboat in Nuevo Vallarta, planning Monday's adventures.

More on that, if el Internet cooperates...

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January 14, 2012

Halfway to SF after watching the movie 'Contagion'

AT 32,000 FEET aboard U.S. Airways - One recommended must-see movie is 'Contagion.'

Matt Damon, Judd Law, Gwyneth Paltow - great acting and a suspenseful script.

But it might not be the best choice for viewing while locked in a plane with several hundred people, many of whom seem to be hacking and wheezing with sounds remarkably like those dying of a nearly unstoppable virus in the movie.

I am wearing a handkerchief over my mouth and nose, wondering if I should inoculate with a vodka tonic or three.

Of course that would likely make the megadoses of Keflex that I am taking less effective. The dermatologist took a chunk out of my shoulder Tuesday but may have let some infection in at the same time. The Keflex 750 mg per dose - is supposed to take care of the swelling. Maybe there will be a little left over to guard against the plague on this airliner.

On second thought, perhaps I should ring for one of the attendants gossiping in the back and get some hydration gong - pronto!!!

Oh madame!

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Location:Halfway to SF after watching the movie 'Contagion'

Scenes from a Philly airport mall

16,000 feet aboard a de-iced small jet

NEAR Philadelphia - We sat on the runway for 20 minutes getting the plane de-iced, listening to lots of weather chatter from the other passengers.

My stitches are still achy from the security scan...guess I will be more careful tomorrow in SF as we come back through.

The flight tomorrow is on Virgin America, not quite the space flight that Virgin has planned for this decade, but it is a direct to PV where Captain Bob O'Hara will pick us up in our Toyota Tundra.

Tonight in SF we will celebrate Dylan's birthday - an event we almost always miss because most years we have been in Mexico for a month by now.

More from the ground...my index finger is sore from tapping this screen.

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

Heading west to SF, then south to PV

Elmira, NY - the snow is coming down steady here and security tight as always.

The stitches in my shoulder still hurt from having to put my hands on my head in the body scanner.

But I feel soooo much safer.

More on the odyssey '10 Weeks in Mexico' when we hit the Philly airport and my wireless keyboard is at hand.

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