On top of the rock

On top of the rock
Our Cliff

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Ya Ya's

YAYA'S A group of three or more women whose hearts and souls are joined together by Laughter and Tears Shared through the glorious journey of life.

This is what the plaque says. The plaque that somehow, magically, binds 5 women together. These women, originally introduced through business, have been transformed into the Ya Ya's.

In the beginning there was Linda, who sold radio advertising for CHFI to a woman named Megan, who handled the marketing for a shopping centre called Sherway Gardens. There was Ann, who represented the advertising agency who represented Sherway Gardens in the outside world. There was also Maxine, who sold radio advertising to Megan, through Ann, for a competitor of CHFI called CHUM-FM.

Next Linda gets a promotion and leaves CHFI to manage another radio station and Shelby steps in to handle the account called Sherway Gardens. One of the women, certainly not Shelby, had the brilliant idea to have these 5 women get together for dinner one night at a place called Mildred Pierce, in Toronto. This simple dinner, about 8 years ago, started these five women on a path of friendship and, as the plaque says, “laughter and tears“, and a glorious journey through their shared lives.

Five more different women you could not imagine.

There is Linda. She is strong. She is generous. She is driven and successful. She is a wonderful mother and a person that everyone seems to need things from. Linda is that kind of giving woman. Some need her for her advice, which she gives freely and never steers you wrong. She has great insight into people and is smart. If you are lucky enough to work with her she can save your life at work! Trust me, I know! Some need her to tuck them in at night and drive them to every possible activity there is, and let them grow big and strong, while always leaning on her for support...these people would be her sons. Some need her to laugh with. Linda has the best laugh!!!! Some need her to gather their family together and create memories through all the holidays she hosts....every single year. She cooks and whirlwinds perfection. Some need her to make their life special, through her love, cause she loves you to the moon and back!! Some need to have her as a friend. We have that need.

Next there is Megan. Like Linda, Megan is a fabulous mother. Raising a son, mostly on her own, she has dedicated her life to making him what he is today. Someone any mother would be proud to call “her son”. She works hard and tirelessly and expects others around her to be diligent, thus making them as successful as she is. She is proud. She is respected by all who know her. She has her own unique, fabulous style. Megan is a football fanatic!! Superbowl Sunday should be re-named, Megan’s Day. She is brave and does things that others would not have the courage to do. She travels to places, others would fear, in hopes of offering a helping hand to those she meets; Than she gives that hand. She, too, is generous. She opens up her homes to those she loves and gives unconditionally. If you are blessed enough to have her as a friend she will always be there for you. We are that blessed.

Than there is Ann. She is another woman whose life is bound to her children. She has three sons, one of which she gave birth to, yet she loves them all the same. She is the woman who created this group's title, through the giving of the plaque. She believes in each of us so strongly that we would do anything not to let her down. She compliments us with her total trust. Ann is a believer in family and friendship; Her Italian heritage is the cornerstone of her beliefs. She is a great cook!!! Ann also has a secret past life...as a dart champion! She is so successful in her career that she is constantly sought after by competitors. Everyone wants Ann on their team. She delivers. She is the epitome of the advertising business. She is class. Ann laughs and she makes us laugh with her quirky ways. She looks at life in a way that is sweet and innocent, while wearing Dolce and Gabbana. She morphs her way through life…fitting in and bringing pleasure to those she touches. She touches us.

Next we have Maxine. Competitive, driven, Maxine. If Maxine decides to succeed at something she does. She became close to a scratch golfer in her 40’s. She was an Olympic athlete. She lived in Australia for a year playing soft ball for team Canada. She travels the world and at 52 years of age rode her bike through parts of Europe following the Tour de France. First she had to buy a bike! She has no fears. She is tireless. She takes everything on...head on. Maxine takes care of people and loves deeply. She will know every single person's name, in a room full of strangers, within an hour. If you are lucky enough to meet her she makes you feel important and special. She has that gift. She is happy and joyful. Totally unpretentious, yet she loves the finer things in life and has introduced us to many of them. She would die before she would let you down. If you need her, she will be there for you. She is there for us.

Finally there is me. I can not define myself except to say that I am a better person because of these women. They have given me so much, during my life with them, that I can not imagine how things would be for me without them. They make me laugh. They make me cry. They make me smoke, make me drink too much wine and I adore each of them in their own special way.

Next week our Ann turns 50. She is the 4th one of us to reach this pinnacle. I was first. Then there was Maxine, than Megan. Linda is our baby. In celebration of Ann’s birthday the Ya Ya’s are coming to be with me and Maurice. There are the partners of the Ya Ya’s who have been labeled, the Na Na’s, who will also be here. It will be a week of joy, laughter, and one that will create memories for us all. It’s a beautiful thing since the Na Na’s will enjoy it as much as we do. We know from experience.

So there you have the story of the Ya Ya’s. How we came to be. You will be hearing lots about them in the next week or so as we get ready for our first Mexican Adventure!!! Stay tuned!

Can you guess who is who??

Friday, January 29, 2010



Since we have not heard anything for 4 days from Crown Relocation, the company responsible for delivering our things to us, I am starting to panic. It’s the slow building, sick to your stomach, panic. Remember last week they told us we cleared Aduana ( customs ) but they would be delayed a week or so getting our things to us, since they are busy. When we tried to get a definitive time table from them they stopped corresponding with us. Yes, I know they are busy, but you can at least answer our e-mails, or accept a phone call from us. Apparently our expectations are too high!! Not happening!

This morning we decided that no matter what , we were talking with these people! OY!!….not manana. On the drive to LaPaz this morning I started dialing. It was so strange cause the phone did not seem to work, even though we had received a phone call earlier. We call and call. Nothing! When we get to LaPaz we stop at the Telcel store (Telcel is the company responsible for all telecommunications here) only to find out their system is out. THE SYSTEM IS OUT! All internet, all cells phones...OUT! Talk about things that make you go fuuuuuu……well you know.

Ouch number one. We can not even get a hold of these people, and I am obsessed. I hit re-dial every other minute. Smart Maurice says nothing.

Ouch number two comes when the pump we drove to LaPaz to get is not available. Yes, we could have called, but the people who told us where to go only knew directions, not the name of the store. An hour drive for “nada“!!! Yes we stop and grocery shop, pick up a switch, but really it is an hour drive for nothing.

O.K. a sidebar here. Anyone in Toronto is laughing right now saying, “YOU DROVE 3 to 4 HOURS EVERY DAY, EACH WEEK to get to and from work for 17 years!!! I have to tell you THAT was easy. There were no animals roaming the roads. Today we actually saw a HUGE dead horse in the middle of the highway. No, really I do get it the irony of it all and I laugh, too. Seems like these drives should be nothing, but they are. And gas is expensive. (and Maurice is behind the wheel now, not me) Whine whine whine.

Finally Telcel works and we get through to Crown Relocation. OH GEE WE HAVE A PROBLEM. I am shocked!!! Problems are so rare here. It seems that we really did NOT cleared customs. Our household things are fine but Maurice has too many tools. What could possibly be the solution??? Could it involve money??? Hmmm...let me guess??

Well they are not that blunt and they even give us hope that maybe it will be O.K.

B.S. I say!!!! Of course only to Maurice, who is by now rather frightened of me.

They say they will let us know the results of our situation. Since they do not have such a good track record I want to know when....Oy or manana?? This is one case where Oy is the only answer!!

Oy we find out that yes, there are some money issues. The Federal Department of Finance (named only to scare us) not only wants to charge us for bringing in the tools but also for storage. STORAGE!! We have been begging for our things!! Yesterday it was 8 weeks since “everything we own” pulled out of our driveway in Tottenham. 8 weeks!! 57 days and they want to charge us storage!!!! Are they out of their fricking minds!!! I vote yes!

Ouch number 3.

How much, we say??? They will let us know. Of course they will.

Ouch Ouch and Ouch!!

Cocktail anyone???

We’re having one!!!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Another Maurice posting. Sorry Mom about the title!!

Things that makes you go ... .. fuuuck!

I finally got my FM3 officially registered. The FM3 is a Mexican passport-looking thing that Full Version for foreigner like me to live, move freely about, have a residence and do all the nice things real Mexicans do.

The process and the bulk of the required work in Obtaining the FM3, began at the Mexican consulate in Toronto just before my departure, actually my departure was delayed a few days while waiting for the darn thing.

Once I picked it up in Toronto, a request, well no, actually a demand, more like: "Make sure you present yourself at an immigration office not more then 30 days following your entrance into Mexico, was given otherwise ...." to me.

As a good boy, about 15 days into my stay, off I go to the nearest Immigration office. That happens to be in La Paz, about 1 hour drive from where I'm staying.

My expectations where simple. Go there, show my face, get the thing registered, and be on my way.

WRONG. I was given a list of about 6 items that were required in order to complete the process, none of which of course I had with me ... ... fuuuck ... that meant another day, another trip ..... fuuuck.

Things to do, days go by. I'm now on the 29th day. Shit! The FM3 ...... fuuuck.

Drop everything, get the "6 Commandments" list and start gathering the stuff:

· Two copies of my Passport together with the original.
· Two copies of my FM3, together with the original.
· Originals bank statements from the last 3 months.
· A letter written in Spanish requesting to be granted residence.
· Official proof of current residence.
· One file folder. (Yes, even e file folder. Guess it keeps their expenses down)

With Shelby's big help, one by one the items get ticked off. It's now 11AM, the office closes at 1 PM, it's cutting it short, but chances are that we'll make it.

Shelby's driving, I'm too flustered. 11:50 we are in La Paz, 12:10 PM I enter the immigration office. There is no line, I quickly get to the window. My papers are checked, all is in order, to file, bearing number 1031, is opened and duly recorded, a receipt is given to me and ....: "Please go back in a week ... more or less" ( Please return in one week, more or less) ... ... fuuuck ... that meant another day, another trip .... fuuuck.

I actually let two weeks go by. We try to consolidate travel with our needs: groceries etc, in order to limit these trips back and forward, the "get two pigeons with one stone" type of thing. Gas saving and time wasting, comes to mind. So, on the way to La Paz to buy our bathroom tiles, we make a stop at the immigration office. The FM3 should be there, waiting, right?

Get to the window, this time after a bit of a line, I produced my official receipt number 1031, observe the officer walk to a filing cabinet, retrieve a file and returned to the window. I'm smiling, I've finally got it. The file is opened in front of me all the papers it held are checked and rechecked. A sheet of paper is shoved in front of me ... "Please sir ... Please fill out this question on both sides." I look at it. I'ma bit disturbed, it's long but the questionnaire looks easy enough. It's filled with things that I know and should remember, like: My name, date of birth, address past, current address, etc.. .. etc. .. ... ... how many "fucking" toes are on my feet .... The big toe is also called a thumb? This would make this pretty difficult question, Are there 8 or toes and two thumbs ten toes?

I get to the end knowing that I've aced it. The officer takes it, smiles and says: "Thanks. Please go back in a week ... ... more or less". (You know what that means now). Fuuuck ... not again, that meant another day, another trip. Fuuuck, fuuuck, and more fuuuck.

I left. I'm fuming. Why did not they gave me the other day that questionnaire when I was here?

We let another week go by, we go back to La Paz. It's almost 12 Noon. I enter the immigration office. I'm third in line.

I get there, proudly show my number "1031". My file is retrieved, the papers inside get checked and rechecked.

"Do you have the pictures?" PICTURES??? What pictures is this guy talking about? Fuuuck, double fuuuck. There was no mention of pictures on their list. I question the officer on this knowing in my mind that with less then one hour before closing, there was no way I was going to get any pictures.

"Oh yes, I need four pictures, two face and two profile pictures.

He tells me there is a picture place just around the corner, "Photo Miguel". I will hold my file until my return. When questioned about the office closing and the little time left, he tells me that while yes, the office closes at 1:00 PM, it only closes for us foreigners. Mexicans and their transactions are handled until 2:00 PM.

I rushed out, Shelby is waiting in the truck. I explain the problem and off we go looking, just around the corner, for Photo Miguel. Can not find it, time is ticking, I'm ready to give up. We ask, someone knows, we are given the intersection of two rads and directions on how to get there. It turns out it's not just around the corner, it's about 7 to 8 blocks away, we need to drive.

Getting around La Paz is simple. The Streets are a grid with alternating one way streets, The Streets Have all names of course, and with a good map on hand you can find things. The problem is that only a few streets bear their name, and only after driving 5, 6, sometime 10 blocks, one finds a street name. Only after closing driving in a continuous loop, one can zero in on the desired place. This time being Photo Miguel.

Time is ticking and that is what we are doing ... looping around and around ... fuuuck.

We find the place, it's 1:10 PM. I'm the second in line, some lady ahead of me HAS DECIDED that today was the day for a family portrait. She beat me to Michael so I have to wait. Fuuuck .... out of frustration of course, not the lady.

1:20 PM, it's my turn. Photos are taken and I was told it would be a 30 minute wait.

30 minutes??? I explain my predicament, "OK then, 10 minutes" they say. It looks like you can bargain on time here as well. 10 minutes it's good.

Pictures ready and in hand so we drive back to the immigration office. No looping around this time.

1:50 PM, I enter the office, mix with the local crowd, get to the window, ask for the nice man that had handled my affairs earlier, gave him my pictures, got finger printed and told to wait. Oh noooo .... But to my surprise the man returns, hands me my FM3 and ... I'm free to go.

I'm happy, leave the office, get back to the truck where Shelby's patiently waiting, a big smile from her and all the "Fuuucks" are forgotten, they are a thing of the past.

An addendum from Shelby ... .. I was not waiting patiently. I was a fuming lunatic. Just FYI ...


Our team of workers does not work on Mondays. Never have. Never will.

5 different colors of tiles inside a very small shower in a very small bathroom is overwhelming.

A brick façade around a kitchen peninsula is amazing.

Our stuff will not be here for a couple of weeks. It sits in Vera Cruz waiting to be trucked here by a supposedly “very busy” company.

We are going to waste another $800 in rent.

My roots are in dyre need of my hair dye that sits in Vera Cruz.

Morning clouds seem to always burn away into sunny days here in the Baja.

This morning’s sunrise coming out of the mountains was almost spiritual.

We always eat too much pizza at all-you-can-eat-pizza night at the Sand Bar.

The Sand Bar’s margaritas are yummy!!!…and toxic!

Maurice found a fabulous man when he met Keith. Truly fabulous.

By the end of February they will be pouring our floors for Arriba de la Roca.

Maurice is ingenious!!…. as our leaking pila now sits on the ground waiting to be exchanged by Home Depot.

Three days can go by without any sign of Cuco!!!

A long e-mail from Jennifer made us very lonesome for our family.

One week and the Ya Ya’s and the Na Na’s will be here!! Blog on what this means is forthcoming.

Today is Dylan’s birthday. Tomorrow is Maxine’s birthday. Manana manana is my brother’s birthday.

Happy birthday everyone!!!

Monday, January 25, 2010


Today was the day we have been waiting for!!! After 4 years and 3 months of anticipation....after 4 years and 3 months of finding our land and buying our dream…today is the day we start construction on our project. Of course, the bodega does not count. I mean our REAL project. Today is Monday January 25th, 2010.


We got a late start and on the way to the land, about 9:30, Maurice’s phone rang. We think it is the workers waiting for us. No, it was “some guy” saying he had some rock for us to look at and he would be at our place in an hour. We did not know why he was coming, but figured he must be meeting our crew there with this rock.

We were surprised when we pulled up to our “new” gate, where the barbed wire is already breaking because it was so old to begin with, and there was no one there yet!! 9:40!!! Why are they late?? Maurice said that Mondays are usually a slower day since everyone works on Saturday. O.K. We can get some stuff going while we wait to see the rock. Why do we need to see rock? What is it for?? We don’t really know but our engineer and contractor can tell us when they arrive.

Noon comes. HUH??!! Where is everyone??? Even the guy with the rock has not shown up yet. Maurice, what the heck??!!! Call back the number on your phone and see when the guy with the rock is coming. At 12:15 Maurice calls and the guy with the rock, which we still have no idea of “what rock”, says he will be there in 10 minutes. Soon a speeding white car, spinning on the dirt, comes barreling through our gate into the drive way. WHAT THE HECK!!!

Who is it!!!! It is Senor Backhoe Retro!!! He happily gets out of his car!!! HUH??!!! The first thing he says is that his mother’s palms are gone....O.K....Holas all around and the shaking of the hands....and I am thinking, why are you here?...just to tell us your mother’s palms are gone?? Or to tell us the details of the vacation your family had after you ripped us off for digging the holes for our pilas??

NO!!! He has 6 pieces of rock in his trunk for us to look at. Why do we need rock, we ask. No idea, he answers. Of the 6 pieces of rock 5 are the exact same, black glittery granite looking rock and one is roja…red. “What do you want?” I ask, “WHAT IS IT FOR“!!!! Maurice calls our engineer and leaves a message asking that question. Hopefully he will arrive with the answer, or at least call back while Senor Backhoe Retro is there.

Of course that phone call does not come and no one arrives. All I know is that I do not want glittery black rock, no matter what it is for. I want earth colored rock…which is all around us. “Can we come see what you have Senor Backhoe Retro?” No, he says. They, whoever they are, are up in the mountains digging it out for us. Again I think, WHAT THE HECK!!! So he calls and tells the people up in the mountains excavating rock for us for who-knows-what that we want café colored rock and off he goes.

Part two.

What you do not know is that we have finally gotten both our 5000 liter pilas placed inside their specially made, buried in the earth, concrete block homes, originally dug out by Senor Backhoe Retro and finished by our workers.

Last week Home Depot delivered our first pila. After Maurice and I, painstakingly lowered in into the ground we found out it was warped when the top did not fit on it. We let Home Depot know and since they were delivering us our second pila, we asked them to bring two new ones. Two days later they delivered the second one, taking the top of the first one so they could replace it for us. We were not there, since they came 4 days earlier than they told us they were coming, and when Maurice tried to explain to them on the phone that the top was not the problem, it was the pila itself that was warped they did not quite get it. So, impatient to finally get these tanks working we loaded the warped 5000 liter container into the back of our truck on Saturday and drove it the hour it takes to get to Cabo. Thank heavens we only had one in the ground or we would never have gotten it out. You can imagine the pulleys that needed to be rigged and the effort that needed to be exerted for Maurice, and his only helper, me, to get this warped 5000 liter pila out of its house, in the ground. It was easier to get it in, but not much easier! We finally did get it out and carefully tied it in numerous ways to secure it to the truck. We get to Home Depot, they replace it and back we go to the land. Between, ladders, ropes and Maurice’s ingenuity both 5000 liter pilas, which are 8 feet in diameter EACH, and just as tall,fit snuggly into their homes.

Today we ordered the water.

So after Senor Backhoe Retro leaves to go where he is going to get rocks for whatever we need them for the water truck comes. I took out my camera cause this is BIG! Maurice has his pilas in place so he can set up the water system for the bodega, but also for the place that will one day be our entire home, thus the need for such large pilas. He is anxious to play with the siphon and the pump to insure we can pump up the cliff. He is nervous. He is anxious to see if he can make everything work.

I am taking pictures as the water truck fills pila number one. Maurice waves for the photos. Bored, I leave and go to find a book as they begin to fill pila number two. About 3 minutes later Maurice comes around the corner. “That was quick”, I say. “There is a leak”, he mutters. “WHAT!!!!” “A leak”, he says.


I run back to the pilas and sure enough water is spraying out of the bottom of pila number two O.K. Let’s get the hoses out and at least use the water to drench the palm trees. We just paid for it we can’t let it go to waste!! So that is what we do. We water the palms and wonder what to do with the pila. How will we ever get it out!!!! Now that they are both in there, and one still has about 300 pounds of water in the bottom, how can we “lift” it out. That is problem number one. Problem number two is convincing Home Depot WE did not do it. The leak is in the one they delivered, but we did lower it. I know we did NOT cause the leak. It appears there is a flaw in the bottom. Anyway we call and they say, “bring it in tomorrow and we will look at it!” YA!!! RIGHT!!!!

Back to part one

It is 2:30 now. Our first day of construction has yet to begin. No phone calls from anyone....OH WAIT!!…the phone is ringing!!! Who is it?? It is Senor Backhoe Retro. He has new rock for us to see. WOW…that was a quick excavation. So we run out to meet him as Maurice wants to pick up some plumbing items. We connect with him and I like the color of rock, whatever it is for. “Bien“, I say, pulling the word from my huge Spanish vocabulary. Senor Backhoe Retro drives off, happy.

Totally confused and unsettled there is only one thing to do. Go have lunch. We call Keith, the friend of Maurice’s whose house we went to on New Years Eve. He had just gotten back from 3 weeks in his home in Vegas so he met us. A nice lunch and a Ballena beer later we go back to the land hoping for……I don’t know. Anything I guess. But no, there was nothing. No one. So we leave the plumbing things and stop at Keith’s house for a glass of wine.

Now we are home. Today was shocking really. But let’s look at the positives here, being a “glass half full” kind of girl…..

1. We got to see Senor Backhoe Retro again!! Even if his mother’s palms have been sold
2. We only have one pila that leaks
3. All our palm trees have been unexpectedly watered
4. We had a great lunch with a really nice guy
5. We watched a spectacular sunset from his deck on the ocean
6. He shared a fabulous bottle of wine with us
7. I am reading a really good book so I am heading into a bed with clean sheets to read (I love clean sheets!!)
8. I am here on this lovely earth to say good night

Good night XOX

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Oy y Mañana. (Today and Tomorrow).

Two things we humans cannot escape from: Gravity, and Aging.

While both, in one way or another, affect all things on Earth, as humans we are more susceptible to aging and the passing of time.

We have made an art of the passing of time. Time is a precise necessity, a need we live by constantly. We are now slaved by it.

We start our day when that awful sound of an alarm clock, we regrettably had set the previous evening, bring us out of that enjoyable and so needed sleep. We quickly wash, dress, have a quick bite and hit the roads, where we find that thousand of others are doing exactly the same thing. We head to work, an 8:30 am to 5:00 pm job most of us would rather do without. Two 15 minute breaks, one half hour lunch, and back on the road for the trip home. Dinner, TV, everything precisely timed to the minute, all the way to bed time, usually very late, after, of course, having set the darn alarm clock. When that thing goes off early the next morning we start the whole process again.

This existence where the hours and the minutes control every bit of life is considered normal. Some places even go to the extent of splitting the second: T minus.. 5..4..3..2..1..BANG.

And so time passes and the more we count it the more we ask ourselves where did the time go?

Obsessed?? Is all this time watching really necessary? Does it really matter if it’s 10:28 instead than 10:30?

Shelby and I, now live in Mexico. Things seem to have quieted down a bit. It’s very difficult, if not impossible to do away with all references to time. After all the sun rises and falls, but that’s just that, the sun is now our guide. The battery on my trusty wrist watch ran out. That did so sometime last year. I never bothered replacing it. After a few weeks of wearing a watch that constantly showed 9:52 and 38 seconds, don’t know if that was AM or PM, I finally gave up, put it in a drawer and forgot about it. I don’t even look at my naked wrist anymore in search of that watch that would tell me what time it was. Somehow I’ve learned to do without. The hours and the minutes that so precisely dissected our days are forgotten. All we are left with is “Oy y Mañana” If it cannot be done Oy there is always Mañana. There are plenty of Mañanas. Mexico has an endless supply of Mañanas. Everyone uses them, but still there is an abundance of Mañanas left.

My typical day: I wake up; that would be “Oy” and it is still dark outside. I hear the waves crashing on the beach not that far away, a great soothing sound to wake up to; So different from that old blaring alarm clock. Shelby is still at sleep, I toss and turn for a while then my body tells me, enough; get up do something, so I do. I get the coffee going, maybe do some computer work, like trying to solve the water pumping task for our water supply; or figuring out the electrical consumption and resulting drain from the batteries if we run an extra light or use a microwave, or just simply read a book.

The sun will soon rise, it will put a smile on everyone’s face and Oy will start and be in full force. Oy, we may do previously planned work around our place, or just drive to our nearest towns, La Paz or Cabo to do some shopping, hang out and spend and enjoy the Oy there. No set rules really.

As things are discussed, the first hints of Mañana are mentioned. Shall we get that faucet now? No, I think Mañana would be best, and so on, Mañana this, Mañana that. A stomach uneasiness is felt so it must be time for some lunch. So we stop and do that. At times we drive to our favorite place, not too far, plenty of food and very low prices. We eat and enjoy each other, the ocean breeze, maybe some friends if they happen to be there and the few cars that drive by. When the beer is gone and we don’t feel like having another one, we know it’s time to leave, lunch is over. As the sun continues its path to meet the ocean, that happens every day, we realize that Oy is about to end; always a beautiful end. Sunsets are spectacular, always different then the previous Oy but always spectacular. We head home have supper, do a few things. We have no TV, and since by now it’s dark outside, we go to bed.

Sometime in our sleep, almost magically, what was our mañana transforms into a new Oy and a new Mañana is on its way.

Shelby tells me I look more relaxed, I smile more, and even look a bit younger. I look at her and see the same thing. What is happening? Oh, having mentioned Gravity… We may have both lost a little bit of weight.

Maybe we are turning back time here in Mexico. Want to join us?

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I am sure you lay awake nights wondering where everything we own has gone....just like I do. Our 40 ft container landed in Vera Cruz, Mexico on Thursday January 7th, 2010. We know this because we had been tracking it through the container number given to us by our moving company. So it sat there through the weekend. Monday morning we finally got a hold of the broker, Mr. Diaz, who we hired to handle our things with the Aduana, which is Mexican customs. Mr. Diaz said he would let us know when he heard something.

Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. O.K. Maurice you have to call this Mr. Diaz guy and find out what is going on!!! Thursday we call. Mr. Diaz says he will let us know when he hears something.

End of week one.

Friday. Saturday, Sunday. Now it has been 10 days. No word. Our moving company representive, Hercules, said it would be in customs for a couple of days……well, unless of course, there are problems. Now, not that this happens often, he said, but you need to be prepared to possibly pay a few thousand dollars to clear your things. This is not covered in the cost of your move....but do not be alarmed. It probably will not happen, but I think you should know it is possible.

Outwardly Maurice and I are not panicking. In fact there is a huge upside to not having our things yet. We can get the bodega finished first, which would make things so much more convenient as we could move right in. Still the questions are there.

Is there a warehouse full of all our things, unpacked, and being rifled through....by men with rifles???

Is our 40 ft container sitting on the wharf with hundreds of others. Forgotten.

Are our things being sold at auction as we sleep??

Funny, we saw our exact mission style table lamp, at The Sand Bar, on an old plastic table. It just showed up there one day. After our lamp sighting we started leaning toward this scenario. Our things were being sold, through a circuit of non-reputable Aduana guys!!! AND the owner of a bar, in the town we live in, which is totally across the entire country of Mexico (Vera Cruz is on the Atlantic side) and across the Sea of Cortez and across the Baja to the Pacific side, has ended up with one of our lamps.

Maybe our rational was slipping away. But the lamp really did just show up one day and is still there!

Monday I beg Maurice to call. He says, just wait, he said he would let us know. COME ON!! They have everything we own! This is crazy. We need to know what is happening.

Tuesday we call. 12 days after our things hit Vera Cruz. Mr. Diaz says he will go to the Aduana and send us an e-mail. All day long we check our e-mails...well not really cause we are at the El Presidente with our Buba’s and our friends, but we do check in once! When we leave to drive home we call. It is 6pm. Mr. Diaz, who never did send us an e-mail, tells us the Maneja de Casa has cleared. The Maneja de Casa is the documentation for all our household goods. The tools that Maurice is moving are under another document. Mr. Diaz says they are clearing the tools on Wednesday or Thursday.

Does this mean CLEAR THEM??? OR does this mean they will consider clearing them?? We do not know. Have they gone through our things? Was this all just a delay in the paperwork?? NOT A CLUE!

I am tending to think that they have not gone through our things since the last boxes packed into the container were Maurice’s tools. This must only be paperwork they are rifling through...maybe.

Thursday we call Mr. Diaz again, who we figure really does not even know HOW to e-mail and he says that we will be hearing from Senor Manuel. He is the guy who will be responsible for getting our container to us after it clears customs, which may be today.

Two weeks have now passed.

Friday we get an e-mail from Senor Manuel. CONGRATUALTIONS!!!! Aduana has released your container and it will be delivered to us for shipment to you. Please send directions and a date you would like your things.

YEHA!! Does this really mean we are safe now?? No, we are not forgetting this container will be driven across the entire country of Mexico than put on a ferry and taken across the Sea of Cortez to La Paz, where paperwork will be inspected again, and then finally driven to our land, but we are optimistic.

As of this morning, which is Saturday we have not gotten a response from our answer to Senor Manuel.

It is raining here right now, which is as strange as the oranges freezing in Florida. The sun is up, the wind is blowing and half of our tiling is complete in our bodega. We will work there today in preparation for our things. Jose will continue tiling, Maurice will try to figure out how to hang some ceiling fans on a ceiling where there is not dry wall and no place to attach them to. Since it is raining I can not work outside so I will probably be irritating everyone with my suggestions and possibly next weekend we will be unpacking!

Hopefully you can now sleep through the night, knowing our things may be on their way soon.

BTW, Susana, have a great trip!! MISS YOU!

Friday, January 22, 2010


Today developed in a way that we would not have predicted when we got out of bed this morning. As we were setting ourselves up to do some work we had our first visit from Cuco, the man I labeled, Mr. Baja. We can see him coming when he comes. There is always a spring in his step and a big happy smile on his handsome, well chiseled face.

He had lost his phone a few weeks back, “hmmmmm” I think, and he wanted to borrow ours. So after his phone calls were completed and with a happy muchas gracias and adios, he returns to his home. 10 minutes later he is back.

“Pillar (pronounced PEElar) has a proposition for you”, he says. “She says that if you drive her to Pescadero to buy mayonnaise, water and a few other things, you can come eat lunch with us. She is making Mahi Mahi.” “Cuco,” I say, “I will give Pillar a ride, but you do not have to feed us.”

“No, it would be O.K. if you eat with us.” “hmmmmm” I think.

Off Cuco trots across the cactus laden field, home to tell Pillar. I am to pick him up (not her) in 5 minutes. As I enter his “area” I see a car there, from Alamo Car Rental. Alas, they have potential customers for their pottery. Cuco runs out saying, “AHHHHH THANK YOU SO MUCH SELBY!! We have customers here so if Pillar needs a ride to the store, they can give it to her. “hmmmmm” I think again and quickly realize this is my thought for today. “hmmmmmm”

A half hour goes by and now it is Pillar coming through the field. Her English is not as good as Cuco’s and I am sure I sound to her the same way as she does to me, when I speak Spanish; We have a few words that make up an un-connected sentence. “You eat with me?” I answer, “Do you need a ride to the store?” “No, that is fine…… Tres for comida.” Which is “3 for food.” Not knowing what to do, I say, “gracias.” I guess we join them at 3, which is a couple of hours away.

In the meantime there is a young couple who are walking from the top of the cliff and heading towards us. They tell us she just got bit on the head by something large, black, and flying. They want to know if we would know what that could have been. Any suggestion we gave: jumping tarantulas, 8” long centipedes, killer bees, they say, no, that could not be. We tell them to go ask Cuco, since he has been here “forever.” We point out where he and Pillar live, and off they go.

About an hour later back they come from Cuco’s. She is all happy, feeling fine and they tell us they are going to camp on Cuco’s land for a couple of days. It’s for free, all that’s required is for them to help with some work. They go on to say that they also will be lunching with Pillar and Cuco AND since we were going to take Pillar to the store earlier, Cuco suggested that I could drive them to Pescadero, as they needed to pick up their tent and things at a camping place they were staying at. “hmmmmm” I think.

“Did Pillar go to the store?” I ask. They say they think she did but she may still need water. O.K....that means we need to stop at her place and get her empty bottle.

Water comes in blue 19 liter plastic bottles but you must return your empty to buy a fresh one for 19 pesos, which is under $2.00. We stop at Pillar’s and get the bottle. Pillar is so excited!! She tells me, in Spanish, the food will be ready when we get back.

Well, the couple, which we have learned are from Holland, were asked to buy tortillas, and chicken legs, as well as the water. I asked if they were given any money. “No”, they say, “no, we told them it was O.K.” “hmmmm“, I think, remembering the bring-the-beer story from our day in La Candelaria.

On the way to their camp site they tell me some things about their travels and also how excited they were to be moving from there current camp site cause the place was crowded with kids that sat around and smoked pot all day long.

We decided that I will drop them off at their campsite so they can take care of gathering their belongings while I shop for the requested food. They tell me they will pay me when I get back...and they laugh, “we really will.” I get the water, the chicken legs, the tortillas, and then since we are eating with Cuco and Pillar I think we should get some beer and ice, so I get that too. Since everything was added together and the whole bill was under $20, including the 6 Ballena Beers, I had no idea how much the chicken legs and tortillas were. I felt silly asking them for somewhere around $5, so I told them it was O.K. They did not have to pay. They were happy. Ya ya, I know. My own fault!! You would have done the same thing. Two young kids, working in exchange for a place to put their tent....of course you would have.

Three o’clock comes and we head to Cuco’s. The couple from Holland is now sitting, side by side, at a small picnic table. A plate is in front of them, but they are not eating. On the plate is a piece of perfectly fried fish, with a dollop of mayonnaise on it, (I guess there must have been some left over since we did not shop for mayonnaise) a bit of rice and beans and two pieces of what looked like sushi. They are not eating. Cuco is busy handing out the beers we brought!! Happy Happy Happy. Pillar is in the “kitchen” with a friend, who appears to be a transplanted American. She is getting our plates ready. I asked if they had eaten, she responds to me in Spanish, but I am not sure what was said. Pillar is excited we are all there and Cuco is frantically chugging his beer and the Dutch are just sitting there...not eating.

The picnic table is a bit small for four so Cuco brings out two chairs, one for Maurice, one for me, he chooses to sit on a tree stump. Finally the couple looks at me, and she asks if it would be O.K. to request silverware. Now I realized why they are not eating. I just thought they were overly polite. I tell them to do whatever was comfortable for them. So, Anna, that’s her name, goes to the “kitchen” and asks for silverware. She returns with a glass. In the glass were 6 serving spoons and a knife.

Maurice and I get our plates. No rice, I guess it all went into the sushi, but there was fish and beans. The sushi was indeed just that. Pillar had been given some seaweed papers and she made sushi with rice, beets, carrots, avocado and smoked fish. She even had soy sauce. It was really good. So the 4 of us, Anna and Steven from Holland, and Maurice and I ate our lunch. We used the spoons. Pillar and her friend finally come and joined us....they do not use spoons. We did not see Cuco eat.

Over lunch we learned that the young couple made the trip down the Baja over a two week extension to a speaking engagement in San Diego. Steven was invited to speak at a symposium at the University on his thesis on Genocide. He is 29. Wow, not quite the wandering, young, poor, nomads, I thought they were. “Do you have the $5 you owe me??” Just kidding.

So lunch is done and Cuco is now smoking a cigarette. I had not seen him smoke before. Pillar comes out with a hand rolled cigarette as well. She lights up. This thing is huge!!! About 3 times the size of Cuco’s. WOW!!! She smokes it for a while than passes it on to her friend. The friends takes it, says no thank you and continues to pass it around the table. Finally, duh, I realize this is no cigarette!!! We all decline, Pillar is happy, she says, “GOOD” more for me and Cuco…. “hmmmmmmm”, I think. I look over at the young couple and say, “happy you changed camp sites??”

Now Cuco, probably a bit loaded, starts telling many stories of snakes that live there. The poor girl, Anna was visibly not happy. Remember they are camping there. I pipe in that I have never seen a snake. Cuco laughs, “oh you will!!“ He tells us he has even watched them have sex for 4 hours!!

Stories of really rich gringos, follow. Stories of yellow hummers, gringos giving out $20 bills to Mexican people NOT to sell them things and other quite embarrassing and obnoxious scenarios. Especially if you are a gringo!!! Cuco is talking so fast he is hardly breathing and Pillar is laughing hysterically and rattling things off in Spanish and slapping her thighs. I am sure they turned black and blue.

The young couple finally excused themselves as they want to walk to beach. We hung for a while listening to Cuco tell his tales. Maurice is quite entertained by him. He asks us if we can pick him up and give him a ride to Cabo with us tomorrow, of course we say we will. At least he did not ask us to pick up the beer.

Yes, life is certainly unpredictable. Today marked my month anniversary here.... wonder what the next month will bring... “hmmmm”, I think.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Just Catching Up

I am so behind with updates, but we have been busy with our guests!!

Sunday we had a great day with Kate, Rick, Stew and Suzanne, doing tourist things and showing them our land. The words, “WE NEVER THOUGHT IT WAS LIKE THIS!!!” “OUR VISION WAS SO COMPLETELY DIFFFERENT THAN WHAT YOU ARE DOING!!” “NO WONDER WHY THE ROAD TOOK A YEAR TO PUT IN!!” “ARE YOU TOTALLY CRAZY” “BOY YOU TWO HAVE GUTS!!” “YOU REALLY ARE INSANE” were heard throughout their tour of our developing Arriba de la Roca. So I guess what we are doing does come as a surprise to some! :)

Monday was a work day. I watered the palms, which you all remember exactly what that means! Maurice is always doing things around the place, and today these things were in preparation for what was to be the last of our Home Depot deliveries and a meeting with our builder and engineer. We got most of our things delivered, but of course, not all. So we needed to go back to Cabo Tuesday, or at least that was a good excuse to spend one more decadent day with our neighbors at El Presidente. This time we were good! Even with Buba’s in hand, we were controlled, and actually drove home like good responsible citizens. It was sad to say good-bye to our friends. It was wonderful to have a little “home” with us. We had a great time.

Today we put up a fence! Well, really it was a gate to a pre-existing fence. When land is defined here it must be fenced in to secure ownership. Our 2 ½ acres is fenced in with barbed wire and rusted rebar. The entrance we created resulted in the front part of the fence being torn down for easy entry. Now the cows are happily coming in and eating whatever they can find. Two of our palms being some of the things they have feasted on. I am very anxious to start planting things. More green, some flowers etc. First we must have a closed in fence.

So this morning Maurice woke up and said that today he was building me a gate so we could close off the front entry. So as the sun is now setting upon our Wednesday we have a gate, made of second hand barbed wire, some old 2x4’s that we found along with some “posts”, a couple of re-bars and some twisted wire to hold it all together. We also have 8 small swaying palms planted to the side of our bodega!! Looks so cute!

We are tired...do not know how people do this all day long. I am yearning for a Buba and a swimming pool!!!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Have we been spoiled the last 24 hours. Our ex-neighbors Kate and Rick, are here for a week. They are staying at El Presidente, which is an all inclusive resort in San Jose del Cabo. We have stayed there numerous times, when we were coming back and forth the last 4 years, and really like it.

We were to meet Kate and Rick, and their friends, who we also know, Stew and Suzanne, for breakfast at 9am in the large dining room we are very familiar with. Since we are not guests we bought a day pass for $50 each. This entitled us to eat and drink, use the facilities and enjoy the day, until 5pm. Dinner is not included with the day pass.

So after a huge breakfast, because of course we HAVE to get our moneys worth, we hit the pool. We were lined up in our chairs, all 6 of us, by 10:30, with a drink in our hands. They had bought us all “Buba’s” which are thermal mugs. They are large. They hold a lot of margaritas. I know. I was drinking them out of my Buba all day long. In Maurice’s Buba he had gin and tonic. Maurice’s Buba was also full all day long.

We swam, walked the beach, had lunch, and really enjoyed the day. We had received only one rule from the front desk when we checked in. We were not allowed in any of the rooms. Where did we find ourselves as our day there was winding down? In Kate and Rick’s room...Buba’s in hand. Maurice and I were trying to convince them that we were leaving and to get ready for dinner. The hotel was having a Mediterranean Night, with entertainment. They would not leave us. So one hour led to two, led to them going to get food and bringing it up to the room and us sleeping on their pull our sofa. It was easy to go into the “employees only”, or “SOLO EMPLEADOS” room and get sheets for our bed. The door was unlocked.

It was the right thing to do. As I have told you, driving here at night is not a good idea. Driving here at night for an hour and a half, after your Buba has been full all day is REALLY not a good idea.

This morning trying to sneak out, and not get caught was another issue! Of course we were very clandestine. We split up. We left minutes apart. We did not look at the girl at the front desk who was the same one who sold us the day pass the day before. What we were afraid of?? That we would be kicked out??!

It was great to re-connect with our friends. It was fun to stay at an all inclusive. We were spoiled and pampered and had a blast. They are coming here tomorrow to see our land. We will look forward to another day with their company.

I am leaving my Buba at home.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


The strange thing about friendships are that you can not look for them. They seem to find you and when they do, true friendships will never leave. There are different kind of friendships and various lengths of friendships.

There are friends I have had since high school. There are friends I have had since university and there are others that I have had most of my adult life. There are friends that I talk to once every year or two but I think of them so often that I feel they are with me everyday. I have friends that I keep tabs on their lives only through Facebook. I have friends I used to see everyday. I have friends I see every few years. I have friends that make incredible efforts to maintain our friendship, and some that do not. I even have friends that I am related to.

Friendships to me are very different than acquaintances. Some people throw the word “friend” around and it looses its meaning. For me when you make friends with someone they become part of you. They enter your thoughts and live in your sub-conscious. I am truly blessed by the people in my life that I call my friends. People I would do anything for. I know they would do the same for me. Anything.

I have moved around a lot in my life. With the exception of my 17 years in Toronto, and my upbringing, the longest I lived anywhere was 7 years. That was Minneapolis. I have lived in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin. I lived in Wausau, Stevens Point, Eau Claire, and Milwaukee, all in Wisconsin. I lived a few places in the San Diego area. I lived two places in Minneapolis, and in Clearwater and Toronto.

Through all my moves I have carried a few friends with me. In a few places I have even added one. My 17 years in Toronto created friendships that I now yearn for. In my mind we are on vacation and I will soon return home and be with you all again. It has not hit me that this is not true, yet. Maybe when our things arrive and we move into the bodega, reality will hit.

Through all the experiences we are living here, as well as when I lay awake at night, you are with me. I am happy here, enjoying the development of our dream. We are living a daily life of unknowns and unexpected surprises. Through each of these things I carry you in my heart. You will always be a part of me.

My sister asked me if I was in “my happy place”? Yes, I am. But I miss you all dearly. I live and breath with you and know I love you.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Sand Bar


It is late summer of 1977. Until this minute, right now, if someone would have said to me, "When did you move to California?" I would have to think, calculate and come up with an answer. I would have said?...hmmmm 1978?? Obviously not top of the mind, but I just figured out it was the summer of 1977 and here is the story.

I graduated high school in 1973. I broke my neck and back in a swimming/diving accident days after graduation. This put me in a halo cast until 1974 when I could finally start University, months after everyone else I had gone to school with. So January 1974, in a partial body cast, I begin my freshman year at UWSP. Fast forward to 1977 and me ending up going to San Diego with my “first love” who I met while at UWSP, my first year, and who told me he was dieing of leukemia. This was his last wish, that I go to California with him. This story in itself is an entire blog that you would read and say, NO WAY WERE YOU THIS STUPID!!!

But alas. I was. He is still alive and well, living in Marshfield, Wisconsin.

So after a week or two of travel, when we finally drive into San Diego, in MY car, we end up following signs that say “TO THE BEACH”. “The beach” these signs took us to was, at the time, one of the 5 beaches in San Diego, Ocean Beach. OB is what the locals called it, and still do. I have always had a really great feeling about OB. In the past 30 years I have been back there many times. Maurice and I have been there together, and I have been there alone and with friends and family. Every time I went back I felt the need to live there again. I still do have connections. I still have a dear friend there, Laurie, who I met in 1978. Laurie is a real honest to goodness Californian. Not many of those!! I think she is 5th generation. Since I left, long ago, my sister now lives in San Diego, too. Whenever I go back to OB the vibe is the same. It is frozen in time. The beach is retro and so cool.. Except for the million dollar houses that are now replacing the small, 300 sq ft beach cottages it hasn‘t changed.

My bar in OB was The Sunshine Company. I spent most of my free time there. As did my “friends”. It was a surreal time of my life. Beer, partying, fires on the beach, all the things you would expect San Diego in the 70’s to be. When I lived there OB proudly claimed it was the drug and VD capital of the world. The Hell’s Angels hung out there. Quite a place for a truly innocent girl from Wisconsin to find herself.

My 4 month trip to San Diego ended, as was the plan, in December and I went back to Wisconsin. I arrived for Christmas, and I was to do my student teaching (Special Ed) in January. After a short time my family soon realized I was not staying in Wisconsin, nor was I doing my student teaching. Instead, January took me back to OB and The Sunshine Company. I was home there. My “family” was there and for the three years I lived in the San Diego area I always felt safe and secure at The Sunshine Company.

In 1989 I excitedly took Maurice there. He had heard all the stories and I was going to sit there and re-live them with him. It had been a couple of years since I had been back to San Diego and the quaint and charming neighborhood bar called The Sunshine Company now had big screen TV’s and it was three times bigger. More of a sports bar, than a really cool neighborhood hang out. I was so sad it had changed. The strangest thing was that the same bartender was there, Tom, from New York. A little more wrinkled and a lot more worn, but it was the guy I used to have crush on 14 years before. That was bizarre. I guess for Tom this really was home. But it wasn’t only Tom who must have felt this way. The place was filled with people who had been there for a decade or two. Not that I recognized them but you could tell. They were beach people. Locals who dress the same and have the same long hair and attitude they did in the 70’s. Since I had moved away and now came back to visit I realized these people are trying to maintain their youth. I get it. Part of me yearned for this as well. I am not sure why. The lack of responsibility and the ability to do whatever you want, anytime?? I really loved this time of my life and was totally disappointed when Tom, the bartender of the Sunshine Company, was surrounded by big screen TVs. I took this as a person assault.

2009 Baja Sur

My first time in the Sand Bar, named because it has a sand floor, was awkward. Ya it was filled with Americans and Canadians but I guess I am not a drinking-in-a-bar-all-day kind of person anymore. That is the kind of place the Sand Bar is. It just did not feel “cozy“.

Maurice went there a few times when he was here alone, building our future. He had met lots of guys there and they also have all you can eat pizza on Wednesday night for 79 pesos! What a deal. So Maurice takes me in and I felt strange. The bar is 90% filled with men…I should have loved that!! They range in age from 18 to probably 70. They all have the same things in common. No one is wearing a wrist watch. They all have shorts on. Some are barefoot, the rest have sandals on. Some of the guys, most proud of their physique, do not wear shirts. They have long hair and sit around the bar telling stories, drinking lots of alcohol and slapping each other on the backs. They are a happy group and most of them are there every single day.

I finally had an epiphany after my third visit there. This place was The Sunshine Company!!! It is the same. The same kind of people are there. Even though many are from California, they come from all over the US and Canada, and what they have in common is they all have the same reasons for being there.

All of a sudden I got catapulted in time back to my youth!! I would hang there every day, too, if I was here in Mexico to set myself up for rehab. Instead I look forward to stopping in there a couple times a month. Maybe for pizza night, and saying, “Hi Gabe, how ya doing!!” Gabe is the, 20 something bartender, who was raised in the Baja, but is from California originally. Will he still be there in 20 years??!!! While there, Maurice and I chat to a few people, and gossip about the rest.

This is why the Sand Bar is special to me. It’s kind of like living the California dream all over again and than stepping outside into our wonderful new reality...all in the same day.

That really makes me smile.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mr. Baja

Cuco, the potter, and soon to be neighbor, asked us if we would drive him up into the Sierra de la Laguna mountains today so he could connect with his wife, Pillar, who was up there helping a friend. I guess she was gone for numerous days and he needed to pick up some money from her because his VW van was getting repaired. He told us he is not good with money so she keeps it with her. He has already asked Maurice for so many favors that I wonder how he survived without him. I fear this is a never ending situation, but we will see.

This favor was one we were really looking forward to. Maurice and I had driven up into the mountains on a couple of occasions. These were excursions only, in search of whatever we were lucky enough to run across. The roads we chose looked well traveled and always lead us nowhere. We knew that there were places to go, just not how to get there. So today we picked up Cuco with these instructions from him, “You pick up the beer and I will pay you.” Of course I believed he would. Of course he didn’t. So with our loaded cooler in the back of the truck, and Cuco in the front, we headed to kilometer 79 and turned left, towards the mountains.

Addresses and directions here are defined by kilometer markers. There should be signs at every kilometer, but over time some are gone. For example, to get to us you turn at km 74.3. We do have to come up with an address because right now we made up:

KM 74
Pescadero Baja Sur

This is what we tell people, like the guys at Home Depot, the bank etc. but we really do not have an address. Since everyone here uses kilometer markers no one questions us.

So we turn at Km 79, of course on a dirt, washboard road, and head toward the mountains. Cuco is a great tour guide. He fancies himself as “Mr. Baja “and proudly told us that he is mentioned in “The Lonely Planet” travel book for Baja Sur, as a local tour guide.

Cuco speaks perfect English. I laugh at this because the first time we went to meet him, to introduce ourselves and tell him we were buying our land, he pretended he did not speak English. Nice! Today we found out he went to school in San Francisco and was married to a “gringa” and she is the mother of his children. He and Pillar have only been together for 20 years. He is a nice looking man, 57 years old and we have been invited to his birthday party on the 24th of this month. I am sure he will say, “bring the beer!”

So as we begin our gradual climb off the desert floor he explains that we are going into a “dry tropical forest” and as we ascend there will be less cactus and more green. Since we had the big rain a week and a half ago it is even more green than it would normally be this time of year. The rainy season here is September and October and often it does not rain other than in the mountains.

Our first stop was at a deserted compound. I use the word compound because I am not sure what is the best word to describe it. An American started to develop this beautiful place. He must have put 100’s of thousand of dollars into it and ran out of money. It is widespread, over 100’s of acres, so if you were not aware of it you would not even know it was there, or what it was. The place we stopped at had a waterfall, though not very large this time of year, and a pool at the base. We waded in the cold water, took some pictures, popped a beer and listened to Cuco tell us of the people he brings here who pay him $100 for his services. Wow. Lucky him. Did they bring the beer, too? He told us we saved $100 today. Wow. Lucky us.

He educates us on plants and I educate him on the “Canadian Shield” since the area we were in reminded me so much of that! Huge, wide rock formations covering lots of the land. It was really beautiful. He said he will now add the words “Baja Shield” to his tour since he told us he makes stuff up. The tourists don’t know or care. They want to hear stories. Nice. I guess $100 can’t buy integrity.

Our destination is a place called La Candelaria. On this side of the mountain range he said there are 6 pueblitos. They consist of many families that over 100’s of years have formed a community. Of course there are no stores in these places, or retail outlets of any sort. In La Candelaria there is a church, a school and about a hundred people, which is really large for a pueblito.

La Candelaria is only 30 km from the highway but the trip took an hour and a half, which included our 20 minute stop. This pueblito sits at the foothills of the Sierra de la Laguna mountains and is rich and fertile. There is an underground stream that runs through the village and there are palm trees that are probably a 100 years old. Mr. Baja told us that with a consistent water source palms grow about 3 feet a year. These palms are a few stories tall! There are mangoes, citrus, avocados, papayas, guavas, corn, bamboo and pigs wandering around.

Pillar’s friend is a potter. We totally forgot her name but she is a transplanted American who has lived in these mountains with her Mexican husband for 18 years. They have a palapa roofed adobe and block buildings that make up their home. Like most Mexicans their place consists of a separate building for their kitchen. This is the only building we went into, although it appears they had a separate sleeping quarters, and an area for showering. The kitchen was so basic. There was a huge adobe based cooking area that filled most of the inside. One part of this had a propane burner, where a tea pot sat on rod iron bars, and another part of the “stove” had wood under it. The floors were dirt and raked clean.

Maurice went to the bathroom there and said I would be glad I chose a bush instead. There were tons of cockroaches. I DO NO LIKE COCKROACHES. They seriouly creep me out.

Cuco sat in there with the husband, drinking beer from our cooler. He sure is not shy. Maurice wandered in and out chatting with everyone.

The women were outside making adobe to finish a small studio Pillar’s friend was building. They started it in July. It is about 5 x 8 with a stone base. The process of applying the adobe was fascinating and I asked if I could take pictures. I always find it hard to ask this question and usually don’t. I would love to photograph everything in these people’s homes, but I do not want to offend them, so I don’t. This was impossible not to photograph. Come on!! THEY WERE MAKING ADOBE!!!

This is what we learned about the process.

The first part of the equation is the clay that her husband gathers from the side of the roads. Different clay than she uses for her pottery, she said. She had a wheelbarrow and inside the wheelbarrow is a large flat stone, resembling flagstone. She put the clay on this and than with a smaller rock she grinds it to break it up. Than she dumps this clay into a bucket and brings a large screen and places it across the now empty wheelbarrow. Than she dumps the broken up clay onto the screen and rubs it with her hands and what makes it through the screen is the clay that is used for the adobe. Actually I did this part of the work. I hated standing there watching so when I asked if they need help she said YES! This was the easy part, even with a broken shovel.

Abode consists of equal parts of this clay mixed with water, sand and “hay that has passed through the horse”...that is really how she described it. We would just say horse shit! They place this on a plastic sheet and Pillar mixes it with her feet. She stomps and stomps, always pulling up the sides of the plastic to fold over her mixture. When it is the right consistency they apply it, with their hands, onto the side of the building. By the time we were there this was that last of the adobe to be done and the building was complete. It is tall and to help let in light there were about two dozen empty glass wine bottles “plastered” in the top of one of the walls. These gallon wine bottles came from Costco she said!!

So after Cuco got the money from Pillar, and about a dozen beers were drank we headed down the mountain. The women were cleaning up as the project was complete. We took a different way back which was much quicker, and except for the first 15 minutes, was not as scenic. We were back to the highway in about 40 minutes. We ended up driving the last 11 km on an arroyo, which is where the rain runs off the mountains and out into the ocean. The arroyo brought us back to Hi 19, which is the road to Cabo. We first left Hi 19 at km 79 and came back out at km 98 so we did kind of a circle.

We took Cuco home. He asked if we had any more beer and of course Maurice gave him two. He never offered to pay us, but at least he did not charge us $100 for the tour and adobe making tutorial!! Maurice and I decided it would have been well worth two cases of beer for the adventure. Now we also know where to go and how to get to La Candelaria. Cuco said on February 2nd they have a big tamale festival there with horse races. We will certainly be going back for that!

After we dropped off Cuco we stopped at the Sand Bar. This is called the Sand Bar because the floor is all sand, and there is only a palapa roof. The place is the local hang out for Americans and Canadians. Tomorrow I am going to write about the Sand Bar and what it means to me, but I just want to say that they had the Packer game on and it was in Spanish. That was hysterical. All the commentating was in Espanol! So every once in awhile I would hear “Packers” other than that I did not understand a word!

Need to learn the language!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Hurray one of our workers actually showed up today!!! No more manana, manana. He came! He finished some work on the kitchen counter top that needed to be done before Mauricio (the Mexican worker) comes next week to seal them and the floors.

Hurray I finished painting!!! Still want to do under the kitchen counters one day, where the cupboards will be. Other than that all done!!

Hurray for Maurizio. He got all the palm trees watered.

Hurray for Home Depot. They actually delivered some of our stuff early! They said Monday and brought about 1/3 of the stuff today. Not in a Home Depot truck but in an unmarked pick-up truck.

Hurray we got to go the beach this afternoon. Almost forgot what is felt like to be watching the waves roll in! It was sunny and glorious.

Hurray we got to SWIM in the ocean today. My first time swimming on “our beach”. It is very dangerous in our spot because the waves are strong by the cliffs. About 3 minutes up the beach is fine, but you have to be a really strong swimmer to swim by us. Maurice and I are both strong swimmers but I never did more than wade in the waves. Today seemed safe so we came home covered in sand from head to toe as we were sandblasted by the waves. So cool!!!

Hurray cause for the first time we saw dolphins. Two, methodically leaping in and out of the water, really close to shore, right by where we were sitting. Thought we were at Marineland!

Hurray for yoga. At the base of the cliff, right next to us is a yoga camp. The camp is for advanced yoga teachers and they come for two weeks to hang with a yoga guru here named Shane. Apparently, from about 2 to 3 they take a break and come to the beach. Most of the girls are topless and a few are entirely naked. Did I have a happy husband, or what!!!

Hurray that I can finally get that white jeep out of my head. Today we got to see it and since the floors were rusted entirely through I did not think it would be a good idea to pursue it.

Hurray that we have a very exciting adventure tomorrow. Will fill you in when we return.

Hurray for all of you reading my blog. It really pleases me. Hugs to you all.

Friday, January 8, 2010


Maurice and I have so many Libras in our world. Many of our Canadian family are Libras; Maurice is a Libra. Maurice’s daughter Jennifer, his brother Farbrizio, our grandson Noah and granddaughter Addison, are all Libras. Then there are our friends Edwina and Rocco. If you are a Libra you know your life is balanced by the scales of your Zodiac sign, and a life balanced by scales makes it very hard to make decisions and commitments. You weigh each decision you make, no matter how trivial. You put off commitments because any change may throw off your balance. (Which is why Maurice and I dated long distance for almost 9 years!) He is a Libra. Because Libras must have balanced scales they also do not like conflict and go out of their way to avoid disagreements...thus, sweet Maurice. I love Libras and their gentleness and their thoroughness. I love their analytical minds. Why? Because I am a Sagittarian. I love change. I love adventure and the unpredictability of life! I am totally spontaneous and do not think about consequences. I always say that together Maurice and I make one whole person. I yank him off his scales so he can move forward, and he pulls me out the sky so I do not float off into never never land.

Today is going to be day filled with decisions. We need to choose a hot water heater, a toilet, two 5000 liter pilas and one 3000 liter pila. We need a refrigerator, a stove, three ceiling fans, one bathroom light, a generator and batteries. These are just some of the things we need for our bodega. We have been at Home Depot and Costco three times since I have been here. Looking. Vacillating. Never buying anything. PLEASE, I would say. We need this stuff lets just buy it! “No, I need to think“, he would say.

Well today is the day. We are off to buy EVERYTHING we need. We will get it all and have one delivery done. For $140 delivery charge it is smart to do it all at once.

I am teasing Maurice because he is moping around. I can see him in Home Depot already! “Can’t we wait??” “NO! We are moving in there in just over a week. Procrastination is no longer an option.” So as he mopes around, sadly dreading making the final commitments of the purchases while I am dancing around, laughing! I CAN NOT WAIT!!! We get to buy the things that now will make our bodega home! I love spending money! This will be a ball.

12 hours later

We are done. My word what a day! We picked up our internet stick this morning. FINALLLY!! That will make our life so much easier. Next we stopped at the land to meet the boss of the crew who is coming there tomorrow. Well hopefully they are coming, you never really know around here. Then we drove the hour to Cabo San Lucas. First stop Home Depot.

We arrived there at 11:30 and walked out at 2:44. Honest! No lunch. No wasting time. We were shocked. I actually think Maurice even enjoyed himself in this huge testosterone playground. The best part was the guy who wrote up our order gave us a contractor discount and we saved about $700 on the pilas alone! It was great...and no delivery charge. We never even had to ask!! All this saving money stuff quickly tilted Maurice scales back to even! He was smiling!! We hit Costco and a few other places, but we will still need to go back to LaPaz for a few more things that we could not get in Cabo. We got back at 7:30 tonight!!

Tomorrow back to the painting. I have two more days and I will be done! Hopefully the guys are coming to start putting the concrete blocks inside Senor Backhoe Retro’s hole and Maurice will be there with tool in hand. AND we just got word the ship carrying our 40 foot container is docking in Vera Cruz Mexico tomorrow. Cross your fingers we clear customs and they send our stuff on its 5 days trip across Mexico...We have a bodega to move into!!

It’s 9:30 now so I will say buenas noches. Shopping is exhausting!!


LaPaz is a wonderful city. It sits on the Sea of Cortez and serves as the capital of Baja Sur. Actually not ALL of LaPaz is that great but the water front is beautiful with a long sea walk, the Malecon, that must be 5 or 6 miles long. There are shops and hotels and places to eat. This is still old Mexico though, so with the exception of a few overly priced furniture and accessory stores, all the hotels have been there for years and I am sure the food stands and restaurants have as well. The area is an obvious source of pride. It is well maintained, clean, brilliantly accented with numerous artful statues of things that are recognizable and things that are not. The harbour is filled with sail boats and the water is clear and turquoise blue.

This area is also a perfect place for the Policia to stop the tourists for made up infractions and scare them into paying “the fine” on the spot; so these same tourists are not inconvenienced by a trip to the station. The real name of the payment is a “mordida” which means bribe.

We have always been shocked by how unsafely the Mexicans travel here. You will see the back end of a pick up truck with a family of 4 little kids riding there, jumping around and playing; or you could see the back bed of a truck with 20 workers heading to or from a job. Some are standing and many are sitting on the ledge of the bed of the truck! No one cares or pays attention. Well we do cause it amazes us, but the Policia certainly don’t.

But you take a couple in a truck with an Ontario license plate on it and you would think we were going to go straight to hell for not wearing our seat belts!!

We had just gotten back into our truck to drive the few blocks to our favorite place to eat chocolate clams (not real chocolate, but brown in color and some the tastiest little things you can imagine. They are so fresh that when you squeeze lime on them they still move. HONEST...and it does not even gross you out!!!). Anyway we were talking and forgot to buckle up. The funny thing is that Maurice always wears his seatbelt. I drove this morning and I had mine on all day, too, which is unusual for me. The point is that at this moment in time, no seatbelts.

This is the third time we have been “shaken down” for “mordida”. The first time, was leaving the lovely city of LaPaz about 2 years ago. On a 4 lane road, filled with cars, we were plucked out and told we were speeding. We were not. For sure. We were in a rental car at the time, which we knew was the target.

The first time you get stopped you really are scared. Mexican Policia. OMG!! Could it be worse!! They could say or do anything. We did not know what we should do?? You read about this happening. Should we offer them something. Should we wait for them to ask?? Do we go to the station, which they told us was our only option? We were nervous, even though it was 4pm and daylight out. Maurice had been going back and forth with him for about 5 minutes, which seemed like 15 minutes and this Policia man finally went back to talk to his cohort. Maurice took a 200 peso bill out of his wallet, which is about $14. He had it in his hand, and he and I were having a discussion between us, in the car. He was looking at me and we were wondering if we should offer this for our $110 fine, when the cop came back he reached in, took it, and gave him back his license. Hmmph. That hardly seemed fair!

So after that time, and the time Maurice and his innocent friend Rocco were truly almost arrested, this time was a breeze. Maurice learned after that last episode with Rocco, not to photograph and threaten the Policia who are trying to shake you down. It is a federal offense to photograph a Federal Officer. Luckily Maurice hid his camera and sacrificed Rocco’s camera for them to search, otherwise these two great guys would be in prison here, I am sure!!!! So today we asked if we could pay the fine on the spot and the young man said O.K. So there!! Another 200 pesos gone. 10 cerveza, BALLENA cervezas gone! After he guiltily slid the money under the fine pad he was carrying he shook our hands and happily told us to be careful because this area has lots of Policia.

After that we were the only two people in a city of 100’s of thousands wearing our seats belts. We know. We saw them all!!

Well we had our clams, a cerveza, met with our engineer, drove the hour back to Todos Santos only to find out we did not get our internet stick yet, so we sat at Esquina and stole their internet connection for an hour, and now we are back “home.”

We have water tonight and my new ladder is safely waiting for its first day on the job tomorrow. I can hear the ocean surf and I am not even “turning my eyes”.

Life is good.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Senor Backhoe Retro

Today a miracle happened in Mexico!! A worker was not only on time, he was early! Por Que?? We are assuming it is because we are paying $50 an hour to rent a driver and a backhoe. The driver was early, backhoe in “hand”. They call backhoes “Retro’s” here. Why would we actually pay $50 an hour for a backhoe and driver?? We need a temporary concrete lined pila, that had to be put in so water could be delivered to build the bodega, removed and buried. We also need a hole dug for our soon-to-be-lined-with-concrete-blocks permanent pila. This pila will hold our two, 5000 liter containers that will house our water. We were to meet him at 8 am and he called at 7:48 wondering where we were. It is now 3:22 and he is still here, happily telling us “ he is new at this!”.

Right now I have had it. Had it with the painting, the priming and the guy we are paying $50 an hour to learn his trade. Maurice and I just ran to get a bite to eat, about 2 miles up the road, and they were CERRADO (closed for business) cause they were so busy today they ran out of food. Great for them!! They are wonderful, hard working people. Not so great for us! Our yogurt and apple did not hold us over very well so now we are splitting a Ballena Cerveza and eating potato chips. Great way to conteract the yogurt and apple, don’t you think? Ballena is the Spanish word for whale, and we all know what cerveza means...a Ballena Cervaza is exactly what it says. A BIG HUGE GIANT BEER. O.K. so things are looking up, but I still have had it. My shoulders ache and my neck is sore.

Today I finished painting the bathroom. Looks great with its two coats of paint. Two walls for our main living area have been primed and now have one coat of paint on them. It will still take me three or four more days to finish. Why would this little bit of work make me sore?? We have no ladder. Both our ladders are somewhere in the Atlantic. So I am standing on a white bucket and reaching up as tall as I can to paint the tops of the walls. While I am doing this I am holding the paint can, since there is no where to put it. Thus, the sore neck and shoulders.

Tomorrow I get a break cause we have to go to LaPaz. YEAH!! This morning we had no water where we are staying. I just hope I can at least shower for the trip. Maurice is not too concerned. He said he can shower once a week in Mexico. I said, not if we are sleeping in the same bed!!! LOL!! When we phoned our rental agent, Billy Friend, to tell him of our lack of acqua, he said he would make a couple of calls; whatever that means! BTW Billy Friend is from New York ( now he has a reason to celebrate New Years at 10 pm here ) His brother is a realtor in Todos Santos. His brother’s name is Ricky Friend and his business is called Ricardo Amigo. Took me about 3 meetings to realize Ricky Friend is also Ricarda Amigo. Need to brush up on my Spanish, don’t you think??

O.K. Maurice is shoveling up cactus to transplant. He never stops! I feel guilty hiding in the truck waiting for Senor Backhoe Retro to finish so I will go help Maurice.

Did I tell you I was sore??

I am back, one hour later. We now have three transplanted cactus which are sitting happily in their holes by three of our palm trees. Ahhhh… Maurice also has a nice spike in his arm that we will need a tweezers to remove. I already broke off part of it trying.

Senor Backhoe Retro’s dad has now arrived. I have never seen anyone smiling so broadly. I can read his mind;

7:48 arrival probably a 4:48 ending, or even 5:48 if I can make my son move any slower. $500! I can take my entire family away on vacation!! Wonder if Maurice will realize that when I came to dig the area for his septic it only took me an hour and ½. I doubt it. He had my son do more than I did. I will point out all the work they had him do. Oh yes, this is a good day for the Backhoe Retro family.

Now he is giving him instructions. OMG. It is 4:40...the bugs are buzzing around our head, legs, arms. THEY ARE DRIVING ME CRAZY. The mosquitoes were so happy I was around today so they had something to eat. I could have put a CERRADO sign on me but I do not think that would have helped much.


Did I tell you I have had it??

Senor Backhoe Retro’s dad just went to get his phone. It is 5:00. Is he calling to tell his wife to pack her bags for their vacation?? The sun has been lost on the other side of the cliff. The bugs love no sun.

I just looked at myself in the visor mirror. I have aged today. I have one hour and 5 minutes left of battery life in my computer. Will I still be here??

O.K. I have to go see what is happening.

The dad is either nodding or shaking his head with every movement of the backhoe’s claw. I am assuming to tell his son-in-training whether he is doing the job right or not. Maurice is there with his tape measure to insure we have enough room to place our two 5000 liter containers and he is very upset the hole is crooked. Seriously crooked. Not good for a Libra’s well being. It even irritated me to look at it, but than again, I have had it!!!

55 minutes left of battery time. I need to go find a place to go to the bathroom. Kind of hard to do with Senor Backhoe Retro and his dad moving about. Damn that BALLENA cerveza!!

All is quiet. The machine is OFF!!! Could it be??? I even have 38 minutes of battery left! The machine is running again, but it is driving past me. Senor Backhoe Retro has stepped out of his cage!! It is 5:23....

They are negotiating the price.

Two against one. Not good. If only I could speak better Spanish I would go tell them I have had it.

5:25, still “discussing”.

I hear laughter. Leave it to sweet Maurice.

I hear the driver counting, Ocho, Nueva, Diaz..DIAZ. That is 10..NO WAY.

We have the final count. 8 hours. More laughter. Now Senor Backhoe Retro wants us to buy palms from his mother. PLEASE JUST LEAVE!! I turn my head every once in while, smile, and wave. They are still here. It is 5:36 and no one has a pen to write out the check. We have to follow him to a store.. OMG.

Billy Friend called on the way to the store. We have water but no pressure. “A guy” said he would come tonight to “see about it”. Billy said that probably means tomorrow.

A perfect end to a perfect day.

Tomorrow we buy a ladder.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The 550 square foot bodega.

Ochre. Cobalt blue. Rusty brown. Teal. French’s mustard yellow. These are the colors in the sink for our bodega’s bathroom. Our whole bodega is being decorated around this beautiful, rectangular vessel sink, purchased for $70. We have a matching 8 x 10 wool rug bought at a liquidation sale in New Market, Ontario. We have throw rugs, matching pillows made especially for the new rusty brown suede sofa sleeper, purchased to match the bathroom sink, which are all somewhere in the Atlantic...all except of course the sink. We carry this sink with us where ever we go. Gently bringing it in at night to keep it safe. It travels with us in case we see something that may “go” in our bodega! Laughable but true!

Now we will have a shower. Today we purchased solid colored tiles. Ochre. Cobalt blue. Rusty brown. Teal, and French’s mustard yellow which will form a patch work shower that I am very excited about! We were vacillating about which color to choose so we chose them all! Maurice also found today, the rusty red brick facade he wants to put around the front of the kitchen peninsula. Special ordered, we will have it in 3 weeks. He is very excited about it!

Tomorrow we will start priming the walls. It will be a good day!

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Today was a day of gifts.

The gift of waking up to a glorious day without a cloud in the sky.

The gift of a perfect cup of coffee. Those who know me well know what a coffee snob I am. One of the things I was dreading here is that I did not like their coffee. When you only have 2 cups a day they need to be spectacular! Than, on that trip to Costo on the day I landed, what were they sampling?? FABULOUS COFFEE!! HAPPINESS!! So, yes, Susana, I have found my coffee!

The gift of two, extra strength Tylenol.

The gift of a great internet connection at Esquina. Yesterday there was none.

The gift of finding a 1987 white Jeep for sale. No doors. No top. $1800. Will check that out tomorrow when the gate restraining this potential prize is unlocked. This is my dream vehicle for here. Would prefer a 2007, but this one may do just fine.

The gift of three little plants left for us in our, soon to be driveway. An algave and two little cactus. Just sitting there in their cozy little home made containers.

The gift of going into our, soon to be neighbor’s kitchen, to receive what she made for us. Her name is Pillar and she is Coco’s wife. She had a bag of deep fried tortilla looking things that she said she only makes for New Years. They were hanging in a plastic bag, in the opening of their mud kitchen. The stove top was made of mud. Everything was made of mud. Not smooth mud. Rustic mud with twigs and stones. She removed the bag, took 6 of these items from it and placed them in a smaller bag for us. Than she removed, off the mud stove top, (which is really not a stove, but a hole where they burn wood in) a pan filled with a “sauce” for these tortilla things. She said the sauce was cinnamon, water and some type of root that is sweet. Of course she did not say water, but aqua. She did not say sweet, but dolce. You get the idea. Anyway, she was looking for something to put the sauce in and she found a old mason jar with a lid. I told her I would return it and she said, please.

The gift of loving this food she gave us. Reticent to try it, for all the obvious reasons, we felt we really needed to. AMAZING! Now I need to know how to make these fried things and the not-really-sweet-but-oh-so-tasty-sauce.

The gift of the ever morphing beach. At the bottom of our cliff is the ocean. Last year the beach was such that we could partially walk in front and into a cave. We discovered today we could do the same thing but what we realized was that the entry to this cave was now about 10 TO 12 feet lower. We figured, well Maurice figured, the sand has been taken away by whatever causes sand to be taken away. It was so cool to realize this! Before we had to bend to try to get in. Now it was a very large opening. Not sure how long this will last but it is cool to keep track of this stuff.

The gift of fish. Coco, the potter, told us to stop back after the beach for some fish. He had a lot he was cleaning and he would send some with us for dinner. We came back with 6 fish. Maurice scaled them and cleaned them up, the way WE would clean a fish and they will be our dinner tomorrow night.

The gift of a surreal sunset. Late afternoon clouds rolled in. Clouds that looked like stretched out pieces of cotton. Stretched so it was ripped in lots of places and so the clouds looked like cotton that was fluffy, yet transparent. When the sun set it threw different shades of red all over the clouds so the sky was filled with brilliant clouds, on fire, everywhere over the ocean. If you saw it painted in a frame you would not think it could really be a true sunset.

And lastly, to end the day, the gift of no TV cause if we had a TV I would never be writing this blog!!!


Have you ever been at a New Years party and watched the ball drop in Times Square? You do the countdown..ten..nine..eight..seven..six..five..four..three..two..one. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! You kiss, you hug those you do not know well enough to kiss, and you toast with your champagne. It is a common way to bring in the New Year. Now....have it ever done this in a time zone that is two hours BEHIND New York?? Done it with people who are not FROM New York…just using that count down to bring in the New Year, two hours before it occurs??

That is what happened for us last night. A lovely party. A plethora of food and drinks. Toasting in the New Year at 10 pm.

The party began at 6:30. We learned that a 6:30 start really means a 6:30 start here. When we arrived at 6:40, hoping we were not the first, we were close to one of the last of the 30 or so guests to get there. We ate about 7:30, had the tables cleared away for dancing by 8:30 and we were really starting to kick-it-up when at 9:55 they turned off the music and turned on the TV. HUH?! After the countdown, the toasting and the hugs and kisses everyone said their good nights and left. HUH?! I heard some woman who was probably younger than me, and dressed for a New Years Eve party, say it was one of the best parties she had been to. HUH?!

WE WERE SO NOT READY TO GO HOME! It was our first New Years in Mexico...where do you go when you want to party in Todos Santos?? You go to Hotel California!

We decided on the drive back from the party to Todos Santos, that we were going to crash the fiesta at Hotel California that we had read about. We would walk in, act like we owned the place and go straight for the band and start dancing. That is exactly what we did.

By 10:45 we were at a table right in front of the band having a ball. The place was packed with people of all ages. Everyone was celebrating but the coolest thing was they had a huge fountain in the middle of a courtyard filled with ice and pink champagne! (Mirrors on the ceiling, pink champagne on ice...) At midnight, they passed around the glasses, filled ours with this fabulous drink, and dropped a net full of balloons.

It really was midnight in Baja Sur Mexico!!

That is the story of our first New Years in Mexico. It was one filled with strangers and strange occurrences but this is our home now, and our destiny. As they say, we can check out anytime we want, but we can never leave…..