On top of the rock

On top of the rock
Our Cliff

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Phil Collins

The finishing on the project is certainly much slower than the building of the project was. The details right now mostly involve stone work for the terracing. They are building steps as well, which are very time consuming. We are still “making it up” as we go along which continues to shock and surprise most people. It seems to be working well, though. Arriba de la Roca is going to be awesome! Yesterday we had a couple of groups visit us and people seem to agree that we are building a very special place. We even had some excitement as one of our friend’s SUV slid off our road. Luckily Maurice, and his truck, were on top so he could approach the SUV from above, connect a chain and pull him up before he slid entirely off the side of the road!! More great pictures for our albumn!!

BUT...this was in no way as exciting as what happened to us at the Sand Bar last night...well really not “to us” but to everyone who was there.

First I have to tell you that on most “pizza nights” there are 5 to 10 local police that come in for pizza. They are friendly, nice guys, and they come, eat, have a soda or two and head out. We all smile, say hello, and borrow the hot pepper flakes from each other while they are there. Last night, about 5:30, we saw a sand storm of dust coming from in front of the open walled Sand Bar. In rushed about 20 Federales, with an equal number of them outside. They were all carrying machine guns and some had masks on their faces, to protect their identity we were told.

What happened was about 10 vehicles, some trucks, some cars, some SUV’s, all Federales, pulled in and blocked all the cars from leaving. Then some of the guys swarmed in and blocked off all the exits and starting searching . They searched the bathrooms, the garbage, people’s backpacks, purses, the coolers, liquor cupboards, the outside areas; even some of the patrons were patted down and searched. I stayed inside, with my mouth hanging open and Maurice went out to allow them to search our truck. (Not like we had a choice) Unfortunately for them we had about 5 large bags of garbage in the bed of the truck that they chose to go through. They searched our glove compartment, under and inside the seats...everywhere. Maurice had a big knife which they did not even bat an eyelash about…we heard they were looking for drugs.

Since we were totally innocent I loved it! I felt like we were in a movie. Maurice, too, thought it was a cool experience, especially since one of the policemen, while he was searching the truck, called him over and asked if he was carrying a gun. We felt no fear, since we had no reason to, but I can tell you there were a few guys there that certainly would not have agreed with us.

The whole raid took about 20 to 30 minutes, While some of the Federale’s job was to search, the others - the masked men, stood on the perimeters, machine guns in hand, on guard, in case the big Drug Don was there, or some such thing. Crazy! We are in the Baja!! It is like adult Disneyland here. It is paradise! No crime, all fun, no drama, just a perfect way of life. That is why this whole thing seemed so surreal.

After they were done they all piled into their vehicles and stormed off, in a cloud of dust, to head to the next bar to raid.

I looked around at all the “regular” patrons in the bar and thought of Phil Collins.

I guess it’s just another day, another day for you and me in paradise....

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


One of the things I am going to pride myself in will be cooking for our guests. I know it will be just breakfast, hors’ de voures and a few dinners thrown in, but I have to learn to cook “Mexican” if I want to provide guests with a proper Mexican experience. I mean how can you serve breakfast without offering Hueves Rancheros??....and how can you offer Hueves Rancheros without knowing how to make tortillas from scratch!!

Well today Rosa, a woman who on occasion helps Keith and Sharon, taught us all how to make tortillas! These were flour, not corn, which are our favorite. For all of you wanting to try this at home you need an apron, a kilo of Surena, 250 grams of Inca, 2 tbls of salt, very hot water and of course the tortilla press and the flat iron skillet to cook them on.

First you mix all the ingredients together, without the water, then you slowly add the water constantly kneading with your hands until you can form dough spheres that you pop off into one inch balls. You then flatten these balls, put them in a bowl and cover them for about 10 minutes, or more. When they are ready you squish them between two pieces of plastic wrap, inside the tortilla press. Then you throw this “disc” back and forth between your palms until it is thin, kind of like you see people do with pizza dough. At this time it is placed on an extremely hot iron skillet and “fried” on one side, turned over by hand (which burns like h*ll) and then you flattened out by pressing a cloth on top. You have to turn it a couple of times, flattening it with the cloth. If you don’t bubbles form and the tortilla swells.

We made about 30 of them and it was so fun!!!....and they were yummy! Next week she is teaching us how to make frijoles. When she asked what type of frijoles I said the kind that look like baby poo. She got a smile out of that...she then used the Spanish word that meant pureed...and I said yes.

Arriba de la Roca....experience the magic of home made tortillas!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Milestone

Today our temporary web site was posted. YEEHA!!! Please visit us at www.arribadelaroca.com. You can also become a fan of ours on Facebook; the link is on our web site. Our friends Keith and Sharon have been unbelievable with their help and expertise in getting this link up. Along with Cheryl, who is their designer, they have created a classy, romantic preliminary site which perfectly reflects what we are doing on “top of the rock”. I can not imagine accomplishing any of this without them. Keith even came up with the line, “Experience the Magic.” We love them for so many reasons...here is just one more. And tonight they are making us tacos. What more could you ask for in a friendship??!!

We have been so busy. Between Maurice giving salsa lessons and us eating goat and listening to Mexican ballads at Javelin’s house, our plate has been rather full!

Ahhh, I have your attention...

A couple of Saturdays past Maurice was the famous Latin Dance Instructor at a special evening in Pescadero. About 40 or 50 people showed up for dinner, drinks and dancing. It was amazing to see him teach such a large group, while taking turns dancing with the single ladies. He really enjoyed it, as did I. Some of our friends came and Mary and Tom were here so it was a blast.

Then last weekend we were invited, along with Keith, to go to Javelin’s house. Javelin in Maurice’s fishing buddy and has a blanket factory about 5 minutes from us.. He told Maurice that his wife was cooking “for his friends” and we were to be there at 3. Well “cook” is an understatement. From 3pm until we left about 8, there must have been at least 30 people who came and ate rice, beans, a fabulous green salsa and BBQ goat. The goat was in little tin foil packets. Each person was given 2, of course more were offered. She must have spent hours wrapping this cooked goat in these pouches. I do have to say that I did not know it was goat, or I truly do not think I would have eaten it. Goat? How many times have you eaten goat?? It was really really good! Really. Thank heavens for my ignorance. Then as the day went on one of the guys, who is in a musical group, brought out his accordion, and another his guitar and they sang to us.
It was like a dream. All the other women were inside but I, of course, was out with the men, drinking beer and listening to the songs they chose to play for us. Totally cool.

Now you understand why I have been so slow in my postings? Our social like is so busy here!! :)

Here are some photos from today.
There are more on the Arriba de la Roca Facebook page as well. The detailed work takes so long and things are looking great.
They start painting next week. We still do not have all the colors chosen but we did decide on the outside color. This will be the largest area to finish...plus they have to seal everything first. We will be down to about 10 workers from now on, with another 3 or 4 painters and the electrician. The other “laborers” will move to another job site since we are into the finishing stuff now. December 5th is our grand opening. 4 months to finish our dream.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quick update

Just want to post some pictures so here is a quick visual update. Even though they are done with the major construction they are busier then ever! The terracing is so complicated. Here is a picture of what it should look like when they are done.
Of course it will not be white, but flagstone, but it gives you an idea. Now here are pictures of them figuring out how to pull this all off. There are so many layers and I am trying to avoid having “walls” so to speak, so it is an ever changing process. Maurice and Retro are standing on the level where the pool deck will be. The amount of fill they have to bring in to create the terracing is incredible.
Right now we have had over 20 truck loads of dirt fill, and we are far from done.

Most of the pictures are rather self explanatory.

While some are working on the terracing others are doing work inside the buildings Here Jose is putting the flagstone walls up around the sunken flagstone bathtub in Laguna, casita number 2.
We are still trying to decide on wall colors, inside and out, and have 10,570 other decisions still to make!! We are finalizing our web site and we should have our temporary link up in a few days and I will post the address. We are moving right along!! SO EXCITING!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

From Mary

Here are a couple of pictures from Tom and Mary's way-to-short visit....

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Serenade

It has been way over a week since I have posted on my blog. Of course we were busy enjoying every possible minute with Mary and Tom but they left on Monday....today is Saturday. The day after they left, my new friend Sharon and I fly to Guadalajara. My sister Barbara and I had gone in April to shop for things for Arriba de la Roca. It was a great trip, albeit rather exploratory. At that time we scoped out places, got prices, asked questions, drank margaritas, swam, but never did order any of the things we chose during the trip. When you do buy items here there are many shipping companies that will deliver them to your home. Since the main purpose of our trip that time was to buy doors...and we never did...I ended up vacillating the whole rest of the time and could not make any decisions.

This trip was incredibly efficient because of our original trip 3 months ago. Sharon and I are flying back today after purchasing: A 4 poster, antique bed for la Pacifica; 23 pieces of Equi Pali furniture that is being specially made to my specific order. Equi Pali is very popular in Mexico. Keith and Sharon call it “pig furniture” since it is wood framed and covered with leather. Sharon also ordered numerous pieces of this “pig furniture”. I also ordered 13 sconces for the outdoor lights and another 5 large hangings iron lights and some mirrors and smaller wall lights. We got some huge pots, mostly decorative. I am having made, from my designs, a couple of headboards, lamps, tables and hand blown glass shades, all from a metal store in Tonola, a town inside Guadalajara. A stained glass maker is creating 4 windows for me, two for la Pacifica and two for la Laguna. And finally, I am having a red leather sofa and two oversized arm chairs made to sit on either side of the antique wood and stone coffee table we purchased. We did all this in three days….as well as see much of the city in our rental car.

Sharon and I both love Guadalajara. It is a large city seeped in culture and heritage. The buildings in the Centro area are breathtaking and well aged. We are staying in Tlaquepaque, inside Guadalajara, in the same place Barbara and I stayed in. This part of the city in my favorite. It is lovely and has so much to offer. There are areas where no cars are allowed and these streets are lined with statues and sculptures.

The last couple of days we had been keeping our eyes open for an Italian restaurant here. We have had no luck finding one. Then yesterday, when I was searching the net for something else, I found “must eat” places here, and one was Italian. We went last night.

The place is called Tlaque Pasta..sounds rather touristy to have Tlaque Pasta in Tlaquepaque, right?? It turned out to be in a lovely boutique hotel and the food was great!! Not-Maurice-the-Italian great, but great! We had a leisurely 4 course dinner, in a romantic, brick and candle lite restaurant.

We arrived there before 6 o’clock. We ordered each course after finishing the one before. We told the waiter we were in no hurry and wanted to relish our last night in town. Glass of wine, César salad. Glass of wine, pumpkin flower soup (split into two bowls for us) Bottle of water, a shared shrimp pizza. Glass of wine and shared chicken marsala. Then we shared chocolate cake and ice cream. It was leisurely until we remembered we h ad to pick up a piece of stained glass Sharon had made for her and the guy closed at 8. It was 5 to 8! We ran, paid the bill, and gobbled down the cake! I am sure the waiter thought we were crazy.

We got the stained glass, after we drove a few blocks over ,and Sharon said how sad it was we had to end our wonderful evening like this since we were enjoying it so much….so of course we went back. Had to again find a place to park (not easy) and our table was cleared, but still waiting for us. We took up our chairs and the other two previously occupied tables shot us a glance or two.

We ordered a glass of wine. There was a man over in the corner playing guitar. He must have started around 7:30 but we were so busy talking we really did not pay much attention to him, except to appreciate the music in the background. When we came back he had all our attention.

He was dressed in black pants, a black crew-necked tee shirt, a black suit jacket, black shoes, salt and pepper hair, a subtle goatee....he was a beautiful man with a drop dead gorgeous smile! He was playing over in the corner of the room so people in the bar, as well as the three tables in the dining room, could hear him. I swear if I would not be seeing him I would have thought we were listening to a CD. His voice was sensual, and pure. His guitar playing was perfect. We were in awe. We sat and watched him play while another table of 4 sang along with him. Now, they were not loud, but certainly loud enough to be heard. It reminded me of going to a concert to hear Barbra Streisand sing and having the women behind you joining her with their own version of “People.” Irritating! Luckily they left about 8:30. There were a couple of others in the bar that also left 20 minutes or so after this. Sharon, in a soft voice says, “ Sin Te.” I say, “huh??” She is trying to request a song. I told her if I can not hear her, he sure can’t. She says it again, a little louder and he comes over to us. When she repeats the song request, he smiles, moves that bar thing on the top of his guitar to change the key, and starts singing this song just to us. OMG!! It was glorious. Slow, haunting and lovely. Remember, we are in Mexico. Everything here is in Spanish. Here he is, 5 feet from us, singing only to us. Really, it was to her, but I was close enough I was pretending it was to me, too.

So there he stands, serenading us, song after song for the next 45 minutes. It was the most memorable evening you can imagine. The sad part, we decided, was of course, that our husbands were not there as it was so romantic! Other than that is was perfect. When we got our check, after he was done singing, Sharon asked the waiter what the singer’s name was...it is Francesco. Ahhhh Francesco, pronounced...FranSEEEEEEsco...

FranSEEEEEEsco asked if we would be back the next night. No, we are flying out. I am sure he was not as sad as we were!!! I would have liked to take him home to do a nightly serenade but I do not think Maurice would understand. A 50-year old Mexican guitar player walking off the plane with us…no, probably would not make much sense...that is unless he serenaded you, in Spanish, looking into your eyes for 45 minutes....after you have had 4 glasses of wine. Then it made perfect sense.

Next time we come, and there will be a next time...Sharon and I travel fabulously together, which is a true sign of compatibility...we will stay at this boutique hotel.

Thank you FranSEEEEEsco for making our last night in Guadalajara absolutely perfect.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Mexico 1982

This week has been great!! Monday we hung around and enjoyed the silence of a day without workers. Tuesday we went to Cabo and picked out most of our flooring.

We choose a rough chipped-edged egg shelled colored travertine for the main room and bath. For our bedroom I want black stone behind our bed so we found wonderful chocolate colored stone for the floor, with black, and specks of rust in it. We ordered the “negra” flagstone for la Laguna’s floor and found chocolate tumbled marble for la Pacifica. Yesterday the company came to do all the measuring so they can give us a quote. Also yesterday Saul came to measure all the closet spaces so he can quote us on built in closets. His company is already doing our doors, well at least the wood ones. The large ones with glass will be aluminum, with a faux wood finish. So we are getting things accomplished...BUT...the best thing about this week is my friend Mary, and her partner Tom flew in on Wednesday!!! They got in just in time for pizza night at The Sand Bar.

I have known Mary since 1982, and our friendship was cemented shortly after our first introduction. Mary was a travel agent and needed someone to take a “fam” trip with her. This is a trip that an agent “fam-iliarizes” themselves with an area or property so they can suggest it to their clients. This trip was to Cancun. It was a great deal for me, as these “fam” trips are cheap, so I could afford to go. Off we go….neither of us very seasoned travelers. I with my matching sets of shoes and purses and both of us with way too much luggage. After a couple of days in our touristy resort we decided to rent a car and go somewhere else. We wanted to see Mexico!! If anyone has been to Cancun you know it is rather “Americanized”. Well 30 years ago it was being newly developed, and still very small, but we still wanted a more authentic adventure.

In our rental car we drove 8 hours to Merida, on the northern part of the Yucatán. We had a blast. We rented another hotel there...but that was not the best part of the whole thing. Our trip to Cancun was from Saturday to Saturday. As anyone who has ever been on a charter knows, you fly with the same group you came with, in a rather herd-like fashion. Well, on Friday night - the Friday before the Saturday we are to fly out of Cancun - we are still in Merida, eight hours away from the ariport. We never say anything to each other. I keep looking at the clock thinking, “if we leave now we can still make it”...but I don’t want to leave so I am hoping Mary won’t notice. When the clock struck the hour that would have made it impossible to drive back to Cancun, get all the unnecessary luggage we left in our room, check out of there and make our flight, we both looked at each other - expectantly - and started laughing and cheering and yelping! All the time we were both watching the clock, not wanting the other to notice the time. We were staying!! We sure broke all the rules, and we loved it. Mary knew that another charter would leave on Wednesday so all was good! She said we could go back on that one.


When we did get back to Cancun everyone there thought we were “gone”. I mean really gone. Most of our luggage was in the room. No one had seen us in 4 days. Our group had left, thinking we were never to be seen again. The hotel needed our room for the next group and had to clear out our things, of course never thinking we would come bounding up the steps all excited from our adventure!

Mary got in huge trouble from the travel people; the tour company and the agency she worked for. She lost her second job as a waitress since she did not show up for work. I just followed her around, expecting her to fix everything...but all this was done with a slight smile on our faces! We were friends for life and what we had done was totally cool!!!

Since then we have traveled to many places in the U.S. together and have been to Europe three times. We have traveled to the mid-east and spent three months in 1988 traveling from country to country...wherever we wanted to stay we stayed. We have experienced many lifetimes together. Thanks to Mary I have seen so much of the world!

Now she and Tom are here. I love having my wonderful friend around me!! Last night we went to a Mexican dinner with a local guitar player, at a lovely place called the Todos Santos Inn. Today we are going to go watch the fisherman come in and we will pick out our dinner from their catch. After that we will come back here and grill it on our Betty Crocker electric grill that will be connected to our generator, outside in our construction zone. We will sip fine wine, and try to talk over the scream of the noise that the generator makes. It will be perfect!