On top of the rock

On top of the rock
Our Cliff

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The storm before the wind...or the storm that made the wind…Or Dora Dora Dora.

On Friday of last week, we had rain. It was amazing! A good 45 minutes of solid, warm, refreshing rain. The rain is rare right now as it is still a little early in the season. We figured it was probably the result of Hurricane Dora that was down on the west coast of the mainland.

After the rain stopped the sun came out and that night we experienced some of the most spectacular sunset colors we had seen here. The reflection of the already set sun onto the shifting clouds that were still in the sky was a photographers dream. I, not being a photographer, did my best...

Saturday, after a colorful sunrise, I drove to the airport in Cabo.
Sharon rode with me as she has a flight to the U.S. and I was going to pick up my friend Mary who was arriving from Minneapolis. (To learn about Mary read “Mexico 1982” posted July 2nd, 2010) I was excited that Mary was coming to see us! She had not been here for a year and we were VERY far from done last time. I swept, and vacuumed, and “poofed and floofed” the house. I was ready!!!!

After I picked up Mary we did the normal Costco and Wal-Mart stops, calling Maurice along the way to see if he needed anything. He appeared to be getting more stressed each time we spoke. He explained it was getting really windy and that there were lots of flies in the house. He said we should pick up some fly strips; you know those obnoxious gold colored sticky strips that you may see hanging in old restaurants or hardware stores. He said the fly spray we had was not working. The thought of hanging these ugly, gross strips in our house horrified me, but I looked for them anyway cause he sounded in such “need“. Happily, I could not find them.

Maurice called again saying he was bringing in plants because the wind was really picking up. He said a pool chair blew in the pool. He was very frantic sounding. We didn‘t really concern ourselves as there was no weather at all in Cabo. It was sunny and warm…no wind.

On his third call he said the flies were carpeting our bedroom floor. Did we get the fly strips?? How close were we to home? I told him no, we did not find them and that we would be home in about 20 minutes. We still could see or feel any wind….of course he must be exaggerating, right?

Finally, about 10 minutes away from our place we noticed the ocean was filled with white caps. The sand from the road that was under construction was blowing all around us. The truck was shaking slightly from the winds. WOW!!!

What was going on!!!

Finally, I get Mary to the gate of Arriba de la Roca. I had been so excited to show her everything. We were having grilled salmon for dinner……

But oh my!!! Opening up the iron gate was such an effort! It seemed that the winds were blowing about 100 mph!! It was insane!!! How were we going to bring the luggage and supplies up the cliff???? What was happening??

Maurice had gone on line and found out that hurricane Dora was about 200 miles directly west of us. Hurricanes are graded by their wind speeds and categorized accordingly. Dora had dipped under 74 mph so it had been downgraded to a tropical storm, he said. So it was no longer “Hurricane Dora” only “Tropical Storm Dora”. I cannot even imagine if it would have been a full-fledged hurricane! No wonder Maurice “sounded frantic”!! I would have been screaming like crazy!!!! GET HOME!!! Or…Aunty Emm…TOTO!!!!

When we finally got up on top I found our main room is open and it was filled with plants leaves, stems, and dirt that had flown in, and yes, flies. I have never in my life seen so many flies in one place. It was creepy and totally gross. They were everywhere!!! To open windows and doors meant more flies and wind. To close the windows meant being jailed in a hot room with 100’s and 100’s of flies.

Maurice had been busy!!! All the lawn furniture, umbrellas, decorative planters, was either laid down either flat or inside our house. Sadly, we lost two cushions down the cliff! There they were perched in the abyss, never to be touched again.


We got stuff put away as much as we could. Then we decided to set up lawn chairs in the doorway of our main room and watch the wind. We pushed the doors open as far as possible and we sat there drinking margaritas and trying not to freak out.
After a couple of hours we decided that Dora was not as bad as we thought it was and that we could still dance a little. The wind was not strong enough to blow us off the balcony so we danced up a storm...so to speak!!!!! By then we were drinking wine and decided there was no way I was making salmon!! The flies were crawling everywhere!! The thought was absurd!!! I threw a quick snack together, flapping my arms about me like a crazy kook, and we kept on drinking and dancing!!

I had told Maurice there was not a chance we were sleeping in our room. Thank heavens Mary’s had been totally closed up, but ours had been open in the beginning and Maurice was not exaggerating when he said the floor was a carpet of flies. So he closed it all up and sprayed a can of fly killer inside. By the time we went to bed, I vacuumed up 860 dead flies, with only 100 remaining. EEWW!!! Nevertheless, we did sleep in there. I guess by staying up until one in the morning and sampling most of the alcohol we had in our bar we were actually able to sleep.

On Sunday we all woke up to a calm, lovely day here at Arriba de la Roca. We had lost some plants, destroyed by the winds, but really we were otherwise fine. A few hours of clean-up and it was like Dora was never here. Except for our headaches, and the pictures we have of our palms laying perpendicular to their planters, our first Tropical Storm was almost like a dream.

So much for giving Mary a lovely welcome to Arriba de la Roca. So much for the poofing and floofing!!! Well, for sure, it will be a trip that none of us will forget!

P.S. Maurice actually climbed down the cliff the next day and rescued our cushions! Can you see him down there??? Seriously, I was so nervous that I thought I was going to puke just looking at him!!

Or maybe that was the cocktails form the night before!! :)

Monday, July 18, 2011


I have been hopeful the last few days that the crazy heat spell had broken. The air has actually been rather fresh, and there have been some soft clouds in the sky. Today when the pool water was so cool that we had to go into the "hot tub" to get warm, I knew I was right!

The nights are now back to a nice 70 degrees and the days are a perfect 80.

On Retro's walks on the beach he is back to careening from side to side, frantically running from the surf, up the beach, and back. All the sand crabs are back on alert, fearful of his wacky, happy flinging of their bodies from his mouth. I am sure they do not experience the same joy that he does with his "toss the sand crab as high into the air as I can" game.

At night, our ceiling fan has gone from a wobbling "high" to a gentle "low". The bed sheet no longer has to be dug out, off the floor, from the foot of the bed in the morning. It lays on us softly, all night long. (Well, except when I get a hot flash and kick that seemingly 100 pound weight off of me!!!)

We still need rain as the desert is in need of a nice bloom. It is dry and drab, compared to November through May, when the earth is still living off the few days of rain we will get in the next couple of months. For three or four months the mountains are actually green and there is grass!! It amazes me how so much life can go dormant for months as a time, and then burst forth with such vibrant colors and flowers! If you want to pick a great time to come here choose the end of November. I saw the first whale heading to the Sea of Cortez in November. No more threat of rain. The nights are geting nice and cool, the days are warm and sunny and the Baja's plant life is alive! There are even waterfalls in the mountains!

Hope to see you then.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Our Reality

Our Reality

A month ago I did a blog posting called Hotel Casting (June 7th). It was a copy of a letter that we had sent to an e-mail address submitting some info about our business in hopes to be included in a documentary on small hotels and B&B’s….whew, that was what Mrs. Schmidt would call a run-on-sentence!! Anyway, even though I submitted the e-mail every day for a month (just kidding) we never heard from them.

On July 9th, through our web site’s “Contact us” page we received a request from a different company. This time the request was to see if we may be interested in being part of a reality TV show. Here are some highlights of the e-mail.

A casting director based in Los Angeles.
We work for a production company that is currently in pre-production for a reality show that will follow the ins and outs of running a tropical resort/hotel and its employees.
The network wants to shine a spotlight on a well-run, small (preferably family owned) resort.

Maurice and I giggled and we agreed I would SKYPE her to see what the deal was. What we learned is that they were preparing a new show for “a major cable network.” They were talking to resorts and hotels throughout the world. I also found out they discovered our place on a travel web site. We had a nice conversation and I ended up telling her we may be interested so she sent me a questionnaire to be filled out. This was the next step. I was to return it with pictures of Maurice and me. Not Arriba de la Roca, as they had seen our web site, just us two.

I did as requested and then they told us the next step would be to do a video for them. The video was to highlight Maurice and me, as much as our place. They wanted to see interaction between us and they wanted to meet some of our employees. Through all this we were dealing with the casting director and his assistant. They explained to us that on Friday the 16th, they were to present to the executive producers these videos for consideration.

We had a blast putting this together. Sharon helped us with some of the filming and it was about 100 degrees the day we did it!!! They had a deadline, so we had no choice! In the end Maurice and I re-shot the beginning using a tripod. This is how the video you will see begins. This is a legit beginning, not staged. The only thing is we cut out the first 2 or 3 minutes of Maurice not being able to say where we lived!! If you want to check it out it is on youtube, under Arriba de la Roca. Here is the link. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_QKxkd9C0Lk

This is what we have been told now. First their comments were they loved the views and our place. They said that the executive producers were hurry hurry hurry...to now wait wait wait. They will not know anything for a couple of weeks and if we get antsy to feel free to contact them...or they will get back to us when they know something.

Will Maurice and I be reality TV stars??? I don’t think so, but we sure had fun doing this, and dreaming about it! We still are not sure how this would affect our business. They said if we were chosen they would be here for a month, or so. I guess we will have lots of questions if they decide to come here for a site inspection, which would be the next step in the process.

We will let you know how it goes, obviously. Maybe you can book your trip here to coincide with the taping. Interested in being a star? Then a trip to Arriba de la Roca may be in your future!

Saturday, July 9, 2011


OH MY!!! There is nothing like the Mexican sun!! It follows you around, almost laughing at the way it makes you try to hide from it!!

Maurice and I have been trying to find a cool spot for days now. I really feel sometimes like I am melting! Even the temperature in the pool is over 90 degrees!! You try to keep it hot all winter and now what do we do??!! Not enough ice cubes in the world to cool that thing off!!!At least it is still below 98.6 degrees so that is something.

Even Retro feels the heat and he is FROM here!! He has not stopped panting for four days! When we do our walk in the morning, earlier and earlier these days, he just walks along beside me...no running, no jumping, no digging up sand crabs. Today we got half way and I looked at him and said, "Retro, you wanna go on or should we go home?" Honest to God he stopped, looked at me and slowly turned around, back toward home.

This heat spell will break....we know. We lived through a couple last year, too. At least this year we have the hot tub, we call our swimming pool.

Ceiling fans on high, lots of ice water and cold cervezas, and we will get through this. I love the sun!!!

Just not this week!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


When I was younger, like in 7th grade onward, I was so embarrassed by my Mom. She was so funny, and always goofing around. My friends loved her!! I just wanted a quiet Mom, one who kind of stayed in the background, like most of my other friends Mom’s. But alas, I did not get this...I was the lucky one.

By the time I was 18 she was so much a part of my friendships that when I celebrated my 18th birthday, with my friends, in Madison Wisconsin, my Mom was invited. When the only cute, young guy at the Holiday Inn bar approached our table we were all anxious to see which one of us he would choose to dance with. Would it be me??? Or maybe Cheryl, or Debbie or Sheila...Well, we were all wrong. He chose my Mom!!!! She is always the one people gravitate to. She is happy and loves to laugh.

Being raised by her I am SO used to her sense of humor. She jokes around and plays tricks. She hides notes and leaves gifts. One year the post office was on strike so she flew to Toronto to deliver my birthday present to me in person!...AS A SURPRISE!! Anyway....

She was here last week. Every morning after coffee we would walk the beach. I would scoot ahead of her to get my long walk in with Retro, while she poked around looking for sea shells and other treasures. Whenever I came back to her she would have a pocket full of things she had found. She loved showing me.

One night she, Maurice, and I are having dinner. She exclaims!!! “Oh my!! I forgot my seahorse on the beach!!” I laugh. She says, “No really, I left it in the sand.” I do not believe her and tell her she is joking with us!. She does not let it rest and goes so far as to want Maurice to drive her down in our Kawasaki Mule to find it. He complies.

I tell them they are crazy, but if they want to go for a ride I would do dishes. Of course they come back without a seahorse.

She keeps asking, “Why don’t you believe me??” I tell her number one, because it is her!! Secondly, I say, IF she would have found a seahorse it would have been the first thing she would have showed me. She explained, with a guilty kind of sly smile, that it was dirty so she wrapped it in a piece of toilet paper. Of course she did!!…NOT!!

The next day her charade continues. She keeps talking about needing to find her seahorse. I walk around naying, like a horse, and making clippity-clop galloping sounds by slapping both hands on my thigh.

When we separate on the beach she says she is going to look for her seahorse. I laugh and head for my walk. Shock of shocks, when I come back she has not found it. What she has found, she points out, is the piece of toilet paper on the beach, surrounded by little tiny foot prints. She had figured out that a small child had found her seahorse. I have figured out she is going to keep this farce going!!!

THEN I thought, maybe she BROUGHT a seahorse with her, one that she bought in some store and is going to plant it on the beach for me to find. This is why she keeps talking about finding the seahorse. This is something she would do. But as the days pass by there is no seahorse. She keeps asking me WHY I do not believe her??? I keep answering that I have NEVER seen a seahorse on the beach EVER!! And, if she had found one that day I know she would have showed me right away!! A seahorse!! Come on! Of course she would have.

Now she is gone. Retro and I walk the beach all alone. He still runs ahead looking for her on our way back, but sadly, she is back in Wisconsin...sans seahorse.

Today Retro and I head down to Keith and Sharon’s house so he can run around for a while with their dog, Dusty. The dogs frolic on the beach. We watch and smile. It is nice. As I say it is time to head back, Keith says, “I am going to walk down to the surf and look for seahorses.” MY MOUTH DROPS OPEN!! I say, “WHAT??!!” He says, “I am going to go look for seahorses.” I ask, “Did my mother put you up to this??” Well, Keith and Sharon both look at me like I have two heads!! “Your mother??!!” “Yes,” I say. “I think she must have told you that a few days after she was gone to bring up a seahorse that you found on the beach or something like that.” Now, I am being looked at like I have three heads! I then explain the story.

Next they explain to me that their neighbors had found two seahorses on the beach the week before. They know it was an anomaly, something to do with the tides, but this is why Keith wanted to see if he could find another one.

I really doubted them. It is too bizarre. I really think they are “in on it.” I let it go…hug them good-bye, thinking of how I am going to present this development to mom…knowing they are all pulling my leg.

I walk up the beach about 300 feet and look down and what do I see. A syngnathidae, more commonly know as a SEAHORSE!!!!!! It does not have a head, it has been broken off, but there is no doubt; It is a seahorse!! OMG!! THIS IS CRAZY!! I turn around to take it back to Keith and Sharon, who are a little surprised at my find. Gees, they exclaim, we were just talking about these silly crooked little guys!!!

I can’t believe I found a seahorse!!!

I am sorry I doubted you, Mom. I am sorry I “nayed” around the house for three days making clippity-clop sounds on my thighs. I am sorry I laughed at you. I am sorry I did not help you look for your elusive seahorse. One thing I am NOT sorry about..is that you are my Mom.