Feliz Año Nuevo 2013 de Sayulita

Looks like I have some tracks to make. A full + month has passed since my last post.  Here goes…some of this I pulled from my journal and the rest right out of my…well you can fill in the gap.

On December 21, we celebrated the end of the world with our new Sayulita friends, Shana, Tom, Katie, and Brad.  Together, we brought in the new Apocalyptic order, powered by my husband’s oh-so-awesome, kick-ass salsa and guacamole and the booze leftovers from friends visiting the previous week (thanks Kate, Jim, Cheyenne and Loren).Our landlord was out of town as well for a few days, and we found ourselves helping to care for her pooches, Crissy and Tlaloc, for a couple days.  They’re total sweethearts with me and Scott now.

Kenda, Crissy and Tlaloc with Stella peering through the gate

A critter shat on my head.   I hope it was a bird because that’s good luck. It hit me squarely on the top of my head making for extensive coverage.  Given that the water pressure at our place is equal in volume and force to grasshopper pee, and that I had washed my hair earlier in the day (a now twice a week occurrence at best), the notion of washing my hair again was as fleeting as a Mexican lizard darting from the playful paws of the local kitty.  I awoke the next morning to encrusted hair.

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On Christmas night after a muy delicious dinner (served by a very confident and adorable 12-year old waitress who doubled as the bartender) at Aaliyeh’s in which I had the most excellent veggie fajitas in my life (can you say perfectly sizzled?!), we found ourselves beneath a palm tree at the plaza listening to Funky Cold Medina while waiting for the Christmas pageant/play.

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Yes, I did say we were listening to Funky Cold Medina.  That wasn’t the only 80’s blowback being played on the loudspeaker down at the plaza.  It was like a techno flashback and a very quirky selection of music for this, one of the holiest days of year, for Christians.

You know what I’m sayin?
I got every dog in my neighborhood breakin down my door
I got Spuds McKenzie
Alex from Stroh’s
They won’t leave my dog alone with that Medina, pal

There was a guy not three feet from me selling various forms of paraphernalia.  I suppose even the holiest need to take the edge off now and then.

Speaking of water pressure.  I really never thought about how much I appreciate it.  But now, I do, and full-heartedly.  I mean, literally, cupcakes get more sprinkles than we do when showering.  The desert in drought is wetter than we are when trying to rinse sand off our skin after a morning of bodysurfing (well, attempted bodysurfing for me).  Case in point.  While originally jotting down these thoughts, I was babysitting the washer, and there was about a cup of water every five minutes spilling into the basin.  At that rate, I had the clothes washed in eight hours.

Add to it, we had no hot water for a couple of weeks.  So not only did we have minimal water pressure, but the water that managed to trickle out was cold.  We tracked down the Soni gas guy (he drives around town with a loud speaker, SO-NIIII) because we went for a day or so without any gas, thus no hot water and no stove.  For two tanks he charged 730 pesos (about $57.00 US dollars).  We’re unclear why we still didn’t have hot water for a couple weeks, but no matter.  We were simply elated the day it returned.  Even on a very hot day, I don’t like cold showers.  I’m sure my 2-minute showers had a positive and unintended conservation consequence.  Since then, our landlord gave us a new shower head so we now have pressure and hot water.  Hooray!

Stella chillin'

Stella is a master at chilling out

During the water crisis, we found Nena, the laundry woman in town.  For $4.70 US we were able to get 4 kilos of clothes washed, dried, and neatly folded.  Spoiled, we now have our clothes washed by her every week.  Having someone else “do” our clothes feels like an outrageous luxury, and each week I feel this odd sense of guilt-ridden gratitude for that pleasure.  Nena is awesome, too.  She doesn’t enable us to speak English, so I get to practice Spanish with her.

WHY do bees like hanging around me?  Bees are like the dogs of the insect world.  They’re so clingy.  And not nearly as cuddly.

OKAY OKAY you win.  I was just chased off my chair by something that is about 1/100000th my size.  Stingers rule man.

Do you think gecko poop on my toothbrush is a bad thing?

The other day I was pulling a shirt off a hook (Scott was just moments earlier expressing a grievance about how I have four of the five hooks for my stuff) and a gecko ran out of it, up the wall, and then fell backwards into the other clothes hanging there.  Eventually we got him out of my shorts and he scurried back up the wall.

Iguana

Iguana – photo taken with the help of Tom Woodcock (in other words, I needed a tall person)

It’s Iguana mating season here in Sayulita. These ancient, dinosaurian-like relics, drunk on palm leaves and other greens are dropping out of the trees – literally.  Assuming they don’t hit concrete, they just shake themselves off and make the long, laborious, trek back up the trunk to their favorite branch. The young couple who own the Stand Up Paddle Board shop with the Iguana Garden Bar in the back (also our neighbors here on Gringo Hill), Leyla and Matt, found a baby iguana on their patio.  We happened upon them while walking down the hill, and the vibrant green little one was playing dead. Only about 6 inches long, they nestled him into some fabric and were taking him to the garden behind the shop.  They later reported that the moment they placed him in the garden he took off, likely joining his brethren in the trees.

Today is January 14 already.  So much time has passed since my last post and since I’ve written the above thoughts.    I mean, goodness, it’s 2013!  Scott and I enjoyed a lovely dinner at the Tropical House with Shana and Tom.  Michele, the chef, made the most scrumptious lentil dish for me.  Heavenly.  It had been so long since I’ve enjoyed the earthy taste of lentils – especially those adorned with a potpourri of flavors prepared with the expertise of Chef Michele yet born of the essence of Mexico.

New Year’s Eve night after dinner and while walking home, Scott and I made a game time decision to stay up until Midnight down at the beach. I know, we’re crazy.  Getting caught up in the flurry of activity, we couldn’t see ourselves hunkering down at the Casa and missing out on anything.  Bon fires sprung up all along the coast from south to north of town.  People gathered, singing, dancing, playing music, eating, drinking.  We saw dozens and dozens of lanterns light the night sky with their mystical brilliance wafting up to the clouds.  The fact that the lanterns were biodegradable gives me an even better appreciation for their beauty, which really was striking.

Then at midnight, fireworks galore! Facing the ocean, we stood beneath fireworks.  Flickers of hot sparkles falling all around us.  I was so in awe of this moment that I didn’t even care if I got burned, which I didn’t.  It was a stunning once-in a lifetime-kind of spectacle.  The enthrallment and delight we felt were justifiably offset by the ultra pollution donation to the ocean that night.

One of my New Year’s intentions is to see the beauty in everything (for some reason, I see litter first) and to document each day one thing that I find beautiful.  This is a totally easy exercise here!  Beauty abounds.

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January 1.  It rained.  This was unseasonable and curious.  Rain was coming into our home from the wall-less wall and the part of the ceiling that’s missing.  The only issue was avoiding a slip n’slide on the way to the bathroom. We maximized on the gray, chilly day by bundling up on the sofa and watching movies.

Raining inside our casa

Raining inside our casa

Bonnie, Shana, and Stella

Bonnie, Shana, and Stell

January 10 we discovered a new beach with the guidance of Tom and Shana. Stunning.  Clean.  Essentially empty.  It’s called Pascuaro, and we had to walk (maybe 1.5 miles) on a simple trail at the edge of the jungle.  I attempted bodysurfing for about five minutes before realizing the waves too big and sets too frequent.  Scott kept telling me to be like seaweed.  I tried the seaweed thing, but after losing orientation during the second tossing not knowing which way was up and which way was dead at the bottom of the sea, I decided it was best to be like a human out of the water.

The six of us (including Bonnie, mother of Shana, and Stella) then went to Carrecitos Beach.  This one, also lovely, but showed human activity in the form of litter (nothing like what we see at the beach in town).  The litter here is disconcerting.  I make an effort to pick up at least one thing each time I go out.  It’s overwhelming to think about collecting it all, so just one thing each time feels workable and like I’m contributing.  Is there any place on earth that is litter-free?  Any place where people care SO much that they band together to keep it beautiful?  I’d like to know.  Santa Cruz locals work to keep their beaches clean, but the visitors haven’t learned to pack their trash.  Does anyone else follow the “take with you everything you brought and leave only a footprint” guideline?

I look forward to revisiting the luscious black sand of Pascuaro.  Pristine.  Inviting.  Clean.

Today I cut my toenails in the dining area, which is really just the outside with a table and chairs.  I was sitting on the ledge, so all clippings went to the foliage below.  Kinda like toenail compost.

View of our dining room from outside

View of our dining room from outside

Recently I hung out three times in one week with friends during the day (one of my New Year’s Intentions is to experience downtime in the absence of tasks and the presence of others) – hiking to the beach and then twice at Sandritas for her awesome smoothies.  Peanut butter, banana, chocolate and soy milk?  Seriously.  It was obscene.  The second time I had a beverage offering greater health benefits – pineapple, spirulina, ginger, coconut.  Add to it, I hung out with Scott Saturday night watching football at the Iguana Gardens experiencing the gustatory delight also known as Tamarindo and Piquante Margaritas hand-crafted by a local guy, Christian, one of the most awesome bartenders in North America.

Sandritas

Sandritas

Down by the plaza

Down by the plaza

These lounging luxuries do not come without a set of gold-embossed guilt.  It’s been so long since I’ve afforded myself the joys of hanging out.  These episodic guilty pleasures seem better designed for a young adult still in college or a retiree rather than a 46 year old woman who “should” be doing something more productive.  I brainwashed myself so horrifically that chilling out seems like something better geared to the young or old, not the middle-aged.  Things are slowly changing.  I’ve had a few days in which I was quite unproductive – to  the point where I coaxed myself to indulge in activities that I really love doing!  I had full blocks of time in which I just sat and did, well, nothing.  It didn’t feel totally wrong.  It didn’t feel at all normal either.  It’s as if I’m becoming anti-societal norms to the point of creating a double standard for myself.  I’m not sure I know what that means, but it feels right to write it.

Avenida Revolucion

Avenida Revolucion

We’ve had a few days of cooler temps – 66 degrees. I was freezing!  How’s that for acclimation?

Today after making toast for my PB sandwich, I warmed my hands in the only real heat-producing appliance in the house, the toaster oven.  It offered a temporary reprieve.  Cooler temps = need to wear more clothes.  Bundling up offers more coverage/defenses against mosquitoes.

Definitely one of the benefits and the main reason this cooler weather is absolutely tolerable- the mosquitoes dislike it more than I do.  I went for three whole days only being attacked twice.  It’s so cold here, they fly with a lethargic drunkenness.  Picture an old western, and the guy stumbles out of the saloon trying to find his way back to the hotel, zigzagging along the dusty road.   And this brings me to what I hope will be the last dedication to bugs that I make in a blog post.

The Bugs of Casa dos Perros/Los insectos de la Casa dos perros

I call this one: Pretty Green Beetle on my Glass -Puesto del Sol Número Ocho

I call this one: Pretty Green Beetle on my Glass -Puesto del Sol Número Ocho

I experienced a grave decline in my intent to cause no harm to anyone – human and nonhuman alike.  My once compassionate embrace for all living beings is no longer extended to anything in the Culicidaefamily. I have become the mosquito slayer.  Having tried about a dozen different remedies ranging from dietary changes, oils, sprays, incense, candles and combinations of all the above, I have failed at repelling these tenacious attackers.  I could have repellent from head to toe, and my entire body covered in clothing albeit one sliver of flesh showing between my pants and my socks, and they will find that very spot.  And outside of dousing my body in DDT, they have given me no alternative other than to hunt or be hunted.  I no longer wait for those little bastards to attack me.  I actively search for them now.  I’m onto their menacing, surreptitious behaviors.  I know where they hide (it’s usually just beneath the kitchen counter where I write).  They think they can hide in plain site, but I see them now especially when they fly in front of something white.  And while they are erratic fliers, they are not at all fast this time of year.

Sometimes I can capture them single-handedly though find that the two-handed approach reaps higher results.  In desperation, I’ve used anything I can get my hands on to swat, slap, or beat them.  Items ranging from pillows, brooms, socks, and even the occasional piece of furniture. At night, I hear geckos chirping and chuckling and I rally their efforts to help me combat the enemy.  Cheering them on, I yelp, go out there my sticky-footed friends.  Feast yourselves on these ravenous creatures, but try not to enjoy too much their blood, for it is also my blood.

For the first time, I saw one of those Asian Tiger mosquitos. Oy. Those guys are nasty and carry a slew of diseases.  And their known for being “aggressive daytime biters”.  I have bite-ridden ankles to substantiate that claim.

I’m writing this, because I want the word out on the street to be that I, too, can be stealthy. And while I am not designed to be a blood-sucker or even a mosquito murderer for that matter, I can plan and prepare and battle these winged welt-makers. I shall overcome.

In an effort to justify my new, criminal behaviors, I researched the benefit and need for mosquitoes. I thought the eradication of mosquitoes could be a welcomed thing on this earth, but turns out they may actually play a semi-necessary role in the ecosystem in certain corners of the world.  Some fish would have to completely change their diets in the absence of mosquito larvae and could become extinct in the process of attempting that evolution.  What’s a few fish?  I can’t believe I just wrote that. Except that lizards and frogs like the little buggers too.

There is some contradicting information online about mosquitoes.  Some suggest our earth would recover quickly from their extinction and others say it could have a domino effect on other species.  There appears to be more supporting evidence for the latter school of thought.

Not to mention that mosquitoes breed all kinds of nasty pathogenic microbes spreading from one human to the next.   Illnesses ranging from malaria to West Nile to dengue (here in Mexico).  Granted, Dengue Fever is an amateur disease compared to malaria, so I’m grateful that’s the worst of it here. At least I thought so, before I saw the Asian Tiger mosquito.  I may stand or scratch corrected.

The Furry Black Toe Eater (yes, it is as big as it looks)

The Furry Black Toe Eater (yes, it is as big as it looks)

And I’m totally against wide-spread spraying despite the threat of blood-born illnesses.  It wreaks havoc on our bodies and dramatically changes the ecosystem with all kinds of studies showing that birds lay less eggs, death of various plants, toxins in food, mutant ninjas and the such.  Speaking of plants, contrary to an original belief, mosquitoes are pollinators for thousands of plant species.  I believe, though, that bees and butterflies would do a fine job in their absence.

World's angriest bug by Tom Woodcock

World’s angriest bug by Tom Woodcock

While humans are out there destroying things we actually need on this planet – coral, important insects, food crops, various fish species, marine mammals, land animals, etc, we are unable to eliminate the pesky mosquito who has minor redeeming qualities.

And then there are ants.  I’m pleased to announce that the fast, little ants barely bother me anymore.  I still find them on me and my food and my things, but somehow I’ve forced myself to adapt.  And with this adjustment, the universe has graciously offered me another test.  Last night as we were closing up shop and preparing to head off to bed, I noticed a Large (capital L) ant carrying a monumental  (comparatively speaking) flower petal across the floor.  Remembering that the OUTSIDE is INSIDE our casa.

Ants must be the most industrious creatures ever.  Nearly 11:00 PM and still working – hard!  My awe turned to a squeamish fascination when my eyes focused on not just one ant but hundreds scurrying around the floor to find their own flower petal or other such plant debris.  Big ants.  An army of big ants.  I’d guesstimate their length was equal to my thumbnail.  How did they find it so quickly?  Only hours earlier, the floor was perfectly clean (I actually mopped it).  The plant debris (which falls regularly from the upstairs where there’s a beautiful vine of morning glories, but remember – no ceiling) had barely settled and the ants discovered it and got to work.  Scott gently swept most of them along with their flower petals outside.  This was our version of a relocation program.  I wondered if they would’ve been gone by morning anyway, but I was relieved to not have to find out.  Now every night we have to be diligent about sweeping the purple flowers as not to attract a new army of ants.

Why would someone use a leaf blower on a dirt street?  This may not seem at all bothersome to you, but our front door is really just a gate.  People stop by all the time peering in and asking us questions. Yes, this is annoying.  But with a blower, that’s a completely new level of obnoxious.  Picture a colossal cloud of dried horse-crap particles, street dirt, and dust blowing right into our home.  I ran out there to get him (a neighbor’s gardener) to stop before he caused any more indoor dirt damage.  Coughing, hacking, and sputtering very poor Spanish, he understood what I was telling him, or rather, he understood what I was showing him (body language versus poor Spanish, you be the judge).

The last bug I’m going to write about today is the one I “caught” but not in the capturedsense but more in the “hosted” sense.  No, not Montezuma’s revenge.  This was an actual flu thingy.  Scott and I have bragged many a time to one another about how we managed to get through the first couple of months in Mexico with nary a sneeze.  The humble Gods and Goddess made things right for us.  Someone somewhere gave me a gift that kept giving for several days.  Fortunately, Scott and his immune system of steel had a touch of this thing for about 2 days but with no other symptoms like I had – fever, chills, interminable fatigue.

Mercado del Pueblo Sayulita

Mercado del Pueblo todos los viernes

Now, today is January 23.  I can attest to three full days of feeling good again.  Still, I say this with hesitation as the past has proven that I can get body slammed by these particular microbes in a matter of hours.  Fortunately, one of the many things I love about Sayulita includes folks who are dedicated to natural healing.  I went to the farmer’s market and got myself a couple of shots of Noni (plant-based medicine), turmeric tea, and Diatomacious Earth (just in case I’m dealing with parasites).  I actually enjoy dry toast, so eating was not a problem.   Fortunately, I was feeling very good on Jan 21st and was able to help Scott celebrate his birthday.  We went to a lovely place called Haixa Day Resort where for only 200 pesos each ($16.00) we totally pampered ourselves enjoying a beautiful pool, grounds, food, drink, and one another.

Haixa Day Spa

Haixa Day Spa

Fun News/Divertida Noticias

I’m officially a cast member of the Sayulita Vagina Monologues.   I have the privilege of working with an awesome group of women and an uber cool Director (our token male).   The proceeds benefit local women who have been victims of domestic violence.  February 14 is VDay, and I invite everyone to join the 1 Billion Rising.

The Vagina Monologues Cast

The Vagina Monologues Cast

We see whales 2 out of 3 times we go to the beach.  Heart-lifting.  Soon we’re taking an actual boat trip out with a local guy, Pato, to see whales.  Can hardly wait.

Somehow someway I will work to avoid these long posts in the future.  I know how boring they can be.  I’m thinking more photos less words.  Sound good?  In the meantime, enjoy some of the colorful images I took on the beach – vendors, adorable child, brilliant colors, etc.

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If you’d like to see our annual eco-holiday message, watch the video and check out some of the amazing places we visited in 2012!

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“It is my intention to present – through the medium of photography – intuitive observations of the natural world which may have meaning to the spectators.”
~Ansel Adams

“Scott and I bid you a 2013 filled with adventure – the kind of adventure that fills your heart, expands your mind, and brings peace to your soul.”
~ks pepper

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*Photos and stuff*  Please contact me for permission to use images and text for commercial or private use.

This is Mexico Post #3, to see the other Mexico posts, click click click

Mexico Post #1, Me and My Trimalleolar go to Mexico with my Husband and our Pooch
Mexico Post #2, Dos Americanos y Su Perro en Mexico
Mexico Post #3, Feliz Ano Nuevo 2013
Mexico Post #4, Ballenas, Ballenas Hermosas
Mexico Post #5, Una Visita Morelia
Mexico Post #6, Mariposas Monarcas!
Mexico Post #7, Los Pueblos de Patzcuaro, Paracho, y Tzintzuntzan
Mexico Post #8, La pintoresca ciudad de San Miguel de Allende
Mexico Post #9, Guanajuato, Guanajuato
Mexico Post #10, Back to Sayulita and Jaime Visits!
Mexico Post #11, Semana Santa y Semana Pasqua
Mexico Post #12, Semana de Animales
Mexico Post #13, Semana de Amigos y Amigas
Mexico Post #14, Frida y Diego
Mexico Post #15, Adiós Sayulita
Mexico Post #16, Living and Grinning in San Miguel de Allende
Mexico Post #17, Puddle Jumping in San Miguel de Allende
Mexico Post #18, Guanajuato International Film Festival
Mexico Post #19, Ciudad de Mexico/Mexico City: Colonia Condesa, Colonia Coyoacán, y La Casa Azul
Mexico Post #20, Ciudad de Mexico/Mexico City: Chapultapec y Centro Historico
Mexico Post #21, Ciudad de Mexico/Mexico City: Museo Nacional de Antropologia y Templo Mayor
Mexico Post #22, Living the Dream in San Miguel de Allende
Mexico Post #23,  Viva la Independencia! 
Mexico Post #24,  Adios San Miguel
Mexico Post #25,  Valle de Bravo y Teploztlán
Mexico Post #26,  Ciudad de Oaxaca
Mexico Post #27,  50 Shades of Green: On the road from Oaxaca to Chiapas
Mexico Post #28,  San Cristóbal de las Casas
Mexico Post #29,  Almost Halloween Ed.: Dark Mountains,  Foggy Cliffs, Witches, Jungles & Shamans
Mexico Post #30, Veracruz, Tampico y Estados Unidos