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Indian Paintbrush and Texas Blue Bonnets

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Street Scenes...

We walk nearly everywhere...  we have our favorite walks as well as the routes we take just to go to the grocery or other stores.  Since we've been here over 2 weeks now, we've noticed one sidewalk in particular....
We used to be able to walk this stretch of sidewalk side by side...
Now the vegetation has grown up so much that we walk single file....  especially in the early morning when the foliage is still wet.  When we first started RVing in Mexico several years ago, we heard the story about the RV that parked near the jungle overnight and by morning the vines had totally entwined themselves around the RV to where it couldn't get loose.  We've always laughed at some of the wild stories we've heard about Mexican travels and we still make jokes about getting totally snared by vines.  Now...  hmmmm....  maybe we better cross the street and avoid this sidewalk....

We forgot our list when we took the bus to the Mega mart yesterday, so decided to take the taxi to La Penita today...
That's the taxi in the lower left.  It cost 25 pesos per person each way, so the round trip cost us a total of $5.90 US dollars.  The taxi would hold 10 people comfortably....  there were 6 people in the very back seat, 3 in our seat, 3 in the next seat, and 2 beside the driver.  If anyone else had been at the bus stops, I'm sure we'd all have snugged up a little closer and made room.

We were told that maybe we'd rather wait and go to La Penita tomorrow because Thursday is market day and the plaza has folks come in and set up shop....  so it gets really busy.  More the reason why we went today...  and, believe me, we thought it was crowded today!

This little guy was helping Mom out...
I watched him sweeping the street out in front of the shop quite a while.  I think that's his little brother on the right...  he wasn't helping at all.

There were restaurants everywhere!  And lots of street food...
Seems like folks eat out a lot here...  but then, with such delicious food, no wonder!

We wandered in and out of lots of store....
This one reminds me of the Woolworth 5 & 10 Store that was on the main street of my hometown when I was growing up in the 1940's and 50's.  Those are Hula Hoops on the left...  our granddaughter teaches Hooping classes...  quite artistic, and about all that's the same from "the good old days" is the hoop itself.  This store had everything...  this is where we found a toilet brush as well as a potato peeler.  Yep!  A lot like Woolworths!

We walked down to the sea...
There was a large patio-type area where you could sit and watch the beach.  Lots of folks were sitting around just enjoying the scenery.  See the dark thing on top of the palapa?  (thing that looks like a lifeguard stand)...

This female Magnificent Frigatebird was perched up there...  looking over the ocean.
We've seen lots of Frigatebirds, but this is the first time I've ever seen one that had landed...  I've only seen them soaring overhead.

And...  speaking of overhead...
Looks like an Electric Lineman's nightmare!
Notice that cement electric pole.  We've watched more than one woodpecker dulling his beak while pounding away on posts like this.

And, just because I think it's pretty...  one final street scene photo...
I think these are Canna Lilies..
They were growing in front of a house we pass by...

There were lots of other photo ops today...  but they'll wait til later.

That's All For Today!









Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Tuesday... or should I say Martes... in Lo de Marcos

Today is really flying by fast...  Bill & I took the 8:00 bus (meaning...  catch it when you can... this morning it left at 7:50) down to the Mega Mart, which is just south of Bucerias... Nuevo Vallarta, to do some shopping.  We've been keeping a list of things we need that we can't find here.  (We could go up to La Penita, but neither of us are big shoppers and would just as soon do the "one stop shopping" and get it over with)...  Anyway, we bought a toilet brush, among other things...  but it didn't make it home.  Now that we think about it, we remember that the clerk couldn't find a price on it and sent someone back to check...  guess they never did return before we were done and so it's on the list for next week.  Last week it was toothpicks...  we never did figure out what happened to them...  oh well...  life's little mysteries.

Ruth commented on Bucerias..  suggested it as a place to go to the market.  Made me think about another time...
Yep!  That's me...  in the centro (town plaza) of Bucerias.  Taken February 5, 2006....  almost 10 years ago.  We were traveling in our motorhome here at that time... I think we were staying at San Blas then...  and unhitched our tow car and headed to Puerto Vallarta.  We stopped for the market in Bucerias, but...  even more important...  stopped to claim this Geocache.  It's a "virtual"...  no log to sign, but I think I had to record some dates from the plaque.  I think I still have that shirt somewhere, but... darn!  those Tevas gave out a year or so ago.  So, Ruth...  while I don't have any photos of the market, I still remember that cruise ships were docked and the place was so congested we got the heck out of there as quick as we could.

Just a few more photos for today...

The Pieman...
I can't even imagine balancing that huge tray of pastries on my head!

He walked down the beach and then back up...  of course we had to check it out..
We bought one huge pina (pineapple) empanada, which Bill & I split.

He headed off towards a close-by RV park...
And I started singing an old Nursery Rhyme...  Simple Simon (met a pieman, going to the fair etc).
Bill had no idea what I was going on about...  tell me...  do ANY of you out there remember nursery rhymes?  I can recite dozens of them...  and much (MUCH) later in life, learned that many of them had political meanings in England.  Maybe I should look up what this one was all about.


Just another unknown tree...  not big enough to be coconuts...  but...  what an interesting tree!  We may have to invest in some field guides soon.

That's All For Today!





Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Two Week Review...

We arrived here 2 weeks ago today...  rented a car to get from the airport to our bungalow in Lo de Marcos.  Kept the car 24 hours, and the day after our arrival, we drove about 20 miles (probably less) up to a larger town to go shopping.  Now we take the bus.

Our bungalow had several issues we felt needed to be addressed.  We go to our rental agent rather than the owners to resolve issues...  our landlords (owners) are great and seem to be helpful in every way they can...  but...  (always the "but")...  there's the language barrier...  as well as the difference in culture.  What we, as Americans, expect in a place we're paying $600 a month can be very different than what other cultures might expect.  We're going on what the "back and forth" between us and the rental contract was, and also what we've rented under similar circumstance in other (3rd world) countries.  

So, while there are still some issues to be resolved, both Bill & I are very happy with our bungalow...  love our little town...   all the locals that we've met as well as all the other temporary folks like us.

We frequently buy "street" food...  took home a roasted chicken for dinner last night.  We've eaten several meals in restaurants (don't know if we have time to try them all...  there are SO many here), and try to buy as much in this town as we can.  We already have a favorite veggie place (actually, it's a full-blown grocery store...  has a huge variety of stuff)...  my favorite carniceria that sells chicharrones, and a different carniceria that has nicer chicken.  The pescaderia sells fresh fish and shrimp.  We have a favorite panaderia (bakery) and go there much too often.

We've met up with folks...  Memo, whom we met at the realty office, is a walking ambassador for the town...  he takes anyone who wants to go on walks every Monday at 8:00 am.
I think there were 18 of us today...
Hey... anyone who can get us "elderly" folks to take off our shoes and wade across the river must be a great salesperson!  I'm always asking Memo questions like.... Where can I buy a hummingbird feeder?  (I'll write about that later)....  or What time is mass at St Mark's....  all kinds of questions that he always can answer.

Finally saw this Green Kingfisher today...

We've (pretty much) figured out the bus system and have made a few trips from here to the "big" stores (Mega mart or Walmart) in Nuevo Vallarta.  Bill is the money man...  I'm the one who is always asking "How much is that?" or "How much did that cost?".  

We haven't bothered to find a laundry yet.  Our bungalow comes with maid service once a week...  which we don't use.  But... we do turn in our sheets and towels once a week and ask for clean ones.  (this was a bit of a misunderstanding, but I think we have it worked out).  We both wear shirts and shorts more than one day... or more...  and I wash underwear out by hand...  hey... if Norma and I could do our laundry in a 5 gallon bucket, I can heat hot water on our stove (did I mention that the ONLY hot water from any faucet is in the shower?) and with my detergent and bottle of Chlorox...  and the clothesline and clothespins we bought...  I can keep up.

A very frayed, worn butterfly I saw today...

We've been averaging walking just over 35 miles a week...  that's around 5 miles every day...   

A street vendor selling handmade beach chairs...  I don't know what price he's asking...

All in all, I think we're doing quite well...  I know our life isn't for everyone, but...  what do you think?

That's All For Today!



Monday, December 28, 2015

Another Walk... More Photos....

Before I even start writing, I've got to show you my favorite photo of the day...
That's my daughter, Donna, with Evie, her granddaughter, my great-granddaughter.  I knit the sweater and hat for Evie's Christmas present and she's showing me that it fits.  Heather, her mom, says that she's worn it since she unwrapped it... that it's already due for a washing.  Evie's 4 years old and I'd loved to have been with them for the holidays.  So...  photos are especially nice!

We woke up to rain this morning, and the temperature was several degrees cooler.  I wore my raincoat when I walked up the street for church services, but really didn't need it then.  However, off and on, during the day, it rained...  actually sounded kind of nice on our tile roof.

We didn't go for our long walk until around 2 pm
While the main street and several side streets are cobblestone, once you leave the "city proper" (2 blocks over) there are dirt roads...  heavily potholed in places.  Look at the size of this mudhole!  I walked around it very carefully because I never did learn how to swim.

Of course we headed for the river...
These look like Weeping Willow trees....  I don't know what species they are, but they are so lovely hanging over the banks of the river.

And just across the road...
Thee horses were grazing...  with Cattle Egrets at their feet.  I haven't seen the first cow here...  maybe I'll call these Horse Egrets.

And before we'd gone any further, we saw this big guy...
The Crested Caracara
This is the national bird of Mexico (sometimes called the Mexican Eagle)...  it's much like the vultures we have back in the States...  loves carrion and the such.  We'll see him again later.

At first I thought these kids had stalled their jeep while crossing the river...
Nope...  they're just having a good time washing it.  This is a popular river crossing...   you can see that it's not very deep here.

This was our first sighting of the...
Yellow-breasted Chat
Usually, we'd hear this guy's noisy talk before seeing him, but today he was pretty quiet...  just flitting around up among the treetop.

And also our first sighting of this Northern Beardless Tyrannulet
I knew he was a flycatcher, but had to look up his long, fancy name.

It remained overcast all day...  the mountains across the way are shrouded in fog.  Even the beach had a haze over it.

We could tell something had happened since we'd been here yesterday....
This creek was several feet deeper yesterday...  you can see how much water is gone when you look at the muddy banks.  


What happened?
Well, the river water gained enough force to wash out the inlet to the sea.  The sand had filled in to where it was holding the water back.  Now that the sand is washed away, the cut is deep and wide...  and water is rushing through fast and furious.

And the sea was wild today...
A closer view of where the water pours into the sea.  Look at those waves!  I don't think there were many swimmers out there today, but there were sure a lot of folks looking at that angry sea!

We turned to walk back home, and instead of walking through town this time, we decided to walk back the way we came...  the road along the river...
I counted over a dozen Yellow-crowned Night Herons here....  probably all lulled to sleep by the sound of the waves.

And when we got back to where we'd leave the river road, we saw the Caracara again...
He had a fish on the sand (gravel?) bar and was making a meal of it.  Actually, he and a turkey vulture were both working on it.  But I think this guy had first dibs...

We saw a couple other "new" birds today...  one I'm still working on the ID... and the other, one of my old friends from the USA....
A Yellow Warbler...  can barely see the red stitching on his side.
The End

That's All For Today

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Favorites of the Day....

I take my camera along everywhere I go... even if it's just around the corner to the veggie market.  I never know when my fingers will just itch to snap a photo.  My photos are a way for me to keep track of when I've seen something; they jog my memory later (or sometimes sooner) and long after an adventure has ended (and another one started), I look back and it's almost like I'm there again.

Today was like most other days here...  we walk.  One year when we were volunteering at the Bosque Del Apache NWR in NM, I'd give 2, sometimes 3, tours a day.  Someone asked me didn't I get tired of taking folks over the same route?  The answer I'd give them was... "No, every time I drive this route I see different things... or the folks have different interests so the focus might change...  or I'll get questions that make us stay a little longer and see things a little differently than it looked an hour before."  

And I feel the same way here....  Bill & I walk the same route along the river to the sea at least once each day.  The morning walk is different than the evening walk...  If we stand still under that huge tree (that I don't know what it is), we'll see different birds.  Shadows and sunlight change perspective.  I'll try not to "talk" too much now and get on with my favorite photos of today...

Our first sighting of a Rufus-backed Thrush
Yes, it's just another variety of the Robin

Someone's Christmas "shrine" on their porch...  at a house on the next street over.

Our first sighting of an Osprey here...
He was close to the Rookery where all the herons and egrets hang out.

A Kitty sleeping on the front step of her house.
She looks just like our cat, KC, who lived to be 19 years old and loved Bill totally.

We watched a flock of Grackles taking their morning bath in the river...
This one looked like it enjoyed making the water fly!

An unidentified Hawk...
Quite a distance from us and the lighting was terrible.  Any suggestions?

Folks enjoying the beach and the water early this morning...

And folks just taking it easy under their colorful umbrellas late this afternoon.

A Trail Ride....  about a dozen or so horses and riders clip-clopping down the main street.  Looked like a family of touristas out for a good time.  Notice that the horse the little girl is riding is on a "leash".

And my very favorite photo of the day...
The horses have gone past...  and leaving behind what they do...
This dog just couldn't resist...  he'd found the Pot of Gold! he'd Won the Lottery!  He  thought he'd died and gone to Heaven!  That's a huge smile on his "lickin' his chops" face as he rolls around in his new-found treasure.  

I love the picture but have to admit I'm glad he doesn't belong to us.

That's All For Today!

Friday, December 25, 2015

Can You Handle Yet Another Walk?

I think it was Joanne asked me if we have any excursions planned.....   right now we're happy enough just getting familiar with our little town.  But...  we have 2 different couples who might come here to visit in the coming months, and we're thinking a trip on the river up near San Blas might be in our plans.  We stayed in San Blas several years ago and that boat ride was one that was unforgettable.  We'll see....

Makes me think of our RV trips of the past...  we traveled many times with our friends, Bill & Norma.  The times we grilled shrimp...  washed our clothes in a 5 gallon bucket...  set up Spanish lessons with a local....  wonderful memories.  Like many RVers, we're hoping our paths will cross again someday.

Today we took another walk through town...
As we crossed the street near the plaza, we saw yet another carniceria with a huge cauldron outside...  pork skins bubbling away.  The butcher told us they'd be ready in about 20 minutes, so we knew we'd have time to go on our walk to the river.  When we made our loop and returned an hour or so later, sure enough...  the chicharron (pork cracklings) were done and being served...  lower right.
We bought a few pieces...  hot and crispy...  and oh, so delicious!

As we walked on the path that runs along the river, we came across this crew of men working..
A Road Crew
And..  they're working the old fashion way...  with rakes and shovels!
The man at the lower right spoke enough English...  and with our poor Spanish, he and Bill carried on a bit of a conversation.  He's been planting those trees (upper right) all along both sides of this road now for a few years.  Those are the trees that will grow their own root system... fairly fast growth...  and will make nice fence posts... or, in this case, nice overhead canopy over the road.

We don't always see people while we're walking this road...  and if we do, it's most likely locals.  It's a great place to walk...  and so scenic...  we walk it often.

I saw these Spider Lilies blooming on the other side of the water...  

And Bill spied this old John Deere tractor in a field...  it's seen better days.
But I know with a few parts and a lot of labor, Bill could have it running good as new again!

The rookery was kind of quiet today...  These herons, egrets and an Anhinga (hard to make out - on the right) were across the river at the water's edge.

I liked this Great Egret...  standing so majestically in the water.

This Little Blue Heron and White Ibis had a little territorial spat...
Didn't last long...  I think someone just overstepped their boundary.  The sudden movement made the photo a bit burry...  kind of distorts the ibis's bill.

I loved the mirror-image of these 3 Blue-winged Teal
We don't see many ducks here...  and certainly not many different species, but are always on the lookout.

There were a few Black-necked Stilts hanging out  as well....  
I took only my "little" Canon today, so birds like the Kingfishers and others are just too hard for me to capture as this camera doesn't have a view finder.  Those "flat screen" types don't work well for me.

As we were crossing the bridge that leaves the river area and onto the beach, I saw this...

I don't know who this boat belongs to...  but I just liked the composition of what I saw....

We walked along the beach for a while...  turned and walked down the main street into town...  stopped for those chicharrones, bought a "escoba" (broom), talked with a few folks we know, went to another carniceria for some pollo or gallina (not sure which word we should use for cut-up chicken meat)....  and headed home.

We love our morning walks and I think it will be a while before we tire of them.


Merry Christmas to all our Family and Friends!
Bill & Sharon

That's All For Today!