Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Mexican Dinner party

My sweet new friends. Yay! This is one of the things I was really hoping for in coming here. I really wanted to get to know the people, was so worried we wouldn't be accepted, but we had a really lovely evening. Jeff had to go into town to work yesterday since we still didn't have internet, so I spent most of the day trying to put a dinner together and cleaning up. I tried to cook everything ahead to help with the heat factor, and the last couple of hours before they came, we shut the house off to the outside air and put both bedroom air conditioners on full blast with our oscillating fan pushing the air into the living room and dining room. It was just bearable by the time they came. Remember we only have air conditioning in the bedrooms. It truly felt like a Bikram yoga room (complete with people steam) outside last night.
I made some pasta thing and some vegetables, and my friend brought a big variety of Mexican pastries from the bakery. Although we had done our best when we visited the bakery before, these were mostly ones we had never tried before! I told you the selection there is amazing.
My choice --filled with cream.

They had two well behaved little kids, and I had prepped my kids ahead of time to pick three questions each to ask our guests. This kept Ari and Kai and these little ones involved in the conversation. Jeff and I and sometimes the other mom and dad would translate questions and answers. They had a bit of English and were pretty good! Better than my Italian by far haha.

These guys turned out to have a lot in common despite the difference in age.
Ari once again had no trouble socializing. She is amazing. 

It will be a great memory for all of us. 

Making cookies and making friends.

Sunday we still didn’t have internet. This was getting scary. I didn’t want Tia to wake up Monday morning and see no letters from us! We always write Sunday afternoon to her. Our phones kind of worked in the house with the phone network to send stuff, although it was slow, so we took turns writing letters to Tia on Jeff’s and my phones.
It is crazy the difference no internet makes in how cut off you feel. Kai is saying now he won’t live any place Amazon doesn’t deliver. Heh. I am not that limited maybe, but I realized I seriously rely on that wifi! What a weenie I am. Oh well.
I talked to one lady in church who lives in Mismaloya, and suggested to her that maybe we get together for dinner sometime this week, but then I lost her after church when I got talking to another tourist family here for the week. However I got the full name of the lady I told you about before, that I thought would be a good friend, so we could connect on Facebook.
Yesterday evening, I went to the roof with Jeff just to try to catch a breeze, and all of these Facebook messages came pinging through my phone. My phone service worked much better on the roof! So I connected with my new friend, and invited her family over for dinner tonight. I hope I don’t burn everything. This stove has burners that don’t turn down to low –just medium. It is tricky. Not to mention the oven! Here is a good oven story.
Ari decided last week that she really wanted to make some cookies. I told her that she could last night –we had gotten ingredients for her on Saturday. However, Jeff really wanted her to use applesauce instead of butter in them. We shouldn’t have listened to him, but whatever. I also had forgotten to get baking soda at the store. I went around to a bunch of the neighbors trying to borrow a half teaspoon (I told Ari to do a super small batch the first time) of baking soda, but nobody had any. I think baking isn’t super popular around her in the summer. Duh. We about died of the heat in our place by the time this was done. I had some nice conversations with our neighbors though.
We went to preheat the oven, and there are no temperatures written on the dial! I guessed at a #3 out of the 1-5 settings. So: applesauce instead of butter, no baking soda, and no idea of the temperature of the oven.

Yeah, that didn’t work out too hot. My friend is going to bring dessert tonight.

Snorkeling tour

We haven't had internet fora few days, so I am just now catching up with posting. I will put up three posts today. This is the first one.

Saturday we hurried and got our stuff done, and went out to Boca de Tomatlan to catch a water taxi out to Yelapa –which we heard had great snorkeling. Ari and Kai originally didn’t want to come, but when we said that was fine for them to stay at the apartment and start on the Saturday cleaning, the boat ride started looking good to them. Ari said she wanted to go after all, and I kind of made Kai come at that point. I knew it was just nerves holding him back, but thought that maybe when he saw the fun we were having he would decide to jump in the water too.

The bay at Boca didn’t look very promising, and the young guy we got as a captain said Yelapa was “chocolatizado” –chocolatized –turned cloudy and brown --from the river coming down into that bay. Boca looked the same, and Mismaloya cove wasn’t super clear either right now. But he promised to take us to some great spots.

We started to see clear water almost immediately, and some dreamy houses and restaurants and hotels right along the shore. 

The first spot our guide stopped at was a deep bay, with little cave like indents in the cliff sides around it. We got in and started seeing some cool fishies (our underwater camera never turned back on after that first time using it. Wah!),  when Ari said she saw a jellyfish. Kai was back in the boat before you could say stinger. The truth was that there were hundreds and hundreds of tiny jellyfish in that cove. I found myself in a cloud of them, pushing then around with my arms and legs. They were tiny and whitish clear, kind of bell shaped. They didn’t sting. Kai wasn’t taking any chances.

We moved on to another beach (gosh, I am not remembering the names of these! ) with a bit more of a commercial presence. Luckily we seemed to have beaten all of the tourist boats, and had every little spot mostly to ourselves. This water was a bit cloudier, not much, but we saw quite a bit more life here, and no jellies, so Kai stayed in quite a while. The sad thing was it was getting kind of surgey and I started getting nauseated from the roll of the water. I got back in the boat kind of early and got some water, which helped a bit.
Ari said she saw a fish the “size of a piece of furniture”. I was sorry to miss it!
Our guide showed us a few more beaches, and kept suggesting we stop at a restaurant and get lunch, but food would have been a bad idea for my stomach, and the others weren’t hungry. We ended up going back near the same first bay he took us to, but around the corner near some other little caves. He said it was a good area to see lobsters and octopuses.
We didn’t see and octopuses, but I did spy a sea turtle, and a trumpetfish as long as I am. We ended up swimming around the corner and back into the little bay we started at. Kai had started to believe me about the jellies, and once he was able to hold one in his hand without ill effect, he stopped worrying about them. We brought out our bread and cheese, and fed the fish, and it was spectacular. So many clouds of color around us! It was like being in a flock of beautiful birds.
We went back to the apartment and showered, and Jeff and Ari and I headed into town. Ari really wanted some sort of souvenir. Kai thought that sounded like torture, so for once we let him stay home. With all of the doors locked haha.
I don’t know what the deal was with the face I was making! We went to the Cuale island, looking for the little art museum there, but it was closed. We wandered around the pretty little shops, and I wanted to get ALL THE DISHES!! But I resisted. Jeff would have groaned for a week.

Ari had her heart set on a locally woven blanket. She remembered Tia buying a dress woven in Madagascar, and was hoping to help someone out while getting a cool exotic looking textile. She finally decided on this Aztec calendar  blanket, and while I am not sure how handmade it was, it was sure typical of the regions products. 
We saw such pretty little places I am disappointed that the only shot I took of them was this under the bridge area. Lame!
We somehow managed to get Ari’s souvenir, and the grocery shopping done, and still get the cleaning done before collapsing into bed that night. Having internet go down while we were out on the boat helped us not waste time. I hope it comes back up soon!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Iguana on a stick, and Disney experiences.

 It keeps storming in the evenings, and this fills up the river. This drives leaves and cloudy water into the cove. I wanted to go snorkeling again, but knew our regular place would be yucky. The kids and I tried walking along the side of the bay to the Iguana point. Jeff calls it Iguana on a stick which sounds like a horrible type of kebab to me. We found a place to climb down the rocks here after one false start (I tried to go out in one place, but we had to go through a cloud of seaweed and Kai FREAKED and wouldn't go). I climbed down into the water, then climbed back out to prove to Kai that we could do it. This spot! It was like climbing down into a saltwater aquarium! So many kinds of fish in really clear water. Every once in a while, cold water came in from the open sea, and you could see wavy lines in the water with the temperature change. It reminds me of antique glass windows. I remembered to bring a little bit of bread and cheese, and we got a lot of takers between the two kinds of treats. The rainbowy wrasses were almost eating out of our hands. Ari was really mad that we didn't go into town instead, (but the museum was closed and we are going today) so she refused to get in. It is best to just let it go sometimes with Ari,but I was glad Kai had a great snorkeling experience. He has still been a bit skittish.
 I tried to bribe the kids to go to our little local store by themselves for their little movie night treat, trying to help them have an independent adventure, but Ari refused. I'm afraid she feels pushed around or something. Sometimes moms can be that way. :)  Anyway Kai went alone (and I watched him most of the way because I am more nervous than I let on haha). He was fine.
I have been craving a Disneyland experience, something where everything is beautiful and perfect. Do you know what I mean? No dumpsters on the way to the beach, no stray dogs I have to worry about.  I got it last night. Jeff took me to Le Kliff. They advertise as one of the most beautiful restaurants in the world, and I can believe it. Happily, they aren't too expensive either.

 We ate in a big open air palapa that was well over two stories tall, on a cliff overlooking the ocean. We sat down and the waiter brought us damp chilled hand towels --welcome with the heat we suffered walking in. As we ate we could watch hawks and frigate birds fly by below eye level, and cruising so seemingly slow, we could take in every detail of their wings and feathers. Sailboats floated by, and local fishermen threw out their nets called chinchorros (our waiter told us), leaving them with buoys attached to wait until morning.
 This was the view from our table. Hence the deserved most beautiful category in my opinion.
 Our food was lovely too! The waiter recommended the snapper and we both chose it. I got the one above --pistachio crusted with asparagus and a mango sauce.
Jeff got the teriyaki, with celery leaves and fennel fronds. It was an almost perfect experience. I like to have those once in a while!