Christmas Old and New, Los Perros, Beauty and Blessings – Not Bad for Our First Month Here

It’s Christmas week, that time between Christmas and New Year’s when I so often have “called” the end of the year.  This year, however, there’s plenty to do down here – exploring, finding the stores we need and the restaurants we want, learning that a Google map does not necessarily reflect any current landscape and also learning that whatever current maps we find are mostly those that feature drinks, food, or spring break hot spots (which include both of the above).

Living down here, I’m reminded of an old bit of wisdom from my consulting days – The Three Laws of Information:

The information you have is not what you want.
The information want is not what you need.
The information you need is not available.
and for me
If the information you need is available, it will be only in Spanish.

But one activity we never tire of is watching  –  watching the ocean, watching the people and horses and occasional camels on the beach, watching the sunsets and moon rises and constellations that we missed while living in the city, and – in Mexico – watching los perros, the dogs.

I read about the dogs before coming down and have not been disappointed.  They run in little packs, little dogs mostly in those little packs.  I always think of “The Lady and the Tramp” and can imagine their conversations and songs as they wander the streets happy to see other and gentle on the mind.  They’re well-behaved when waiting outside any restaurant (because down here they do wait outside), they occasionally tag along on a walk, and bigger guard dogs bark without cease although some of them are not as bright as others.

We passed a place yesterday with two large snarling black dogs right out of a horror movie behind the fence.  When we came out of the shop, an open air fruiteria, they were quiet and the biggest dog was apparently on siesta break. He didn’t notice us at all until Michael called out, “Hey, we’re over here,” whereupon Rommel or Raoul or whatever his name was lunged into ferocious action.   Even the dogs have a kind of easy come, easy go attitude, which is refreshing after the hurly burly of the city.

Speaking of watching, in the last week we’ve seen a wide range of weather including beautiful sunsets and the stunning full moon.  These were both taken from our balcony.

We’ve also seen a variety of ocean-going critters including, in addition to our beloved pelicans in bigger and bigger flights, dolphins and a quartet of orcas playing just off-shore.  The gray whales will soon be headed north after calving time in San Ignacio Lagoon.

Our Christmas was great, our first one together and we got sentimental enough to find a tree and decorate it and wrap the packages complete with ribbons and bows.  We tried watching “White Christmas,” an old family tradition for me, and it was fine except that I realized with Michael’s hilarious narration that it was even hokier than I remembered.  Sometimes a person just has to move on!  I did fast forward to watch the old soldiers follow Dean Jagger, the “old man” with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye leading the song.  Of course, I shed my usual tears and Michael understood.

We’re almost at the end of 2018 and ready to head into 2019 not quite fully-fledged in Mexico but more fledged every day.  Mexico turns out to be something like Ralph’s Pretty Good Grocery on the old Prairie Home Companion.  If Ralph didn’t have what you wanted, you probably didn’t need it.  Back to the Three Laws of Information.

Things don’t work the same way (ask me about having the power shut off in the middle of a shower because the bill – somebody else’s – had not been paid).  “Familiar” food does not taste the same but there are really good other things to eat.  Sizes are different – I now wear a size 26 shoe.  But as more than one advisor counseled, “If you want life exactly like you live it in the States, stay home.”

We didn’t want to stay home and we are falling more in love with Mexico all the time.  At the moment, Michael is building my art table with things from Home Depot – our Mexican Home Depot.  We want to be where we are.

We hope your holidays have been great and that 2019 will surprise you in the best possible ways.  If you’re not in the mood to make resolutions for the new year (and who is in today’s craziness?) there’s one take-away from “White Christmas” that’s not hokey at all…Irving Berlin was right on the money:

“If you’re worried and you can’t sleep, just count your blessings instead of sheep,
and you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.”  We’re counting ours.

And you’ll more than likely dream sweet dreams without care, or at least dreams in another language with a lot of friendly smiles.

Until next year, hasta la vista, amigos and amigas!




I Speak Only a Little Spanish so Please Talk Slowly

As promised, our new connection to the rest of the world, The Pelican Diaries, is up and running.  We hope to keep you informed about our Mexican adventure with something more interesting than a Christmas newsletter and something less tedious than Fox News.  The proof will be in the reading.

On November 30, we fastened our seatbelts and drove across the border at Tijuana with the car full of personal belongings.  In truth, we had very little as these things go, but a CRV fills up pretty quickly.  We’d rented a fully- and beautifully-furnished condo, so what we had were a couple of suitcases, a few boxes and miscellaneous other items chosen either for comfort (favorite books, art, pillows) or usefulness (tools, computer, art supplies).

In the weeks before the move, we took the advice of those who’d gone before us – sell and buy new! Great advice and we recommend it.

A grueling but educational several hours at the local Swap Meet on an unseasonably hot day, ads on Craigslist, donations, giving things to family, friends and neighbors, and just plain trips to the dumpster had accomplished most of the task.  Still we left behind a car and a small storage unit full of the leftovers.  We’ll deal with them another time.

The crossing was not without incident, but I’m not going to elaborate on that because we never know who might be reading and nobody wants to send bail money from the U.S.  To be clear, we did nothing illegal but there was some confusion and the young border agent apparently didn’t know any more than we did.

Despite that, I want to note how friendly and helpful both the locals (who are entertained by my wild pantomimes as I try to find things in the stores) and the ex-pats who offer advice in the hallway of our building or at the “post office” (more on this later) are.  Occasionally someone in the aisle of one of the already noted stores comes to the rescue, although no amount of gesturing and combination of corazon and caliente could help me when I tried to find Pepcid at one of the dozens of farmacias.

Yo hablo Español un poquito so the pantomimes are still necessary and will be for a while yet. Worse, I keep wanting to confuse the Spanish with my rusty but still serviceable French.  I was always good at charades, and it will all get better.

Fortunately for us both Michael is fluent in Spanish and has rescued me from more than one minor mix-up although he was not nearby when I purchased a small box of envelopes at Office Depot (yep, it’s here) which turned out to be not letter envelopes but a box of manila pay envelopes.  Maybe for lay-aways.  Maybe not.  Christmas cards?

We’ve only just begun, so for now, I’ll leave you with a note about the many wonderful and sometimes mysterious places and images we encounter every day.  The one below is outside a large hotel/restaurant complex called Festival Plaza on our main street, Blvd. Benito Juarez.  It has some kind of history but so far we haven’t been able to learn much about it.  I always think this fellow looks like an ad for a once-thriving but now a little tarnished Cirque de Soleil or in this case circo del agua.  See, I’m learning every day!


That’s it for this post.  Hasta la vista, mis amigos y amigas!  Be back soon…