Thursday, September 16, 2010

Lyle, Lyle Crocodile

Tried to go to the beach here in La Manzanilla the other day but alas…there were 2 crocodiles in the bay. Rick and I were having a beer, Lyle runs into the water and 5 secs later a fireman is running toward him waving his arms yelling, “get out of the water,” a little unnerving to say the least. Images of Jaws flashed in my mind as I catapulted out of my chair and ran toward the water screaming “Lyle get out of the water.” He couldn’t hear me but he must have been able to tell by my face that something was wrong and he quickly scurried out. The crocodiles were nowhere near our location, but so much better safe than…well you know.

The rains have filled the lagoon and it’s spilling into the bay with an occasional croc going as well. The locals say it happens most summers and when the water goes back down in the lagoon so do the crocs. If one of the crocs gets to be a nuisance then the fishermen take a boat out, lasso the beast and drag him back into the lagoon.

There is a viewing platform at the end of town where you can view the crocs and if you want buy fish and toss it to them. Locals swear the only bad human/croc encounter happened when a tourists was feeding the crocs some fish, got too close and lost his hand. Because the crocodiles here are protected there are a lot of them, probably close to 300, I sure hope as the numbers of crocs as well as the number of humans increases our luck holds and nothing tragic happens...but I think it’s just wishful thinking.

Monday, September 6, 2010

We're Back in La Manzanilla!

We arrived in La Manzanilla Saturday the 4th at 5:00 PM to cloudy skies and drizzle. Around midnight it stared really raining and thundering and lightening. At 6:30 we had water seeping into our bedroom from the lot next door and a river running down the street that nearly as wide as the street. The river ran for 24 hours.

After the initial shock dealing with the seeping water and worrying about the chance of the water jumping our sandbags and really flooding the house we joined in the fun of the river! In the afternoon the kids built dams and played in the pools of cool, clear water. Video was shot in the late afternoon on Sunday, the flow was about 1/4 of that in morning.

Monday morning the river was dry but the street and those streets around us look like a war zone with huge crevices, some as much as 7 feet deep. We can’t get our truck out of the car port and even if we could it’s doubtful we could make it off our block without falling into a crevice. So, we walked Lyle to and from his first day of school in the rain, walked to Juan’s to buy tamales for dinner and were happy we still have electricity and internet! It’s the little things after all….

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Carnitas- no wonder its so delicious

On Sundays you can get Carnitas in La Manzanilla and only on Sundays. On the main road paralleling the beach you'll find aborrotes Chona. During the week it's a humble food store and meat market but on Sunday the street in front is lined with tables and chairs and people waiting in line to snag one.

I was curious how one would go about making carnitas so I checked out a wiki site and this is what I found.

“The traditional way to cook carnitas is in a copper pot which disperses the heat evenly (one may use any thick bottomed pot to get the same result). Lard is used to cover the dish in proportion to the amount of meat being cooked. Once the lard has melted, pork and flavorings are added (usually salt, oregano, marjoram, thyme, bay leaf, crushed garlic cloves). Traditional carnitas is then made by process of simmering the meat until tender over a very low heat. Once appropriate tenderness is achieved, the heat is turned up and the outside of the pork begins to crisp. The carnitas can then be cooled and shredded.”

At 8 pesos (.67 cents) it's a fattening treat I indulge in almost every Sunday! They do handmade tortillas and a very spicy pico de gallo that just adds to the culinary delight.

Next time you come for a visit to La Manzanilla be sure you stay the weekend so you don't miss out.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Lyle builds a bonfire!

We’ve been in La Manzanilla for 3 years now and last week was the first time we’ve been to a bonfire at the beach! Lyle has been bugging us for months to go to the beach and have a fire; basically because he wants to roast these HUGE marshmallows we bought in Patzcuaro (to roast in the fireplace at the hotel we stayed!) It doesn’t get dark here until 7:30, the only nights we could do a fire at the beach would be Friday or Saturday (school and all) and something always comes up.

Last week my friend Alex, chef at La Manzanilla’s Café de Flores, invited us to a bonfire to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Well, it was a Thursday night and lo and behold no school on Friday so we accepted.

I can’t believe we waited this long to have a bonfire. It was a blast! At sunset we light the fire and the hot dogs and marshmallows came out accompanied by the sounds of guitar and drums. Lyle was the only kid there but that didn’t seem to bother him. He usually goes to bed at 9:00, but this night he was dancing by the fire and roasting mellows until 11:00 pm.

The next morning it was all he could talk about!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Day at the water park

Here in La Manzanilla Mexico, the kids get lots of days off school. This week they are out Monday-Wednesday in celebration of Labor Day. Yesterday I took Lyle to the water park in Barra de Navidad. It’s the first time we’d been to the park and we had a great time sliding down the big water slides, swimming in the big pools and playing pirates.

That is WE had fun, until a group of boys aged 8-16 showed up. Then mom was out and big boys were in.

I’m always amazed how Mexican kids love other kids. I’m guessing it’s because of the family structure; big kids are expected take care of the little kids without a second thought or complaint. That group of boys played the entire afternoon with Lyle and his friend Elior. Keep away, water tag, took them down the big slides and it went on and on. They never tired of our little boys screaming for more rides on the slide, asking to be put on their shoulders in the water, yelling the “throw the ball to me!”

The day was a highlight that Lyle won’t soon forget.

Monday, May 3, 2010

La Manzanilla Primavera

We have the most beautiful Primavera tree in front of our house in La Manzanilla Mexico.

Actually, I think it’s the most beautiful tree in town. About 3 weeks ago all the leaves fell off the tree, 2 weeks ago the yellow buds started to appear, 1 week ago the tree was glorious, bright yellow flowers about the size of a child’s hand filled the branches and were juxtaposed against the deep blue sky.

I watched each day as people walked by with camera in hand trying to capture the beauty of the tree.

The flowers are now fading and gracefully falling to the ground. I’m not sad at all to see it go, it was so gorgeous in its prime that it had to be fleeting! Looking forward to next spring already.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Arroyo Seco for some surfing!

Arroyo Seco, 25 mins north of La Manzanilla, is hosting its first surfing competition this weekend. We headed up to check out the action and the beach, we had only been to Arroyo Seco once so this was a good excuse for another visit. La Manzanilla is a metropolis compared to Arroyo Seco, the long and expansive beach has one hotel and one restaurant.

There were lots of young surfer dudes on hand and judging from the license plates they came from as far away as California. We arrived at 11:00, the start time was 9:30, but they were just getting going when we got there. From what I could gather a couple of surfers headed out each 20 mins and had 20 mins to catch as many waves as possible. I’ve never been to a surfing competition but it was a very entertaining way to spend the afternoon.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Lyle makes some music

Lyle has a few toy musical instruments and on occasion he likes to "make music", he also likes to dance to rock star music when he thinks I'm not watching. La Manzanilla and not having a TV, is great for letting kids be creative when it comes to making up fun.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

What is Patriotism?

Today, Lyle’s elementary in school in La Manzanilla, Mexico offered a flag presentation. Once everyone was lined up and in place the 6th graders marched out replicas of the various flags Mexico has had over the years. Then director approached the microphone and announced he would recite the Pledge of allegiance.

All the children and parents dutifully raised their hands to their chests (including Rick and I) and recited the pledge. Lyle raised his hand and half-heartily mouthed the words (afterwards he told me he didn’t really know what the words were). But as I watched him, it occurred to me Rick and I had never talked to him about pledging allegiance or patriotism.

After the ceremony, as the children raced back to their classrooms, I started thinking about patriotism, countries and flags. Do we really need to pledge an allegiance without understanding the meaning? How do we balance Lyle’s US heritage with a worldview? How do we convey allegiance to principles of liberty and justice, humanity and generosity, to all regardless of birth nation?

If I teach him to pledge, just to be dutiful and polite then I’m sending the wrong message. Duty and politeness over principles is never the correct choice.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Lost Marathon

We don’t have a TV in our La Manzanilla house. Well, we don’t have a TV that gets reception we use the TV just to watch movies. Most movies are available on DVD here within a day or two of their theater release. But that’s another post.

This is about our recent Lost Marathon. I have to admit I’m addicted to the series Lost. On a recent trip back to the US for business, Rick bought season 4 and 5 on DVD. I’m not sure if you’ve ever watched a series on DVD but it’s the only way to go! Just when that anticipated commercial break happens….boom, you are on to the next scene, its commercial free heaven.

I feel terribly guilty admitting to doing something so wasteful as watching TV all day, but alas, Rick and I watched 5 episodes on Saturday!

Any other Lost fans out there?

Friday, February 12, 2010

FM3 – get it right the first time.

We live in La Manzanilla Mexico, 10 months out of the year. We have FM3 status and we need to get to Manzanillo to renew our papers. Only problem is we’ve moved and we moved last year while immigration had our paperwork so we just “neglected” to mention it when we received our FM3’s. We figured, “why gunk up the process, we’ll take care of next year.” Well, it’s next year and we finally got around to taking care of it….sort of.

We thought we’d just go to Telemex in Manzanillo, change our address and then have them print out a new bill with our current address. But drat, it’s tough to get to Telemex during the day without having Lyle miss school. So we kept putting it off.

Today I called the office. Guess what? You can change your address over the phone, easy, yeah! After it was changed I asked in my best Spanish if we could stop at the office next week and have them print out a new bill with the new address that we could take to immigration. NO, the address isn’t updated in THAT computer system, we’ll have to wait for our March 8th bill…but our immigration papers expire March 7th!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Weekend road trip to Comala

La Manzanilla, Mexico is great, nice beach, warm water, coconut trees…ok so it’s paradise. But Mexico has so many different places to explore. We've decided to take advantage of our life here and travel around the country as much as we can. Last weekend we went to Comala.

We left La Manzanilla at 11:00 a.m. and arrived in the main plaza of Comala at about 2:00. Just in time to sit at one of the restaurants that line the plaza and order a beer, and then enjoy the parade of free food that comes with drink orders. And I don’t mean chips and salsa, I’m talking Ceviche, Taquitos, Taco’s dorado, chicken burritos, fruit…and it kept coming until we had to say, “stop!” This is the normal gig in Comala from 2-6 pm every day. Order and drink and the food is free. Now granted, the beers were 32 pesos ($2.70 USD), we usually pay 18 at the beach, but we were served a heck of a lot of food!

We stayed at a lovely B and B Casa Alvarada. The next day the host of the B and B acted as our tour guide and gave us a “highlights tour” of Comala. We had some great views of the volcano, coffee plantation education, a village specializing in wooden mask making and a marvelous museum which is the ex-hacienda of the famous
Mexican artist Alejandro Rangel Hidalgo

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Lyle makes his first phone call and it’s all in Spanish

He has a friend who lives a couple of blocks away and because Lyle’s been a little sick I didn’t want him walking down there. So, Lyle went next door to the boy’s grandma (on his own accord) and asked for the phone number.

He then picks up the phone and makes his call.

The mother answers the phone and they proceed to have a detailed conversation, in Spanish, about why Yeir can’t come over to play, his homework isn’t done. Lyle explains that he has finished his homework and urges her to get Yeir going so he can finish his and come over to play.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

It’s the thought that counts---Happy Birthday to Me!

Been in a funk all day because today is my birthday and I’m 43 and not happy about it!

Worked most of the day, canceled my Spanish class because I didn’t have the energy to spend an hour speaking in the past tense!

The afternoon was dragging on when a friend (who is a reflexologist) called and said she would like to give me a treatment for my birthday. What a treat! I think I like reflexology better then massage.

Moving on to dinner- we bought some nice and expensive steaks for dinner. I sauté some spinach, Rick put the steaks on the grill. Unfortunately, the fire got away from him...(see the picture) that’s burnt steak and vegetables. I got a HUGE laugh out it! Funk gone!

He’s in town trying to find a pizza for dinner.

Happy birthday to me 

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A quiet moment….and chips

Usually when the kids are playing here in La Manzanilla it’s a herd of them out in the street playing soccer, hide and seek, or war games. The common denominator of any of these games is that they are loud, raucous and wild. Lots of screaming, “da me lo!” translation- “give it to me!” “el me pegó” -translation “he hit me!” Followed shortly by a parent yelling “no, peleando!” translation-“no fighting!”

Imagine my surprise when I looked out the window and witnessed Lyle and Gael sharing a conversation, a quiet moment…and a bag of chips.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A new beach vendor in town!

We’ve been beading and making jewelry as a family for a few months. We made bracelets for grandmas, I received a lovely glass bead bracelet, “just because” and Lyle made some cute little rings that he handed out to his many girl friends.

He’s been talking about wanting to sell his creations at the beach, and today was his first day. He packed up 5 necklaces and 4 bracelets and announced that he was going to sell them at the beach. So, we headed to the beach for lunch and after an hour of playing in the water and enjoying some shrimp quesadilla’s at Quinta Valentine Lyle decided to try his hand at beach vending.

We left the beach with 3 necklaces, 3 bracelets and Lyle had 50 more pesos then when he started! Who knew, Lyle was such a good salesman!