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Arroyo Seco y Conca, Queretaro

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Arroyo Seco y Conca, Queretaro

Thursday afternoon, my friends took me out on a drive to the neighboring state of Queretaro. The drive through the mountains was breathtaking and made me homesick for the mountains up north in Washington state.

Our first stop was Arroyo Seco, a town a little larger than San Ciro. The streets were very narrow and within minutes we were at the plaza. The plaza is the hub of the town with tiendas and taco stands surrounding it. Naturally the church is close by.

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We headed back to the highway and continued our drive. We soon arrived in the quaint town of Conca. Our first stop here was the church.

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Next we drove down to a park area close to the river. I chose to pass on the swimming. I was glad I did as my friends said the water was cold and the fish were nipping at their feet.

Instead I went for a walk and checked out the millenium tree. People tell me it’s hundreds of years old although I was unable to pinpoint the exact age.

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I continued my walk for a while.

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I wasn’t brave enough to walk across that little log bridge although I did see children running across it. I wonder if I would have done that as a child.

Adios 2018!

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Adios 2018!

The older we get the faster the time flies by. 2019 is fast approaching and promises to be another exciting fun-filled year with more amazing adventures. As I reflect on 2018,  I see a strengthening of several relationships as well as a fair amount of travel.

I rang in the New Year in Culiacan with my family. I returned to Mazatlan in January and soon got caught up in art walks, concerts, movies and luncheons.

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February is synonymous with Carnaval where parades and music abound. I also managed a quick weekend trip to Culiacan as there was an event at my grandson’s school. I took a day trip to with the Solo Snowbirds to El Qelite, a pueblos magico. But the true highlight of the month was the birth of my granddaughter, Madeline Annette, in Canada.

March was dominated with music and ballet performances. My friends Elly and Dwayne from Leavenworth were visiting Mazatlan and we had a delightful Sunday brunch together along with an afternoon by the pool at their hotel.

On April 1st, Easter dinner was at Al Chile with my friends Peggy, Delmar and Barry. Motorcycle Week roared in and I had a whirlwind trip to Culiacan to see my family before heading to Ontario. It was exciting to finally meet Maddie and my week with her flew by all too quickly.

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Then I was off to Toronto to spend time with Deborah, one of my best friends who also used to live in Winnipeg. On April 30th I was up in the air again on my way to Leavenworth via Seattle.

May was a busy month with activities at the Senior Center, SAIL classes, Church, book club and of course renewing the friendships I had made during the previous two summers I’d been in Leavenworth. The music and dancing at Maifest was most enjoyable. Laurel and I bravely hiked the difficult trails at Ohme Gardens as we had misread the signs. Knee replacements work!

Things got even busier in June as Linda and I prepared our classroom for VBS (Vacation Bible School.) Perfecting the crafts provided a bit of a challenge. Decorating the room was really a blast as well. The Accordion Festival in Leavenworth and Founders Day in Cashmere were held on the same weekend, and that made it rather hectic. I also started a course in memoir writing at the end of the month.

July 4th is synonymous with Kinderfest in Leavenworth. More preparing for VBS and then an amazing week with the kids at VBS, truly the highlight of my stay in Leavenworth. I also attended two performances of Leavenworth Summer Theater……Sound of Music and My Fair Lady. Christmas in July was held at Upper Valley Museum as well.

In August Ann and I did a whirlwind trip through the San Juan Islands and Whidbey Island. I attended another production of Leavenworth Summer Theater…Little Women. Next came Midsummer Night’s Dream in Wenatchee, Bell Ringers, and the Village Voices Picnic at Lions Park that was moved indoors due to the smoke.

September began with the County Fair in Cashmere where friends introduced me to funnel cake. I also went to Elder Speak at Snowy Owl. Ann and I took a day trip to Ellensburg and Cle Ulm. Wednesday night children’s ministry at LCN started again. I went to a children’s ministry workshop in Auburn and went to a meeting of the Autoimmune Society in Wenatchee. But the highlight of this month was the 9/11 ceremony held in Cashmere at Spirit of America.

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October was a bittersweet month. The leaves were in their glory but it was time for me to prepare to leave. Fond farewells filled the month and I was soon up in the air again headed for Guadalajara via L.A. I had a wonderful time revisiting San Pedro, an area I lived in for almost four years. It was nice to see old friends again, and to sit in the Jardin Hidalgo and stroll down Calle Independencia. Naturally I had to trek out to my favorite place via the Macrobus…..Parque Mirador.

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November was an interesting month. Day of the Dead in Tlaquepaque was spectacular. I enjoyed viewing the altars along Juarez as well as visiting the cemetery. Then I was off to Culiacan to spend a week with my family. My grandsons have all grown so much since I last saw them in April.

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Next I found myself on a bus headed for San Luis Potosi. I met Bonnie on a Facebook group and decided to check out San Ciro de Acosta. This pueblo is everything she said it would be and more. I had intended to stay for one month, but I am now into my second month. As well as exploring the town itself, I went out to Aquismon with Bonnie and her family for Thanksgiving.

In December I went out to Jalpan, Queratero for the day. This is another of the magical towns here in Mexico and it did not disappoint. I also discovered two museums in Rio Verde. I went with Bonnie up to the chapel of the Virgin of Guadalupe. There was a Christmas Posada at the Club de Leones and then on December 20th in the evening was the Migrant Parade. Mexicans returning home from working up north came ina caravan from Laredo. They tossed candies to the children and the locals brough tamales and atole to them in their vehicles. There was a huge Christmas posada in the plaza for the children that went on for hours. It began with the traditional procession through the town with Joseph and Mary seeking shelter and culminated with music, games and dancing for all the children. The fare for Christmas Eve was tostadas and ponche along with Christmas movies on Netflix. Connie and I also baked some cookies for the kids.

Adios 2018! It’s been another great year.

I wish all my readers a fantastic 2019 filled with love, peace and good health.

Happy-New-Year-Quotes-For-Friends

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I’ve been living in the quaint little town of San Ciro for just over a month now. There is no bank or mall or movie theater here. There isn’t even a restaurant although there are numerous taquerias and loncherias. There isn’t even a bar here. So just what is the big attraction here for me?

I’ve gotten used to living in smaller towns. I’ve spent a fair amount of time in Leavenworth in the past three years. And I prefer the small town life. It was nice to spend the first month back in Mexico this winter in Guadalajara, Mazatlán and Culiacan. But it’s much more tranquil here in San Ciro.

I saunter down to the gordita stand in front of the hotel in the morning and sit down at one of the two tables with the locals. People are friendly and of course are curious about this gringa who really stands out in the crowd. It’s also a great opportunity for me to practice my Spanish. I’ll add that nothing beats a fresh handmade gordita along with a cup of café olla.

My days are mine. There is no agenda. If I’m in the mood, I write. There are no distractions here like in the bigger cities. I’m currently working on a book of fiction as well as a collection of memoirs for my granddaughter. Blog posts have become more of a challenge as I don’t have WiFi in my room at the hotel. I tend to write the posts and then add pics and upload to WordPress when I go down to the office and sit close to the modem.

I go into Rio Verde once a week or so. There are banks there. I discovered two museums there as well as a gorgeous cathedral. I stand at the side of the highway and flag down a collective to make the trip. I find it interesting that many of the other passengers seem to get off in the middle of nowhere along the way. But there are a number of tiny towns tucked away, often a few kilometers off the highway.

Because I have no kitchen facilities in my room, I eat out a lot. What I really enjoy is having food delivered for a mere 25-50 pesos. I have a favorite taqueria that has awesome tortas, gringas and papas locas. There is a place that makes pizza and delicious baguettes. Roasted chicken and hamburgers are also favorites. On my walk last week I found a man who makes Chinese food. All these places deliver with a 5 peso tip to the driver of the bicycle or motorcycle.

Last Sunday I went to the mass at the Catholic Church and to my delight there was a wedding going on. I strolled through the tienguis afterwards, engaging in conversations with various vendors. On Monday I attended a children’s posada at a friend’s taqueria.

Thursday night was quite the interesting celebration featuring the Migrant Parade. Over a hundred vehicles began their trek south from the border at Laredo. These are all Mexicans who work up in the USA and then head back down to Mexico for the Christmas holidays. They throw candy out their windows to the children. The people in the town bring them atole and tamales in return. A band was set up and the mood was quite festive.

On Friday I went into Rio Verde and checked out the tienguis outside the church. There were lots of Christmas items in these stalls and it reminded me of the ones in Centro in Guadalajara. I couldn’t resist the heavenly fresh churros either.

Saturday the plaza in San Ciro was packed with people for a traditional Christmas posada. A crowd of people followed Joseph along with Mary riding a donkey singing the traditional song, stopping along the way to seek shelter, and finally ending at the church. The children batted away at piñatas and then scrambled to collect candies. There were games and prizes for the children. A guesstimate of 1200 children were in attendance. Lots of dancing and music. I left before the food as I’d had my limit of noisy crowds of people and loud music. But it was really an amazing event for such a small town.

I can’t say I’m bored here. As a matter of fact, I’ve now decided that when I move on next month I want to seek out another small town rather than a larger city as I had first anticipated. Small town life appeals to me here. I am experiencing the “real” Mexico and I highly recommend it. I’m glad I made the decision to stay here for Christmas.

Thank you to all my followers for your continued support of my blog. Merry Christmas to all and all the best for an amazing 2019!

 

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Posada!

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Posada!

It’s the Christmas season here in San Ciro and that is synonymous with posadas. These happen starting nine days before Christmas Eve.

On Monday night I went to a posada at a taqueria owned by friends.  More than twenty kids arrived more than an hour before Santa was scheduled to make his debut. Some of them crowded around inside watching a video of Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.   

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And then………….Santa arrived!

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He was instantly swarmed with children eager to talk to him as well as to receive  candy.

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Some of the children were a little apprehensive. They haven’t been exposed to the commercialized Santas in the malls. The nearest large mall to San Ciro is more than three hours away and many of these children have never even been out of San Ciro. A conservative guesstimate is that approximately 75 children were at the posada, many of them walking down the hills and into the town that night to see Santa.

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There were tons of  photos taken that night, and all the adults present were certainly overwhelmed with emotion as they watched the children visit with Santa. There was even an edible craft for the kids as displayed by Diana.

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What a great way to begin the holiday season!

Cemeteries

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Cemeteries

I admit it. It’s a weird and morbid thing to do. Most people stick to famous landmarks, museums and music. But yours truly also likes to wander through cemeteries, especially old ones. And there are some amazing ones here in Mexico.

Typically I  seek out a cemetery on Day of the Dead when I’m in Mexico. This year I went to the Tlaquepaque cemetery.

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I’ve been in San Ciro de Acosta for almost a month. On my walk one day I came across a cemetery in this town. While it was quite a bit smaller than the one in Tlaquepaque, nonetheless it was interesting.

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I’ve seen a number of smaller cemeteries along the road on the drive in to Rio Verde. I hope to some day have the opportunity to explore these in the future.

Animals Are Different Here

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Animals Are Different Here

When I lived in Canada, I had a dog named Koal. He was an adorable toy poodle who as a puppy was black but his fur changed to silver when he grew older. He was spoiled by myself and my children. They complained that Koal didn’t know he was a dog. Of course they are the same ones who also referred to him as their baby brother. And we were all guilty of buying him way too many toys and treats. He had a wardrobe of t-shirts and sweaters. He was a finicky eater and we used to drive down to the USA regularly to buy him the vegetarian dog food he preferred. Koal was a very special part of our lives and we were all devastated when he passed away on December 7th, 2008. It’s been ten years and I really miss having a dog. But the way I constantly travel in three countries regularly is not really conducive to having a pet.

Here in Mexico dogs do not have this type of pampered lifestyle. Dogs more commonly are found roaming the streets or barking loudly from rooftops, although there are some households where the dogs actually live inside. Cats are quite a problem as they wildly reproduce in this country. Spay and neuter clinics have evolved in some areas to deal with this. Animal shelters are slowly springing up in some places and the fostering of dogs and cats is becoming more common.

Here in San Luis Potosi, I have taken some photos of other animals people keep in their yards. This noisy pig lives in Aquismon.

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This animal is a neighbor who lives down the street from the hotel where I’m staying.

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I was wandering through the streets in Rio Verde when I saw these.

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And right here in San Ciro I snagged this photo.

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Isn’t this just the cutest photo to end this post with?

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Jalpan, Queretaro

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Jalpan, Queretaro

Jalpan is classified as a Pueblo Magico. Thankfully the sun was shining and it was warm on the day I chose to visit. The weather here in San Ciro has been quite a challenge. One day it will be 85 degrees and the next day only 60 degrees. Several cloudy days with sporadic drizzle as well.

Nonetheless Monday dawned sunny and warm and I accepted a ride to Jalpan with Froylan, the man who owns the hotel where I am currently staying. He also owns the junkyard that surrounds the hotel. And my ride that morning was one of the vehicles he buys for parts. Electrical tape secured the sensors beneath the hood and the back seat had been removed to accommodate space for an engine that needed transporting. However the vehicle made it to Jalpan with no problem once the battery had been boosted.

The drive was beautiful and afforded a view of the spectacular mountains. Actually it made me kind of homesick for the mountains in Washington state. It seems that I just can’t get enough of mountains!

My first stop, of course, was the church. This magnificent structure was at least a couple of hundred years old. I asked several people the age but none of them knew for sure.

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I then headed for the plaza. There was a celebration going on and the stage was alive with music, a play and speeches. I was totally enchanted with some of the statues as well as the Christmas displays already in place.

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I then wandered the streets. I came across this little footbridge near a hotel. It led to a steep staircase that ended on the highway. I chose to remain on the bridge and admire the view instead.

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As I continued meandering through the streets, I saw the usual loncherias, taco stands and a variety of shops. I engaged in a variety of conversations with the friendly locals who were all curious about the single gringa wandering around their town.

I boarded a bus for the return trip to San Ciro and enjoyed the amazing scenery along the way.