My travels began with an Uber to Central on Saturday where I boarded an ETN/Turistar at 10:30 in the morning. The drive to Culiacan was enjoyable. Traffic was light and we actually arrived early. Juan picked me up and minutes later I was home with my family.
I hadn’t seen them since April and was amazed at how tall my nietos had grown. At 8, 5 and 3 they are active and rambunctious and I wish I had only a smidgeon of their energy.
On Saturday night friends arrived with their two sons. While 5 energetic boys played together, we adults indulged in a rousing game of Maraton, similar to Trivial Pursuit but played in Spanish. By some miracle this gringa actually won the game! Perhaps it was all the tacos, Mexican candy and cerveza that fortified me as the game took just short of 4 hours to play.
The next morning we were up early as we went to church. Juan plays the keyboard and Lucila sings. Here’s a shot of Angelito helping out on the keyboard.
After church we went to a delightful restaurant called La Cocinita del Medio. While we waited for our table, the kids had a great time in the play area.
Lunch was delicious…………..machaca, frijoles, huevos, tamales and tortillas. On our way back to the car, we stopped to check out some of the animals.
Sunday was Lucila’s birthday as well as being New Years Eve. After a sumptuous dinner and the smashing of a pinata it was time for cake.
Out came the traditional grapes before midnight. And soon it was 2018, although my two youngest nietos weren’t quite awake at that hour. Indeed Jose Agustin had asked me to tuck him in shortly after 11 pm.
Some of the guests slept over and the next morning there were 5 boys having breakfast together.
Visiting with family continued throughout the day and evening. We had dinner with family at the home of Juan’s father. Late at night Angelito was still raring to go and posed for this picture.
All too soon it was Tuesday and I was headed to Central to board a bus back to Mazatlan. It was definitely the nicest New Years weekend I have had in years and I look forward to my next visit to Culiacan.
Another new year has begun with the arrival of 2015. This is a time when people reflect upon their lives and propose various resolutions for the future. It’s also a nostalgic time of year for me.
I remember vividly New Years Eve of 1996. We were in San Antonio, Texas. We had a lovely dinner at Marie Callenders and brought a pie back to our condo. We had one of our friendly family card games. At midnight we toasted 1997 with champagne and watched on television a hotel in Las Vegas being blown up. But it’s a bittersweet memory as it was the last winter vacation we took together as a family. It was also the last time we all rang in a new year together. My children were now teenagers and wanted to spend New Years Eve with their own friends instead.
My first New Years Eve in Mexico in 2010 marked the end of my train trip through the mountains up north. Our tour group had a delicious dinner in the dining room of the hotel in El Fuerte where Zorro was filmed. We then watched some amazing fireworks.
The next year I was back in Culiacan with my Mexican family.
The following year I was in Mexico City with Angie and her family. I met these wonderful people when I was on my train trip two years before.
Last year I welcomed 2014 with my neighbors. And this year I rang in 2015 with my housemates and friends.
We had a lovely dinner together, chatting and listening to music. And at midnight we toasted 2015………Mexico, The Netherlands, Australia and Canada represented.
As for my own resolutions, I have but one. I am determined that 2015 will be the best year ever. I eagerly anticipate the many adventures that lie ahead in the future. I will not stress over the past but will remain rooted in the present.
I’m on Christmas break here in Mexico. And the first week has flown by way too quickly. Christmas has come and gone, and 2015 is just around the corner.
In Tlaquepaque the Christmas tree near El Parian shines brightly at night.
But this year I spent Christmas in the quaint little pueblo of Tototlan, about an hour away from Guadalajara. One of my former housemates has a home there on the outskirts of the town.
We spent a relaxing few days visiting and watching movies. I also cooked a traditional Christmas dinner, complete with turkey and stuffing.
I took a walk one afternoon to a nearby park, marvelling at the scenery along the way.
Surprisingly there was just a handful of children although there was an abundance of play structures and basketball courts.
There were some men working on a wall.
There was also a man working on an interesting metal structure.
We walked down to the plaza one morning and had delicious gorditas for breakfast. We strolled through the plaza afterwards and I was delighted to see several pinatas hanging.
There was a beautiful nativity scene outside of the church.
But all too soon it was time to head for the bus station and bid adios to Tototlan.
I returned home Friday afternoon with the intent to spend a quiet evening at home. Instead I wound up going to El Lugar Secreto to hear my favorite band play. I met the lead singer when I first came to Tlaquepaque three years ago when I was in need of an immigration lawyer. A lawyer by day, a musician at night and a great friend!
Week two of Christmas Break is sure to fly by just as quickly as the first week. My housemates and I are planning a dinner for New Years Eve, complete with a pinata to smash to welcome 2015. We’ve also invited other friends over as well.
We will go along with the twelve grape tradition, but we won’t be walking the streets after midnight with suitcases. And the red underwear? Yes, there are some pretty strange customs around here. Oh, and I mustn’t forget the fireworks!
Yes, Christmas break is certainly different now that I’m in Mexico. Frigid temperatures and drifts of snow back in Winnipeg are becoming distant memories. New traditions and new adventures are what life is all about. And I eagerly look forward to 2015 and what lies ahead.