Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 10 years.
Every day brings a new discovery.
They are still working on the casa............Senor says, it won't be long.........but Linda Lou says, it won't be long until what..............stay tuned to find out what's next.

Monday, August 25, 2008

The Things I Wanted to Tell You

I had difficulty getting any photos to upload with Border Crossing Two and I wanted to tell you about much more than just the border crossing.

So, finally, a few photos have popped up out of the blue Mexico sky...............

SO you get to see my NEW TOY!!!!!!


It is in the house's old kitchen, which will one day be my new bathroom. We weren't going to get one, they are very pricey here, and the viejo senora lady at the end of our street does laundry, so we thought we would just keep using her. BUT I haven't been getting back all of my laundry...and when I go there looking for it, the viejo senora lady that does my laundry is on a viajo...

We saw this machine at the grocery store in Navajoa, and we bought it for $3,350 pesos (roughly $335 US dollars). We brought it home, hooked it up and I did laundry right away. I hung all the clothes to dry on the line out under the plumeria trees and 10 minutes later I looked out and the line had collapsed. I salvaged all the clothes, brushed them off and rehung them just in time for the huge monsoon that always floods the room that used to be the old kitchen that will one day be my new bathroom.

So the machine works great. You just have to have good timing and good clothesline rope for the end result.
Below the clothes are hanging nicely like they should on the clothesline. Obviously, I wasn't going to photograph them all lying on the ground...

then, the sky darkened.....this is looking onto our backyard (notice we gave our palm tree a haircut)in the photo below, it is about 3pm and shortly thereafter, came the monsoon......the adobe wall is at the very back of our property...there is a small gate that we have closed up. The gate leads to a little man's one room casa. in the photo below, you can see the rain pouring out of the canali (the drain spout from the roof)this last photo was taken about 6:45, after the rain and right before dark, which is now around 7pm....Bill has just popped into the internet cafe to see if I am ready to go. I sent him to the market for an avocado which will cost him 5 pesos. I asked him what he had been doing back at the house...laundry, he said.......


Border Crossing TWO

I want to talk about alot of things, but in particular, I want you to all know that I really worked hard last week on the list. I had it hand printed in English in great detail and then, with great difficulty, I translated it all into Spanish. And I had several copies....

When we got to the Nogales border, to cross into Mexico, the truck in front of us got a red light and pulled into the stalls to the right. The light just stayed red though after that vehicle moved. So we just drove right on through and kept going. We don't know if that was a red light for us or a light just stuck on red for the driver before us. No one came screaming down the road after us.

At KM 21, aduana (mexican customs agent) was working on something with someone. They were occupied with what appeared to be a big metal object, maybe his truck transmission?
He yelled out to us only when Bill rolled down his window (I keep telling Bill to stop rolling down his window.)
Where are you going, he yelled to us. Mexico, Bill yelled back to him. I just know at this point the way Bill said it was like, duh, where else would we be going here at the US/Mexico border....I am thinking now aduana is going to come over here and hassle us. Thank God, I have this list.....I feel trouble brewing.... The agent turns back to the big piece of metal and I am yelling my head off to Bill to get going, get going, get going.... By this point I am in fear that he will want to pull over to the side and go and help them look at whatever this big metal thing is.
So, there you have it............Border crossing Two...believe it or I still can't believe it.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Gate Photos and a Day in My Life


At the top of the large open grills on each door you can see the smaller grills on the top. We are still waiting for the small chino wood inserts that will go in the smaller openings. Daniel, our gate maker, had to go and buy another tree up in the mountains in order to get the 2 pieces of wood. We do not have to buy the whole tree. He has lots of other customers....

TODAY WE ARE IN TUCSON......we will get more things out of the storage unit tomorrow morning and head south for Nogales and the dreaded border crossing.

You will not believe this. We don't even have the canopy on our truck. Bill says we can get more stuff in the truck if we just keep piling stuff on top of other stuff and put blue tarps over it and strap it all down.

Good grief.....we will look like an IKEA truck with Washington state plates. I am nervous about this, but trying not to think about it at all...sort of...I mean, I have to get the list together (please, no comments, I AM serious about this list) and organize what we will take and what we will leave behind.

I am in charge of the visas, (the FM3's), the passports, the Mexican car permit, the Mexican auto insurance, the US auto insurance, blah blah blah..I am a nervous wreck, but I am not thinking about it.....

So, I am going to tell you about some other things.
We have had a fabulous week!!!

KD and Ian came down to visit. It was extremely hot and humid and buggy (not a single raindrop at the casa) and we still had a remarkable time. It was great for them to see our casa in such primitive shape. Bill stressed to them that if they ever think they have problems, remember this......

I do think they developed an appreciation of our situation by the time they left, but they really seemed to enjoy the overnight we made in San Carlos with an air-conditioned hotel room and Charlie's Reef across the street where they shot golf balls off the deck of the restaurant.

Alamos is not easy to get to.

KD had 3 flights from Denver and Ian had 4 from Seattle. They flew in and out of Hermosillio (4 hours from Alamos) and we picked them up there and returned them there. It was returning them that prompted us to decide to keep going north to Tucson and so here we I shopped at the Foothills and La Encantada Malls and replenished my CD collection; we both got hair cuts at Supercuts, then I went and bought silver shampoo which is designed for gray hair which I seem to have more of now that I have a haircut.You know what? I think these are the first photos of me on the blog.

See me blog. My face is soooo shiny...

Okay, now on to a day in my life in Alamos.......

Every morning I wake up at 5:30 am. It is day break at 4:30, but I pretend it isn't and try and doze for awhile. But at 5:30 (I know it is always 5:30 because a 7 year old tortilla driver comes by daily at that time on his motorcycle) I am out of bed and on my walk to the soccer field and track which is about 1/2 mile away. After 5 times around the track I go into the free fitness center which is located near the field. The equipment is rusted and most of the weight pulleys don't pull. All I do is ride one of the 3 stationery bikes. Two bikes don't have pedals and if I get stuck with one of those, I have to keep lifting my foot to stay on the metal where the pedal should be. There are usually only 16, 17, and 18 year old boys in the fitness center. I think they are laughing at me but no problemos. I ride for 10 minutes, tell the guy in charge gracias, bueno, manana??? I almost think he will tell me NO GRINGAS MANANA !!!! But he doesn't, so I keep going back.

On the walk home I sometimes stop and get a bottled water at the little store on the corner. I pay 5 pesos and it is gone by the time I get home.
When I get home I usually take a shower which is cold because we don't have any hot water and then I sit in my chair for awhile and think about what I need or want to do.
On this particular day Bill and I and the kids went to the Mercado to buy groceries.

In this photo Ian was walking with Bill into the Mercado. He said it smelled fishy and it does. But going to the Mercado is something I might do every other day. In the photos below we have driven up to the Mirador (lookout) while the kids were here. On any other day, I might take a walk halfway up the road to the Mirador after going to the mercado. Or I might just take the backroads up to the casa.
On this day we took KD and Ian to the Internet cafe. That is something I need to do more often because it seems that I am not blogging enough. But the computers there are difficult to use; I know I can somehow change them to function in English, but I just don't want anyone to be able to see anything I do online..... We are still trying to get our phone and internet at our casa, but our phone jack is on our roof and we haven't figured out how to use it yet. I am not inclined to climb up on the roof to make a phone call.
Anyways, 8 pesos for KD and Ian to use the internet cafe for 1 and 1/2 hours.....Ian is the one wearing the cap that looks out of place in a small internet cafe in a small Mexican town.
On this particular day, after shopping alone at the Mercado I went to the Plaza de Armas (the plaza near the church) and took photos. Once in awhile I will then go to the Terracotta (where a man has an espresso machine and baked treats in a small cafe) and ask him for a mocha. Then I sit for awhile and read a Martha Stewart magazine from 1995 and drink his mocha which is honestly more delicious that anything I ever made or had at Starbucks.

Some of the grounds at Plaza de Armas in the photo above and the gazebo below.

The roof of the gazebo is above and below is the alley I walk through to get on the street to head home. It is called the Kissing Alley.

When I get home I put away my groceries and check out what Bill is up to. Sometimes I will help him with a project or I will begin an ant killing project of my own or I will make the bed or start sweeping the rooms and then, the dirt outside. I will make sure the cats feel good and know we still love them even if we are crazy. I might talk to my neighbor for a few minutes as she rides by on her horse. Or I might yell to Bill that the bulls are loose and we might run out to the gate and look at the bulls as they mosy up the street to a new pasture.

Once in awhile we might hop in the truck and drive to Navajoa to buy something very important. Last week we went to buy an electric weed trimmer. I fought it because I don't like the sound and besides, I offered to let trimming all that yard be my responsibility. I am eager to keep busy. So we went to get the trimmer.

Back home I got bored trimming the weeds after an hour and Bill took over. After awhile he said we had a new mower...
and for a day we had our very own horse. Isn't she pretty????? She ate a lot of grass and weeds. I was excited because I might not have to use the trimmer. And she was better than the goat that Ramon tried to get for us. It was awesome until she started pooping and peeing and I said, she is outta here. So Bill started chasing her around the yard to get her out. And we had our very own rodeo show.
It was very entertaining. We think one of the gate workers let her in and then, Bill took a break from chasing her and suddenly, she was gone.

Around 10 or 11am, I will reluctantly do the dishes. The blue bin holds the soap and then comes the rinse and lastly, in the black stock pot, the bleach rinse. Very, very boring.. I don't have enough light to do the dishes the evening before, so basically, I am doing dishes that we will use later that evening. There is a dove nest in the mesquite tree over the dishwashing area and sometimes things I don't like the things that fall on me, but this is where the faucet is so it's not like I have a choice.
Just another lovely shot of the dishwashing area. Now if we are grilling that evening, dishes are clean and good to go. But most often, we are slow cooking in the crock pot. So, by now I will get that going. And I will say we have had some incredible crock pot meals. In addition, we also have a small electric hot plate. When I get back home I will give you the title of the crock pot cookbook we use. I bought it in the Denver airport years ago and it is a vital part of our Alamos living. All southwest cooking recipes by a couple of ladies who studied crock pot cooking in Mexico, it is a fantastic book!
The area below is the food preparation area. We keep our water there (10 pesos for the large purified water jug you see on the table, 11 pesos for delivery, but we like the experience of taking the empty jug to the water purifying house )and the crock pot and hot plate are there as well. Clean dishes are there, coffee and tea stuff.. we also have a pantry cupboard in the room that is not our bedroom and keep lots of canned and dry food there.

After I get the crock pot going, I might work in the yard, work on a painting, or make some fresh limonada from the limes I bought at the Mercado that morning. Or I might study the 501 verb book for awhile or write in my journal.
Sometimes I will just take a two hour early evening we are sitting around watching the bats fly and petting the cats, or walking around taking a yard tour.
If we are not crock potting, we are grilling. In the photo below you will see the grill. Bill is in charge of grilling and he is the best .....It is dark here by 7:30pm and before we eat we might take a few photos of the sunset and talk about what we plan to do the next day............