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.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Photos from the Carraterra

Buen Dia!
Last night we took a nice walk as the sun was setting. There was still a good breeze and the temperature was great. The jacarandas are beginning to bloom with huge purple blue flowers. There is a new sweet smell in the air. We have had the first sweet smell, the blossoms of the limon trees. This one is very strong, but I am not sure yet what it is.
Below are some photos from the carraterra. I took them all while the truck was moving. Bill was kind enough to slow down when I asked him to stop so I could take the photos........
The first is the new archway and the others are of the two new bridges and then, a photo of the old stone bridge (you will see the stone inside).
The new bridges, as I mentioned in an earlier post, replace hurricane damage.
The archway is most likely funded by money from Pueblo Magico.
In the archway photo you can see a poster of one candidate running for governor of the state of Sonora.
The election is going strong and we can sometimes hear the political rallies (depending upon the direction of the wind) which are often held around the Plaza de Armas. They usually include lots of great music and really good food.
I happened to be down at the plaza one afternoon during a rally. They had a terrific bongo band and people were dancing in the streets. They had several grills going and were handing out huge free plates of food. I wanted one so bad, but I have been told it's frowned upon for a foreigner to partake in a political rally, even if it is just for a free plate of carne asada and tamales or a balloon.
Now if you happen to be sitting down on a park bench and someone just happens to see you there and happens to bring over a plate of free food, then you can eat it. But no one paid me any attention that day.

Tonight Bill is going to grill two rib eye steaks for us, even though he thinks we are old enough now to share one. I absolutely do not like to share my rib eye steak with anyone.
I think I told you that we discovered the Wal Mart in Obregon will cut rib steak as thick as we want it. So Senor stands there at the meat counter and keeps spreading his hands farther and farther apart. We now have freezer half full of very thick rib eye steaks.
Well, that is really about it for now. Overnight I fired what I hope will be some beautiful tiles and I am eager to go open the kiln and look inside!
Adios, linda lou

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Pueblo Magico

Buenas Dias! Last night I took about twenty photos of the sunset. It was hard to choose which one to show you, so I settled on two.

I want to tell you a little about Alamos and then, take you on a walk.

Alamos was designated a Pueblo Magico in 2001. Becoming a Pueblo Magico is an extremely important recognition; it enables a town to receive federal money to preserve certain buildings, to restore churches, to bury above ground power lines, to preserve and restore the areas within and surrounding cemeteries, to update alamedas and plazas. In other words, many things that will beautify a town and preserve it historically can be done in a Pueblo Magico, and all of these things will help to promote tourism. There are only 30 towns in all of Mexico to have this honor.
I first heard about Alamos being a Pueblo Magico when I worked at DIF after the hurricane. A news crew was in the kitchen and the reporter kept saying...Alamos, Pueblo Magico............and when we would stop working for a few moments to watch news coverage on the DIF tv, the words Pueblo Magico were always used in the same sentence as Alamos. So I knew it was something special, just not exactly what it meant.

By becoming a Pueblo Magico and receiving money for these improvements, Alamos becomes a candidate for being chosen as a World Heritage Site. Another unique recognition and even more money for improvements and restorations, all of which can only bring more tourism and more dollars.

There are many things being done outside of town; a beautiful new archway is being built and two new bridges (to replace hurricane damaged roadway) are being constructed on the carreterra leading into Alamos.

I find all of this activity fascinating and in my next few posts I want to show you some of the work. Part of the fascination is how they work, how the construction is done, the other is just to watch it get done. Sometimes, the work seems muy rapido and other times, as if everyone is on siesta. I like that, there is no hurry here.

So, instead of going to the track this morning, I walked to town for some photos. I went at 5:30 and there was not a soul on the streets. Typically there are so many people and vehicles that it would have been hard to take these pictures. So, let's go!

Below, I am walking to the alameda, on the main street into Alamos. The wall on the right, while not real exciting to look at, is actually very exciting to tell you about. This long, long wall that encloses the current governor's (Bour's) property, was completely blown inward by the hurricane. . The land was very damaged, structures on the property ruined. Now, six months after Norbert, the wall has been completely rebuilt. This is a huge wall! At the next cross street (Galeana) the wall continues for the block. It is a very significant rebuilding.

We are almost to the end of the wall and the cross street, Galeana. Ahead, where the bushy trees are, is the alameda.

Getting closer, we are going through the roundabout, or glorietta. It goes around the statue of Benito Juarez, one of the most famous and well loved presidents of Mexico. Directly behind the statue is a popular food store and an inn above. The electrical lines you see in the photo, above Madero, are yet to come down, but will one day be underground.

The alameda (to the left behind the statue) is the commercial center of town. Usually the streets are lined with taco stands and people strolling and city workers cleaning. Cars, bicycles, horses and carts fill the streets. Old cottonwoods (for which Alamos is named), palms and other lacy leaved trees fill the alameda. Until the restoration of the alameda began, a large volleyball and basketball court were in the center. Those have now been removed and new projects are underway. Above, to the right, on Madero, you can just see the beginning of the sun coming up, that pale pink glow.

Above, we are almost to the alameda.

In the photo below we are looking back the way we have just come. If we followed this road we would leave town, going past DIF, the hospital, the Pemex, the soccer field, the Artesanias Mercado and eventually, down the mountain to Navajoa!

Below, we are on the alameda. Where there used to be an old cement walkway, new stone walkways have been laid.

Construction items lay around the old fountain in this photo. The TBC bus station is across, on the other side of the alameda and is the only activity today, at this time of the morning. When we stayed in Alamos in 2007, we stayed in an inn on the alameda, and I know for a fact, that it is generally not this quiet here in the mornings! Perhaps alot of people are still recovering from Santa Semana........

The area below was once the old volleyball and basketball court. You can see the new stone that has been laid, leading up to the new gazebo.

Workers are beginning to arrive and another bus departs from the station.

The gazebo below and what looks like a low wall that will probably have an iron railing on top of it. Lots of rebar will go into this project.

In the photo below we are looking back the way we just came. You can see the beautiful new lampposts that have been installed, but no fixtures yet. The steps to the right lead up to the gazebo. On Sunday we were down here and there were so many families and people that we could barely get through the crowd. It was of course, tiangus (market) day.

The building at the end of the alameda is the side of the mercado. The red chair is one of the shoeshine chairs and you can see the new hand railing that has been innstalled for the new steps.

This is a new building going up at the very end of the alameda. We are still not sure what it will be. There was an old restaurant here and that structure was taken down and this new one is going up. Someone told me it may be a new restaurant.

This looks very similar to what Senor is doing, see the wood form beams and the way they are supported?

Below, are the new hand railings and steps and to the right, an inn.

Below, looking back the way we came, you can see the lampposts and the new handicapped ramps and railings. The second story to the left of the trees is another inn.

The mercado is sleeping in the photo below. Its huge iron gates are still locked tight.

If we continued down this street, alongside the mercado, we would get to the Callejon del Beso, or the 'kissing alley'. A walk through this lovely cobblestone alleyway would take us to the Plaza de Armas, where the church is undergoing a beautiful restoration. One morning I will take you there. It's right beyond the white truck in the photo below.

We just drove to Navajoa, to pay the Telmex bill, which I am pleased to say is finally dropping a little since our daughter got skype. Out on the carraterra, the workers are up on top of the new archway and they have actually built the arch now. It looks great. The bridges were quiet, but it looks like they plan to keep one of the old bridges and connect a second bridge to it. I will try and show you all that tomorrow.
Adios, linda lou
PS: some of my information comes from the Alamos Guidebook, written by Donna McGee and BK Hamma, but re written in my words. If you come to Alamos, the guidebook will be the first thing you will want to get in preparation for your trip. My other sources of information are a few of my mexican friends whom I am so happy to say, always slow down the cadence of the language when I ask them for information and then, I can usually understand most of it.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Quick Mini Yard tour

Hola! Here is last night's sunset.

Things are heating up here (97 today, but a great wind! ) and I suppose that helps make these beautiful colors. Mt Cucharumba is to the right center of the photo. One of our large plumeria trees below.
By July it will be covered with gigantic green leaves. This is the tree with bare reindeer branches in the winter. Several months ago I showed you a photo of the full moon through the bare branches. Now I think this photo sort of looks out of focus, or maybe that is a heat wave in front of it.

another plumeria tree.............we have three large ones..................

and an itty bitty baby one. I just stuck this broken branch in the ground a month ago..........

limon tree ( we have two of these) looks really healthy..............that's a big amapa growing above it.............

an orange tree ( we have several)............see the orange?
And below, three of our palms. We have several more little palm gardens like this, little clusters around the yard. We plan to get more. I would like to have our whole yard covered with these. How awesome when they get about eight feet tall to be walking around the yard under a canopy of plumerias and palm trees? Senor feeds these like babies, all the time. He fertilizes, he waters, he talks to them when I am not looking. He says.......grow, grow, grow...........

adios, linda lou.....

Monday, April 20, 2009

Quiet Here

Our sunsets this week have been brilliant. The sky has been so many shades of pink, purple, blue and yellow.
And the weather has changed. It is still dry, but the wind has died and the days are getting hot. Yesterday we were 91 in the shade of the hilton garden room. All of the ceiling fans are going and they are very efficient at keeping us cool, but we did buy our mini split in Obregon as we returned south last week. Before we went up to Tucson, we were able to see some of the events of Santa Semana, the holy week leading up to Palm Sunday. There were a number of times when crowds of people were walking through the streets, following the priests and the carrier of the cross. The crowd sang very softly as they walked and quickly gathered in numbers.

The farioses were in the streets, dressed in their deer masks and boots made from shells, their bells jingling as they danced for money. They are men who are chosen, before Lent, to walk to larger pueblos, to dance in the streets for money. Different groups of farioses have been in Alamos over the past month. They are to remain silent for the entire month they are visiting different towns, returning during Santa Semana to their own villages with the money they have made.
There was also a huge increase in Mexican tourism here in Alamos. We have been told that the weeks before and after Easter Sunday are the equivalent of spring break for the states. But, here it seems to be a big family affair. The municipal workers here in Alamos had a four day holiday and my Mexican friends and aquaintances were taking their families to the beach.
From what I can tell, Mexican tourists love Alamos as much and probably more so than foreign tourists. I certainly saw busy, crowded streets filled with people walking, taking photos, shopping in the stores. On the Friday before Palm Sunday, many hotels and inns appeared full of Mexican tourists and alot of family parties were held in the streets at night. On the alameda, at the bus stop, I saw busloads of tourists arriving. Food stands were filled with people and the lines in the markets were long. In the afternoons the plaza was crowded with people sending pictures to friends via their cell phones and fathers taking lots of photographs of their families as they posed under the gazebo.
this was a busy place..............
Today, after a walk to the track and to town, the streets seem quieter. There are less cars and trucks on the main road and I see more people I know and I see fewer crowds of people I don't know.
We know that many of the foreigners who make Alamos their home for the winter months have gone back to their other homes, and from the looks of things, the Mexican tourists have returned to their homes as well.
it seems very quiet here.....................

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Roofing Beams

Buen Dia!
It has been awhile..............we had to make a quick tax trip last week to Tucson. It is fairly easy to file taxes from Mexico, the IRS even mailed a one inch thick booklet to us (so large it did not even fit in the postal box). Unfortunately we waited too long to mail all the stuff back, so we had to go north.

The good news is we discovered Tubac, Arizona, on this trip and really enjoyed seeing the art community there. If you want some good prices on Mexican wares, this is a great place to go. We did, of course, see (for example) merchandise in the Tubac stores selling for $10.00 and we have seen the same items in Guadalajara for $5.00. But, if you cannot get to Guadalajara, Tubac is a cool alternative.

Our border crossings were quick, maybe they know us now?
The US always checks our passports, but Mexico just waves at us. They do not even come out of the little casita....and of course, I had a list.

The days are getting longer here and the sun has moved farther to the north. It is daylight around 5:20am (I am up and heading to the track) and it is twilight a little after 7pm.
The sunsets, as you can see below, are spectacular. Bill has begun to lay the concrete beams over the first section of the house. Some of the electrical wiring is inside the beams.

Over these beams will go the layers of ladrillos, styrofoam, plastic and dirt, and palo blancos, but probably not in that order. I will have to check with Senor about the order and how all that is put together. Working fast and hard to try and get this done before the rainy season begins in June, is the daily routine.

Of course, you will not find me up on the roof. You will find me brushing the layers of dust from the tops of furniture and sweeping it off the floor and out into the yard. You will find me doing dishes and other daily cleaning chores. Then I might walk to the Mercado for fresh vegetables, stopping on the way at the Palacio for the mail. You might find me sitting on a bench at the Plaza for awhile, people watching and reading the mail. Back home, you'll find me firing tiles (they are coming along great!). Then I will probably study my Spanish for an hour or so. Then I will be back at work on the tiles, or checking something out on the internet. Then I will water all the plants as it gets later in the day, turn the compost and begin to think about starting dinner.
Of course, every day is different. One of the little pots I bought in Tubac fell out of the car during a stop in Guaymus. Well, I need to glue it all back together. I'm sure I can do that. I have a stack of papers that needs to be filed away. I need to go and pay the $15 water bill. A lady commissioned me to fire four identical glass coasters for her and I have not started. I need to make some silver bails for a pair for earrings. I really need to go down to the fabric store in the Mercado and buy some oil cloth to make an apron. I wore last night's spaghetti.
And I have been informed by Senor that soon I will get to begin work on the coyote fence! I am a very busy person.
Maybe I will talk Senor into a short walk tonight. Some men are working on the property one block over. An adobe wall has gone up around the property and activity has started inside the wall. We probably need to go and check it out.
No more sitting around. Adios!
PS: I see that there is now a myspace good2go2mexico account. It has no connection to our good2go2mexico blog. We do not have a myspace account.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Viernes de Delores (Friday of Sorrows)

Last night, the Friday before Good Friday, we went to see the altars that are created for one evening, ouside many homes and inside courtyards and niches to commemorate the sufferings of the Virgin Mary upon the loss of her son. This is a very old tradition throughout parts of Mexico and dates as far back as the 1600's. The town of Alamos, is the most northern town in Mexico, to honor the tradition. There were 51 altars on the route.
After the 6pm mass, the priests led a candle lit procession to each of the altars, to view and bless each one. Below are some of the altars we saw. Each altar contains a picture of the Virgin Mary, and often, a statue of Mary as well. The altar includes offerings to Mary, such as oranges, which represent her bitter tears, wheat to create rebirth, fennel, mint and other herbs to represent spring. Flowers, candles, glasses of wine and water, a ladder, hammer and crown of thorns, rope, pliers and a clay or plastic rooster were in all of the altars. I am not certain of the significance of all of the items.
The families that created them were very generous, allowing us to walk into their yards, and onto portals or down narrow hallways to view their displays.

It was very moving, very special to be able to see this tradition in Alamos.