Senor and Linda Lou have been in Pueblo Alamos, Sonora, Mexico for 8 years. Okay, okay, now it's been 9 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.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hiking



Buen dia!
I recently went with friends on a hike, up into the hillsides below Mt Alamos. Our intent was to go as high as we could and see what we could see. My friends have hiked the area before and were familiar with a particular route.
The photo above is the view we see as we leave our gate and is where we hiked.
I did not have any expectations of going to the top as the last heavy hike I made was in 1985, for three weeks on an Outward Bound course in the North Cascades, and a few months after, an unsuccessfull climb to the top of Mt. Rainier. Throughout the years our family has done some nice little walk hikes, little ups and downs, some overs and unders, but nothing real strenuous. So, I was not looking for an extreme hike on this morning.
But, I was looking for something.
It has now been over five months since Hurricane Norbert hit us and I was very interested in seeing the terrain and some of the rockslides, which are even more visible now, from town below.
As we hiked we spent alot of time traversing boulder strewn arroyos and climbing over old stone walls that seemed to stretch for miles. We crawled under barbed wire fences and pulled ourselves up onto ledges and held onto tree trunks for support. Because I have a bad left knee that likes to whine and cry when going up the smallest porch steps, I was tired after an hour. I kept trying to remember the Outward Bound hiking rule, which I think is when ascending, it takes one hour to go 1,000'. Coming down should be half that, but never is. But, the sights were lovely............... old tree roots with long ghostly fingers wrapped around rocks, magical old stone walls appearing out of nowhere, weaving some sort of mark of declaration along the hillside. The deciduous oak canopy kept the sun away and old leaves crunched under our footsteps.................



an old stone retainment dam.............nearby were two wheelbarrows, chained to a tree.


an old asadero, built up on the hillside........






one of the rockslides, many of the larger boulders made their way down to the Chalaton Barrio and the arroyos in town..........


another slide, one of several we crossed.............this one was at least 30 yards wide.






a small shrine, amazingly left untouched by the hurricane............



or, perhaps repaired since the storm.....................

an easterly view to the higher Sierras, from our position, which we guessed to be around 2,500 feet.




and below, a view up to what we think is the peak of Mt. Alamos, still too far away for us to reach.........
For me, the trip down is always the hardest. The knee doesn't bend, the thigh compensates for the knee. The ankle gets sore from stepping just off center of the rock and the fingers hurt from grasping at tree branches and trunks for support.
For a short moment, I recalled the last few days of my Outward Bound experience, after seven of us had been lost for several days in the north Cascades, after a freak autumn snowfall. The program actually had to send a chopper out looking for us. How embarrassing for us and the instructor, who, after we came sliding down a snow covered hill, on our rears and packs, yelled, "what the hell happened, didn't I teach you guys anything?"
So, there wasn't going to be any opportunity for me to get out my day pack and slide down the rest of Mt. alamos on my rear end. The feet just kept going and the body followed.
After the hike, I went to bed for the rest of the day, but what a great adventure................ to hike up into the hillsides of the Sierra Madre Mountains of Mexico.























Saturday, March 28, 2009

Mazatlan

Our trip to Mazatlan was wonderful. The car permit was no issue, thank you to the folks who contacted me with information regarding that......interestingly, there were no military checkpoints during the entire drive. We were gestured aside near Culiacan at an agricultural building..............you have fruit? he asked...............we have limons, i told bill...........si, we have limons, bill said...............yes, but do you have fruit? ............... just limon...............no fruit?...............uh, limons, a bolsa (bag) de limons......................okay, no fruit, thank you, very much......................

The drive to Mazatlan was very easy, divided four lanes on the toll, all the way. We did take a short side trip to onto the free road up into the mountains and I was more than interested in getting down and paying the required toll to go further south.

One afternoon I was standing on our little balcony at La Siesta watching the people on the malecon when I saw Nancy and Paul walking their dogs. We had not met before, but their blog, countdowntomexico, was an enormous help to us when we began planning our move to Mexico. They moved from the northwest about 6 months before we did, so I was able to tap into a wealth of information that was given on their blog. Their photos are included in their blog and when I saw them, I recognized them immediately. It was great to meet them.

Below is La Siesta, one of the original old hotels in old Mazatlan. If you really want to see Mazatlan, this is the area in which to stay. The beautifully restored historic district is only a few blocks to the east. Streets are filled with outdoor cafes, gift shops, book stores and old hotels and theatres.

La Siesta, facing the south beach, Playa Olas Altas, and Two Brothers' Islands ( in the fifth photo below) is across the street from the beach and the malecon. Inside the long, narrow courtyard of La Siesta are two very old Ullee trees. This is the spanish word for the trees. I have not researched the trees, but they are gigantic, tropical trees that cover almost the entire courtyard. The slatted doors of the rooms allow breezes to flow in from not only the ocean, but the courtyard as well.


Across the street from La Siesta is the malecon, which stretches north to south for over ten kilometers. The little balconies off La Siesta are perfect for people watching as the malecon is very busy. We watched walkers, skateboarders, cyclists, rollerbladers; just like the waves across the street, day and night, the malecon doesn't stop. The photo above is following the malecon to the north. Around the hillside, the beach stretches for miles and miles, up to the Zona Dorado, where the large, high rise resorts fill the horizon.
The photo below was taken from the La Siesta balcony and shows the southern end of the beach. Behind the hill is the sea port, where the cruise ships and ferries dock.



Also, at the south end is a small skiff that will take you to Isla de Piedra (Stone Island) where you can lounge on the beach and eat under cool palapas.




KD and Senor 'palapaing' on Stone Island.........................


At the end of the day, every sunset from a La Siesta balcony is perfect.........

adios, linda lou






































Saturday, March 14, 2009

No Problemos!

Wednesday, the 10th, nice breezy morning, slightly overcast. Umberto is on time. Senor only tries to climb the ladder once, takes ibuprofen, feels better..........
The day started out well enough.

I walked to a friend's house. The friend and I began to talk about our Mexican car permits. Interesting conversation and it got me to thinking, so when I got home I checked our permit. Oops, expires March 11, 2009.
Well, need I even tell the rest of this story?

In ten minutes flat, we were packed and in the car, pulling out of the driveway to go to Empalme, where we got our permit last June, after crossing into Mexico. Another friend saw us leaving and when we told her where we were going, she said........no, no, you don't have to renew it...... as long as your FM3 is good, your permit is good....but, i said, the piece of paper says it expires tomorrow.....................no, no, i don't think it does, she said.

We pulled out of the driveway at 2:25pm and arrived in Empalme at 5:06pm. Aduana was still open, but we noticed banjercito (the bank where you pay for permits) was closed.
We showed him our FM3, which we originally got in March, 2008, in Seattle. When we came into Mexico, the FM3 expiration was changed, by immigration in Hermosillo, to our entry date, June 18. Aduana looked at our car permit which was going to expire the next day. Aduana looked at the FM3, which expires in June. Then he pretty much said.....go home......your permit does not expire ever.....as long as you have an FM3.
I thought, well banjercito is closed, Aduana just wants to go home. I questioned him.....no, he said, and i will copy off the rule for you..............

He went away. He came back with a paper..................keep this with you, he said......... this is the rule that says you do not have to renew your car permit while you have an FM3 and are in Mexico.....highlighted sentences are important..................... we think he said.






So, Senor and I looked at each other, grabbed all of our tons of paperwork and drove to Obregon, where we got a room at the Quality Inn, watched Mexico and Bolivia play futbol, had room service and hot showers. The next morning we shopped at WalMart and Home Depot.
Back home, we have spoken to people, fluent in Spanish, who say they cannot really interpret the papers above. We have talked with people who have never renewed car permits. We have talked to people who don't even have car permits.
We have looked at websites that say they have car permit information, but have found very little about car permit renewal.
All we know is we are going to cross into Sinaloa, next week, heading to Mazatlan, to meet our daughter, with an expired car permit.....................no problemos! buenos noche! linda lou


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Senor in Bed

Good morning!
Yesterday, bulls and cows were herded up the street. They all wear tingling bells and there are always lots of barking dogs, kids on bikes and men yelling. This happens several times a week and we can hear them when they are on their way up the street. Usually I have plenty of time to get outside the gate and take a good photo, but our gate was locked yesterday and I could not find my key in time.

It rained for 2 days and it was very nice. It settled some of the dust around town. Yesterday evening I walked up into chalaton barrio and the air smelled cool and crisp. For awhile I walked uphill alongside an old Mexican man, pushing his bike. He told me how bad his knees and legs were and he could no longer ride the bike up the hill. It's not the first time I have seen him on the hill. I pushed his bike for him for awhile and then, he had to stop and rest, and I turned around and headed back down the hill.
Later, at home, the sunset was beautiful and then, the full moon came up. I took the photo below through the plumeria tree, which reminds us of reindeer antlers. The plumeria leaves are just starting to poke out of the antlers.



There has been no activity here. It has been very quiet. Three days ago, Bill hurt his foot. We still do not know what happened, no signs of a cut or bite. But, it was very swollen and he could not walk on it for 3 days. I had to tell Umberto to go home each day and I was afraid he would have to find other work. We really like him and do not want to lose him. Bill was beside himself and unhappy and cranky, because the weather was perfect for working outside, overcast, cool, drizzlie. He laid in bed and read stories of the 'Old Duck Hunter's'.


But, hooray! Senor is up and moving, ever so slowly this morning. He is wearing one of my open toe sandals and a sock, and supervising while Umberto chips away at a wall.

So, this is good, hopefully he is on the upswing.

I especially like to see him up and moving because next Wednesday, we are going to Mexico for a vacation. We are driving to Mazatlan, which is six hours south, and meeting our daughter for a week. It is an early college graduation gift for her. I am very excited!!!! It will be our first trip to Mazatlan.


On another note, for those of you who read the beets post and like me, love beets, you have to try Joe's recipe (he posted it in the comments). I made it several days later and it is excellent!

I am still busy making glass tiles. Most of them are now in our flickr account as are most of our photos of this move to Mexico, construction photos and photos of Alamos as well. It is all under glasspondstudio.


So, the sun is out this morning, and I believe every bird in Alamos is in our yard, and the air is sweet with the smell of limon tree blossoms. I think this calls for a good walk to town, up Durango, down Chihuahua, on to Juarez, past the Chocolate House and to the Palacio to pay the water bill, which is $133 pesos. Today's exchange rate is 15 pesos to the dollar....very cheap water.




adios!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Multi Tasking

I was sitting here minding my own business when part of the roof crashed in.
Senor and Umberto were up there with a saw and attempting to take apart one section of the roof, beam by beam, bit by bit, when the whole thing fell in. I think they are lucky they were not standing on part of it when it fell. I ran out to see what had happened and they were both laughing their heads off and Bill looked at me and said....well, that's one way to do it. He had sawed through one beam and nothing happened, so he made a small cut in another beam and it all fell down.



Above, roof on the floor..................

Below, looking up...............So, I guess now we are just that much closer to a new roof. I think the adobe is really pretty. I am making my case for keeping it as it is.

In the photo below you can see the first beam of the new portal. The wood form is in place and the second one, for the length of the portal, has been poured.. The beam is slanted to allow for rain run off. I didn't quite understand all this so Bill said...............climb up the ladder with me to the roof. Keep in mind, this is the roof that has just fallen and I do not like ladders. When Ian was in high school we made him climb up on the roof with a cell phone in his pocket, to move the tv antenna. We would call him on the cell and tell him which way to turn it. Once, when no one was home, and I really wanted to watch Survivor but could not get the channel, I got out the long extension ladder and propped it against the house. I climbed up to rung three and started hyperventilating.

But Senor insisted that if I am going to blog this, I need to get up on the roof. So, I went to rung three and stopped. Senor said..................come on. I went to number seven..........can you see the roof, he asked.............yes, i lied.........

There is a long piece of rebar up there and I grabbed it for security and lifted my head a little higher. I made him take the pictures because I was afraid to move.

In the photo below, you can see the rebar I held on to. The little cap looking thing is a drain and rain water will run off, through the drain, into the cistern, which is below all those pvc pipes in the photo above.


Looking down to fallen roof room above and then, below.



They will be removing the tin roof you see in the photo below. The roof slants down on both sides. The ladder side will catch rain water into that cistern and the other side of the roof will catch rain water into the new cistern that will be built on the other side of the house.
Are you still with me????




The roof has a parapet wall, a higher wall that runs around the perimeter of the house. Rain water gets caught against that and then comes down through these little drain things and into the canales and then, the cistern.


So, that's our roof. I think I have explained all that correctly. If not then we will hear about it soon enough......................the building you see at the very top end of our roof is the house 2 lots down. It looks very close in this photo, but it isn't. There is a nice shot of our black tinnaco.
The area above the black plastic is the caved in roof of the room behind the Hilton Garden Room. The nice white roof, farthest away, and in very good condition, is the roof of our two living spaces at the north end of the casa.
Below is one of the termite eaten beams from the roof that has just come down.



And, this is our pile of rubble, which senor says he might need for something...............what? i asked, why would you need that pile of rubble, why can't we have it hauled away so we can get the truck in here a little more easily...............well, because i might need it, he said.


On a prettier note, here is the little bilge pump fountain coming right along. Pipes have been cemented into the buried tinnaco and the wood form has been created.The first layer of cement (I mixed this cement by the way) has been laid. It will form the base of the little pool. A new form is being made for the circular wall around the pool. The fountain will be set on top of the pipes.

So, I think Senor is learning to multi task. He has never been real big on this, he likes settling in on one project and not beginning another until that one is complete. But, I see that changing, he seems to have alot of things happening at once. Not too many, just enough to really see some progress.
He is a now the roof taker offer, roof tour guide, the fountain form maker, beam maker and decider of what to do with rubble all at the same time. And he still finds time to light the carbon at the end of the day and grill a good meal on the asadero.................adios.






























Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Beets and Blue Cheese

Buen dia!
It is a beautiful morning here, cool and clear, but no breeze. It has been getting very hot here, in the mid 90's most days...... no humidity, thank goodness, but it is really hot. Even our Mexican friends seem perplexed over this as most of them say Febrero is a perfect month. A neighbor across the street says it is La Nina. Another neighbor says it could get cold again. I say we go to Obregon for the mini split..........


Isn't that a gorgeous photo below?It is a bowl of beets.
I absolutely love beets, it is my favorite food. I called a friend many years ago and invited her family to dinner...............is there anything you don't eat, i asked...................beets, she said, our family does not do beets..........................no beets for dinner?.................no beets.
How can someone not like beets? Especially an entire family?

My favorite way to eat beets is with blue cheese, you know, the treasure cave blue cheese that comes covered in the orange rind. When I was pregnant with both of the kids, I did not eat pickles, very seldom any ice cream...........I ate blue cheese and beets.
I could easily eat a whole block of that cheese in the time it took to drive from Carnation to the OB-GYN in Bellevue. And, Linda, how are your eating habits...........perfectly fine, dr, thank you. I always brushed my teeth there in the waiting room restroom. In fact, I make a point of brushing my teeth after every beet and blue cheese meal............

When I worked for Starbucks, my favorite lunch was..........blue cheese and beets. My co workers would run when I took my lunch bag out of the refrigerator. But I usually went to the park and ate so they really did not have to worry.
One of my favorite customers at Starbucks was this guy who drove a different shiny porsche every day. One of my co workers and I used to fight over who would get to fix his double tall non fat latte. It didn't have anything to do with him, it was those porsches and if it was a slow afternoon, he would take us out to the car and let us look inside at all the gadgets he had installed. My co worker was impressed and so was I, but I was also convinced he worked for a dealership.
One day I came back from the park and my blue cheese and beets, and 'Porsche Boy', as my co worker and I called him was standing in front of the store with my co worker and a shiny yellow, 1950 roadster with the tiny little window in back. It was so pretty. My co worker told me there was no one in the store and she had come out to look inside the porsche. So, I decided to stay and look at the porsche, too.
It was a beautiful fall day and the three of us just hung out, sitting in the seats, touching the dials and laughing and smiling and really enjoying ourselves. Some customers went in the store and since I was the boss of my co worker, I made her go inside and help them with their Starbucks Experience and I stayed outside, sitting at the wheel of the little yellow porsche. 'Porsche Boy' was in the passenger seat, showing me a GPS that he had installed and he said he was going to drive out to Ocean Shores for the day and try it out. I smiled real big and told him he had the perfect fall day for that kind of drive.
So, I wished him a great time and he drove off.
Back inside the store my co worker said.............what's wrong with your teeth....they look wierd..... .........i said well i don't know......
I went into the bathroom and my teeth were perfectly red, all covered with beet juice and white crumbles of blue cheese......................very, very embarrassing. I had not brushed my teeth yet.
I think the next few times 'Porsche Boy' came in, I went in the back storeroom. But, I will never even try to kick the blue cheese and beet habit.

We can, of course, find beets on any corner here. Blue cheese is a little more difficult to find. We can get it at WAL MART in Obregon and someone said they found it in Navajoa. So whenever we are in Obregon, I stock up on lots and lots of blue cheese. Another way we use it is with grilled poblano peppers. We take off the top of the pepper and stuff it really thick with blue cheese and just put it on the grill. Perfecto!!!!!!!!! But, I don't really even need the pepper.......
I am so lucky Senor likes blue cheese as much as I do, but beets are not even halfway up his food list. It's funny, but I can't remember if our kids even like blue cheese......they probably had enough of it before they were even born.......and I know they will only eat beets if force fed.

Since I can get alot of beets here, I am also doing a little experimenting with the beet juice. I am dying some cotton cloth with it, but so far, the color has not been dramatic. My plan, once I get the cloth the right color, is to do some kind of batik, but I am not sure I have time.........
pretty little pan of beet juice..............................

Monday, March 2, 2009

Time Flies



The beautiful moon and what we think was mercury, but not sure, very pretty sky!!!
I have been spending some time trying to find out where my time goes.
Then Senor suggested this:

When we do laundry, it takes 20 minutes to set up the washing machine. We have to hook up the electrical cords, which have been hooked up to the cement mixer, and locate the long pvc pipes that attach to the washer and carry the water from the washer to the yard. The water hose has to then be attached to the washer......we no longer get to carry the laundry to the machine and throw it in and push a button.......


When we cook on the hot plate, space needs to be made for cutting, dicing and slicing, water needs to be pumped from its container, we have to FIND the hot plate, unhook the other electrical cords and find a safe place to set the hot plate.....we are no longer just turning the knob on the stove...............

When we watch a dvd in the evenings, we must take the laptop out of the bedroom, bring out the cords, attach the speakers, use the little screwdriver to pop open the place where you put the disc (because senor broke that)........we are no longer just turning on the tv............
When I wash dishes......I won't even go into the details of that....so, enough......because I could go on and on.

I think he is right, there is so much preparation for everything we do, and that is where alot of the time goes. Perhaps, we will have more time when we are farther along on our casa, or maybe time will begin to fly even faster.....who knows........






From fruit to juice, time: 20 minutes................................


que tengas buen dia, mi amigos...linda lou