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, January 29, 2011

Streets are Packed

This is the last day of FAOT, but the music is non stop and will continue throughout the night, with a closing opera performance in the Palacio, several more concerts on the Plaza stage, ending with a concert out at Las Delicias (across from the panteon) at midnight.
As you might expect by now, 'Announcer Guy' is really getting his workout, ladies flock to him, wanting hugs and kisses and pictures.I want to show you a few photos, just some interesting things I saw today.
Below is one of the kiosks announcing the day's venue. Behind are the Plaza vendors, just setting up for the day. Over on the Alameda there are a hundred more craft and art vendors, sparkly hat and bag vendors, and food sizzling on the asadors, and drink and food wagons selling margaritas and candy. These are the little FAOT buggy cars. They will take you wherever you want to go for a few pesos.
Below, a quartet of guitars makes music in the church.Outside, in the church wall, even this fellow stops to listen and watch the crowd.

Inside the Museum auditorium, there is even more opera, standing room only, this performance was packed.

Over at the stage in the Alameda, followers of the Buena Vida Social Club are enjoying the music.

A young girl in the Kissing Alley has a unique way to sell her jewelry.

Musicians in the Kissing Alley play for tips.

Baskets and bangles for sale.

Bread for sale.

Balloons for sale.

Streets are packed.

Senor says we are going out for carne asada tonight and then to the Havana Club music show at 9:30. I will let you know if this happens. That seems a little late for us, but he says it is the one music scene he really has hoped to make during FAOT.
As soon as the festival is over I will catch you up on construction around here.
Until then, Buen dia!
Try the video and see if you can get it to work, a short bite of the Buen Vida performance.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Health Costs


Left the casa yesterday at 11:15am.
Arrived at Navajoa IMSS Seguro (social security and medical insurance) building at 11:45am.
Caja 6: gave them last year's paperwork showing we have Mexican medical insurance at 11:50.
Caja 12: got a receipt showing we have insurance at 12 noon.
Around the corner and at the bank: paid cash for renewal of one year, 2,216 pesos for me, 3,325 pesos for Senor because he is 60 now at 12:15.
Caja 6: showed director bank receipt and got stamped at 12:20.
Caja 12: received new papers showing us paid and good for uno ano at 12:25.
In the tracker and on the road home at 12:30.
Sometimes things in Mexico go perfectly, without a hitch. This was one of those days.

Above are the booklets IMSS gives you when you make your first visit to the clinic. They are good as long as your insurance is good. Our insurance is without restrictions and treatment and medicine are supposed to free.

Senor had an odd bump on his arm a few months ago, and it was getting bigger, not smaller. IMSS clinic visit, medication and no more bump. Free.

Now when I had my rebar accident we did go to the clinic, which was not open and was not open when we returned again at a later time. This is how I ended up at Senor Fernando's farmacia.

I have since returned to him and have been taking pills he gave me for the kidney infection and more lotion for the leg. The lotion actually is in a syringe now with a real needle on it. Like the first visit, that scared me. But he laughed and, no, no eet eees nad a problem, you don haf to steek you body............. So I have been plunging the needle and letting the lotion drip onto my finger and spreading it around the wounds three or four times daily. My leg looks so much better.
The pills for the kidney are twice daily for about 14 days, and kidneys are feeling much better.

Bill for treatment from Senor Fernando: $175 pesos, about $14 USD, 2 visits for a leg and a kidney.
Bill for US treatment: $69 to sit in clinic room, $28 to pee in a cup and get diagnosed with kidney infection, $23 for SIX little pills that did...........nothing........... total bill: $120 USD.

Sorry, I am not really going anywhere with this post. It all started when I began adding up my Tucson expenses...............................but I think you know what I am saying here.


The program was for an Ecuadorian flute player.
I am sure he played every kind of flute that has ever been made. Together Senor and I took about 20 photos and only ONE came out in focus.
Here it is..................he was very talented.

So, as I close up here, I wish everyone good health. Don't run into any rebar in the night, don't get any kidney infections, but most of all have good insurance............just in case you need it.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Wimps for Sure

Buenos tardes.
It is late in the day and I am braising chamberle con hueso, which is a cross cut shank with bone in. It is cooking in a chili verde sauce and it smells yummy! Takes about three hours to braise, on the little hot plate. So while it boils (there is no simmer switch) I will get in some quick FAOT.

Below is the announcer for the FAOT festivities. Before each performance he walks all over town with his blue bull horn, announcing what the venue is and where it can be found. You may remember him from last year's FAOT posts. In this photo he is outside the church telling us that the flute and cello Johann Sebastian Bach concert is about to begin.
I went in early and sat in the fourth pew back. I would have sat in the third, but the seats are missing.

This performance was by Horacio Franco (Mexico) and Asaf Kolerstein (Israel). It was spectacular. I tried to upload a video I took and it would not work, so I will give it to you in still shots.
Kolerstein's cello is waiting patiently..................the church is quiet and still.

The musicians begin.

Franco's wooden flutes wait their turn.....................

Bach would be very pleased...........................
It turns out I am sitting in the nuns' pew. They were very kind and all five squished in so they would fit. I took several photos of them, trying to cleverly hide my camera in my lap, until the sister at the end coughed my way and gave me a snarly look. You can just barely see her head, it is turned and she is looking directly at me, with one raised Jack Nicholson eyebrow. At about that moment I realized the red light on the side of my camera was going off in her face with each shot.

Outside the church, near the tourist office, the children are having drawing classes.

On the Alameda a few folks are gathering for the country band. Believe me, the crowd became huge. You can see 'announcer guy' in the back. He is everywhere.

Hula-hooping and dancing.

Lots of food in the stalls.

The salsa band above was a hit.
Oops, dinner is ready. Gotta go.
We are thinking about walking down to hear the brass quintet outside the church, do we eat now or later.............but some cold weather has blown in and I am thinking sitting in the bathroom to be with a nice fire blazing and hot chamberle in chili verde sauce and then, a good book sounds good.
Jeez, we are such wimps................

Friday, January 21, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Buenos Tardes!

We are finally home and so happy to be here. Cookies is elated to have us here after nine days of sleeping out in the wild back yard and probably hours of fending off wild cats and skunks and possums and iguanas. He is sleeping and snoring on the bed behind me.

Tonight is Gala Noche for FAOT. If you did not catch the you tube connection I gave you in my last post, you can get it here. My Alamos friend, Emily, who originally posted it says it gives her goose bumps to watch it. Be sure to have your volume up. It WILL give you goosebumps.

I hear the governor is in town and that in general, many, many people are in town. When we stopped at WAL MART in Obregon, I spoke with a man from Arizona who, with his wife, was meeting three other couples in Alamos, for FAOT. They have rented a house and of course,were very excited to get here.

Tonight's gala will be very dressy and after many speeches, FAOT will kick off with mezzosoprano Maria Luisa Tamez.
Below is a link to the program, if you are interested in knowing more.

We will be staying home tonight. The nice thing is we will be able to hear Tamez' voice as the breeze lifts it up and out of the Palacio and magically, right up the hill to us. It should be beautiful.

As soon as we unloaded new old car, Senor said he was off to the hardware store. First I made him pose with the car. He said I was really wasting his time now. In fact he came back only to say the hardware store was out of cement, probably sold the last bag while I was making him pose.

While we were gone, Umberto finished clearing away the old sidewalk on this side of the casa.

The nasturtiums exploded.

Everything has been watered and the dirt has been raked.

Umberto even filled the bird bath with water.

So after such a long day of driving, it was nice to see things neat, tidy, clean and green, and the trumpet vines covered with orange blossoms and the bouganvilla coming over the wall.

New old car drove well down the highway for Senor. It's a little bouncy and I almost lost my cookies a couple of times, but it could also be the medicine I am taking.

The dealer ordered parts for repairing the driver's window and inside door lock, neither of which work. The parts were due to arrive today or tomorrow, but we were so eager to get out of town we told them they can repair it next time we are town.

It was rather comical to see the looks on the toll booth operator's faces as Senor pulled up to the booth and opened his door and got out to pay. At the first booth he missjudged the distance to the booth and as he opened the door he dropped all of his toll money. He almost hit the second toll booth. But by the third one, he was able to stop at a good distance, open the door and hand out the money without getting out of the car, and say Buen Dia and Gracias, too.

It was not so comical when we had to open the door to federales. They expect you to roll down your window. they are serious guys. I made Senor practice how to say.............i am so sorry, my window is broken..........or....the switch is broken, the window will not roll down........or malo, malo switch, bad, bad switch, but he could not remember any of the words when we got to the federales.

By Toll Booth Three I was feeling better and threw into the back seat the plastic bag Senor had insisted I keep in my lap.

Believe me, it is critical to turn in your car permit at the border if you want to bring down another car. At Empalme, they double checked all that on the computer and made certain we had turned it in. Each person is only allowed to have one car to his name in Mexico. We were not sure they really keep track of it, but evidently they do.

Window washers seem less concerned about us and rarely did one approach us on our way down.
That leads me to believe it is true, big truck, big money. Little new old car, forget about it.
One fellow did walk towards us at a Pemex and when Senor waved him off, he smiled and walked away. Before getting back in the car, Senor gave him five pesos for just being kind and considerate and not getting all gripey because we would not let him wash the window. The guy smiled and said, gracias. They could start a new business, you know, approach a foreign car to wash it and after getting waved off, smile and walk away. I bet there are more Senors out there and see, the washers would not have to lift a finger. Smile, be happy, get five pesos, easy.

So, the Tracker does not hold much, yet we managed to pack it tighter than a jar of anchovies. Below is one of our new Pier One chairs with new old love seat. The two pillows on the far left are ones I made out of Goodwill fabric while we were stuck in the hotel. It will take some coordinating, but I think all these colors can be made to work in the main sala.
We will pick up the second Pier One chair sometime when we are back in the states. They said they will hold it forever, and we could only get one in new old car.................funny, isn't it? And, I have no plans to buy anything else, believe me. If it does not fit, we do not need it.

Senor is out walking around the yard and casa. Now that we are home he has big construction plans. He says we are going into Phase Two. So there will be a lot going on here in the morning, providing he gets his concrete.

Then around two in the afternoon, we will go to the church to hear the flute and cello concert. Then, most likely a short siesta and some more music in the evening.

I will keep you posted on Phase Two. In the meantime, I hope you will visit the you tube, then close your eyes and listen to the wind and pretend you are here in Alamos.
Que le vaya bien!
linda lou

Thursday, January 20, 2011

On the Way Home

Buenos Noches.
We are in Hermosillio. I don't remember ever being this drained, emotionally and physically, well maybe pregnancy. I don't know, that was so long ago.

It is good to just be back in Mexico. I think my blood pressure has dropped to normal.

Selling a car to a dealer and choosing to not buy a car from the dealer presents an interesting array of problems. I am going to make this short.

The Phoenix dealer finally sent us a certified check, on Wednesday, to our Tucson hotel, for the amount of sale. We took it to the dealers' bank and the bank said..................oh, no, you can get one third tomorrow and the rest in a week, but if you want to open an account with us you may have half today.

Our personal bank can have half tomorrow and the rest on the 26th of January.......but, you have a Washington account, and if you want to get a little more, maybe you should open an account in Arizona?

Our brokerage account said............okay, you are in a tough spot, we will give you a third today and the rest in a week.

We managed to organize enough to pay for new old car today without opening a bunch of Arizona bank accounts, but will not have any access to the rest of our money for at least a week. We bought a nice jar of Laura Scutter peanut butter after we left the car lot.

Here is the switch-a-roo below. In the Pier One parking lot on Oracle, we are removing the accumulation of 9 days in Arizona from the zippy VW rental to new old car. Senor thinks I have a lot of stuff.

New old car, fully loaded.

Now, we are across the border and in Hermosillio where we will stay the night.

Senor is tired of me bugging him and wants to rest and watch TV. He is giving me the evil eye.

It was a long trip and it was a little too eventful.
I ended up in a walk-in clinic because my leg wound hurt too much and I felt like I might have a kidney infection. Interestingly enough the DR said she would not treat my leg because I had seen someone in Mexico. She did determine I have a kidney infection and prescribed 6 little pills for me. 6 little pills...............
Senor determined the anitibiotics would work for the kidneys and the leg as well. Indeed after 3 days, the leg is better and we are still waiting to comment on the other infection. Then Senor got food poisoning and well, what more can I say?

Before this happened we did go for our drive to Saguaro national Park and took these photos for my parents. Maybe you will look at them and say.......hey, I have been there, too!!!!!!

I am pooped out, and going to leave you with this, a fabulous you tube video for FAOT, which my Alamos friend, Emily, discovered. FAOT begins tomorrow. I cannot wait to get home.