Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Cabo Kicked Me Out

It's serious. He said
oooook- thats me.
You know they just shut down all of the schools in all of Mexico for the next two weeks don't you?
I DIDN'T know that - a now paying close attention me.
It just happened.  I will check out your daughter, but its you, you should be worried about.

Ophelia has been having cold/allergy symptoms since about a month after we arrived in Mexico. I have been trying to get to the bottom of it pretty much since that time.  We have met with several doctors all of whom are dealing with symptoms and not the root of the problem.  I have been trying to find a doctor who I can trust and who speaks good enough English to explain to me exactly what is going on and is willing to take the time to explain to me every little question I may have.  In March, I finally found Dr. Barragon.  He helped us come up with a long term plan to help manage her symptoms and get to the bottom of her phlemy cough and thick green snot and the occasional ear ache.  We decided that is was greatly due to dust.  It is not uncommon for kids living in Cabo to have the symptoms that Ophelia has been experiencing due to dust kicked up from construction, dirt roads and general desert life.  Her symptoms had pretty much cleared with some mild allergy medicine that he had given her and the the fact that she was on a break from her school that is on a very dusty road with the only barrier being a stone wall only 3 feet taller than me, keeps the people out but not the dust.  But with Semana Santa (two week Mx spring break) over and school back in session, not even a week and O's boogs were flowin' again.  I called up Dr. Barragon to see what our next step should be. 

 I had also heard from my babysitter, Alex that there was a very bad "disease" in Mexico City that was killing people.  She told me that her mom was there and all she wanted was for her mom to come home.  I thought to myself, I wonder if that's a good idea, maybe O will take little break from Alex's until I find out more info.  Betty confirmed that there was some sort of pig flu going around and that it was killing people in Mexico City.  For a few days people were talking about it so I figured while I was at the Dr.'s office I'd ask a few questions.  I wasn't really concerned, I mean at this point I am about as worried as one of us being kidnapped by drug dealers from Tijuana, that's just not happening in Cabo so what's there to worry about?  But a few questions never hurt anyone.

Well the good news is, your daughter doesn't have swine flu- says a somewhat distracted Dr.B.

I already knew that, we were here to talk about a long term plan for allergies, well that obviously wasn't going to happen as I noticed he's streaming info from the WHO (World Health Organization, as if you didn't already know that by now). Here come the questions. 

An attentive yet still not completely concerned me asks, - So how is Cabo prepared if swine flu does come here?

Answer- They are not.  There is no test to see if people have it and there is no cure.  It is all in Mexico city where they need it most.  So you must keep your hands clean, don't rub your eyes and cover your mouth when you cough, try not to leave your house and avoid public places. I don't know what you want to do about your stay...  


Ok so it's pretty clear O and I won't be going anywhere for the next couple of weeks so after we left the Dr's office I decided to go to blockbuster, O wants a hamburger someplace (oh alright we went to Burger King) and then got some allergy supplies from the drugstore, and to La Europea for wine (if I was going to be stuck at home wine was essential) I didn't have to worry about food cuz I'd already done a major Costco run and I was fully stocked.  Crickets, I tell you, the whole town is so dead you can almost hear the crickets.  There is nobody, and if there is anyone they have a blue mask on.  How did things go from completely normal to totally freaky in less than 24 hours, or maybe I'd just been at my house or the safe haven of Villa Miguel I didn't even notice. No on on Friday I'd been out with my mom and her friends for their last Cabo dinner at La Fonda (highly recommended btw) and then taking Tequila shots with a cute boy at Sangria's things were fine, fun, superfun Cabo, and now it's only Monday and where is everybody.  SHIT Ophelia stop licking the Burger King counter top.  NO! Honey we have to wash your hands before we eat.  Yes we can have ice cream.  Please don't put that movie in your mouth.  Don't lay on the floor oh God.  Suddenly I'm a germ freak.  Just get me to my house.

When I get home I call Betty, or do I call my mom?  I call one of them.  I think its Betty and ask her if Beto went to school today, which he did but then confirmed he's not going tomorrow as all the schools have been shut down.  I'm feelin' really relieved that I took O out of school for the day now anyway.  Asked Betty to keep me up on any new news, because all of the news that I was getting was in English and mostly pertained to how things were being affected states side and what directly might be happening in Mx City.  I wanted to know what was going IN Cabo which I guess I wouldn't really trust anyways it's all so dramatized.  All I know is we are talking Pandemic not even Epidemic, like "Pan"gea or "Pan" Am. "Pan" equals worldwide and  there was talk about closing the boarders.  Mommy!!!! Honestly at this moment I am in right fits.  If they close the fucking boarder I am going to be on the other side of it.  There is no way I am enduring a Pandemic ALONE.  No freaking way.  But I'm not panicking yet.  I am really not one to panic.  I mean people have been trying to tell me that they have been hearing really scary things about Cabo and to watch out for drug wars and kidnappers, don't drink the water and watch out for street food, the cops are corrupt your going to get killed in a hurricane blah blah blah, I'm not freaked out by that.  I've never really paid attention to any other pan/epidemic hit the news.  I usually just keep my eye on the tone of general society and if things look fine and normal daily life is happening so shall mine, things in Cabo were not normal.  

I start checking flights, my mom calls her Dr.  Apparently when she called his assistant told my mom that he was busy and if she could take a message, She starts, "Well I just got back from Mexico..."- and the assistant interrupts, "Hold on I'll put you through".  He says, in a nut shell, I'd tell her to come home.  Well that's two Doctors, a mom, a few things on the WHO and CDC website, and a really, really strong gut feeling. Notice this isn't the media, this is me seeing my town shut down around me.

I book a flight for the next day.  Betty informs me that I am going to have trouble getting out of the country because O's FM3 isn't done.  Oh no I'm not, if I want out they better let me out, so what if they don't ever want to let me in again...ok that's not true, I of course want to come back to Cabo, don't be rash.  Betty tells me I need to go to immigration and get a letter, Immigration closes at 7, it's 6, I haul my ass, and Ophelia's lil buns down to immigration.  NOBODY is there. There is always people in Immigration. God I just really really want to get out of here.  Like lumps in my throat, stomach churning, teeth clenched and maybe even a little too tight of a grip on my three year old's mini hand, as if, if I let go of her she will get sucked into the evil vortex of swine flu. I explain my situ in sort of crappy Spanish and he informs me that her FM3 will be done tomorrow all it needs are a couple of stamps and she should be good to go... Ok I make sure I'm hearing the right thing, confirm it and confirm it again with him and he assures me that if I get there right when it opens we should get the FM3 and make our flight no problem.  I leave and forget to take his name.

I spend the rest of my night packing into a giant bin, a ginormous suitcase and a mid size duffel bag as many belongings as I can possibly fit it.  The things we can't live with out, clothes, 3 portable files boxes, my ipod and dock and as much stuff and I can stuff in.  8 hours and 195 lbs later (I'm not kidding, 86 for the tub, 67 for the suitcase and 42 for the duffel), I have packed everything I cannot live without.  The rest can wait, I'll be back, I think, I dunno, yah I will be, I dunno. After about 5 hours of sleep, I get the rest of everything together along with Ophelia ready for the long day ahead, pack up my car of which I can barely lift the giant bin and the ginormous suitcase into my jeep (her name's '86), GODDAMMIT! Why do I have to do this alone?!!? 

We get to town a little early and I grab a coffee from the coffee shop, again dead, the only place that is noticeably busy is the Amerimed clinic all filled with people with blue masks on, Oh I'm so fucking outta here.  We get our coffee and chocolate milk served to us by a woman donning a blue mask, well at least we know everything is hyper clean.  We get to immigration and there are about five people in front of me, one of them is my friend Claudio which is kind of nice because I get to say good bye to him, and most likely no one else but Betty who is going to drive me to the Aeroporto.  I give him the birthday card to give to Rachel that I'd been holding on to but kept forgetting to give to her since Feb, with a picture of her and I on her sail boat under a gorgeous clear blue sky, and a wee note that summed up says, "your the bomb". (sob, tear). 

Time is ticking, and I finally get called right after Claudio. I explain that I am here for my daughters FM3 (in Spanish btw, I always have to say that because that is just never easy and makes everything so much more dramatic for me personally).  He comes back and says it's not done yet.  I tell him that the guy that I met with last night told me that it would be done this morning.  He says, and of course he does, "What guy? What was his name?" Arrgg I knew I should have gotten his name! Of course this is happening right now.  I explain my situ, that I must leave the country today, there has been a family emergency, ok, ok not exactly my situ but I didn't want to say I was fleeing the country as he had all the power to keep me there.  He says he will go back and check and see what is going on.  He comes back and says oh yes it is all ready except that you need a birth certificate, PARDON?, I gently say, "Con permiso, Yo voy por favor?" (meaning may I please look at the file?) WHAT???, ok I know that I had that thing, translated and apostiled there is no way I forgot to file it, HA! just as I thought, I say with the utmost respect but panic in my eyes, "Ah Senor, Esta aqui, mira".  Oh he says, "They must not have wanted to finish it last night." He speaks to me in English. Time is ticking.  OK, Senor, my friend told me that I either need Ophelia's FM3 or a letter to get out of the country, "Is there anyway you could help me with that?" (en espanol)  I think he is getting the urgency of my situation.  He tells me he can help me with the letter, but I must pay 234.00 pesos, I pull out the wallet and say, "Anything." He says no, you must go to the bank.  Of course I do. Time, ticking, I think I can hear it.  Luckily due to swine flu scares there isn't a soul at the bank on a Monday morning, I get right in pay my pesos and return recibo in hand.  About another half hour later I have the letter the glorious letter!!! Thank God we are home free!!! 

I call Betty meet her at the office where we agree I will store '68 until I return and she will drive me to the Airport.  We're just a little late, she has to drop something off in Punta Ballena, we are just a little later, and voila airport.  No lines, no problems at immigration in the airport due to the lovely letter, no stops at security, we even have time for pizza, two minutes but it makes O happy who is so thoroughly sick of running around by now that if this is all it takes to make her happy then hallelujah.  We board our flight, sit back relax, and just get our booties to the border.  Two hours and 47 minutes later we arrive in Phoenix.  Ok, I hope they let us in, I hope they don't make us take a test or something, first entry point no problem, no questions asked. Holy crap my luggage is heavy.  Second check, "Do you have any produce, Sandwiches? No. (I learned my lesson on that one two years before...THEY TAKE YOUR SANDWICH! And we are through. On to the gate, all is well, just your average day at Phoenix Sea Harbor International.  I'm starting to feel slightly stupid.  The airport tickin' right along, the buzz of perfection, workin' like clockwork, two volunteers have given Ophelia airplanes that match her out fit, pass through security, have pizza again at California Pizza (or whatever it's called the one with the Thai Pizza) no sign of panic, not a mask in site.  I am thinking what was the big deal? What was I so freaking out about?

As we board onto the next plane on of the female flight attendants with big blond hair and an, oh I dunno whaddia call it? An Arizona accent? Do they have those? Texas southern but not as strong.  She notes my connection flight from Cabo and leans over and says, "Ok I just gotta ask, is it true?  Are they really wearing face masks down there."  Yes, Everywhere, that's why I'm here.  

When we finally arrive in MPLS it is late I am tired, O is a super star as she has been dragged through immigration twice, across two countries, traversed three airports, stood in two pizza lines, required to hold my hand and not lick any counter tops or lie on the ground and somehow she still wants to jump on the baggage carrier (which of course I do not let her do).  I strategically place myself next to the carrier so as to most easily gather my 195 of luggage.  A few minutes after the buzzer goes off I see a little boy laugh and point, he actually really did, and I knew my giant army green and tan tub wrapped in airport tape must have just come down the chute.  Blocking Ophelia from the baggage carrier, she's now rolling around on the ground, who freaking cares now. I assume the "lift really heavy shit" position.  Luckily this time I have about 12 guys jump to my rescue, freakin' finally good ole Minnesota, where were you guys when I was packing my car?  I know where you were in Phoenix, you were trying to race me to the customs finish line. You won.  Happy? But now that they were relaxed and at their final destination probably using any excuse stave off entering the chill out side and they appear, men to help me with my luggage, and just in the nick of time I don't this my arms could have muscled one more thing.  

I don't think my brain could muscle one more thing either, I could finally relax, my mom, Nana was coming to pick us up.  She was going to borrow my aunt and uncle's SUV because her hot little Audi just would not fit it all in.  All we have to do is wait for her at door one. I wrap O up in a blanket she kicks it off and jumps on the stone sphere and makes a go for the cigarette butt container, but I head her off.  Finally she arrives, Nana.  It had only been three days since I'd last seen her but you'd think it had been a Milena.  She was going to take us home, her home, she had the warm cozy basement apartment where we stayed before we left all ready for us.  Nothing had changed all my stuff was there, my harlequin chairs, my mis-matched wine glasses, my Wustof bread slicer (which I was relieved to see cuz I thought I had brought it to Cabo and was irritated daily that I hadn't) my french press, my shoes, my cookbooks, Mr. Bojangles, my teal lamp, my things.  All the things I left and thought I wouldn't miss, and I didn't until I was home again and suddenly it was a comfort to know that I still had them.  I had left for Cabo partially as a practice of simplifying, a proof that things don't make you happy, on this night my things made me extremely happy.  Symbols of who I have been, maybe who I want to be, maybe not, symbols of my history and how far I have come, memories, I didn't know I would care.  I just didn't think I would care.  How I'm feeling about being home is not how I was expecting.  

Ok so now what.  That is what everyone is asking.  That is what some were asking before I even left Casa Button Bottom (which is what O named my Cabo house).  I really hadn't gotten that far.  I just needed to get as far as the hell out of there.  Now I'm here, and I already miss Cabo, but it feels really good here.  Within days I am doing what I know best.  I arrived home on a Tuesday and by Friday I was throwing myself a welcome home bbq.  Everyone that could, came. I think like 15 people showed, maybe more.  They brought wine, kids food and familiarity.  It was as if we hadn't skipped a beat.  And they all were accepting of whatever I had to say.  I may have told my story a different way every time.  In some versions I was going back to Cabo as soon as I thought I could.  In others, I was waffling, perhaps I might stay, and in others I was realizing that I really can't go back.  The version at first was not clear.  I had come so far in Cabo.  Those first months were really rough, I was nearly ready to bag it then, but then suddenly things got better, I had a social life.  It felt like the company was moving right along and it was possible that someday we might be making money, I might have my dream job.  Socially and professionally I was making connections, I thought this might just work, it's not perfect but it is really getting there.  I had given myself until June to reassess.  That was when I was planning on coming home anyway and if by that time our biz was not off the ground or at least there was something in our future and on the rise I was going to have think about my next move.  But that's not what happened I was suddenly in MN two months earlier than I had planned.  Here is what I have realized.

Mexico has been hit with what I am calling the triple threat.
1. The wretched global economy especially in the US and Canada.  Even though it took a while for Cabo to feel it and its signs may have been more subversive, Cabo was still feeling a hit, though most of us were in denial.  You just wanted to tell everyone that Cabo was still booming, the hot spot people were still coming.  And they were coming.  Spring break was off the hook.  Tons of people, but college kids can only do so much and the big ticket items had slowed.  Real Estate had stopped dead in it's tracks, a friend told us that there were at least five years worth of homes on the market.  Private Yachts Charters weren't sailing as usual. People weren't hiring their private chefs as usual (that was supposed to be my supplementary income) and Villa rentals were down, though not over just down.  And at some point there is just no denying it. We got to see the real live microcosm of a failing economy when the residence club company that my mom was leasing Villa Miguel to went under, and with it every staff member that relied on that company for their income.  One of them was Alex, Ophelia's babysitter, who's mother in laws company was the prime in home villa provider of spa services (ie, patio massage). Her husband filled in as concierge when Juaquine wasn't there as well as provided Butler, chef and service, services.  Alex and Isaac are struggling and they are not sure if they will be able to send their very bright 7 year old to private school anymore.  What you need to know is that private school is not like here.  Its about $200.00 a month, and if your child is not in a private school they risk not getting educated at all as there is a waiting list at the government schools.  Parents will sleep over night at the school to get their child's name on the list.  And here is the thing it's not like once your child is in they are in for good, each year, or maybe even semester the child has to be resigned up.  That means stand in the same long line year after year.  If you don't get them in you have to wait until the next sign up period.  If your child is lucky enough to get in they are only in school for four hours per day and if the child's teacher decides she needs to visit her aunt in La Paz that week, well then that class is just cancled for the day, no warning nada.  A mish mash of true stories that I have heard from many trying to keep or get their kids into school be it private or public.   So even though the yachts are still docked at the harbor and the beaches are still full on spring break there really was no denying that Cabo was starting to have troubles of its own.

2. The drug wars and related kidnappings.  Ok this is not happening in Cabo.  I read something somewhere that I thought was interesting.  They were talking about the drugs and kidnappings and they were said why is it when they talk about things that happen in the states they reference the city in which the events took place.  But, when Mexico is referenced it's just Mexico.  The drugs wars in Mexico.  The kidnappings in Mexico.  Yes these things are happening in Mexico, but they are not happening in the entierty of Mexico just parts and usually just along the borders though there are exceptions to that.  But its not happening in Cabo.  That is not denial talking that is just the way it is.  Its not to say that things might not start happening in Cabo as they lay the smack down in Tijuana they may scatter (they call it the cockroach affect) and head North and South, but the state is taking this matter very seriously and have set up a number of check points along BCS to ensure that any bad guys headed this way get nabbed before they get here.  As it it is Cabo is safe.  Perfectly safe like a little crystal bubble that the entire nation wants to maintain its "Star quality safety".  Its so safe because it makes the country a ton of money and to jepordize that is like shooting your cash cow in the head.  Rumor has it that its safer there than it is in Phoenix (notice specific town noted) where people are actually getting kidnapped and held for ransom.  Mind you that info has not be confirmed just hear say, but then again, I guess it all is.  And that is the problem, the reality is is that perception rules and if Cabo is percieved as "not safe" people just won't come.  

3. Swine Flu.  Nuff said.  Nobody in Cabo got it or at least if they did there wasn't a test to test it (thats according to my doctor) so who would really know.  Point is town is dead.  My friends tell me its a ghost town.  Now this is the time of year when things slow down a bit after the flurry of Spring Breakers, but from what I hear, its dead.dead as a doornail.  Which I don't know what that means but it sounds pretty bad to me.  A sleepy Cabo is a sad Cabo.  

So that assessment being made and the current state of my personal economy amongst many other reasons I have offically decided to stay in MN.  After many a tear shed and the death of my dream, I've reassed my priorities.   I am moving back into my house in June.  Another portion of my puzzle, unsolved, that was drawing me home.  My renters had bought a house, wanted to move out early, we were having trouble finding new renters to pay the required rent. My mothers friend called it "divine providience", my brother Sam said how "fortuitious", we are going to call it home.  We are settin' up camp and stickin' around for a while, like a long while.  It is time to stop moving, O needs to know where her home is.  We found a great little Spanish Immersion school so that she can continue learning Spanish.  I will find a job.  The future is looking cold but bright (I decided to cope with the six months of 40 below windchill, I will be buying a new hot winter ensamble every year, hat, boots, coat, gloves, or mittens). I still have ties in Cabo and hope to visit often.  I'm not sure where the biz is at, at this point who knows.  So there you go. That's my story as far as today goes.  Cabo may have kicked me out but I still love her.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Whats Been Goin' on.

I just noticed that my last post was only four weeks ago.  To me it seems like waaaaayyyyy longer than that.  So much has happened in those four weeks I cannot believe that is all it has been since my last post in fact I am going to check on that.  It really doesn't matter too much because the point is, the world has been spinning ever since my mom got here.  She was the official kick off of Cabo Mayhem.  As many of you know Lusso, the company who was running Villa Miguel went bankrupt.  That in and of its self was stressful, but the good news is mom is now living in Villa Miguel.  It may not be her ideal situation and at first it was a scramble and very intense, but now that she has settled in more it has been wonderful.  Last Sunday we spent the whole day by the pool.  It was my Aunt Becky and Uncle Jimmy's last day in town and we all spent the day lounging and playing at the pool.  O so exhausted herself practicing her swimming skills that she even took a mid day nap.  Which meant I had a full two and a half hours to just chill poolside and chat with Rachel while my mom dropped J&B off at the airport.  I tell you this NEVER happens.  Chill time is usually just not an option!  But on this day it was pure bliss.  And when O woke up she at dinner whirlpool side and then we all had a night time swim.. ahhh I tell you.  This was the quintessential Villa Miguel time, sucking away any stress and bringing in only tranquility.  Three cheers to Villa Miguel.  I tell you the place is magic.  Though we all know it's not magic it's mom always working behind the scenes to make sure it appears to be magic. I am learning through my own experiences how much work it can be to live and do business in Mexico but I have decided that it is the exact things for which I love Mexico that frustrate me.  Without one you could not have the other.  So you take it in stride and know that if you decide to live and work in Mexico patience is key and always always look for the beauty.  
The other part of my job right now has been doing concierge services.  Mostly it's been family that have been my clients.  Which I have been so thankful to be able to practice with them and they have pushed me to find new and interesting things to do here in Cabo.  I in return have 
pushed them to do some pretty new and interesting things as well (Ziplines, Rhino Safari(safe and secure dune buggies, aka "old people ATV's" I can say that cuz I have no desire 
to ATV and a Rhino suits me just fine), sailing (or not really just sitting on an unsailing boat, under strict instructions not to go to the pacific side to as to be sure to not spill your
 Margarita), various booze cruises, (classy and not-so-much).  One of the perks to the concierge biz that I have been participating in is now and again I get to go with my "clients"(family) complimentary to check out activities for promotional purposes, ie, fun stuff for free, and all in the name of research.  Aside from being super fun, it is actually very effective.  I am learning all about all of the activities here, and I thought I'd done it all.  Take for example the Cabo Mar for Salsa Cruise (ie, classy booze cruise), not to be confused with the Jungle Cruise which is not classy at all but super fun and only to be done with people you either like a whole lot or will never see again.  The Cabo Mar we took with my cousins crew.  Such a fun night.  James and Tammy got engaged on the boat.  They were so quite about it I had to make a big fuss.  James proposed right as the sun was setting behind the arch.  Awwww. cute.  The Cabo Mar was a pretty big boat and after a pretty tasty taco bar there was room to dance on the upper deck.  The waiters did a little dance to get the party started.Notice I said waiters, not dancers, so I use the word "dance" very loosely and mostly it was hilarious watching the guys try to keep up with each other.  They still managed to get the party started however and got most of us up on the dance floor, I think I even did the Maquerena (how is that spelled? Its that Mexican dance that won't die).  I must almost mention that the free booze was a flowin' and after diving (my first dive since France, yippy) with Swayze, and a few at the Office that day, I may have been a bit tipsy.   Which would have been showcased by me trying to spin the tallest man on the boat in my little pink beach dress.  We all had such a good time that Amy sent her parents Jim and Becky (J&B) on the boat during their visit.  I wasn't on there for that one, but they said the had a good time...though I can't imagine as good as ours as there was no engagement, no me attempting feats beyond natural possiblity in very cute attire. I have to say as much fun as the cousin crew way they were wayyyy too much fun for me.  A couple of times I had to bow out.  Its the whole I live here, work here, have a kid and need to survive for the next day thing.  That is the weird thing about living in a place where people come to get away from their own lives.  Its easy to forget that people actually live here.  But it's true, living here is sort of  like being on perpetual vacation.  I think that is why I chose it.  I have to do the things that I need to do, I can't be a beach bum, but I have access to so much awesomeness I can pretty much walk out my front door to fun.  

Now I have to say.  This isn't the way I always felt about being here.  There was quite a loooooonnnnng stretch of lonely and hard.  Like straight up crunching on rocks hard.  I can say that about the first few months because I truly feel like we are past it and holding our own as citizens of Cabo San Lucas.  O has adjusted unbelievably well to our new life here in Cabo.  Though I will say at first she HATED school.  The language and all the "naughty little brown kids".  Now she is very happy there and she is speaking more Spanish than I am and understands nearly everything.  And apparently she has the perfect accent.  As for me my Spanish is coming along.  I was taking lessons but they sort of fell by the wayside when the rest of my life got crazy busy...I should be going back now that things have died down a bit and I really feel if there is one thing holding me back it's my lack of social Spanish.  I can tell people what I want, and tell people what to do but I can't hold a social conversation and I understand less than I speak.  It doesn't help that I am half deaf from fourteen too many ska/punk rock or the like concerts.  I pretty much need silence and perfect pronunciation and words that I recognize for me to make an appropriate response.  I few lessons and a hearing aid should help that.  I was thinking of getting one of those mini-megaphones to stick in my ear and have the people at Sangria's just talk straight into...or not.

I am making friends.  Like real friends.  My bff down here's name is Rachel.  We met at yoga and became fast friends. Cue the music. We always joke that the violins start playing every time we tell how we met. 
 But really...they probably should. She is as adventurous as I am has traveled the world, is great with Ophelia and can pretty much hold her own in any situation.  We have lots of fun together and I am so thankful to have a kindred spirit who is going through many of the same 
things as I am.  She moved here in October just after me and has met some of the same challenges of living here.  When we talk to each other we learn that it is normal.  

Along with meeting 
Rachel, two of my very best buds on the planet Katie and Autumn came for a very short 4 day visit.  Short but I am so glad they managed to squeeze me in.  We packed in more stuff in those 4 short days that I had in the entire time I'd been here.  I'd been waiting for them to do a Medano beach day.  Medano is where all the Spring Breakers go and it is fun city, just to be a fly in the sand and watch the craziness ensue.  Mango Deck is where most of the action happens.
  We just sat back by the water and watched all the silly spring breakers do their thing.  But, by the end of the evening we participated in a "name the tune to the movie" trivia thingy.  My proud moment was a song from "Forest Gump" and you had to race up to the guy on the platform and give him a beer to fight for a chance to guess the song.  Well I found a suitable cervesa, sprinted to the platform, slid my butt across it, popped a beer in his hand, 
answered the question, got it right and won 
us a bucket of beers.  Very cool. Uhhhh I also sort of ended up with a giant peacock feather fake tattoo on my upper thigh.  I say it was for the love of my Katie Peacock but it was mostly because it was free and I had a buzz.
  I admit when I woke up in the morning I reacted as a sailor may have tattooing his mother's name in a big heart on his arm.  Yah you may love your mom but do you really want her permanently on your body???? I love ya Katie but I don't need your feather on my thigh for two weeks trying to hide what looks more like unkempt body hair as opposed to semi-permanent homage to my best friend.  Note to self.  Just because it's free doesn't mean it's a good idea.  Why do I keep having to make that note? In Katie's defense the whole thing was my idea. (FYI the beach pic above is Cerrito's not Medano, the one below is Medano)
As the night set in on our beach side outing we noticed that the ground was glowing where the water met the sand.  The phosphorescence had joined the party!  I never knew this but they are like teeny tiny little glow worms that light up when agitated.  I thought they were bacteria but they are bigger than that and when I picked them up they even jumped around.  They'd freak me out if they weren't so cool.  I like shit like that.  I also try to bring my Baja flora and fauna field guide with me everywhere I go but usually forget or if I do remember realize that I rarely have time to stop and study, it's the dichotomy 
between  my wish to have a bit of smarty pants science geekiness and the reality of my forgetful, somewhat ADD in constant search for fun...ness. So when  the phosphorescence showed up to Spring Break 2009you can well imagine
 I invited them to the party! (Thats Rambo the Shot Guy at Mango deck and I checking out the Phosphorescence tee hee cool, we shared a moment.
  While A&K were here we did all the Spring Break stuff we even hit the Giggling, or as we say here in Cabo, The Jiggling Marlin and Autumn and I took upside down shots.  We didn't get pictures of it but it was pretty fun and the sh0ts were pansy shots.  So it almost even felt healthy, like a spine realignment with three sips of zippy grapefruit juice.  Had a few at Sangria's.  We even got our Caricatures done.  Yahhh here's an insider tip.  If a little man, about as tall as he is wide, slightly balding with a mustache, offers to draw your Caricature DO NOT LET HIM!  Even if he offers to do it for free. (See *see note to self above).  You will forever have self doubt.  Autumn, Katie and I had just finished a most fantastic and civilized Tequila tasting (free, work perk) where we tasted 9 different tequilas.  It was like a wine tasting.  We didn't get drunk we were comparing them between 3 brands silver, respasado and anejo.  Believe me after what I saw I wish I had been drunk lost the picture and passed out never to remember how we were once portrayed.  He basically drew giant schnozzed, fake tittied ( I would say breast but that's not what they looked like) Witches of Eastwick.  Pretty much the only thing he got right was the earrings.  300 pesos later, my sweet negotiating skills, we have a laugh of a lifetime.  We couldn't even be nice.  We laughed in his face, we laughed our way down the street, doubled over in an ally way.  It was so bad I kept it.  It's hanging up on my mantel.  I will be keeping it until it is the perfect time to pass it along, perhaps a girls Christmas party gift, in which we give gifts that reflect us....watch out ladies I got plans.  Anyway those four days were filled with so much laughter and uplifting soulful moments I know why I keep the company I do.  No amount of mileage or time distances my friendships.  

And now with the magic of SKYPE we are able to become even closer.  I've just discovered it and have been able to have two conversations with Katie, and a wee encounter with Gertie and her cousin Ann and a catch up with Barb.  It is a marvel.  At one point Katie SKYPE called me, my brother gmail chatted me and I got a text from Rachel, talk about communication overload.  And to think 3 months ago I had gone an entire week without talking to anyone one but my mom. With a computer that had a total melt down almost as soon as I hit Mexican soil and couldn't get it fixed till my Aunt brought me a brand new one.  It was rough man.  Talk about isolating.   It just takes time to figure it out. It's almost like you really do have to start all over again, like breaking you down to build you up again.  Just because you think things are going to be one way doesn't mean they are going to go the way you think they should.  You can prepare as much as you want but life will throw at you what it will and if there is a lesson life wants you to learn, all the planning in the world can't prepare you for it.  My lesson was enduring Mexico truly all on my own. Thank goodness I had Ophelia, or perhaps the loneliness may have been more than I could bear.  The connections I thought I had made drifted away or weren't as I was expecting them to be.  I had to start all over. The test of what are you here for? If your gonna do this you really have to do it, this ain't no vacation honey, this is real life and you are gonna have to work for it!  Well we are getting there.  Figuring out the communication between home and here, the language of Mexico and finding a way to connect with home and here.  Easing our way through the Mexican system through business and life and somehow falling in love with it all over again.  Not every day is easy.  People think I'm on permanent vacation, but those are just the stories I tell.  The truth is I am experiencing the biggest challenge of my life.  But I never wanted easy.  I don't want to breeze through my life and think, well that was ok.  As I played with O today in a pool that is just warming up again, she practiced her swimming and we danced to my music I felt it.  Real true overwhelming happiness, accomplishment that we are thriving here.  Knowing only the first challenges have been met, the rest are yet to come, but a perfect pocket of blissfulness.  Just me and O at our home doing our thing.  

We shall see what comes next.  I am now trying to book our flights home.  We plan on spending a few months in MN.  I am going to work stateside promoting ourselves and O is going to attend Children's Country Day.  The odd thing is, even though I am excited at the prospect of home.  I'm not ready yet.  I feel like there is so much to do here.  I don't want to loose all that we have accomplished here in Cabo.  But I want O to feel like she has a life in MN as well as Cabo.  There is so much to offer in MPLS I want her to experience those things as well (just not in the freezing ass cold that lingers for half an eternity).  Not to mention a serious need for a heavy dose of friends and family. 

Ok as if this wasn't long enough, a story.  This started out all fun and turned a bit philosophical.  Lets bring it on back and make fun of other people!!! 
So my friends Rachel, Claudio and I were going to meet my cousins at Cerritos beach about 45 minutes up from Cabo.  Before we left we decided to grab some breakfast at one of my fave local joints way up in the heart of Cabo, Campestre.  Unfortunately it was closed so we took the next best thing the Cabo market which is pretty much the Mexican equivalent to a food court, but like 100,000 times better.  About 18 little stalls all in the same spot, all serving breakfast with an open area for seating.  This place is fantastic but even I find it a bit overwhelming at times.  Just toooooo much to choose from and not sure what the protocol.  As I am looking for a parking spot in front I see a couple of very touristy looking gringos.  I laugh and say "Oh they must be lost."  Still focused on not hitting the green truck that is either pulling out or pulling in, I don't know which, but I want that parking space, Rachel makes eye-contact with the girl.  She runs at our car waving frantically.  Turns out, THEY ARE LOST.  We sort of pull over with the back end still sort of in traffic, Rachel opens the window.  The poor girl sputters, "aaree you guys from around here?" Her eyes are beat red and about to burst, is it possible she's been crying? "We were looking for the marina and they took us here.  We just want to go to the marina, like by the water, do you know it is, the marina?" The marina, the safe haven for all tourists.  "oh honey you are a far cry from the marina"  the girl was so white she was blotchy.  Rachel gives her walking directions back to the marina, basically you take this street straight down she points.  Just keep walking and you will get there.  She finalizes the directions with a, "don't worry you are safe here."  She and her husband (I assume) are so grateful I think she actually hugs Rachel.  The green pick-up hasn't figured out what it's doing yet so I pull up the street a ways and we all let loose laughing.  Oh those poor things.  We can just see the story they tell their families.  "There we were in the middle of the Mexican barrio, surrounded by, by, by MEXICANS, they all had machetes, when a blond Anglo angel appears in a black jeep.  As if sent from Heaven she points the way and tell us "we are safe here".  What we didn't realize until a little later is that the walk we sent them on was to be no more, but no less scary than what they had already experienced, we just sent them on a half hour walking tour straight through the heart of Cabo.  They must've been petrified the whole way.  Luckily we didn't, send them through the really bad part, where Betty says, "The pimps, the whores and the gays live!!!!"  ALL TOGETHER??? That must be really bad.  Ha! We just sent them to where all the regular ole machete carrying Mexicans live.  I hope they made it to the Marina and weren't kidnapped on the way...  

Friday, February 13, 2009

Nana's Back!

My mom is here and ever since it has been nuts.  Lots of stories to tell but to busy to tell them. Take that as a really good sign.  Business is on the move.  I'm making friends.  O is happy here  and at school.  She love it that she's got her nana around.  She's having tons of fun kickin' around in the warm pool at nana's place.  Mom is back at Villa Miguel due to unforeseen circumstances but I think she is happy to be there.  It's been crazy with friends in town and now my cousin is here and trying to start a business on top of it.  But thought I'd get these pics out of the way just in case I decide to start telling some of the hilarious stories that are piling up.  Big loves to you all.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Ask and You Shall Receive

So I've been having this obsession with the coconut trees around my house.  I really want to get the coconuts down and make my own coconut milk out of them.  I even sort of half way attempted to put a knife in between my teeth a climb up my landlords tree like a jungle native.  I got my legs wrapped around the base but then had visions of me lopping off part of my tongue and thought better of it.  But I did have the knife (a little serrated knife) between my teeth, shoes off and assumed the position to climb before I thought better of it.  Why does it take so long, the mere thought should have crossed my mind and then passed without mention.  With obsession in full bloom, I am on the look out for how to get me one of those coconuts.  I don't want to buy it from the coco's frios guy and I sure as hell am not going to the store.  I know I can get them.  They are everywhere,  but how.....  I have some new neighbors right next door to the glass factory and low and behold they are doing a wee face lift to the premises trimming coconut trees in the process.  I was stopping by to grab a couple of torta's for O and my day at Chileno and thought I would ask if we could have some.  The mexican lady who makes the torta's has three little girls and used to live in Eagan of all things.  Well when they heard I wanted coconuts they piled them all at my feet.  About 18 of them, all I wanted was three.  I wasn't really sure what or how to deal with them.  When I asked the guy who was helping me procure my coconuts how best to handle them, he suggested a machete.  Um yes.  I know that that is a house hold item in these parts but I haven't quite gotten around to buying one.  But the other day I was helping my friend/yoga instructor and his girlfriend Natalie with their car and we stopped at a place that just might sell machetes.  Lee was in finding car parts and I don't know how Natalie and I got on the subject but when Lee got back I asked if they might sell machetes.   They did.  All sorts of them one foot, two foot, serrated with a hook.  I think that serrated with a hook may have been my best bet for climbing up the palm and hooking my self a coconut but thought it might also be the best way to loose an eyeball or some other lovely part of my body that I am attached too.  So I opted for the low key one foot machete.  It is still in may car as the coconuts that I had gotten a few weeks earlier were being stored on the sidewalk next to my house and I'm pretty sure the guys who came to change my flat tire assumed they were a tip and chopped them open on site.  I saw remnants of destroyed coconut.  Which is fine I didn't want them to go to waste but I did want to see how they did it.  I might need a lesson.  I did however see a technique at a local place in which you take the back side of the machete and smack the cleaned coconut.  I just have to figure out the best way to chop through the super tough first layer without loosing digits,  Lee suggested putting the coconut between two bricks.  Now that sounds like a fun project.  Now all I have to do is find the coconuts again, I mean to say they are everywhere, so I need to find someone to get them for me.  

One other little tid bit and a photo to match.  The other day O and I were driving home at night and there were about 6 cows at my turn around.  A few of them were dark brown.  So O says to me, the li
ttle smarty that she is, " Momma? Tomorrow can we get chocolate milk out of those cows butts?" It might be time for a trip to the state fair.  

Some other pics of climbing rocks at Chileno.  

Monday, January 19, 2009


In anticipation for Santa O set out the gingerbread house that Sue and Kate helped her make and some slightly burnt brownies, because it's not uncommon here for the oven to not have the temp but high/low and in between).  I actually set out the Santa fare because truthfully, O just did not care.  All she wanted was a Barbie for Christmas.  She didn't care who gave it to her or how it got there Santa schmanta, bring on the Barbie.  She knew she was getting one.  The girl cleaned up.  I guess in my anticpation of a fairly lonely Christmas and a weee bit of guilt for making her (and me) spend our Christmas away from the family I pretty much got her everything she pointed out.  Plus she was the only person I had to buy for so I did.  She got two barbies.  One was a mermaid to be friends with Ariel and the other was the pinkest princess I could find sleeping beauty. I also got here a princess puzzle, which turned out to be 700 pieces and was wayyyy to advanced for her, but I did the whole thing over a series of days around New Years.   If that says anything about my New Years.  Christmas was wonderful.  I was surrounded by family and familiarity,  had some adventures in Zacatitos, Santa came, Sue's side of Santa brought stockings filled with goodies and Tim made an awesome breakfast of Chorizo in a tomato sauce, scrambled eggs, and fresh fried tortillas on top.  Muy rico.  It was a truly wonderful way to spend Christmas, filled with family and familiarity and quite a bit of adventure.  Big love and hugs to the Schmuck family for taking us in on Christmas, it'll be one to remember.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Skunked on a very Donkey Christmas Eve

Ok I'm going to make this quick because Christmas was almost a month ago now and I still haven't written about the actual day and now there are new stories to be told. For the most part I just wanted to show you the pictures of our fabulous Christmas Eve. The morning of Christmas Eve. Uncle Tim, Nick, Cora and I all planned to go fishing on the Panga's in La Playita. My fave way to fish. We always catch lots...hmmmm....did I say that out loud? I must've been bragging cuz our day didn't quite turn out like that. I should've seen the signs. See the picture of the Cactus with the moon in the background? How serine is that? Moon, Cactus, structure, a beautiful way to start the day, but now that I look at that photo it sends a different message. Now it kind of looks like the cactus is flipping me off saying, good luck sucker, you're not catching anything. The only thing we caught that day was 20$ worth of bait, some good conversation, sight of a whale on the horizon, and at the end of the day one of the two pelicans scavaging on our boat hit me in the head when a little boy shooed him off and towards me. I kind of wanted to walk past the kid and sneakily push him off the dock into the harbor...but I didn't. I was just pissed. No fish for our Christmas Eve fishing extravaganza and I was even more dissapointed that I couldn't show my family how much fun this is. They were positive, saying how nice it was to be out on the water anyway and that the whale was pretty neat. And I guess I always said that in the early days when I would go fishing and never catch anything, but now that I know how much better and awesome it is to actually catch something, I sort of expect it. Leave it to the universe to put me in my place. I do feel like the pelican was an unnecessary touch, sort of like God gave me a spanking. "Get in line, appreciate what you have" Oh alright. So I didn't push the kid in but I didn't talk much until we got to Buzzards and ordered a beer and a margarita. Talk about bad sportsman ship who was I anyway????? Oh but I quickly returned with a beer and margarita and we all know what it takes to make me happy. So easy. Even though we caught nothing we still managed to tell fish stories. Sue and Kate made a gingerbread house with O and they had stories of their own.

Since we were Skunked, part of the group had to go to the grocery store to get fish. The rest of us went back to Casa Jubelio. Have to house crew took a nap the other, Ophelia and I did not, but relaxed a little. The suddenly from behind the house came the most jarring baying noise. Hewwwwyahhhhh oooooohhhh yahhhhhh herherherher. WTF was that. Donkey's two of them behind the house. We'd heard about the wild burros but I was so not expecting that noise to come out of them. Then from the front of the house an answer. Well that got everyone up. O, Sara and I ran out front to be greeted by the cutest little donkey just outside the fence. We didn't really know what wild burro meant so we proceeded with caution. Do they bite? Man they are cute. It was obvious the little guy wanted food. When we turned to go back inside there were two more donkey's in the garden eating the plants and another one trying to get into the garbage. Donkey infestation. O was obsessed with the donkey that was messing about with the garbage. I took it slowly but they were so cute I couldn't imagine that they would hurt anybody. Stayed away from his behind just in case he kicked and rubbed his little ears and chin and well needless to say we fell in love. But being in the gates was a biiiiiigggg no no. So Kate got me some carrots to entice the little guy out the gates. I offically became the donkey Whisperer. I reallllly want a donkey someday (think hobby farm with chickens a goat and a yak, I've always wanted a yak). Little lovers those Donkey's are. But alas I had to set him and his buddy free to go dig in someone else's garbage.

That night we had a delightful grilled fish dinner and mango margaritas that Kate made and were in bed around 9. We wanted to be ready to wake up early and see what santa had to bring.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Adventure in the MIddle

When we woke up the next morning from our adventurous ride in, things looked quite the same, but that’s only because O thinks it’s fun to get up well before the sunrise. I made coffee and eggs in our cozy abode that I was now even getting comfortable in and it wasn’t even my place. But O and I stayed in the master bedroom as the master’s had not yet quite arrived, and O and I tend to think we’re the masters of everything. Nick and Cora weren’t quite awake yet, O and I watched the morning come in, as the sun arose Zacatitos revealed its self. Sure enough with the stars erased by the true light of day there right in front of us lie the ocean. How we missed it I do not know. Casa Jubelio isn’t right on the ocean it takes about five minutes walk to get there but an unobstructed view, and we could see so clearly the road that led towards the ocean but in the darkness there was no way. As Nick and Cora began to stir O and I did some exploring to see what really things looked so different in the dark. Close to home (Casa Jubelio for this story) things were pretty much as they were in the blackness, but I can tell you this. That cactus planted round-about that was referred to in the directions, was definitely a triangle-about and the only cactus on it was a barrel cactus that stands about 8 inches high, and there was one, no wonder we couldn’t see it. But the rest seemed almost the same. Anxious to get on with our day and traverse the road that we had come entered in on not even 10 hours ago in totally different circumstances, we were ready to head back into town to the San Jose farmers market.

This time the drive only took us 30 minutes to go lets say, 5 miles, I always forgot to check but definitely somewhere between 4 and 6 this part of the directions was true. And from that point on it was a breeze until the very end just before the pavement where six cows decided it was time for an early morning siesta tired from sticking their butts out on the road the night before. Dude you guys know this is a bad idea right? And I should tell you that these aren’t wild cows like the fabled wild burro. These cows belong to someone and if you hit one not only is your car totaled but you’ve now just hit some ranchero’s most beloved and prized cow and need to pay a hefty price to make it right. We drive carefully though them. They are so cute I wish we would’ve taken pictures it was like the ladies gossip hour and these pesky cars kept interrupting. This pesky jeep was trying to make it to the market.

Rumor has it that San Jose has two markets, one on Sat and one on Sun. The one on Sunday is behind the Tropicana and is open until 3:00 pm. That was the one we wanted, but we couldn’t find it. It was only 10:30 so we knew that even if I screwed up the 3:00 closing time and it closed at noon instead we still didn’t miss it. But as things often go in my world, with no explanation it just was not there. Unwilling to undergo another epic car trip even if it wasn’t in the dark, we looked around a bit and found a Cocos Frio's stand which sufficed our need for some authentic food and a Mexican experience. Plus Coconut water is good for a hangover and we could've used a little coconut water that day. Somewhat satisfied that we'd still done some thing cool and out of the ordinary we headed to the Mega to get groceries and meet the rest of our crew.

At this point I was going to attempt to go home and back to my real life. But I really saw no point in that and we figured that with groceries, luggage and people there was no way the car that my aunt Susan had rented was going to fit it all. So I offered to drive the crew back out to Zacatitos if I could swing by my place, take a shower brush my teeth and refill some supplies. Again I packed a bag without a toothbrush but did bring suits and a pull up just in case. I really should just have a travel toothbrush for any occasion cuz ya just never know, but ever the noncommittal I left it at home. And that was dumb because Nick was making fish and chorizo tacos and I made my new famous recipe of guava mojitos. I make a guava simple syrup from guavas from my guava tree and the mint comes from the garden in front of my house. Yah. Yum city. I wasn’t going home. Not in that dark. Not with fish tacos and mojito’s in my belly and a family I hadn’t seen in ages. The only problem was that now that the masters of the house were now here, at Casa Jublieo we the master imposters were no longer staying in that room. This did not go over well with Ophelia who really wanted to spend most of her time playing and nesting (she likes to make nests) in that room. We worked it out though and made a cozy little bed for ourselves out of cushions from the outdoor furniture and crashed there.

The next day we spent hanging out and kickin’ it on the beach in the morning and I had a sitter set up in the afternoon so that I could go out to dinner with the fam. Funny this was supposed to be my first night spending with them and I’d already slept over at their place twice. But this was fun cuz we got to get all dressed up and go to a fancy restaurant which ever since my mom left I haven’t been doing, in fact it’s mostly Chez Anni, which ain’t so bad but getting out is fun. And this is the next point in which Nick and I really bonded. So after we are seated at Don Emiliano’s and I kindly ask that they turn the music down, Nick asks everyone, “So, how should we do this.” Good Man, a strategic eater just like me. It would be a straight up tragedy if we did not plan this well and end up ordering the same thing. Something you should know. If you are going to eat out with me, we don’t order the same thing and we share. Then the chef herself came out. She was lovely and very chatty and she too had some rules. 1. Do not order a coke with your food. (like it) 2. Try lots of things. (yup like it).

I was a little nervous about this place because Sue had looked it up and I thought my mom said that she had something so delicious there that she didn’t even want to share it. But when I brought it up to my mom that we were going to eat there and we were so excited, she didn’t remember the name or anything about it. Ah, but I must remember, my mother doesn’t remember her experiences by food she at but by what she wore, so if I would have caught the out fit when she first told me about the place the rest might have come back to her. I on the other hand remember nearly any experience but what I ate, the smell and what I was listening too. This was a night to remember. But it’s funny because we all weren’t supposed to order the same thing but in stead we all order the tasting menu. Which is in essence the same thing, but there were a few variations in choices and really no one wanted to miss the shaved octopus Carpaccio, or the OUTSTANDING black bean soup, paired with Negra Modelo. Nick, Cora and I did the wine flight what a fun surprise to get beer served in a champagne flute half way through. We had two mole options to choose from and scallop in white mole or an enchilada filled with local panela cheese in a black mole. I had the enchilada because I looooove black mole but the scallop in white mole was like nothing I’ve ever tasted. The mole was light and the flavors were spot on. Ohhh I’m still craving it luckily there was more than one person who ordered it so I could have more than one taste. My main course was seared ahi tuna on a huitloche tamale rowerrrr, this was my third favorite thing, but on a very high standing list. The funnest thing is that my cousin Kate took pictures of all the food. The saddest thing is that I can’t seem to download them here so you can all see them. But, nice work Kate, send out the props on that one.

I’m also going to send out the party props to Kate who ripped her skirt while dancing on a table in El Squid Row that night and had the lady in the bathroom sew it up and then kept right on a dancin’. I guess the real props goes out to the bathroom attendant with the needle and thread. That Squid Row is one classy joint I tell you. The cousins all slept over at my place after we decided that Don Emeliano’s hadn’t quite filled us up, and I took em’ to my fave taco joint right on the side of the road out side El Squid and they ate the best taco of their lives. Good God why does all the really good food have to come out after midnight?????

The plan had been to take them all to Todo Santos but when the next morning arrived I realized, I had to be Santa and I hadn’t wrapped one present and I had to pack (I was bringing a toothbrush this time) and the place was a pit because all I’d been doing was running home grabbing things, dropping things off and I was in charge of Chilies en Nogada that night. I scurried around while the others tried to sleep so that I could get all of these things done and still be the greatest hostess on the planet and not let these kids miss out on a thing. To my relief with the night prior their desire for Todos Santos had faded. It was a good thing too because there was no way I was getting all that done. So the poor kids had to travel around with me to pick up O and to multiple grocery stories so I could find Sherry, not to be confused with Cherries, which everyone around here says with a Sh and always sends me towards the Boons Farm. La Europea has Sherry just in case you were wondering.

Anyway we made it back to Casa Jubelio just in the nick of time. My Aunt and Uncle were getting a little too comfy in the tranquility of Zacatitos with the kids gone. We rolled up just as Sue was about to take a skinny dip in the pool. Luckily not too many cars pull up into that drive way and she was able to reclothe before we caught her in the act. I don’t blame her though, had I had the opportunity I would have been skinny dippin’ in that ocean under a starlit sky. Knowing if I couldn’t see the ocean from our place nobody would see my white buns swimming. But no we needed a good night sleep for fishing the next morning.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Deliverance in Zacatitios

My cousin’s came to town for Christmas. Oh thank goodness. Aunt Susan and Uncle Tim too. Wew Whoo!! It’s almost the beginning of a song and if I had any sense of tune I might just attempt a song. But since I don’t, I shall share spare us all. But I can’t tell you how great it was to have family with which to celebrate. There are so many parts to this story and since my blog won’t let me move pictures around suddenly I’ve decided to break it up into parts. So here is the first part.

My Cousin Nick and his girlfriend Cora arrived on the Saturday before Christmas. They were supposed to come in around noon, I was going to pick them up and head to the farmers market to get them some goods and then to the store for the rest and grab a little dinner and drive them into Zacatito’s. Even as I write this now I see that our (my) plan was flawed from the start. I had heard that the road to Zacatito’s was bad and should not be driven at night, but I had also heard the same thing about the road to Cabo Pulmo. I drove the road to, well actually from Cabo Pulmo and didn’t think it was all that bad, in fact there was less really really slow rickety-almost- broken-down-pick-up-truck traffic that I found the drive to go quite smoothly. Though I did realize that to be completely on the safe side driving with my brights on was a must and at a moderate speed for fear of the lone cow or donkey butt, that doesn’t have the tell tale reflective eye hanging out on the side of the road, and there still was the possibility of the slow rickety-almost-broken-down-pickup with no tail lights to be aware of. But, still not scary at all and would totally drive that road again in the dark. So with that in mind I wasn’t toooo worried about driving to Zacititos in the dark especially since Nick and Cora were with me and Zacititos is on the ocean. I’ve seen it a hundred times from the Sea of Cortez while panga fishing (ok more like 6 but more that you have so there except for uncle tom) and it all seemed pretty manageable from there. Just show me where it is in relation to the house with the tipi. I can find it. But I took down directions just in case. Susan my aunt sent very specific directions, stuff like go 4 to 6 miles past where the road ends, turn left onto narrow jeep track, take right at cactus corner, go left at shack with palapa roof there is a construction sign next to it, go left at cactus planted round about, I am the third house in, with a stick and barb wire fence, Make sure you close the gate so the donkey’s don’t get in! I of course did not print those specific directions, as my printer wasn’t working, duh. So I jotted down a few notes and figured that’ll do’er.

Ahhh but even the best laid plans of mice and men oft’ go awry and this was not even the best of plans. Even if Nick and Cora’s plane hadn’t gotten delayed two hours in Minneapolis we still would have traversed the road to Zacatito’s a la noche. I’d squeezed one too many food-based experiences into the plan. When they arrived finally at around 3:30 they were starving. So I took them to the place that O and I had just had lunch killing time waiting for them to get in, and owed the waiter money anyway since I didn’t have enough cash on me and they didn’t take cards. Plus it’s been a few hours since we last ate and I was feeling a bit peckish anyway, so I took them to Cynthia’s a yummy little outdoor patio right next to Villa Valentina owned by my mom’s designer friend Julietta who I always like to stop and see, but missed, you know, that’s how it goes. We got done around 4:30, attempted the Mega, and skipped the farmers market entirely. I assured them that there was another market the next day and I didn’t have plans so I could pick them up in Zacatitos and take them, since I’d never been, I was looking forward to it. They could get a few supplies at Mega and come in for the rest tomorrow. Oh Manana how I love thee. As we shopped the fact that darkness was impending, I suggested to Nick that he might want to grab another 6 pack of Modelo Especial (my ghetto fave of the moment) as I for saw my night unfolding and just in case, I wanted enough beer for all of us, unfortunately I forgot the tequila. With a little food and a little more beer we head out through San Jose (road easy) past La Playita (road easy), out too Laguana Hills, to the round about just before Buzzards (road potholey). As soon as you pass the round about to Buzzards begins the dirt road to Zacatitos (road tretcherous). Not 1 mile or 20 minutes, into our drive Nick say’s to me, “So ya sleepin’ over then?” I say, white knuckled, “yup”. By now I’ve sort of figured out this Cabo thing, only sort of, but I’ve learned to bring supplies “just in case”, hence the extra beer. So I packed an bag with some stuff including a pull up for O, (who’s potty trained now, whoopee, but still needs one for night) minus a toothbrush and pj’s because that equals commitment and this was just in case, glad to have pull up though and some extra clothes, no suit, damn always bring a suit. I don’t know if you picked up on the 1 mile or 20 minutes thing but I am not kidding you. We were averaging about a mile every 20 minutes; makes those 4 to 6 miles really mean something when it’s a matter of 80 or 120 minutes. Yah I’m pretty sure it was the 6-mile option. We may have been going extra slow because I forgot to look at my odometer and my pencil scribble was extremely difficult to read in the dark so we had to do a pull over to get the Nicks directions out of the back, mine were so insuffient. Turns out so were nicks. It all seems so good and easy in theory. But here is the thing; it’s dark out there like dark. Like the moon wasn’t even out, just stars, every single one of them, shining as brightly as they could and even skipping across the sky, but no shooting star was going to show us the way to that jeep track. We opened the sunroof to take it all in as my jeep dips down into the bolder laden ravine washed out from last October’s rain.

Luckily O’s asleep and Nick, Cora and I take these moments to get to know each other. The last time I saw Nick he was like a thirteen year old camper, at Wolf Ridge, who I associated with as being a tween twit only because he was my brothers’ age and hung out with them. Now he’s all growed up, got himself a fantastic girlfriend and is a chef in Indiana. Turns out we had lots to talk about while we passed the time. Finally we got to Zac’s a bar I didn’t even know existed in Zacatito’s , figuring by the looks of things it must be like 10:00 pm and I was super impressed they were still open. Upon further research, it was a little more like 6:00 pm, and as I learned later, that of course Zac’s was open because as the sign stated, and I love this, “Open noon to 8:30ish), I knew 10:00 woulda’ been pushin’ it. Ok we’re at Zac’s which must mean were in Zacatitio’s but it wasn’t in the directions but we’re pretty smart so we figured that out. No we are supposed to look for cactus corner. Um yahhhh there like a cactus on just about every corner, I’m not exactly sure what would make this one so specific. But we got to a point where there were some signs and a fork in the road with what looked to be a cornerish spot and there were some signs. Nick got out to check the signs, since he was the one with the pen light on his key chain, note to self gotta get one of those. The signs were fun but not helpful, they just said, East Cape and San Jose and were covered in surf stickers. I really like the sticker touch. We decide that that corner looks pretty defined as a cactus corner and go right, into a mess of boldery dirt roads leading only into darkness and this is where we got really lost.

Turns out there are quite a few shacks with palapa roofs, on them and Zacatitos must be on the boom because there was more than one construction sign. We did see one shack with palapa roof, and a construction sign in conjunction with each other, though both were debatable as to weather the were shack or palapaiey enough, or if that Spanish sign even was in fact referring to construction. We chanced it and took that left. Only to get about 30 seconds in and come upon what Nick called, “a creepy molester van” he took the words right outta my mouth, that is only the vehicle of a predatory pedophile, eeeeppppp, the darkness and the drive were getting to us, things were starting to make strange shapes in the night, your average thing, distorted, we were of there!!!! We made a u’ey and head back to the main road. Took a left at what looked like it another shack with Palapa roof and came upon a little sketchy looking party and a big black dog passed out in the middle of the road either unable or on willing to move. We all concluded that he must’ve gotten into the pot brownies that were left over from the sketchy party. Pretty sure that wasn’t right either. Though I have decided that the village of Zacatitos has a little puff of smoke over it. This was further confirmed when I talked to the property manager of Casa Jubelio in the morning after we made it and he invited us to a party where there was going to be a laser light show over at the purple domed house. My suspicions confirmed pot and lots of it.

But we weren’t there yet, not even close. Turned around again and drove further on. Quite a ways actually up to a sort of mountainside cliff road, littered with crosses to mark the accidents, all this and we had a water truck hot on our tail. What was he doing there? It’s midnight? Oh yah right I forgot its like 7 it only feels like midnight. We pull over to let the truck pass and Cora has to pee anyways. We find a turn around that seems suitable until I blink the brights out of our eyes, and then we see the a creepiest camp I’ve ever come across. Craggy driftwood marks their entrance with helmets hanging on them, but in the dark we could only in vision the helmets to still have heads in them. As we pull through camp which consists of two semi trailers with hammocks swinging from them. We decide that Cora needed to wait to pee. This was only solidified my the two dogs that apparently were not knocked out by pot brownies they were a little more jacked up than that. Yah that had a “Deliverance” written all over it, run as fast as you can!

We decided that we had gone too far anyway we were past the Zacatito’s city limits and needed to return. We made a few more wrong turns, one into this strange little neighborhood that was all ‘70’s architecture and seemed so out of place here in the desert, but safe enough for a pee stop. At this point we decided that the first palapa roof, shack and construction sign was our best bet and went back. Not to be thwarted by the molester van we pushed on. But even here nothing seemed to jive with the directions, we’re supposed to be very close to the ocean but the ocean is nowhere in site. And there are seriously no round-abouts. We’ve seen lots of triangle-abouts but not one round one. But lets assume that the directions say round-about and mean triangle-about, which is very possible there aren’t even cactuses on them there are boulder and trees. But we took one and headed the direction we were supposed too and we actually found a house that might be Casa Jubelio with a barbed wire and stick fence. But this house was for sale and they said nothing about the house being for sale. We turn around again and look on but come back to this place and decide that it simply must be it. There was only one other home aside from the stoned black dog house that seemed to have lights on and this guy could tell we were searching. We didn’t even have to go knock on the door. He came out and told us that we were in the right spot. Yay! Tequila. I just felt like we earned tequila.

We open the barbed wire and stick fence gate and drive through to the prettiest little entryway. We all unpack and get acclimated. I put O to bed and we search for tequila. The beers had already been cracked and we found some very generic looking tequila where all that the bottle said was 100% Agave Tequila. But hey at that point we didn’t care we would’ve drank Cuervo at that moment. The tequila turned out to not be half bad and we sipped on tequila and Modelo Especial under the starlight and played some serious catch up. What a way to start a vacation aye? And what a way to get to know each other again? I told Nick and Cora we are forever bonded now after that experience. And what is so funny that the next morning in the sunlight everything seemed so very normal, ooh and the ocean was right there the whole time. We joked wondering if the creepy molester van would in fact be a fully decked hummer, but when we checked it out it still looked like a creepy molester van but there were two very non-molester looking Mexican guys working on it and made it seem much less creepy that way. As we drove out of town that morning on our way to San Jose for the farmers market we drove past a painted sign that said Cactus Corner. Yah there was pretty much no way we were going to see that in the pitch of night, but I’ll give the directions credit, had it been light we mighta seen it at some point. We kept thinking to go and see the “Deliverance” camp in the light of day but were too scared that it would still look the same.

Friday, January 2, 2009


They have a word in Spanish for Christmas Party, Posada. I think that just goes to show how Mexican's feel about the ole holiday party, it's so awesome it gets it's own word. Not like Birthday party, or going away party, they don't get their own word (or maybe they do and I just haven't learned it yet. Anyway Posada's here start around Dec 12 day of the Virgin de Guadalupe (the one you see posted up on the windows of half the cars on lake street, she's important). Apparently her story is that a dark faced virgin showed herself to a boy up on a mountain side and no one believed that he saw her until on the third day her face became imprinted in the fabric of his pancho. That's when all the peeps believed him. The fact that her face was dark helped convert all of the heathen indian tribes to Christianity thefore even further spreading catholisisim deep into the core of nearly every Mexican tradition. December 12th is the day and here in begins the holiday season. I have learned a few little interesting tid bits about Mexican traditions for the holidays here in Mx. The other one that I found so interesting is that they have a seven pointed star ornament that they sell on nearly every corner of the street during this time of year. The seven tips of the star are supposed to symbolize the seven original sins....which I guess I don't even know what those are supposed to be...Oh wait, nope I got it that's the Brad Pitt movie "Seven" right, anyway there are seven I guess that are somehow even worse than than Moses's ten. Anyhow it's a real pretty little thing, or sometimes big thing, and sometimes it's even a pinata. I am regretting a little that I did not get one. They also decorate their cars here like reindeer and I really wanted to decorate 68' but the timing to buy never seemed right and I just never felt flush enough to justify it...maybe next year.

Going back to the Posada. Ophelia had her school posada on the 18th, marking the last day of school. Another parental event. This one had the same sort of anxiety as far as costume and accoutraments go but at least I was pretty sure after talking with the teach she was going to dance for us. I just had to get the little mexicana outfit that looks so streight outta ole Mexico it shouldn't be that hard to find. I showed people the picture and asked them to point me in the right direction. Betty was the first. She sent me to a fabric store....pause....again pause.... bolts and bolts of fabric. This is me. I do not sew. We've discussed this in earlier posts. There are so many ways that I am willing to extend myself to make this experience work. I put myself in mildly uncomfortable postions that I would never have forced myself to do in the states. I've attempted the weird little craft project they suggest at school, I go to every little event, I try to make parent friends (and we know I have a fear of parents) and fumble through my spanish, I've even tried having our main meal at 2 instead of 6. These are things that I am willing to try to make this school experience all that it should be, but I draw the line at sewing. I took Home Ec. in highschool. Did great at the cooking part but failed miserably at the apron that we were supposed to make. I broke two needles on the thing and I can't tell you how many rats nests...kinda like me and fishing actually...but I like fishing. Bolts and Bolts, Reems and Reems trinkets and mexican ladies galore. I call my mom in a panic. She's in the middle of something but thinks there's actually something wrong. Which puts me in my place a little. Ok it's not that bad. Just walk out the door you'll find something else. Now you know where the fabric store is and you never ever have to go back. I was then sent two 2 other costume stores. Now mind you people, this ain't like going to Southdale. I'm carting my ass all over cabo, searching for parking, no one ever uses street signs to give you directions, you just gotta get a little lucky, have a little savvy and don't drive the suburban that day. Neither costume shop had them. By this time I'm thinking I will go back to the fabric store buy the right fabric, some glue and some safety pins and just slap it on another skirt and because she's young enough she'll never know better, to never forgive me for sending her out in public looking like a tossed out rag doll. Luckily it didn't have to come to that. O was headed to Alex and Letty's that day and Alex was actually coming to visit the school just in case one day I could not get there in time Alex could pick her up. Alex said that she had an outfit that might just work. She cleared it with the school and also informed me that they will be performing for orphans the next day. I'm like DUDE how was I supposed to know that (and awww Orphans???). Apparently they were sending me home a note that day, which for me wouldn't been read until the next week because that's about how long it takes me to translate anything. Thank Goodness for Alex. Always thank goodness for Alex.

Also for this deal we were supposed to fashion a golden drum out of recycled products. I'm not shitting you. I know that they are trying to teach a conciencousness and save everyone money by getting creative. I'm getting the feeling that every native born Mexican could take Martha Stuart in a show down any day. I'm thinking, where is Target? Why don't you all just show us a picture and have us get it at Target, or even better yet, why doesn't the school just let us order everything from them???? Oh but that would be no fun. If I didn't have that to do how would I fill my day, getting fat on bon bons no doubt. I did the damned drum to specification...or at least it sort of looked like the hand drawn picture that they gave me but since I skipped the instructions, I forgot to add the neck band and drum sticks. So she was unable to play her drum in the performance anyway. I almost cared but sinced I was too pissed about having to make the thing I put minimal effort into it and really barely gave a rip, just wished I hadn't made the effort to got to two papelaria's. Luckily for me my kid is 3 she just doesn't care that much. She'd been practicing without a drum all week she didn't care. She performed that "Little Drummer Boy" remix like a champ. It was awesome!!!!! To see my kid actually perform at one of these things. Usually she throws a mini-fit and just hangs out in my arms and I've let her cuz it's all so new. But this time I knew she could do it. She looked so cute and she did great. She still sings and does the song. I'm posting video of this all I hope. Otherwise enjoy the pics.

Our Donkey Christmas is coming soon.