Thursday, December 31, 2009

Once In A Blue Moon

Tonight we will see something that happens only once every 19 years, a New Year's Blue Moon. A Blue Moon is the second full moon in the month and rarely occur on New Year's Eve.

Elvis Presley — Blue Moon Of Kentucky lyrics

Blue moon, blue moon, blue moon,
keep shining bright.
Blue moon, keep on shining bright,
You're gonna bring me back my baby tonight,
Blue moon, keep shining bright.

I said blue moon of Kentucky
keep on shining,
Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue.
I said blue moon of Kentucky
keep on shining,
Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue.

Well, it was on one moonlight night,
Stars shining bright,
Wish blown high
Love said good-bye.

Blue moon of Kentucky
Keep on shining.
Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue.

Well, I said blue moon of Kentucky
Just keep on shining.
Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue.
I said blue moon of Kentucky
keep on shining.
Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue.

Well, it was on one moonlight night,
Stars shining bright,
Wish blown high
Love said good-bye.

Blue moon of Kentucky
Keep on shining.
Shine on the one that's gone and left me blue.

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone! Have a nice safe New Years, call or hug your family and watch as the New Decade comes in.

We will be staying at the RV park tonight where, along with four or five other couples will be welcoming in the New Year! One couple, Terrie and Nancy, are from Nova Scotia so that is the New Years we will be celebrating at 10:00 our time. This will let everyone get back to the comfort of our RV's early. We will be having a potluck of "substantial" appetizers and Juan says he has fireworks, a Mexican tradition.

Here is a list of Mexican New Years Traditions:

New Years is our chance to get rid of the negative in our lives to make room for the positive. New Years Traditions abound here in Mexico and include:

1) Make a list of all the negative things of the past year and just before midnight, throw the list into the fire. This will rid them from your life forever.

2) Wear red underwear if you want love and yellow if you want money.

3) Eat one grape and make one wish with each of the twelve strokes of the clock as it counts out midnight.

4) Sweep out your house before midnight. This rids the house of the negative forces that have accumulated over the past year.

5) Bringing your luggage outside at New Years will ensure you will travel in the upcoming year.

6) Make an effigy of a hated politician, stuff it with fireworks and set fire to it at midnight.

7) Visualize a huge cloud crossing the sky at midnight. People who are lucky enough to have a glimpse of the cloud are believed to experience good luck in the New Year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Exploring San Miguel de Allende


Art Students:


Why we do not take motorhomes into towns:


Allende’s House on the Jardine:


Mounted Police:



DSC_8910 DSC_8953

Monday, December 28, 2009



Yesterday we drove to the nearby puebla of Bernal. Les came over to join us and asked if we would mind waiting in the town for three hours while he climbed the huge Monolith the the village was built beside. This monolith towers over the village and is one of the three largest of it’s kind in the world. There is a trail that goes slightly over half way up and after that you need rock climbing gear to get to the top. Les wanted to go as far as the trail went. I walked over to tell Juan and Chris where we were going and to invite them along. They were on their way to the gym for their daily workout but quickly decided it would be a lot more fun to climb the monolith! Les has climbing partners! Bruno and Celine then loaded Bruno and Micheline into their truck and our small caravan of three vehicles left for the one hour drive to Bernal.



Bernal is a colourful little “true” Mexican village, one of only 34 Pueblo Magicos and was very busy since Sunday was market day. Les, Chris and Juan immediately left in Chris’ car for the base of the monolith and we arranged to meet in three hours. The rest of us did not attempt to find street parking but drove directly to a large parking lot where we paid $30 pesos to park for the day. The narrow streets were lined with booths and the shops were all open displaying their goods. The women were in their glory with so much shopping and such reasonable prices. We saw only three or four other white faces all day so this was “real” Mexico! There was colour everywhere so I happily spent my time photographing while Norma shopped. It was a great day.




Soon Norma and I and our Quebecois friends found a great little restaurant for lunch. Bruno found grasshoppers on the menu and quickly decided to try them! He claims they were very good although only his wife accepted his offer and tried one!


It was a great day and we were soon rejoined by the climbers and we headed home for Happy Hour.

Juan, Les and Chris with the top of the conquered monolith in the background:


Saturday, December 26, 2009

SMA Weather

Rae has asked what the weather is like here in San Miguel de Allende. We are at 6300 feet altitude so it is a little cooler than it is in the lowlands or at the coasts. The mornings are usually in the high 50's or low 60's, rising to the mid 70's by afternoon and then dropping down again when the sun goes down. Evenings usually require a light jacket and the cool evenings make sleeping comfortable. Some days break this pattern and are quite warm and sunny. There is sometimes a little wind but all in all, SMA is a very comfortable place to live.

Christmas Day

We slept in on Christmas Morning, one of the benefits of not having children around. It is not really a big day for us as we tend to buy “gifts” as we need them throughout the year so there is never anything we “need” or even “want” for a gift. Being around friends and family is the most important thing for us.

Around 4:00 everyone in the park came over to our place for a potluck dinner. I love these potlucks! Everyone makes enough for ten people so there are tons of leftovers to deal with and we never have to worry about what we are eating the next day or two. Special thanks to Claudia and Nancy for the fantastic deserts! Everyone had fun and the wine and conversation flowed. By nine or so everyone was tired and ready to go to bed. This was my signal to start washing the huge pile of dishes. While I was doing this, our Mexican friends Juan and Chris came over and after a small refueling of scotch and vodka, a long conversation on Mexican Politics and their education system developed. It was a great time and we are lucky to have found friends like these. We had a lot of fun! Here are some photos:

Some of the crowd


Some more of the crowd


Terrie, Barbara, Celine and Bruno


Claudia, PJ and James


Claudia and Les


Nancy and Terrie


News From The DF

News Flash from Mexico City!

**The Federal District Legislative Assembly approved legalization of same sex marriage as well as the right to adopt children. The president of the Local human rights’ Commission, Luis González Plascencia stood by the decision stating it was a positive one and called for tolerance.**

How nice to be guests in such a civilized, tolerant, progressive Country! Nice Christmas gift for many people.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Eve Potluck

Last night everyone from our park was invited to the other RV park in town for a potluck dinner. The other park is a very friendly place and except for one or two spots, is full. We cannot get into it as you have to make a sharp turn through a narrow gate from a very narrow road and anything over about 24 feet in length has a problem getting in. Anyway, we all headed over with our contributions to the meal and joined in the fun.

There were many interesting people there, mostly RV’ers but also some local residents. Mike and Terry Church, authors of the invaluable book on RV’ing in Mexico were there and it was great to meet them. PJ and Claudia, a couple from the Netherlands who on a 12 year (so far) RV’ing odyssey around the world! Steve, an American expat musician who now lives in SMA came with his daughter and son-in-law from the States. Our friends Chris and Juan from Monterrey, MX were there. Chris was invaluable when we damaged the roof in Monterrey on our way home last winter and it was great to finally meet Juan. James and Barbara from Burnaby are staying in our park and went to the potluck with Chris and Juan. James is a retired lawyer and was the House Council for the Vancouver Canucks hockey team. He amused us all with his stories, including one about Jerry Lee Lewis dancing on top of a very expensive rented grand piano that Jim was responsible for during a concert in Vancouver.

It was fun meeting new people and renewing old friendships. The food was great, a huge cake got dumped on the ground and everyone had a great time. Norma and I went out to a nice little Italian restaurant we discovered two years ago and it was just as good as we remembered. Norma had lamb and I had grilled tuna done very rare, just like it should be. We got home about nine and watched TV for a while until Brooks called on Skype. We talked to them until the WIFI connection crashed and we were cut off.

Here is Steve, the musician from SMA and Chris talking to Mike and Terry Church:


And part of the potluck crowd:


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Feliz Navidad!

Merry Christmas to everyone! Norma and I went out for a fantastic meal tonight and tomorrow we are having a potluck Christmas Dinner here in the park with our eight or nine neighbours and Les, who is coming over from the house he is sitting. I am stuffed and tired and ready to chill out and watch TV. Santa will be here later!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Jardine

Norma had an appointment to get something “done” to her face and feet this morning. She thought it might take an hour but it turned into three and a half. The interesting part was, she got to talk to Toller Cranston who was also having an overhaul. I patiently waited in the Jardine for her and snapped a few shots:

Dried flower sales:


Plaza Of The Conspirators. This was where the plans to kick the Spanish out were hatched in 1810. It was right across the street from the Spanish HQ and the meetings were held under the guise of "dances".


The Church "Parroquia San Miguel Arcangel". Once again, no lightening as I walked in.


The home of Captain Ignacio José de Allende y Unzaga, or simply Ignatio Allende, one of the Fathers of the Revolution and a regular at the above “dances”.


The Church from the Jardine.


The Church from the rear.


Street scene.


A door. I love these! They are hand carved works of art.




Free entertainment.


More entertainment, this time on what looked like an upside down wok.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Mom and Dad's Christmas

My dad loved and made a big deal of Christmas time and mom went along with him even though she had to do most of the work. They decorated every room in the house and hung lights outside. They always wanted as many family members as they could get to come home for the holidays. It was always a special time in the Randle household even though mom and dad were not in the least religious. For dad, it was definitly the best time of the year and for mom, it was a chance to overfeed her family. They have been gone for over a decade now but I always remember them at Christmas.

It was them who made it so much easier for me to retire at 54.99 years of age. One day back in the early 90's I received a letter from my mother. This was unusual because, except for birthdays, this never happened. We talked on the phone at least once a week but never wrote. Inside the envelope was a cheque for $33,333.33. No note, just the cheque. Mystified, I called her. "Well", she said, "we had a bond mature for $100,000 and after talking about it decided we would never need it. We decided to divide it between you three kids so that you could enjoy it now". They were not rich people and this represented a significant portion of their life savings. I asked her what happened to the extra penny, suspecting that my sister (the oldest) got the extra cash. "No", she said, "I kept it. Otherwise it would not have been fair".

I immediatly called my bank to inquire what my outstanding mortgage was and it was just about this amount! I told them to pay it off as soon as the deposit arrived. This typically generous gesture from mom and dad allowed us to pay off our debts several years earlier than planned.

Dad was an armchair traveller. He knew the pyramids of Mexico and Egypt as intimately as any explorer did but never visited them. They always waited for the perfect time which never came. We encouraged them to travel but there was always a reason to wait. It may have been for the best as dad was not very adventurious when it came to experiencing other cultures. His taste in food did not venture outside the Canadian border and he was so sensitive to "hot" food that he considered plain old green peppers spicy. He would not have done well in Mexico. Knowing this, they made it possible for me to experience life outside our borders.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Queretaro’s Place In History

Santiago de Querétaro is known as one of the “Cradles of Mexican Independence”. The city was quite peaceful during the Spanish occupation with the local Indigenous population enjoying a non-combative relationship with the Spaniards. This led the Spanish occupiers to let their guard down allowing the conspirators to meet right under their noses. One of the key conspirators was Josefo Ortiz de Dominguez, the wife of the city’s mayor, a Major in the Spanish army. She used her social position to eavesdrop and gather information which she then passed on to the conspirators. One very important piece of information she gathered was that the Spanish were about to arrest the Priest, Miguel Hidalgo. Even as both her and her husband’s own arrests were imminent she still managed to get word to Hidalgo who fled back to his Church in Dolores and, three days later issued his Grito de Dolores, starting the Revolution one day earlier than planned. Her heroic actions saved the Revolution.

One of the main statues in the city honours this brave woman.



Today we took the bus to the nearby city of Santiago de Querétaro with our friends from the RV park. It was a simple process. We walked down to the corner and caught one of the Servicio Economico busses that come by every twenty minutes. The conductor came around and collected $48 pesos each and we settled down in the comfortable seats to watch a movie a movie (we only got to see 3/4 of it) for the one hour and ten minute ride. From the bus depot we caught cabs for $30 pesos to the Jardine.

We spent the day walking around exploring and then found a nice place for lunch on the Plaza de Armas. There are several plazas in the Centro Historico and all are being decorated for Christmas. Here are some sights in the city.








Map picture

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Posada

Six of us from the RV park took cabs to the Jardine tonight to watch the celebrations. There was a stage set up in front of the Church and some local young people were putting on a Mexican Posada. There were peasants and devils, women, children and music. They were all very good and it was a lot of fun to mingle with the crowd and watch the show. It was chilly out (by Mexican standards).

When it was over we found a nearby bar (Mama Mia's) for a hot drink and then continued our walk around the Centro. There were tons of people there tonight and it will only get busier as Christmas approaches. The Church was lit up and it would make a great photo. I will have to go down there another night with my camera and maybe even my tripod to get that "great shot".

Saturday Night and a No Show!

It is 10:00 Saturday night and our guy who "Borrowed" the $400 pesos was a no show. Lesson learned. He also hit up another couple from the park with a story about his sister falling in the bath tub and the ambulance costing $500 pesos and his mother only having $250 and his dad would be home from the USA on Saturday with his paycheque.... Same old story with a slight variation. He is very good with his stories and speaks very good English.

Not a big deal. It is the price of a dinner out. But still.....

Viva Agave!

Our neighbors, Whit and Jan from Monterey, CA are tequila aficionados. This is to my great benefit because I know very little about the stuff except I like to sip it the odd time. The other night at Happy Hour Whit and Terrie, our other neighbor from Nova Scotia pulled out a couple of bottles that they had just bought at the local Soriana store to taste. They were both very good and one, Viva Agave, was outstanding for the price. It cannot legally be called tequila because it was not made in the Municipality of Tequila just northwest of Guadalajara. It is however, made from 100% agave plant and is Reposado (aged), the two things that make great tequila!

The price, you may ask? $46 pesos, or about $4.10 Canadian for a 750ml bottle. This stuff puts even the most expensive tequilas we can get in Canada to shame. It is very smooth and has none of the after bite Canadians are used to. It is reminiscent of a good Single Malt. This tequila does not reguire the sucking of a lime to get the taste out of your mouth! I bought some more expensive “real” tequilas in the town of Tequila that I will take home but this Viva Agave is every bit as good at a quarter the price!


Friday, December 18, 2009

Mineral De Pozos

The Silver mines at Mineral de Pozos were the highest producing mines of their time. Founded in 1576, the mines produced some of the best quality silver in Mexico. They ceased major production at the time of the 1910 Revolution but the buildings and shafts still exist and most are free to be explored while one charges ten Pesos for a visit. We explored all of them today and even dropped a rock into one shaft and waited 5 1/2 seconds for it to hit the bottom. The area was the setting for many old western movies. It was a great day and I took lots of photos.




Shaft with water about 300 feet down. Don’t lean too far!


Map picture