Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Nuevo Laredo For Glasses

We took the foot bridge across the Rio Grande this morning for new eyeglasses. We were looking for Optica Devlin where we bought our last pair in Juarez  in April of 08. A guy on the street asked if we needed help finding anything so we asked about Optica Devlin. He said there was none but he knew of a good one. He lead us to Optica Omega on a side street. It looked nice and they had a sale on so we went in. We both got our eyes tested and prescriptions written and Norma ordered two pair of progressives for $90 and $120 USA. I ordered one pair of progressive, transition glasses for $160 USA. They told us they would be ready in two hours. We went for breakfast and returned at the appointed time but they were not ready.  They asked for another hour. We walked around and came back but still no glasses. It took another hour. I wish they would have told us four hours right from the start. but then if they did we may have gone elsewhere.

While we were sitting outside the shop waiting I noticed a dentist office next door and went in to ask for a cleaning. They sat me right down and the dentist gave me a good cleaning for $30 USA. Good deal.

When we got back to the State Park we went in to ask for another night and told the ranger the story about having to wait four hours for glasses. He said it was because no tourists are going there any more and the labs have had to lay off most of their workers. When we thought about it, he was right! The whole day we did not see any non Mexican other than ourselves. It never occurred to us as we are so used to it but he was right. The American scare tactics are working. No tourists are going to Mexico border towns at all, if Neuvo Laredo is any indication.

We wandered around town all day and never had a problem. At one point we were having a coffee in the Centro and three Policia Tourista’s came over and talked to us for some time. They asked about our time in Mexico and where we were from. They were being followed by a TV cameraman who filmed the whole exchange. When they were about to leave the cameraman said something to the policia in Spanish and they asked if we would pose with them. Norma got on one of their scooters and I and one of the Policia stood beside her while he filmed. We are now Mexican TV stars! The Policia Tourista’s told us to tell our friends about them and the fact that they all spoke English and that they were there to help tourists. They were all very nice.

Anyway, we bought some duty free booze and headed back across the bridge. The USA collected $1.25 duty per bottle and we were back on USA soil. Nothing bad happened. Again. It is another beautiful day!

Saltillo To Laredo

Yesterday was the big day! We got up fairly early (8:00, early for us!) and started getting ready to leave. We found Mex 40 and headed out. It was nice toll road all the way. We filled up the motorhome and Honda at a Pemex near the border and got receipts for both showing the license numbers. This is to make getting our vehicle insurance rebates a little easier. We have proof that we were in Mexico up to March 30.

We got to the Mexican side of the border and turned in our FMT visas and canceled the temporary import certificate on the Honda. The motorhome has another eight years on it so we left everything in place.

We then crossed the bridge and went through USA Customs. Here things got a little different than last year. Back then we were directed to the truck crossing so that is where we headed. After waiting in line we were told that we had to turn around and go through with the passenger cars. We did that and barely squeezed through with about an inch to spare on each side. We showed our passports and were sent to the secondary inspection. There we were asked to open all bins and doors and the dog came in to have a sniff. It took him about five minutes to decide we had nothing that interested him and we were sent on our way.

We checked into the Lake Casablanca State Park close to Laredo at about $24 per night. It is a beautiful park with all hookups except sewer but there is a dump available. We will stay here two nights while we walk over to Mexico to buy glasses.

The weather is great. It is 60 degrees at 8:00 AM and will soon be 80! There are lots of birds around and we woke up to their songs. Well, that and the steady blasting of the propane canons at the nearby airport.

We went out last night to the local Olive Garden where I had the “all the soup and salad you can eat for $9.50” deal. It was very good. I have missed the Olive Garden!

Well, time to get ready to head back to Mexico for the day…

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Safe And Sound In Texas!

We are safe and sound in the Casa Blanca State Park recommended by Chris and Juan. It is very nice and we are heading out to a nearby Olive Garden restaurant. No problems, it was a quick and friendly crossing. No banditos! More to follow!

PS: There is WIFI in the park office, about 1,5 miles away. It is a big park!

Heading Out

It is 8:00 AM Tuesday and we are leaving for the USA border. I will post when I can but maybe not for a day or two.

BTW, I epoxied the end back on the Satellite dish. It looks good and feels solid. I will leave the zap straps on for a day or two to make sure everything is dry and solid. I should go into the satellite dish repair business!

The notice at the left is some good advice I shall heed as I travel through the USA:

Monday, March 29, 2010

Things To Do In The USA

This post is as much to serve as a reminder for me as anything. These things have to be done in the USA. The rest of the stuff can wait until we get home.

1) Service transmission in MH ASAP (overheated badly in Sierra Madres). Add axillary cooler?
2) Lube and oil - both vehicles
3) New dolly tires (why do they only last 10,000 miles?)
4) New fender for dolly (part of it broke off in Mexico C/W tail light and license plate)
5) New battery for Honda (WalMart warranty?)

5 1/2) Hit the first Olive Garden Restaurant

Stocking Up

We went down to HEB Grocery today to stock up on some stuff we want to take home. We bought some canned salsas and raw sugar as well as a few other things we can't get in Canada. We are well stocked with Mexican coffee already.

At the Farmacia I bought six months worth of Xalatan eye drops for $170 pesos ($14 CAN) per month which is about a third of the $38 I pay at home. I tried to find some generic Lipitor but ended up with the brand name for $660 Pesos ($55 CAN) per month compared to over $90 at home. I can buy generic from India so I just bought two months worth to tide me over. The price for the generic Lipitor from India is $12 CAN per month, a very significant savings.

I save where I can. I may need the money for my old age.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Going Away Gift

We just had to have one more little incident! After stopping the caravaners from moving the StarChoice dish, a gust of wind just came up and blew the damn thing over! It is not too badly damaged and I managed to get it pulled back into shape with Zap Straps and found the signal again. I can make a permanent repair with epoxy but for now, it is working!

I don't know how it could have blown over! I have a twenty pound rock tied to the base of the tripod and it was not that big of a gust.


Getting Ready To Leave Mexico

There are tears in my eyes as I say this! We are starting the process of eliminating things we cannot take back into the USA like eggs, bacon, fruit….. Norma is making up a care package to give the gardener here who has been very friendly.

We will head for the border tomorrow morning fairly early (unless we put it off one more day). We have picked Columbia, just west of Laredo, TX to cross as there is less narco activity in this area right now. Border areas are generally places you want to get through early and quickly while the bad guys are still in bed. It is a smooth run on toll roads most of the way and it is an easy process to cross there. This is where we crossed last year.

We will stay near Laredo, TX for a couple of nights so we can walk back across the border and buy new glasses. If you buy them in Mexico proper, you have to wait a few days to pick them up. On the border they are ready in a few hours. I don’t like spending too much time in Nuevo Laredo, MX but we will cross early in the morning and be back early in the afternoon.

A large caravan from Quebec is moving into the park right now. This morning a hotel employee came to the door and told us we would have to leave because the caravan needed all the spaces. We told her we were paid for another day and there was no way we were leaving. There are 14 spaces available and 17 units in the caravan so it will be fun watching them park. I will try to post photos later. They are from the same PQCC camping club that we have had all the previous problems with. This time we will not be pushed around.

Having said that, a trailer was just trying to back in beside us and they were starting to move our StarChoice dish! Norma quickly ran out and told them to leave it alone. They pulled out and parked somewhere else and a nice couple in a small motorhome pulled in beside us. Much nicer.

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An Organized Mind

We in this little traveling house have several items that require charging. We have two cell phones, a camera, an AA battery charger and a netbook computer. The tangle of charging cords has gradually taken over half of one side of the dinette bench. While surfing the Net this morning I came upon an idea, obviously generated by an Organized Mind.

My Disorganized Mind’s Solution:


An Organized Mind’s Solution:

Charger Clips

Chicken To Go

When the Mexican army wants chicken to go, they mean business!


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Saturday, March 27, 2010

Testing Adding A Map

Reader Kathy has asked if it would be possible to add a map to show where we are. I am trying that now. For instance, we are now in Saltillo and I have added a map using The "Add A Map" feature in Windows Live Writer.

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Friday, March 26, 2010

Matahuala To Saltillo

Highway 57 travels from Matahuala to Saltillo, taking us through some beautiful country. I really love this part of Mexico. The foliage changes often as we change altitude and much of the way we saw acres of blooming cactus. The tall stems had what looked like bunches of white flowers on top of them and along the side of the road people were selling these blossoms. They are not that impressive by themselves so they must have fruit or something that is the attraction. We did not stop to look or to buy any.

We decided to stay at the Hotel Imperial RV Park on the north side of Saltillo. The park is in a fairly busy part of town and can be approached from only one direction so the instructions are fairly complicated to find the entrance. Once we were in however, we found a beautiful setting. It is very quiet back where the RV park is situated. We set up the StarChoice and met our neighbors, another BC couple on their way home.

We contacted our Monterrey friends, Chris and Juan, and they are coming to visit us this afternoon, after which we will all go out for dinner. They are staying in the hotel and will leave early tomorrow for another engagement they have back in Monterrey. We will stay here for another day or two and explore downtown a bit. We are delaying the inevitable crossing into the USA and the final trip home.

Thursday, March 25, 2010


Matahuala is a conveniently located town on Highway 57. It has huge arches over the road into and out of the town. These arches are very reminiscent of the fast food chain's arches and predate the fast food chain. Perhaps the city should sue the fast food chain for patent infringement! ;) Matahuala is a good place to park the RV while visiting Real de Catorce, which we did last year. The Las Palmas Midway Hotel & RV Park is a nice, spotlessly clean park with good electricity and excellent water pressure. There was a slight delay getting is as one of the dumber hotel guests from Georgia, USA had parked his cargo trailer right in the middle of the entrance for big rigs. The other entrance has only 10.5 feet of clearance so anything bigger than a camper has to use the second entrance. They could not find the owner so Norma and I helped one of the staff members push the trailer out of the way.

The RV park is paved with crushed volcanic stone and was deserted except for us and a couple of parked vehicles from the hotel. This allowed us to pull in longways and not have to unhook and back in. Very convenient! We had showers in the spotless shower rooms with all the hot water we needed. We enjoyed our stay and the park is well worth the $271 peso charge.

We had dinner in their white linen tablecloth restaurant with tuxedo clad waiters. It was a very nice dinner and saved us the hassle of going into town. There were only three tables of guests, all Canadians and the soccer (football) game was on the big screen TV with Mexico playing Iceland. The waiters were trying to watch the game without looking like they were watching. The game was scoreless into the second half and as we were paying up, I started the chant, “Meh-Hee-Ko, Meh-Hee-Ko!” and it was picked up by all the staff and some of the diners. Mexicans love their football!

Matahuala is just north of the Tropic of Cancer and it is a very short drive back on Hwy 57 to see the monument. I always hate to see when I am passing the Tropic as it is the signal that the party is almost over and we are on our way home.

It was hot when we checked in!


Looking one way:


And the other:


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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

San Luis Potosi

The RV park is about 25 KM from the Centro so a taxi all the way was out of the question. Instead we drove the Honda to the Bodega Aurrera (Mexican WalMart) just inside the city limits and hailed a cab from there. It was good we drove no further because very quickly the lines on the road disappeared which gave drivers the go ahead to determine for themselves how many traffic lanes there are. Nissan cabs are very narrow and can fit three or four abreast into two traffic lanes and this is what they do while careening along unmarked streets at speeds reaching 100 KMH.

It is a nerve wracking ride every time in San Luis Potosi but the Centro is worth it. We got there about 4:00 and walked around before finding the same restaurant we dined in two years ago. It was a great dinner and soon after we found another taxi to take us back to the Honda. The fare was $40 pesos each way and I gave them $50, the extra being for not killing us on the way. We bought a few groceries that we needed and maneuvered through the tope minefield back to the highway and the RV park. We got back just as it was turning dark. Perfect timing!

Plaza de Armas:


The Cathedral. One spire is about a Century newer than the other. Can you tell which is the newer? You are probably wrong. The spire on the left is the newest. Good copy but inferior material:


Political Protest:



Friendly locals practicing their English:


And most important – Kids!!


This just might be the cheapest hotel room in Mexico - $9 USA per night! It was on the periferico on the way out of town:

$100 hotel

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El Faro De Peter RV Park

The RV park just west of San Louis Potosi is called “Peter’s Lighthouse". I don’t know who Peter is but the RV park is nothing for him to be proud of! It is not easy to find even when you do get onto the right street. The only sign is on the gate and if the gate is open as it was yesterday, you can drive right past like we did. The road goes to the lakeside and soon becomes a narrow local road with no possible place to turn the rig around. We had to unload the car, unhook the dolly and turn the motorhome around in the narrow road. I have only had to do this maybe three or four times before and it is always harder when I am yelling every word I know that begins with an “F” or “S”.

We finally found the park and pulled in. It was deserted except for two RV’s in long term storage and a few used trucks with no plates. Peter, the Mexican owner came out to see us and told us to take any place we wanted. We found one with hookups close by and backed in. When I got out to hook up I saw the ground was covered with the feces of some kind of large animal, maybe goats or sheep as they are used as lawn mowers a lot here. Anyway, it was hard to step anywhere without landing in some. The Church's guide says there is a restaurant and boat rentals. Ha! Forget it, there is neither! There was not even any running water until morning when it came out of the pipe in a trickle.

Norma went to the office to pay and was told “Twenty US Dollars”, to which she said, “No US dollars! Pesos!”. He then changed the price to $250 pesos which is the wrong exchange rate by a mile. He said we were Americans and he gives a discount to Americans. Well that was waving the red flag in front of the bull! “No! We are not Americans! We are Canadians! We do not carry US dollars!”. Well, it did no good, $250 was the price and that was that. Take it or leave it (or come up with USA cash).

She came back after I had everything hooked up and we turned the A/C on. As soon as we did everything went dark and Peter came over to tell us we had blown the entire park’s electrical supply! I went with him while he replaced the "fuse" which was a piece of salvaged 22 gauge telephone wire wrapped around the main fuse holder posts and we were back in business. We had spent the last two nights in Pemex stations listening to big rig trucks pull in and out all night so we both needed a good sleep and since this place was far off the highway we were looking for a peaceful night’s rest. Well, no one told the neighbor who played the same record over and over at full volume until 1:00 am or the local dogs who barked until sunrise! I love Mexico but sometimes……

The park actually has a lighthouse:


But not much else:



Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Pottery Shop

We passed a roadside stand selling copper, pottery and strawberries on highway 57D near San Miguel de Allende today. We both had a craving for strawberries and whipped cream so we pulled over. We ordered a half liter container to share and they were delicious!

While we were eating we wandered next door to the pottery shop to browse. I had intended to buy a tacky parrot this year to keep the one I bought in Cancun last year company but never found one, or at least never noticed one. What do you know - this shop had a dandy! He will look great hanging from the pergola. They also had a frog wall climber that caught my eye so we grabbed it and the woman running the shop came up with a matching iguana. Perfect.

Continuing along the row of shops we found a very friendly Mexican running another pottery shop. He had a big shining sun with a smiling face on it that will look great on the garden shed. We had to have it! His opening was $150 pesos and our counter was $120. We ended up paying $140 so his price must have been pretty close to cost. You can tell. The asking price for the parrot was $190, the frog was $50 and the iguana, $40. That totaled $280 and she would not accept less than $230 pesos. No half price deals today but we were still happy with the purchases. Now to get them home in one piece!

A funny story about the guy we bought the smiling face in the sun from. It was warm today. Not as hot as we were used to on the Yucatan but warm, probably around 24 C. This guy was wearing the same jacket I used to wear when I worked near the Alaska border in the winter! I laughed and pointed to my shorts and t-shirt while touching his jacket with the other hand. He grinned back and told me that even with the jacket, he was freezing! He said that for right now, here, it is very cold! I made a fanning motion with my hand and we both had a good laugh.

It was only after we were back on the road that I realized I had taken no photos! Sorry.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Arco Norte From The East

We drove the new Arco Norte from Puebla to Queretaro today. When we got to the toll booth on 150D just west of Puebla I asked the toll guy where the Arco Norte started. He told me “quatro kilometres and turn right”. Click on all photos to enlarge. Photo quality is poor as most were taken blindly out the windshield and cropped down from wide angle.


We counted off the kilometres and sure enough, there was this sign:


Followed by this one:


And this exit. As you can see, this sign is a little ambiguous. HWY 75D is the key:


Soon you will come to the Toll Booth where you will get an electronic card (look up high for the card dispenser):


It is now official!


At the Queretaro exit the nice lady took the card, scanned it and charged us $450 pesos for about 150 Kilometres of great highway. Since we came down in January, they have opened a Pemex station in each direction. They are at KM 162, near the Puebla end of the route.

The pushpin location is not exact, but it is close.

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Health Care Passes!!!

Americans now have Health Care! Well, a watered down crappy version of it thanks the the Republicans. Thirty-three Democrats also voted against it. If I was Obama, these turncoats would be easy to identify from the imprint of my boot in their asses!

Anyway, something is better than nothing and it can now be tweaked to make it better! Congratulations to my American friends!!

EDIT: Just a comment after reading the comments to this post. Yes, it is hard to get a doctor in Canada but once you have him, he is yours for life. My advice is to call all the offices and ask if a new doctor is starting out. They are always looking for patients and this method has worked for us in every new town.

Norma's 28 year old hip guy is supposedly the best in Canada and he works three part days a week. He decided how much money he needs to live the way he wants and decided that is the number of hours he has to put in. The rest of the time he kayaks, hikes, swims, travels and writes articles for medical journals. If he had decided to put in all the hours he could come up with patients to fill he would be working 14 - 18 hours a day, seven days a week and he would be dead in a few years. He bills Canada's Medicare system and charges nothing extra and like I say, is reputed to be the best "hip man" in Canada. Her bout of skin cancer thirty years ago was treated quickly and permanently as well.

Canada's medical system has worked very well for us and I would argue that it is not broken. I have gone through a shattered ankle near the Alaska border and got a free Lear Jet ride to Vancouver where they fixed it (also for free). I had kidney failure twenty five years ago and it was fixed quickly and professionally. We have never been put on a waiting list, we have gotten immediate attention quickly every time we needed it. We never had to pay a nickle for any of the above.

Others may have different results and I don't question them. I just know for us, the system works.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Villahermosa to Cordoba

We were kept awake last night by a party and loud music next door to the RV park until 1:00 am and then the rain started pounding down about 3:00 so it was not a very good night for me. We left the RV park at nine and headed up the highway. This stretch from Villahermosa to Puebla is very boring, made interesting only by the terrible condition of the road. The fast lane is not bad but the slow lane is full of uneven pavement, ruts and potholes. To add insult, it is a toll road and out total for today was $650 pesos and we are not in Puebla yet!

We came up to a military checkpoint and I mentioned how unusual it was that we had not been stopped in one in several months. They take one look at the old fart driving and wave us through. I should have kept quiet because as soon as I said it we got waived into the secondary inspection area. Norma showed one soldier our passports while I let two more into the back. One checked all the cupboards and the fridge and freezer while the other opened all the closets and drawers in the bedroom. They were polite but very thorough. Never once though have they asked to look in the outside bins or in the huge storage area under the bed.

The guy in the kitchen area finished first and told us what a nice rig it was. He saw Norma's cigarettes and asked if he could have one. When the other guy came out of the bedroom she offered him one and the guy she showed the passports to came to the door with a hopeful look on his face. She ended up giving them the whole pack to share. These guys have a very dangerous job to do and I admire them very much. They do not go around the world shooting up other countries but stay home and take on the drug cartels who have a much higher budget and are better armed.

We continued on and realized we were both very tired from the bad night. We started looking for a place to pull off for the night and passed up a couple of Pemex stations because they were too small and finally arrived in Cordoba. The Pemex here has a restaurant, an Italian Coffee Company and lots of parking. The only problem might be trucks applying their jake brakes as they approach the toll booth just down the highway. I am tired enough to sleep through it!


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Saturday, March 20, 2010

Isla Aguada to Villahermosa

We got a late start from Isla Aguada this morning after having breakfast at the restaurant and saying goodbye to the excellent staff. It is a little confusing and frustrating to get through Cudad del Carmen and onto the highway west. The road takes you through downtown and, as usual lanes are not marked so it is left up to the drivers to decide if it is two, three or four lane traffic. No matter what, you will be beeped at as you take up part of what someone thinks is their lane.

A little later you go past an inland waterway and an area with the most topes I have ever seen. Some of them are separated by only a few feet and many are not marked. It is a very slow trip.

Coming up to Villahermosa we saw the sign saying there are no trailers allowed but this time I saw extra lettering that seems to indicate this might only in effect between 0700 and 0900. Still, we saw no other trailers, only cars and light trucks on the highway through town and a traffic jam where the periferico joined up with 180 on the north end of town. We may have broken the law again and gotten away with it. If this is the case, it will have been the third time. If I ever get caught I will deserve the fine.

Backtracking a little, when we entered Villahermosa the traffic was very heavy, as usual. We found ourselves in the wrong lane to turn right onto 180 and were being forced past the turnoff and into the centro. This is the one place in Villahermosa you do not want to be with fifty feet of motorhome and tow car!

I stopped for a light and while I was frantically searching for a way out, a Collectivo bus stopped beside Norma's window and motioned to her to wind down the window. He asked if we were lost and told us we could not go into town. I told him where we needed to be and he started giving directions in rapid Spanish that I could not follow. The light changed to green and he motioned for me to let him in front of me and to follow him. His bus was full of laughing Mexicans who thought it was a great time helping out the stupid Canadian. I followed him for a couple of blocks and he pointed out the road we had to be on. I pulled up and offered him some pesos but he would take none. With the bus driver and all his passengers laughing and waving we made it onto highway 180.

This is why I love Mexico! Would a bus driver in downtown Vancouver or Phoenix go off his route to help out a lost, confused RVer who did not speak the language? That question does not even need an answer. But if it did, the answer would be no.

We made it through town and pulled into the Recreativo El Gordo Y San Pancho RV Park and public swimming complex just north of Villahermosa. We are the only RV but the pools are full of kids enjoying a beautiful Saturday. We parked, paid our $260 pesos for the night and joined about a hundred kids in the pool.

Tomorrow we head for Puebla and the start of the Arco Norte. It is about 650 KM away so we will probably spend one night on the road somewhere in between. My Telcel 3G is working so I will be able to post as long as we have a cell signal. I love Mexico!

Map picture

Friday, March 19, 2010

Last Day At Isla Aguada

We drove to Cudad del Carmen today for groceries and cash. The route there takes us over a very long bridge across the entrance to the Laguna de Terminos. Back in the days of pirates, this laguna was used as a refuge for the pirates. After they plundered Campeche or Champoton, they would make a run down the coast to Isla Aguada where they would sail into the laguna with their shallow draught vessels, hotly pursued by the Spanish. The Spanish Galleons were too large to sail into the shallow laguna after them so the pirates could sit and thumb their noses at the Spanish while safe and sound in their refuge!

The Bridge and the Laguna:

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After the drive we went over to the restaurant where we had another great meal, entertained by the most charming little one year, eight month old girl whose name translates to “Shining Light”. Her and her parents are visiting from Mexico City.

Croft’s Red Snapper Dinner, before and after:

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The Cook with his masterpiece:


Isla Aguaga

We are at Isla Aguada, parked at Freedom Shores RV Park. Things have changed here a bit since last year. Bill, the handicapped American owner and pleasant host is in the hospital in the USA being treated for bed sores from sitting in his wheelchair for extended hours in the heat down here. He has been in the hospital for nine months and his wife, who is running the park here says she hopes he will be back in November when it cools down a bit. He can no longer handle the hot summers here. We hope he will be alright.

There are four rigs in the RV park, two from Canada and two from the USA and one American in the hotel. It is very quiet. The place is set up for handicapped travelers but none of the present guests are handicapped.

There is no WIFI. Bill had two of them on site last year but rarely was more than one working at a time and he was constantly battling with his providers. He also had a Hughes DataStorm system on his motorhome which we all used until he got FAP'd for too much use of the system. I guess it was just too much bother for his wife and she has given up on it.

There are too many trees for me to get StarChoice reception. I tried it in a few places yesterday but branches are always in the way. I may give it one more try today but we are leaving tomorrow anyway so t is hardly worth it and I have a book to read. Speaking of books, I have read about twenty so far this winter. Somewhat of a record for me!

We had dinner in the park restaurant last night and they have the same cook as last year. He is very good and the meal was excellent.

Today we are taking a drive to the nearby town for a few things and will try to find a payphone to call our son and my sister.

Telcel seems to have me on their very slow internet. I guess that was the compromise they reached as a result of my trying to initiate my renewal too early and (they say) losing my time. If my Spanish was better I would argue with them but why bother? I can Blog as long as I am patient to let photos upload and do email. That is all I really need anyway so Life is still Good!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Isla Aguada Sunset



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To Get North, You Drive South

Directions are a little different here on the Yucatan. The coast of the Gulf Of Mexico curves to the South so as we drove today the GPS told me we were heading South West. We were headed for Isla Aguada and the Freedom Shores RV Park but stopped for a bite to eat in the little shrimping village of Champoton. It is a neat little town but difficult to explore as the highway going through it is narrow and busy with no place to park the motorhome and the side streets are very narrow and congested.

We stopped a little past town where there was a shelter set up that was being used to repair shrimp nets and a portable Coctil Stand was selling seafood coctils. I could not pass this by. These dishes are much different that you get in the USA and Canada. They are light and fresh and the sauce is much thinner than we get up north. I ordered a Grande Coctil, Camerone y Pulpa, por favor. That is a large shrimp and octopus cocktail. He made it right in front of me and pulled a plastic table over for us to sit at. It was delicious! Ice cold and the seafood “cracked” in your mouth. We shared it (me 95%, Norma 5%) while nibbling on the plate of tortilla chips it came with. The charge was $50 pesos, or about $4.50 CAN.

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night

We were awoken at about three in the morning with the motorhome rocking and rolling and rain pelting the side and roof. We are only a hundred feet or so from the water so we are fully exposed to the weather. It kept up for several hours with little sleep in between gusts. In the morning we discovered the StarChoice dish had been blown way off the satellite but, thanks to my tying it down securely to the car dolly, it had not blown over. We had planned on leaving today but decided to spend one more day to get things tidied up and to take advantage of the saunas in the clubhouse.

Hopefully the weather will be nicer tomorrow and we can start our way North. We will start putting in longer days on the road with some overnight stops in Pemex stations and shopping centres. We would like to visit with Juan and Chris in Monterrey before we cross into the USA. We have still not decided on a route home through the USA and this decision will depend on weather and inspiration as we go.

Dinner Out

Last night we went downtown to the El Langostino Restaurant. This eatery is highly rated by The Lonely Planet Guide to Mexico. It is located on a narrow street about two blocks from the water. As soon as we were seated and drink orders taken a waiter brought over a platter with all of the nights specials on it. There were the largest lobster tails I have ever seen as well as crab legs and a plate with twenty four large shrimp. The prices were written on a slip of paper beside each dish. Everything looked delicious but most of it was a little expensive. The lobster tails were $750 and $700 pesos respectively, the large crab legs were $400 and the smaller ones $350. The camerones were $280. The camerones (24 of them) would be a good deal for two people. I ended up ordering garlic shrimp and got eight large camerones for $150. Norma had the pepper steak. The house wine was from Chile and was good for $40 pesos a glass filled to the brim. We met a nice couple from Oregon there and managed to share a conversation between mouthfuls! They have spent many winters in Mexico and she would like to start her own Blog.

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Garlic Shrimp!