Monday, December 1, 2008

Checking in and catching up

Oh my. Where to begin? Had to reread the last entry to remember what I’ve said. What was that I said about being happy to once again be “communicado?” Puras papas, as they say down here. Lies, lies, lies. So, catching up:

We are still very happy to be down here. The weather has broken and we actually need a comforter in the night. We know when the temperature drops below 80, because Mexicans start wearing hoodies and fleece running suits and go around stomping their feet and rubbing their hands. But even gringo women are starting to carry rebozos or sweaters when they go out in the evening.

There are Christmas trees lit up in the windows of houses in La Peñita. December 12 is the Feast Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe. From that point on through January 6 very little gets done in Mexico. It’s a magic time as far as color, lights, music and action. I’m really looking forward to it. Lucy’s family has rented a house in La Zona for three weeks over Christmas and New Years, and there are twin girls who are having their thirteenth birthday on December 18. I’ve volunteered our house, so they can make a deal of decorating the Christmas tree. We should have another party before they leave so they can also take it down!

Lucy, if you remember, is our young British friend. She has returned to Guayabitos and is installed in our guest room. She’s enrolled in a writing program at Oxford, where she has deadlines for poems and essays, but she can write them from any place in the world. She picked here! We keep each other good company, because I’ve been concentrating on the book everyone says I should be writing. Well, I’m writing it…enough said on that for now. Except to tell you the title: Virgin Territory. I’m to read from my “work in progress” at the Xaltemba Restaurant and Gallery sometime around December 12, celebrating Guess Who. I doubt I’ll be sitting on the bar in shorts, like this shot of Lucy, who was reading one of her short stories. Works for some…not for me. (scroll down in the most recent edition of Jaltemba Sol.)

Larry has been working hard on a construction project in La Peñita which we trust will help recoup some of our finances. (Did I mention that the bulk of our nest egg from the sale of the house in San Clemente was lost in a fraudulent investment deal? Probably not. State of Florida is prosecuting. It will take years. Never mind….onward ) Larry and a partner found an excellent piece of land right in the middle of town -- walking distance to everything – formed a Mexican corporation, and when we got back in September, began construction on a 14-space RV park – one where people can buy the slots rather than rent them. There will be a full time live-on-property caretaker, so residents can leave their motor homes there and not have to haul them back and forth between here and Canada or the States. It’s first class all the way, complete with pretty pool, club house, storage facilities and lots of landscaping. (This was Larry’s background work before he started shaping surfboards). So that is coming to completion and should be ready to sell in the next three to four weeks. There has been a lot of interest, with a number of people coming in and saying "THIS is the slot I want!" Hooray.

He’s also been supervising maintenance for the homeowners association here in the Residential Zone. They didn’t paint the curbs white this year, because both the electric company and the sewer company have been tearing up the cobblestone streets and sidewalks laying new lines and pipes. Driving around here has been like navigating a war zone.

We have a new “staff” working at the house. Oscar keeps the pool sparkly clean, the patios swept and the plant materials in shape. Rosa has just started. She’s a widow who has never really worked outside her home before, so my friend Agneta and I are training her, as she trades off days between us. She had never seen a dishwasher and was unfamiliar with a lot of the cleaning products I use, but she’s eager to learn and very diligent. There’s a lot of catching up to do, both with her and with the house.

There are a few more English invaders in the area. A schoolmate of Lucy’s from her undergraduate days at Oxford married a lovely Mexican guy this past July, and they have opened a restaurant in Chacala, Café Chac Mool. Check out their blog and video. Millie and Arturo bring movie-star good looks and a touch of culture to that local scene. While Larry watches NASCAR or goes surfing with his friend Colin Sunday mornings, I’ve been going to Chacala with friends, scarfing up phenomenal baked goods, then swimming at the wonderful beaches there. Millie’s parents are a bit non-plussed about what their daughter – who got a First in French and Italian (“or was it French and Philosophy,” wonders Lucy. “I know it’s something terribly highbrow) is doing off in a remote Mexican beach town making sweet rolls and croissants and perfecting her capuccinos. Good question. You just have to be here to understand.

Watching Xaltemba.TV might bring you a little more enlightenment. Our friend Juan Gonzales has created this site to document goings on around here. Check out the categories for Nature, and for Art and Culture in particular.

What more??? Ah, yes. YOGA! Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday out by our pool. 7:30 in the morning. Great group of ladies, usually about 3-6 of us. Wonderful way to start the day. Throw in a walk up and down the beach in the morning, and maybe a walk across the footbridge into La Peñita to a little abarrotes store for the spare tomato, stack of tortillas or liter of milk, and I’m getting plenty of exercise. So grateful to be able to do it! So happy to be healthy!

Gringos are back and the social calendar is filling up. Also volunteer opportunities and good works…like the plastic recycling program, the spay and neuter clinic, beach clean up campaigns. There’s no lack of things to get involved with The art group is meeting once again, but I’m trying to stay focused on the writing for a while. When Melanie the water color teacher, comes down in the spring, I’ll join back in. She always has a specific project for us to work on, which saves me from having to think about what I want to paint. Give me an assignment! I did a couple of catrina watercolors for the Día de Los Muertos opening at Xaltemba, just because Roberto asked. The Guayabitos Artists Collective is having an art show and sale on December 14, at Bobbi Attwood’s house. That’s where we the art group meets. (Xaltemba has been so successful that they expanded the restaurant space into the gallery space) I may have something. Yikes! Two weeks??!! (I know this would be a great opportunity to insert photos, but I don’t have any!)

We hope your holiday season is joyous and blessed wherever you are. We started it off with Thanksgiving dinner with young friends from San Antonio who were here for a couple of nights. They’re thinking it would be great to move here. We are telling them we wish we’d done it years ago when we took that first long trip together down here in 1973. It’s interesting times, these. I look at people in their twenties who are just starting off and just love them and bless them. What a very different world they’re going to have. Let’s start filling it with prayers. Much love to all!


Evan Mehlenbacher said...

Hi Susan,

I can see you strolling down those sunny warm beaches! Might get a bit envious about that...

Nice to hear from you.

Mr.Z said...

Hi Susannah
MR.Z here
Read your post and others from the area. Doing contract work in Bolivia. Hope to be in Guayabitos in late summer. May drop by. I sealed the tunnel in garage area before I sold the house to the Thayers.They were ding bats. There is still a lot of loot in the tunnel.Painting,silver and old antiques.A lot of old peso's. I believe there is a sub tunnel with who knows. Read the rain was bad this year. We always got a lot of rain on the back Veranda. Installed a lighting rod at the top of stairs to the roof. Lighting hit Nadalini's,( next store neighbor) our first year.

O Susannah! said...

Wow, Mr. Z -- Would be very interested in meeting you! Excuse the delay. I should check the comments on the blog more often. You'd be most welcome to come by. And would be very interested in that tunnel...