Friday, November 27, 2009


* Outta the water our first week in Mexico...
We began our leisure here with accidents as soon as we arrived (lost toenail for me, three stitches on the shin for Robert) which kept us out of the water, a week for each of us.
After luxuriating in the silveryblue and undulating radiance of water for the many following weeks (accompanied by the ever amusing pelicans round about, and various fishy shenanigans like a needle fish seemingly spending more time above the water than in etc etc)--

* ...we now end our sojourn, again out of the water, kind of like book-ends:
I am out of the water for a week because I'm currently up here in San Francisco -- thoroughly enjoying each and every one of my extended family members. Thus I am not IN Mexico for our final week. This is a choice I made months ago when I booked my round-trip tix. I will fly back to our humble casita just in time to help pack everything up in bug and rat tight boxes, and hit the road north.
Meanwhile, Robert is out of the water thanks to a scorpion bite.
We each had always thought a scorpion bite would be nothing more than like a really painful bee-sting. I was there when Robert got bitten, saw the guy, and watched Robert knock it off his body and step on it. Not all that painful, he said.... and we thought that would be that.
The villagers know better.
In the explanation from their years of experience, the venom of a scorpion is actually a neurotoxin that is cooling, and so you must keep your body warm to prevent the spread of it throughout your body...
So, besides injecting Robert (actually he injected himself, fearless man)
with an anti-scorpion bite treatment we keep handy in our home, he
followed their advice. For those first few hours especially, stay warm
and quiet. That means: no ocean breezes, no swimming,
no hammocks. Lie down, don't go to sleep.
Odd thing, neurotoxins. Besides numbing the area around the bite,
a typical experience (Robert, too) is that your tongue and lips feel
as though there are ants crawling over them, and the roots of your
teeth ache somewhat. Later on, the villagers say, your hands may
feel numb, too.
None of this was debilitating, of course. Robert kept quiet and
warm, and I read to him while he rested. I suspect that when I
return, this will have run its course.

And are we now daunted? Are we more fearful about living here?
Are you kidding? No way! We have had rattlesnakes by our
creekside chairs in our own Durango backyard, and bears
and mountain lions sometimes prowl our property. Are we
now afraid to live there anymore? You get the idea.
We are at ease, and aware (and love the gentle warmth of the
village neighbors, the inviting radiance of the sea, the ever
more homey beauty we are co-creating out of our humble
casita and land).
Same as you are, wherever you live.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Birdwatcher Alert

History: Our U.S. bird i.d. book lists a type of dove with a black v on its chest that is local, and also an Asian bird, larger and more aggressive with the same appearance... This Asian bird appears to be winning the survival of the fittest game, sez the book...

So: There are birds that appear to be either one of them, here in our digs (I cannot judge their size). But they ACT like irate Jaybirds, for starters. Fellow villagers laugh at their audacity as well... When strolling the winding footpath into our backyard jungle, two of these birds took great umbrage at my presence, flying from perch to perch in the thick growth directly above me at every turn, squawking loudly. They actually leaned down towards me screaming their invectives when I paused to look up at them..

What makes them especially, um, endearing is that they also have a crest! It rises up above their heads when they are thus agitated, and they shake it at me as they yell at me. No such crest is mentioned in my bird book at home.

Nor is the bird itself, crest or non'crest, mentioned in our book of Mexican birds. Not pictured, not spoken of.

Anyone have a clue, or experience with, this character?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Friends have expressed fear about the drug scene...

None of this affects our magical, calm daily life in the village and at the beach, and among our friends both local and from abroad.

Our mornings begin with butterflies, hummingbirds. Over coffee, we watch the hummingbirds war over the sweet blossoms of the male papaya tree. This morning there were three, and the sound they make is exactly the sound that the warring spaceships use in the Starwars movies. I bet that is where the MOVIE sound did come from. These guys zoom all over the sky above our yard.

At any time during the day, our porch may suddenly fill with the laughter and creativity of village kids... Their new passion is crayon'painting the xeroxed mandalas and wild animals which I provide. Many shaped building blocks, train tracks etc are also very popular.

At other times, loved neighbors drop by, often for breakfast. Our American style oatmeal with raisins and figs, plus coffee, is very popular. In return, we are invited to fresh'caught fish (tuna this morning), salad fixings, and hot made-on-the-spot blue corn tortillas. What we love to do is laugh together.

Too, Robert and I often hop on our bikes and zip down the dirt road, through the coco groves and all, to look at the waves on the beach (from our side of the river, which is only, um, ankle deep this time). We can forget to leave, too. SO beautiful and peaceful.

Yesterday, we saw a cock fight but not with chickens. It was seabirds, right there on the edge of the sea! And after all their posturing, and wing spreading and prancing, they took the battle to the air and duked it out up there! The winner, by mutual agreement, got to have the stony low'tide area rife with little fishies. The loser did not fare all that badly either. He just had to move to down to the river mouth a ways.

Oh, Robert just walked in. End of town trip.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Time Out....

I have maybe three minutes.

Update on drugs: the word on the street is more cinematic than the word in the English language newspaper published in Mexico City. Makes a better movie.

Update on the waves: Robert is having a great time and even tried out his vintage 1960 vintage Jacobs 9.0 board out there. Guess who f*ed with him, stealing his waves with a sly grin.

Update on boogieboarders: I am still swimming laps.

Gotta run! Next week I fly to San Francisco for a week.. combination Thanksgiving and Family Reunion and Celebration of our Parents' 100th birthdays (Note: they have passed on, however, thus it is their fine and loved memory that we celebrate.

Then I fly back here to pack up, and drive with Robert to see the wonderful Monarch butterflies in their winter digs... again. Scroll down and view a sampling of our photos. Wish I could post the videos.

Gone... with the wind......

Monday, November 9, 2009


Well, verbal ones, that is. Can´t upload from here.

(But first: there are very fine waves for surfers, just not huge. You can "wear yourself out" as one guy said. Nothing for boogiers since the very first day, however. So, I swim laps.....
and Second: just after I wrote the previous entry, I saw folks with their wheelbarrows back in action AND my first burro sighting in our village.... he was from the neighboring village, however. All is not changed forever.)

1. iPOD: BROOKS & DUNN ("video")
Shoulda seen us! The village was dark and quiet the other night, but our porch was bopping. We hooked up the iPod to speakers (only loud enough for us), and just the two of us--we rocked out to the country sounds of whining guitars, close harmonies, and sappy lyrics.

2. MANDALAS ("photo")
After weeks of coloring between the lines on xeroxes of simplified mandalas that I supply, the local village kids took the chalk to the walk (meaning the ramada floor), and turned it into a full-bloom garden of colors. Hated to wash them away it was so beautiful... but they scuff, you know. And that night was Halloween, when all the village kids and a good number of parents crowd in to see the Gringa Bruja who bribes their ugly, hateful selves to leave her alone by giving them.... CHOCOLATE! Pix posted later.

There is already of photo of this if you scroll to a previous entry-- but now it is so overgrown with large flowering vines that it looks very much like an archeological discovery. Soon to be transformed into a washroom for laundry, dishes, and bodies. Whether or not we put in a toilet is up for debate. Old hippies here. Whassamatta with a hole in the ground? Feeds that toad! Feeds them chickens! Furthermore, it´s beautiful back there in the jungle.... AND this woman right here at this keyboard doesn´t have to scrub and clean that hole out back. Now that there´s the real reason for wondering why bother to build a throne in a box.

A Facebook friend inquired if we´d seen any lately. I answered him there, but here it is again... Our dear friends who live right at the beach DID see (early dawn) a heavily laden and powerful-motored speedboat slide onto the beach just as trucks arrived from the road that ends there... a quick hauling of cargo from boat to truck and zooom. Boats and trucks were gone and all was quiet. Not for long. Shortly after, whether connected or not (you can never know), a man was found hanging from a nearby bridge over the coastal highway. There was quite the swarm of armed soldiers around that site. There are regular roadblocks with armed military as we drive to Zihua and back. And it is quite usual for truckloads of black'dressed, masked, and heavily armed soldiers to patrol our beach. We wave and smile, and some return the courtesy. One guy called a couple of the armed guys over, along with a couple of bikini'clad girls, and set himself in the center. Photo shoot! Big grins on the faces of all.

5. iPOD REDUX (whatever)
So, I´ll end this whimsical entry with another iPod story, kinda like bookends. Robert was in the ramada fixing up surfboards. I was on the porch with crayons and a xeroxed Tibetan mandala, very engrossed in my ouevre. On the iPod was playing "Raising Sand" (Robert Plant and Alison Krauss). Up our little hill, there comes bopping our delightful long'time pal. Omar -- with white wires dangling from his ears. Well, that was no surprise, since we "paid" him for work done with an iPod. What made it fun, is that he bopped over to our iPod, unplugged our sappy sweet music (to Mexican ears for sure, though this longtime folkie loves it) and plugged in HIS iPod. Man, he had on the coolest, most involving, rhythmical, great.... African music!


Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Walking the winding trail through our jungly backyard, I caught sight of a perfect circle of sunlight with a perfect shadow of a heart centered within. As I walked past, I made note to return quickly with a camera and catch that view. Less than a minute later, there was not a trace of that perfection. The sun had moved on.

In 2002, and again in 2004, I made note of how the villagers traveled the winding wild dirt road from the village to the seaside.... They used wheelbarrows. The fishermen carried their gear to their boats in the early dawn, returning many hours later hopefully laden with fish. On Sundays, mothers carried the family feast and whatnot in their wheelbarrows, kids bouncing and racing all around, as they made their way to the sea. Wheels! Only a few still rode horses. Never saw a burro here.

Now, it is all trucks, and 4-wheelers, sometimes a kid driving; even fancy cars from big cities.

This transformation does bring up one delightful morning repetition. The fishermen pile in the back of trucks, and one particular young man always calls to his uncle in the early dawn light... his uncle who lives across our road, and diagonally down the hill from us, out of sight. This uncle likes to sleep in, so as well as roosters, we are treated to a humorous, friendly tirade from this nephew, as the truck putters outside the uncle's house:
"Tio! Oye, TIO! Ay, cabron..... TIO! Andale perro! Vamanos!"

A vanished species. Back in 2004, I swung in a hammock on our porch and made note of all the things you can buy just by hanging out in a hammock on your porch. Apparently, I have lost that list, but here are some of the things: fresh baked breads, water, gas, fresh hot tortillas, ice cream and candies, furniture, hammocks, clothes, embroidered pillowcases and antimacassars, woven floor mats, jewelry, make'up, Jesus of course -- oh the list goes on. The salesmen just walk up the driveway bearing goods.

All that is mostly over now. No one can afford the gas to travel to small villages, and no one here has all that much cash on hand to buy. Gas, water, and tortillas -- and Jesus of course -- still come by. The colorful homespun creations, no more.

I am now settled in enough to rise just at the very first hint of First Light, take my dulcimer and mat to the ramada and face east for the dawning.... while quietly tuning my voice to my favorite raga, going up and down the specific scale til my voice is free, and then start singing songs.... all quietly.

I remember waves...... there used to be a lot of them. Big, too!