Today I'm told it's Thanksgiving, in general it's not really that important
to keep track of days or hours here. I know when the first sound of a
motor reving or a stereo blasting ranchero music, it's about 7:00 am.
When the booze cruise hits Yelapa, it's roughly 2:30 pm. I like to remember
Thursdays, so I can get to Ramona's early to get fish and shrimp tacos.
Sundays are obvious too, because many of the locals aren't at work and
are either at home or on the beach, Lots of people in the village share
their bounty on Sundays. It's great to see families sharing beef , fish
and stories. All this is invisible to most, as the majority of visitors
don't really hang out in the town. But my casa is right in the outskirts
of the neighborhood. Well todays adventure came early.... This am , I
was straightening up for my supposed phone installation and picked up
a pillow case that was stacked in a pile , on the floor. Was it clean?
or mildewed from the staying here the last 6 months? As I smelled it,
a 4 inch gold scorpion crawled off the back of it, lucky I saw it... when
in the face of something that powerful you really get this funky gut feeling,
My friend , Mary Beth once told me that being tuned into those feelings
, would be your success in dealing with scorpions. I'm still practicing
being aware, but when I get that funky gut feeling, I pay attention! The
one mistake I made today was that I didn't kill it. I was too flustered!
As I flung the pillow case on the floor it crawled back into it. I figured
that it was going to stay there. When Emilio came by and I told him, he
knew the scorpion was way too smart for that and would be gone. Right
he was... So I go on sharing my palapa with it and probably others. They
live in the palapa, that most houses use for roofs here. They like to
live high, in the palapa where it is warm. Emilios theory is that they
can tell when something isn't moved very often and they choose that as
a safe spot to hang. Todays experience reminds me to take the simple precautions
that I learned 10 years ago. Flashlight to check the floor before you
walk around at night, don't leave any wet or dry clothes touching the
floor and if so shake out before use, that means shoes too! And most importantly
had a great afternoon feast of beans , onions, cabbage, salsa huichul,
cheese from Tuito ( our municipal to the north) and a few real cold beers...Happy
I am!!! I think I'll go to Alicia, Marcos and Vero's tonight to spend
Thanksgiving with a family, even if they don't know that it's a holiday.
ps...waited for an hour on the pier today for the phone guys...manana,
sort of sums it up. So much for my predicted odds. I'm going for the make
it not important and it will happen technique, now. Ojala ( if god wishes)
I did have fun watching Pedro, with the cowboy hat, pull in at least 8
good size fish from right off the pier. He thought it was so funny that
I would even think that the Telmex guys were coming!
I had a great time at Vero's. mostly not talking tonight . Just watching
the entire family interact. Around 9pm, a meal somehow appears and with
a little imagination it is as grand as a thanksgiving feast, fish, carne,
rice and beans, a debut of tortillas from the new tortillaria in town,
and a huge bowl of fried sweet bananas for dessert. It's really the spirit
of Thanksgiving every day here in Yelapa. The evening ended with an English
lesson , as most of my evenings tend to have an emphasis on learning and
understanding Spanish, it was fun! So if you look like your going to visit
the waterfall and someone comes up and says " Hi! are you going to
the waterfall? can I take you there?" it's probably one of my students.
I've never tried to teach English. It's real hard for the Mexicans to
make there mouth into our sounds. We sat and laughed, as we both stumbled
over our languages. The only thing missing on this Thanksgiving was a
family fight over politics or old family baggage. Well maybe some Pumpkin
Today was a work day. Im still dialing in my property. Yesterday Emilio
cleaned up one of the giant mangos trees and opened up my morning sunrise
view. Quite a site to see someone climb so effortlessly and without fear.
The tree must be at least sixty feet tall. The entire job was done with
a machete. What a powerful tool, when you know how to use it. I never
knew there were different levels of sharpness, specifically sharpened
for each type of job. Emilio carves with it, uses it as a hammer, kills
scorpions with it and much more.. In conversation , I learned that Emilio
,who lived for years on my property as a kid, was in charge of maintaining
the entire terrain and this was at the age of 12! He worked 3 hours per
day on it...for zero pay. Tough being the oldest of 15 brother and sisters!
All from the same parents. Now you see why my landlord has a bit of experience
under her belt. Norma, Emilios wife brought me some ceviche , that was
soo tasty. Also today , Emilios son, Emanuel carried 30 large palm fronds
(palapa) from the jungle to my house to use for privacy fences. I built
some last year but the hurricane took them away. We made some benches
and chairs out of palm trees from the yard and burned a bunch of old palapa...
Then at 5;00 PM , I realized there was no water! it rarely happens at
my property, but is very common in Yelapa. All water comes from high on
the hill above the waterfall. There is a hose sitting in a pool that sucks
water up and then it flies down the hill and goes to whoever is on your
line. Most people cannot afford to run there own line , so you can imagine
how many T's can be off a line and all the negotiations. Emilios dad,
Santos put in Metal lines years ago. We are one the few that have them.
My problem is that I'm close to the last casa on the line and my stretch
is completely uphill. Not so fun for a gravity fed system. Emilio offered
to go and climb 20 minutes above the town waterfall to see if some leaves
were clogging the line and making it run slow. But my luck was with me
and after a few valve adjustments , water began to flow. It is obvious
to me that I must purchase a few large water tanks for reserve storage.
Just the thought of being without water is enough for me to do something
about it. I think do as the doctor orders and go to sleep early as tomorrow
I have a scheduled ping pong game.
Ping Pong in Yelapa is a natural. Yesterdays so called match was with
Vero and the kids and of course , Emilio. It was great! They were laughing
from the bottom of their core. My giant Mango and Arbor Maria began its
shedding cycle. I raked the yard and when finished , I basically could
start all over. Oh Well.... I had tacos de asada at Emilios and Normas.
She served some agua de guanabano too! Around 7:30 pm I decided to take
a walk and visited with various people ,on the path. One of the joys of
no cars is that at will, you can stop and visit someone. Most people if
on the path will eventually come by. OK at one section, it splits into
three paths,so an occasional missed connection occurs. It happened to
me the other day, I needed to go visit Pilar and by coincidence, she was
coming to visit me. Of course I took the upper path and she took the lower...such
is life! Another heart warming evening at Veros. Marcos was gone at some
type of political mtg. in Chacala, so I got the girls to myself , well...and
the six kids. On tonight's menu was Mapachi, Raccoon. At this point ,
I could be honest and tell you all the different meats I have tried while
visiting in Yelapa over the years but I wont because Im likely to have
death threats from many Sonoma County residents. Raccoon tacos were a
little hard to think about but tasted good. Sorta hard to get that black
and white thing out of my head! Conversations about local history , life
north and the usual laughter over the language barrier. It is just my
luck that Alicia, Veros mom, naturally speaks slow and is very expressive
and patient... Didn't get home until 1:30am... all that fun and not even
a beer cracked! Some of tonight's conversations were very important and
will not be forgotten!
Welcome December! Had a great karmic experience last night. An hour or
more after going to bed, I was awoken by an animal in my kitchen. Even
though my casa is completely open, this very rare because I don't leave
any food out or garbage, Another hour and once again, the clanging of
my pots and pans... so this time I wait with the lights out for the culprit
to return. Ten minutes and I flick on my flashlight and there's a raccoon!!!
Never have I seen one on my terrain! Strange tales...Emilio, Norma , Emmy
, Nora and Omar are coming by this am to teach me how to make sopes and
play a little pong,f Norma also taught me many different foods and fruits
I had right here under my nose and never knew about. I'm heading out today
to the beach for a swim and walk, not necessarily in that order.
10:00pm... just returned from the beach and friends. A simple day of swimming
in the warm water. Slept in the hammock for an hour and mostly hung out
with Veros son, Danny. Marcos made it back from Chacala around 8:00pm,
He walked the Jungle/Mountains for 2 1/2 hours. Burly! Finally saw Vero
dead tired... I went to say goodnight and she was sound asleep... I am
so lazy compared to these people! It turns out that the entire family
stayed up till 3:00am, last night.
Bright Sunny Day! Slept in this morning. It's funny that I get the deepest
sleep ,when I wake up and go back to sleep. Strong, Vivid Dreams. Doe's
that happen to other people or is that a symptom of my sleep apnea? any
sleep experts out there? Alicias bean lesson turned out to be a special
type of beans... basically it was a vegetarian beans with a wide variety
of vegetable and herbs, making them so flavorable , but too much prep
time, It was great to learn and eat. Im going downstairs from my little
sunny office overlooking the bay and whip up some sopes con frijoles right
now! Relaxation is on the menu , also today. again.....well, Ill take
back the sunny day comment...another sort of, overcast day and it turned
out to be a work day too! Its still good... Built some more privacy fences
with the vein of palm. Privacy and security go hand in hand here. My breakfast
was great, take a look....Something
that I've realized for years is that food consumed in the outdoors or
close to it , somehow tastes better. More air , Better taste? I'm ready
for a siesta and then some wood collecting /furniture making with Emilio.
Attempted to carry Palm rounds/stumps from up the path. I barely pulled
it off! I am strong but I can't handle putting that much weight on my
shoulder bone . Its really like using a muscle you don't ever use . So
I muscled them to the house. A bit of pain. But I have two new cool office
My Dad's Birthday.... Happy Birthday .... Im sure you had a great day
filled with tennis and friends. I hope your party went well. My Dad lives
the good life in Desert Hot Springs. He can be found daily at Hardy Park
playing tennis,where he is also the unofficial mayor. Let me also state
for the record that he isn't a match for me in table tennis. My Dad was
a semi pro for years, Some of my fondest memories of fun with him was
going to Max's in Pasadena and getting a chance to watch and play serious
players. Of course over the years I was no match for my Dad. He would
crush me. But time is a funny thing. About 5 years ago I finally took
a match from him and never played him again. I continue to remind him
of that match. I wish for you Dad, to continue to live life ,at the fullest.
tides brings rough water and a dirty sea . Hazy Day, where was the wind
when we needed it ? Did I tell you one of the Amapa trees in the yard
was struck by lighting and basically fried the roots and more. I now with
the help of the man, Emilio , have a new gate. Today he spent the entire
day milling the tree with a chainsaw, Another amazing feat! Fact.... Amapa
smells of red wine when split open. Tomorrow the gate goes up while I'm
running around Vallarta, trying to buy supplies. Let me tell you that
can be trying. Definitely a test in patience. Hinges, screws, potati mats
for the floors, almond tequila, and linseed oil are just a few things
on the list. Try to pantomime linseed! Im thinking of driving my car in
tomorrow instead of taking the bus from Boca ( A town 20 minutes by boat
to the east of Yelapa). I might even spend the night and come back the
next day, that way I could update this site and write a few emails.
Wild seas! It was one of those boat trips that you wanted to end fast.
High tides , a full boat...Lots of tense moments of watching people trying
to jump aboard the boat , at exactly the right moment. I got off in Boca
and drove my car to Vallarta...Im glad to be here and I'm sitting in the
Net House Cafe with a big grin, reading my emails you all have sent. Thanks...
The day here went fast, I found most everything I remembered on my list.
I just couldnt handle staying in Vallarta , overnight. I love my tranquility
. But getting home was another story! I knew it was going to be rough
, primarily because I ran into Tambur Don, who shared the most hair raising
boat adventure of my life. Back about 8 years ago we took off from Yelapa
and got hit head on by a storm. Even though we were in the biggest boat
, at that time, we had to steer the boat the proper direction over waves
, so not to flip the boat. When I saw that Don, a lifelong sailor and
the locals were scared, I knew at that moment, I was going to have to
swim ashore. I was happy to have my guitar with me as a floating device.
But once again luck pulled us through and we were able to guide our way
through the storm but having to dock in the marina, which I have still
never heard a storm that caused that . I'll never forget the look on my
fellow SunTrip travelers as I walked to board the plane, wet from head
to toe, in levis. Today was only a reminder of that day. The waves were
very big and we had to go very slow and power our way through them. After
our hour adventure, we were all soaking wet and happy to be back in Yelapa
, . I drank almond tequila with friends and toasted life, on land of course.
Im going to attempt to go to sleep early ,over the pounding music of the
Wednesday Night Disco. which I'll have to tell you about sometime. I also
am at the point that I'm going to have work on the computer under a net.
You see, when you turn a light on at night ,you'd better duck. Instant
insect beacon! I can only write a paragraph or so before I hit my limit
of getting hit and crawled on ! Tomorrow's plans are to go and visit the
point and help unload a boat of supplies coming in from Vallarta and a
3pm dinner for the birthday of Vero .
A fun day filled with family. I visited Isabel, queen of the point. I
want to harness some of her energy! wait , maybe I don't. It is great
to watch and learn from someone who has spent 25+years here. The boat
of Marcos and Pedro came in on schedule and I helped unload but really
wasn't needed. The birthday get together was great. The Rodriguez/Joya
clan are too cool! There's just enough kid/adult ratio to make me feel
comfortable. A real sweet family. Today's adventurous food was Lapas. Very tasty! Pounded and then pan fried. top with lemon, salt and salsa
huichol. They are similar to an abalone in CA. or similar to Gorro here.
They live in a hand sized shell, on the rocks. They are a favorite food
for the raccoons. The problem is that when the water comes in and the
shell opens an inch or so , the raccoon tries to pry the shell from the
rock, if the lapa wins the raccoon gets its hands pinned downunder the
shell. The tide gets high and death occurs. Life's funny little cycle.
The party had lots of other great treats like ceviche, fish, rice and
Jimica. Vero is now 30 years old. Thats 10,950 days of experience. I wish
for her and her kids, happiness, health and a good life with a bearded
, slightly overweight gringo. You must read between the lines!
I told you, Emilio has been working on a gate for the path up to Casa
Iguana. When I got home tonight , it was done. I need to take a break
from house repairs and enjoy for a while... I took lots of nice pictures
today and hope for more tomorrow. Buenos Noches.
Last night was breezy and today is sunny and perfect.
I thought Id take this opportunity to introduce Vero's family. The oldest
is Danny at 10. He is quiet, yet passionate. LuzClarita is 6 and is just
like her name, pure light, Vivian is 4 and sweet and Jael , the youngest
at 2 1/2, is very animated. There Dad lived in Tuito but is now in the
US. They haven't had any contact with him for a long time for a variety
of reasons .
is the oldest of her family. Arron is right behind at 29, Sergio at 28,
Dolly at 14, Joyita at 13 and the youngest Kevin at 3! Vero and her Mom where pregnant at the same time. Id like to tell you
more about my connection with Vero
and the kids but I'll save it for an upcoming article.
his wife Angeles and there son, Raymundo came by and we had lots of fun
playing pong. There really is something to this ping pong diplomacy. Arron
and his wife work at an all inclusive nearby called Majuahitas. Its about
10 minutes, by boat, to the east. It's currently owned by the best friend
of Mario's of Mexico Lindo in Graton. His name is Livio and his ex wife,
Margo's parents are from Bodega Bay, Small World stuff! Back to Arron,
He's a good player ,especially based on his experience of having a table
Off to Punta De Mita on an adventure with Vero and the kids , her Mom,
brother and sister and her little brother, Nothing like adventures that
have no real crisis's . Having very little car experience, managing motion
sickness was key. It was great to have a new vista. Blue water to float
in and the view of the horizon in the opposite direction of Yelapa. You
see Punta is located directly across the bay from Yelapa. Another treat
was big waves! Fresh Watermelon, giant Calabasa, Sugar Cane and Coco were
locally grown and readily available. On the return trip through Vallarta,
we stopped at a swap meet type street scene. It was very unusual to be
the only gringo there. I saw a man selling watches and essential oils.
Se said to me in Spanish," look at my magic beans! "I new exactly
at that moment I was on to something.... Somewhere in my life I remember
seeing a magic ,mexican ,jumping bean, but I forgot what the secret was.
Does anyone remember? I called over Alicia and asked her to check it out
, I said, have you ever seen these? and she answered yes. I asked her
about the magic, huh? she thought I was talking about the essential oils.
It was great to see her face when the bean jumped... I got to witness
a master herbalist seeing her first Mexican jumping bean! Luck is with
me. We made it back to Boca by 5:00pm and plenty of time to catch our
full boat. As we slowly cruised home to Yelapa, I took turns sitting with
different kids on my lap. All the sudden and I looked at Vivians face
and knew she was about to erupt. I could see it in her mouth. I quickly
passed her back to her mom, as I dont have any puking experience, well
at least with kids. And then we realized she was just chewing sugar cane...oops..Luz
did show us the real thing, but it was worth the wonderful days trip!
got back home at 9:00pm and to my surprise... I have a phone!!! Thank
you , the powers that be! I plugged in my cordless phone and called my
mom and a few friends, right from my palapa and hanging bed. What a trip!
I'll get an internet account ASAP and cut back my visits to Vallarta in
Visited with Pedro and Anna today at their colorful casa in the jungle,
high on the hill. The nicest point people around.... then as if you hadn't
guessed to Veros for lunch/dinner. On the menu was Tejon. Which is also
called a kutamonde ( I dont know about the spelling). I know all this
sounds bad, but you got to remember this is the jungle . After a few hours,
Arron arrived from the week at work. I asked about the other day when
we were picking up his brother in a near by town and I heard gun shots.
They all laughed and made some comment about my stomach? Too funny ...it
turns out it was his friend shooting the meal I had just eaten! I had
a great conversation about ghosts and demons with the family. Life here
is so simple and yet so rich. We spent from 3:30 till 10:00 pm laughing,
eating and telling stories.
getting ready to take a spanish class with Pegge this week from 9 to 1
... It should help me along the long path of learning spanish. Im doing
so much better this year but I still hack this language to pieces.
I borrowed a friends web account and Im wired here in my palapa finally
after months of work. Now I can relax.... beautiful weather right now...sunny
and breezy days...If your coming bring a sweatshirt, it can get a tich
cold in the mornings.
Spanish class is hard. The hard part is the responsibility. The commitment
of showing up for four hours per day. I'm picking up alot though. Pegge
is a great instructor with a fresh style. I really enjoy being a 5 year
old. It's true ,actually me and Luz, who is 6 are studying the same material.
Im going to ask Vero to help us both with the alphabet.
have great news ! Vero and the kids are going to come on my road trip
to Michoacan. I am so happy! I dont know if you can read between the lines
or not? I am 100% in love with them and I think the feeling about me is
75% and growing daily. I knew Vero years ago , only in passing. One year
I came here solo and played with her little sister Dolly. At this time
Vero was Pregnant with Vivian. I never thought of the possibility of a
relationship with her. About a year or more ago Vero moved back to Yelapa
from Tuito and a change in her ten year relationship occurred. So after
connecting , I found myself attracted to her. But four kids were not really
in my movie. Last season I found myself still thinking of her and the
kids. So I spent time playing with Vero and the kids on the beach, close
to their casa. Most days they would come to the beach around 4:00 and
stay till dark. After about six weeks of that I had to go back north.
I decided to state my intentions to her in a variety of ways, I wrote
a cheat sheet and asked permission for private time to talk to her, I
had several Spanish speaking friends come visit as character witnesses.
Thanks Jenny and Jesse Rose! But At that time , she wasn't ready to restart
a relationship. I don't know if I really was either? Five months pass
and when I returned this year , my feelings were still strong. She was
still unclear of her path. I spent many tough conversations talking about
life ,my intentions and the possibility of our lives joining both with
her and her parents. About a week ago, I finally asked for clarification
. I got more than I could have hoped for. I got permission to call her
my Novia, You see even though Vero is 30 years old and with four kids,
this whole dating thing has a protocol. This week things have been moving
fast. I moved into the Novia, Formal mode. She has been so comfortable
with me. I 've gotten to see so much more of her personality and I love
her even more! I' ve gotten total approval from her parents, brothers
and sisters, and most importantly the kids . Our future trip is going
to really bond us. More on our future later. In
general, most of Yelapa understands the importance of a good life over
the importance of money. I
can tell you this , I have to get back to work and make money. So much
for the simple life. After a few years of hard work Ill sit back and enjoy again. This change
in life for me was just supposed to be a couple years break, sort of a
retirement in the middle of life , instead at the end.... and with four
kids , the breaks end is in sight! But Im happy, so I don't care...
At this same time it only seems right to talk about my past life with
Dianne , Paul and Tara. I love them too! Me and Dianne had a passionate
relationship that has lasted close to 13 years! Paul ,23 and Tara, 21
are always going to be my kids. I've spent a small lifetime with them!
Over that time I grew tremendously and figured out many of life's lessons.
I followed Dianne and the kids here to Yelapa. I feel a sadness to lose
what we have had and happiness to bring to my next family, the love and
knowledge I have to offer.
I write this, way to late at night, Chaos in the barrio comes on suddenly.
The barking of dogs, In some sort of communication to each other, from
all over the neighborhood. Voices from the back of my property. I know
these sounds too well! a gunshot....a yelp, a scream, a scuffle, another
gunshot ...Its my neighbor killing an animal that is going after his roosters
and hens. Tonight was a Mapachi, Raccoon. Other nights a Badger...It gets
real hard to understand which animals are which..clacwathci, locwatchi...the
language translations are tough. My main concern is that he aims his gun
away from my casa.
minutes later... I can hear the heavy surf of the ocean, the crickets
and the rustle of the palms blowing ...
Goodnight Dianne, Tara , Paul, Vero, Danny, Luz, Vivian and Jael .
A clear warm day, a huge contrast to Sonoma County and the storm that
is visiting. So sorry for the Occidental Community Craft Faire... next
year will be better. I need to Thank Mark Wiley for taking on the adventure.
This is the first year I haven't been there....changes....
high season in Yelapa is here. People are smiling. The weather is getting
nicer. Casa's are getting booked up. I hung out this morning with Lynn
Rich, Artist from Austin and Mexico. One of the treasures here is to meet
great people. Actually Yelapa is supposed to mean the meeting/gathering
place. Lynn is currently in the cast of characters here. I met her at
my Spanish class, She has a calm feel to her. She came by to visit and
by surprise my small iguana showed back up! Just in time to be a model
for a famous artist. So my neighbors didn't eat my iguana! I am spending
the day at Casa Iguana doing chores such as burning the trash ,watering,
sweeping and sleeping, Getting ready for the big road trip inland on Tuesday.
Spent the day hanging waiting for a couple from Ireland to arrive. It
is important to find out exactly which boat someone is coming on and where
they are going to get off. You can get off at the beach or the pier and
the boats arrive at 11:00, 11:30,12:00, 12:30, 1:30 2:30 ,4:30 AND 6:00...
what fun! Today I got lucky they got here at 1:30, so it only took a few
hours of sitting, which was actually very fun. One of the best pieces
of advice I can give a visitor here is to sit in a spot and watch the
movie pass by, another day, another spot....some of my best knowledge
of Yelapa comes from those times.
Off on a paseo with a cooler
of fish, 4 kids and my amiga. Planned stops are to visit Lake Chapala
and the rancho of Hugo and Antonia, the aunt of Vero. Then to visit my
Occidental Friend, Armando in his home town of Emilano Zapata, Michoacan.
I've always heard great things of San Sebastian, so it too is a stop...
thats all that is planned.... many little towns and adventures are guaranteed.
We will see if the kids can travel with out puking too much! Talk to you
all around Christmas.
Feliz Navidad!!! Happy Holidays!!!! We're back from our paseo!!! Our adventure was really great. The kid's quickly adapted
to the chinook and traveling. It was their first vacation away from Cabo
Corriantes. Very little car sickness, which was amazing seeing that we
traveled over some real burly roads for hours. Actually they never asked
"ARE WE THERE YET ? " but I don't think I understand that it
spanish, so... Our first stop was the Rancho of Antonia and Hugo, Veros
moms sister and husband. Its located out of Chapala near San Nicolas.
A wonderful terrain adjacent to a dam. They live a rancho lifestyle. Producing
most of the food from the property. Very quiet and peaceful but alot of
work...for them. Antonia is another of the clan that is so wise. Hugo
is classic. A former Texan who is now sober and leads a life far from
his past. Other family were sokind and gracious .Patty and Amy, Ricardo
and Claudia, Gus and Linda. We celebrated the bithdays of Diana and Vivian,
who both turned 4 years old. We felt so good here that we returned for
another day or so after our trip to Zapata and to bring home to Yelapa
a gift of a borrego for Christmas.
finally made it to the small pueblito of Emiliano Zapata. It is located
2 hours from Lake Chapala. As we pulled into town and passed through the
military drug check we were happy, Viva Zapata!!! we cried! Veronica asked
me the address and I responded with confidence that one wasnt necessary
as they would be known. The first person I asked was not from Zapata but
the second ,said vamonose! and off we went to the house of Armando and
Family. The best part of this story was the second man was actually from
Santa Rosa, Ca. but a good family friend...small world magic... As we
arrived , it turned out that Armando was away on a day trip with his tio
and son, so his dad and brother, who were recovering from the last nights
fiesta played host to us for many hours. We ate. walked around the town
and centro, went to a few simultaneous fiestas with giant bandas from
Michoacan and relaxed. In the town centro at night their was a posada,
a sort of parade for the virgin. Very sweet with kids dressed in costume,
singing with love, As I watched, directly in front of me was a familial
face. It was a girl I knew from Harmony School years ago as a kid. She
had moved away years ago but I had a strong connection with her. Claudia
Manzo now 15 years old... I called to her softly . When she turned around
and saw me there 5 feet from the virgin , she was stunned!!! "what
are you doing here?" A truly amazing feeling for the both of us.
It was great to visit the town with Armando's Dad. As the Director of
the school in Zapata, His communities respect of him was obvious. At some
point we were told that Armando was home. We rushed home to find him Passed
out. Not from lack of sleep, or the last weeks ongoing fiesta but full
on drunk from the days adventures. On his way to visit a town with a powerful
virgin, the road is closed because of some type of drug trip... sad, he
and the family try to find a way around the road blockage. With no success
they decide to get plastered. Well in the am, we wake him up and we sober
him up enough to play tour guide to nearby cities of Sawyaho and Jicutlan.
We spent the day walking through fantastic market scenes of fruit, carne
and everything that you can imagine plus more... by 3:00, Armando and
his Brother were feeling real Bad...a six pack was the appropriate cure....and
there was a soccer final with Michoacan in it and another fiesta that
night! I want to be clear here... I ve always known Mexico to be just
one big fiesta but this small town truly parties nonstop for weeks near
Christmas. Many local residents are living in the USA and return with
their hard earned dollars not only to show how well they are doing but
because they love their town, friends and family so much! Armando and
his wife work two jobs and he definitely deserves to party till he drops.
The entire family made us a part of their lives for a few days and really
for a lifetime. There is no bullshit when someone here says my casa is
your casa....can we say the same in the states?
drive to Talpa , has similar scenery to Sonoma County or Tahoe...pristine
... We got lost but real lucky to find a even better route than we had
planned. Talpa is home to one of the most powerful virgin's of Guadeloupe.
It like many other towns have a story about how he virgin over many years
moves from one town to the nearby town... magic or thievery? Lots of hotels
here to put up large families that come to be healed. We all fell asleep
in the late afternoon, after a long driving day...nothing like James bond
zero zero siete on the tv, to knock you out. I went to the centro alone
that night to get us some food. As in most of Mexico the entire town comes
out at night to the center of town to eat great simple food, listen to
political speakers and enjoy music. There were at least 400 people! I
quickly noticed I was the only person in shorts. Hey I was the only person
I could see with a beard. Im the only Gringo! Actually I was the only
gringo I saw in Zapata too! Many come through, but few stay. I had fun
visiting , eating and staying up till close to 5am with the fiesta mariahi
music blasting the town and our hotel. In the morning we visited the church.
It has a definite feel to it. People arrive to the church crawling on
their knees!!! All this to show there devotion and ask for healing. I
centered myself and prayed a good 15 minutes. So if any of you have good
luck, health and happiness you can thank me later. As the row of crawling
people shinned by, I took a few pictures....Funny thing is that afterward
all of the photos were fuzzy and out of focus. Operator error? nope...low
light? nope...I cant figure it out...Ill post them .... We headed toward
Moscota with its beautiful ruins of an old church and past residence of
the virgin that now lives in Talpa. On to San Sebastian. I had always
heard about this little rustic town located high in the hills with a bounty
of produce, organic coffee and a great climate. I learned what a debrecha
is. I heard reference to it when asking directions... It means that your
road is a dirt path... In this case, one that goes for hours snaking its
way through the mountains. After an hour of this type of travel, I start
to ask when are we going to get there? The kids cruise through this days
travel like pros. Me? pretty good ... stomach problems from the centro
food carts last night... After a small lifetime we pull into San Sebastian.
Sweet! We get a recommendation for a Hotel and on the way as we cruise
through the tiny little one lane streets...I misjudge and rip my spare
tire right off the side of my car! Leaving a huge hole but not damaging
the truck I caught it on. A little excitement! Small town life ... Remote
small town life... We got there for the first night of real cold weather...cold,
high mountain fog /drizzle. All the kids ended up coughing and sick. In
the morning I suggest we make a dash for home. Of course we have another
debrecha that lasts hours of windy dirt roads. This time with huge heights.
Had a close call with a huge double size Pepsi truck. Only inches for
us to pass each other. The payoff finally hit and we arrive at a real
road! I jam to high speeds for the first time in days. Just as I get to
60 mph...I hit a pothole the size of Occidental! Amazing that my car is
alive and running strong! We stop grab a few cooked chickens in Vallarta
and drive our last leg back to Boca. The whole way laughing with my car
horn that has animal sounds,police sirens and a PA. Back on the boat and
back to Yelapa....Sweet Yelapa..... We wave to our family and they run
to the beach to meet our boat and help us carry our bounty of kids and
treasures from other lands. We arrive just in time for Christmas. That
night at 11:00pm We have a great feast with the family minus Sergio and
his wife. At the strike of midnight, we hug each person and exchange a
short moment of love. After the laughter of family experiences and the
85 year old grandfather dancing with his granddaughter we decide to go
to see the local dance. The who;e town is there , in rare form. 2:00am
A case of beer arrives at our table from a family friend. So much for
a short visit as it is a custom to stay until the beer is drunk. 5:00am
we arrive back at the casa. 6:00 am sleep for two or three hours and another
day begins. My Christmas treat was to see an amazing site of the power
of Raicilla. A family friend stops by the families casa in passing from
the beach already pretty well on his way to being drunk. His In-laws are
there visiting. He and another female friend proceeed to cause havoc.
Funny havoc! Well another Yelapa custom...if you have to deal with a real
drunk try to offer them Raicilla in hopes to finish them off. Raicilla
comes from a town to the north of Yelapa , Chacala. It is a natural alcohol
made from cactus but EXTREMELY STRONG! One shot...he , using the slingshot
he purchased on the beach starts to shoot lemons into the sea. The second,
he attempts a chair ....The third , his wife's asks clearly does your
body need this shot? YES! He shoots a beer can but looses all control
over his lower half and does a face plant on the cement. With a room of
laughter and kids running left and right he's shown to the guest bed ...
hours later we hear a huge scream and he is awake not knowing where he
was! The next second more laughter and his wife appears, telepathically
to come and carry him home.... I sit and enjoy tortillas and turkey and
finish this tale by telling you that I am madly in love with Veronica and the kids ! I am so impressed by her. She is
very intuitive and completely present. I know that our immediate future
is going to take alot of work. Getting my brain to learn Spanish is only
the beginning. I look forward to the day they can visit Occidental. So our first vacation ends a
big success for all. Viva Veronica...Viva Danny...Viva LuzClarita...Viva
Vivian...Viva Jael... Viva Mexico... Viva Yelapa oh ......Viva me too!
-12/31/02 Family ... a big family. Im not really from a big family. Veronica's
family is huge! I mean really really big. Sabel ,Veronicas Dad's brother,
his wife Lulu, and daughter Nelly during a recent visit spent days filling
pages of paper with names of family. All this is only one side of the
family. The Rodriguez clan is also gigante! Here in Yelapa guests are
very common. During Holidays it is very likely that Family is going to
visit. Some announced others will show up at your doorstep. These past
days Alicia and Marcos have been hosting about 15 family members. Aside
from he laughter and overall family feeling it has been amazing to watch
the level of hospitality offered to guests. Their happiness and the feeling
of being completely satisfied is numero uno. The food just doesn't stop.
It really is like a restaurant where you dont need to order , the chef
just keeps offering different items till you get up and run from the table.
It goes on till its time to sleep and then begins first thing in the morning
. What makes this so amazing is that it goes on for days! I was so lucky
to be the token gringo. It was real tough at times, not really understanding
the language and the jokes and after days, I had to sit off in private
just to reduce the pain of my headache. Highlights were the English lesson
I gave and the various one on one conversations with my new family. I
was there when the last of family was leaving. It was great! Alicia looked
around the kitchen, as to find something else to offer, and find's a couple
of packages of cookies for the boat/car ride home to Guadalajara. Alicia
, Marcos and family truly feel they were lucky to have the visit from
family. The more family the more luck, I am 100% positive if we showed
up in Guadalajara we would get the same treatment. I think of how I hardly
take care of my friends and family , in the states. Ive got alot to learn