Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Halloween And Dia De Los Muertos

Earlier this fall we found a new place to live here in town and for a long while we didn't have internet.  As a result, our ability to post events was interrupted for more than two months.  So, some of the posts found here may be a little dated or just plain out of order.  What do you want for "nuthin'" right?  Enjoy them anyway.

Halloween in Sayulita is a gruesome affair.  Lots of gore, blood and down right creepiness.  The first couple Halloweens spent here in Sayulita the kids went as very tame characters.  Trace has gone as a superhero and a skeleton.  Alex has dressed up as a princess and a witch.  This year the "scare" level went up a notch adding blood, fangs, rotting skin and other costume alterations.  Costa Verde International School's annual Halloween event is always the place to go.  A big social event with games for the little ones and a haunted house for the bigger kids.  The kids love it and many of the adults get in the spirit and dress as well.  

Dia de los Muertos is another thing entirely and should not be mistaken for Mexico's equivalent of Halloween.  The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died.  The kid's school, Escuela del Mundo, participated in a San Pancho community event building it's own alter, a traditional activity on this day.  The alter is often lit with lots of candles and decorated with flowers, photos of loved ones and even favorite items of those being remembered.  Other groups built their own alters, sold food or played live music.  There was even a "Calavera Catrina" costume contest.  This was the first year for the event and very well attended so we hope it happens again next year.

Escuela del Mundo's alter
Alex' friend Luna as "Catrina"

Two different holidays just a few days apart and we enjoy both of them when they come around this time of year.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

An Adventure In Our Own Back Yard - A River Walk

Sometimes it just takes someone else to show you what has always been right in front of you.  Such was the case a few weeks ago when we tagged along for a "river walk".  We were always of the mindset that the river here in Sayulita, like many urban waterways, was something to be avoided.  Street runoff and who knows what made the thought of walking in the river an unpleasant one.  But go upstream just a short distance from where town ends a new world begins.

The hot days of summer were dissipating but not entirely gone and we headed out piled in the back of a pick up truck with a bunch of other day adventurers.  We followed a road that I was familiar with but soon we took a route that brought us well upstream of town.  Green, cool, quiet with the houses beginning to thin out considerably.

As we walked ankle deep in the river it didn't take long to start to see and appreciate the scale of the jungle.  Huge trees and vines covered the steep hillsides making the river the only path to follow.  The jungle in town is always controlled in someway as everything is cut back or burned each year but here it was allowed to grow naturally and wild.  A different world.

After close to an hour of splashing our way upstream we found the perfect spot for lunch and to construct a rock dam to create a small dipping pool.  Everyone pitched in and the effort was rewarded quickly as the pool filled up deep enough for the kids to splash around in.  Once the kids were sufficiently water logged we left our cool, shady spot and headed back down stream.

Again, it never would have occurred to us to go for a walk upstream in the river here.  But the three refreshing hours slogging through the river was definitely a highlight of late summer.  Sometimes it just takes someone with a different perspective and experience to show you the possibilities that have always been right in front of you.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Escuela del Mundo English Class

Alex' class in Taller 2 performs with a parachute for the the drone camera.  Believe it or not it was an English lesson teaching the Spanish speaking students new vocabulary.  Cool!

Monday, November 17, 2014

ISA World SUP Championships

Are you kidding me? The WORLD is coming to Sayulita for the 2015 Championships. So much of Team Mexico resides in Sayulita we will be cheering for days for guys and gals we surf next to often. I've watched this event online the past two years and now it will be here in our pueblo, the epicenter of SUP in Mexico. I can't wait to see who shows up this year to compete and give Team Australia some real competition. Going to be great!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

The Murals Of Entre Amigos

Entre Amigos is the fantastic community center down the road in San Pancho.  The kids have been spending the afternoon there twice a week for the last year for their Capoeira class.  The story of how Entre Amigos began is better told from their web site so click on the link above.  

While walking around the center the other day I really had a chance to look at some of the murals that decorate the walls.  They are just about everywhere and they are AMAZING!  I've taken photos of only a handful of them and included them here.  Beautiful colors, images, kinda trippy and beyond creative.

If you are ever in San Pancho a stop at Entre Amigos has become a "don't miss" type of event.  They have a gift shop and a coffee bar as well.  There is a lot more to know about Entre Amigos so check out their site.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Three Years In Mexico

Just over three years ago we arrived in Sayulita for a new Adventure.  Well, we are still here and continuing to learn, overcome, enjoy, deal, laugh, scream, love, grow...live.  Just can't believe that we've seen three full years already.  Crazy.  Here's to us.  Salud!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Hurricane Norbert

Hurricane Norbert formed well west of us but has continued up north toward the Baja of California with some serious energy.  What happened here?  Some overcast skies, some really high tides and lots of killer waves!  Some of the biggest of the year.  Lots of exhausted smiling surfers in town right now.

Photo by Kirsten Wardman

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Festival Sayulita 2015

This was an amazing event for it's first year in 2014.  The 2015 Festival Sayulita will be bigger and better.   Here is a great way to hear more about the Festival, consider supporting and getting choice ticket packages early.  The energetic organizers are our friends and neighbors and are totally dedicated to the success of the Festival and what the event could support in our little Pueblo.  Ashley was even a volunteer last year.  Oh, by the way, Ashley and I make an appearance in the video at one point.  Can you spot us?  Take a look.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Summer Update Part I of 3 -The Vortex, Housing, "Dry July", Weather, Fire and Bikes

The lazy and hot days of summer are here.  The kids have been out of school for a few weeks and since that time it seems like the "Vortex" has been seeing if we are still up to the challenge to continue our Adventure here.

Out of necessity and the fact that it is summer travel time, Ashley has been away busting her tail working in the States.  Her working a lot in the summer is not new but this year seems a bit more than usual.  This leaves the kids and I here on our own a lot more and for longer stretches.  July has been exceptionally dry and hot this year, and I sit here each morning drinking coffee with sweat rolling down my back starting before 8am.  We have been hiding from the sun most of the time rather than cooking on the beach since there is no relief to be found in the ocean.  In other words, hot, lazy and long days.  Many other parents who are still  in town are also already wondering "when does school start"?

In addition to the lack of summer activity is that we were given notice by our tenants in Park City that they would be leaving at the end of August.  Re-renting our house has unfortunately become a yearly event and a financial drain when you add up having the house empty for a time, travel back to Park City, maintenance items and cleaning just to get someone in there for another 12 months and then do it all over again.  Any money we gain on the rent evaporates at the end of the year when I need to go back and fix things up again.  A bad cycle.  It's a great mountain house but not a new place and needs consistent TLC to keep it working well and looking reasonably good.  I am trying to rent the place from here but I am at the mercy of the current tenant to show the home and have missed out on potential new tenants since I cannot be there in person to open the house up and show people around.

We have also been given notice by our landlords here that he will want our space here at Casa Estrella when he returns in November.  Our days at our sweet set up with the million dollar view are now numbered.  This has set us scrambling to find new place to call out own.  Like any popular destination, housing is mostly tied up in the rental market so full time rentals are few, priced high and you are in competition with many others in the same situation.  So, in addition to finding a new tenant in PC, I have been trying to find a new place for us here...and doing this without Ashley's stamp of approval.  Scary to think about.  I have been hovering at my computer for weeks sending out inquiries, making contacts and responding to housing questions for both houses.  I hate sitting here waiting for something to be resolved in either location.  Having a rental in this town would potentially be a very good investment.  Just point me to the local money tree and I'll get right on that.

July a has also been a time where some friends have concocted what has been called "Dry July".  Kicking back each day with some tequila, a few mixed drinks or a few cold cervezas is easy to do here since life on the beach just lends itself to that kind of lifestyle more than it did in Park City.  So easy in fact that sometimes you just have to say "I need a break".  So, many of us decided to call this month "Dry July" and not have any alcohol during the entire month.  Not an easy task when 5pm Happy Hour rolls around I assure you especially when I have been here sweating all day alone with the kids.  Some friends who were also having a "Dry July" just came back from Tequila, Mexico where they brought back some goodies to help celebrate the end of "Dry July".

10 Liters of Anejo Goodness-Phone for size reference
We came back from running errands one day followed by a large fire truck riding.  No lights or sirens but it was in a hurry.  He passed us and I realized it wasn't the town firetruck but from a neighboring town and the driver would stop and yell out the window for directions for what appeared to be an emergency somewhere in town.  Eventually, a guy on a motorcycle showed up and told the driver to follow and off they went.  The route to our place was in the same direction so we followed for a time and began to see the smoke plume in the distance.  I began to get a bit nervous since it was clear that the problem was in the same area of our rental and the summer had been extremely dry.  We got to our driveway an were able to see the condo complex below us had a fire in one of their palapas.   The fire crew had responded but the ash was being blown up the hill and covering everything.  Houses, cars, landscaping and other extremely dry palapas.  After a couple hours the flames and smoke subsided with the crew's efforts but we kept an eye out for flare ups on the hillside.  A little mid-summer excitement.

Fire At Pajaro De Fuego
My full time companion as a kid was my bike.  The kids were just starting to ride when we left Park City three years ago.  Alex was even venturing into some single track mountain biking at that time.  Sayulita is a tough location to have a little kid learn to ride a bike safely so we never really pursued the idea of getting the kids their own wheels.  Surfboards, skateboards, boogie boards and other things were higher on the priority list.  At the end of the school year a family was selling some bikes and we were able to get a bike for Trace and get it tuned up.  We were able to purchase one for Alex as well at a local bike shop.  The kids now have the first Mexico wheels and they love them.  The hitch is we go back over to San Pancho to ride them and practice.  San Pancho has a large flat plaza with quiet streets around it this time of year.  So, we've been loading up the Land Rover and making an almost daily commute to San Pancho to get the kids on their new rides.  They love them but riding the Plaza del Sol is starting to get boring so we try to invite school friends along to ride too.  I wish we had trail access like we had in Utah as the kids start to enjoy doing this and need to be challenged.

Ashley had two weeks of vacation in August so we decided to get out of town, try to beat the odds flying stand by on Ashley's flight benefits and meet up with her see some things Stateside.  More on that in Part II.