Monday, January 26, 2015

"Those Parents"

I have always been in amazement at "those parents" who schedule their kids every afternoon for activities every single day of the week.  School gets out, the kids gobble down some energy and off they go doing whatever they do for part or all of the afternoon.  I wondered, do the kids ever get down time or an opportunity to actually develop the skills to keep themselves occupied?   Do they just follow orders and report for the next activity whether they want to or not?  Are the parents scared to have them at home doing...gasp...nothing?

Well, my thoughts on this have changed a bit in the past few weeks.  I have come to realize that the kids are older now, can do and handle more activity.  They want to do it all.  I have also come to realize that nothing can compare to what this little corner of the world can offer them each day.  So, unintentionally we are totally loaded up each and every day of the week with the coolest and rewarding of activities.  Even better is that all instruction is totally in Spanish.  Here is what is on tap for the next few months.  Each with it's own link.

I am proud to say that the kids have been in the Capoeira program for over a year and a half and will be graduating again in March at this year's Batizado.  I really like this program and hope they continue with it with all the programs that are out there competing for the kid's time.  It is unique and the group of kids, coaching and conditioning are all amazing.  Certainly without the skills they have learned during their time with Capoeira they would have had a tough time diving into other things.

Alex aims for the knock out kick.

Celebrate the Beat
Alex goes it alone with this one and returns again this year at special invitation from the instructor.  Where Alex learned to dance is a mystery and her ability to control her body, keep the rhythm and remember all the moves is beyond me.  This a fantastic program for kids of all abilities and again, the instruction is fantastic!  We love that she gets to do this.

Entre Amigos Art Program
This one was unexpected and again Alex is attending by special invitation.  She submitted a painting for an art contest at Entre Amigos which is the community center in San Pancho.  For each age group the Entre Amigos staff selected a handful of submissions and those kids were given free art classes to learn new techniques for the next round of competition.  Cool!  Alex is way into it and she gets to take class with one of her good San Pancho friends too.

Alex and Adesha listen to the results.  Yes, Ozzy is in the back row.

This one is really cool!  Circo De Los Niños is yet another offering at Entre Amigos.  You can click on the link to read about the program on the website but here is the short version.  In 2011, Cirque du Soleil co-founder Gilles Ste-Croix approached Entre Amigos with the idea of creating a circus show with the children of San Pancho.

The program basically takes kids out of the community and provides them with training and equipment so they eventually take part in a performance designed, sponsored and choreographed by Gilles Set-Croix and his wife.  It has become a huge fund raiser for Entre Amigos and we attended the performance last year.  It was great!!  Lights, costumes, make up, music, a packed house and we knew many of the kids from school and around town here in Sayulita. Alex and Trace are both in the beginner program this year and a whole portion of the Entre Amigos bodega complex has been rehabbed to accommodate the program permanently.

What is there to do in small town Mexico?  Just soccer and go to the beach right?  Think again!  All of these programs take place in San Pancho so we will be spending a lot of time there for the coming months until each of the programs comes to a climax in late March.  It's going to be a busy time for sure.  

Friday, January 23, 2015

An Adventure In Our Own Backyard - Sorry, I Can't Tell You Where

A friend from Vallarta recently came through Sayulita for the day and in an email the next day he said "I have never seen the big deal about Sayulita. I just don't get it." It's true that Sayulita can be busy and noisy and depending your timing, very crowded. That can indeed be a turn off.  But Sayulita is more than what people see walking through town or the hanging out on the main beach. There are places you can go just around the corner that are another world altogether. We've been going to a great beach very close to our new house in town. It may take all of 10 minutes for us to get there and you never hear the pulse of Sayulita just around the corner. We decided to head that way recently on a weekend day and other than 3 boys playing in the surf, we were the only other people on the beach.

The unique characteristic about this beach is it's jet black sand.  It gives this place a very different look than other beaches in the area.  The kids like to bring magnets with them since the sand also has magnetic qualities.  While were there, Trace decided he'd paint himself with the sand and bury himself in a hole.  It's a "boy" thing I guess.  We considered just leaving him there as the tide came up just for entertainment but we eventually decided against it.  The beach this day was pounded by a consistent beach break similar to Sayulita's north end beach. 

The kids had lots of fun even if they were only comfortable only going waste deep.  Nice to able to get out of the house and avoid the main beach during a weekend.

Not exactly a popular spot on a Sunday and that is a nice change of pace once in a while.  No venders either.  There are a few houses around and we have not been surprised to see some nude sunbathers as well.  

Alex couldn't let her brother have all the fun so she got into painting her body with sand too. So where is this place?  Well, we can't really tell where all our spots are but if you ask around it really isn't a secret.  You just have to know to ask around.

Sayulita has many of these little off the beaten path type spots and the day tripper or visitors who don't leave the the busier areas won't ever see things like this.  We are ok with that.  I have since told my friend who doesn't see the draw of Sayulita that he needs to come back for a personal tour since places like this will likely change his point of view.  This is Sayulita as well.

Friday, January 16, 2015

5 Years Old

Ozzy and Ashley Adventures is 5 years old!  We have always maintained that the blog is a means for us to keep in touch with family and friends but many folks have tuned in for other reasons.  We are amazed that some months there are over 1300 "page views" of our little piece of the web.  Where do they all come from?  Who are you?  (Yes, some hits come from spam)  Some folks want to know what we are up to, see photos, are considering a similar adventure, some find us by accident, some laugh at or feel sorry for us and some may just want to see "what happens next".

Well, we try to tell it like it is without the sugar coating or blissful commentary about how magical things are to be taking on an adventure such as this.  The reality is that it is the hardest thing we have ever done.  This is NO Corona commercial.  We have no intentions to leave so if things are happening we will post them here.

Monday, January 5, 2015

How To Piss Off The Locals

We see a lot of people come and go in our town and not everyone is a good guest. We especially cringe when that bad guest is from North of the Border. We are still learning but we try really hard not to rub people the wrong way. Here are some travel tips.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Christmas 2014

For me, Christmas in Sayulita is a totally different event then it was back in the States.  If you never went into Walmart, Home Depot or ventured into Puerto Vallarta you may never even know the holidays were here.  That's ok with me.  Not being exposed to the "marketing machine" this time of year is just fine.  We don't even have what some would consider a normal Christmas tree.  This year the kids decorated our "Charlie Brown" Christmas tree and they were just as proud of it as anyone could be.

We usually have two Christmas events.  One event for when Ashley is home and one for when Santa's presents arrive.  This year was no different.  As usual, Ashley was scheduled to work Christmas week so we had a small present opening before she left for Atlanta.  This way she can see some of the gifts she bought for them as well has gifts from her family.  Christmas morning Santa's gifts are opened as well as other family gifts.  Lego Friends and Logo Chima were high on the 2014 wish list.

Christmas Morning
This year, our fourth Christmas, it really started to sink in how different it feels down here during this time.  I grew up in cold weather climate all my life so what use to be a snowy, mid-winter, warm drink holiday is now a sun soaked, palm tree, surf, sand and tequila holiday.  It's like drinking a diet soft drink.  The flavor is still here just not full strength.  Granted the holiday is about family and friends and good will and there was plenty of that going around but the fact that I was running around in board shorts and a T-shirt give the holiday a different feel for me and I miss what use to be the least for a day or two.  Then, I would be happy again putting my feet in the sand and going for a surf.

I will say the same thing I said last year.  Without the marketing monster, our kids are very happy with the few items they get and we love that.  Bigger, better, more is just not the way the roll.  No countdowns, no tears, no jealousy, no comparisons etc.  Once again they were very happy and appreciative with anything that was placed under the tree.  In the end, I really don't have any complaints other than Ashley being on the road during this time of year but that's just the way it is again this year.  Next year may be different we hope.  For now our family is healthy, happy and looking forward to the things we have planned for 2015.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Friday, December 19, 2014

An Adventure In Our Own Back Yard - Punta Negra

One of the things we enjoy most about this area is the variety of beaches to visit.  Sayulita has it's surf scene and vibe unequaled for those who are looking for that sort of the thing.  To the north is San Pancho with a smaller surf scene and great beach for hanging out on but not always very swimmer friendly with it's beach break. 

The Gang
When we are not looking for waves there are great options to the south as well that are only 15-20 minutes away and offer a refreshing change of pace.  This can be extremely important if getting out of town once in a while will help your sanity level. 

Ashley and Alex
Only about 15 minutes to the south, just passed the small town of Higuera Blanca is a long beach called "Punta Negra".  We have started to go there quite a bit this fall/winter since we have some friends, Jason and Sophia, who live there and our children are friends.  The sand is white, the beach is long, the crowds are thin and the venders are few.  

Alex, Trace, Louis and "Sass".  
If there are waves, they won't be great for surfing but our kids have had a great time boogie boarding and just plain playing on the beach. If there is a day where surfing is not on your list of required activities and you are willing to get out of town then Punta Negra is a hard to beat location for the day.  It will always be on our "go to" list beaches for a family day.

"Us" in 2014.

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.