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,  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.

Monday, August 25, 2014

First Day Of School - Escuela Del Mundo - 2014

It is unbelievably that time of year again but we are sooo ready.  The first day back to school at Escuela Del Mundo Alex moves up a classroom with a new teacher and Trace is no longer the youngster in his class and now must be an example to the new kids and younger classmates.  He also will be without Alex in the same room this year and I know it will be a good thing for both of them.  The kids language skills are off the charts now so there should not be anything that will get in their way when it comes to having a great year.  Big kids now.

  In previous years at school we were the new family, had a language barrier or there was staff turnover that made things a bit unsettled.  There will be none of that and things feel different this year.  Even though there have still been some changes in personnel, they are not ones that effect the kid's classrooms or the way the school functions.  The teachers also have new equipment and training so we hope this year will be the best one yet.  We are still the exception as far as our attending EDM.  We live in Sayulita and we are from north of the border and most anyone who meets us assumes that we attend the private school in Sayulita.  There are not many families from the States or Canada at EDM.  A very small percentage.  We are very happy to have our kids experience school with kids a little less like themselves vs more like themselves and feel like they get a much bigger Mexico experience because of it. Looking forward to great things this year.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Alex' New Classroom Teacher

I just got out of a meeting with Alex' new teacher, Barbara, at our school, Escuela Del Mundo.  Alex is moving up to Taller II and will have a different teacher now that she will be in class with the older kids.  Can I tell how rad I think it is that our daughter will have a teacher with two lip rings, a "bull nose" piercing and skulls tattooed on her legs.  I am not sure why but perhaps it is a lesson in self expression in some way.  Alex likes her already.  What I am reasonable sure of is this would most likely NOT pass the Park City School District's classroom dress code/appearance guidelines for teachers back in her former school in Utah.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A Promotional Flyer At Our Bank

I was standing in line at the bank a while back and this flyer was on display at each of the teller's windows.  Even if you can't read Spanish you have to agree that the message the image sends is just soooo wrong.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Mexico Swimming Hole

The summer heat is here and we've been looking for some ways to get some relief other than just depending on air conditioning or fans.  A couple families we know recently posted some photos of a spot only a short drive from here that looked perfect to find some relief.  So, with some other hot and sticky friends and at least one person pretending to know where the hell we might be going, we set off to find what we hoped would be a cool oasis away from the heat of the coast for an afternoon.

Fortunately, this is a shot from the end of the day.  Storm was coming.
About 30 minutes out of Sayulita we made a turn off the main road, through a wall of lush vegetation, took a right at a fork in the road on a single lane jeep road and out into the fields we went.  No signs, no markers, no indication that what we were looking for was at the foot of these mountains.  A place you had to be told was there and directions on how to get to it since it does not exist on any map or guide.  A local's spot.  We kept driving down the dusty road for a while along side beautiful fields of pineapples and grassy open space.  Eventually, large shade trees started to fill in and we could see that the terrain was about to start up into the foothills and here is where we found our oasis for the day.

Our oasis.

Ashley, Amy and Michele.
After exploring upstream a ways to be sure we were not missing anything higher up, we settled down in an area that had a natural pool.  Lots of rocks to sit on and mostly in the shade.  The stream is fed directly from the mountains so it was cool and refreshing.  The humidity was much less here so it felt much cooler.  Slowly, the locals started to arrive and planted themselves in various parts of the stream to enjoy the day as well.  Everyone happy to be cool and comfortable for a couple hours. Very odd to be wet and not be sandy and salty from the ocean.  The kids brought their boogie boards to float around on and spent a good amount of time piling rocks up to make the natural pools fill just a bit higher.

Trace and Alex floating the stream.
At one point during the day Ashley turned to me and remarked that Dillon would have loved this.  He certainly would have and may have never left.  We miss our "good boy Dillon" and if we had known of this place earlier it would have been a regular place to visit so he could have just sat and enjoyed being cool and be by the water for a few hours.  A storm started to brew late in the afternoon so we called it a day and headed back to Sayulita only 30-40 minutes away.  Such a great spot to beat the heat and not one complaint from the chicos.  We'll be back.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

A Quote From Another Adventure

I think Crystal says it well as I relate her comments to our own Adventure here in Sayulita.  She certainly speaks from experience as she has been on an Adventure of her own with her daughter for the past year and a half in Cozumel, Mexico.  I think we are agreed that this kind of experience ain't NO Corona commercial...but the rewards are incalculable.

"This is an amazing place that has the ability to humble you to the basement and watch how you crawl, all with the mastermind plan that the process will place gratitude and humility into your heart like never before, where it will stay for the rest of your life. The hard is hard, but the lessons and the good is far beyond excellent."

Crystal Blue

Read about her experiences at...