Sunday, October 28, 2012

Humming Birds, Rabbits, Goats ,Oh My!

What we didn’t know when we rented the house was that you can keep live stock. There is a habit among the landlords to rent the house but the yard you share with live stock owned by someone else. Our house has come with goats. Up the road the rental house yard has ostriches, one big and one small with a guard dog to protect them.I still haven't been able to get a photo of them.

 Then there is our humming birds, which we spend lots of time watching as well as the rabbits that live in the front of our house, plus all the birds that fly in and out of the river area. The house behind us has a rooster than starts to crow before dawn. I kind of like waking to his sound and then the goats join in, a man comes to feed the goats sometime after dawn. Though I like the sounds of the goats I have yet to get near them. The photos taken from our roof deck. I heard there had been chickens here for the last tennet and horses in the vacant building lot next door. There is a horse ranch along the river just east of us and we watch the horse walk to the beach everyday all saddled up with no riders. They are the horses for hire. At the end of the day they return on their own. Sometimes with no person in sight. 

Well, after the warm winds we have had perfect warm beach weather and blue skies. A delight to be out enjoying our long beach walk and local shopping. We bought some local art to decorate our very blank walls. Off to walk Patch on the beach. Life is good.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Welcome to Baja- A lesson in Patience Continued

  Well they say new experiences help to keep young. I guess I became pretty youthful this week. In fact it sometimes had very humbling moments. Not true that it is bi-lingual around here.  My friend has had to do all the talking in Spanish, and I feel like a little kid just being there not knowing what is being said. The hardest being the phone company and ordering the WIFI all info in Spanish and written instruction all in Spanish….a challenge even for my friend, but between us we muddled through and got a sign to place on the house for the service person to find us. There are no house numbers on the houses even though we do have a house number to our address.

 Our other big challenges in life are the money, and the weights and measures. At least the car has kilometers marked on the speedometer and surprisingly enough I find I naturally want to go with the correct speed for the road conditions. They will take our US dollars, but everything is in Pesos, so you have to figure out what you are spending. Then there is the matter of kilos for weight of meat and produce. Yes, there is a Walmart to shop at, but everything is done for the local culture and language.  It didn’t take long to feel totally overwhelmed at trying to shop in Walmart Grocery with the overhead speaker blaring nonstop Spanish words that I didn’t have a clue what was being said.  We are going to check out other places to food shop. There does seem to be a local supermarket chain that we are going try when we recover from our Walmart experience.  Good news we have found a wonderful local bakery right run down the road from our house. The bakery has trays full of fresh baked goodies for you to pick yourself and place on a tray to bring to the counter. The baker does say she wants pesos and for only a few pesos you get lots of yummy pastries.
Much to our surprise when we drove up to the house it had been painted red. It looked so different from the photos we had seen, but the inside of the house is just what we thought, very pleasant and livable.  There are no lawns to mow or garden to care for…it is a desert landscape around  here, which certainly a big change from the south and our hillside dense with kudzu. We kind of miss all the green, our neighbors have bright colored flowers, bougainvillea with orange or bright crimson blossoms dripping over their stone walls and palm trees. We have dirt and goats in our backyard….that is another story.
Photos are in Walmart with all the signs are in pasos and weights in kilos. Notice the open tables of meat and fish. You take buy just like you do veggies. Also, so many US companies have their products here with Spanish labels. This morning I was going to make pancakes with the pancake mix we bought. Then I looked at the directions and have no idea what to had my corn flakes instead. I'll save the pancake directions for another.

today we have what is called in Southern Calif. the Santa Anna's, which are very strong winds blowing heat off the desert. Some people really don't like them but I have always enjoyed the warm winds. So, we are having the east winds blowing strong off the desert warming up the day and adding rooster tails to the is very bright and clear....just an awesome view. Everyday we have pleasant mild temps around here even with the fog. Light jackets needed only at dawn in the fog, otherwise it is short sleeves.

So, that's my comments for today about living in Baja. One thing I do know that our days here well continue to be filled with surprises, things will become more familiar with time and perhaps a little less confusing. . …lots more to explore around here and many more
stories to tell.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Welcome to Baja- A lesson in Patience

Well our first week here has passed quickly and we all have had major internet withdrawal.  This week we have both feelings of overwhelm by challenges of culture and peace of the quietude from our great room or roof deck where we can spend hours gazing at the ever changing waves crashing to shore or watching the sunsets.  There have been a few truly awesome sunsets out our front windows and a few that lacked color as the sun dropped into the fog bank that was blanketing the horizon. The fog was settled in around us the first few days which kept us off the beach, but when we finally did walk down to the beach Patch was like a puppy again.  Patches did a happy dance and charged the waves and rolled in the wet sand….his joy was just like a young child it was quiet infectious.  Our beach has horses for hire to ride down the beach and food vendors to enjoy. The main snack at the food vendors  is a fresh coconut prepared for you while you watch, she starts by cutting the top off and pouring the coconut milk into a clear little plastic bag tying a knot in the top of the bag and putting a straw through the knot for you to drink the juice. Then the coconut meat is cut away from the shell and into pieces making the coconut became a bowl of fresh pieces, next she covered them with a few differ powers from shakers turning it bright red and then a fresh squeezed lime juice….usually a few dashes of hot sauce to top it off. We passed on the hot sauce. We sat in the red plastic chairs and sampled our new treat. Not a foodie, but decided it wasn’t going on our new favorite treat list. We were glad we tried it, fun to watch it being prepared, but ……. 

We have found many wonderful places to dine out. My fav is Pico Cielo which is very near the house and right on the beach. I had the most yummy chile rellenos . We sat on the patio and watched the sunset. Then there is the fun place called the Splash, which is very popular with expats. They have a great US type breakfast menu as well as a few traditional dishes. The Splash has a patio deck that sets on an out crop of rocks and the waves splash at times over the first row of tables.
One thing I do know that our days here well continue to be filled with surprise, things will become more familiar with time and perhaps a little less confusing.  Well they say new experiences help to keep young. I guess I became pretty youthful this week. In fact it sometimes had very humbling moments. Not true that it is bi-lingual around here.  My friend has had to do all the talking in Spanish, and I feel like a little kid just being there not knowing what is being said. The hardest being the phone company and ordering the WIFI all info in Spanish and written instruction all in Spanish….a challenge even for my friend, but between us we muddled through and got a sign to place on the house for the service person to find us. There are no house numbers on the houses even though we do have a house number to our address. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Finally a New Post- Journey's End

Journey’s End- Monday October 15th
Our final travel saw miles and miles of desert, a couple more Border Patrol Station and miles and miles of border fence. The desert took on many faces from the high desert of AZ down into the Calif desert that has been irrigated by the river and is a prime growing area for Southern Calif.  We spent the night in El Centro,Calif. which is in the heart of the Imperial Valley.

Our final morning of travel we got off to a late start, the sun was already heating up the day after a very cool night. This last day we had only 133 miles to travel to our new home, but it was the most interesting as well as challenging travel we had to do….we had the border crossing. After following I 8 across the Imperial Valley at below sea level and then back into a mountain area we turned on Hwy 94 a secondary harrow little windy highway that didn’t allow RV’s or large trucks. We had The landscape was rocky with some sage brush  and hills of beige with border fence sightings from time to time and little horse ranches. We had about 45 miles of this to travel to the border town of Tecate, which is where I planned to enter Mexico.  After the miles of beige color we arrived at a vibrant little settlement of a town, first there was a sign that said Tecate and then a mile on down the road was the border crossing, The road narrowed you into the lane stations with a mechanical arm and red light for you to stop. I stopped and then the light turn green and the arm came up and we drove through….that was it no fanfare, person asking questions, no inspection, nothing just a few seconds stopped at a signal. There was only one other car coming up alongside me and they too, just drove on through in a few feet we were in the middle of Tecate.

Here the confusion and visual overload took over. Now we were on a narrow main street crammed with shops, cars, pickup trucks all a profusion of bright colors. Everywhere I looked there where brightly dressed people,  buildings with colorful signage, fast moving bright colored vehicles  everything felt like it was in motion. There were tiny little signal lights hang in the middle of the narrow street that were easy not to notice for the trees, trucks and people walking across the road. For sure we had arrived, absolutely no question about it we were in another country. Then there was all the roads signs in Spanish and I didn’t have a clue where I needed to go. There was some road construction and I guess signs telling me about it. This was the part I was totally unprepared for not being able to read the wordy road signs. I got the simple things like stop sign that look just like ours and say Alto which I didn’t see the first one at a corner with trees and store signs helping to hide it and run right through it…the car coming at me making a left turn looked surprised, but didn’t honk their horn or anything. . I had planned to sight see but between the heat,(leaving pets in the car) and the nerves of driving a few blocks I gave up that idea and just followed the big green highway sign pointing me west to Tijuanna on the toll road out of town. Plan to visit Tecate another time. The home to the Tecate Brewery and a valley know for it’s wineries.

Once out of town, which was only a few unnerving blocks it was smooth going on the toll road to Tijuanna/Ensenada.  We returned to beige mountainous desert, past more border fence this time on the right side of the car instead of the left. There was a US border patrol helicopter at one point flying along the fence, sometimes well into the Mexican side because of the mountains. Our super highway had us passing along the southern end of Tijuanna which was down below us in a valley of smog  packed tight with little box housing for its 2.5 million people. I am in no rush to be a tourist there. In a few minutes we had past Tijuanna and soon saw the turn for Rosita, got stopped in road construction for a while and had a detour then we were on a narrow street right at the Rosita Hotel that was setting in the fog. We meet my friend and followed her to our home along the coast highway but no ocean in sight just lots of fog. She said that the fog had come in that morning the first time she had seen any fog. We fog drifted in and out so even at the house we couldn’t always see the waves breaking on the sand…..still we had made it to the Pacific Ocean! 
First look at Rosito and then on to the house with help from our handyman who unloaded our car for us.
 Patches smiling at our beach. Daily walks are wonderful. More stories to come.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

More Sightseeing-Bisbee

We started the day at the Morning Cafe in Bisbee where the portions are big and the food is good.Then we toured the old town section of Bisbee, the town is in section around the closed cooper mine that is now a hugh deep pit and hills of tailings all nestled among the Mule Mountians. The community was founded in 1880 and name after Judge DeWitt Bisbee, a financial backer of the Cooper Queen Mine.This mining town was one of the richest mineral sites in the world, producing nearly three million ounces of gold and more than eight billion pounds of copper, not to mention the silver, lead and zinc that came from the Mule Mountains. By the early 1900s, the Bisbee community was the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco.

Today Bisbee has evolved into an artist colony and retirement community, known for its relaxedy life style. I enjoyed wandering through some very nice art galleries and gift shops. The few streets are very narrow and most of the houses are nestled on the step hills with no street access, steep stairs as common walkways are the only way to the houses. One set of houses has the famous 1000 steps to them. Really there are a 1000 steps to get to your house! Every year they have a race up the stairs. I sure wouldn't enjoy bring my  shopping home or for that matter moving in or out of such a home. What a fitness program.


Today is the birthday bash and tomorrow we are back on the road.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Sightseeing Around Douglas, AZ

We had an interesting time checking out the local sights and having lunch out. The main features of Douglas,AZ are the border fence cutting across main street, with the larger part of the town now in Mexico and the historic Gadseden Hotel, which opened in 1907. Douglas was part of the Cooper Mining industry where the processing of cooper took place. The mines have closed, the town looks like any mid western town with low brick stores and one main street. The Gadseden Hotel is a stately five-story hotel that is recognized as a National Historic Site. The spacious main lobby is majestically set with a solid white Italian marble staircase and four soaring marble colums. There are stain glass mural extending 42 feet across one wall of the massive  mezzanine made by Tiffany. The vaulted stained glass skylights run the full length of the lobby and give a very old world charm to the place. It was hard to photograph, but here are my was very cool to see.
 After wandering the lobby we had lunch in the hotel restaurant. The western decor and patrons give us an authentic feel of being in the "Old West".

One thing around here you sure know more than you want to know about the border fence politics and things that don't get in the national news. We just had on the local news a child on the Mexican side playing in their own yard throwing rocks over the fence being shot and killed by our border one is sure why it happened. Then I guess it did make the news the "friendly fire of the border officer killing another border officer. We drove by the sight on our way into Douglas and really wondered how it could have happened. The flags around here are all flying at half mast for the officer who was killed. Me, I think I am going to be happy to be on the other side of the fence, but with my passport in hand. I think, too being in a tourist area and miles from the fence will be much better.

Next we are going to be touring the other near by town Bisbee.