Apr 8, 2012

Very Experienced Dinghy For Sale - Odds and Ends

No snowflake ever falls in the wrong place.
Zen Proverb

Nikki in 2003 (the year she was born)

• Nikki turns 9 today – happy birthday little one…
• A tortilla becomes a taco when you add something to it.

Row of agaves against brightly colored wall
  • Instead of maple syrup, which you cannot find in Mexico, we use agave syrup. Agave syrup comes clear or in various shades of brown. The lighter the color, the more delicate the taste. Dark brown is much closer to tasting like strong honey.
  • A good spread to use on toasts instead of apple butter is one made of goat milk cooked down to brown goo (Cajeta Quemada). Although not as sweet as apple butter it has a nice smooth mellow flavor. Goat milk products are common in Mexico.
  • Packaging of eggs in cartons, when available, is sometimes in a configuration of 3 x 4 instead of 2 x 6. It seems a little more stable/strong this way.
  • Lots of over-packaging. Cookies in a box that contains six bags of 3 cookies each for example. All deli cheeses are doubled wrapped in many grocery stores.
  • Instead of chips, which are available but very expensive, we buy tostadas. Tostadas are fried corn tortillas about 6 inches across and we break them up in pieces to eat like chips. They are very tasty but vary greatly in taste and texture from one area to another. They are locally made…
  • Home Depot has a whole section dedicated to machetes, a tool widely used here instead of clippers, weed whackers, saws or chainsaws.
  • In most instances people do not buy 25-50 pound bags of pet food. Owners of small stores repack these larger bags into ½ - 1 kilo bags for purchase by the general public or you can purchase in bulk, by the scoop. Most Mexicans do not have the income or the space to buy and store months’ worth of food for their pets or themselves.
Weather bleached wood doors at adobe entryway
  • Many electrical, plumbing, hardware or car part stores are only storefronts. You cannot go up and down aisles to look for what you need or want. You have to ask a clerk at the front counter for what you want and they’ll get it for you. Sounds easy until you hit that language barrier; then you start drawing pictures or using lots of sign language. You try not to raise your voice when they don’t understand what you want but sometimes it just happens. Jumping over the counter to “just take a look” sounds like a great idea but they won’t let you in the back.
  • Drinks in bags. Common homemade kids’ drinks come in clear plastic bags filled with ice, the drink in question (mostly horchata, orange or tamarind) and a straw wrapped with a rubber band holding the plastic bag sturdily around it. It’s a great way not to have major spills. Now if we could only teach them to throw them in the trashcans when they are done with them. What a concept!
Heavily carved wood doors, bamboo walls, vine covered columns
and alabaster hanging lights - beautiful building in Sayulita
  • Bus or taxi drivers usually drop people off anywhere they are asked – there are no specific bus stops (unless you are taking expensive buses which only stop at certain areas). The only disadvantage with that system is that they do not know street names so if you want them to stop somewhere; you need to know what is in the vicinity. For example, you can’t ask them to stop at the Avenida Las Palmas, even though it is a main road, you have to ask them to stop at De Cameron Resort near the Oxxo store, across from the Gold’s Gym… We tried more than once to request a stop near a main street by name or even at the only light in town but they go by what is around the area, not names of streets. It is a very interesting way of navigating…
  • Speaking of bus drivers, the other day our bus driver picked up his family (wife and two little girls). One of the little girls stayed near her dad while he was driving (no seat belts here!). His arm surrounded her as he was changing gears. Definitely nothing you would see in the US or Canada. At one point, he stopped the bus to miss a large yellowish iguana crossing a 4 lane road and show it to his daughter while teaching her the word…
  • At certain bus stops, people come through to sell food (chips, fruit salads, cold drinks, nuts, etc). There is a parade of them hurrying before the bus heads to the next stop.
  • Bus drivers at times race each others to be at the next stop first to ‘steal’ the possible customers waiting there.
  • At red lights you sometimes see jugglers or break-dancers showing their talents in hope of donations from drivers waiting for the green light.
  • RV parked in the street connected to the main electrical line illegally (and probably not very safely). Someone climbs the pole and just twists some wires together and leads them from the pole to the RV…
  • Many just create businesses out of their front room or sidewalk/road in front of their houses. With no zoning or licensing needed many businesses just pop-up. Someone will open the front door of their home, set up a couple of tables with chairs, post a short menu and sell food for the evening. Many only do this a few nights a week. It is very casual.
    Sign in front of church in San Sebastian - how do you like that translation!
  • As for the title of this post, we heard this on the radio this morning: “Very experienced dinghy for sale” and thought it was a very clever way to say it was old and tattered…

  • Clever vessel name: 4ourplay (read it for our play or foreplay)…

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