Wednesday, November 28, 2012

De dant-de-dant-dead-ant.....

Went out to wash my car early Monday AM while it was still cool - there's lots of dust in La Manz, when ouch -no, not another scorpion, but a big black ant gnawing on my left ankle.  I aimed the water spray at it and managed to knock it off.  I stopped and took a Benadryl cream break That's when I realized the ground around me  was moving, black with ants, soooo many ants!

Mary had told me they were on their way up from her house and, indeed, I had seem them on the stone steps below yesterday when I walked back up from the beach. Apparently they do scorpions for lunch - yay!

I have a short brick wall around my car park spot so I hosed it down - ants aren't wild about water nor are scorpions.  That is when I noticed a big old scorpion running for its life with hundreds of ants behind it on the top of the bricks.  I discouraged it with a stream of water in front of it and it turned around - right into their path- great!  They then had it surrounded but it escaped over the side.  I went back to washing the car but shortly after, there it was now on the wall in front of the car. I redirected it with water once again and again it escaped the approaching ants... then I realized there were two big old scorps - one seemed to be a female - fat body!  Yech!  Well, they are good at playing possum and I watched for awhile as they sat motionless pretending to be somewhere else, but this was getting in the way of washing my car before the sun came over the mountain.
The ants never did manage to catch them on the brick wall, so I finally went for the Raaaiiid!  Pssst ... and finished washing the car.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

So, home before dark...

Back in La Manz again.  Sunny hot and humid day... but even with the delayed flight, we are home in time to make the bed up for the night if I hustled. 
Marcia dropped us at Pam & Greg's where Greg reconnected my car's battery and bingo! off I drove.  My road was excellent (thank you, JR) so no prob there.  In the door and the first job is to clear the furniture off the bed, put down the mattress, find sheets, etc and be done before dark.  Desperate for some moving air, first I went out to the patio to remove the window tarps. That done back in I headed, but as is now the norm, (loss of focus) ... I spied the broom and decided to sweep some of the leaves and debris in the doorway. 
Well, that revealed a scorpion - quite a good size, too, (3") so I swept it out of the leaves it was hiding in and made to stomp it.  Of course, I missed a perfect footplant with all the debris and its tail whipped up and bam (or maybe bam-bam), it got my next-to-little toe!  Oh the pain!   It got a second stomp!

I was just outside the door and my pack was on the hall table with (TG) the few remaining Benadryl tabs I had in WR.  I took two, found a bit of water, grabbed my car keys, rushed out - didn't lock the door, forgot my wallet, left my suitcase sitting up by the car park and zoomed down to Dennis & Mary's, who live below me.  Mary came with me to the pharmacy - no help there, then on to the Centro de Salud (clinic) and luckily the DR was still in.  By this time, I could feel the pain travelling up my leg and
my throat was closing.  It is a long story of details (killer pain killer, Clorox, milk, mj) and in the end, I'd had three anti-venom injections at ± hourly intervals, and spent the night in Mary's guest room.  I had so many meds in me by then, it felt like I was sleeping on the high seas.
Bright and early Sunday morning, Mary took me to get my car which we'd left downtown when it looked like we might be on our way to the clinic in Cihuatlan (Dennis came to drive) and I went home to make my bed and start cleaning/airing the casa.
I was going to take a photo of the scorpion but the ants, etc had been busy in the night and there weren't many pieces left intact.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Back in La Manz, October 27, 2012

Well, I am here and finally on line - took a whole week compared to other years' two days - but here I am reporting in!

The flight was eventful.  and it all started before I even got on the plane.

The Board Room in Vancouver is apparently no longer available to first class Alaska Air passengers (take note G&L) so I had to start my very early AM with no free (haha) latte. 
Our stop in LAX was a long one as it took forever to balance the huge amount of luggage which they finally managed to do in both cabin and cargo holds, they said.  The little tractor thing pushed the plane from the gate and BAM! clank, clunk!  the tow rod broke and hit the plane.  We then had to sit for another 45 min while they, the aviation folks, decided what to do.  In the end we were deemed good-to-go and we lumbered off an hour and a half late. 
When we arrived ZLO some of us discovered after everything was unloaded that several pieces of luggage were left behind in LAX (my tote was one) - no wonder we were suddenly light enough to fly.  Happily, Marcia was kind enough to wait and wait for us (Pam and Greg and I) to come through the door.
On Monday afternoon, my tote finally arrived half way up the stairs to my door, broken, half-open, taped with three diff kinds of tape and looking like it had been kicked all the way from LAX or maybe dragged behind a burro.  Some good stuff was missing, of course, and thesalt and sugar-free peanut butter in a plastic tub had broken open and welded everything else to the bottom. 
What a sticky mess!

Needless to say Alaska has heard from me and their initial response was that it could take at least a month to hear back with a solution or compensation... like a decade of free flights?
At least I am warm!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dia de los Tres Reyes

Sat. Jan 9, 2010:
There was much singing and announcing at the jardin in the late afternoon, so I had to go down to the square to see what was going on. Last week I missed a great show band helping our soccer team celebrate winning a tournament!
A little after the fact (Epiphany was Wed), but it was the 3 Kings' Day where there is singing, dancing and a talent show of sorts on a stage set up on the west end of the jardin. I counted half a dozens Santas giving prezzies to kids - lots of shaving cream to spray - a very big deal, Mrs Claus was there, and Speedy Gonzales, as well. The 3 Kings were introduced and they threw wrapped candies to the delight of the little ones. One of the last acts I saw was a dance by all of Santa's eves. The crowd was big and everyone was having a ball.

Baby Turtles

I was down to do a bit of marketing and to watch the sunset and see what all the party noise at the jardin was all about and discovered when I walked over to the Sunset Park that there were guys there with a plastic tub of tiny baby turtles, waiting for the sun to go down. I asked this little kid if I could take a photo with a turtle in his hands and he was happy to do it. You can see they are really tiny - a perfect pelican hors d'oeuvre. I didn't stay to help because I had left home without putting on bug spray. Next time for sure.
I have borrowed an entry from our LM message board since Nancy had done such a good job of explaining why there is no advance notice for helping release these little gaffers after sunset.
Here is what she said:
"They are all endangered species and protected by Mexican and international law.
It is illegal to eat eggs and hurt turtles, ut traditions are strong and until the locals that are doing this see that turtles are valuable in other ways, as a eco-tourism resource and as a jellyfish eaters things will not change.
Turtle releases can not be announced in advance because the turtles are released at sunset the day they are born. They are not released immediately during the day because the birds pick them off the beach and out of the water. Waiting to release the turtles more than a day weakens them. If possible, turtles should be allowed to crawl to the sea for at least 5 yards. This orientates them to remember were they came from. It is estimated that one in a thousand turtles survive to return. They face natural predators (including man), pollution, fishing nets, and injury from motors. They will return to an area within 5 miles of their release. Eggs are laid at night. Turtles are sometimes killed for their eggs by people that can't wait. Sometimes they are killed by motor vehicles that don't see them. If you see a turtle laying eggs, try to guard her from a distance and get a friend to go for help. The reserve is located on the La Manzanilla side of the old hotel, but down a few lots. The police should also help. Eating of turtle eggs is a tradition and a food source for locals. It is thought that the eggs are a natural Viagra. The importance of protecting our turtles by relocating eggs to enclosures were they can not be eaten by man or dogs, or vibrated to death by vehicles is a notion that is catching on. If you are on a beach and see turtles being hatched a la natural, and the birds are picking them off as they head to the sea you could protect them in a tub with wet sand in the shade and release them at sunset."

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Dengue Fever & Coconut Water

Dengue fever has indeed been a big nasty hovering cloud of concern. December was a bad month for many. A few C dinners put on hold. The weather cooled and we all rejoiced but the rain systems are back, so who knows what is next. At least, the La Huerta mosquito patrol is out in force - we hadn't seen them since arrival in Nov. They just came by the casa checking for standing water and sprinkling some chemical into the drain trays on the planters. Perhaps they 'll even spray the streets again.

Mostly it has been like a horrible flu that lasts from 10 days to 3 weeks+. Symptoms include headache, high temperatures, major muscle and joint and bone aches (hence the name breakbone fever), nausea, diarrhea, extreme tiredness and lack of energy. Something of everything! Friends have reported not being able to eat or even wanting to. The only good thing about the rash that accompanies the fever is that the rash is a sign that it is almost over, a reason for great celebration. Only one case of hemorrhagic - unconfirmed - among the gringo community (the guy had a bleeding ulcer among his other probs). Of course, we all try to keep the DEET bug repellent on and handy. Areas down in the town with trees and puddles seems to be more susceptible.

What to do. Well, if the bug spray didn't do its job you can only drink plenty of fluids, don't take aspirin - it's a blood thinner - though Tylenol is good. Stay in bed - most folks are too tired to get out.
Every grocery in town has litres of Pediolit and Electrolit on their shelves - Gatorade will do in a pinch though not recommended for kids largely because of the sugar in it. Coconut water is full to the brim with all kinds of nutrients and electrolytes which your body loses through fever sweats and diarrhea/vomiting. There's a ton of good information on the net about the value of cocos though folks in the tropics have known this forever! You can go to the palapa cafés and have them cut open coconuts and pour the water into a container that you bring along. I have done that a couple times when I didn't feel exactly myself and didn't want to be caught up here on the hill with no 'meds' so to speak. Fortunately, it tastes good and they'll crack it open after to give you the meat - also tasty. Friends and I have taken to drinking cocos when we go to the beach for the afternoons. The better your immune system is the shorter your stay in bed apparently.
I've heard that dengue is a worldwide problem in tropical and sub-trop areas at this time and that we along the Mex coast are not the only problem area. Anyway, lucky me, I am still touching wood daily and feel just fine.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Feliz Año Nuevo

NYE - The bells began tolling at 5:30 and that was my cue to head for the church for a mass at 6 pm ... it was being said for friends, Alaska Joe and Barb, who reaffirmed their vows made 25 years ago. That was followed by a wonderful dinner (for 300 of their closest friends, she said, laughing) in the Casino (AKA dancehall - no gambling there) - the place looked magical in tons of roses with red and white banners, table cloths and chair covers. A few pics are here. After dinner there was music, lights and bubbles until it was time to welcome in the new year with hugs and kisses plus fireworks all down the beach. I didn't stay for midnight but carried on, first to the beach to see the early fireworks, then on to join Marcia and others at her casa for champagne and to claim the aforementioned X's and O's. We also had to each gobble down 12 grapes within a minute of midnight to ensure good fortune through the new year. You need to know that grapes in MX are bigger than cherries and have at least 4 seeds in each. That is a tall chomping order.
I'm feeling surprisingly spry considering bedtime was after 1 AM - that never happens much in my life anymore. The night was topped off with the brightest of blue moons, which woke me from my sleep at 5:30 AM, shining in my eyes!

Today, January 1st, is Friday and, regardless of the day, it is biz as usual in MX. That means I was down there to open the used bookstore from 10 AM - 1 PM. The tianguis (open market) sellers were there setting up before 8 AM. The bookstore saw a few customers, I made some sales and closed the doors at noon. I'd been invited to join the gals on Peggy's pool patio, not much swimming as the day was cloudy and a bit oppressive - many a no-see-um nipping, pool not so warm either. The company was grand though and so were the mimosas. Peggy had made up a pot of black eyed peas - a tradition for the new year from the southern states in the hopes of prosperity. I am hopeful. Back home for a quiet New Year's dinner and a movie - think it will be "Sylvia" tonight. So far tonight the town is very quiet. People must be home making their resolutions.

Yep, here we are, poised at the brink of, not just another year, but a whole new decade. That seems to call for a load of heavy resolves to be made. I think I'll set Epiphany as the date to have mine firmly laid out. Whew, that gives me a couple more day.