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.