Sunday, January 14, 2018

Merida - Wish I Could Have Stayed Longer

I was in Merida two years ago for a local ELT convention.   I returned again on Monday but didn't get a chance to really enjoy the city.  It was a work trip and it was less than 24 hours.  That's what I do and I could always extend the tickets and stay longer but I'm just not into hotels and sightseeing by myself.

I worked with a group of sales people this time around.  It was definitely a different experience and I would have to be creative to hold their interest.  It worked.  The day flew by and they asked that I come back again.   Not sure how it happened, but I ended up with a first class ticket coming and going.  Very relaxing.  I have enough miles now on AeroMexico that I could always ask for an upgrade but we're already at two round trip tickes in Mexico or the U.S. so I prefer to continue saving.

Back to Merida, it has become a beautiful city.  Everyone mentions the fact that it is the safest city in Mexico and I don't doubt that.  It is also one of the cleanest cities and you see that everywhere you go.  The colonial architecture is well-preserved with avenues and streets in excellent condition.  Don id I mention the local cuisine?  Good eats!  Some how we need to find our way down to the Yucatan which would require quite a bit of time off.  Someday.

Don't ask me about the weather here at home.  It's not getting any better.  Yesterday and this morning I woke up to 1C.   This week it will be rain and -2C for two nights so we can expect some type of white stuff.  This is the coldest and longest winter we have experienced in my 33 years here.  

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Meeting Up With A Caravan - Start To A New Year

What a great ending to a Christmas vacation.  Yep, we didn't rv this last month but we now have a bit more freedom to do so.  The house is sold, we start back to school tomorrow and I hit the work road also heading to Merida for a day.   

However, an important pair of wagon masters crossed the border today and we just couldn't help ourselves but meet them as they passed not 30 kms from our house.  

The timing was amazing.  We arrived at the same time.  I had called Ruth at around 9:45 to see if all went well at the border.  No issues to speak of but you can get the scoop from them.   We agreed that about two hours was a good time and it all worked out.   Only downside was that they have a schedule to keep and the wagon master gave the wagons 30 minutes to gas up and hit the road for Saltillo and all points south.   It was great seeing them.   We are so accustomed to seeing them every year that it was great having a few minutes to chat.  Who knows, we could meet up with them as they exit the country later this Spring.

Over the holidays, mostly spent here at home, I hit the baking again.  I let the oven go though and have adopted using the crockpot.   I have discovered that I need a larger, oval-shaped pot to accomodate bread pans.   I made a loaf of whole wheat, pumpkin bread, and yesterday, a loaf of banana nut.  They're all vegan recipes but you'd never know it.  A little flax seed soaking in water makes a great egg substitute.  So easy and I stuck the crockpot in the rv and let the solar pay the tab.   Slow cookers and electric blankets do well on rv solar.   

Happy hours this last week were held in the rv.  I figured it was better to driveway camp then not camp at all.

Monday, January 1, 2018

I Asked The Question - This Was The Answer

I always have so many things I want to blog about but they seem petty or uninteresting or at least I think so.  Readers have told me in the past they like to read whatever I post.  

Today being the new year and all, I wanted to post but not the same old thing.  Fireworks pictures, a shiny gold ribbon and the script letters of Happy New Year.  

I made the mistake of asking what would be a good post for the new year and this was the response,   "Write about fake people".  Here goes. 

This last year was a year full of fake people in my life.  I'll be honest, I'm cynical and sarcastic but I think most of you would agree that overall I'm a pretty nice fellow and very  helpful when it comes to rving, Mexico travel and information about living here.  No bullshit from this guy.  I blog based on facts and not some two-week experience I might have had ten years ago in Baja California.

Mexico is a big country and there are many cultural differences within the country not to mention those that clash with the U.S. and Canada.  We've had lots of guests over the years both family, friends, and also unknown rvers who look for a place to stay and maybe glean some travel information or get a good feeling from us about what they're doing and if it's safe, smart, or on target.  Some people don't get it and do just the opposite or they complain about why things aren't the way they are in their country.   Many of those over the years guests and general inquiries were pretty fake though.  They would shake their heads in agreement around a campfire and then walk off and think I was a nut.  Let's face it, I tell it like it is and that's the best I can do.

We've helped many an rver stranded, lost, injured or accidented and some have been thankful although we don't expect it.  Others have moved on, and we've never heard from them again.  Some I may have offended but it was only because they didn't like the advice or help they received.   

One thing I have learned to be true over the years, and if we have ever done that then I plead guilty, is the fish rule.  "Guests are like fish, after three days they start to stink." That has only happened a handful of times but they knew who they were and well, we'll just leave it at that but they know who they are.  Then there are the users and abusers.   But hey, another old saying comes into play, "Sometimes being too nice is dangerous, you have to show your mean side once in awhile.

So, here is list of a few things that define fake people.

Sneaky people who go behind your back to find out information about you or what you've said.  The recent incident of a blogger comes to mind.  That's a good example of someone who is a plotter.

They'll be your friends with you, party with you and drink with you when you're together.  But when you need help with something they're nowhere to be found.

If someone suddenly and magically disappears or moves on when you need them most, that is fake.  Don't even bother getting in touch with them again.  Fake people love to ignore situations where they might have to get involved.

When someone claims to never get mad or upset about stuff then they're fake.  Why?  Because fake people have zero emotions.  Real people have passion, get upset, mad and get pissed off.  I do that because I'm a real guy.  However, most of the time it is passion or frustration not anger.

There you have it.  Of course, most of  you readers aren't any of the people I would refer to as fake and that is why we have maintained close and keep in touch.   We have a mutual passion for Mexico, rving, having fun, talking about politics, religion and sex and sharing a great bottle of scotch or fixing a big Mexican breakfast for everyone or hosting a party in their rv for 16 people.  

Happy New Year!

Friday, December 29, 2017

Got The Call

I received a call yesterday at 2 p.m. to appear for the closing on our house in San Antonio.  We  arrived late last night with a short two hour border wait.  Last year, the border wait was so long we pulled out of line and spent the night in Nuevo Laredo.  When we approached the U.S. border agent, he asked for our passports and wished us a happy holiday and sent us on our way.

We closed this morning and now that is part of  history.   My life is now focused on our future  retirement here in Mexico.   

"Never look back unless you are planning to go that way." - Henry David Thoreau   

Monday, December 25, 2017

Mexico Apps Gas Prices

With the advent of the energy reform, apps are now appearing that are similar to GasBuddy in the U.S.  There are three that I know of, one (Gasoapp) is sponsored by Profeco (BBB), one  (Guia Pemex) by Pemex for Pemex only stations and the third is Zenzzer.

All are available at the Google Play store.  All three pretty much work the same. stations within in a specific range, prices, ratings by user, distance and routing to get to a specific station. 

I haven´t downloaded any apps yet because my phone is full.  I´m anxious to try it as we saw prices yesterday in Monterrey with a range of 35 centavos.  May not sound like much but for the SUV a tank could mean a savings of 33 pesos or more.  Like in the U.S., you wouldn´t drive miles out of your way but if you see a station on your route that has a better price I´m sure you would take it.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow

Dee asked if we were having snow.  Well, we did and we still do.  The mountains are covered and only 16% of students went to school.  

Here in the north we have snow occasionally, but this time around the cold makes it even worse.  It dropped down to a low of  -6C and it will continue tonight.  The snow on the ground is gone but last night all the water froze on the trees.  This morning it was raining under the palm trees.

Yesterday I received a call from a U.S. number on my cell phone.  I was headed home from school and figured it was the guy who worked on the house in San Antonio.  It was Sue and Brian who had crossed the border yesterday and were heading to San Miguel de Allende.

Croft posted this story but they were stranded on the highway between Laredo and Monterrey.  They wanted to know what was going on and I found the Policia Federales twitter site and it said snow had shut things down.  Great website by the way because it is constantly updated.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

December - What Next

Don´t know if I posted this or not, but it´s bread baking season.


I worked in Puerto Vallarta on Friday.  I left Thursday afternoon and came back less than 24 hours later.  Funny though, how cheap travel by air in Mexico has become.  I started out dreading the travel agency´s mainstay of Interjet.  They have great on-board service but they are always delayed by  hours.  They don´t have enough aircraft and one is out of whack the whole system suffers.  

I checked my favorite for business travelers, AeroMexico but the cost was not justifiable.  I then moved to my last choice, Vivaaerobus and was pleasantly surprised to find out the following.  Here is the price breakdown of my particular travel plan:

AeroMexico 13,000 pesos
Interjet            9600 pesos
Vivaaerobus   4400 pesos

But here´s what happened.  I was late in the week, less than seven days due to the scheduling of the event which was out of my control.   I went with Viva because, believe it or not, is the only airline with a non-stop to Vallarta from  Monterrey.  They have one flight coming and one going.  It really worked out because AeroMexico had a pilot´ strike this week over medical benefits.  So even though it wasn´t an advance purchase, it only cost $237 U.S.  You just can´t beat that and rvers and snowbirds who come to Mexico should take advantage of that.

Not sure what Santa Claus has planned for us.  The house in San Antonio is showing regularly so there is interest and it won´t be long before we have an offer.  

Several things I want to talk about involving ex-pats living in Mexico, all good things that would help them make decisions on where to live and how to do it but I need time to sit down and write. 

The rv is getting some minor modifications for our winter trip if we take one and still not sure where to go.  I´d love to make it to the bloggers fest in Quartzite but that seems to be more of a dream than anything else only because of schedules.