Published: January 18th 2009December 12th 2008 Thursday, December 11, 2008 8:39 PM
We had to heat the ice cold water in this pot that they used to make tea for washing dishes.
Spunky the kitty princess won't come out from hiding. Everything is fine. Monday, December 15, 2008 10:54 PM
The 3 of us were playing cards and now it's time for lunch. Yvonne is not able to have her surgery this year. She has to come back in February. She'll be leaving Thursday. By then hopefully it will warm up and we'll be happy to stay.
Yvonne has been regaling us with family history and stories. As I thought she is not a naive English speaker. I'll put them into a journal by the end of the week.
Howard and Yvonne only eat veggies and sandwiches so K and I will have to find which broken, ancient, pans to use for use, I'm not quite used to no hot water in the sinks but at least the showers have it for now because we asked (well sort of insisted) Yvonne turn the hot water temperature up in the tankless heater. I made sure to get the number of the gas company in case we need a refill. Their tank is tiny and using gas to heat the house will empty
The Lone Heater
the only time you could get warm was sitting in this chair right by the temp heater which was returned before we left.
Well where to start - certainly not at the beginning...the rain continues as does the cold and wind. I moved the furniture in the room around so the bed is against the inside walls. It's more Feng Shui. Kathy asked me if my room was more funky now?;-)
The window in the hall is leaking, there is water coming in under the front door and the terrace slider is leaking so the living room ceiling is dripping. Tuesday, December 16, 2008 8:06 AM
We had the oven on all day for heat. Yvonne gave Kathy and me some stuff to wear and I've been right here, with a warm robe on, long socks, and my poncho, in front of the open, lit oven. The fire alarm went off with that shrill alarm saying there was a carbon monoxide alert. It took several tries to shut it off, open the windows, set the fan out the window and reinstall the alarm. Only to do it all over again.
The alarm shut off and so is the oven for now. There is only one small heater like we use on the lanai for the plants. I
dressed for inside
No heat, damp and dim lighting. It's better camping!
have on 2 pairs of socks, long pants, a fluffy robe and my poncho. Kathy is similarly dressed but also has a blanket on her lap.
So what happens if the ceiling collapses? Yvonne can't even reach Howard. It seems to me the plan was for Yvonne to stay behind all along and now there is this problem of the water and weather and carbon monoxide.
Yvonne has offered to take us with her to her family's home for the Christmas fiesta in Mexicali when she goes on Thursday but Kathy doesn't feel quite right and doesn't want to go. Yvonne also found out her mother's husband has the flu so we're definitely not going to do that. We agreed to wait until Wednesday before we make a decision.
Okay then...the alarm just went off again. Sorry ...I've had it! I took the batteries out. Kathy asks, are we going to be safe in a house that its carbon monoxide unit keeps going off?
Yvonne in the meantime has regaled us with family stories. When she was a girl she would go with her 3 grandmother's....
Can't really Skype with Yvonne in the house. Kathy
fly away home
If only I was like a seagull I could fly away home. Instead I can just keep clicking my ruby red sippers and say I want to go home or is it there's no place like home?
said we'll be troopers until Thursday when it's supposed to clear. It is sunny today but it looks like more rain is on the way. Probably in less than an hour.
I looked at the air fares and after Thursday they're through the roof.
Kathy and I keep giving each other looks and we're both a little annoyed we can't spend time with each other. We didn't come here for a visit we came here to have fun together.
Kathy is saying her throat and ears are niggly (my word) and I hear her coughing upstairs while she helps Yvonne caulk the slider. It's almost like the movie where the guests stay at the B&B and the owners have them fixing everything. It's like being held hostage or something.
Maybe, just maybe, once she leaves, and the sun comes out, we'll feel more comfortable. Wednesday, December 17, 2008 12:43 AM
The water has stopped dripping, Kathy helped Yvonne clear the glass slider in the room she's been sleeping in of sand and all the wet towels were washed and dried. We did our clothes with them and got that out of the way. Kathy
is feeling less niggly and taking vitamin C, Zycam, or whatever it's called. Yvonne has a new bottle of vitamin C and none of us could open it. So I got the church key can opener and got it open. Voilà we all sucked a big one.
Kathy told Yvonne that without a heater we will be leaving. She and her friend Olga went to Walmart and returned with an early Xmas present for us - a small space heater that looks like a mini radiator. It has taken the chill out of the person who sits just near it. Plus the sun was out and shinning bright today and felt oh sooo nice. It's supposed to start raining again before morning. We'll continue to tough it out though. She has found extra sweaters and jackets for us and offered to take us to a Mervin's going out of business over the border but K and I said no need and too much hassle.
Hopefully this weather will clear, Yvonne will leave and we'll be fine.
We, K & me, went to a movie tonight and saw The Day the World Stood Still. Not bad. Not my
favorite. And guess what was in the shopping center...a Dreyer's Ice cream shop. I guess I don't need to tell you what we did after the movie. We had our little taxi lady take us there and Yvonne came to pick us up. The tickets were 36 pesos! That's like 3 bucks!
There's an Applebee's and a Burger King in the shopping center also.
We have asked Rosa Maria, taxi lady, to come and pick us up at 11 on Thursday and take us to Ensenada.
Yvonne has been regaling us with family stories. When she a girl she and her 3 brothers would go to their grandparent's ranch where she would play outside with her brothers. One day they were invited to a bull fight. Yvonne insisted on going. At the bullfight Yvonne couldn't stand the bull being hurt and started yelling and screaming for the bull. She'd yell "Look out he's on your left!" "Put your head down and kill the matador! Well... she knew her grandfather would not admonish her in public even though he was highly embarrassed as people said to him that the girl should be home learning to sew. When they
got home she went out side playing cowboys and Indians and she was tied to a tree because she was the Indian. Her grandfather went out, brought her into the house, sat her in front of the grandmother and said, "You need to teach this girl to sew."
When she leaves on Thursday she goes to Mexicali where the family will gather, 16 people are coming form Gaudalajara. Her mama has renter a juke box too. The whole town is invited.
She has native blood in her and she thinks, or as she says hopes, it's Mayan, along with Spanish. Howard has some Indian blood also and coming from Georgia she says it's Cherokee.
We had fun tonight. K's already gone to bed as has Y so I'll be off too.
Well another rainy day in Baja. Interesting when we came home from the movies it was dusty already, everywhere and all around, the water caused flooding in the lower streets in town and 60 families had to be evacuated to a gymnasium. Here is the forecast: Heavy rain and a thunderstorm Low: 52 °F High: 54 °F, Partly sunny and cooler Low: 42 °F High:
Chocolate mud river
Whenever it rains the mud rushes down from the hills to the Pacific and this happens. EVERY TIME!
58 °F,and more of the same until the 31st Cloudy Low: 51 °F High: 68 °F. When the mud dries it turns to dust and then it rains and turn it back to mud plus then more mud comes down from the hills.
We'll manage. At least with the sun shinning it should be better. The reason I mention the story of Yvonne as a child is because she has never learned to do the things her grandfather thought a girl should learn. Howard and she do not cook. Their main meal is sandwiches on whole grain breads particularly salmon and tuna fish. When her grandmother came to visit she left soon after saying she could not exist on just sandwiches. I think it's funny. Kathy and I bought shrimps and Yvonne did make some rice and we'll have that for lunch today.
Yesterday, or was it the day before, Yvonne stayed in her pjs all day. Today K is staying up in her bed as long as she's comfortable. She just got up. The heater isn't doing too much so Yvonne said she is returning it and getting a different one.
I guess we can get
used to anything. It's not like it's Survivor or anything we do have the basics and once Yvonne leaves I think we'll feel much more comfortable. She is a very sweet lady but very naive and is constantly looking to K and I for advice on any number of things. She seems to be lonely here and is grasping at straws for friendship.
For me personally I would not encourage a friendship more than what has developed here. Kathy and Pauline have nothing to worry about.
Nothing is planned for today though I might go with Yvonne to return the heater for as different one and pick up a few things from the grocery list.
It seems to me they are living very penuriously and watch every penny spent. This goes for EVERYTHING like electricity, repairs, food, utilities, entertainment, clothes, travel and basically everything in their lives. Everything is cheap, poorly made and yet Yvonne says she downsized a lot but it seems she took or replaced anything of quality.
Yvonne is checking into expat events for us to attend so we'll have some choices.
Looking forward to getting emails for you telling me what's
The crab was bigger than the bowl and kept wanting to crawl out.
going on in your lives.
Abrazos Y besos
Now Yvonne is saying she's not going to GA (That's short for Georgia, not g in garage like our GPS says.) and she's asking us if it's okay if she stays here for a bit. The heater is not doing a very good job so we're off to return it to Walmart and get the one from Home Depot. So she is taking off the wheels. K and I are dressed in 2 pairs of her long pants, three tops some of the heavier ones hers and shoes and still cold. Sun O sun where art thou?
The rice Yvonne made last night went well with the shrimp I made last night and we just had it for lunch. We'll be off shortly to do the return and replacement of the heater.
The cold really does hurt Kathy and I. So we'll see what happens.
We may make contact with the expat community and see if there is an activity or two we might enjoy.
Well for a first house sit this isn't anything like what I expected. These are from journal recipients - no names to
protect the innocent -
==>It all sounds a little strange to me...that these folks would want a house sitter, and then not go off. Do you think it was actually planned that way....maybe Yvonne didn't want to stay alone. Are you sure Howard is coming back?
==>"Well for a first house sit this isn't anything like what I expected."???
Pardon my French but it´s fucking train wreck!! The bitch is never going to leave. Seriously, I´d considering bailing out if I were you. If it´s too expensive to change your return flight home, why not look into a jaunt up to San Diego?
Sorry for being so blunt, but I´m very concerned.
==>Holy crap Dorothy . . . this is certainly not what you signed up for! Plus, and you probably already know this, it's around 80 here and just beautiful. What does "stay here a bit" mean? (I can see the headlines now: Howard never returns and Yvonee keeps you captive as her "friends" . . . )
Here is a response I sent out in response to some of the emails I got:
Reminds me of the 60s song . . . We gotta get outa this
place . . .
Thanks for writing back it gave us some laughs though who knows maybe we can make a movie
Well she left mysteriously this morning to go to San Diego. She claims she knows nothing about being a home owner and that her husband knows even, less but all of a sudden this morning, she had to run up to San Diego to get some supplies Howard, the happy home owner, told her the guy coming to fix the roof will need, She's staying so she can climb up on the roof and watch him do the work. Why? No clue..
We are hoping she'll leave after that.
She admitted she didn't like being alone so maybe she knew all along that she wasn't going to GA and didn't want to be alone.
We cook with one pot that's used for everything.
We have to heat water in the micro or the stove to wash dishes.
They have the philosophy if it's yellow let it mellow and if it's brown flush it down. Penurious is not the word I'd use for them. CHEAP or something stronger would be more accurate. We bought napkins and
Tecante beer logo
Now this would get ME to buy their beer! A guy hauling around his a beer belly. Oh Yea!
she uses them. I bought butt wipes and she uses them. She makes hazelnut coffee just for herself..
But... she picked us up at the movie theater. And she has given some warmer clothes to wear but...the poncho K is wearing as a few holes in it and last night Yvonne said to K ...well, if you find some red thread upstairs you can plug the leaks. She says things like this in a cat screeching high voice. It's really the same way she talks to the cat, now raise your voice up 3 octaves, Spunky my sweetie. You ignoring mama? Come to mama my baba darling. Today she went a bi far and made coffee for her self only.
If you happen to see a good one way fare from San Diego (SAN airport code) to TPA let me know,.
Muchas abezoso Our Trip to Ensenada Friday, December 19, 2008 7:40 AM
Ensenada is the third-largest city in the Mexican state of Baja California and has a population around 1/2 a million and is (maybe was) Mexico's second most-visited port-of-call for major cruise lines and pleasure boats. It seems to me the brochures and internet sites for
this area are living in the past with statements like ...romantic past, dynamic present, and promising future. Rosa stopped and asked for a nice seafood restaurant and we had a lovely meal. I had shrimp in a seasoned garlic sauce, not scampi and Kathy had the lobster special.
After lunch we wanted to see La Bufadora/Blowhole. La Bufadora is located south of Ensenada on Punta Banda about another hour to get there. It was a long windy trip with some lovely panoramic views of the Pacific and mountains. Apparently it is one of the world's few blowholes. I didn't know there were so few.
Roughly translated La Bufadora is "the snorter," the underwater cave sucks in sea water and spits it out the cave's top every few minutes. We had a private viewing as there were no other visitors and no we didn't get and drenching. I suppose it's a rare sight in the world to see this natural spray coming from the ocean and it is after all the second largest blowhole in the world, and can shoot upwards as high as 80 feet above sea level. We didn't see that but what we did see was nice
and the thundering sound it made was pretty neat too.
The driveway into La Bufadora is a long street/alley way with many stores like one double garage after another. Each with basically the same schlock. The vendors along the way are just trying to make a living and we basically just replied back to them whatever they said to us. Like I need you money -I need my money too, Santa needs to buy presents-I don't believe in Santa and you get the idea. Thank goodness most of them were closed. It got old real fast. Rosa parked and waited for us. This is where the tidal pools are but unless you have a heated dry suit and are certified you can't get to them. Oh well perhaps in another life time.
The drive back however revealed a seamier side as the high rises are almost totally empty with only one or three lights on in each building. There are shacks upon shacks with tamales, enchiladas and 'stuff' for sale and more shacks where the vendors live. Mexico is after all a third world country and the minimum wage is $7 a DAY!
Anyway we're back, there is a new heater, which I am sitting in front of, and hopefully tomorrow the roof gets fixed and she leaves.
More from Journal recipients:
==>Oh, why am I having so much fun listening to your misery? Well, not really…. I feel bad for you guys, but your writing is so humorous. Dee is sitting here with his mouth open, saying…....they don't have toilet paper? They don't have napkins? If we didn't know you better, we would think you are making all of this up. This is wacky. I am telling you…get out of there before Yvonne leaves.. if you wait, then you won't be able to leave because who will take care of the cat?
==>Wow! This has turned into a real Mexican "telenovela" (the term for the soap operas that Mexico is famous for). Yvonne would fit right into any telenovela cast. And she can add bizarre new twists for the plot like lending someone a poncho then suggesting that they repair it ... Saturday, December 20, 2008 1:31 AM One week down 3 to go DAYS THAT IS!
Well sort of. Today was spent reinventing travel plans and finally got them done, almost. Dick is finishing the hotel part. He said, "I do NOT want you to think that just because I was so efficient in taking care of this that I will be doing it in the future. This is NOT my job. I only did it because you were so desperate to get home after your terrible experience down there......and......because I love you !!!" We'll deal with our original tickets later.
It's been decided that we're BOTH going home to Tampa on Dec. 26 to get the chill out of our bones. Yvonne is going to take us to the hotel in San Diego on the 24th and Kathy and I will take the trolley around and see some of San Diego. Then on Christmas day go to the San Diego Zoo, which is open every day including holidays. I guess the animals don't know the difference between one day and the next.
Anyway ...this afternoon Yvonne took us downtown, if that's what you call the strip of stores, and we went to the flea market. A bunch of little garage type units, each with mostly the same stuff as the ones around it. We enjoyed walking around and finally had enough of the vendor rush and push. How come those two words are spelled alike but pronounced totally differently?
We had stopped in at a church to see the decorations and found out there was a fund raiser this evening with food and music and dancing and we thought it would be fun to go. So after the market we tried to find the place. We got to the right plaza. We walked all around and Yvonne asked everybody we passed where this place was and each pointed some place else. We walked through shoe top deep mud and in dark alleys but nothing. So we got in the car and drove around the plaza to a different parking area. There was a 4 story building with no apparent elevator or escalator , maybe the fiesta was up there but ... at that point it was too cold ,and we were too tired, to try any further. Plus we were hungry by then.
We discussed the possibilities for dinner...eat out here or go home and I'd cook the chicken K and I bought. The tourist brochures say there are 85 restaurants to choose from. Well if you eliminate the 2 BK's and the 1 McD's and the Applebee's and the 75 taco, enchilada, tamale and burito shacks then maybe just maybe there may be 10 real restaurants. We had already gone to 1 and plan on going to another so we were down to what 6? I know 10 - 2 isn't 6 but who's to say there are 10 to begin with?
As we were driving around we passed a place called 'Mi Amore' and Italian place. I said let's go here, we did, had a delicious meal with enough left over for another meal. YAY.
My lasagna was excellent. It had a hint of Mexico in the spices, the sauce and meat were very dark. Lovely. Kathy had seafood ravioli and loved it. It had a vodka sauce( which she says has nothing to do with liquor but is a red and white sauce mix) that was to die for with rushmooms and flower maters. mmmmm
This place is either way sandy, sooty and dusty or muddy, cracked and hard. On the way home the traffic was gnarly because of all the mud and holes in the road due to the rain storms the last few days. Plus, there are no traffic laws - just suggestions. Then there was a blinking red light and Yvonne just kept on going. I asked her what a blinking red light means here and she said, "It's broken." and she was serious!
Oh did I mention there isn't one light bulb in the house with more than a 40 watt bulb, if that? Where there is a place for several bulbs, they only put in one bulb. I have to use the reading book light for the Itty Bit so I can see the keys. But I think I already said this.
I think I can. I think I can. I think I can. 3 more days til we leave.
Bueno Muy Bueno Sunday, December 21, 2008 2:52 PM
Continuing the saga first ...then the troopers get out for a bit.
I don't understand how people can live this way. No hot water to wash your face with in the bathroom sinks. No hot water in the kitchen sink to wash dishes with. One fry pan, one pot, liquid soap watered down. I also don't understand how this house feels like an underwater cave. Nothing ever dries...not even my magic towel that even in Florida humidity dries rigid in a few hours. All my papers are damp too, as are clothes and blankets.
Right now Yvonne is under the kitchen sink trying to figure out why there is no pressure coming from the hot side of the faucet. Now she's looking up kitchen sinks and plumbing on the Internet. Again I don't understand what difference it makes since SHE DOESN'T USE IT ANY WAY!!! Well we ran out of water! I guess Kathy and I take too many showers or something.
Okay enough of that...on to the trooper part. Before I forget to remember or maybe I already remembered and forgot I did...Did I mention we went to one of the better restaurants called El Nido the other night? All the food served there is raised on the owners ranch. It was founded in 1971 and serves deer meat and quail in a rustic and country style atmosphere. They grow their own quail in a the heart of the Guadalupe Valley wine country. There is a garden out back which was dark and look unused but had some interesting things in it. Photo OP.
It has been sunny and Yvonne asked if there was anything we'd like to do. Kathy and I gave each other the look thinking...we'd like to leave period! I had done some research before coming and had a walking tour of Rosarito printed out. Of course it was damp. Yvonne offered to take us to town and dropped us off in front of Mimi's Candy store. Inside hanging from the entire ceiling were lots and lots of different shapes and sizes and very colorful piñatas. It is a typical Mexican candy store with authentic hand made Mexican candy, milk chocolates, caramels, glorias, jamoncillos, mazapanes, tangy tamarinds, a variety of cheeses, dry fruits, Chiles and other Mexican spices. Some candy huh. We were good and didn't buy anything.
We crossed the street to the Rosarito Beach Hotel Passage which was the first shopping area constructed in Rosarito. There are arts & crafts, art galleries, liquor stores and clothing shops. There is an espresso coffee store too. This passage led us to the Rosarito Beach Hotel which was founded in 1925 and is one of the oldest historical structures and tourist complexes in Baja California. Back then it was the favorite hot spots for Hollywood stars such as Orson Wells, Lana Turner, Rita Hayworth, Dolores Del Rio, Gregory Peck, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable and many more. Speaking of Hollywood the Chronicles of Narnia 3 is going to be filmed here in Rosarito! Imagine that?!?
We admired the original 1920´s mosaic and mural paintings which portray various stages on Mexican History.
From the hotel we walked thought to the ocean and the pier. It was built to serve as a landing point for tourist cruise ships arriving from the US. However due to disembarkation complications, that didn't happen and now the pier has become a spot for local fishing. We took lots of pictures even though it was cold and windy. We saw pelican island, horses and ATVs for rent and even some crazy surfers.
I called Yvonne and she came and got us. We filled the cistern, brought two jugs of drinking water into the house. Kathy and I lifted them onto the drinking water dispenser and ate our leftovers for dinner. I'll make the chicken tonight.
Monday, Tuesday, Monday, Tuesday, Monday, Tuesday Monday, December 22, 2008 1:35 AM
Ramblings Along the Yellow Brick Road Detour in Baja
==OK....It's Monday now!!!....I think you should write a short story about all of this...and then turn it into a sitcom....sell it to TV & become rich!
Well....just keep thinking....just two more days...and you'll be back to civilization.
==>God you must feel like taking a nail and scratching a mark in a wall to mark another day down!
==>Living rustic is fine for camping (if you have to) but that hell hole is their permanent home?? What was the Mayan really doing under the sink? Praying to Tlaloc? (The Mayan god of rain.) I´m sure she had absolutely no idea how loaded her question was: "Is there anything else you would like?". The air must have crackled with psychic vibes between you and Kathy. By the way, feel free to share these editorial comments with Kathy.
==>But great news that you actually got out to "enjoy the sites". Beats sitting in an indoor rainstorm. The El Nido food sounds interesting. I´d like to hear more about the 1920´s murals on Mexican history. But I should look at your flickr pictures first though. Ramblings Along the Yellow Brick Road Detour in Baja
Kathy and I decided to give my travel journals a name. First it was This Ain't Kansas Any more Toto. Then - Dorothy's Adventure not Dementia and now this Ramblings Along the Yellow Brick Road. What do you think?
Today we are planning to go to Puerto Nuevo which is known for it's lobster. Yvonne wants to go to a restaurant called Casa Ortega which has a dish called papa gallo shrimp which is to die for according to Yvonne. HOWEVER, another storm front is coming through and if it rains we can't go because the road off the highway will be all mud and to get to the restaurant would be all mud so we'll have to wait and see. Okay it's raining we're not going, however there is a sister restaurant here and Yvonne called and they have the papa gallo camerone (shrimp). HOWEVER, you can hardly see across the street it's raining so hard and the area where the restaurant is was flooded out during the last storm and we could get stranded there. SOOOO we're going to drive down there and see what it's like and maybe or maybe not get out of the car.
Oh Kathy has been turning on the heater now during the day. When I first started considering this house sit I checked the weather here. I saw 60s during the day and 40s at night. Dick said don't worry about the 40s that's in the middle of the night. Little did we know the house had no heat. The only smart one around here is Spunky. She goes into Yvonne's bed under the cover! Yup under the covers and she has a fur coat.
==>I also have to share what Dick said - It's like a wine cellar there but no wine and Kathy said, "... but there is...we're whining!"
one more day one more day one more day
More Email comments:
Dear D and K,
If you're on the Yellow Brick Road, why haven't you just clicked your ruby heels together and said "there's no place like home?" Sounds to me like you're on another road entirely. (with your new best friend Yvonne!)
I'm clicking so hard I have sore feet!
One more day
one more day
there's no place like home
there's no place like home
hopefully our fight home won't be impacted by the weather and all the delays and cancellations. 10:46 PM
Well... we didn't go to Puerto Nuevo. We ventured down town crossing many chocolate rivers and arrived safely at Casa Ortego Rosarito. For all the talking about the papa gallo camerone, because the buffet looked so tempting she and Olga, her Mexican friend, had that. Kathy and I had the shrimp which was very good, not necessarily to die for, and I also had a very nice cream pollo sopa with veggies and Kathy had a crab soup with a crab big enough to crawl out of her dish in it. See the pics on Flickr for the shot of it.
One of the dishes Yvonne and Olga had is called 'drowning peppers" (Chilis en Ahogada) It is a poblano pepper, originally a dish from the Mexican state of Puebla, stuffed with carne (beef), pomegranate, , vegetables frutas and covered with a pomegranate sauce. VERY HOT.
K & I didn't try it. There was pumpkin and sweet potatoes, beef ribs, ham and pineapple and sushi of all things. May be due to the bus load of Japanese tourists we saw earlier. We took pictures of the food and will upload probably tomorrow to www.Flickr.com/photos/2Ds/sets . There were dishes with mole which is an ancient Aztec chocolate sauce with sesame and pumpkin and 3 or 4 other seeds that are roasted all day. I must be part Mayan or Aztec because I am a chocoholic. For over 3000 years, Chocolate…like gold, has had a universal appeal. Cocoa, from which chocolate is created, is said to have originated in the Amazon at least 4,000 years ago. Derived from the seed of the cocoa tree, chocolate was used by the Maya Culture, as early as the 6th Century AD. Maya called the cocoa tree cacahuaquchtl… "tree," and the word chocolate comes from the Maya word xocoatl which means bitter water. To the Mayas, cocoa pods symbolized life and fertility... nothing could be more important! Stones from their palaces and temples revealed many carved pictures of cocoa pods, and the texts their literature refer to cocoa as the god's food. The Mayas cultivated the earliest known cocoa plantations.
The Aztecs attributed the creation of the cocoa plant to their god Quetzalcoatl who, descended from heaven on a beam of a morning star carrying a cocoa tree stolen from paradise. In both the Mayan and Aztec cultures cocoa was the basis for a thick, cold, unsweetened drink called xocoatl… believed to be a health elixir. Since sugar was unknown to the Aztecs, different spices were used to add flavor, even hot chili peppers and corn meal were used!
Aztecs believed that wisdom and power came from eating the fruit of the cocoa tree, and also that it had nourishing, fortifying, and even aphrodisiac qualities. The Aztec emperor, Montezuma drank thick chocolate dyed red. The drink was so prestigious that it was served in golden goblets that were thrown away after only one use. He liked it so much that he was purported to drink 50 goblets every day!
Yvonne told us that there are several legends about how the Mexican flag got it's colors and one of them is a General Iturbide, while in the state of Puebla during the revolution, first had this Chilis en Ahogada dish. He so loved this dish with it's colors of red, white and green that he made the colors of the Mexican flag these colors.
We arrived home at at five to a freezing house. I mean like in the 40s. We kept our jackets, socks ponchos and scarves on. one more day one more day
well I guess with the new name of my journals I should be clicking my red shoes and saying, "There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like home."
It's supposed to continue raining thru the 25th but at least we'll be warm in the hotel. Hopefully our flight home won't be delayed or canceled due to the terrible weather.
Besos y abrazos Tuesday, December 23, 2008 1:41 PM
I just can't imagine how 2 intelligent professional people retired to conditions like these. Can't even wash your face in the morning or evening with hot water!!! Sorry that goes beyond conservation, that's self imposed lunacy! This is the 21st century and I will not choose to live like this. Not for one day longer than I have to. You're absolutely right warm water is not hot water. Warm doesn't clean as well. Warm is not as soothing either. If the sun (what's that?) heated the pipes it would be better than ice cold.
Why water down detergent? Does it clean as well? Why not just use less? Never mind I really am not looking for answers just rambling. I guess if you have HOT water it's not so bad. One more night. There's no place like home
There's no place like home
Click Tuesday, December 23, 2008 8:26 PM
So today we found out Howard called Yvonne's brother. Yvonne's brother called her mother and they decided the brother would take a bus from Mexicali to Rosarito and accompany Yvonne to San Diego to drop us off at the hotel and then help her with the drive to Mexicali. She says she doesn't understand why they are concerned, so, because she doesn't like confrontation, she's going along with the plans.
Apparently her mama is having a neighborhood xmas party with the 16 relatives from Guadalajara, is fixing lots of food and even rented a jukebox and the whole nine yards.
I think I have reached the conclusion she never planned to go anywhere. She once mentioned she hated her son-in-law. She has no pictures of her daughter anywhere in the house. All she talks about is her over weight 12 year old grandson. She was previously looking for flights to GA for the 26th. She invited us to go to Mexicali with her. But there would be floor space only. She can't make up her mind WHAT she wants to do. Plus - if she was planning to go anywhere she would have at least had some bags packed no?
This wasn't what I signed up for. I had, and have, no desire to be her friend and companion. I wanted to be alone with Kathy so we could spend time together and not watch everything we said because it was so uncomfortable here.
Besides that, BECAUSE, her brother is coming we have to change where we're sleeping. We decided Kathy would move downstairs to the room I'm in and bring a mattress down to put on the floor. I'm going to put a blanket down first to try and keep the cold and damp further away from it.
I think I'm going to go sit in the refrigerator because it's warmer in there than in the rooms we've been sleeping in. Yvonne asked Kathy if she wanted to go out into the car with her to read because it's warmer in there. Kathy was so pissed off after not having a hot shower this morning she said no thanks, cranked up the heater and sat down. I thought for sure she was gonna give Yvonne what for and I was all prepared to watch the sparks fly but Kathy withheld and just said she was very cold and didn't like taking a cold shower.
So with less than 24 hours to go and counting down we're all packed and ready to go.
Yvonne just got a phone call that her brother was not coming because her sister-in-law wouldn't let him go unless he finished all his to-dos and he didn't. Instead... her mama's husband, not Yvonne's father, he's dead, is coming but...the bus he's on is stuck in the mountains between Mexicali and here because of snow.
Another phone call, the bus has started going.
Did I mention Kathy has now taken to wearing a snood at night and now also during the day? She looks like a 90 year old Persian lady all wrapped up.
We'll be leaving here at 9 tomorrow morning. Can't be soon enough.
Comments from friends:
==>I´m sitting here trying to scrape my jaw off the desk after reading this last email. The convoluted arrangements in the Mayan network are astounding. Really the whole family is certifiable.
==>An invitation to go to Mexicali? With HER? Floor space only? Por supuesto, why would you expect more. The very idea makes root canal attractive!
==>I´m sure one of the biggest thrills of your lives (you and Kathy) will be finally getting the HELL out of there!!! Wednesday, December 24, 2008 7:14 PM
By the way we found out it wasn't snow in the mountains it was fallen boulders and they had to cal iin the army to use dynamite to blow them to bits and push the bits off the highway down the cliff! Just one lie after another or made up tale or to give the benefit of our doubt - stupidity thinking that's what we wanted to hear!
We're FREE! We're FREE! We're FREE at last! and now to the tune of Oh Yes we Have no Bananas - Oh yes there is more hot water...there is more hot water today...YAY!
On the way to the border Yvonne missed her turn and got us lost in Tijuana. Can you imagine? She's been across the border crossing how many time? Whatever!!!
Don Fransisco, Kathy and I we're dropped off at the pedestrian USA/Mexican border crossing because she-Yvonne has a frequent pass thing on her window. She told us not to wait in line because we have canes and Don Fransisco (remember Yvonne's mother's husband) will help us get through. Why we expected her to know 'somtin especific' ... well we didn't and we weren't disappointed. We walked all the way to the front of the line where there was indeed a handicap sign but ...the guard said we couldn't use it unless we were in wheel chairs. Didn't matter what Kathy, I or Don Fransisco said. The guard pointed at the sign and said, "Read what it says. It says wheelchairs only."
"But it's difficult for us to walk and stand.for long periods of time."
"Well you have a seat, take it to the end of the line and sit there." Nasty son of a bitch.
As we were walking back to the end of the line a Mexican said to Don Fransisco, "Here come in this van and we'll take you across for $5 each". So we agreed. I could barely climb up into it as there was nothing to hold on to. Someone, it wasn't Kathy gave me a little push and I got in. Kathy says it was the Don and she's sad because nobody grabbed her buns and pushed. There were already 4 people in the van and with us it made 7. We sat there with the door open and sure enough another 3 people got in and then another so now there were 12 calling birds, three French hens and a coupla fat lady gringas. It took over an hour from the time we got on the 'car fast pass lane' to meet Yvonne on the US side of the crossing. It is the world's busiest border crossing and it is Christmas after all.
They dropped us off at the Comfort Inn, said our adioses, and Yvonne gave Kathy and I each a present from Spunky, a cheap black and white Walmart special scarf and cute Mexican Terracotta cats very colorfully painted. I checked and there was no label "Made in China' She tries, she's just a little loosely packaged.
We unpacked, washed our hands in warm water and walked to the trolley station. We ended up going in the wrong direction, not that we knew where we were going but when we go to the end of the line decided to go to the zoo. We stayed on the trolley and it just went in the direction we had come from. We took it 7 stops, got off and got on the #7 bus to the zoo.
We took the guided bus tour. It was cold and cloudy and we decided to just make it a day. Of course we bought some fudge to reward ourselves on our release from the Dungeons of Rosarito and took a cab back to the hotel.
Now change your accent to rrrrolling RRRussian because Igorrrr was our cab driverrr. The name on his card is "Igor - Taxi cab driver". We asked him if there was a good restaurant nearby and he said the best restaurant is downtwon called Fisherman's. Or something. We asked him if he would come back later, around 7, and take us therrrre. He said of courrrse. So we're just enjoying the dry heated room and chilling before Igorrrr comes to pick us.
And Merry Christmas to All. Thursday, December 25, 2008 12:00 AM
I couldn't have written this ending if it were a fictional fairytale. Igor came and pick us at 7. Heez las name on dee visorrr is LIVSHITS. No kidding! Che (that's a ch like in CHannukah) eez from dee Ukraine und hass leeved herrrre for five yearrrrs. He got so involved telling us about how he used to be a chemical, hot time, professor in a Univeristy in Ukraine, he stopped for a green light and almost ran the red when it turned. Then he backed up and continued with his stories. The light turns green and he steps on the gas and we go backwards because he forgot to take it out of reverse. OOOPS. Ooooh Livshits wat vee gonna do vith you Livshits. His wife teaches and speaks 7 languages and he live in low income housing 25 miles north of the city.
He brought us to a verrrrry serrrious rrrrestaurant at Seaport Harbor Island and a place called Anthony's Fish Grotto which has been voted the Best San Diego Seafood Restaurant. It's been around for more than 60 years and Kathy realized when we pulled up that she ate here when she and Jerry were doing their RV thing 2 years ago. We had a delicious meal of shrimp and scallops and wonderful fresh baked rolls with garlic and dried tomato butter. Yum yum yum.
To top the evening off we were giggling about figuring out who owed who what and why 14-6=8 had anything to do with anything. Guess you had to be there. We were laughing so hard we just had to call Igor to get us back to the hotel. We got here safely and tomorrow, Christmas day, is a rest day for us. Except that if Kathy doesn't stop giggling she's going to pee in her bed and have a conniption fit and I'll have to take her and her gas to the hospital. But now she said we have to call Livshits. HE HE HE HA HA HA oh it hurts to laugh anymore.
And happy holidays to all the Livshits. Papa Livshits and Mama Livshits and baby Livshits, and nana Livshits, and I can't see the keys for the tears in my eyes, and my sides hurt so I guess you just had to be here agin. And sometimes Christmas doesn't come from a store. Sometimes it comes from a little bit more. Said the little Hoo girl. or somebody in the Horton Hears a Hoo tale.
Sweet dreams and to all a good night.
One last journal recipient's comment: "And the Trip Goes On .... And The Trip Goes On".
I hardly knew what to say about your first-night-back-in-civilization (almost) that I don´t think I said anything. How totally and completely bizarre that you should spend your first night as emancipated souls with such a character.