Monday, September 8, 2008

Here I am again on my own

Can anyone name that tune and artist?

My friend Camelia left to go back to Canada yesterday. It was an emotional goodbye -the tears were definitely flowing. Surprisingly, there was no drama on the way to the airport this time! Shocking, I know. The week went by so fast and we both could not believe it when it was time to take her back to the airport. She had a great time here in Manzanillo and this was her first experience in "true" Mexico (her one trip to Mexico in the past was to an all-inclusive resort). She said she is definitely coming back and will bring her husband on the next trip. She is going to try and coincide her next trip so she can volunteer with the annual spay/neuter clinic for the local and street animals. This is organized by PATA, the local non-profit animal organization (more on this below).

Jackson and Jade were overjoyed to have Auntie Camelia here as she spoiled them rotten with a variety of dog treats from Canada, new toys, a dog bed for Jade, and lots and lots of loving! They were definitely a little blue today without her.

Auntie - where are you?

Today, I was also feeling sad and a little lost, but fortunately, I had many things to keep me busy. It was my first day of Spanish class. There are three of us taking the class and it will consist of 3 classes per week, 2 hours per class for a total of 6 hours per week (I did not even need my calculator for that one). In addition, there is homework and practice, practice, practice. Today was a great refresher class and it felt good to get back into the swing of things.

I also had a meeting with the head of the non-profit organization PATA Manzanillo today to discuss my future involvement as a volunteer along with a potential project I may become involved in. PATA Manzanillo is a non-profit, all volunteer group of local Mexicans and foreigners dedicated to the welfare of all dogs, cats and area wildlife in Manzanillo. This is an incredible organization that has made amazing progress with the street cats and dogs here in Manzanillo. I will definitely be blogging in detail on this topic in the near future. Stay tuned.

As promised, I will blog a little each day on Camelia and I's adventures last week while she was here in Manzanillo (along with photos).

When Camelia mentioned she was coming to Manzanillo, I warned her that this is the hottest time of the year and the humidity can be very overwhelming. Oh, and to top it all off, it is hurricane season. Alex, my first visitor from a few weeks ago had also warned her on several occasions, and I quote, "Be prepared to sweat". On Monday night, when she arrived, the weather was very pleasant and cooler than normal as it had recently rained and had been overcast most of the day. As we were sitting at the Posdata Cafe on her first evening here, she kept saying that she was not sure what Alex and I were talking about as it was not that hot at all! My reply was "Just wait for it, you will be sweating before you know it!" By day 3, she was sweating bullets like the rest of us not yet acclimatized! The first few days she was here, the weather was definitely not as scorching hot as normal so I decided to show her around the village and the markets where I do most of my shopping, errands and visit a few of my favorite local eateries.

One of our first stops was a local "Deposito" that I go to to purchase my beer and wine along with anything else one might need along the way. This is a convenience store that is very popular with locals and ex-pats alike and sells everything from beer, wine and liquor to the usual convenience items. One of my dear local friends, Marta, is the owner of this store and in addition to being well known in the local community, has become very popular with the tourists for her great service, wonderful smile and her eagerness to please. She also loves to practice her English with the tourists.

If she does not have what you are looking for, she can usually bring it in for you. I was looking for a specific wine the other day and she told me to come back that afternoon and she would have it. That she did.....I did not have to worry about searching all the other stores in the village. Another draw, especially with the ex-pat community that live here in Manzanillo, is that you can purchase a cold beer or two and sit right outside in the shade and take a break before or after your errands and/or trips to the market. My beer of choice costs me 8.5 pesos (roughly $0.85 USD) and she will even give you a beer "condom" to keep it cold.

Here is Jade giving me a hug while Camelia and I sit outside Marta's store having a cold cerveza

There are some retired ex-pats that will spend a large part of their day sitting outside Marta's store drinking beer, watching the world go by and catching up on the latest daily gossip. This is definitely an institution here in Santiago village and you can find her located on the corner of "Hollywood and Vine". You do not believe me? Check out the sign outside her store!

As Marta is a dear friend of mine and she and her store are such a large part of our day to day lives, I had to take Camelia there for a few cervezas. There is nothing better than to sit down in the shade, take a break and have a cold beverage after you have been doing your daily shopping in the scorching heat. Over the course of the week, Camelia and I stopped by Marta's several times!

Camelia and the dogs all having a cold beverage outside of Marta's.


Steve Cotton said...

Alone. With our dogs around? Never. It was good to finally meet Camelia "in person" after all her nice comments on my blog. It appears you had a great time together. Have you started acclimating to the climate? The best I can ever claim is that I can tolerate it.

Jiggs is doing as well as I can expect. This week he has given up on trying to climb the stairs to get to my bedroom, and he is too heavy for me to carry. It is sad to watch him struggle to get up, but he eventually does. For obvious reasons, he avoids getting up and down too much. Other than his walk, he mainly sleeps.

~BCBUD~ said...

Ahhh Here I go again, by one of the better hair bands Whitesnake,and I'm thinking mid to late 80's maybe 1988 for the extra point Vanna!

I hope Camelia enjoyed her stay.
If you run into Gym Jerry at Marta's say HI to him for me.S;)

New Beginnings said...

Steve - you are so right. I am thankful for my dogs. And rescuing Jade has been a very rewarding experience.

BCBud - well done!

New Beginnings said...

Steve - thanks for the update on Professor Jiggs. I cannot imagine how hard it must be to see him struggle with the usual day to day things. My heart goes out to you.