Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas in Paradise

Since I'd seen children and grand children recently I decided to stay home for the holidays. My friend, Susan, came to stay for a month (it's payback time as I stayed with her for a couple of months this summer)...her son, Jon, and his girlfriend will be joining us after the first of the year--but I digress

Today was nice and lazy: watced TV--love the HGTV shows--read, a little swim, resting and even checked out the new gym which is coming along nicely but more on the gym later. At 7pm we joined friend, Lary (with one "R") for dinner at an outdoor restaurant and stayed until after 10pm when we decided to call it a night.

Weather doesn't seem to be as hot this year as last. I actually pulled out a blanket and around the middle of the night toss it over me (it's that cool!)

Not sure what Christmas Day will bring but I have some nice fat scallops in my frig that I think I'll cook up. Otherwise it could be a beach or pool day depending on what we feel like.

What have I been up to? Yesterday went out to a 'no kill' cat shelter for a tour. Picked out what may be my new daughter (cat)...waiting to see how she checks out with the vet and if she has any problems. Played Lotto and won one game (Lotto is the Mexican version of bingo but has pictures instead of numbers, each picture has a Spanish name so it's kind of a good way to pick up some new words.) The game was to benefit the cat shelter so I was doing a good deed by playing. Still playing Mah Jongg on the beach each week, beach ex-pat party last week, a couple of New Years party invites, writer's group on Saturday's along with the local Farmers Market and lunch after the writer's group with some of the members. Trips to Costco and Walmart.

The highlight of last week was the unveiling and sale of the new Bombaro's (Firemen's) calendar. As Kim sang "It's Raining Men" the featured firemen came! hot! hot! Screen in front showed photos that weren't included in the calendar. I crammed myself into a photo booth with a bunch of the Bombaros for a great photo...4 different poses and one was of them all trying to kiss me!...what fun that was!

Our new gym is turning out to be fantastically beautiful--as usual the builder exceeds our expectations. The view from the treadmills is not to be believed--guess you would call it a million dollar view. When I belonged to Spanish Bay Health Club (Pebble Beach) I thought the view they had was something...well, this is even more amazing! Hopefully the machines will be here soon and we can start using it.

For now I'm looking forward to the return of friends and to a wonderful 2011. Happy Holidays to you and may 2011 be your best year ever!

Monday, October 11, 2010

A New Awesome Phone Service!

In Mexico American TV and a USA phone service is right at the top for keeping up with life at home and keeping connected with friends and family . Today's blog has to do with telephone service.

I have lots of phones: a Mexican land line (comes bundled with WiFi whether you want it or not--there are other options but this is the easy/cheap way to do it), a Mexican cell phone, a USA cell phone (T-mobile), and some kind of phone with a USA phone number so one can receive calls from the USA without callers dealing with country codes & charges.

There's a new kid in town (phone-wise) and it's a winner! It's name is Rebtel and it's awesome!

I switched from Vonage ($29.95+ per month) to 1010talk ($10+ per month) to save money and I did save money (still using 1010 talk)...both are VOIP services...both allow me to have a working phone even if my computer is turned off (good in case family must reach me in the middle of the night)...decided against Magic Jack since I would need to have my computer on all the time and had seen some reviews of spotty clarity in transmission (yes, I get that with my VOIP too once in awhile).

Friend, Colin had told me about some service he was using that allowed him to use his land line and make calls for around a penny a minute. He calls the UK often and for some reason he's avoided using a VOIP service--maybe he used Skype. I really didn't pay a lot of attention the first few times he raved about this service but one rainy evening I "got it"...I guess I thought it was another VOIP service but I wasn't paying attention (mmmm....bad girl!)and this time I did get it...I could use my land line (great voice transmission, no need to worry if the internet goes down, etc) and I only pay when I use the service! I could give family and friends a phone # to call me at using their home phones (they get the area code from their city) and I get charged a penny a minute for their calls to me.

I got home and signed up for a free 3 minute trial and tried it out (Thanks Colin for helping me through the set-up process--I wasn't paying attention to the instructions on the website--bad girl!) was awesome! I used my free minutes to call a friend in the USA and she said the transmission was perfect (not always the case). It's easy to use and I am keeping it as a back up to my 1010talk number. I put in $10 to start and have had the service for over a month and so far it's cost me $1.00US...I still use 1010talk as my main phone since the phone # is the Los Angeles number I've had for years and everyone knows that number.

Rebtel rocks!

Got to run. Tonight is Canadian Thanksgiving and I am meeting with friends for some turkey, stuffing and goodies....more later!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Beatles Come to Town

There's a new Performing Arts Center in town. Tonight's feature was a Beatles "Tribute Band" from the UK.

Things are done a little differently here. First curtain time was listed as 9:00pm! Although that was the start time the actual start time was about 9:40pm. The place is very nice: stadium seating, womens bathrooms are beautiful (really beautiful)with lots of stalls so that there isn't a women's line up, bar service in the lobby and at your seats along with munchies like chocolate covered almonds, pretzels, etc, valet parking--all really nice.

I've only been to two performances at the center: the one tonight and a ballet company from Russia. Audiences for both were enthusiastic (the ballet was sold out and the Beatles thing was almost sold out)--the performances were ok, clearly there is an audience here for more. OK, I'm spoiled having lived in both San Francisco and Los Angeles where ballet and theatre can be excellent--also I've seen many, many performances in London and New York so I'm spoiled...I'm hoping that with more time we'll get better groups.

The thing I'm liking about going to anything here is that I can count on seeing people I know and meeting new people...I have a stack of cards from the people I've met recently and now I'm having a hard time remembering who's who and where I met them....I must jot notes on the cards of where I meet people and something about them. I am amazed/enchanted/happy that the people here have such interesting backgrounds and are themselves so interesting.

The rainy season seems to be on it's way out although there is still the humidity to deal with (nothing a dip in the pool won't help). Folks are returning for "The Season"--some have returned recently (Hooray I am playing Mah Jongg again at the beach) --I've heard that more are due to arrive next week and the weeks to follow.

Restaurants are reopening and activities and party planning is in full swing--my calendar is already filling up...have to remind myself to just do one thing a day...hard to do but wise to do.

Monday is Canadian Thanksgiving. This will be my second year of celebrating this holiday featuring turkey,etc....then next month I'll get to do it all over again.

More later....

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Second year in PVs g

I just reread this blog from the beginning until now--things change!

This summer isn't nearly as hot as last summer but boy do we have rain! After a dinner in old town I walked out to almost a river coming down the street outside. My car was parked on the opposite side of the street and I had to be driven across the street to get in it (don't ask--it's a crazy story). I will no longer go out in the evening until the rainy season is over unless I go by taxi. That's it!

It's the same this year as last's: in the slow season I almost always have the pool to myself (lovely). There are more full time residents here this year but some have gone on temporary vacations so people are in and out--others work so they aren't around during the day. I love swimming around in this great pool. My neighbor Dana gave me a kick board and a long tube thing so I can just float around when I'm not swimming--I must have been a mermaid in an other life as I LOVE the water. One neighbor has a dive shop and I think in October I will get back to diving (it's been a long time and I don't have a regular dive partner so I'm a little nervous...we'll see if i manage to overcome that).

I've added some new touches to my place: a mirror behind the kitchen sink reflects the pool and the Bay of Bandaras when I'm facing away from the view, each bathroom now has under sink cabinets for storage and I now have some great outdoor chairs and an ottoman so I can have my morning coffee overlooking the water.

There's more but I'll save that for another is good!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Summer Fun

I was reminded by a friend that I had been negligent in my PV posts. I have been in California for the past two months instead of enjoying the hot, humid climate of Puerto Vallarta (although I talked to someone there today who said it is cooler than the usual summer due to evening rains which cool things off).

What I miss most about summer in PV is the slower pace. Having gone through my first "high season" where there were parties and events galore(often many every night). During "the season" friends return, restaurants get booked, parking can sometimes be difficult, beaches are more crowded--you get the picture.

In the summer part-timers return to their homes in Canada and the USA--those of us who are full timers have more time to spend with each other and enjoy the slower pace of life. Tables at restaurants are more plentiful and prices are more flexible. The pool where I live is mostly empty and I feel so pampered to have the whole pool (along with the views) almost always to myself...what luxury!

Being a California girl I wasn't prepared for the huge lightning bolts and loud thunder sounds that happen during PV's summer. These usually have the courtesy of happening at night leaving the days sunny. Now that I've grown used to them I miss them...kind of light a light show just for me!

I have decided to spend the end of the year in the USA again so will be renting my condo out. If you are interested in spending a wonderful time of year in a beautiful romantic Mexican beach town let me know--or tell your friends!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Speeding in PV

It finally happened! I was pulled over by the local police for speeding at 30mph. Yep, they pulled me over and indicated that I was speeding (showed me the clocked speed to prove I was indeed speeding). The (cute) cop said I would have to pay 600 pesos (approx $50) and they would take my license plates off my car and I'd have to go claim them by paying the fine (BTW when you get a parking ticket here they also remove the front license plate and you have to go claim it by paying the fine which is very small--however, it is a big pain to do)...wouldn't it be easier if I settled with him? I had been told that a ticket actually costs only a few dollars so I said "give me the ticket" then some back and forth conversation in which I didn't speak spanish and he didn't speak english (or so each of us said)...again a suggestion that this was going to be too much trouble for me-- I would have to go to the judge to pay the fine and (again) couldn't we just settle it now...I said, "are you asking for a bribe?" He said "I don't understand what you are saying". Finally he said perhaps I could just pay for lunch for him and his fellow policeman and forget the ticket. I said, "No tengo dinero" but I did have 50 pesos ($3.50) which I could give them for lunch. After consulting with his fellow partner they said for me to just go...I am not sure if it was because it was too much work to deal with me or if I was perceived as a dumb blonde (again too much work)...anyway I am going to drive very, very s-l-o-w-l-y when I exit the speed trap tunnel in the future!

New Pictures