A Travellerspoint blog

All Quiet on the Western Front

Thursday 19th May till Tuesday 24th May

Palapa_palms_.jpgYou're probably thinking to yourself - she got tired of that writing lark pretty quickly!

I just didn't think you'd want to hear about watering the garden, walking the dogs, organising the builder, cooking the meals, doing the shopping and all the other mundane chores that make up everyday life - even here in Santiago, Mexico!

Life is definitely at a slower pace here. The highlights of the last few days have been when I thought the flood was upon us on Saturday morning when we were woken by the thunderous (or so it seemed!) sound of water as it rushed into the furrow. This apparently happens every so often to irrigate the burgeoning mango orchards closeby. Later on we had an unexpected but very welcome visit from Sasha, who gave us the low-down on Raices y Brazos and brought us some lemon basil and tiny yellow plum tomatoes. Roger took me out for a slap up dinner - Mexican pueblo style! A lovely lady down the road has a hotdog stand on her front stoep under a palapa with a couple of tables right on the pavement. She serves a mean hotdog and even meaner Super Burro, complete with chili sauce, roasted peppers and papas fritas (chips). Next to el Viejo, it's the best deal we've found in Mexico, where nothing to date has been cheap and prices are virtually the same as USA if not more expensive. Sign of the times, I suppose.

As if I didn't have enough to occupy my time, I decided to try my hand at some ice-cream making. There are loads of limes from the garden and you can only drink so much fresh limeade! Sue has a Vitamix - oh joy of joys! So last night I made fresh mango ice-cream - in under a minute. Now I'm hooked and will be making ice-cream of every flavour imaginable for breakfast, lunch and supper!

Posted by suzeevee 09:14 Archived in Mexico Comments (1)

Back......with bells on!

Wednesday 18th May

Follow_the_leader_.jpgAfter the previous night of disturbed sleep with all the chomping going on, we were looking forward to a quiet night.
I was jolted out of my slumbers suddenly by the sound of bells right outside the window - you have to understand that the windows are left WIDE open at night to cool the house down, so any sound seems to be happening right in your ear! I lay there and thought it will stop soon and sure enough after a while the sound of the bells receded into the distance. Then the dog down the road started barking at full volume and the bells came back. The dog stopped. Once again, in my ear, the bell round the cows neck chimed loudly as it tore the branches, leaves and baby mangoes off its favourite tree! Eventually, again, it had its fill and set off home down the road to be met once more by the vociferous dog. Again the dreaded bovine returned and went through the whole routine again. This time however, it managed to get past the dog, who continued barking and managed to get every other dog in the neighbourhood to join in his complaints, including our three! Absolute mayhem! No sooner had the canine crew quietened down than, yep.....you guessed it..... every cockerel in town started crowing just to show they couldn't be outdone. Whoever said living in the country was quiet???!!!!

Posted by suzeevee 09:56 Archived in Mexico Tagged bells country dogs mango cows cockerels Comments (0)

Squared away!

Tuesday 17th May

Life is REALLY slow and laid back here!
Each day passes much as the one before.
I had some success with all the research on the internet, though and found a place just down the road in Cabo San Lucas to go to when we finish up here. It's called Raices Y Brazos (Roots and branches/arms) http://raicesybrazos.com/ and is "an integral evolution centre". They have an organic farm and run various alternative type courses. In addition they have just opened an organic restaurant. Apparently we can help out with building work, as the season is virtually at an end here - everyone goes north to escape the heat of summer. It's a relief to know we've somewhere definite to go and we'll just see how we all get on before deciding how long we stay - a week or two anyway.
In the evening, when it had cooled off slightly, we ambled up to the square where we sat and sipped cool drinks while watching a young girl on super-cool roller skates - they made sparkly neon lights that got brighter as she skated faster - and a little boy that we'd seen at the christening, cycling round in circles while playing his Nintendo type game resting on his handle bars - really cool dude! All lit up by the full moon of course!
We arrived home in the dark and in the parking area were startled by a big animal - we thought a horse or donkey, but further inspection revealed a cow eating the mango tree. The chomping went on all through the night!

Posted by suzeevee 09:31 Archived in Mexico Tagged raices_y_brazos organic_farm organic_restaurantalternative_c roller_skates Comments (0)

Read etc

Monday 16th May

Walked the dogs, read, worked on the computer, read, worked on the computer, read, worked on the comp..........
You get the picture!

Posted by suzeevee 09:25 Comments (0)


Sunday 15th May

Well, as I said before, the band stopped at 2.30am - then the cocks started crowing. Needless to say we didn't sleep much so it was a very lazy day - felt like the walking dead!

Posted by suzeevee 16:53 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Caramba - a Christening!

Saturday 14th May

The day was blistering hot - it was impossible to be outside for any length of time. The trip we'd planned to the zoo was postponed after Roger did a scouting trip, bravely venturing the length of the garden. While out on his foray, he spotted tables and chairs being set out at the restaurant over the fence, so he decided to investigate.
Apparently a huge christening party was scheduled for later on and Sergio, the owner, very graciously invited us to attend.
From lunch time the band had been playing at full blast, people had been coming and going and there was such a party atmosphere that later on in the afternoon when things started cooling down a bit, we decided to go and join the fun, just for a bit.
Sergio greeted us effusively and led us outside to the lovely garden, decorated in shades of blue and turqoise, complete with balloons and ribbons, streamers and bows, to a table near the band with a good view of the proceedings. Drinks were brought and there was a constant stream of guests to-ing and fro-ing. It looked as though we'd probably missed the main event, people were packing up and leaving, kids were running everywhere and still the band was blasting out Mexican music as hard as they could.
A couple got up to dance - very old school and lovely to watch, which of course, was all the incentive Roger needed and we had joined them before the next chorus!
Sergio came bustling past, glad to see us dancing, that things had hardly started and would get going properly a bit later on - seems we had misjudged things!
All the children were playing on the lawn in front of us when the father of the baby of the day came over and hung up a HUGE cardboard baby on a rope suspended between 2 trees. Everyone lined up in front of it for photos and then the game was on! The baby was hoisted high and the children took turns from the youngest (who could hardly even stand) upwards to bash this thing to pieces with a baseball bat while the rest sang a rhyme to cheer them on. Eventually it broke open and the kids were showered with sweets. A mad scrambling ensued, accompanied by shouts of glee and mayhem - great fun to watch and we were rewarded with one of the mums bringing us some sweets too!
Another dad came over now and he had a pouch full of silver coins which he proceeded to throw high in the air. The kids loved it and the focus was definitely on the children.
Full after cokes and nachos, we decided to leave them all to their celebration and headed home to the accompaniment of the band. It must have been heard all over town and we were just next door. Fortunately, at 2.30am Sunday they stopped - Mexicans really do like a Fiesta!

Posted by suzeevee 16:04 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Ice Cream!

Friday 13th May

After a very quiet day alternating between book and computer, we went for a walk into town and the nearby zocalo (square). Santiago is a traditional Mexican town, not very big, but laid out in spanish colonial manner, with a few shops around a lovely treed square. Someone has been very creative and the trees are manicured to within an inch of their lives, with the tops and bottoms cut level and the sides perfectly straight - like rows of big green drums on white painted sticks.
There is a gas station, 2 small supermarkets, a chemist/novelty gift shop and a doctors around the square - most of the other businesses have shut up shop long ago, by the looks of things so you can imagine our surprise when open windows and doors greeted us on walking past what we thought was a defunct ice-cream shop. We acted like a couple of kids, poring over the selection of home made popsicles - banana, melon, pineapple, tamarind, lemon, nut, orange and on and on. Pineapple and tamarind were finally chosen and never a better treat was had! Freezing cold pure frozen fruit juice with chunks of whole fruit - perfect to restore us in the punishing heat of the late afternoon!

Posted by suzeevee 15:49 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

Seeds of Change, alright!

Thursday 12th May

We were awakened with every crow in the neighbourhood trying to outdo the other. Mixed in with it was the sound of a rapid fire semi-automatic, or so it seemed - in reality - just a woodpecker drilling into a hollow palmtree!
Just after we got back from taking the dogs walking, the phone rang. It was Kit arranging to take us to meet Gabriel Howearth that afternoon. Gabriel is one of the co-founders of Seeds of Change and a huge proponent of permaculture, having given talks and travelled all around the world. About 15 years ago he started this botanical garden, "Buena Fortuna", in La Ribera about half an hour away on the coast.
We were told that he was greatly in need of help due to being incredibly ill for the last 3 years, surviving cerebral meningitis and pneumonia. Because of this, the gardens and infrastructure were sadly rundown and the 3,700 species of plants that he has collected there from all over the world have just grown wild.
Our first surprise was Gabriel himself - instead of an invalid hardly able to move or communicate - we were greeted by this slight, passionate man, face framed with long, wild curly hair, who just exuded this amazing energy - even although he was laying propped up in what used to be the bath! He told us all about his endeavour - the plants he'd collected and from where; the seeds he'd started saving at a grass roots level and built up to one of the biggest organic seed catalogue businesses and about his uphill struggle to keep the place going in the midst of great adversity.
Kit and his friend, Joel, then gave us a guided tour through the various parts of the garden - from veggies of all descriptions under many varieties of towering bamboos, through myriad fruit trees - citrus of every kind, mangoes, cherries and bananas to aloes, succulents and cycads from all over. All this was overgrown with a rainbow of brilliant flowering trees and shrubs, infused with the most intoxicating scents.
Interspersed throughout the gardens were various bamboo and timber palapas for guest accommodations - very rustic but perfect for catching the breeze on steamy summer nights.
On our return, Joel prepared a wonderful meal with the abundance of fine organic produce just harvested. Buena Fortuna is well named and I truly hope Gabriel finds the help he needs for his worthy cause.

Posted by suzeevee 17:34 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

All on our ownsome

Wednesday 11th May

Up at the literal crack of dawn to neither electricity or water! Sue's leaving this morning so is somewhat anxious and we decide to take the dogs for their walk in the arroyo, just to see the lay of the land. By the time we return, all is back to normal and Sue takes off with Mouse, the little dog, who she's taking to her mum in Canada.
The day is spent acquainting ourselves with the inner workings of the place and is over before we know it. Supper is fresh parrot fish bought from a local fisherman and just braised in butter and lime (off the tree) juice. As an accompaniment, I made ratatouille with the fruits of the earth from Sue's beautiful organic garden. Simply delicious!

Posted by suzeevee 09:10 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

It may be Santiago, but it’s not Chile!

Tuesday 10th May

Being our last morning (for the time being, anyhow) in Los Barriles, we made an effort and positioned ourselves on the roof to take photos of the sun-rise. Low bands of clouds stretched over the horizon, blushing modestly in the first glow of the sun, then parted in a blaze of red gold light as the vermillion orb cast it’s reflection from clouds to sea – what a sight!
After breakfasting on fresh fruit, we packed everything up in readiness for Sue. A couple of hours later we were off to our next place and our house-sitting stint for 3weeks. We’d been driving south along the main highway when we made a right turn into this enormous double carriageway complete with overhead floodlights. In the distance we could see a green oasis, made up of hundreds of palm trees, nestled beneath which was the tiny village of Santiago – what a stark and welcome contrast to the dry and dusty desert – it was truly deserving of such a grand entrance.
Sue’s house is situated in the road behind the village plaza and although very rustic, is utterly charming. She has been re-modelling for several months and is more or less done, just finishing off the palapa over the veranda, which is a beautiful outdoor space overlooking the back garden filled with fruit trees – plum, grapefruit, vines, limes, paw-paws etc – perfect for stretching out with a good book!
A friend of Sue’s arrived unexpectedly and we discovered we had much in common – healing, spending time in Majorca and exchanging news about one of the HelpX sites in Cabo we had been considering, so it was all great fun! As she was staying not far from Sue’s ranch, Sue gave her a lift home, took us to see her “great vision” and then took us swimming at the hot springs for which Aquas Calientes is named. This proved a most interesting experience and one I’m not sure I’d like to repeat very often. The water was full of little fishes that would come and nibble your legs, eating the dead skin. Sue assured us it was quite OK and that in Japan it is a beauty ritual for which you’d pay US$300 per hour!

Posted by suzeevee 13:50 Archived in Mexico Comments (0)

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