Saturday, August 1, 2015

Saturday in Dolores Hidalgo

I finished the night last night with a Mad Max movie.  Not a bad movie at all and then I went to bed.  I overslept until 7 a.m.  I watched the news, used my Telcel stick to check my mail and Facebook.   Showered and headed to centro for a walking tour, a stop at the Independence Museum and the Bicentennial Museum.  Both are great venues and the the second museum is well-designed and was obviously done to celebrate the bicentennial. 

Before that though while I was walking around, I stopped in the local Mercado and had a breakfast quesadilla with chorizo.   It was delicious, filled with cheese, chorizo, lettuce and tomato.   Going home will be hard to readjust back to my diet.   Oh well, that’s what vacations are for.

Dogs getting their Saturday baths!

I stopped in many shops and a couple of veterinarians to look for more of Little Bit’s special diet food.  Not here in Dolores Hidalgo I was told my several.   I can get it in Monterrey when we get home, I think they have it in Costco.

This weekend is la quincena, or payday weekend.   90% of all Mexicans are paid via direct deposit so those that don’t manage their bills on line, pay for items with debit/credit cards, go to the cajero automatico to withdraw their money.  This also includes pensioners and families who receive money from the government in form of welfare.   Seniors over 65 also receive a stipend for groceries, about $100 dollars a month which helps quite a bit if you know the cost of produce and other food products in Mexico.

I ran into a quincenera at the parroquia (parish church).   This one was a bit different.  The theme was mariachi.  It was really good but you don’t want me around mariachis, they always make me well up in tears.   Don’t know why but they do.  I didn’t stay long as it was their event not mine.   Good music though.

When I bought my Telcel stick yesterday I noticed coffee and tea selections another of their glass displays.  I was pretty curious and when I went back today to pick up my official factura (invoice), I asked about them.  They are a brand called Organo which stand for organically grown.   Instant coffee and tea bags that they sell individually or in a pack.  I decided to try one after my afternoon nap.  I just finished a wonderful cup called, Organo Gourmet CafĂ© Negro.   I may stop and pick up two more for the road. 

I’m ready for the road tomorrow.   I’ll set the alarm, have coffee and shower before taking off around 7:30.  I’m a bit excited to really drive somewhere.  

Friday, July 31, 2015

Another Short Drive - Dolores Hidalgo

Dolores Hidalgo was the next stop and it took me all of 45 minutes to get to town and another to navigate my way to the auditorium.   I pulled in and stopped in front of Proteccion Civil and went inside.  My friend wasn’t there but his boss, el comandante, was sitting behind his desk.  Mr. Ramirez looks a bit threatening.  He’s tall, thin, and has a very stoic look about him.  He told me to come in and I told him my story about making arrangements to stay there.   He stood up and then gave me a big smile, shook my hand and asked me if I was a Canadian.  I told him no and he said that two years ago there was a Canadian couple here, I can only imagine who it might have been. 

He told me to park wherever I wanted as long as I was along the wall.  He said there was electricity by the office if I need to charge anything.  I told him I had solar and all was good.  

I got set up, by that I mean I put out the slides, put a block under the hitch to level the front and fed the cat.   I put on some music for Little Bit and then took off on the bus to Soriana to pick up some things I need for the trip home.  I also wanted to visit my Telcel friend there to see if she had found an internet stick.  No luck.  The bus was five pesos.  In Monterrey the bus is 10 to 12 pesos depending on the route and if you want air conditioning.   I came back, unpacked and headed out for lunch.

I went to our old place El Carruaje, not the same as it used to be but still pretty good including the price.   I had a late breakfast and it was enough for today.  I walked around for an hour at a fast pace because I didn’t go to the gym and won’t until I get home.   I found several Telcel stores but no luck.  Then I hit one.  349 pesos with 1028mg of time on it.  Sold! 

Came back to the rv, set up the stick and took a very well-deserved nap.   LB has slept almost all day, it must be those constant walks I take him on.

Tonight I plan on a trip to the plaza and tomorrow the Independence Museum although I have been there before.   I want to find the spot that Hidalgo gave the first “grito” and have my picture taken. 

After talking to Juan I’ll put on a Mad Max movie and kick back the rest of the night.  Oh, and here is a pic of the pool from yesterday.  It needs painting badly and I’m not being picky.  If you’re paying for something it should be worth it.  I don’t’ feel I got my 180 pesos.   Add that up on a thirty day trip.  That’s 5400 pesos, I guess if you have dollars that’s a steal right now, but I get paid in pesos so it’s not cheap.   

Thursday, July 30, 2015

My Shortest Rv Trip - 10 Kms

It was my normal morning routine.  I went to the gym, said my goodbyes to people I know there and said we would be back in December.   Not really sure about that yet.   We may try some other city like Guanajuato, Pena de Bernal or maybe Queretaro.   Something different for Christmas that's for sure.

As I was packing up a 45 foot tour bus came to the botanical gardens so the neighbors weren't happy that there was a vehicle on each side of the road although it's wide enough for cars to pass easily in opposite directions.   I decided not to shower until I got to the rv park and hooked up and headed out.

I had intended on stopping at a vulcanizadora to rotate two tires on the trailer.  I went yesterday to see if he could do it and told him when I would be passing by.  The road that leads to Dolores Hidalgo is under construction and I had to laugh.  They made a detour right through the front of the vulka.  Nothing I could do but wait until another day or maybe tomorrow as I pull in to Dolores Hidalgo.

Yesterday Kevin and Ruth posted their 10 best posts.  One was about his event with the sewer valve and I think we have all been there at least once.   I got settled and decided to drain over two weeks worth of agua negra.   I looked down the drain and all looked well.  I stuck the stinky slinky in the hole and went to pull the valve.  All is going well and then, "up through the ground come a bubblin' crude", wasn't oil though.  I quickly shut the valve and there was a two square meter pool on the ground.   

I went to the front office for assistance and the guy who guided me in came and gave me a hand.  He and his coworker opened another drain and could see water flowing.  They grabbed a piece of rebar and stuck in in the drain.  It was clogged at the bottom from pine tree debris.   They got it all cleaned up and unclogged the drain.   Funny though that I had just made a comment about it yesterday.

We're parked under the trees since we have electric.  They wouldn't budge on the primitive camping.  Too bad.  Little Bit seemed to like taking his nap in a very cool spot.  We had been parked in the sun at the botanical garden although it's never been really hot.  I brought the box fan along on this trip and used it once in the time we have been here.  

Here's one more pic of the bathrooms.   I'm going up to the pool before they drain the water for the day.   It's thermal water so it should be good.  If I use it, I'll take a pic and post it later.  I spoke to my friend in Dolores Hidalgo and they are waiting for my arrival tomorrow around noon.  We'll pull out leisurely around 11 a.m.  

Bottom line, it's a place to park.  Nothing special and about 250 meters from the highway so you can hear the constant roar.   One shower for both men and women, electric is 20 amp.  I have to say the internet isn't bad.  If you want to go into town the taxi is 100 pesos or you can wait on the highway in the sun for a bus for ten pesos.   There was a 40 foot motorhome here the other day when I came.  I don't understand why parks are so adamant about primitive sites.  Electricity is the major cost and if boondockers don't use it, why charge. 

Barb and Sal had the right idea.   Paga lo que debes, or pay for what you use.  It was a good thing,

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Last night in San Miguel de Allende

As the circus comes to town, I'm on my way out.  They are parked up by the glorieta on the road to Queretaro.  A few nice caravans.  The owners have a huge fifth wheel, I'll say 42 foot, an older model but a luxury model that they had full body paint put on.  Looks nice.  

I'm heading out tomorrow as I had said recently with my plan to stop at San Ramon and then head on to Dolores Hidalgo before going home.  I should be at the house on Tuesday in the morning.   

There just isn't any place to boondock around here and I'm not impressed with San Ramon.  In fact, I went there today to see who was there and where I wanted to park when I noticed the swimming pool is empty.  What?  It's only one night but I was hoping to go for a dip.   I can always go to La Gruta down the road tomorrow afternoon and enjoy the warm spring water.

I think if I had a Class C or a small A I would be more inclined to keep going south and I could move more often, but with the cat, the travel trailer and the fact that traveling alone isn't necessarily my cup of tea.  I already have had two requests from schools and the University of Dayton is lining up work for August wondering when I will be home.  At least I'll be on the road.  

I don't fit in much anymore with some of the gringos I guess.  I go to the Jardin and it's talk about the U.S. or complaining about SMA.   I met a woman at the super today.  She was talking about patience.  I told her that as I get older it increases.   She said it was too bad the gringos in town don't learn to have more patience.  She says it's because they're mad at the world so they take it out on the locals.  Could be, I've seen some pretty poor gringos in the last two weeks.   I think it's two camps, rich and poor.  

Anyway, it's been fun and I guess if I were a full-timer I would be like George was.  BTW, I sent him a mail the other day requesting some product info and he responded.   I miss his blog and his adventures.  

So it's off to Dolores Hidalgo, who knows, I may just find some other thing to do for another week. 

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sunday's Adventures In San Miguel de Allende

I couldn't post yesterday because the internet was down.  It was a fun day and I spent way too much time walking around in the sun even though I used sun block.   The air is cool but the because of the elevation the sun really beats down on you.  

I started off down the hill to el centro.   Winding streets and beautiful homes that are valued at over half a million dollars and up.  Huge homes with beautiful architecture.   I passed very few people but I just followed the cathedral steeples and found my way to the Jardin.  It was a wonderful day and people were just emerging from the Saturday night and many heading to church.

This was my first stop.  The house of Ignacio Allende and Joan was right.  On Sunday's the museum is free.  What a fantastic museum and to think that Ignacio actaully lived there.  The downstairs was the servants quarters, kitchen and stables.   Upstairs was the living quarters for the family and all of the rooms have been recreated to the best of historians' abilities.  I spent over two hours there and really built up an appetite.  I didn't know that there was a sequia (drought) followed by a severe freeze that killed all the crops and thousands starved to death in the late 1790s.  The complete story of how Allende started the uprising for independence is told in the museum in Spanish and English.   I like museums and history so it was a great morning.

The upstairs courtyard.

The backyard (I wasn't allowed to take photos inside the house)

After the museum and did a few rounds of the Jardin and it was beginning to fill up with people.  The church bells were ringing and you could see the kids in the steeples turning the giant bells.  

I did some walking up and down the streets and ran into an indoor market that I had never seen before.  It was fantastic, mostly fresh meats, produce and formal food stands and small restaurants, but I wasn't in the mood for Mexican food.   Lo and behold there was a Chinese restaurant right in front of my eyes and it was one of the best fast Chinese food restaurants I have eaten in.  50 pesos for two dishes and a side of rice and noodles.   I saw one of the Chinese workers having lunch but of course they don't eat what we call Chinese food, they eat really good stuff like a bowl of rice with cooked greens and a very small spattering of meat or egg.   Yum!

I headed down San Antonio street from the Jardin and headed toward the Mega where I would take a bus for five pesos up the hill.  It was after 2:30 and I was getting beat, time for a nap.  I passed the old La Siesta, what a huge mistake that man made by thinking he had a buyer to put in a big box store within the perimeter of the protected UNESCO area.  Now it's a giant green field that's not being used for anything.  They bulldozed everything down and this is what's left.

One of the greatest New Years Eve parties took place in this park.

Got off the bus here at the mall La Luciernaga and walked to the botanical garden.  

I took a long nap and then headed out to do some more walking.   First I took Little Bit for a short walk and put him back in the rv.   The sun was setting and it was a perfect ending to a really fun day.   (considering I was by myself :( )

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Day Trip To Dolores Hidalgo

I had a small but meaningful accomplishment this morning and I decided to celebrate by going to Dolores Hidalgo.  I also wanted to check out San Ramon Rv Park.  I took off from El Charco and headed for the highway.   San Ramon isn't far from town actually.  They make no concessions whatsoever on price.  180 per day, 1180 per week, and 4500 per month.  I asked the guy what he would charge if I just wanted to dump and he said 180.   He showed me both areas of the park, one is sunny and the one in the back is shaded.  He said he could put me in the sun because of the solar panel.  I told him I thought not and I would want to be in the shade and use their electricity.   I may stay there a night just to dump and fill up with water and have a long shower.

I've been very conservative with water.  I think I could go two or three weeks with the 40 gallons I brought.  I shower daily but it's not really a shower.  Get wet, soap up and rinse off.  Same with dishes.  The black tank will last just as long.  Boondocker's rule, "if it's yellow let it mellow".   Something we have to deal with.

The parking is behind here.

The highway is great and it's about a 40 minute drive.  First stop was the city auditorium.  Proteccion Civil has their office in the back.  We stayed there last time we were in town.   I talked to one of the big wigs and he gave me his cell number.  He said to call in advance so they would know to save me space.  The have wonderful wifi.   Very nice people.  

Left my car there as parking is expensive and hard to find.  Street parking is very limited and usually taken up by the locals or it's only one hour parking.  I saw transito taking plates off cars.  We don't want that do we.   I headed to the main plaza.

I searched for the market where we have eaten before, it is about two blocks from the main plaza.  It was time to eat.

This was before.  A delicious plate of cheese enchiladas!

And after the dirty deed!

I'm sure many of you have been to Dolores Hidalgo and know it is the cradle of Mexican independence which took place between 1810 and 1821.  The key players or heroes as we call them were Miguel Hidalgo, Ignacio Allende, Juan Aldama, and Josefa Ortiz de Dominguez (yes a woman played a very important role in Mexican independence), the list goes on but I'm sure you've seen all the street names above.  As you know we celebrate Mexican independence with El Grito (the scream literally translated) by say Viva Mexico after each person's name and ringing a bell.  That was actually the beginning of the war for independence and you can stand where Miguel Hidalgo said this that famous night in 1810.  I have a picture on a previous post of the spot.

I went back to the main plaza after walking around and buying myself a shirt for 50 pesos.  I sat in the shade and watched people eat ice cream.  Some of the flavors include; shrimp, avocado, chicharron (pig skins), chorizo, rose water, well you get the idea.  I was too full from my combo breakfast, lunch, dinner, that I just took in the scenery.   Very nice weather, it got up to 28C today.  Last night I had to wear sweats to bed.

Tomorrow I may go to the Ignacio Allende museum.  Joan posted that it is free on Sundays.  I don't think I know Joan.  Hi Joan!!!  

Friday, July 24, 2015

Strolling Around San Miguel de Allende

Coming home from the gym I had to stop to take a picture of the view from above.  The sky has been so clear thanks to daily rains.  I stopped for a fresh squeezed juice.  Today it was a carrot juice.  They are repairing the main streets that were affected over the last month because of rain so there are detours.

I can't believe the number of tourists this summer.  Even the locals are surprised.  More Americans than ever with their kids.  Some are summer camp kids who have come to Mexico to learn Spanish and culture.   Listened to lots of different languages besides English and Spanish.  I'd love to be able to do some research on who they are and where they come from and why those chose San Miguel de Allende.  The ex-pats flock to the Jardin and know each other by name.

One of the most photographed churches in Mexico, it was built in the late 17th century and then had a new facade created in 1880.  I don't know how many pics we have taken of the cathedral.

This is the house of Ignacio Allende which is next to the church in the plaza.  It is now a museum.  This is on my list for Monday.  

Had to have an ice cream cone while I was people watching.  Had a nice conversation with a woman from Cancun who is visiting with all of her family from different parts of Mexico.  They rented a couple of houses to share and will be here until Tuesday.

The weather is just amazing and I have said that on just about every post.  For those of you in the north it's no big deal.  But in the southwest it's just unbearable right now.  Not sure what my plans are from here.   They are wanting me to travel with the publisher starting in August and the school called me today looking for advice on some new hires.   I didn't think this would last long.