My Life in Manzanillo

2013 December 2013 Joy Lett

By Manzanillo Sun Writer from the December 2013 Edition

At last I have time to do the important task of writing in my diary. While I am at this I might as well send “Hola!” to all friends back in Canada.

It is good to hear that our friends here in Mexico are feeling settled. It does take a while, for sure, to get all hi -tech stuff up and running as you will have no doubt experienced if you live here.

In days gone by, we used to be concerned about our phones working. But now it is more about getting the e-mail up and running, the computer and printer working, and the satellite dish connected just so that we are privileged to use Skype, to see our grandchildren or watch B.C.T.V in our living rooms here in another world. Would the world really fall apart if we were not connected wirelessly?

Three weeks after our arrival, we have certainly settled in and can have anyone over at the drop of a hat, as the place is always clean! I don’t think I am going to function at all well without a maid when we return north. The maids make a bed like nurses do at home sheets so taut and white. We bought a floor steamer here and it and our maid “Dahlia” have restored the 30 yr. old marble floors to looking quite presentable.

Pat has been very preoccupied this past few days looking for a new car. He finally gave up on asking all his friends to bring car parts down to Mexico when they come. Now we have extra parts for the car and are about to dump the Mercedes. It turns out that the new laws about foreign vehicles are a lot more complicated and radical than we originally thought. With us having BC plates on our car in Mexico and with it being imported from Germany no less, it calls for some creative thinking. Lest I should impart the wrong information, I will let it go at that. Suffice to say the car belongs to me!

So, he has picked out the new Nissan Rogue. It is a marked improvement on the car we had previously. Since Nissan is made here, it should kill the repair problems. I think he is able to pick it up on Tuesday, although we won’t hold our breath, of course. It will feel, safer and normal to be driving around Manzanillo and not in first gear! Our top speed has been 50 km per hour. (Slow driving here is just not acceptable.) I can’t get my husband to eat cilantro, but he drives like a Mexican. So he has really had his wings clipped.

It has been a very hot and humid season here so far. We had extreme rains last Saturday and the earth still hasn’t dried out. We were so hot in the sidewalk cafe tonight I thought I would melt into the pavement and I am dressed in the lightest white cotton there is to be bought. It would NOT be nice if we were not living on the ocean and up high like this where we get a lovely breeze. I often forget how hot it is until I go to town–much like home in the summer, but twice as wet. But, come December, the more comfortable temperatures of 28 or 29 degrees with a lot less humidity will be the norm in our little bay.

The children of Casa Hogar Los Angelitos

We spent some of the afternoon today over at the Casa Hogar Los Angelitos orphanage watching the young people that live there rehearse for their upcoming trip to Canada where they are to perform during the summer. They perform Mexican Folk tap dancing and each province has its own style of dance. With seemingly endless energy, they went nonstop for a couple of hours and then had a small break, a few sips of water, and then back on the hot concrete for another two hours of arduous practice. It was quite amazing to watch their discipline and to hear the success stories of the kids just brought tears to the eye. Some are as young as six yrs. old and even when they finish school at 16 or 17, the orphanage still plays an important part in their post-secondary needs and further education. They don’t just turn them out to fend for themselves. The orphanage was started and fundamentally supported by a wonderful American woman, Nancy Niestrom, the Rotary Club, and several other generous people who play important roles here in Manzanillo.

By the time we left Pat and our friend Hugh promised to sell 10 tickets each in Canada. So be warned when you see Pat next time. But if you have a chance to visit Calgary or Edmonton next summer and perhaps are able catch a program you won’t be disappointed. We were left to imagine their lavishly coloured costumes, though most had shoes which they diligently polish and repair, JUST like our kids??

The project next door to our condo continues to be an annoyance during times of drilling. They are building a huge cement wall to contain the property before any construction will begin on the condos. There doesn’t seem to be any money around so we expect that once the separate wall contract is over it will sit for a while. Last Saturday when the rains came down it was really amazing to see hundreds of tons of silt washing out into the ocean. What appeared to me to be a major catastrophe was right back to normal by the next day and the workmen slogged around in their caked work boots in blistering heat and carried on.

My little deck is looking very pretty and each corner is crowded with everything from cactus to roses and everything in between. Geranium cuttings have full blooms in less than two weeks here. Pat put up a small string of little blue stars to twinkle at night and to get in the Christmas spirit I guess. Every three days or so I replace the flowers inside with bright bougainvilleas mixed with others I love, but whose names I am not familiar. The average person here knows nothing about the names of plant species, just red or orange or the like is all they need to know.

This condo complex has 30 suites and only five of them are occupied at the moment, so obviously we hang out a lot together either at the pool or enjoying some of the many fine restaurants here. Tonight I had lamb, the others shrimp and it was better than we have had anywhere. When you find a good cook here it is amazing how much more creative with food than they are at home.

Our local beach at Dolphin Cove

There is one couple in particular that we like here from West Van and so we do a lot with them. We also have a wonderful social club in Manzanillo, called Manzamigos, which was founded years ago by the late Nigel Rumford and his wife and my dear friend, Freda. From its lowly beginnings of a few new friends meeting for drinks on a Thursday evening on the beach, it is now the main social club in the area and has promoted many life friendships and liaisons between the Mexican businesses and tourism in the bustling port city.

I don’t know how to explain how time passes here, but the days seem to fly by. Pat golfs a lot, he had struck a great deal at the local course and can walk to it, from our home. For myself, I do enjoy reading and it is nice to not feel guilty about it. If I were at home I know Christmas would have me in the usual tizzy and I’d be tearing around like a mad woman.

I miss little Charlie our 2 ½ year old grandson, a lot. I try not to think of him too much but we will be home for a very short two weeks and then woosh! we are off again. So it is good that he is going to daycare a bit more now.

So for now I will bring this to a close and am very glad to hear that all is well in your world. Take care and I will see a lot of you over the upcoming holiday season. As soon as December falls here, English carols will be constantly drifting and sometimes blaring from all the stores, but rarely do you ever find anyone who speaks English other than another gringo. Here it is the last week in November and the lots outside the big stores are full of real live (?) Christmas trees with none sitting in water! Sometimes, “it’s a strange, strange world we live in Master Jack.” And by the way it is a good thing I did not hold my breath on the car issue, but on the other hand, my dryer got fixed today. Two young, sweet and burly Mexican lads carried it off two days ago. The machine is twenty years old, but a Bosch and they assured me they could fix it up. As we speak it is heating and rotating just fine. “Ya just gotta love these people.”

Fondest love to all and I look forward to spending time with ” OLD ” friends.


A light snack at a local restaurant

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