Sunday, December 22, 2019


       I was sitting at home feeling guilty for not went for a walk...I'm on a roll..keep it going.   The Zocalo had a large promotion to encourage young people to join the police force by showing it as the protector of family and community oriented.




            I stopped by a new gallery that was about death and torture?  Mexico!


          I enjoyed a nice salad and some wine at Biznaga.


Some parades, music and dancing going on while strolling home.

           Thanksgiving has arrived and another Dominoes game.  I watched the beginning of the Irishman last night on Netflix so slept late.  I decided to drop off my Testosterone cream at my Doctor's and have breakfast at "Cupola" across the street.  The menu had two items I liked: Spinach Omelette and Poached Eggs .  I asked to just have the Poached Eggs ON the Spinach instead of an Omelette.  30 minutes later my meal arrived with 5 minutes to eat it.  The eggs were on cheese toast, Spinach was in the salad and a side of beans.  All very good but not what I ordered.  $4.50 includes fresh Carrot/Orange Juice. I'm not complaining.

I arrived late for Dominoes with 5 players total.  I was getting all the luck and won the game but not by much.   Shortly after the game, the Thanksgiving crowd started gathering while I ran across the street to get a bottle of wine to bring.  When I returned, the Van's were loading up and 30 minutes later we were sitting down with Appetizers and Wine.  
         The gentleman next to me was 75 and had been in the Air Force band during Vietnam.  He was a pipe player from Connecticut that lived summers in Booth Bay Harbor in Maine and had a condo in Conway New Hampshire but loves winter's in Oaxaca.  Jackie, the president of the Library , lived in Amsterdam for 8 years before her Visa ran out along with her job. Her mother on the other side had bought a home in Oaxaca Centro years ago and was sitting next to Norma from Durham North Carolina, who is an expert on Textiles. You never lack for interesting people to talk to in Oaxaca.  

       They announced the food buffet was opened and would be served by tables called.  We were second and everyone was served pretty fast with no skimping on portions.  After we were finishing up, Seconds were called if you had the room...I got some more Mashed Sweet Potatoes.  The whole meal was exceptional.

       The Chamber group played after for out entertainment.

I went for a walk.

We departed for home at Dusk and I got off early and walked home to watch the rest of The Irishman.

           Today was browsing for Black Friday Specials. Pass.

        Saturday our Travelin Produce Mercado shows around 10am with Organic and local fruit, produce, eggs, nuts....variety.  You can request mushrooms or whatever for the next Saturday.  It's very convenient and it's a family enterprise with the husband weighing the produce while the wife records and calculates the amount. The son hawks candy, honey , raisins and points out all the little things you may have overlooked.  I think that is his personal business on the side at 10 years old.  

      Madeleine and I met for breakfast Sunday at Marito and Moglie Cafe. It was a favorite of mine and both of us enjoyed the Avocado Toast. I cheated with an egg on top.  Nice way to start the day and with wonderful company.

             Monday I visited Rayon Market and Las Ramble restaurant for the Hamburguesa de Portobello Mushroom with Fried Potato Wedges. I'm trying to healthy with this Vegetarian meals but not fat so Potatoes is not on. Next time I'll ask for a salad substitute. The Hamburguesa was delicious and I really enjoyed it.  I bought a beet with lot of fresh leaves    for my morning smoothies.  I stopped and picked up my laundry and returned home.


         Today I just wandered to the Zocalo feeling the need for someone to converse with.  I arrived, after cruising the Zocalo for anyone I knew.  I flagged my waiter Geraldo at Terranova.  I heard someone yell David and looked over to see Chris from Phoenix. One of my friends.  I joined him without reservation and we chatted a bit while sipping coffee when I suggested Feliz Hora (Happy Hour) and he mentioned some errands to get some coffee.
  I joined him and on his suggestion purchased a small bag of fresh coffee to try and compare.  We were headed for the roof top of Prada for Happy Hour but while passing the Zocalo we both agreed this is good  so we settled at El Jardin for wine when June approached us about something and the next thing I knew Chris invited her to join us, much to my delight.  I just love to meet new people that smile.  
         She was studying at the Oaxacan Cultural School of Language.   People attend the school from all over the world.  My friend Thomas enrolls the head of the school for private one on one lessons.  It works for him...he speaks good Mexican.  I have a private one on one also but a local that was born in Oaxaca and shines like Oaxaca.  Gadi Hernandez shines long before she arrives.  You can feel her coming.  
       So June was delightful and both of us were anxious to keep her in Oaxaca because we recognized her real purpose for coming was not to polish her Spanish, that was a ruse.  She was on a quest, her life , like ours had taken a turn...toward the end and we all wished to make the final Winter of our life with laughter, joy, shared friendships, surrounded by sincere loving people that valued respect, honor, freedom and each other.
     We exchanged information and settled the bill then bid each other good-bye just as Gloria showed up in her wheelchair and bags of trash she had collected to recycle that were attached where ever she could find room.  I recognized her  from last year and my recollection was one of one feisty fighting woman with a strong personality and challenged everyone and everything.  I immediately and politely, with great respect, handed her a 50 peso note.  She started praising Americans...I was ashamed of being called out as an American from Trumpland while visiting our neighbor.  She hugged me genuinely and I felt such compassion and respect from such a strong wonderful person. 
  I flagged a taxi and came home with a smile and a tear in my eye.  Ti amo Oaxaca. 

       Hector, my good friend, has a birthday coming up next week so I invited him to dinner to celebrate.  We met at the Taxi Stand near the Zocalo and arrived at Mexitica , one of my favorites.  We had some wine, salads, and pasta dishes then returned to the Zocalo for a last call Birthday drink.  It was good to see him but I had some Cream for his Mother to put on her pains and aches that might help.  I will catch him next time he's in town.




     Slept 11 hours and woke late but made it to the library for Domino Day and I won again for two weeks in a row.  Madeleine and I stopped at the Bakery for sandwiches after.  It's nice to have someone to lunch with after a game.  I picked up some bread for home and walked back to enjoy a relaxing evening watching another episode of Billions.  Not a great series but entertaining. 

      Today I got up late again...must be the Melatonin.  I upped my dose from 2.5 mg to 5 mg and have enjoyed sleeping straight through the night on rare occasions but am sleeping later.  I watched the morning news then went to check my computer when the connection was lost.  Having spent over 2 hours playing with the network and reporting the outage to Deke, I find out he has the same problem so it's not us it's the provider.  
       I went for a walk but it was too late for my pool game with the boys.  I passed at first what I took to be a dwarf.  A full grown man about 3 feet high in his 50's BUT it turned out he had both calves cut off at the knees and was walking on padded stubs that used to be his knees. He walked like a Duck.   I was amazed at his self esteem as he walked at a good pace with his head up...well when your short you have to... and such confidence.    A real humble start for the day.  I visited the bakery for Homemade Peanut Butter and Banana open faced sandwich on Sourdough Toast, with a Matcha Chai Latte before walking home. 

      Deke had called Hector and they arrived at my door shortly after I got settled in.  Hector had gone to the service provider and was told what to do...all the things I already did.  He brought in a ladder and he AND his wife climbed it so one could hold the router while the other plugged and unplugged all the connections to find out it didn't work.
      I can bed down early without TV or computer tonight and snuggle with a kindle.  Just finishing Paul Theroux "Landscapes and People".  I am anxious to get back to reading a new book by Bill Bryson "The Body", a really fascination book about our body.

       The next day the repairman arrive and restored our internet connection.  Later I emailed June and asked her to join me at Biznaga for drinks and dinner.  I was walking there when I encountered my "Amigo", the attendant at the local parking lot across the street from me.  He makes sure no one takes a shortcut through their lot.  That is his job 6 days a week.  Just standing there in the sun, rain, no food or drink.  Now he was "Downtown".  I ask him why he was there and he be around the people at Christmas time.  I realized how lonely he must be and instead of buying him some fresh potato chips to eat while he watched, I left for Biznaga. 


        I arrived and ordered the Portobello Relleno and my wine. When the bill came, I noticed 20% discount.  I asked why and was told that it was because I was a long time customer and it was the Christmas season.  How nice.
  Christmas season was everywhere that evening.  They had completed the Christmas tree.  A choir and orchestra were celebrating when I arrived.   Evangelists were close by praying and   healing?  Very festive evening.  I even felt the calling and visited the church.




          Last night a knock on my door was the maid with some Homemade Poche, a beverage with lots of fruit and spices heated for the Christmas spirit.  Sure is good with Mescal! 

          Sunday evening I met June at Chris's apartment for Happy Hour.  We had a glass of
wine at Chris's lovely apartment and went on to Pitonia, a real upscale dinner restaurant with a 4-5 stars rating.  I had a 12 Course meal there a couple years ago with Zoe and her Son Josh, a Chef at the American Club in Hong Kong at that time. 
     We went to the rooftop which had been added last year because of a great view of Oaxaca.  It was a little chilly and we were the only customers right at dusk.  Chris ordered a bottle of wine and tacos for us to share. Both were excellent and very pricey but who cares. I did break my vegetarian diet.

We visited a Mezcaleria after.

Then on to the Distilerio for some Mescal Cocktails on their roof top.

Our waiter, Adrian spoke fluent English and was very professional and offered some suggestions for drinks .  After 3 of his suggestions and some fantastic Guacamole and chips. We headed home.

          About 11:50 this morning I checked my calendar to discover I had a 12 o'clock appointment for a massage at Mary's apartment.   I showered, dressed and was out of the house in 5 minutes.  I caught the bus and replied to her request as to my whereabouts?  Then a road block stopped the bus so I got out and walked the rest of the way.  Fortunately for me, she had no appointments that day except me.  It was great.
     I visited my Barber after but got the old one that sent me home really bald!

     I slept in today.   Zoe was to pick me up at 2 and we were having lunch with Annalisa.  I checked my email while waiting on the corner and Annalisa cancelled at the last minute to fill in for a co-worker. 
          Zoe and I decided to go anyway to Illegales Cafe.  It took about 1/2 hour to get there and they were packed.  We relaxed with a Mescal Margarita then had a nice meal while sitting out on the terrace.   When we finished Zoe took me to her new home in Montanya.  Very nice with a Casita that her friend lived in out back. We visited until dark then Zoe took me home.  
      It was a nice day and Annalisa is meeting me Thursday when she comes to town for the Ballet at the Opera house.

        Gadi, my Spanish teacher that I have not seen in a year, and I made a date for today.  She is working a part time fill in job at a hospital in Col. Reforma, the Northern part of the city.  I took the bus to Llano park where a big Carnival was in process, then hiked to the restaurant to meet her during her break time for lunch. 


She arrived right on time and we had a lovely visit until she checked her time and was late to get back to work.  It was great to see her and I will contact her when I return in June to resume my lessons.
         I returned to the Carnival to take some photos of set-up scenes for backdrops the photographer used to take Christmas photos of young children.

        I booked a lecture  on Prison reform at the library.  A well educated Englishman that graduated from Berkeley Graduate school in the 60's and has been an advocate of Prison Reform ever since, just wrote a book called Behind Bars and talked about the history of prison reform up to now.  The question and answers were great after the lecture.  It was one of the libraries better talks.  He was informative, articulate and not pretentious.  
      I walked home and past a Oaxacan Choir I had seen in past a Christmas. It was a full moon.

       Dominoes today.  I hope to continue my winning streak by getting my third week in a row victory.  Have to shop for some organic cheese then have lunch with Maddie at a new hole in the wall I heard about that has a fantastic Cook with a Comida (complete lunch) that cost 50 Pesos!
         Madeleine whomped us all in a humiliating defeat...but it was fun. Our recommended restaurant was cheap and OK but not stellar.  I returned home then walked back to the Opera to meet Annalisa and pick up my "Tea"she brought for me.  I arrived ahead of her so kept her place in line until they opened the doors.  There were two lines around the building...mostly families with their children. I suspect the ballet was the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky?  She arrived with the "T" and added a couple homemade Carmel candy for me.
          I decided to stop at Sushi Itto for 2 for 1 sushi rolls today's special to go.
     Today, Saturday, I hung my painting I bought last month. Then stopped over to Deke's to pay up my rent for another year and have a farewell drink.  He is off to Puerto Escondido for his annual beach visit while I still have a week to pack and get things in order for Helen when she arrives in February.  

       We, the tenants , were invited to Mary Phillips, (our past manager) home where Adelina, our past maid now lives and invited us for her Chili Rellenos and Mescal.   I left early as Dick our fit manager, Phillip (Marathon Runner), and his friend Marcos (another restaurateur from Montreal) were faster. 
      I stopped at the San Pablo Cultural Center for a Artisan Craft Sale and noted Clowns lined up to preform for a DEAF audience.  One was doing a routine with Hula Hoops.  The others had their own act.

      I had to trudge up a hill and alley, past a basketball game, a Nativity scene, before I arrived.

I was  buzzed  in the front gate  to be welcomed by Mary.  I had been there years ago to consider renting the Casita where Adelina now lives.  I didn't like the hill climb then nor now.

       Deke and the rest arrived shortly after I did.  There was a large group and it was the first time I had been to Mary and Bill's home since they left us 2 years ago.  Adelina was happy to see us as we were her.  Fernanda her daughter, has one more year of High School and is considering studying more languages.  She speaks excellent English now. Juancito one of the workmen at the condo was also visiting Adelina, along with 10 others that made for great conversation and an enjoyable afternoon.  Mescal laced with green herb didn't hurt.

           The Chili Rellenos, with cheese or Chicken stuffing were excellent.  I did eat meat along with rice and beans and a nice Salad.  The dessert was a fantastic Cornbread with peppers, whole corn, onions cooked in a Cast Iron Skillet.  Mescal goes well on top.
          A few people had left. I followed, bidding all good-bye.  I was tired from all that trudging, but I felt good.

         Christmas festivities were all around Oaxaca. 

Too many Santa's...can cause nightmares.

         Spent all day inside doing nothing.  Had some Mescal before bedtime, read and slept badly.

      Today I experimented with 3 alarms...all battery operated...My phone, and two others right on the end table next to where I sleep.  All went off at 6:30 (trial run...have to be up at 5:15)...slept until 7:15  and didn't hear a thing.  I had an appointment at 11am but was so tired, I sent him an email and returned to bed and slept two hours more until 11:15.  I feel better but got to get out and get something to eat.   
     Deke leaves today for the Beach so stopped by to tell me Hector, the boss, wakes every morning at 4 and will pound on my door at 5:15.  I already ordered an ELECTRIC ALARM CLOCK...REMEMBER THEM...they don't shut off until you wake up.  Amazon Mexico should deliver it on now I will have a back up. Deke gave me a big hug and we will see each other next year when he arrives in October.
       At 3 pm I ate breakfast at La Ramblas and gave Salma and Arno the consensus that Casa de Barro, where they were hoping to move, was a SHIT location and would never be successful.  A decision I made with Marcos, the restaurant veteran from Montreal that knew the location and the present owners there.  The rent is HIGH and location sucks.  Like any entrepreneur they optimistically saw an opportunity for a prosperous restaurant and set aside the BIG possibility that it wouldn't work. 
        I returned resolved to make myself feel better.  I drank only water and lots of it and fasted until the next morning when I woke fresh and feeling healthy.  I walked up to the nearby church where they were selling the stuff to make your own Christmas Manger or buy one already made.   I couldn't resist the reindeer so bought one and returned to put it in the flower Christmas contribution to my landlord's family.

       I dumped what was left of my cheap Mescal.  It was the last thing I had on Monday before bed and is the only thing I can think of that made me feel lousy and waste yesterday. Today I am calling the VA for my one appointment I haven't made.  Surprise, I got through, they pulled my record and said someone would call me when I returned to make the appointment. Yea!  Off to drop the laundry and play Dominoes.  
      I couldn't win any games today, so after, Maddie joined me to meet with German, my lawyer who came to the library to fill me in on necessary papers for Permanent Residency. 
    I have most of what I need except receipt from phone or electric company with my Oaxacan address.  Since it's included in the rent, I am asking Hector or Lulu for a copy to submit with the application at the Mexican Consul in Phoenix.  They verify then stamp my Passport for return entry into Mexico.  When I arrive in Mexico, I take my stamped Passport to the Oaxacan Consul and they process my Residency and I get discounts on travel in Mexico, never need to mess with Visas or time schedules, can apply for Bank Account, and Medical Insurance.
   Meanwhile, Maddie and I had lunch at El Pipe.  The menu had Roast Leg or Fish for the special. 

The leg, turned out to be Pork!  Looked so good but I am now a Vegetarian so still compromised and had the delicious Fish.   We bid goodbyes for this year and returned home after picking up my laundry.
         Today I was up at 6:10 and tomorrow will be 5:50 am....working toward Tuesday at 5:15 am.   So far so good.  Had breakfast and was out the door to get my Q Stick at the pool hall and stop at the ATM for some money so I could leave the maid a nice Christmas present.
      David from Calgary, Chris from Newburyport, Mass, and Allen, a long time resident of  Oaxaca and retired banker from the states were playing.  I lost my key to the locker so Allen let me in to get my stick.  I broke my glasses and was playing with 5 year old glasses.  I played two games but couldn't see enough to line up a shot so after two defeats, I decided to leave my stick there and go home. 
        Two things I have learned living in Mexico but Oaxaca especially...PATIENCE AND COMPASSION.
        I got some money at the ATM so I can leave a nice present for my maid.  Then returned   to my packing at home.   June is meeting me at Biznaga for drinks and maybe dinner at 4:30.  Both June and Chris showed up for Margarita's.  I stuck with the wine and broke down for the famous Suave Chicken Soup. They left for Praha rooftop.

        I followed but returned to get my hat.  Then the Christmas spirit was on the street and I got busy taking photos of rollerbladers racing down the sidewalk at night with string light attached to them.  Around the corner were a group of budding rollerbladers.

   I was tired having risen early this morning so didn't bother to find June and Chris.  I passed a recently opened restaurant that was part of a new Hotel.  It is a place I noticed my last Oaxaca visit.    A women was painting a mural where the front desk was to be.  The Selina Hotel was under construction at that time so security allowed me in to photograph her at work. 
         I had to see the restaurant menu and the hotel.  It turns out the woman paint murals for all three floors and the rooftop.  I went straight to the roof and ordered a beer and guacamole while a perused the menu and chatted with the bartenders.

     I hope to return before I leave for more of the food.  A gentleman who was staying at the hotel from Texas, introduced himself as Carlos.  He was one of many Mexicans that have been living in Texas legally for years that now are selling out and returning to Mexico.  Oaxaca is where they prefer to settle.  

       I was getting close to home and noted an example of something I see everyday that makes living here so special...the compassion   

...and the Christmas spirit... brought me into a church where I knelt down and felt the presence of ?.

  Do you feel it? had to be there.  I think I'll close this long windy blog...Merry Christmas to my family, my readers and all my friends.  I wish you a fantastic 2020!!!

I did receive my electric alarm yesterday...BUT it too failed to wake me this morning.