Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Little cowboy

These boots were made for walkin'!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Elizabeth Taylor Theatre

The Elizabeth Taylor Theatre is located across the street from our favourite PV restaurant "No way Jose". One night, while we were waiting in line to be seated in the restaurant, we wandered over to see what films were playing. I suspected that a theatre with Elizabeth's name would probably show vintage Hollywood movies. When I poked my head into the lobby and inquired, the response was "PORN".

I wonder how Liz would feel about a theatre with her name presenting films like "Wet Girls" and "Extreme Pleasure"! It just doesn't seem right!

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Plastic cups of coloured glaze. 
Well used horse hair brushes.
Paint between the lines on predrawn patterns. 

The finished pieces fill a downstairs showroom.
Brilliant colours on high glazed pots, utensils and tiles.

Friday, March 19, 2010


Damn! Halfway to the Malecon on my morning walk and the strap on my right sandal broke! The other one broke a few weeks ago and I found a small shoe repair shop to fix it with machine stitching. Foolishly, I didn't have both sandals reinforced!

I decided to hobble over and see if they were open. This time I was greeted by Carlos who insisted on handstitching both sandals. Carlos and his brother have repaired shoes for over thirty years. It is a steady business that has supported both of their families.

We shared Spanglish stories and laughter while he threaded the needle with heavy twine and mended the straps. Twenty pesos later I was on my way, reassured that the sandals would outlive me!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

sea treasures

There are three distinct groups of people on the beach. The first group is usually horizontal, seeking rays and draining beer bottles. The other two groups are vertical and in motion. One is marching along the sand for exercise, eyes forward while the other group is slowly prowling the shoreline, eyes down. I belong to this last group, constantly on the lookout for treasures that are peeking out of the sand and hidden between the rocks.

My eye is easily caught by heart shaped rocks and the texture of shells but in Puerto Vallarta the gems are sea glass and small pieces of tile. They are smoothed and shaped by the motion of the sea and the constant tumbling with sand and rock.

Zealous collectors hit the beach early each morning, scrambling over rocks to hidden troves. Pieces of blue glass are coveted. My most treasured find is the milky green marble in this photo. Unlike a bottle with a note sealed inside, this marble doesn't contain a written message. I imagine it slipping through a child's fingers on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, coming to rest on a Mexican shore, picked up by a white haired Canadian. Soon it will be displayed, along with other sea glass treasures, on the perimeter of a frame that wraps around the photo of a beloved grandchild.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Yesterday we bade farewell to the three "Diablas" who were staying at Casa Tres Angeles, John & Doug's rental condo.

These two women from Revelstoke and one from Calgary shared their time with us. Beachcombing became a challenge as we all searched for sea glass, competing for both quantity and quality. It became imperative that we hit the sandy stretches of beach early in the morning before other searchers arrived.

Thanks to Judy for your smiling company and laughter. Special thanks to Gerry for the marvelous margaritas and to Stephanie for the amazing CD of her group "Sister Girl" which will perform with "Old Man's Beard" in Revelstoke on Easter weekend. Muchas gracias amigas!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

the eye

a beached eye
bracketed by the sea
shadowed from above

we watch him wash away

Monday, March 15, 2010

Benito Juarez

When Pacheta, our maid, didn't appear at the door this morning, we worried that perhaps she was sick. She always appears on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to scour the house from top to bottom. Unaccustomed as we are to having others do our cleaning, it was uncomfortable at first. However it didn't take long to see that the dust level from road work, construction and traffic settles on all the surfaces quickly. So, we look forward to Pacheta's arrival, sharing laughter and broken languages.

When I asked Don Beto where she was, he launched into a lengthy explanation in Spanish from which I was able to distinguish 3 or 4 words. Apparently it is a holiday today for some employees. On Wikipedia I learned that Mexicans are celebrating Benito Juarez Day.

Juarez was the first full-blooded indigenous national to serve as the President of Mexico. He held this position for five terms, from 1858-1872. Because of his liberal efforts to modernize the country, he is one of Mexico's highly regarded leaders. One of his famous quotations is "Entre los individuos, como entre las naciones, el respeto al derecho ajeno es la paz". Translated this means "Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace".

Mexico is a country that remembers and celebrates its history.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


It must be time to return home. I have read nearly all of the thirty-two books in the house library. The three remaining are by Clive Cussler and Danielle Steele. Not sure how those three came to rest on the shelves along with Gail Anderson-Dargatz, Wally Lamb, Anita Diamant, Isobel Allende, Timothy Findley and Anne Michaels!

My current and last read before heading home is an 825 page tome by Kenneth Harvey entitled "Blackstrap Hawko", said to be about a Newfoundland family. It should entertain me while John is glued to the Canucks games for the next ten days.

Doug, we need more books!!

Friday, March 12, 2010


There are ongoing debates about the age of the tree and whether it should have been cut down. The property manager claims that it was 300 years old. He also says that city workers undermined the root system and killed it. It is always sad to see the loss of something green.

On the other hand, Zorro, the professional tree remover, has had his hands full with this job. He has arrived each morning in a bleached white t-shirt, clean pants and Ray-bans. Firing up his prized weapon, he removes tree limbs with skill. His underlings remove the pieces and follow his orders. There has only been one faux pas when a large piece hit the road below instead of the road beside! He scrambled down to cut it into pieces while one of his men directed traffic. You could see embarrassment on his face!
Not to mention fear!! What if there had been a vehicle or pedestrian below!!

Now the really difficult challenge begins as they have to dig away and remove the tree trunk that sits on the side of the hill and most of the root system.
We have been given a guarantee that they will not be using dynamite!

The termite infested tree has provided a feast for hundreds of birds in the area. They sit on railings and other tree branches, waiting for the chainsaw to stop so that they can begin foraging.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


I wandered down to the wharf this morning to check on the fishermen and the water taxis. I thought that it would be fun to take one of these boats for a day trip. The amazing thing is that they don't actually dock! They gun the engines and get as close as they can to the wharf. Someone grabs hold of the boat and all the passengers JUMP on board. If you are young and agile, no problem. For the rest of us, it could mean sink or swim! The waves push the boat forward and the engine reverses it back into position. There was no time for hesitation! Along with zip-lining, this would be an adventure that we would decline. I walked home to put my feet up and enjoy a cup of tea.

hung out to dry

follow the lines
and stories unfold
hung for all to see

from comic books
to little white sox
blue jeans in a row

an empty display
of flying pegs
waiting to behold

your next attempt
to wash away
the dustiness of life

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ongoing contest

Our days start with breakfast and a riveting competition of tavli(backgammon). John keeps a running inventory of the days' successes and failures. He is currently in the lead but I expect this to change today!

He makes use of distractions to alter the course of the game. It could be "look at those birds" or "did I just hear one of the guys fall from the wall?" It works every time!

At lunchtime we are back at the board with another trio of games. One of us will storm off, swearing that we'll never play again! At four o'clock teatime, the game reappears and we battle for position again.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Well done little sister

Congratulations to my little sister!! She had her final chemo treatment today in her battle with breast cancer. She has endured the loss of both breasts and months of chemo.

We lost our sister Bobbi to cancer five years ago. Today, the nurse at the Cancer Clinic approached Tara and introduced herself. Her name was Bobbi!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

What a day!

Our day started very early. We were awakened around 5am by the sound of a loud engine running on the road below. I staggered out of bed and down the stairs to peer over the railing at the road. A large refrigerated semi-trailer had run aground on the curve and tipped into the shallow ditch below us. He couldn't move and had to keep the engine running with the hope of salvaging his load. As a result the highway was only one way traffic for the next 10 hours, from 5am - 3pm. Another semi trailer truck finally arrived and they moved the cargo from one truck to the other. Now there were two large obstacles for traffic to move around. Meanwhile two idiots, in uniform, with whistles were directing traffic at both ends!

I had walked along the beach to Lindo Mar with a couple of friends. We had breakfast and took a taxi back to the house. The taxi driver turned up our road and almost ran into two guys pulling on a rope that was attached to tree limbs high overhead. Apparently approval was given to remove the tree and work had started. It appeared that they were removing the tree one foot at a time. To further complicate the situation for the taxi driver, a dump truck had dropped a load of large rocks onto the road for the wall construction. Workers were hurriedly trying to move the rocks out of our way! Tonio was off to one side of the road, busily trying to repair a broken water pipe that leads to the condominium development above us. The dump truck had backed up over the pipe and smashed it!

For several hours we were serenaded by a steady chorus of whistle blowing, horn honking, chain sawing and rock splitting. The truck was finally towed away, traffic returned to normal and the chainsaw quit for the day. Ah! Mexico!

Sunday, March 7, 2010


We woke up to a wall of heat this morning. That is what it felt like when I stepped out of the house and onto the terrace with my morning coffee and toast. Every other day, for 68 days, I have wrapped myself in a shawl to keep warm. Despite the same cloudy skies that we have come to expect, the heat has stayed today. The breezy breath of a hundred angels would be a welcome relief.  Instead we'll jump into the pool for a cooling dip.

Sunday is our favourite day of the week. The men who are building the wall have disappeared for a much earned day of leisure. Nestor's brother has suspended his hammering, sanding and staining of furniture under the swimming pool next door. We don't have to worry about Tonio, his other brother, appearing in strange places to mend, repair or peek at us. Don Beto isn't drowning the plants. Pacheta isn't pounding the pillows. Nestor won't be dropping in to check on everything and his wife Rosie won't appear at the door to pass messages along to Pacheta. And Nestor's father, apparently the mastermind for construction of the wall, won't be smiling at me through the wrought iron gate while I float in the pool.

Of course the exterminator could show up at any time but he is probably spending the day with his family. All of the innocent little creepy-crawlies can relax for one day!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Indigenous Market

We visited the Indigenous Market today in downtown PV today. There were many craftspeople working on their wares. Entire families bring goods to the market so there were a lot of beautiful children playing between the booths. This man is painting a carved wooden horse with his fingers.

Very intricate beading is displayed and sold at several booths. The traditional costumes add colour and authenticity to the market.

We have seen a lot of ceramics during our stay here but there are more intricate and diverse patterns on the creations at this market. Every piece is hand painted and while there is repetition in theme, each is beautiful. The painted wooden bowls are particularly unique.

It is even possible to have a massage at one of several unique tents. This masseuse has angels guarding the entry way and welcoming you to the privacy of her canopied tent!


My series of three paintings has been framed and is ready to hang at Quinta las Pinas. It was my intention to complete a painting of each person's bathing suit on the colourful watermelon beach towels...but, after three, my interest was diverted.

I am amazed at the inexpensive and beautiful framing that is available here. All three paintings were floated inside heavy wooden frames for a total cost of around $80. Imagine what that would cost at home!!

Galleries in Puerto Vallarta celebrate the achievements of hundreds of artists. The quality is astounding and includes many sculptors' works. On Wednesday nights there is a weekly Gallery Tour. Visitors are invited to wander from gallery to gallery, sip a glass of wine and soak up every imaginable style of painting, ceramics, glass, sculpture and jewelry.

Last Friday night we attended the opening of an exhibition by Evelyne Boren. Her husband built the Tizoc condominiums, the first in PV, in the 1960's and they lived in the unit that John & Doug own. Her studio at that time was in one of the upstairs bedrooms.

Evelyne's oil paintings are very impressionistic and command a high price, well beyond my ability to purchase. She offers workshops annually in Tuscany, Provence and Sayulita. Her painting career began when she was waiting on movie sets to perform her underwater stunts for the James Bond films. She picked up a paint brush and hasn't looked back since!

On a more modest scale, I have started a diptych of people at a local bus stop. Much to her delight, Pacheta, our maid, has been added to the group.     I hope to have it finished before we leave here on the 24th. That's when the decision will be made to transport it home or throw it into the trash!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Road work

The road to Quinta las Pinas is very steep, cobbled and almost impossible to climb with a vehicle when it is raining. During the rainfalls of January and February many of the stones became dislodged, making the road even more dangerous to travel. Two of the young men who have been working on the wall construction were given the task of road repairs. The youngest one had to handmix cement on the main roadway below, fill buckets with the mud, hoist the buckets onto his shoulder, climb up 40 feet of scaffolding and over a stone wall to pour the buckets into the potholes(many times). The luckier guy had the job of positioning stones into the cement. It took them half a day to repair several large holes.

We had a light sprinkle of rain later in the day and heard spinning tires on the road again. The driver was impatient and kept hitting the gas pedal too hard. We were worried that he would undo all of the valuable new road work before it had a chance to set properly. Finally, cursing and yelling at the Gods, he gave up and backed down the hill. With a gentle touch, he could have made it. Instead, he trudged up the hill on foot, still steaming mad!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Record rainfall

It's not raining today, although the clouds are blowing in again. According to a local newspaper we had 180mm of rain during January & February 2010 in Puerto Vallarta. During those two months last year, there was only .6mm of rain recorded!! Maybe that's why I am being eaten alive by mosquitoes!

Milder ocean temperatures have kept the whales out of Banderas Bay so we have not had the pleasure and excitement of watching them play.

Not sure how this weather will affect the termite population. Haven't seen them either!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Confucius says:

Confucius says:
Too  much sun makes Talking Head dance!

A hidden treasure

It is a three stool cafe, on a side street, away from the crowds. You could easily walk past, missing the aroma of freshly ground coffee, the murmur of conversation, the friendly smile of the owner. She lives above, sharing the main floor with those lucky enough to discover the offerings of her small cafe. A hidden treasure in a touristic town.

was it as it was

Was it as it was?
Or is it as it is?

Pure and precise
when clearly near.

Less distinct
In memory's eye.