Sunday, November 30, 2014

A Page in the Sun

At least two or three times a week we stop at A Page in the Sun for a coffee and muffin in the morning. The staff are always friendly and we choose to overlook the seemingly random process of getting the orders to the tables. Somehow they make it happen...with a smile!

A wall of used books (longer than in this photo) is available for resale. The coffee is organic and the chocolate chip/banana muffins are still hot out of the oven at 10:00am. The clientele is mostly ex-pat and there are often Spanish lessons taking place at a couple of tables during the day.

A Page in the Sun has been in business in Puerto Vallarta for over 20 years, attracting coffee lovers as well as lovers of the written word. They often host book readings and support the works of new authors.

Friday's walks

There are always new discoveries
on my morning walks.

This sidewalk art was painted outside a sports bar.

A fisherman sitting on a graffiti'd bench in a children's playground.

A flexible pelican doing his morning preening!

Our hosts returned to PV on Friday so we decided to wander through the Southside Shuffle. This event is held every second Friday night in Old Town with galleries opening their doors and musicians performing in the street. The galleries offer assorted nibblies and wine to enjoy while viewing a variety of artistic styles on exhibit. My favourite is always Contempo Gallery which hosts edgy art.

John and Doug visited with a couple of "street friends"!

Later we decided to have dinner at El Mole de Jovita.
They offered a choice of three different moles with dinner, each with a distinct flavour.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Market and a sisterly visit

Our morning walk yesterday took us to the produce market.

Brilliant displays of Mexican produce to tempt us!

Later in the day my sister visited with her spouse and two friends.

Sharing stories and laughter in the palapa!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Sunset and musical benches

Last night's sunset was gorgeous again!!

This photo is completely untouched and unaltered!
The colours were stunning!

I have walked past this bench at least 20 times since we arrived in PV.
Today was the first time that no one was sitting on it.
Wouldn't it be fun to have some of these around Salmon Arm
to celebrate the annual Roots & Blues Festival?!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Tuesday morning photo walk

Another morning walk with the camera. 
Today we were enroute to the lab for John's blood test.

Volkswagen beetles always seem to be parked for photo ops in this city!

This empty lot is always chained against graffiti artists...

...but somehow they still manage to create inside!!

These women were sitting on the church steps
preparing for a day of sales.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Comparing prices and obesity in Greece and Mexico

I have been thinking about the contrast between prices in Greece and Mexico. The average cost of an Americano in PV is 25 pesos ($2.00 Can) and in Greece it is 3 euros ($4.35 Can). This morning we stopped at a local restaurant for breakfast. We had coffee/tea, toast, spinach & cheese omelette, homemade hash brown potatoes, refried beans for 75 pesos each ($6.00 Can). A similar meal would have cost at least double in Greece. It is obvious why many Greeks cannot afford to visit their local cafes and tavernas.

Another observation, as I walk around the streets of PV (in contrast to the Greek islands), is the rate of obesity...both tourists and locals. It is overwhelming. Most of the tourism here comes from Canada and the USA. Canada's rate of adult obesity continues to climb each year. Mexico's rate is now higher than the USA!

From The Guardian:
"A groundbreaking tax on sugar-sweetened beverages recently passed in Mexico could provide the evidence needed to justify similar laws across low- and middle-income countries and cities in the US, experts believe.
Campaigners and public health experts are watching closely to see what impact Mexico's tax has on consumption. Mexico, where 32.8% of the population is obese, is now the country with the biggest weight problem in the world, according to the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation, overtaking the United States. The impact on health has been serious – 14% of the population has diabetes. Rates of high blood pressure, which can lead to stroke and heart attacks, are also high.
So far, there is not conclusive evidence from any country in the world that raising the price of sugar-sweetened drinks will affect obesity levels, but the Mexico experiment is on an unprecedented scale. Although the tax was set at 10% per litre rather than the 20% campaigners wanted, it will affect a huge number of people. Every year, Mexico's 118 million people drink 163 litres of soda each, or nearly half a litre a day. According to the National Institute of Public Health, a 10% tax should reduce that to 141 litres per year, preventing up to 630,000 cases of diabetes by 2030.
Billboards across Mexico City ran photographs of a man with parts of his feet missing as a consequence of diabetes. They warned that a 600ml litre bottle of Coca Cola contained 12 teaspoons of sugar, and asked whether a parent would be happy giving that much to their child.
Soft drinks manufacturers retaliated with their own adverts, urging politicians to reject the tax, claiming that jobs would be lost in their industry and in sugar production, which is important in Mexico. They said that small shops, dependent on soft drinks sales, would close and linked the campaign to former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's anti-obesity drive. “Michael Bloomberg, [former] mayor of New York, has financed with $10m a health campaign against sweetened drinks. He wants to do in Mexico what he could not do in New York,” said the adverts.
Campaigners in the coalition, the Nutritional Alliance for Health, tried to buy airtime on the three mainstream television channels, Televisa, TV Azteca and Milenio TV, but were turned down without explanation and suspect advertising contracts with industry were the issue. None of the channels responded to questions from the Guardian. Cable TV later aired the campaign adverts."
It is hoped that this tax money will provide potable water to school children in areas where they do not have access to clean drinking water. Meanwhile concerned groups are actively involved in tracking the tax dollars to ensure that they are not channelled into other government programs.
Statistics indicate that obesity has also increased dramatically in Greece over the past ten years with the introduction of more processed food and the availability of cheap junk food during tough economic times. The Mediterranean diet of yesterday has been replaced by hamburgers, pizza and chips!

My apologies to readers...not sure why this appears the way it does!!!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

A photo walk

I enjoyed another interesting walk this morning with my trusty camera along. I am using a Canon SX270HS with a 20X zoom and love the results. It's a bit heavier and bulkier than some of the small digital cameras but allows me to capture clear images from a distance.

The city has placed a series of cement benches down the centre of a new pedestrian street that leads to the wharf. Each bench is embellished with a mosaic pattern that was sponsored by local businesses and individuals.

This one was sponsored by Archie's Wok restaurant.

The first poinsettias cast a shadow!

I stopped to talk to one of the artists who exhibits on the Malecon every day. Shaman's pieces have always interested me with their whimsical touches. He explained some of the Aztec symbolism that he includes in every painting and showed me his album of work that he has sold to clients. In the past he was a University professor and also had a Magic Show on the weekends. For the last four years he has made a good living as an artist in PV.

Shaman adds finishing touches to a piece
that was sold yesterday.

This little "bug" brightened our torturous walk home
up several hills and dozens (hundreds) of stairs!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Today's images

Bouganvillea blossoms floating in the pool

Glass plates on the wall

Water lilies in the pond

Silhouette at sunset

Reflection of "The Dude"

November 18-arrival in PV

First sunset from our Mexican home.

Uneventful flights, friends waiting at the arrivals gate to whisk us home, 
Snapper Vera Cruz for dinner after viewing an amazing sunset from the balcony! 
We have a charmed life!!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Frosty and sunny

After receiving several comments about no new posts from the Canadian side of the world...I decided to post one solitary early morning photo. Mornings continue to be frosty, days are beautifully sunny!

It is 2 degrees warmer this morning than yesterday.

Catching up on much needed sleep for two nights and managing to stay awake during the day although by 7:00pm we are looking quite groggy. This ten hour time adjustment isn't any easier as we get into our "olderness" stage of life!!

The sign on the garage door says "Don't ride naked"...a Harley-Davidson slogan. Bikers would certainly not choose to ride naked in this morning's frost!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

November 12 & 13

Our farewell dinner was great with Pelagia and Alexis joining us. Unfortunately we didn't put our heads on the pillow until 1:00am and the wakeup call was at 5:00am...OUCH!! It will be a very long day of transit!

Yesterday we wandered through the market area after looking at graffiti images.

There was also an opportunity to sip on fresh orange juice
while watching the activities in the fabric store across from us.

A "George Michael" lookalike was choosing gauzy fabrics
for his next night club act!!

November 12 - Megan's birthday

Stayed close to our area today but discovered some interesting parts and met friends. On our walk to breakfast we encountered Thomas, from France. He visited Amorgos for the first time last week and shared one of our group dinners. How can this happen in a big city?? Then we had a surprise meeting with Christina from Amorgos!!

Had a decadent breakfast of chocolate cake and coffee/tea at Kimolia, a lovely cafe near our hotel.

Katerina, the owner, is an artist.
She named the cafe after her first love of art with kimolia (chalk).

After breakfast we wandered through the flea market where John was thrilled to find a "hat" replacement for his beloved beanie. The streets are lined with brilliant graffiti images and we talked briefly with the owner of a shop that is dedicated to the sale of graffiti spray paints in every colour.

There was much more to our day that will be on the next blog post. Right now we are heading out to meet friends for a last dinner in Kypselis. More later!

November 11- Mitch's birthday

Another busy day in Athens. We enjoyed a baked omelet breakfast and a bit of shopping time before taking the Metro to meet Nadia for a lunch visit to Theo's mother's place. Enroute we walked through a gyspy encampment that has been in that location for several years. They have built semi-permanent structures for housing and children were running around everywhere.

Lunch was delicious as usual...homemade bread, cheese pie, pastitsio, two salads and a lovely bougatsa for dessert. Zoi has lemon, mandarin, pomegranate and grapefruit trees in her small garden. She gave us some of the fruit and bread for Kalliroi.

Zoi's friend visited while we were there. They have been friends for 60 years.

After a brief nap we joined Kalliroi for a visit to Demetra's studio in the Petralona area of Athens. Demetra s an accomplished illustrator and artisan. She was teaching a sewing class when we arrived.

Demetra's studio

Her son visited us.

Later we shared dinner at an original cafenion in the neighbourhood with Kalliroi, Vassilis and Carmen. 

Kalliroi and Carmen enjoying the music!

It was delicious simple food, good raki, great company and traditional music. In bed at 1:30am!!!

Monday, November 10, 2014


A sunny day and smooth sailing to Piraeus today. Easy transit on the Metro to Monistriaki and a walk to the hotel. Our favourite room overlooks a lovely church. The weather is good. Life is wonderful.

We met Kalliroi for dinner at a unique place in Exarhia where we shared squash soup, two delicious salads, risotto in a parmesan shell, humous and a prosciutto wrapped cheese. Yummhh!!

This area was totally alive with many bars and cafes. After dinner we walked one block to an old bar for a metaxa nightcap. My camera battery died sometime during the day so I wasn't able to capture any of the graffiti or the hidden charm of this neighbourhood.

Many, many thanks to Kalliroi for introducing us to a different area of Athens!!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Last meal on Amorgos

On the day before our departure from the island we were invited to Irini's house, high above Katapola Bay. We hiked up a long dirt road to this spectacular spot.

The weather was hazy, still recovering from last night's storm so there was no horizon. Periodically we felt a few drops of rain. The only sound was the music of Billie Holiday from inside the house.

The outdoor table was a sheet of moulded rusted steel mounted on four tubular legs.
Our meal was a delicious medley of octopus pasta, salad, rice, humous,
amaretto chicken, stewed aubergine and rose wine.


Today was the second day that the vets were neutering island cats. Apparently they did 44 yesterday. I was intent on helping Mata to capture the Jazzmin cats that needed the surgery today. I was unscathed but Mata suffered several scratches and bites. Finally she caught three bringing her weekend total to five cats.

Tempting them with cat food.

Outside the small vet clinic where the neutering takes place once a year.

A carload arrived from the north end of the island.