Its 6.30 am here at the laguna and it is cool and quiet, well quietish!! Bit of birdsong and insect noise. It continues to amaze me how stunningly beautiful it is; as I was swimming yesterday the laguna was still and the landscape so green.
We have only 5 weeks left to enjoy this before we set off on an entirely different adventure and even with that I have got the final parts planned. We arrive in Barcelona on 26th February , early in the morning, and leave the next day. Normally we would leave booking a hotel/hostel till nearer the time, but I just checked out a few places and saw that more than half of the hotels were booked for that night. Tried a place I liked and got a reply to say there is a 3-4 day international mobile phone congress on!! So, I've booked a room , with free cancellation in case out plans change. We have the flights back booked now, Singapore airlines Sao Paulo, Brazil to Barcelona and then the next day Barcelona to Newcastle with Easyjet.
We've had a busy week ,on Thursday Miguel came down to the laguna and Chris did fabulous ribs on the BBQ. The pork ribs here are about a foot long with loads of lovely lean meat on them. For starter I did a traditional Mexican dish with Jicama. Its a root, a bit like Kohl Rabi but its very crispy and refreshing and you slice it thinly and serve with chili and lemon juice...........well what else this is Mexico!!
On Friday we thought we would go and have a beer outside the little shop in the laguna, but there were a load of locals who were wasted, so we drove to Catalina and they were still open and we had a couple of beers with a view of the laguna. It was lovely, as usually, Moni and Aurora are hard at work and we only get a brief chat but we sat and chatted to Moni and learned a bit about her family. She is one of 10 and now runs the restaurant and lives across the road in a house behind the restaurant. We chatted about all sorts and all in Spanish, Chris has improved amazingly. He works really hard to revise for his lessons and he can now do sentences which is great.
Last Saturday we went to Tepic in the car to stock up on essentials, wine, granola etc We went to a Mexican buffet place for lunch and saw our first live Olympics -we managed to catch Jessica Ennis in the 800m, the long jump gold and I am sure our shouting at the TV helped Mo Farrah to gold!!
On Sunday after church I went to check on Loretta , the nun, who finally seemed to have turned a corner and then popped in to see Maria de Jesus. She is a lovely lady who lets Chris and Pedro use her house for Chris' Spanish lessons. I wanted to have a recipe for Pozole, so got one for both the red and green varieties. (Pozole is a traditional pork stew type dish with corn) She also showed me how to make a dish with requeson, which is low fat soft cheese. We chatted about different foods and I said I sometimes cooked Thai food. We then had our favourite coconut prawns for lunch at Catalina.
Tuesday we booked the car in for a full service and went to Tepic on the collectivo and just wandered round like tourists. Its very efficiant, it goes from the market square and once it is nealry full it sets off. It takes about an hour, costs 25 pesos, and drops you off at the main square in Tepic. The cathedral was open and it was very simple and very reflective. There are 2 main museums, one of which is the regional museum. The latter was closed so we could only visit the Cinco Pueblos, the five peoples, which was tiny and told a bit about the main indigenous groups in Mexico.
The highlight of the day was a vegetarian restaurant which had a wonderful buffet spread. For 85 pesos (£4.50) we got fresh pineapple and parsley agua fresca ( its a sort of watered down juice, really refreshing) and then as much food as you wanted. There were little tostados with guacamole, lovely spinach pancake pinwheels, creme of garlic soup ( a local speciality), there was a wonderful array of salads, fresh quesadillas, cabbage stuffed with requeson, a lovely soya souffle, tamales ( steamed corn, it reminded me of steamed pudding) potato and cheese cakes . It was all so tasty and the staff were lovely. A definite place to return to before we leave.
On the way back there was an example of the relationship between men and women in Mexico. There was en elderly couple behind us on the bus and they got off before SAMAO and he got off first and held out his hand.........to get her to pass down a polystyrene container .......and there was me thinking he was going to help her down.........oh no she had to struggle herself.!!
Jose in the garage is a lovely guy.We collected the car and the service had cost £32.50 , a big chunk being the cost of the oil for the oil change. The labour was 100 pesos, £5, and it was cleaned inside and out.
Wednesday Maria came down to the laguna and we made a Thai red chicken curry and a Thai sweet n sour vegetable. We also did a funky snack thing I learned to do in Koh Lanta with salad leaves that you make into little pockets and fill with dried shrimp, ginger, onion, chill, lime and then drizzle with honey. think she enjoyed it, when I went to pick her up she had a funky yellow 1800cc VW beetle in the garage. It is 32 years old , so even though she can appear the serious school teacher, ( she was a headmistress in her final job) maybe she had a racy past!!
I had a quiet day to myself yesterday as Chris was up in SAMAO helping fix windows in the dispensario, they have more to do today. Its one of the advantages of living in a place that you get to feel part of the locals.
Tonight we are off to Samao to eat with Miguel; Isabel, his landlady will make some food for us. We are then off to Maria's house for a evening of games!! We aren't really cards and dominoes players but it should be fun to play in Spanish!! Of course my competitive spirit will mean I want to win. ( Reference swingball, before my family make that comment!!)
Well that is about it for this week, hope you enjoy reading about our time here in Mexico and lovely to hear from people. No photos this week..........double ration next week!!