Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Bucerias Bliss

—Blogpost written by Bob 

In this blogpost, we continue our 6-month winter excursion in Mexico.  We arrived by car in San Miguel de Allende (SMA) on October 15, traveling from near Annapolis, Maryland where we live on our sailboat.  We then traveled 8 hours west by car to Bucerias where we are based for our last two months in Mexico.  (We love the weather, the close proximity to the water, and the simplicity of life here in Bucerias!)

Friday, February 11

Yesterday, I answered a lot of boat questions (from the service manager in Galesville MD) about our ongoing boat maintenance.  The issues involved corrosion of the engine mounts and the engine bell housing and the intrusion of salt water, in general.  It seemed like we have had alignment problems ever since the engine was replaced back in 2017.

This morning may have been the
first time we had Bimbo-brand
bread.  (Maggie made French
toast this morning.)

We drove to La Comer (the supermarket) in the afternoon and we learned a couple new things in the process:
(1) how to properly turn left from Highway 200 into La Comer (use the far right bus lane),
(2) how to get a refilled 20-liter bottle of drinking water (get a coupon at the courtesy desk),
(3) the locations of a few more XOXO's (to get sugar-free Magnum bars), and
(4) how to buy a substitute medication for FloMax (it's called Tamsulosina and it cost 130 Mexican pesos, about $6.50 USD, for 20 capsules.  Here in Mexico, no prescriptions are required to purchase medications.)


We also purchased one Mexican fruit that is new to us--it's called guanabana (or soursop).

A guanabana (or soursop) fruit that we
purchased at La Comer today.

Supposedly, we simply cut it in half, discard the seeds and the casing and eat it raw.  The taste of the flesh is supposed to be similar to a mixture of strawberries, oranges and bananas.  (We'll probably try it sometime this weekend.  If this attempt is successful, we will probably try a different new fruit each of our remaining weeks here in Bucerias.  We tried eating this fruit on Sunday afternoon and found out why is wasn't very popular.)


We pretty much filled our fridge with fresh fruits and veggies, and a few meat items.  Our grocery bill came to a whopping 3,918 Mexican pesos (about $196 USD), which should last us almost two weeks.  Nearly everything we purchased came from Mexico--the only exception was cheese and some wine which were imported (the wine from Chile).

Weather prediction for
next several days.

Today's Happy Hour drink: vodka and
(sugar-free) berry-flavored tonic water.

Saturday, February 12

I was awake at 2:30 this morning because of some “yappy” neighborhood dogs and the monotony of a bass drum of a far-away (maybe 1/4-mile) band playing.  Mexican neighborhoods are notoriously noisy but this seemed extreme to me, even if it was a Friday night.   The windows tightly closed and our bedroom air conditioner (a mini split) running at 22 degrees C wasn’t enough to overcome the exterior noises.  

While I was awake I looked up recipes online for steak marinades that would tenderize the steaks we just purchased.  After a couple hours, I dozed off…


In the morning, I put together the a red wine marinade using the following ingredients: 3/4 cup red wine (Malbec), 1/2 cup (extra virgin) olive oil,  juice from 1/2 of a small lime,  1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp ground black pepper, 2 minced garlic cloves,  1/2 minced shallot,  1/2 tsp dried rosemary, and a dash of cayenne.  I placed the jar of marinade in the fridge so that it would be ready to marinate the steaks 24 hours ahead of cooking them.  (I used the recipe from this online source while making some of my own minor adjustments.)


Today we had a leak between a 20-liter water bottle and the base reservoir.  This was in our second and last water bottle.  So, besides cleaning up the water that spilled all over the tiled kitchen floor, we had to go out and get two more bottles of water (which weigh about 44 pounds each). 

A 20-liter bottle of purified water
weighs 44 pounds!

In carrying the 20-liter water bottle up the outside stairs to our apartment, I realized how my strength has deteriorated as I approach my 75th birthday.  (When I was young working in home construction to pay for college, I remember being able to carry two cement blocks at a time, weighing 35 pounds each.  However, that was probably 55 years ago!) 

Sunday, February 13

Super Bowl Sunday

After a light breakfast in our apartment, we drove to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle for a Sunday-morning Artisan's Market.

Similar to flea markets in the U.S., there were
many exhibitors with their own
tables and tents.

Colorful ceramic fishies.

Jewelry was for sale everywhere in
the market, particularly silver jewelry.

These miniature wood carvings
of faces were very unique.

A carver finishing up a figurine constructed from
ironwood obtained in the norther desert area.  
(He used brown KIWI shoe polish to make
the color uniform and to provide a shine.

We had to stop and take more pics
of the Mexican pangas.

We bought one red snapper and had it
filleted for a dinner later in the week.
(The price was 150 Mexican pesos
or about $7.50 USD.)

As we were buying the fish, we realized that the Artisan's Market stretches all around the outside of the marina--we actually saw less than half of it.


We watched the Super Bowl on my iPad using the FUBO.TV app.  I predicted the winner (LA RAMS) and the margin of victory (3 points) before the game started.  It was still one of the best Super Bowl games in recent history but the half time show sucked big time in my opinion.

Monday, February 14

Valentine's Day

We got up to the sound of tennis balls (I really think they are racket balls) bouncing on the nearby court.  (I really should walk down the street and find out for sure.)


Today was a relaxing day--we really had no plan nor did we do anything remarkable.  Some days are like that.  We cooked fresh red snapper for lunch and it was great.  We treated today like a holiday but it clearly wasn't a holiday.  Tomorrow is another day...

Thanks for following our blog!

Thursday, February 10, 2022

Second Week in Bucerias

—Blogpost written by Bob 

In this blogpost, we continue our 6-month winter excursion in Mexico.  We arrived by car in San Miguel de Allende (SMA) on October 15, traveling from near Annapolis, Maryland where we live on our sailboat.  We then traveled west by car to Bucerias.  This blogpost described our second week in Bucerias where we will be based for our last two months of this winter.

Monday, February 7

A Road Trip to Sayulita

We decided to take a short road trip to Sayultia today.  it took us 1-1/2 hours to go the 11 miles!  A bus had broke down along the 2-lane highway and blocked traffic coming from the south.As we got into Sayulita finally, we looked for a place to park our car and found one!  Since it was already late, we walked to El Break for lunch--it is located right on the beach and situated under a lot of palm trees for shade--a perfect spot for lunch.

Our perfect lunch spot was inundated
with vendors walking the beach.

This woman was selling necklaces while
others sold blankets, sunglasses,
carved wooden sculptures, etc.

Surfboards were available for
rent on the beach.

We purchased a very nice wooden bowl that was hand painted with beautiful Mexican colors.  I also bought a t-shirt from beach venders.  I also purchased eight oysters on the half shell from a beach vender but this could have been a big mistake.

People enjoying the beach in Sayulita.  
(This view was looking northward.)

Looking southward on the
beach in Sayulita.

The main pedestrian walkway
through Sayulita.

Many venders sold sunglasses to the
noticeably younger crowd in Sayulita.

One vender by the main square sold
coconuts in various forms.

Tuesday, February 8

We spent today relaxing inside our Bucerias apartment.  We had a leisurely breakfast and a fantastic lunch that Maggie made ("Perfect Chicken", corn-on-the-cob, and cucumber salad).
The local corn-on-the-cob was not nearly as good as back home on the East Coast--it was actually kind of tough (which was in contrast to all the other excellent Mexican veggies we've eaten).  We have mostly tried (Mexican) veggies in which we are familiar--we have seen a lot of (Mexican) veggies that are unfamiliar to us which we are anxious to try.  (We have tried nopales in a restaurant--these are prepared pads of the prickly pear cactus.)

A collection of conventional Mexican fruits
in our newly purchased wooden bowl.

We (including our cats) love this area of Mexico much more than San Miguel de Allende.

Wednesday, February 9

A Road Trip to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle

The view from my morning shower--looking
directly outside onto the side porch
with no glass in the widow. (The
small bits of color hanging in the
sky are plastic clothes pins.)

La Cruz de Huanacaxtle is located a short distance north of Bucerias--we passed it on our way back from Sayulita on Monday.  Our decision to visit this area was the presence of fishing pangas in the marina nearby and the photo opportunity they may represent.  Because we got a late start, we decided to go directly to a restaurant in the area for lunch, La Ballena Blanco (translated to "the white whale").  (We generally pick our restaurants using TripAdvisor--not just the overall ratings but reading all the diners comments as well.  We also avoid restaurants having four dollar signs, $$$$, indicating that they are the most expensive.)

The interior of La Ballena Blanca where
we had a delicious lunch today.  (This 
turned out to be our favorite lunch
spot in the entire area!)

We had an absolutely delicious lunch at La Ballena Blanca!  Maggie selected the best--shrimp tacos!  After lunch we proceeded to the east end of the marina where the fishing pangas were located.

Three of the many pangas in
La Cruz de Huanacasxtle.

Susana - a panga
moored in the marina.

Sailing among the mountains.

A fisherman repairing his nets
in the shade of palm trees.

Cleaning fish in the fish market in
La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.

We had booked a week-long getaway at a B-and-B in the mountains above Puerta Vallarta--we booked it while we we landlocked in San Miguel de Allende.  We considered cancelling it since where we are located currently is so nice.  (We will make our decision tomorrow morning.)

Thursday, February 10

This morning we decided to go out for breakfast to a local eatery, only a block away from our Bucerias apartment--it was called Shu-la-la.  The restaurant was very small, maybe 12 foot by 12 foot, including the cooking area and the bathroom.  There was barely enough seating room for eight people.  Outside, the traffic on the street was pretty heavy in the morning.

The owner and cook was accompanied by
his wife.  The only coffee that they
had was instant coffee and it 
wasn't even hot.  (The hot
cakes looked great!)

The total number of seats in the
dining area was about eight.
(Before we left all the
seats were filled.)

One has to admire the entrepreneurial spirit among the native Mexicans.  The owner (and cook) supports his family from the proceeds of this small (10 foot by 12 foot) restaurant serving only breakfast.

The sweetener provided by the restaurant--there
was no sugar but this was a strange way
to offer stevia.  (We didn't use this
sweetener because we were
not familiar with it.)

Over breakfast we decided to definitely cancel our upcoming week-long getaway in the jungle just outside Puerta Vallarta. (It seemed like a good idea at the time we made the booking but things have changed after moving to Bucerias.  We no longer feel like we need a getaway.)

The outdoor seating of a small bakery 
we stopped at for a latte and a
delicious cinnamon bun.
(This bakery was much
better adapted to

A beautiful white house with palm trees
was located near the bakery.

A small engine repair shop on the
sidewalk near our apartment.

Fruits and veggies in an outdoor
area of the corner store.

When we returned to our apartment I had to take a shower to get rid of the stickiness all over my arms from the cinnamon bun I had just consumed.


We had a little bit of a scare in the afternoon when Lola (our oldest Maine Coon cat) walked through an open door, down the front stairs and went on a walkabout in the neighborhood.  We were able to successfully corral her and get her back inside the apartment before any damage was done.


Until our next blogpost (probably on Sunday evening), stay healthy and safe!

Thanks for following our blog!

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Settling into Bucerias

—Blogpost written by Bob 

In this blogpost, we continue our 6-month winter excursion in Mexico.  We arrived by car in San Miguel de Allende (SMA) on October 15, traveling from near Annapolis, Maryland where we live on our sailboat.  We then traveled west by car to Bucerias.  This blogpost described our first few days in Bucerias where we will be based for our last two months of this winter.

Thursday, February 3

The cool temperature of the morning got down into the mid-50's--it was very comfortable sleeping with our windows open.  This afternoon, like yesterday afternoon, it was expected to reach 80 degrees F. 

Little frog sculpture and
signs by our front door.

We made it to La Comer and back this morning and the car has no crinkled parts—the good news of today’s story.  The bad news is the huge disagreement we had in the process.  Maggie can’t judge distances and she can't handle chaos and today’s driving situations were chaotic.  The problem is that her navigation skills are somewhat lacking too, which was why she was driving and not me.  After today I vowed that she will never drive again in Bucerias.  It simply was not safe for anyone with her driving along a 8-lane highway (4 lanes in each direction) with both her hands over her eyes and simultaneously screaming that she couldn’t handle it.


We had lunch (half a meat loaf sandwich each) in our apartment after we learned that the restaurant we intended to visit, Culi’s, didn’t open until 3 PM.  We walked to Culi's (0.3 mile away) after 4 PM.

Maggie at Culi's Restaurant.

Culi's was everything it was cracked up to be--excellent meals and superior service!  Since we arrived so early in the day, we were one of only two parties there at the time.  We both had mahi-mahi and we shared a large serving of grilled asparagus and scalloped potatoes.  We even shared a dessert--a very elaborate presentation of vanilla flan.

Vanilla flan with caramelized spun
sugar around the outside
for dessert!

On the walk back we noticed some of the homes we had passed on the way to the restaurant.  The homes covered the extremes. 

A high class home on a corner
lot in Bucerias Centro.

A middle class home on an interior
lot on Calle Cinco de Mayo 
in Bucerias Centro.

Friday, February 4

Like yesterday, the day began with an overcast sky.  It was 59 degrees outside at 9 AM but it didn't feel cold at all. We had the A/C on in our bedroom and set at 22 degrees C (71.6 degrees F) during the night.

Our major goal for today was simply to spend the day near the beach here in Bucerias.  We started walking toward the beach around noon in search of a particular restaurant we selected ahead of time.  However, we stumbled upon another interesting restaurant along the way, Los Tejabanes.  It had a very interesting patio on the front of the restaurant but, today, we chose to use the inside dining area. 

The sunny portion of the outside
dining area at Los Tejabanes.

A cupola on the roof of a home on
the beach side of the highway.

On the beach side of the highway, condos
were almost everywhere, many
still under construction.

We walked through the open air market area on our way to the beach where all types of beach things were being sold.  (I bought a t-shirt.)

The Bucerias sign by the
main beach area.

Horse rides were available
on the beach.

Mexican families enjoyed
a sunny beach day.

We soon found out that there was no need to walk through the market, the sellers came to us on the beach.

A young girl selling little animal
bobbleheads on the beach.

We took a taxi back to our apartment.  To our surprise the taxi's were well organized--all we had to do was to walk to the nearby taxi stand and wait our turn in line for the next available taxi.

Saturday, February 5

My primary goal for today was to accomplish a map update for our car's GPS.  We lounged around most of the morning, updating our blogs, etc.  By the way, Mexican neighborhoods are noisy!  Maybe even more noisy than usual on a Saturday morning.

A yellow lily in bloom on
our dining table.

About two o'clock in the afternoon we had lunch in our apartment--Maggi
e made pasta and pasta sauce--it was great!  Then, I finally buckled down to accomplishing my goal for the day.  I had a difficult time getting my laptop to recognize my Garmin GPS--after a lot of reading and experimentation I found out that I couldn't use the mini-USB connection on the GPS's mount because it only transfers power (not data!).  It took a couple hours to figure out that I needed a different cable and I had to hook up between the actual GPS (not the mount) and the laptop.  Once I got this figured out, it took another 2 hours to upload updated software and updated maps.  By now, the day was shot but my mission was accomplished!  (Incidentally there was no cost from Garmin for the map update!  I used our apartment sufficiently fast Internet and my VPN with the Washington DC server location to make the transfer.)

Sunday, February 5

We spent a very leisurely Sunday morning relaxing in our Bucerias apartment, watching some new YouTube videos and catching up on our blogs.  A nice ocean breeze blew through the open windows.  The outside temperature warmed up from an overnight low of 62 degrees to the mid-70's in the afternoon--almost perfect winter weather in my opinion!  (We slept using the A/C again last night mostly so that we could block out the outside noise by closing the windows.)

The view from our balcony.

We made a major finding this morning on how to make a left hand turn on Route 200 coming through Bucerias--it is done from the far right lane of the service road, believe it or not.  When the traffic light on the highway turns red, traffic in both lanes stop.  Then, traffic on the service road can make a left turn (or a u-turn) while watching out for traffic coming from the service road on the opposite side of the highway.  (This was the chaos we experienced a couple days ago.)


We watched the Pro Bowl as we waited for California Pizza to open at 3 PM.  As we waited I made a Batanga (tequila and diet coke) for the first time.  I salted the rim of the glass (using sea salt) and poured 1 part tequila and 2 parts diet coke and squeezed 1/4 of a lime into an old fashioned glass filled with ice cubes.  It quickly became my new favorite tequila drink!

The Batanga: Tequila and
Coke (photo courtesy
of "A Couple Cooks")

The afternoon could not have been more pleasant with the perfect temperature, consuming a couple Batanga's, eating pizza, and watching the Pro Bowl on my iPad.


During the coming week we plan to visit Sayulita, a beach-side town just north of Bucerias, and possibly some other adventures before spending a week in the jungle south of Puerto Vallarta.  Stay tuned...

Thanks for following our blog!