Saturday, April 30, 2016

REAL Mexico: Where the Children Still Know How to Play

You Know You Aren't in GringoLandia When...

This Up-and-Coming Drummer Lives Across the Street
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     The Riviera Nayarit is promoted to the public as a fun, safe place to vacation. And it is!  But is it more than the pretty, picture-perfect resort areas along the Pacific Ocean.
    The state of Nayarit is also a wonderful place to live. We live in a neighborhood that is largely Mexican nationals, a barrio, with a sprinkling of international folks mixed throughout. This isn't gringolandia, a cluster of homes and businesses where the gringos stick together, often with gates surrounding it. This is a simple barrio, where the local people are friendly, the expats are helpful, and the children still know how to entertain themselves, playing outdoors. When school is out, the kids gather in the streets, using whatever they can find to create games and music. The sound of laughter and friendly shouts are happy sounds in the barrio. 
     Our neighbor boy is practicing for the rock 'n' roll band he is getting together. His drum set is a collection of buckets and cans, each with a different sound, put together in an ingenious manner. When his friends show up, they begin tooting on "horns" made of various lengths of PVC pipe, some playing recorders or whistles. It is so much fun to watch them play! I asked our neighbor if I could take his photo, and he grinned and nodded. When I showed him the playback of the video, he was engrossed in watching every second of it.
     I'm glad the up-and-coming band doesn't have a practice session every day, as their "music" carries well into our yard. But when they do, I smile and think, "This is so much better than if they were sitting indoors playing on an "XBox" or whatever the latest video gadget is that is hypnotizing the kids in our countries".
    At times, the youngsters are in a marble-playing competition that will go on for weeks. The street between our home and theirs was never cobblestoned so the sand and dirt makes a perfect game area for tossing marbles. It appears to be a very competitive and serious game, though the kids are always good natured, even when they lose. Healthy living in Mexico...

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Book is ON SALE for Only 99 Cents Through April 29: Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico

A Kindle eBook Countdown Deal!

Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico
Take advantage of this special sale price of only 99 cents at! On April 30th, the price returns to $4.99! Look inside the eBook at: "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico"
My Kindle eBook on

Tuesday, April 19, 2016


How Did We Decide When We Enjoy So Many Places?
Totonaka RV Park Cactus Garden in San Carlos

      Jon and I made one big decision about our retirement during the past year while we lived full-time in our motorhome: We were ready to choose our favorite city in Mexico and settle down. We were tired of driving the motorhome long distances around Mexico. In addition, the cost of gasoline and the wear and tear on the motorhome were cutting into our funds. We needed to narrow our search for our retirement home and choose one, but we had so many favorites in Mexico. Where would we begin?
     We listed our top nine choices for our future home and started discussing the pros and cons of each. We decided to start evaluating the first two cities that we always stop at as we leave Tucson, Arizona and head south along the west side of mainland Mexico, San Carlos and Mazatlán. As we talked about our good memories of each of these towns, we decided to list the “Pros and Cons” of each and we knew that our decision would come clear.

San Carlos, Sonora
     San Carlos is a resort town on the Sea of Cortez, about 265 miles south of Nogales, Arizona. When we drove into Mexico in our motorhome, this was always our first stop, with Totonaka RV Park our destination. Often when we arrived in November, the weather was too cool for us, rarely reaching 70 degrees. When we reached San Carlos just before Christmas in 2014, the weather was perfect! On Christmas day, the sky was blue, the temperature was 75 ° F and the breeze was light. It was my kind of winter day! In November 2015, though the sky was clear blue and sunny, we couldn’t get warm enough, especially when we were sitting on the beach at one of our favorite hangouts, the Soggy Peso Bar. We enjoyed watching the kite-surfers, but the wind coming off the sea was cold. The water was even colder and the surfers had to wear wetsuits to stay warm enough. We had no desire to swim in the water on either side of San Carlos. The small resort town of San Carlos, in the state of Sonora, was always a peaceful, beautiful place to spend our first week in Mexico, but we started to think it was not warm enough for us to choose to retire there.
     To read more, click this link:
Mazatlan Beach on a Quiet Day

Mazatlán, Sinoloa
   We love Mazatlán! We could definitely envision living there for nine to ten months of each year. Is this the city we will ultimately choose as our retirement home?
     Jon and I usually go to Mazatlán once each year and often twice. Each time we visit, we fall in love with this city. But this was not always the case. The first time we were there I disliked our experience so much that I told Jon, “I never want to go back to that place again”. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that we were only there for one afternoon as a port stop on a Mexican cruise. Cruises really don’t give a fair exposure to cities. That’s part of why we no longer take cruises.
     We found that when we stayed in Mazatlán for at least two weeks in a stretch, we had time to get our fill of relaxing on the beach and people watching and then strike out to explore the real city. That’s when we found out how beautiful the Historic District is, how exceptional the Malecón (the promenade along the ocean) is, how many good restaurants there are, and how much music and entertainment there is to choose from. The Pacific Ocean off Mazatlán is generally warm and mellow enough that we could boogie-board there, but not smooth enough to do Stand Up Paddleboard. The opportunities for exercise are very good. The city has an exceptionally good bus system. Health care is good and inexpensive. We felt safe walking, even at night, in the Golden Zone and usually walked to and from restaurants in that area for dinner. Shopping for groceries and supplies is convenient, whether in the downtown market, neighborhood tiendas, or supermarkets such as Wal-Mart or Mega.
Plaza Machado in Mazatlan's Historic District
     To read more about cities in Mexico that we have traveled to in our search for our retirement home, take a look at my ebook, available on, by clicking this link:  "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" eBook available on
Cover Photo of La Mujer Mazatleca in Mazatlan