Saturday, December 18, 2010

We'll be home for Christmas...

First of all, we would like to begin a running tally of Christmas cards/pictures that we have received here in Mexico.  So far we are at 2!!!   Now, this information is not, in no way at all, to make you feel like you should send us a Christmas card.  Don't feel pressured to send us a card.  (By the way our address is 5 de Mayo 2-b; Ixtlan, Michoacan, Mexico CP 59280.)  It is rather to keep everyone posted on the time that it takes for Christmas cards to arrive.  Generally snail mail takes about 2-4 weeks to arrive.

You may be wondering what the weather is like right now here in Ixtlan.  You hear of Mexico and think of hot sunny beaches with deep blue water as far as the eye can see.  A warm breeze blowing in from the water.  The sound of waves crashing on the shore and random vendors walking by selling anything from hammocks to homemade Tamarind Pulp Candy.  Life is relaxing, warm and perfect.  Well, that is not where we live.  While it is sunny, there isn't much else in common with the aforementioned description of Mexico.  While that place exists, it isn't Ixtlan.  My hands are really pretty cold right now.  It is 11:16 and I still have my sweatshirt on.  The temperature in the morning when the sun comes up is generally between 35-45 degrees (that would be Fahrenheit, not Celsius).  So, that means mornings are generally spent trying to keep warm.  As the day progresses the sweatshirts come off and a T-shirt suffices, however, as soon as the sun begins to set, the cold comes back.  We do have nice clear, cloudless days.  In that case it is beautiful, but the cold remains.  (Remember that the altitude here is about 5000 feet, and because of that we have more cold weather than they do along the oceans.)  

Sometime Bev will have to update you on the differences between here and the US, like the roosters, donkeys, and dogs.  Or there are the bands that like to walk through the streets early in the morning.  Anyway it is all fun stuff. 

We will be coming home on Wednesday (the 22nd) for Christmas.  It will go quickly, but we hope to see as many of you as we can during the time that we are home (22nd - 9th).   Until then have a great week!!!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The I SPY Challenge

I promised I SPY for this weeks blog.  I hope no one  got their hopes up too high.  This results from a certain aspect of Mexican life in which there is no problem throwing trash wherever it might land.  While there is an ongoing attempt to teach people not to litter, there hasn't been a lot of progress made.  The result: lots of trash, pretty much everywhere (and I do mean that quite literally).  It's sad really and it makes me appreciate just how clean roadsides, streets, and towns really are.  So anyway, I took this picture at the top, yes the top, of the mountain that we hiked last week with Christy Stoller.  After an hour and five minutes of grueling hiking, we reached the top and a beautiful view, that isn't to say there wasn't other stuff waiting for guessed, trash.

So, here is your I SPY challenge:

Using the picture below, list as many items as you can.  (A helpful hint.  Clicking the picture will open it in a larger form.)

This picture really doesn't do justice to the amount of trash that you can actually find down here.  We may just have to continue doing I SPY challenges as we come across more trash.  Then you will really see the amount of trash that there sometimes is down here.

For those of you wondering about the hike.  This is about the only 'trail' that we are aware of in the area.  It actually gets you up pretty high and to a really beautiful view.  The hike is strenuous, but it is always well worth it when you reach the top and it is so beautiful and peaceful.  The mountain is called 'La Mula' and is next to the town Tecamatan.  It is about 25 minutes from Ixtlan.  If you are climbing at a normal pace it takes about 1.5 hours.  We did it a lot faster last Saturday, but the time at the top was, as usual, very relaxing. 

Here we are at the top.  The picture is looking out across the valley.  Ixtlan would be way off to the right so you can't see it here, but you get an idea of what the valley is like.  There is a river that runs through the valley and because of that, the farmers in the valley can double crop or raise strawberries (during the dry season).

Here is just a landscape view.  There is a large, 20 foot cross at the top of the mountain.  You can climb up the cross and get this view over the brush and trees.  It was a little hazy so it turned out to be Mexico's own version of the Smokey Mountains.  Farmers like to burn the dead crops off their fields after harvest down here so there is a lot of haze right now.  It made for a nice picture though.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


Ahh, food...The main thing that I have to worry about getting done each day. (My days are obviously not too busy here yet!)  Although I, Regg speaking here, am enjoying the fruits of the extra time...cookies with coffee in them?!  Two of the best things in the world combined in one...YES!!!  Oh, and there is lots, lots more.

This is our option in Ixtlan of where we COULD get our meat.....but, big surprise, we choose not to.  We get most of our staples, like sugar, flour, eggs, bread, milk, etc. here in Ixtlan.  The market here has lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, which is pretty nice.  Meat, on the other hand, is purchased in Zamora at either Wal-Mart or Aurrera, which is like a Wal-Mart.  We get most of our packaged groceries there.  We usually go about once every week or two.  It's certainly been interesting trying to cook following some American recipes.  I bet people don't realize that EVERY (ok, maybe not every, but close to it) recipe calls for mushroom soup and/or mushrooms, which I really don't like.  So no problem, just substitute cream of chicken soup, right?  Wrong. Yes, you can get cream of chicken, but guess what it has in it.....yep, mushrooms.  So, thanks to a wonderful friend who sent me a recipe, I now make my own cream of chicken soup.  There are several other foods that we can't get here, like crescent rolls, Velveeta cheese, Bisquick... But I've learned that recipes do turn out (how they're supposed to....?), even if you substitute for a lot of the ingredients!  I've actually substituted ingredients to make a different substitute!!  Most of the ingredients that we can't get here, are just products that are more convenience items, so it's back to cooking from scratch for most of it.  It keeps life interesting!! (at least mine)

Check in next week for: 

I SPY (The Trash Version)