Thursday, January 23, 2014

Reality Check!

0742 am, our indoor-outdoor thermometer

Seems another polar vortex has descended upon us here on the mountain. Looking at last year's calendar I see this is the norm for the third week of January here. Last night the temperature went down to -28C (-18F) and will be as cold tonight. Since we came back from our two weeks in Mexico, Marie and I have been going out for a half hour or so walk before breakfast but this is a bit too much...

snowing Sunday...time to go for a walk...

Other than ensuring my bird feeders are full, there is enough fireplace wood up by the front door to get us through the next 24 hours and the steps are ice free I don't spend too much time outside when it is this cold. Besides I am keeping busy laying tile in the master bathroom. I am taking my time and doing this more slowly than I usually do as the tiles are 24x12 and heavy. I laid down Schluter - Ditra, an uncoupling membrane that prevents cracking of the tiles if the floor shifts, over the concrete floor first, then the tile over the Ditra. More pictures to come as I progress...gws

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Museo del Automovil....and Hasta luego to Mexico!

The last full day in Mexico City César took Phil and I to the Museo del Automovil. I had seen it on the way home and it looked interesting and was. The collection wasn't huge but well preserved and I was pleased to find a 1950 Studebaker Commander convertible!...Big old jet Studebaker...don't carry me too far away! 

1949 Nash

1941 Cadillac

César and 1939 Opel

1951 MG

gee our old LaSalle ran great...those were the days!

1946 Armstrong Siddeley

1950 Studebaker with...

...bullet nose and working spinner!

Stanley steamer

1960 Borgward

the actual last production VW beetle 1970!

We did a bit more shopping in one of the local markets and then Marie and I took everyone out for a last dinner at Los Canarios, a very good up scale restaurant with service and food second to none. It was a wonderful two weeks and full of memories thanks to the hospitality of César and Rosalia, their three children and all the aunts, uncles, and brothers that make this such a wonderful family. Gracias! gws

Luis Miguel "México en la Piel"

I heard this great song for the first time during our Christmas celebrations in Mexico City and thanks to César found out who sang it. If you didn't know Luis Miguel is an icon in Latin America and in Mexico is known as El Sol de Mexico! It certainly brings back some good memories of the two weeks we spent in the capital, in Cuernavaca and in Acapulco! Olé! gws

Museo Frida Kahlo

Bird of paradise in César's backyard..

..and the pool
We left after breakfast on the 3rd, the warm sun beckoning us to stay but we wanted to get to Mexico City before it was too late and visit the Frida Kahlo museum. If you know your art you'll know Frida is considered the most significant Mexican artist of the 20th century and I was thrilled to be able to visit her 'blue' home in the city. The museum detailed the tempestuous relationship she had with another renowned Mexican artist, the muralist Diego Rivera and as well as her powerful political ideals and her illicit and controversial affair with Leop Trotsky.. Lots of good stuff for a couple of hours in and outside in her garden. Must watch the movie Frida now with Salma Hayek! gws

'Frida, alias the loveliest little girl who means more to me than my life' - Diego Rivera

'..You have mincemeat of the whole brood of painters' - Diego Rivera
close up of beadwork, Museo Frida Kahlo

Marie Kahlo and Gary Rivera

Rivera's pyramid

afterwards went for pizza here!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014


Pyramid in Tepoztlán 

    On the 2nd of January Marie and I, along with Fernanda and Phil (Amy stayed in Cuernavaca with her Mexican family who were more than happy to babysit) drove north to the Tepoztlán valley, about 25 km from Cuernevaca, to visit one of the strangest places I have ever seen. The town of  Tepoztlán occupies the floor of a lush valley walled in by bizarrely shaped mountains that don't quite look real. The town itself is steeped in legend and mystery and is close to the birthplace of Quetzalcóatl, the Aztec serpent god. The place is renowned for its homeopathic pharmacies, diets, massages and health food stores claiming all sorts of miraculous cures if you buy their products. Marie bought me some local honey tasting of pollen and grasses that was supposed to cure my cough and sore throat, among other claims, though it was another week before I started feeling better. But the locals swear the valley possesses mystical curative powers and who am I to argue. I don't need the curse of old Quetzal upon me. One of the things we wanted to do was climb up to see the pyramid at the top of one of the mountains. Rumour has it that if you touch the remaining stones of the pyramid you will receive some sort of energy from the universe, but it was too late in the afternoon to tackle the 2 km trek and we just didn't have the energy.... The market was in full swing though when we arrived and after eating in a small restaurant in the busy thoroughfare crammed with tourists from the big city we did a bit of souvenir shopping and took in the very crowded and colourful  food market, a dark cramped collection of tables and gas burners under a thick patchwork of multicoloured tarps. Outside on the street vendors sell all kinds of wonderful hand crafts including embroided shirts, wall hangings, wooden kitchen tools, wooden lamps, clay miniatures, jewelry, knitted hats, and everything else you don't really need. As well Fer insisted we stop at the famous (at least in Mexico for in truth I had never heard of it) Tepoznieves ice cream parlour...and we weren't disappointed! They serve over 100 different flavours including cactus and pineapple chili but I wasn't feeling too adventurous and settled with rum and raisin...or was it tequila and mango?...The entranceway to the market and between the chapel beyond is separated by an archway covered with pictorials uniting aspects of the pre-Hispanic, Christian, ancient and modern culture of the local people, all made up of over 85 different kinds of seeds. The images change every year, depicting the events of the year. Before we left Marie found a tortilla warmer and I bought that very special and inexpensive fridge magnet I had flown 5000 miles to find. Then it was back to Cuernavaca for one last night before heading back to the capital and our last few days in Mexico. gws

view from the village

Marie in the market looking for that special tortilla warmer

market and old buildings of Tepoztlán

view from restaurant in Tepoztlán 

Tepoztlán market

Tepoztlán archway

close up of beany archway

food market

in the market

weaving baskets in the market

narrow alleyway Tepoztlán