Saturday, March 24, 2018



Leaving El Moro Hotel, we drove a boulevard adjacent to the bay.  There is a Spanish name for this promenade of art work and I’ve forgotten it.

A quiet resort can just pop up overnight in this vacation paradise.

The statuary every block is what you might expect close to the water.

A seabird, dolphins, and so on.

Michal spotted stanchions.  “Oh, this place will be a mad house tomorrow. They are having some big art event.” I laughed because I am an art lover and Michal is not and will avoid such events.

La Paz has a Baleen Museum. A full whale skeleton sits outside the building.

La Paz has some beautiful old buildings. Michal wanted to find a Pier I store to look at furnishings for her new condo. But, those who gave directions were not clear enough for us to follow.

This church looked open but we didn’t tarry. She isn’t close to furnishing her place anyway,  so we moved onward toward Triumfo

Even Michal was shocked to see tourism has come to Triumfo. This beautiful brand new bar with a gorgeous courtyard, newly opened, beckoned. It was too early to drink. But we looked around.

There wasn’t a customer in sight.

The courtyard has a statue of a man and his donkey pulling an arastas that ground the copper ore out of the rock.

The remains of a copper smelting tower is visible through the bushes. It has been closed for many years.

Next to the bar, we saw a For Sale sign with an open house, “Private Residence.” The courtyard was beautiful with many flowers and rock terraces.

The house still had some of the original furniture, or the type of furniture used in its hey day. The owner was a wonderful man who lives in La Paz and is the great, great, grandson of the mine owner. It is his house that is now for sale.

It is a sweet little house.

It has layers of history and kept up with the times.

Within the last five years, a modern bathroom replaced  the old outdoor privy.

Small but comfortable.

The owner framed an authentic poster of revolutionary Pancho Villa recruiting gringos.

As we left the building to see his “guest house” and the well he told us still brings fresh water to the house, Michal pointed out the No Photographs sign. I didn’t see it. He just laughed and said, ” It’s okay. I know you have no ulterior motive.”

All around the well are rusted tools and artifacts  from the mines. We looked deep into the well. It showed water about 15 feet down. He said the water is about six meters deep. A metal  bucket is still attached to the winch, but he has installed a pump and the old oaken bucket is long gone. What an interesting neat place.

He shared with us a copy of an early Harper’s Magazine that mentions the mine and his great, great, grandfather. If your interested, this unique place is for sale.

His guest house was just as interesting as the house.

Some of the original adobe that covered the bricks to reveal what it was like before he restored the building now decorate the wall. He and his wife are Italian.

Some of the roads in town are paved, or cobbled.

The original entrance to town shows a packed sand road with a line of old palm trees.

A sand road in front of a modern little school building.

The older houses are small. Palm roofs do not leak but it takes an old time expert to do them correctly. The hot sun prevents them from decay and they last for many years.

We have no idea what the mural is conveying, but it is quite interesting. A cow, an ore car, a pick and shovel an Indian and this interesting face of a leader, perhaps. No town brochure tells the story.

Some streets are unoccupied and only rubble remains of the hand-made brick buildings.

Everywhere we drove could be heard the chirping of wild birds among beautiful flowers. Triumfo once housed 3000 people.
We continued our drive through the mountains South toward Barriles and suddenly my program refuses to load pictures. I’ll have to get help and finish this post later.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Michal Houston drove the long haul to San Carlos for whale watching at Magdalena Bay.  The new roads have shoulders and are all paved. Quite an improvement from the "old" days. Still it is typically an all day drive at 300 miles from Cabo. We left early and stopped at Constitution for lunch, a small town with a passable lunch. The truck drivers on the road flash their lights if they see an open range area where cows, donkeys or goats are on or near the road.  We made many slowdowns for open range areas. Drivers in front of you can see high above the curves and signal you to pass even if it is over the double lines. The truckers are especially helpful and courteous. It was a fast and in my chicken-sh** opinion, with foot pressed hard to the floor, a: will-I-live-through-it drive? Michal drives these roads all the time and she averaged seventy mph on the open road.

We arrived at the hotel late and ate snacks for dinner. It had a cold shower and barely flushable toilet, but rustic doesn't bother me. Neither of us had breakfast the next morning.

Enrique, our boat driver, took us about one hour out and we saw baby whales feeding with a few mothers.

The babies have grown and feed on their own in this deep water area where plankton is plentiful. You can see the small eye on this baby.

At times there were three boats all trying to follow a single whale and their numbers were pretty scarce. You can spot them because they leave a light blue slick on the surface of the water. Then, of course, they come up behind you the next time.
Enrique suggested boating another hour and twenty minutes out to the end of the sheltered Bay of Cortez where the water is shallow. He said we would most likely see a lot of whales this late in the season feeding on small shrimp called krill.

And we did see hundreds of whales. This is a relatively small whale compared to others we saw.

About one and one/half times the length of our boat, this whale and others are constantly diving and eating. Michal was hoping, as in a past trip timed earlier in the year, the whales would rest on top of the water and come close to the boats where she and her guests could pet them. Described by others as a once in a lifetime experience.

Cruising close to the boat is a thrilling experience. But by the time you get the camera in position, all you see are the barnacles on its back.

True to his promise, we could look all around us and see twenty to thirty whales at a time feeding, blowing, diving. My camera records in seconds, but the dive took a nano-second and all I got was the tail sinking back into the beautiful blue waters.

Rising high out of the water, the eye as big as a saucer looked right at me. A huge whale. My camera managed to get the nose as it disappeared into the deep.

When they surface and descend, they rock your boat, but even so, we never felt in any danger from the mammoths of the deep.

Visible on the back is a set of spikes. It is so much fun to watch them breach.

On the return trip from approximately 28 miles out, we pulled in to a peninsula  full of birds for a bano stop. The wind came up and made the return trip choppy and Michal claimed this was her last trip. I thought how brave of her to take friends whale watching. She said her other trips were not like this.  The wind burned my eyes under my glasses and they were swollen and reddened and bruised. After miles of bone jarring travel the boat jerked and I twisted my knee painfully.  I'm now wearing a knee brace that immobilizes my knee joint. Enrique apologized for the rough ride. He doesn't control the wind. We were out six and one/half hours. And, despite the rough ride back to shore, whale watching is a thrilling experience and I would have done it again.

We ate dinner at Alcatraz, an outdoor dining room surrounded by palm trees.  We talked with other whale watchers that entered the bay from a different point and hurriedly got on the road headed home.

Michal drove to La Paz and we checked into the El Moro Hotel, a place she and her husband, Sam, often stayed. They were boating people and watched this place change from a few rooms and a pilapa to a beautiful, luxurious hotel. La Paz means peace and the whale's tail with the arch welcomes you into the city that has seen the same major growth changes as Cabo.

There were only two rooms available in the hotel and we quickly checked in, kicked off our shoes, enjoyed a drink on the patio before dinner. What was really funny is our lovely room, with a beautiful full service kitchen and living room contained a queen sized bed. The only other room was next to the back side of the building with no view of the beautiful grounds and up two flights of stairs. We decided we could share the bed. Years ago,  Michal and I traveled to China together. We were leaving our cruise ship and it was a long bumpy, dirty drive to our next destination. When we arrived late in the day, we were assigned a room with a queen sized bed. It happens because of the way she spells her name, more like Michael than the common spelling for Michelle. We were tired and dirty and decided we'd change rooms the next day.

It turned out to be a beautiful, warm and balmy evening at El Moro.

We sat at an outdoor table. I ordered a white fish that was served on a bed of quinoa with fresh spinach, sage and herbs with fresh pineapple. It was absolutely delicious. Maybe different types of quinoa grow here because the kernels resembled garbanzo beans and Michal speculated that their English translation might be wrong.

A youngish couple sat next to us and their son serenaded us with his ukulele. He seemed to enjoy practicing his English which was quite good.

I'm not much of a dessert eater, but Michal ordered a decadent chocolate cake with two spoons. Then, as a car pulled up next to the outdoor deck, she hollered over to some English speakers. "Free chocolate cake."  This tall fellow came in and chatted with us. They were Canadians. He got a to-go box and went happily on his way with a half a piece of half eaten chocolate cake. Michal has such a playful personality and she flirts with every dog and cat she meets no matter where we are.

In the morning, at breakfast, we ate inside. We couldn't help but admire the ingenuity of this planter that drips water from top to bottom and works in a narrow space. Breakfast was wonderful and more than I could eat.

More, tomorrow.

Sunday, March 18, 2018


I had the pleasure of visiting my friend, Michal Houston in Cabo San Lucas for a week.  On the way home from the airport, Michal stopped at Santa Carmela to pick up her cat at Annie Brogdon's house. I'd met Annie on an earlier visit to Cabo probably 2oo3..? We couldn't remember the year.

She had a lovely dinner of pork roast, creamy buttered potatoes and a delightful salad waiting for us. In Mexico, fresh strawberries are available and we had strawberry shortcakes for dessert. Michal's cat didn't want to go home, however.

The cat gets the run of a real yard at Annie's. So, Michal left the cat for a second week since she was hosting me with plans for an overnight at Magdalena Beach to see the whales among other things.

As we drove the rest of the way to town, I was stunned by the wall to wall buildings. Hotel, after hotel. Huge shops, a Costco, Walgreens, Walmart, like a mini America.  You could not see the water anywhere. Nor was she in her former house, a three bedroom house with three little tilapas  she and her husband occupied and rented part time since 1994. It sat up the hill in the Pedrigal and we walked down to the village which consisted of several bars, an old church and three or four restaurants and small adobe houses.  The main activity was marlin fishing. Cabo was advertised and considered the Marlin fishing capital of the world. From her windows, we saw plenty of boats going out in the morning and returning at mid-day to weigh the catch. We tried to get a boat to share, but we were unable to wangle a deal. I snorkeled from the beach away from the marina while Michal enjoyed the sun for an afternoon. It was heavenly. Margaritas and food were cheap and plentiful. People friendly and very little traffic. It was so much fun.

Michal and I traveled together to China. She likes to sleep in and I'm an early riser/exerciser. I'm up and had fixed myself breakfast before she showed up. She catches up with whatever on her computer while I took pictures around her 3200 square foot, 3 bedroom 4 bath condo she is renting for six months. It came furnished. But, the condo fees are $700 a month and electricity and water are very expensive in Cabo. The unit she is in has an HOA. The members voted down the proposal for a desalinization system because members didn't want to up-front the $2500 per unit because if they sold, the new owner would get the loan money back, instead of the original owner. You can see the bottled water on her counter.

She has a long deck that is entered from the dining room and all three king sized bedrooms.

From the deck you can enter a negative edge hot tub. Each of the 17 units has their own hot tub and deck.

Straight down, beneath her deck is a piece of almost bare land next to the old Catholic Church on the left.

To the right is a pool and a couple of buildings. The Mexican family that owned this piece of property that was once "in the middle of nowhere" were smart enough not to sell. They have their small house and developed enough of their land with a pool, a parking lot and a rental building. They still raise chickens and live a simple life. So every morning I awoke to roosters crowing and chickens cackling after laying their eggs. I found it charming.

The furnishings are very Mexican in flavor.


And, large, like the house.

A Mayan calendar.

I especially liked this bedroom painting of a young Mexican girl.
Michal drives the narrow streets that are now  one way streets, to accommodate the increased traffic. At a marina restaurant, we met with about 30 of her friends. A couple of people I had met previously were there.

I must have been hungry because I took a picture of my food but didn't take any of the regular Tuesday Gringo gathering. They eat lunch and then adjourn to two smaller tables for canasta and single deck pinochle. My plate of chachaita tuna plate was excellent. I'm still not used to using my phone as a camera. and failed to take a picture of the group.

We walked along the marina and spotted Spring Breakers. Kids from the United States come to Cabo for spring break. It is such a feature they come all over from San Diego, Texas, New Mexico and walk around wearing as little as possible and have huge beach parties with way too much to drink.The girls get ogled a lot, but no one touches. The guys too, flaunt their stuff and can usually be seen carrying one or two drinks. We ran into them all over town. They are feeling a freshness and freedom from the restrictions they would face at home is the appeal. I didn't realize how popular it was until I saw posters advertising Spring Break.

The pier walkway used to be boardwalk, replaced by concrete bricks or cobbles. Michal wanted to reserve a boat for friends that are arriving in a couple of weeks.

The company is called Half Loco. Just a little craziness to be fun. A couple of guys were rinsing off their boat and squirting each other with the hose.

These cactus have been saved, but they were once free of all that concrete. They somehow manage to live.

Michal drove me to her new one bedroom condo. She is having it remodeled and we couldn't actually see inside. It is a unit on the 2nd floor. We visited the association office and I got to see pictures of it.

I took pictures of this walkway to the beach while she talked with the complex business people.

I loved this little outside bar. It was manned but no customers in the middle of the day.

The complex has a pool, tennis courts, a gym, and the usual amenities, but this place has a beach where people can enjoy the water more like her first home in the Pedregal.

The cactus will not be discouraged by the imported landscaping. True survivalists.

On the way home, we passed the small Catholic Church. You can see her rented condo up above in the background.

And next to it, the Mexican couple in the rented parking lot eating lunch with a rooster on the ground roaming free.
We spent the rest of the afternoon preparing for company. Michal loves to cook and we made cream of broccoli soup, twice baked potatoes, sirloin steak marinaded and pan seared rare with a fruity salad. I had a beer but everyone else liked wine. Her guests were Glen Moon, whose wife Sandra was in the States with their kids at the moment and Tibore, a gentleman I'd met previously, from Hungary. His wife  and two daughters live in the states and have citizenship. Though divorced, they remain friends.   Apologizing for not taking pictures must be annoying, and I'm annoyed that I didn't. The camera is easy to forget when you are having fun and enjoying stimulating conversation. I went to bed stuffed from too much rich food in one day.

Continued tomorrow.

Monday, January 8, 2018


Great Britain and Denmark have made great strides in renewable energies. Both hope to get 50% of their energy from wind and solar by 2020. Denmark is close at 46.7%.  All over the world, the use of oil and coal is retreating and the hole in the ozone layer is getting smaller. Proof that we can affect climate with cooperation.

Climate change deniers in Florida, anyway, have to consider that iguanas are falling out of trees because they’ve become so cold in Florida’s unusual 40 degree weather.

In Canada, imposing a 5 cent tariff on lattes and offering people the option of reusing their cup is helping reduce the problem.

The White House and many of our fearless leaders deny climate change, so we are on the road to offshore drilling for oil in the pristine Arctic. What is really so annoying about that type of drilling is there are thousands of land leases that go unused, but, shucks, why not drill in the Arctic instead.

I would have to posit, why not ban drilling until wind and solar have been fully developed and given a chance to live up to a better, greener, healthy world here. That is the American way.

Banning single use plastic is one of the single most effective ways of changing our world for the better. It will have to happen at some point and it looks like California is poised to do just that. We can hope.

Saturday, January 6, 2018


used of being a natural sh** stirrer. But I really think Democracy is still supposed to be "...for the people, by the people..."
Maybe that is quaint. But, geez, all I hear about is fake news vs real news.  Them against Us.  Why can't we make government work for everyone?
Jim used to say, "I listen to no news. It's all bad and I can't do anything about it anyway."
Segue to North Dakota, a state of ordinary people. A lot of down home farmers, raising their kids. Providing us with healthy food.
The issue was a 1932 law passed by the people banning non-family, corporate farm ownership. They wanted healthy, rural communities with sustainable agriculture practices.  Some clever Big Ag lobbyists and state legislators with the help of a corporate funded Governor decided to overturn that ban.
But the North Dakota Farmers Union recruited some progressive forces, and grass roots volunteers and got a referendum on the ballot last June giving the voters the final say.
The vote was loud and clear. 76% of North Dakotans rejected the corporate powers and restored the outright ban on corporate controlled farming.
Yahoo! David wins again!
Thank you Jim Hightower for bring that to my attention.

Monday, January 1, 2018


Hello friends. And, Happy New Year, 2018.

My resolution is to make 2018  a healthy and productive year. I’ve been missing from these pages and I miss blogging. In the past, it has been my habit to photograph Christmas cards and wish everyone a Merry Christmas. It is a bit late, and this Santa looks a mite sad about it, but the sparkle is still in the night air until the sun hits the street tomorrow and we begin our everyday life anew.
So, I’ll post a few cards and at the end, I hope I can remember how to make an album for you to view some beautiful  Christmas Cards. More people are sending letters or e-cards and I do too. But the days of the real thing are not over yet.





This one reminds me of the German Christmas Street Fair I went to a long time ago. I’ve forgotten what town.

This bear was not ready to wake up just because it was Christmas. The imaginative artists who draw Christmas Cards have my un-dieing admiration.
Then I made the cards into a Christmas tree.

Then I get to toss them and do another next year. I misplaced the key to my Christmas Storage shed and had no tree, nor lights to make Christmas bright this year.

I could have cut the lock but I was extremely busy and didn’t. The first time ever I have not decorated a tree or put lights up. But, my friend Karen gave me a table decoration and it, along with some Christmas music, made the season cheerful. Plus, Christmas at my son Ken’s, in Reno was a blast. I took pictures of that affair on my new android phone, but I haven’t learned how to get the photos into a blog-YET.
Now for the album:

I couldn’t remember how to do the album of 42 cards. I’ll call Jim tomorrow and have him “relearn” me for the next time.