Gabriel Goes To Asuncion
The truck was packed, we loaded up the cats, Tracy fed Gabriel, and off to Baja we went. It was about 5:15am when we finally left the house. My mom decided to follow us down as this would be her maiden voyage. We stopped at the border to pick up our FMT permits and were on the road by 6:08. Our plan was to drive all the way as we had done in the past but if we needed to we’d stay the night in Guerrero Negro. We left the door open as we weren’t certain as to how well Gabriel, Jack, or Cleo would travel. As it turned out, they all did fabulously. Gabriel was a dream and the cats were great, too. That is, after Jack peed all over himself and we let him out of his cage, he was fine.
We arrived here about 7:30pm or so taking our time on the drive. It was great to be back. I unpacked the truck while Tracy introduced Gabriel to our neighbors (Angela, Luis). It didn’t take us long to settle in but the cats were full of energy exploring the new digs.
We had a good night’s sleep and awoke a little more refreshed than expected. No sooner were we awake when the visitors started arriving to welcome us and visit Gabriel. Our friend Teresa invited us over for lunch and the food train began. Later, Lupita would drop by with some lobster ceviche. The food keeps coming….went to run errands and realized I had a flat. Guess we’d walk for now.
I’ve started slow on the projects. We had drywall installed in the small bedroom and painted as well. What a difference that made! I also started my weeding and tree pruning. I’m almost ready to start some painting projects but it’s been a bit warmer than normal so mas tarde for now.
We’ve been walking morning and nights. The new Bob stroller is awesome and perfect for down here. Gabriel loves it, too. He smiles and talks before falling into a deep sleep.
Well, that’s all for now. We’re off to Lupita’s house later for some fried lobster…yum!!!
What a great trip it’s been so far. Having the cats with us in addition to Gabriel has made our time here so rewarding. The cats are a big part of the family and leaving them home is always saddening. Their company is a welcome pleasure.
While there have been many highlights most seem to revolve around food and work. I’ve made a great deal of progress on the casita. Before our trip down Tracy and I try to make a list of things we want to accomplish and then shop accordingly. One day while at Lowes looking for paint, Tracy noticed some cans marked at $5 each. They were mistakes but we figured what the heck. We chose a couple cans and hoped for the best not necessarily knowing where we’d use them. As it turned out, both were great colors and a heck of a bargain.
One of the cans, I used in the kitchen. It turned out to be a dark ocean blue and worked well. I surprised Tracy on this project as she slept in. Her face was priceless as she walked into the kitchen for her morning tea. The other can of paint we thought was a dark red but turned out to be a deep purple. We used it on the planter wall. I definitely would not have chosen the purple color but am very pleased with it. Oh, we also planted a lime tree, roses, and some carnations along with some wild flowers which make a lovely contrast.
With the small room painted, we decided to use it for now as a storage room. Thus, I took the old wooden twin bed frame out to make room. After a long nap, I knew what I had in store for the bed frame. I would use one of the metal rails as a pole for the triangle shaped, sail-shade for the patio. With the wooden ends, I would attempt to make a picnic table. Tracy kind of looked at me funny when a I grabbed my drill and saw and headed outside. I started poking around the wood pile here and at my mom’s house and soon enough my project came to fruition. While it’s not the most beautiful table around, it has proven quite functional and sturdy.
It was also time to attack the decrepit closet in the main bedroom. When I first came down to clean the house out, this closet scared me. I had been putting off this project but was now up to the challenge. And, I wanted some place to hang up my clothes. The work itself shouldn’t be too difficult but one never knows down here how things might unfold. This project turned out to be straight-forward and easy. We know have a freshly painted closet with a light, shelving, and a place to hang out shirts now.
I also started laying some of the laja rock down that we are going to use for our patio. My buddy Juan is an incredible mason but has been incredibly busy fishing. So I thought I’d try my hand and practice a bit before we get to the real deal. It turned out well and I’m looking forward to working on the patio this week. In preparation, I started moving dirt with a five gallon bucket. I needed to build up one side of the patio. So far, I’ve brought in 45 buckets of dirt.
And finally, one of the most rewarding projects thus far has been some tile work I did in the front room. Grandpa Gary and Louise bought Tracy and I, a 2 by 3 ft. picture made up of 6 inch tiles. We weren’t sure where we’d put them until this trip. I first used some of the infamous blue paint for a backdrop below our little bar from the kitchen and then hung the tiles. The contrast is incredible and we couldn’t be any more pleased.
Besides working on projects, we’ve made our rounds visiting with friends. Each morning and most nights we go for long walks with Gabriel. We often don’t have any itinerary and find ourselves eventually chatting with a neighbor or friend along the way. It still amazes me just how friendly and warm the people are here. They love their village and are quick to say so.
Gabriel has had many firsts here as well. Yesterday, I went out with Juan, Kevin, and Herman to fish a bit. Oh no worries, we did our share of catching, too. We came home with plenty of yellow fin tuna and yellowtail. And I need to mention that we prepared ceviche with fresh lobster on the boat to regain our strength from reeling in the fish. But back to Gabriel, after cleaning our catch and sharing most of it with the neighbors, I suggested to Tracy we for a quick swim. She agreed so off to the beach we went.
We drove down on the beach and unfolded our chairs. I picked up Gabriel and we waded into the warm water. He was so excited with the sounds of the waves. I gently lowered his feet into the water and he was loving himself. We played for quite a while before heading home for fish tacos. So it appears Gabriel is going to enjoy his beach time from now on.
Today is starting off slow. The police are driving around making some announcements but no one seems too worried. I suppose I’ll grab another cup of coffee and make some banana pancakes…and then who knows…maybe take a nap.
The trip is quickly coming to an end and while I’m ready to get back to San Diego, I’m already missing our second home. We accomplished so much on this trip with regards to the casita but also found plenty of time to just relax.
We just finished up another project and that was to build another planter in front of the house. It turned out that our friend was too busy to install the front porch so we decided to go ahead with the planter. It is probably better that it happened this way as far as logistics.
We ended up hiring Jose Luis (whom we bought the place from) and his brother Felix to handle the cement and plaster work. They did an excellent job and we’ll definitely use them again. I’ll paint the planter tomorrow and then we’ll get some top fill dirt from the riverbed. I already filled it about 3/4ths of the way with fill dirt from behind the casita. I also put down some cinder blocks to help level out the patio. Slowly but surely we’re getting where we want to be with the patio. Next, we plan on building some sort of trellis for shade as well as planting grapes on the western planter.
A few days ago, we packed up Gabriel and drove up to San Roque. There is a great road used by the vigilancia heading to the north that I’ve seen from the ocean many times. We jog/hiked about 3 miles out on this road, had a nice lunch with a seal playing in the surf nearby and jogged back. This area is some of my favorite around with beautiful vistas and lovely, hidden beaches around each turn. We agreed that this will be a common path for our runs.
Another project that I’m glad to have completed was framing out the new windows on the interior. I had to get creative as I didn’t have any materials and thus cut some 2 x 4s in half and used them. I did the best I could considering the uneven lines on the drywall and the crooked wood. Tracy is happy with the results and that’s what’s most important.
The food barrage continues on….Naty and my mom invited us over last night for some lobster ceviche. It was a bit different than what we had on the boat but just as good. It was a great evening sitting outside under the full moon. Outside of getting a nasty cut on the back of my leg somehow, it was a perfect evening. A few days earlier, Lupita surprised us with a plate of fish tacos and a plate of enchiladas. This is all in addition to the food I’ve been cooking up. Today, I cooked up some pasta and red sauce and surprised Lupita. It’s a good thing we like to eat.
We’ll slowly start to pack up and head out early Monday morning. We won’t be taking much home so it should go quickly. Saying goodbye to all of our friends here is what will take some time. It’s hard to describe just how welcoming our community has been to us. In fact, Jose Luis and Felix, our neighbors, are calling me Zac Robles, in other words, I am a brother to them and a part of the family. It’s a good feeling especially when I think of the values and traditions that Gabriel will experience. We have found our little bit of paradise and life is good.
November 18, 2008
We arrived back home in San Diego last night about 6:30pm. It’s always nice to walk in our place after a long trip. It’s easy to take things for granted and we’re reminded that we have a wonderful home north of the border as well.
The last few days of our trip were incredible. We drove up to San Pablo for a lobster fry and beautiful sunset. Tracy and I are officially over lobster for quite some time. When we got back to our place from San Pablo, our neighbor came running over shouting that we needed to come over to his house. We walked over and we amazed with what we saw. Turns out, they caught a 100+ kilo black sea bass! The thing was huge. They caught it north of San Pablo, fighting it for over 2 hours on 40# test. It was fun to share in the excitement.
On Sunday morning, Tracy and I got an early start working on the patio and yard. We moved a bunch of rocks and replanted the new planter. Tracy also got creative and painted two old washer bins that we were using for planters. By noon we had finished and were delighted with the results. We celebrated with a champagne brunch.
Later in the day, we took Gabriel down to the beach for a final swim of the trip. It was a perfect day in Bahia Asuncion with warm water and no wind. My mom happened by and we all played in the water. What a perfect ending to a perfect trip. (Unfortunately, the perfect ending wasn’t so perfect. We later found out that our friend Naty was killed the night before in a car accident and Tia Lupita’s best friend was innocently shot in a drive by shooting in El Rosario. Our sympathies and thoughts go out to all those affected.)
Until the next adventure….