Semana Pasqua

We are half way thru the second week of Easter, or, as they call it here, Semana Pasqua, which means the Easter holidays are drawing to a close.

I cannot describe the crush of people who come to Puerto Vallarta during this time.  Here, in Riviera Nayarit, our beaches go from something that normally looks like this

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to this

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There is almost an electrical charge in the air as the mood in the entire bay shifts to a slightly happier albeit busier plane.  Yes, it is true, traffic picks up, or grinds to a complete halt, depending on how one wants to view it and that table at our favourite restaurant may not be quite so easy to get.   There are waits at gas stations.  Grocery stores tend to be out of a few, (or a lot of!) things.   You know, all the stuff one would normally associate with the sudden influx of an enormous amount of people.   Think Summer Rental with John Candy.

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Visitors to the bay, naturally, are all in high spirits.  They are on vacation after all.  As locals, we have learned to embrace rather than dread the crowds knowing that they are helping our economy perk along.  (Though, I must admit I have found it easier to embrace the crowds when we make sure to have purchased anything we think we might need in advance).

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We were blessed again this year, to have had a full house over Easter, and our guests truly appreciated our quiet oasis after a full day of being entertained by all that Vallarta has to offer.

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Today, our Easter guests have all headed back to Guadalajara and Mexico City and the house is quiet, for a few minutes, while we are in between check-outs and check-ins.

I can say with certainty that since we started in this business, life has never been dull, and without exception, the people we have met are exceptional!  The season will come to an end in a few weeks and we will spend the summer doing the usual maintenance, getting ready for what is already shaping up to be an even busier season than this year.

 

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The Journey to Casa Madera – Technology and useless twits….

A couple of months ago our Facebook fan page, www.facebook.com/CasaMadera started to get likes from a lot of people we did not know.  We have found over time that this does happen sometimes but we can generally follow the trail as to how they found us.  A friend, relative or a surfer who saw a picture of great looking food.

This time we could not discern where they came from.  However, we liked seeing the amount of likes go up higher so we did not think too much about it.

We are not techies.  I have enough computer intelligence to get by but if things go south I am screwed.

I had just arrived back in Canada at the beginning of September for a visit when Heather, who was still at home, let me know that people were not able to access our website.  They were being redirected to either Google or a page full of Malware.  Now there is a great way to get clients!  Infect their computer.

This needed to be fixed.  I went to work and did what I could but it was not much as I had absolutely no idea what the problem was or where to find it.   We contacted our web designer to see what he could do.  He got the page working again and with people clearing their recent history the page was loading and operating correctly.  Yay!

Then last week it was happening again.   This time however I could not even get into the files, it was redirecting so quickly.  I contacted the host who were very helpful and deleted the appropriate files.  The website was working again except for a couple of minor glitches which I could fix.

An hour later, it was redirecting again.  I put in another support request and one more time they cleared the files.  The website is still working correctly but the source files need to be updated.  This involves a lot of stuff that should wear the brain of this useless twit out.   I could ask our tech to do it and pay the fee but I am stubborn.

I have to for the same reason people climb mountains.  Because it’s there.  Technology is not going away and it is Heather’s and my lifeline.  Most of what we do here revolves around the computer.   We look for clients on the computer.  We see the grandchildren on the computer.  We keep in touch with family and friends on the computer.

And for that reason I have to fix the website issue myself.  If I can do it, then it is one hurdle that the technologically challenged (aka useless twits) won over todays youth.  The question is can I get this old brain over the hurdle.

And the questionable Facebook likes, we deleted them all.  I cannot help but figure they were involved in this somehow.

The Journey to Casa Madera – I said I wanted A cat!

March 7, 2012 – We had to go to Costco the other day to pick up new glasses and supplies for Casa Madera Bed and Breakfast.  It’s funny, a year ago our supplies at Costco generally involved items we could not buy anywhere else and were limited to foods and wine with the purchase every 6 weeks of dog food for Alexa.

We never bought cat food at Costco.  Zorro was fussy and Costco did not carry Whiskas, the only brand he would eat.  The other problem was the large bag would probably go rancid before Zorro would eat it all.

Zorro, the coolest cat I know.

Now for the first 6 months we had him we did buy the cat litter at Costco but we soon found that he stopped using the litter box and used the jungle.  Typical male, the whole world was his bathroom.

We did not complain about that aspect of Zorro’s existence as it was one less item to clean up and 20 bucks we did not need to spend every 8 weeks or so.  Oh how things have changed…..

July 8, 2011 – My annual trip home to Alberta to see my kids, Allison and Brendan and my granddaughter, Elizabeth.  Always a joyous event to see the kids and to spend time with them.  As always when I go home in the summer my brother Alan, his son Jonathan, Brendan and I journey out into the foothills of Alberta to go fishing.

Well that’s what we call it anyway.  Many would wonder if we actually do any fishing as we rarely come home with any fish but do come home with a fair amount of empties.

This year we made a change to the trip due to high water levels where we normally go and headed out to Jarvis Lake outside of Hinton and spent the weekend camping with Heather’s brother, Neil and her brother-in-law, Denis.  The fishing was no different from normal and we were still having a good time.

It was on Friday afternoon while we were sitting around shooting the bull and enjoying the sun when Neil while checking his Facebook said “hey you have 4 more cats”.  Oops I was not supposed to tell you that.

Lluvia the one and only female

Cats??  What do mean I have 4 more cats???  I can’t wait to hear how Heather could get 4 cats.  I had only been gone for 4 days!

Esperanzo - The Union Leader

It seems that the night before it was absolutely pouring rain as it is apt to do in Nuevo Vallarta in rainy season when Heather heard Alexa making strange noises and pawing at the garage door.  When she went down to investigate she saw a little paw coming under the door.

Blanco - trouble with a capital T!

Now a lot of people at that point would have ignored it and went back upstairs.  However, Heather is not like a lot of people.  She opened the door and into the garage ran 3 kittens.  Well this was a bit of a shock, especially for someone who never wanted a cat.  They were all over her and Alexa.  It was then she made that fatal mistake…..she took them upstairs.

Dulce - he is "special"

Kittens are cute.  Even when they are ugly, they are still cute so I understand the pull to protect them.

It was raining, hard.  This brought Zorro home.  He was not impressed to see the little things in his house so this was a problem.  Heather put them into the library where the door could be closed, added some litter to Zorro’s litter box and gave them food and water while the big mean adult male sat outside the door and tried to figure out how he would get in to deal with them once and for all.

The next morning a girl who would walk a couple of dogs for her neighbour yelled up that she saw something strange over on the other side of our neighbours house.  Heather went down so she could show her what it was.  And there laying in the sodden dirt was one very wet and looking dead black kitten.  Apparently there were 4 kittens not 3.

The kitten was covered in muck, flies and eggs.  Apparently it was dead.  Heather went back to the house and called the Vet.  He said to try a little food around its nose and see if it responds.  He was already coming out to have a look at them and deflea them but it would be an hour or so before he got there.

Heather did as suggested and went down with some wet cat food on her finger and waved it in front of the kitten’s nose.  CHOMP.  The kitten was very much alive but weak.  However it still managed to break the skin and cause a little bleeding.  So Heather picked it up and brought it to the house.

Kitty armour

The Vet examined the kittens and made sure they were good to go.  Heather made a trip to Mezcales to see the Doctor about her finger.  He told Heather that if the kitten dies it has to be brought in to be tested for rabies being as it bit her…..great, just what she needs.

Needless to say I was interested to see these little additions to the household when I arrived home a week later but I still did not want them.  I love cats but one cat was enough, we did not need any more.  Heather had been trying to give them away or find a shelter for them but the only one that might be able to take them wanted a $100.00 US a kitten.  400 bucks!  I don’t think so!  However, looking back…that would have been cheap!

It was two days before I arrived home that Heather made the largest mistake.  She named them.  Blanco, Esperanzo, Dulce and Lluvia.  They should have been known as 1, 2, 3 & 4, not real names.  Nope they had names.  I knew at that point that we now have 5 cats.  One whose main goal in life was to kill the other 4.

We still tried to find someone to take the cats.  No luck.  2 weeks after I got home Heather headed to Alberta for 2 weeks.  I put up posters, I posted on Craigslist.  I put them on various Yahoo group boards.  One phone call.  They wanted a fluffy cat.  Something these weren’t.  Why they would want a long-haired cat in Mexico I will never understand but its their furniture.

When I was not trying to give the kittens away, I was running interference, as was Alexa.  It became her duty to protect the kittens from that dastardly Zorro.  It was entertaining watch though I must admit I was getting tired of constantly keeping the kittens in the library when Zorro was in the house which became more frequent as he stalked the kits.

There were no takers on the kittens even after we had them sterilized and they got their shots.  All that happened was they wormed their way into our hearts.  That and they were great fun to watch.

It was early October and the break through was coming.  Zorro was becoming more tolerant.  He still had to be watched but more time was going by when they were all together before he attacked one.   It was apparent that in about a week the worse would be over and they should all be able to live in peace.  He was starting to play with them and it was not all aggressive, we could hardly wait.

If you are going to be around me you must be clean!

It was a couple of days after that when Zorro did not come home.  We called for him constantly but nothing.  He always answered when he was within earshot.  There was no trace of him anywhere.  Last time I saw  him he was walking across the downstairs hallway by the pool with a lizard hanging out of his mouth, his favourite non Whiskas snack.  We don’t know and never will know what happened to him.  It still makes me sad.  He was a really cool cat and we miss him a lot.

We miss you more than you can imagine!

Now we have 4 cats.  They are growing like weeds and are no end of entertainment though I have to say I never thought a king size bed would be too small!

Are you sure we can't go up there?

The standard Costco shopping trip now consists of: a big bag of cat litter(every 2 weeks), a big bag of cat food(every 3 weeks), a big bag of dog food (every 6 weeks) and maybe some cheese….to go with our whine…..

You know, you kids are really starting to piss me off....