Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Fish Tale

I must apologize for being lackadaisical about the blog lately. We're in between adventures, and I'm not particularly inspired with any new photos or tales.

Yesterday, we realized if we were going to take advantage of our frequent flier miles to score a free ticket this winter, we needed to act. We'd been on the fence for a few months trying to decide on a new destination. We're not abandoning Isla Mujeres by any means since we're headed there for a month in mid-November, but we feel the urge to explore more. So, we decided on Belize for our February trip. I've been captivated by the photos on a blog listed on my sidebar -- Picture Belize, by AJ Baxter. Once we get back from our September trip to Florida, I'll start cementing our plans. Right now we're thinking about spending time in multiple destinations -- Ambergris Caye, Caye Caulker, and Placencia.

All this planning made me think about some favorite moments from our travel to Yelapa last year. Yelapa had an air of innocence and eagerness about it that was so refreshing. For example, the first afternoon we arrived after dropping our bags at the house, we started walking the village trying to find our way to the town waterfall. As we passed the lower bridge down by the beach, a young boy who was fishing in the stream eagerly yelled, Are you lost? What are you looking for? Can I show you the way?

Before we could even answer, he was out of the stream and by our side. He ran up the path leading us through all the turns until we were headed in the right direction. Before we had time to offer him a few pesos and thank him, he was running back down the path with a smile on his face. A few days later, he discovered us searching for Tacos y Mas. Once again, the smiling boy ran ahead to show us the way, then quickly skipped back to where he came from. I wish I had a photo of him to post! If you've ever visited Yelapa, I bet you know him!

Yelapa is also the kind of place where waiters eagerly bring out the fresh fish for show and tell when you're looking at their menu. We had just settled into chairs one day at a palapa on the main swimming beach when this eager man dashed out to show us his fresh fish. We weren't hungry since we'd just consumed breakfast burritos, but ended up ordering guacamole and chips just because the waiter was so eager to please us. We also ate a piece of chocolate coconut pie purchased from atop the Pie Lady's head, but that's a whole 'nuther story!

I need to add, when the property manager was helping us wheel our bags down the cobblestone path to the main village pier the day we left, locals we'd never met sitting at the little tienda a few doors down bid us adios and eagerly inquired if we enjoyed our visit and would be returning someday. Ahhhhhh.

Cheers to all the eager friendly smiling faces of the world!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Daddy, I Drowned the Car

Speaking of vintage cars, I found this photo of my brother and cousin Jon last night. They're standing in front of my brother's classic Corvair convertible. It was a shiny black 1965 model with red vinyl interior and a white ragtop.

Long story short, I drowned this classic the first time I ever drove a car. I accidentally steered it into a flooded river backup area. It was a beauty, wasn't it?

I'll never forget the afternoon we had to come home and tell our parents I'd sunk the car. Bad scene! I think my mother's response was -- You're kidding me! If I remember right as we stood there dripping mud into the white carpet, my brother yelled -- Does it look like it!!!

My cousin Jon with my brother in front of the prized Corvair convertible.

My brother was two years older, so he took the brunt of the punishment for letting a 14-year old drive without a license. That was my first moving violation and I've never had a ticket since. When I do it, I go big!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

More Vintage Cars

I've said it before, but the Southwest has more old cars littering the landscape than anyplace else we've traveled. Some are just abandoned on properties alongside the highways, but all of these except the old black hearse appear to be street ready. I photographed these on our trip to Bisbee earlier in August.

By the way, I can't believe it's August 27! It's the time of year when I start getting excited because I see the light at the end of the fiery hot tunnel! I'm dreaming of cool evenings and mornings!

This old hearse was being used as a prop for a souvenir shop.

I'm guessing this car's a collector's since no one keeps a cab that shiny!

Since this one was parked in a downtown parking lot, it's still in use. Probably comes in mighty handy in them thar hills.

La Bomba's been around for a few years. I took a photo of it back in 2007.

Here's my favorite -- the rusty blue truck! Blue's my favorite color!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Sidewalk Hot Dog Grilling

I finally found my cheap airfare for our November trip to Isla Mujeres on Tuesday, so we're now starting to plan a sidetrip into the Yucatan during that month. Craig's latest obsession is scuba diving. He took a discovery class at a local outfitter here in Phoenix and can't wait to get started on his open water dive certification. He's now convinced to wait until Isla since diving in the blue Caribe has to be better than diving in a dirty lake here in Arizona. His first thought for a sidetrip was hopping a shuttle to Chetumal so he could catch a ferry to Ambergris Caye, but I think there's enough to see in Belize on an entirely separate trip.

A few weeks ago when I was browsing a book I gave Craig for Christmas back in 2004, I noticed a chapter on Izamal. The light bulb went on. I remember a friend telling me about a daytrip and how amazing the yellow city was. Craig wants to see Chichen Itza and Valladolid again, so we can spend a night in Valladolid and then head on to Izamal. Click on this link for a YouTube video.

Shortly after Izamal popped onto my radar, I noticed Yucatan Living also featuring a story and video (another link!) about the same destination! We might add in one more ruin or a visit to the Gulf coast on the way back to Isla. I'm not sure if the flamingos are in residence in late November/early December?

And finally, an explanation for the sidewalk hot dog grilling title! Craig's out doing yard work at the crack of dawn this morning. The heat of the Phoenix summer is finally getting to us. Good thing it's late August! Yesterday we met friends for a late lunch and emerged from the restaurant at 4 p.m. We're not normally out on asphalt that time of day. My first thought was you could definitely grill your hot dog on the parking lot pavement! We've been under an extreme heat warning this past week. The temps are under 115, but I think the warning must have to do with the combination of monsoon humidity coupled with the higher temps. Overnight low's aren't dipping below 90, so I'm skipping my bike ride this morning in favor of a swim in the pool!

I finally booked our oceanfront studio on Anna Maria Island for the end of September, so that's something to look forward to in three weeks or so. Yes, Florida will be a different kind of warm with humidity mixed in, but I can't wait to hear those waves lapping at the shore again! As far as I know, there's no seaglass in that area, but I'm hearing tales of a beach with shark's teeth and a lot of shells!

Can't wait to get back to the beach!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Equal Billing

Yesterday, Saby was just lying in her spot pouting. At one point, she even had her stuffed octopus with her. We couldn't figure it out until she finally fessed up to Craig. She was mad about that posting of the Isla Sourpuss yesterday. She wanted equal billing!

So . . . I finally agreed to post her bathing beauty photo shoot from a few weeks ago.

Whadda ya think? Is it me?

Seriously, does this make my butt look big? Back too hairy?

Put a beret on her and she looks a little like Gadhafi? I think it's the sunglasses.

I know. The things I do to this dog! What amazes me is that she puts up with it and seems to enjoy it. She truly missed her calling!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Chicken Little

There's a woman on our block who is so negative, she can suck all the air out of a room in 60 seconds flat. Craig's nicknamed her the Buzz Kill!

We were on our second lap around the neighborhood circle yesterday when she came running d0wn the street to greet us. She wanted to let us know that our central air units on our houses are going to implode very soon. Two years max! (The houses on our street are not quite five years old.) If I didn't know any better, I would have been alarmed and believed her hook, line, and sinker, but I think we've met before?

After that good news, she then launched into her wash machine and dryer that she's having to replace after four years, and that somehow reminded her of -- Obamacare! Of course it did!

Oh God, here we go again . . . . I've heard many things from her like-minded friends in the neighborhood who also like to rant to strangers about it, but she had gleaned a new fact for us. Under the new healthcare bill, Medicare won't pay for any cancer treatment for anyone over the age of 72! I guess on the Fox News timeline, the denied cancer treatment falls right before Obama sends us to the Death Committee that enrolls us for automatic euthanasia at the age of 75?

Craig and I's eyes glazed over as Chicken Little continued her Obamacare rant. Fox is obviously gearing up for the 2012 elections! I have to add, she and the husband are both over 65 and have supplemental insurance, so they're in the wonder years compared to some of us Baby Boomers trapped in the post-career/pre-Medicare years where we're basically paying Cobra rates for our own lousy health insurance coverage.

Craig and I were both trying to pedal on down the street when she spewed out her next line -- You would know I'd be the one person in my family to live past their 50's!

Okay, it's not funny but it is! That, in a nutshell, epitomizes her entire outlook on life. That whole getting up in the morning and having to breathe breathe breathe thing is just such a bitch! Repeat after me dear -- life is good, life is good, life is good!

Friends of mine always joke about how the goal is NOT to get to know your neighbors! I see their point since we just witnessed Exhibit A!

I guess the moral of the story is . . . pedal faster! (And on that note, I'm off to take my bike ride before Buzz Kill wakes up!)

This tale of my friendly neighbor reminds me of this Isla sourpuss!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tourist Trap Alert!

We've passed through Tombstone, AZ three times before on the main highway and never stopped to see the sights. Actually, I have to amend that. Craig's driven through a lot more times than I have, and he's been up and down Front Street a few times, so he's always vetoed getting out of the car when we're headed to Bisbee.

And you ask, why would we even pull over in a tourist trap like Tombstone? I noticed Casa Paloma had Mexican imports and thought it might be the Jackalope of Tombstone, so we looked for a parking place. Unfortunately, the Cerrado never switched to Abierto.

The old Cochise County Courthouse actually houses some authentic artifacts.

Craig tried to get me to pose on this bench. I don't think so!

Here's Front Street in Tombstone. It's paved! Craig has the explanation since he actually dealt with some of these people when the street was dirt. The dust when it was still authentic was horrendous, so they paved it.

Stagecoach ride anyone?

The town is full of fake outlaws hanging about hoping to have their photos taken with the kiddies. We also saw a lot of characters in this part of Arizona who were groomed like Tombstone characters, but decided the tourist trap couldn't employ that many people!

The extras stroll the streets in their spurs and Old West getups.

In order to actually see the O.K. Corral, you have to pay the big bucks. Craig said it's not much, so we decided to skip it. Here's the historical link in case you missed one of the many movies.

We were hungry, but decided the O.K. Cafe might be a tourist trap with bad food.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Visit to the Shady Dell

We explored every nook and cranny in Bisbee this trip and discovered a side of town we never knew existed before. In the process of driving around, we found the Shady Dell, that retro trailer court I'd read about when I was hunting a place to stay. Unfortunately, it was closed up tighter than a tick, so I didn't get to peek inside the trailers. I'm guessing the owners were on vacation.

Love this sign designed to mimic a vintage postcard!

Dot's Diner was on my list of Bisbee restaurants to try, but it was also closed. Maybe next trip!

I wonder if my Bug could pull one of these cute little retro trailers? Don't think so. One of these would be a fun way to travel around the country. If only it had its own deluxe bathroom!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Bird Cage

When we were in Tombstone, Arizona on our way back from Bisbee, we took a peek inside the famous Birdcage Theatre. While Tombstone screams out tourist trap with fake cowboys, stagecoach rides, and souvenir stores, this building is one of the more authentic sites in the town.

The Bird Cage Theatre was a combination theater, saloon, gambling parlor and brothel that operated from 1881 to 1889 in Tombstone, Arizona at the heyday of the town's silver boom. At that time, it was known as one of the wildest night spots in the country.

The name was derived from the 14 cages located on two balconies on either side of the main room. The cages had drapes that were closed while prostitutes were with customers. The main room below included a stage and orchestra pit where live shows were performed.

I love the exterior colors of the building.

This old painting is Fatima, one of the Bird Cage performers.

The lobby held enough artifacts to keep me busy for awhile.

Some photos of the famous customers, including Bat Masterson, Doc Holliday, and Diamond Jim Brady, who passed through the Bird Cage.

We didn't get beyond the lobby with the bar since tours and performances weren't scheduled until later in the day.

While I'm not really into watching Western saloon variety shows, I wish there'd been a performance scheduled at the time so we could have toured the rest of the building!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Snarky Bits of Nothing

Since my laptop is still M.I.A. with a revised arrival date of 4:30 p.m. this afternoon,I thought I'd post a list of my most pleasant daily rants.

Rain already! Geez! Every evening the weatherman teases us with the location of the clouds and "When will we get rain in the valley?" Probably the twelth of never! This has been the summer of the giant dirt storms (those silly haboobs) with the exception of one short hard rain. Oh well. My luck, I'll attract a hurricane when we're in Florida in late September! After all, I am a tropical storm magnet.

Speaking of haboobs, some folks in Arizona got pissed because they said the local weathermen have given those dirt storms a name derived from the part of the world where Muslims live. Only in Arizona! (Where we now have an official state gun.)

What is it with these convertibles in the hot Arizona summer? Hello! It's 110 degrees. Every foray from the house, we see ejits with their tops down out cruising at high noon. A 110 degree breeze is like sticking your head in a 500 degree oven! I guess they're vying for the lobster face award? As my grandfather used to say, when the train arrived with the brains, they forgot to go to the station!

People! Do your exercising early before the temp hits 105! We recently sighted the neighbors out exercise-walking 2 miles from home at 2:00 p.m.! No hats, no sunglasses, no water bottles, and the temp was 109. (See the above wisdom from my grandfather.) To top it off, the man had on black socks halfway up to his knees with his short short gym shorts and the wife (referred to as Crazy Lady in the neighborhood) had on long black pants. What? No long-sleeved black hoodie? On a side note, this is the man a few months ago who called 911 and brought the cops to our door because he saw menacing junior high girls lurking behind our wall in the community park. We think he was pissed because the 11-year olds were hanging out in the spot where he normally stands to eavesdrop on us in the pool. I guess he's waiting for the swingers' convention to start? Strange rangers!

Seriously Miss Saby! At the ripe age of 13+, you're now digging holes in the backyard to hide bones? Do we not feed you enough? Suddenly, after five years, Saby in her old age has started digging up the backyard. I attribute it to her stays at Dog Bone Ranch. I think she's acquired some bad habits from other dogs! Or maybe the ranch just got her in touch with her primal self?

Please. We do not want to hear about your colonoscopy, latest trip to the ER, and the time you used the over the counter earwash and huge pieces of brown wax came out of your ears while we're eating at Rigatoni's! About the time our salads arrived, the people three tables away fired up. A couple with loud high-pitched voices started down the list of their latest medical adventures. I told Craig when we left, I should stop by and express my sympathy in person for the woman's bowels, his heart problems, and the son's ear wax. (I didn't. I'm all talk.)

I somehow managed to miss the ABC News piece on "How to Stop Mindless Eating" because I had my head in the refrigerator. What was that?

We finally updated to an HD receiver with our cable package. Last night Craig and I were hysterically howling during the 10 o'clock news. Seriously, we've got some strange-looking nuts in Arizona!

And then there's Blogger. Enough already. Fix it! None of the editing buttons on the Compose toolbar have been working since Saturday.

I really should do this more often. (But for your health, I should probably just keep my mouth shut!) Hopefully by tomorrow, I will return to normal -- whatever that is!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Cottages and Flowers

The latest update on my laptop shows it will arrive on Tuesday, so I'm excited about that! We switched to a faster internet connect, and I did a bunch of updates and disabled some toolbar items on the Samsung netbook that I rarely use, so it's now quite speedy! I'm glad I finally figured out the problems since I've had it for 8 months.

I've decided the place to buy laptops is Costco since their two year warranty is paying for my current HP laptop repair and a new battery at no charge. The laptop was still functional, but I decided to get it in tip-top condition before the warranty expires in November. Hopefully, this will extend its life for another two years. That's probably wishful thinking!

I found a few Bisbee files that hadn't been transferred to my laptop yet, so here are some more photos from our morning walks.

I liked this woman's pots. She appeared out of nowhere to find out where we were staying and give us a brochure for the room she rents.

I love the exterior colors on this cottage and the yellow adirondack chairs!

Pink and green cottage! When I was a child, other kids were allowed to pinch you if you wore pink and green. What the heck!

More shades of pink and green. Love the artifacts that hang on the walls!

Unlike the hot dry Phoenix area, Bisbee is in bloom! Love these sunflowers.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

San Sebastion Review

Since I'm without laptop and my photo files for awhile (the latest update says I'll get my machine back on August 23?), I'm going to give one of these slideshows another whirl. I know the format doesn't work for people who have Macs, but maybe someone will be able to access it? We'll see!

Craig and I loved this little daytrip to San Sebastion del Oeste. The drive into the mountainous countryside was amazing. When Gustavo finally got us all the way up that cobblestone road to the town (talk about hard on cars!), the village was like nothing else we'd seen in Mexico.

Back to the slideshow! Hope it works!

San Sebastion Travels Slideshow: Becky’s trip to San Sebastion del Oeste, Mexico (near Puerto Vallarta), Pacific Coast, Mexico was created by TripAdvisor. See another Puerto Vallarta slideshow. Create your own stunning free slideshow from your travel photos.

P.S. If the screen is just showing black, try clicking on this link. For some reason, Trip Wow slideshows don't like Blogger!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

More Wanderlust!

Craig and I have had two free tickets on Southwest just burning holes in our suitcases since last January. I originally signed onto their credit card because I needed the tickets for family emergencies in the Midwest. Since then our lives have changed. Craig retired, so we have the time to drive to and from instead of me flying by myself.

I tried waiting Southwest out hoping they would open that mythical flight to and from Cancun that I've been hearing about, but after doing some research, I realized my free tickets would expire before that ever happens. So we started mulling our options. We thought about flying into Seattle and meeting our son in Whistler, B.C. in late August, but he was already booked. California and Colorado were out because we can easily drive there. I originally looked at Florida, one of two states in the U.S. I haven't visited, but then dismissed it because Key West was the only destination I really desired and it's so pricey! We even looked at Maine in September, but can you spell arm and a leg?

The other day, I was perusing Southwest trying to think of a destination for these rapidly fading award tickets and I came upon a post on their forum. Anna Maria Island? Never heard of it, but people were raving about it! I googled it and are you kidding me? I didn't know Gulf of Mexico water could look like that! And the place appears to be very quaint and laidback, not to mention much more affordable than Sanibel or Key West.

After checking their online ticketing last night, I truly thought there was no way my two standard roundtrip award certificates would translate into two roundtrip tickets to Florida with their new points system, but wonders never cease.

Cue Eddie Money! We've got two tickets to paradise in late September! I even scored a full size rental car for a week for $130 including the tax! So far the tab is up to $145 for the roundtrip tickets and rental car. Smirk smirk. Now I just need to find that wonderful little beach cottage.

Anyone ever been to Anna Maria Island, Florida or thereabouts? These photos, of course, are not mine because I haven't been there yet!

They had me at pastel adirondacks and that white sand beach.

The shape of the island reminds me a little of you know where!

Even the color of the water looks oddly familiar.

I'll keep you posted! On a sad note, my laptop is going in for repairs today. A loud whining fan indicates it's overheating, and I'll also be getting a new battery in the process. I'll still have my netbook, but most of my photos are on the laptop, so my posting could be a little erratic for awhile!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The House of Art

This abode stands directly across from the dog bark fence in Bisbee, so I'm guessing the same artist could be at work? It's very interesting, but I need a translator. It's definitely a statement about the two sexes, perhaps some modern day takeoff on Adam and Eve? (You've got the nude female and one side and the male on the other with the garden flower in between.)

This female is obviously not allowed to speak.

While this princess seems to be caged.

And our Eve looks like she's given birth to a litter.


And Adam has skulls (symbols of death?) at his feet. Actually, I'm now looking at this male and noticing a crown of C.D.'s (crown of thorns?) on his head. Could he represent Jesus?

Interesting, but what the heck!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Bisbee Walkabout

We love our morning walks in Bisbee. Number one -- the route is up and down hills at a higher elevation, so it's great exercise. Number two -- it's reasonably cool, unlike Phoenix this time of year. And last but not least, there's something unusual to look at around every corner!

We catch a great view over the town as we make our way up the hill.

A naked lady in the window!

Beer cap mosaic design on this door. (Now I know what to do with those caps that someone keeps flipping into my silverware drawer.)

I multi-task, shopping while we walk. These bolsas were $4.00. Sold!

Wall murals all over town!

Okay, this piece of art is amazing! The Hillary car. This person is obviously a fan!

The international sign for don't pee on my wall?

And what a sight! A woman was walking her pet goats to town. They stopped to munch on roadside greens while she waited patiently.