TUESDAY 12TH PENZANCE : DAY 3

          I woke early after tossing and turning with stuffy nose and congestion so decided to take a taxi to a Chemist and get real medicine.  I found one that opened at 8 am so I had breakfast and a taxi waiting at 7:45 .  Just as I was getting ready to go David came in the Restaurant so I told him my plan…he said we don’t leave until 9:45 so you got plenty of time.  On the way in the Taxi I got a call from David to pick up some other things for a lady but I can’t hear so he texted me and I asked him WHAT things. He called again as I was leaving the Chemist and since I can’t hear I took the phone to her, she gave me some alcohol wipes for insulin injections and I delivered it after paying $25 pound cab fare.  My meds were 7 pounds so I didn’t care.

QUEEN ELIZABETH AIR CRAFT CARRIER
DAVID, OUR LEADER, ARRIVING FOR BREAKFAST

 I packed up and  was on my way down stairs to check out when one of our members asked what are you doing ?  We don’t leave for another day…so I unpacked , took my Meds.
       Mark Camp joined us as a guest tour guide.   I stayed on the bus during our first stop which involved going to a mini St Michael like in Chartres France. They hiked to the Mount at low tide then climbed up to the Chapel.

           It was getting close to lunch so I figured they would all return and we would go somewhere with some free time to have lunch.  Well they did go to lunch while I was on the bus.  So now I haven’t had lunch and everyone did and we were off to a new location touring Cornwall.
      We have been traveling back roads as much as possible and have the added advantage of being in a bus.  This gives us a better view as the Hedge rows along side of all the roads block the view if your in a car.  The roads are extremely narrow in places and every now and then we have to back up to make way for oncoming traffic and visa versa.  The days are filled with sites to see and things to do with very little free time for personal needs…like this blog, or finding a pharmacy, and sleeping in…other than that, the trip has so far been delightful.  We are getting to know each other more personally as the the days wear on.
       Mark took us to The Merry Maidens and Lanyon Quoit.  The Merry Maidens was one of quite a few ancient stone circles in the middle of this ancient land …in a field.  No one really knows why they were put there and to what purpose.  Maybe to worship, communal get together, preparation for war, to honor the sun gods, etc.

Then we visited an abandoned Tin Mine where the PBS Series Poldark  was filmed. I saw the first series in 1978 and loved it.  The new one, I never got started on.

Mark took us to Quoit Lanyard, another rock arrangement similar to  Stonehedge but smaller.

We did our first Photo at the lowest point in the UK…Land’s End.for our “Start” photo by the sign.(which I missed because I didn’t hear the meeting time).

Land’s End was a bit touristy but beautiful coastal views and as an added bonus, I got to see Stonehenge on our return to Penzance.

Not bad for photo from the bus.  We stopped in St Ives before Penzance for a few photos.


..then dinner at the Thai restaurant again…soooo   good.

Tomorrow….to Bristol…

MONDAY THE 11TH JUNE DAY 2 Exeter to Penzance via Torquay, Plymouth, & Fowey

         Woke this morning and knew I needed Medicine for this cold. Had to leave at 9:30 so no time to look around Exeter.  We visited another Coastal town , Torquay, on the Corwall Rivera for a one hour walk about.

I headed for the Chemist and asked for decongestant.  Do you have High Blood Pressure…yes…well she came around the counter and pointed at Cough syrup.  I protested but no decongestants with HP.  So I took the cough syrup and joined back with the bus tour.
           Later we visited Plymouth where our Pilgrims departed for Plymouth Mass on the Mayflower.

Having lived in Plymouth Mass it was deja vous.  I visited the Plymouth Gin Distillery and had a Ramen soup and rejoined the group.

         Later we stopped in Fowely and had to walk down to the village.  Kenny and I were debating because of the walk back up with our poor health.  We went down but I noticed a Fowely Bus that would take me back to where our bus was parked.

     I hopped on and as I was getting  off at the car park, our bus was departing for our pick up point.  I waved to Jimmy but he was busy driving and didn’t see me.  No problem, as it was a short distance to the pickup point and downhill.  I started down then lost my bearings on the narrow streets and took a wrong turn and ended up below our bus stop.  Now I was worried as I had to struggle  back up the hill and my legs started cramping.  Stress came on and with it a need to have a bowel movement.  There was a Hotel a short distance from the point ….do I go there or try and make the bus and use there toilet.  I could not go further and ran in the bar…where is the toilet…she pointed and I was on the toilet almost in the nick of time.  Well it wasn’t too bad  but had to clean up a real mess on my  backside.  The bus, just 50 yards away, left while I was  doing that.
       When Great Tour started a couple of days ago, one of the group decided to wash her clothes in the sink and let it run slowly so the water flowed out the overflow drain while she…our eccentric but very nice sister of the Prime Minister of Singapore…Wae Ling Lee.  But without noticing, her clothes floated up and clogged the drain.  This caused an overflow on to  the floor until the room was flooded while she showered.  The water came through  the ceiling and down into the next room.
       Then while traveling in the bus, Jimmy, our bus driver made a tight turn that removed the side mirror off a parked V.W.  Now it was my turn.
       The bus left without me.  I called David on my phone but got a message to try later.  I texted him and got back…I told you 4:30 and we waited but… would you like help getting to Penzance??  It was 4:45 so I figured he would quickly return.  He texted me directions to return to the hotel ,where I experience my accident (coincidentally called the Safe Harbour) and catch the 5:15 bus to St Austell train station then take the 6:40 train to Penzance and a taxi to the hotel Beachwalk.
        I got to the hotel/bus stop at 5 pm and the Manager said I could pay the driver.  She showed at 5:15 and dropped me at the Train station at 6:20.  I got my ticket but the train was running late.

   Still I arrived at 7:45 in Penzance and went to the Thai restaurant next door to eat where others were still browsing the menu.  I got my wine and ordered before they made up their minds what they wanted.

Kenny looked around and they were all surprised to see me sipping my wine at another table.  My cold was getting worse and didn’t want to join them. The meal was lovely and I met the owner and he showed me pictures of his child bride.  He was married in full Thai dress wedding in Bangkok with her family.  She was the chef.  They had opened 12 years ago and were very successful.
          David had my bags in the room for me.  I had a drink with him and Jimmy our driver then crashed in to bed.

1ST DAY UK SOUTH TO NORTH: WELLS,TOR,GLASTONBURY ABBEY, & EXETER

    Finally started our UK tour today.  I dragged myself down to the White Hart Hotel to meet the group for the first time and board the Bus.  Kenny, that I had dinner with last night was in similar condition…lack of sleep.  I had 6 hours.  We loaded the bus and bit by bit I met everyone…some I knew from the trip to Korea.  Jim was our driver.  He was born and grew up speaking Gaelic in the Heberdies Islands where my old friend Calum McIntyre grew up.  Great Bus driver. First Stop…the Cathedral City of Wells.

           Well and the Cathedral were very nice. After Salisbury wasn’t expecting too much until I walked inside.  It was just amazing.  I had lunch after in the Museum Cafe then wandered the grounds and the town of Wells before re-boarding the bus for Glastonbury Abbey.

 That was the ruins of one of the most famous Abbeys in  England and also interesting…especially the Abby Kitchen.

We stopped for photos at another site on top of a mountain,Tor, supposedly the resting place of King Richard the Lionhearted and Gwenivere…

     Then we settled in Exeter for the night and drinks along with our Meal and a real get together with the group.

SALMON

BEEF WITH YORKSHIRE PUDDING

Really not but best but nice.
       I went to bed early so maybe I can get myself in sync.  I do feel more in tune but not I think I have a cold coming on.

END OF DAY ONE

   

     

AMSTERDAM JULY ’18 con’t

Tuesday we had some Dutch Pea Soup that Jeannette had made before I came and froze it for my visit. It wa really good and served with Rye bread, Ham ,butter and Mustard.

Tuesday a couple of old friends of Peter and Jeannette’s entertained us with a wonderful Italian Dinner and great conversation.  One worked with “Dressage” Horses.  Horses are big business in Holland.
Wednesday was another chilly grey day so I browsed the local Flea Market, had lunch at Bagels and Beans.

Nice Everything Bagel with Smoked Salmon and Pesto Sauce accompanied by a Matcha Latte…my first but not my last.  Very good and healthy.

I hung around Rembrantsplein and sipped a Rose wine while posting interesting shares on Facebook to see how people reacted.  It was mostly positive.  When I got back home we shared leftovers from the wonderful Spaghetti dinner Jeannette’s friends brought over to share the night before.  That was a wonderful evening with great Caprese Salad, Spaghetti, nice wine and Calvadoros Cognac for dessert.  The leftovers were almost as good.
Today was Peter and Jeannette’s 17th wedding Anniversary.  I took off early to try some Oatmeal and fresh Fruit at a local place but though it was good, it was a rip off so I headed for the Botanical Gardens of Amsterdam founded in 1637 and one of the oldest in the world.

I had a nice leisurely visit there walking the grounds with a break for a nice Lemon Meringue Pie and coffee.  I even bummed into someone from Oaxaca. A young Mexican couple, she from Oaxaca on her way to Paris and he from Mexico City and on  his way to Berlin.  They saw my hat and commented so we introduced ourselves.  Both flew into Amsterdam that morning and were trying to see as much as they could of the city before parting Amsterdam and going their separate ways.  Very nice.
I stopped on the way home to get some more of the pastries at My Little Patisseries and Flowers for Jeannette and Peter’s Anniversary dinner tonight.

I was their Best Man on the Boat in the Harbour where the ceremony took place.  I wanted to treat tonight so we tried ordered in through a delivery service but after jumping through hoops for an hour it finally came time to pay.  I gave them all the info then then said they texted me a code to verify my order.  Never received it  so we threw out the whole order and called a local South African BBQ and placed an order that I picked up myself. We had Smoked Sausage, slow cooked Pork Ribs, Roasted Chicken, Sweet Potatoes, French Fries , Cole Slaw, and Salad! Great Anniversary Dinner with  Chocolate and Vanilla Eclairs and a Lemon Meringue Tart.

Friday was a lazy day and late leaving the house.  I stopped in a nice little cafe called Kaver 4 because they had soup on special and it was a soup day.  The had cookie jars at every table with different cookies in each and allowed you one free. I sat near the window to watch the world go by and ended up ordering a cup of Beetroot Soup with Goat Cheese, a half order of Spinach Quiche and a nice salad.  All was very good.  I checked out the nearby Marqt (market) in a basement near by.  Then stopped at the Cafe I visited a couple days ago and had a Rose wine.  The waiter recongnized me and was all smiles.

When I returned home Jeannette ordered a Cheeseburger for my dinner later at 7:30 when we usually eat.  I retired early and went right to sleep until 10 am!.                       Saturday and and weather returned to sunny and high 70’s.  I took the tram to Central Station to renew my “Chipkaart” for the rest of my stay.  The Tram was full like at 4 pm in Oaxaca with School gets out BUT these were tourists with backpacks and suitcases as well as most of Amsterdam out to enjoy the day.  We had to pass up some stops as there was no room to add more.  I stood in a long line for a long time before I could extend my card, then headed for the Casino just in time to get in at an opening table for Poker.  Lasted an hour before I got bumped off and decided to attend the Food Truck Festival at Amstelpark.

I had never been there but found a bus that took me to the front gate.

I was very impressed with the park and the Food Truck Festival.  25 trucks, a band, games, bars, DJ’s, puppet show, magic show,…etc.  I had a Chocolate Macaroon…one of 5 choices.

Then I had a Vietnamese spring roll,

Duck sandwich with Goat Cheese, then headed home…for dinner with King Tut peas…the seed were found in King Tuts grave in 1922 and taken to England where they were germinated and cultivated. Potatoes, Tomatoes and Breaded Bacon.  Bedtime
Sunday…day of rest.  I walked to the Ryksmuseum and got a ticket but it was so crowded I decided to use it next week but went to their private restaurant but was refused because the whole place had been booked for a party.  I stopped in The Seafood Bar in hopes of some nice fresh fish specials…Tuna, Salmon and Cod…not special.  Vondel park was close by so thought that a good choice on such a nice day but again it was packed and while I was sitting there a guy hit the curb and fell on his head but didn’t get up.  The Netherlands doesn’t require helmets.  May have cost this man his life.  I left as the crowd gathered to watch him die.

I then decided to stop at Klaver 4 for a nice lunch then home to find Sanna, Jeannette’s daughter visiting.

We chatted a bit but have a lunch engagement tomorrow at Noon.   Peter made a Surinamese Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce that was delicious.  I headed for bed after the World Cup ended.
I got up early this morning, took a shower, and was relaxing with my coffee when the cleaning lady startled me.  I left but it was still early so stopped at Klaver 4 again for a coffee, juice and a couple eggs before meeting Sanna for lunch.  Now I was full when I finally arrived so had a small sandwich and water along with a nice visit with Sanna.

She left for work and I left for the Maritime Museum on her recommendations.  It was nice but a long time on my feet and I was glad to get back to Peter and Jeannette’s…83% and 40% humidity.  Tired me out.

We ate leftovers and I retired.
Tuesday was planned around my visit to the Ryksmusuem.  I hadn’t been there since they built an addition on to it and remodeled it. I was really impressed with the layout, accessibility to the exhibits, and the exhibits themselves.  It was tourist season and there were lots of visitors but you wouldn’t know it.  Everything flowed.  I think I might have missed a few exhibits.

Man behind…moved the hands of the clock
Even the Chandeliers were an exhibit to enjoy…they fluttered…..
YOU WOULD NEVER GUESS THIS IS A POP-UP URINAL FOR UP TO THREE PEOPLE
IF YOU DON’T HAVE THESE..YOU CAN’T HAVE ELECTRIC CARS
EVERYONE HAS FLOWERS IN THEIR WINDOWS

My feet were aching and it was time to eat. The Executive Chef is world famous and has been garnering excellent reviews since they opened years ago.  The prices are steep so I steered clear of the the restaurant and ate in the Cafe…all under his command.
The wine pour was generous, reasonably priced and good quality. I had the Tuk Me In or whatever…Oriental Soup with a Chicken base, scallions, chilies, and lemongrass served with Brown Bread and Butter.   Very tasty. Then I had the Duck Confit with pickled onions and straw mushrooms. All very good.  It was still fairly early and I did tell my hosts I wouldn’t be home for dinner so sauntered over to Mulligans for a wee Pint of  Guinness.  Ryan showed up so I had a half a wee half pint and a Black Bush Whisky…then Ryan bought me a Rhubarb Cider so I had another wee
half pint with a Tellimore Dew Whisky.  I managed to take the tram home but it was still early and I thought it best I have a little bite to eat so dropped in The Bleck for a Pastrami and Cheese Toastie and a glass of  wine.

I was decidedly drunk so went to bed just after I arrived at 8:30.
Today was another adventure to Den Bosch in the country.  A lovely Medieval town built around 1150 .  I was told I should have Bosch Balls for dessert and the first restaurant I encountered had them in the window so I had my “Breakfast/Lunch” there.  A beautiful bowl of Wedding Soup with a  Club Sandwich and one Bosch Ball…full of whipped cream.

I was told they don’t accept Visa…common in the Netherlands…so I pleaded mercy …and  they allowed me to visit the  ATM back at the train station then pay the bill.  Nice meal but the Bosch Ball was so rich I felt a little queasy so decided to take a boat tour.

NO CASH IS HANDLED..PUT YOUR BILLS IN ON LEFT AND TAKE CHANGE ON RIGHT…SAME IN THE BANKS…THE MONEY GOES RIGHT INTO THE VAULT

They have a canal system that runs under the  city.  When the city became popular and successful everyone wanted to live within the walls for protection so they built more homes over the canals to accommodate the influx.  Later they simply built a second wall around the outskirts….then later another 3 third wall. I took the tour as I knew of nothing like it in other canal towns.  It was four o’clock when the tour was over so I headed for the famous Gothic St. Joseph’s Cathedral but got lost in the maze of a medieval city but finally arrived took some photos and hurriedly headed for the Hieronymus Bosch Museum.  He is an artist I really admired and this was his home town.

We closed at 5 pm, come back and spend the day tomorrow!  Not what I wanted  to hear…tomorrow…next year maybe.

Walking around  the city was pleasant enough so I took the train home and arrived as Jeannette’s visitor, who cooked them dinner was just leaving.  I met her 17 years ago.  She was a bridesmaid at the wedding and I the best man.  We exchanged pleasantries and I went to bed.
Three days left before departure.  I just want to do nothing but the weather is so beautiful and there is always something to see and do…we will see what today should bring….Dropped the laundry, had lunch and did this…I’m posting it.

AMSTERDAM 2018 JULY

      The twelve hour trip from Glasgow to Amsterdam via Manchester reached it’s climax Monday when I finally arrived at Rooseveltlaan and joined my gracious hosts for a nightcap before retiring to my room.

      Jeannette had a broken arm and recently a broken rib so getting around in a wheelchair was no fun.  Peter helped her with showers, dressing, cooking, etc.  Today she had to descend a steep stairway and then steps down to the sidewalk where Peter took her in their “Handicap” vehicle to the hospital to have her arm cast removed.   The nurse that did the job noted her broken rib and suggested wrapping her chest in bandages to contain it somewhat.  She came home with her arm now free to dress and cook…so happy.

     I spent the day dropping of laundry, dining at Goos, a nice neighborhood restaurant, buying some socks, visiting a Photo gallery exhibit of Japanese photographers, buying some Nespresso coffee for their machine, tipping a few Guinness Pints with friends at Mulligans Irish Pub, and stopping on the way home  to pick up some Hash and Blue Bhudda Leaf at a new Coffeehouse.

   

Jeannette was busy directing Peter to cook our meal.  We had dinner and I retired early…11 pm…still light out.
     Wednesday and I’m leaving to eat. I stuck around the neighborhood, shopped for some yogurt, checked on my laundry and came home.  Sanna, Jeannette’s daughter came by to wash her mother’s hair and visit.  Peter ordered Burgermiester Burgers for the four of us and we had dinner together.  It was really nice to see Sanna again and hopefully we will have lunch when she gets some time.  I retired after watching Andre Ruis the Dutch conductor performing in near-by Maastrict with his orchestra. It was like watching an updated Lawrence Welk show but much more entertaining.

PETER AND JEANNETTE’S HANDICAP CAR

FRESH ORANGE JUICE EVERYDAY…JUST LIKE MEXICO

     Today I watched the Fourth of July fireworks reruns of Washington D.C. and Disney world in California I think?  Washington was like Shock and Awe and Disney’s was 15 minutes of well done presentation of fireworks like a dance.

GOTTA PEE..NO PROBLEM

ART DECO SHILLER BAR

     Decided to visit Oosterpark and spent the day walking around for about 2 hours…eating an Ice Cream Cone and trying to get some exercise.  Mostly I road around on the Tram and enjoyed the city.
       My laundry was ready today…$25 Euro but the coat was $12.50…they do an excellent job and my shirt came back like new.  My cleaner in Phoenix couldn’t accomplish that…they out source it.  This place does everything on premise.  Iron shirt and pants…not a press!  I’m so spoiled.  I thought this would be a good time to play poker at the Casino…still a weekday afternoon.  I got some money and showed up to find Monday through Friday, they only play from 8 pm to 3 am.  Saturday and Sunday is when you can play in the afternoon….But that is when the hustlers come.

DAM SQUARE

     It was getting hot and I was dressed for an air-conditioned Casino so returned home to wear my short sleeve shirt for the first time on this trip.  I took the tram to the Central Station and caught the Ferry across the harbour to the I Film Museum and Cine.  I had a wonderful salad there overlooking the harbour.  Central Station was completely remodeled and world class and this exhibition theater, restaurant, and tribute to film was no exception.  The whole area was first class

     I went through the exhibition after then returned across the harbour and took the tram to Rembrantsplein where I stopped at Ye Olde Bell for wine and some cheese before returning home.
    Peter and Jeannette were just getting ready to eat so I am doing this in the living room.   Lets see what tomorrow brings…PS  A young very black girl with braided hair offered me her seat today….as well as a young man that offered to swap seats with me so I could have more room.  I love Amsterdam….reminds me of Oaxaca.

      Saturday and Sunday the Casino has poker at 1:30 pm so I decided I would give it a try.  I had some Herring in the neighborhood where a Street Fair was going on…finished my breakfast with an Argentina Sausage Sandwich before heading out.

OH, AND A FRESH HERRING

        On the way I discovered an “edible cannabis shop” so bought some CBD Jelly Beans and ate 3 on the way.

  When I got off the tram stop there was a Naked Bike Ride through the city…a world day in support of Naturism.

      I arrived at the Casino and decided to use my Passport Card instead of my Passport to see if it worked…it did so I don’t need to lug my passport around with the card. I got right on a table and within the first hour I was ahead $300…so why didn’t I leave…duh.   Finally it was around 5:30 and I was having Dutch Pancakes with Peter and Jeannette so cashed out with $32 ahead…but I enjoyed my afternoon.

Muslim WITH A CELL PHONE STUCK IN HEAD SCARF

     I also enjoyed our Spinach and Goat Cheese Pancakes with Pine Nuts and Salad. Retired early and awoke early.
     I’m off for another try at the poker table. This was not a good idea.  I did well until
3 nines beat my 3 sixes…then I got careless and a pair of Queens knocked my Jacks off the table so I returned home.

THESE IN THE WALK IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE WHERE THEY USED TO LIVE 

GOTTA PEE…NO PROBLEM

THESE ARE ALL OVER AMSTERDAM

      Today the clouds came and it was grey skies with a little rain but nice and warm. I stopped at My Little Patisserie and brought home some dessert to go with dinner.

HEARD NICE MUSIC

      Tuesday and really chilled down.  Still grey skies but constant drizzle and cold.  Got my sweater on and staying in until the sun come out…I hope.
   

HOME SWEET HOME FOR NOW…OFF TO LONDON & SALISBURY ENGLAND FOR UK TOUR

         Well I’ve been back a month and am having an anxiety attack.  HELP.  Sick of filling out forms, surveys, why uninstalling, why buying this, how was you service, thank you for your service, please take time to answer this, …W T F you know everything already.  The horse is out of the barn.  You can’t take it back.  West Virginia…here I come.  No forwarding address.  Just an empty house…keeping Oaxaca apartment to keep me grounded.  Thinking of …Japan or Sedona?  Any suggestions.  International Living has a thousand.
      Give me this Chantilly Lace  keep the crap.
      I attended my second week of services at the Unitarian Universalists Church to hear a sermon/lecture by a man that teaches tolerance and getting together…beyond the polite.  Problem was my tinnitus.  I couldn’t tell if he was speaking in a mike or not.  The first speakers I didn’t understand at all.

       Tried to get my Arizona Travel Pass at the Department of Motor Vehicles.  I have a passport, global entry pass, a passport card, a health card all with photos, etc…now my Social Security card is not proof that I have Social Security and not having worked for anyone in 40 years I don’t have a W-2 or a pay stub so had to rifle through my taxes from last year to produce my SSA-1090 to show them in addition to my discharge papers from the Army, my passport card, a statement from SSN to me at my address, drivers license, and something else….I go back in line today and try again!@#$%

        I injured my leg doing “chair exercises” so wore a knee brace and stopped exercising until it gets better.  The Shingles shot in my shoulder muscle now matches the pain I have from tendinitis in my other shoulder.

       A driver in the car in front of me in the Costco gas line, backed right into me. We got out to inspect the damage.  He was quite shaken and apologetic but not noticing any real damage I told him not to worry.  When it was my turn, he pulled ahead, got out of his car and put his credit card in my pump and paid for my fill up.  He said the world needs more kind people, then thanked me again and walked off.
   Well I’ve booked June in London with a tour of UK and a week in Glasgow before the first 3 weeks of July in Amsterdam.  Marjorie dropped me at the airport for my flight to Dublin with a stop in Chicago…with a half hour to connect my international flight at a gate over a mile away.  I did and just in time for the midnight express to Dublin.

  We arrived on time, collected my bag, went through customs and then checked my bag on Air Lingis for London at noon.

I arrived in London but my bag didn’t so after filing out a claim it was 2:30 by the time I caught the Heathrow Express to Paddington station to discover the Tube line to Tower of London was closed on Sunday for ????

I was directed to Embankment where I had to transfer to another line that dropped me at the Tower and after a short walk I was in the ultra modern Hub Premier Hotel with a pretty fancy closet of a room with excellent location I soon found out.

I was an Assistant Housekeeper of a 500 room Holiday Inn in my younger days.  Had 50 Maids and 25 Housemen.  Each of 15 floors had 30 rooms…if they were this size it would have been 90 rooms for each floor. A nice touch is that the elevator greets you by your name then posts a message on the mirror when you enter…Hello David Taylor…then message…I hope you enjoy exploring London?

Try walking to the Walkie-Talkie building…or in the morning ..

I DID

Try our delious Grilled Cheddar Sandwich for breakfast…you get the point but each time you step in it says…Welcome David Taylor…new world…I liked the elevator man that would greet you with Good Morning Mr Taylor I trust you had a good nights rest? My last day the elevator posted a message on the mirror…leave your key at the desk when you check out today.
      I had to nap and was hoping I could sleep through till morn but around 10:30 I awoke so decided a drink was in order but the lobby was closed and Hamin
explained all of London on Sunday in that area was closed…no food no drink.  The good news was my bag arrived so I took it and a free herbal tea to my room and ate the last peanut butter sandwich while I unpacked.

ANOTHER TSA SEARCH BUT TRASHED MY NEATLY PACKED SUITCASE!!

 I watched a bit of BBC before finally falling asleep around 2:30 am thinking I would wake around 10 am and go for an exploratory walk of my neighborhood for breakfast.  Bill Clinton was being interviewed and like all media the lady pointed out that 20 years ago Bill apoligized to Monica publicly but failed to apoligized personally.  Bill said that he is glad the Presidency is only for 2 four year terms because unless the American Public voted him out, the only way he would have left the White House was in a Pine Box.

   I finally got up at 4 pm!  Breakfast was not available so I had the lunch $5 (pounds) special of juice and sandwich which ended at 2 pm but she was gracious and made me a bacon toastie with a glass of juice.

Add caption
CHARGE SMART PHONE WHILE HAVING BREAKFAST
WHILE WATCHING THE WORLD GO BY IN ALL DIRECTIONS

My English pounds I had saved from my last trip were no good.  Had to take them to the bank the next day to have them exchanged as they were too old…like me.
        I walked a bit until I found a Market open down the street to buy some toothpaste then returned after buying a sandwich and cookie take away that the nice lady at the hotel informed me was not allowed as they have food and drink in the deli if I want.  NO FOOD OR DRINK IN THE CLOSET.  I told her it was a bag of sweets I bought as a gift.  I returned to find Happy Hour at The Walrus and the Carpenter.  I had a club sandwich and a Guiness then strolled around the neighborhood until I realized it was almost 8:30 and there was NO ONE around. 

Even the bars were closing at 9!  I stopped into the Ale and Pie

and had an IPA Pint before returning to the room with 2 small bottles of wine to make me happy while I watched somemore BBC which seemed to be mostly news stations.  I decided to watch a movie and hopefully fall asleep before midnight in hopes of rising by 8 am. I couldn’t find a movie with subtitles and couldn’t hear so tried to find ANYTHING of interest on TV but no such luck.  They send all the good stuff to our PBS.

          I retired around Midnight but again awoke at 4 am. There are no windows so no sun to wake you and you lose all track of time.  I refused to get out of bed without more sleep so I tossed and turned until 7 am , showered and had a Grilled Cheese and Fruit Salad with Coffee for Breakfast….NO EGGS ON THE MENU…Just as well as they only know how to boil them.  Now I’m off to the bank to return my old money for new and take the Tube to Covent Gardens to see the National Portrait Gallery…then?  Lost one day already and only have three left before I leave to join the group in Salisbury.

SHAVE?

      The weather report was warm, no rain, so I left for the bank and realized 50% is NOT warm and there was a slight rain.  The bank was closed…CLOSED for good and the building was To Let.  For Rent…I thought it was ToiLet without the i.  I went to a travel agency next door and took a ticket for the “Travel Money” booth.  When my number came up they explained I should have went to an English Bank not the Sandander Bank from Spain which closed anyway.  She exchanged my money after I apoligized for my fois pas.  My fiber pills were starting to work so I returned to the room and asked the maid to wait another 10 minutes until I was ready to start my day.

       I put on a sweater, grabbed my coat and hat and set out again to start my day at the nearby Tube.  I do know this block well after two days of walking around in circles.  Still grey and cloudy. I haven’t seen so many “Suits” since I left Boston in ’76. Everyone looks like Penguins with black suits, white shirts and a power tie.

   

The National Portrait Gallery was a delight and free, except for a $5 pound donation and 1 pound fee to check my coat.  When I got out I noticed the World’s Greatest Department Store was a short walk, so decided to have a go of it.  It was a mile and I had been on my feet all day so I was cramping and sat on a stoop for a
bit and finally arrived after stopping to buy another transformer for 10 pounds.  Wanted to be safe when I plugged into 220 volt English electric.  Later I discovered I could have got it for 3 pounds next to my hotel and it was NOT a transformer but an adapter of which I now have 4!  Turns out the phone and computer have their own switch over for electric now as almost ALL electronics do.  It is the Millenium.

     Well I arrived and wandered every floor and imagined what it was like back in 1910.  The BBC series “Selfridge’s” was great story about the beginning of Department stores and life in England at that time.  I had to eat at the top floor restaurant so had some Chicken Thai Stir Fry that was delicious then returned home. I stopped at the Dirty Martini for ….a Dirty Martini…best deal around for a Tanquray Gin Martini at 5 pounds. One was enough.

      Last night I thought I would sleep through and was done with “jetlag” but around 3:30 I awoke sweating under the Comforter.  A lot of hotels in Europe don’t use sheets and blankets…just one comforter and it gets hot…then I kick it off and the A/C chills me…so I got up for a short bit to see what was on the Telie…nada…back to sleep till 5:30 but after another hour I had to lay back down…Noon I was back up and my On/Off bus tour was off for another day.  I only have tomorrow then leave London. I was told for every time change traveling East, it takes a day to recover.  I went through 6 so maybe I’ll be fine for the tour…IF I don’t get sick.
       I shot out the door to get some food at the Prix, a fast food organic popular establishment that has sandwiches, soups,  salads, etc…but all fresh prepared in the back every 10 minutes and BUSY.  I had a very nice fruit salad and yogurt with granola while sipping my not so great Cappacino out of a cardboard cup.
      When I returned to plan what was left of the day, I was feeling feverish and switched to Hot Herbal Ginger Tea and decided to relax since most of the day was shot.  I tried to make reservations at the popular Sky Pod Bar and Restaurant in the Walkie Takie building on the top floor overlooking London.  A popular place to watch the sunset.  They had ONE available but when I signed up for it they rejected my reservation because my mobile phone number was American…not Proper.

      I went anyway and got in but wasn’t going to pay $12 for a Pinot Grigio so left after taking some photos then went to Dirty Martini for a couple and headed to Blackjocks for a real meal.  My waiter wanted to know my secret with the ladies…they were fighting over who should take my order.  I told him…I just give them what they want.  Nice meal.

     Today was the British Library and the Capt Cook exhibit of his trips around the world.

PERSPECTIVE PAINTING VIEWED FROM LEFT TO RIGHT AND BACK

      Departed for Salisbury on the train after transfering to Southern Rail Terminal. Arrived , checked into the hotel and tried to get on track with jet lag but woke at 4 am again then after an hour went back to sleep.

8:30 am I was up and out for breakfast. I stopped at our tour hotel and saw our fearless leader to report in. He was with a fellow traveler that looked adroginous. Oriental person with shorts and a tee shirt and white sun block on face and arms.
         They went on a side trip today while I visited the Market and the Salisbury Cathedral…built in 1220.  Wonderful town. They were doing a Memorial for the 70th anniverary of the Battle of the Somme.

I stopped into the Salisbury Museum for a quick look around

I THINK THIS WAS THE PARK WHERE THEY FOUND THE RUSSIAN SPY AND HIS DAUGHTER NEAR DEAD

When the tour group returned from Portsmouth I met Kenny.  We became friends when we went to North Korea with this group in 2012.  We had dinner and caught up on life then retired.  His hotel was better than where I am.
      Today we start our journey and I was up at 6 with 6 hours sleep. Off for breakfast…and to meet with the bus.

FAREWELL OAXACA (WA HA CA) AND FRIENDS

    Dick, our Condo Manager, and I attended a concert with Emilio and his wife Paulina , the owners of El Luna y Sol Restaurant that I enjoy.  I have seen him in concert and been to his restaurant when he features some great entertainment but this was a first to see his wife perform with her band…and the two of them together.  
     It got off to a bad start with the the roof closed in the building.  Chamber music would be good but with Drums, two electric Guitars, a Sax and amplified Clarinet, I felt like I was inside a huge drum.  Finally they opened the roof and then we could appreciate the Bose sound system and fantastic music.

     I left for the Zocalo and something to eat after the concert.  I arrived at Importador and joined my friend Chris for a glass of wine.  Well we got talking and talking and 3 glasses later we both took taxis home.  Chris just sold one of his homes in Phoenix and returns in two days.  We will get together when I arrive but only for one…maybe two glasses of wine. I sure slept well last night but feel lousy today.

    Hector and Peter met me at Belanc Bakery for lunch today.  We talked a lot about Chuck’s passing and the health of others.  There will be a memorial service for Chuck Friday at the Library.  They will be selling off all his things so the landlord can take back the apartment. Apparently he passed away at the ATM machine so the police were called. He was very ill and had lost a lot of weight.  We talked about our plans this summer.  I hope to see Peter in Lee Massachusetts this Sept.  He said to let him know when I find out and he can get me tickets to the Boston Symphony at their summer home in Tanglewood where he works. While Hector and I were walking back home, Bill and Enrique passed by.  We chatted a bit and I said my good byes until next year.
          
    Today was pool hall day with Allen and Raul.  I left early to buy some gifts and meet Michelle and her mother Connie for lunch at Biznaga. I met protesters on the way.

We started off with 2 Margaritas and one Mescalrita for Connie.  She thought it too strong so I swapped with her and on an empty stomach drank it.  The food came and we ordered one more round.  I was starting to feel that Mescalrita and switched to the Margarita but it was too late.  I was getting drunk. I finished my salad and ate very little of my Tlayuda.  Raul came in and joined us with some art he brought for Michelle.  I bought a hand carved wooden hummingbird for home.  I got in a Taxi and went directly home.  Our lunch was at 2:30 and I was still buzzed at 7:30 when I sat down to eat my Tlayuda. I remember talking a lot at lunch and more.  Connie lives in Naples and when I go to the reunion in October, I’m bringing her with my friend Karen for the dinner.

 Well you get the idea..no more Mescal (on an empty stomach).  We all had fun. She sure is vibrant at 84…she is a beach walker.
       
This afternoon I returned to Viajo Lira for the second time this year because Rolando was working there now and I wanted to support him and eat another one of their pizzas.  Last time they said it had sausage…they served it with sliced “hot dogs”.  I hate deception. 
       

The whole place had been remodeled and was stunning especially the roof top terrace where Rolando was waiting on table.  It was hot so I sat downstairs but I didn’t know he couldn’t wait on me as that was the next waiters turn…even though I requested him.  Next time I will insist.  Rolando got me my house wine.  It was 1/4 of a glass and was more than my Pizza Primavira with Prosciutto ham, mushroom, olives, etc.  I used to only order that after the sausage scam. 

That is the GLASS of wine that cost more than the Pizza

           

NOW it was pressed crap ham like Subway.  I told Rolando when he asked how my Pizza was but he could do nothing after only a month on the job.  It was worth it to touch base with him again.  I took 1/2 the Pizza home for a snack and stopped at the Stamp Museum next door.  They always have great exhibits but this time they were tearing one down and putting up another so I just went home.



          Today was drop of the laundry then attend a Memorial Service for Chuck Ryan at the library.  It was a very nice reunion of friends with great stories of Charles arrival in Oaxaca from New Orleans over 20 years ago.  He contributed a lot to the community by sending children to college, funding many projects at the library as well as sitting on the board of the library.  He opened his home to fundraisers, visitors, CouchSurfers, and dinners with friends. His caretaker and “adopted son” who he sent through Culinary School, Adriana is having an Estate Sale tomorrow to get things out of the house so the Landlord can rent it. I will attend that before going out to Pat and Don’s with Zoe for an afternoon Beer and Burger outing for her brother Darcy and his Canadian friend Steve.  Darcy is still battling his illness and it doesn’t look good. 

        I went to the library this morning then over to Zoe’s to drop off a huge bag of chips I bought at Sams Club for the picnic today.  It took up too much room in my bag that I was hoping to fill with goodies from Chuck’s estate sale.  Zoe ended up driving me as she also wanted to go.  There were a couple waiting outside when we parked the car.  I saw a mortar and pestal that would make a good door stop but as soon as I picked it up the lady that had been waiting grabbed it out of my hands and said that was hers.  She had a list and was grabbing everything in sight.  I found a copy of a Freida Kahlo painting for $4 and we left.  It was early and Zoe wanted to visit a pot shop and a nursery so we headed out of town.
       

She got a planter and a plant while I got a Skull for a door stop. 


  It was still early so we went to Llegales for a drink. They were just opening when we arrived.  Allen, a photographer friend showed up to meet some friends for lunch.  When we left they were turning away people because it was FULL.


        We arrived at Don and Pat’s new remodeled home on time.  Jan, Steve and Darcy were already there.  We joined them for a beer and conversation while munching on cheese and crackers and the best Falafels I have ever had.  Pat brought out a lentil salad that also was delicious.  Eventually Don started up the grill and Pat brought out some deviled eggs with potato salad, chips and toppings for the burgers.  We ate a wonderful afternoon meal, got a tour of the beautiful home they have been working on since they moved in last year. I counted 3 bedrooms…two upstairs with a roof top terrace and view…one down.  A huge kitchen with all new cabinets that Don made…along with a center workstation, shelving, beds, chairs, doors, closets, window sills, wainscoting, medicine cabinets, spice cabinets, etc.
Don made a desk, end table and TV table for me.  He and Pat did or are still doing the entire home from scratch.  It looked great.  We returned with Jan and Zoe dropped the two of us at the taxi stand where we each took a taxi home. 

       Sunday I packed and covered things, emptied dressers and consolidated closets in case I rent it out to visiting friends before I return.  Deke came by and agreed to call my taxi driver for  my ride to the airport. 
      Today I will try and get my boarding pass and empty the refrigerator.
 So this is it…goodbye Oaxaca.

TWO WEEKS IN APRIL…HASTA LUEGO OAXACA

            Adelina cleaned my newly redecorated apartment this morning while I went to the library to listen to Osho on my Bluetooth phone that broadcasts directly to my ears.  I’ve been watching the series on Netflix called the Wild Wild Country.  It is about Osho, the Guru from India that brought his following to a ranch he bought near Antelope Oregon back in the early 80’s.  My VA Doctor in Anthem, Arizona, used to hike in Sedona every weekend and support my efforts to eat healthy and change my lifestyle.  There was an Osho store and a following in Sedona that he enjoyed and recommended I listen to Osho’s CD on the Buddha and lifestyle.  I bought it but couldn’t hear the recording. The Guru’s voice was not in my hearing frequency.  Now I have an interest in hearing it after watching Wild Country so with my new hearing aides and Bluetooth assistance thought the library would be quiet enough that I could…and I did until people came into the room I was sitting in and started talking.  It is hard to find anyplace without noise just to concentrate.  

       I left and went to the Bakery for Salad, my mid meal to carry me over until this evening.

     I passed a fancy display of Oaxacan T Shirts and pullovers so stopped in.

I tried some on and bought one. 

I arrived at the Bakery and ordering my Salad and Home-made Ginger Ale.  I started reading more of Blue Highway…almost done…great book. An attractive lady came up to my table, kissed the lady across from me with a European greeting in Spanish, sat down and ordered the same salad. The other lady left and I remarked on how good the salad was that we were both eating.  Sophie from Antwerp Belgium concurred and we talked about Antwerp, her travels alone to South America for 3 months, exchanged emails, then as we were getting ready to leave…she gave me the European hug and kiss on the cheek.  I almost fell over trying to hug her back over the picnic table. What a lovely day.

       I headed home when another lady came up behind me and gave me a hug.  It was Halina with her partner Barbara who I thought had returned to Detroit last week.  I hardly got to see them this trip.  They said goodbye and were leaving in two days. 
      I tried on my shirt and realized it was too big on me so decided to return it this evening when I went out to eat at the Berliner.
       While passing through the Zocalo I saw Pattie, Darcy’s sister, having a beer with Chris who just returned from Phoenix.  I stopped to ask about Darcy as I hadn’t seen him and was worried.  She said that his illness was worse and they had to send him back to Canada but the hospital couldn’t do anything so he is at home with his Mom taking care of him.  So sad.  He was one of my first friends in Oaxaca. 
        I went to Berliner and as I was sitting down to dinner when Bill, my pool playing friend walked in with his wife and asked to join me.  I told him no as I wanted time to read my camera manual for the 5th time.  There was a concert tonight and I was determined to get some good photos. They sat at the table next to me while we all enjoyed Bratwurst and Potato Salad.  

       I was on the way out when Deke, my Manager at the condo was coming in.  We chatted a bit then I went to the Cathedral for the concert and photos.Easter Music
       I stopped at Importado to have a Mescal to wish Darcy good health and speedy recovery.    Then arrived to a very hot apartment with everyone outside trying to cool off.

Donde Darcy?


        I watched a movie called Into the Wild about a young man out of college that rejected the status quo and sat out to see the world.  He broke all contact with his family and friends burned his money and hitched around the states working odd jobs as he went until he made it to Alaska.  There he hiked into the wilderness to spend a winter holed up in an abandoned bus in the middle of beautiful no where.   Finally he missed his family and friends and decided he was as changed as he was going to be and in the spring set off to return but the snow runoff caused the river to be dangerous, so after a bungled attempt to cross the river, where he lost his backpack and almost his life,  he returned to the bus.  He survived eating roots but ate that potato root and discovered it causes paralysis of the digestive track and he couldn’t eat anything.  Unless he could get treatment…he would die.  He took a photo of himself , wrote in his diary...”Happiness is only real when it’s shared”  That was his big epiphany.    Now he’s on his death bed wrapped in his clothes.  

        He started seeing his Mom, Dad, sister, all the friends he met on the trip to find himself…then died.  Hunters found him two weeks later.  True story…his sister went to Alaska and put his ashes in her Backpack and returned home with him for burial or whatever.  Remember Happiness is only real when it’s shared.
       Did good at pool Wednesday…Lunch with Zoe at a Seafood restaurant across from her house.  I had wanted to try it but never thought it special.  It wasn’t but had a nice Fillet of ?? Veracruz and enjoyed the atmosphere and Zoe’s conversation.
       
Tuna Steak with Avocado,Asparagus,Grilled Tomato and Pumpkin Seeds

       I slept late and just read, coffee, listened to music then visited Biznaga for a nice lunch. They use Walmart frozen Tuna Steaks…and they are a bit dry but look what they do to make up for it.  Now and then they feature fresh fish other than Salmon.

       Today, Resurrection Day (Good Fryday), gave me the day off…Pool Hall Closed…Hardware Closed…restaurants packed and my landlord had another Mass in Front of my condo…must be trying to bring me back into the fold. Then after three of four attempted calls to change my reservation with American Airlines (on hold for up to 45 minutes),the last attempt I got through in 15 minutes to discover it COST MORE TO CHANGE THE RESERVATION FROM THE SAME FLIGHT ON 8/23 TO 7/23 THAN TO JUST BUY ANOTHER TICKET.  SO I LOST $200 DOLLARS ON Resurrection Day and bought another ticket.
       

I did get to enjoy my TUNA Minstrel group while having an OK breakfast at Importador…I’m a big fan…of the TUNA.

       
Streets were empty…all in church home or center
 Now I discover my trip cancellation insurance only covers death. American Air cancelled my flight and booked another BUT I didn’t ask for that…I asked to change the dates and when they said it would cost more to change than to buy another so I agreed to buy another.  They did buy another BUT cancelled the one in August.  I may go back to visit relatives so I called back waited for them to call me…you can NEVER speak to anyone directly…recording gets all your info then switches you to another answering machine that requests you to hang up and they will call you when they are ready so now your working for them.  I did call , waited and then when my called was returned and I explained but she said the ticket was worthless because I cancelled it.  I didn’t cancel I asked to change the date and was told the change fees were more than the value of a new ticket so I bought a new ticket as suggested.  
       Then I got a notice if I had a problem with the ticket they cancelled to call and that is what I’m doing.  I want and paid for both tickets.  “But sir …if your not here to use the ticket it is worthless”.  I explained I may return to NYC in August to visit my family and would only have to buy a one way ticket there and could use my ticket that I paid for to return.  Duh! “Well I will have to get my supervisor to OK that”.  Then with out saying anything just put me on hold and never got back to me for 20 minutes.  I was in the middle of cooking when she first called back and the pot was boiling over now so I’m walking around with the phone in my ear for 20 minutes waiting like an idiot for her to get back.  I hung up and figured she would call back to confirm her supervisors approval….she didn’t. 
          I’ve been an American Airlines Frequent Flyer for over 30 years…have a flight booked to Dublin from Phoenix in June. One from Mexico City to Phoenix this month and hopefully have 2 booked from NYC to Phoenix in July and August???  I was planning on returning to Oaxaca, Mexico from Phoenix round trip like I did this year. I doubt I will be flying them anytime after I use these booked tickets…or ever again but they are only one of three choices! 
            Then I complained about my treatment.  Customer Service waived the change charge and gave me full credit for one year from booking to book another flight.  So, I got my money back  or credit…same.  BUT why do we have to fight for service that we pay for?
         Today I visited the Bakery again for Naranja y Kvass…fermented Beet juice and fresh OJ…along with Avocado Toast on their fantastic bread with Kim Chi…to die for well for 45$ about $2.50.  I left still hungry and decided to try the BBQ Beef Rib Special at Importado on the way home. 

TAMALES?
         When I arrived Darcy was there with Canadian Steve..last I heard he was in Canada with his Mom and wasn’t lookin good.  That part was right but he was here now so I joined the group, split my Ribs and fries with them and chipped in a picture of beer.  Darcy wasn’t feeling well…his back was bothering him…symptom of Lung Cancer that my friend who had it said…it was like a sword was shoved in your back…he committed suicide that month.  In obvious pain and ready to take the bus…I gave him Taxi fare to get home.  It was good to see him but I felt helpless. He still has his good humor! 
     I sent him an email:  
       DARCY and DAVID, two friends, met in the IMPORTADOR every day to 

​drink Beer, watch the ​babes and discuss world problems.
One day ​DARCY didn’t show up. DAVID didn’t think much about it and figured maybe he had a cold or something . . . But after DARCY hadn’t shown up for a week or so, DAVID really got worried.
       However, since the only time they ever got together was at the
​ IMPORTADOR ​DAVID didn’t know where DARCY lived, so he was unable to find out what had happened to him.
​      Weeks had passed, and DAVID figured he had seen the last of 
DARCY so he stopped in and had a Mescal to his health and hoped he would return

​.

​          Then one day, ​DAVID approached IMPORTADOR and lo and behold!
—there sat DARCY  with his friend STEVE!
      ​DAVID was very excited and happy to see him and told him so. Then he said, “For crying out loud, DARCYwhat in the world happened to you?”
​        DARCY replied, “I have been in jail.”“Jail!” cried 
DAVID. “What in the world for?”
      “Well,” ​DARCY said, “you know MY PRETEND GIRLFRIEND, that cute little 

​BLACK HAIR waitress at the ​IMPORTADOR where WE HANG  OUT?”       “Yeah,” said 

​DAVID, “I remember her. What about her?”
“Well, the little gold-digging witch figured I was rich and she filed rape charges against me; and, at 65 years old, I was so proud that when I got into court, I pled ‘guilty’.”

        “The judge gave me 30 days for “perjury.”
       Today I sat at home and watched the Stock Market drop due to Trump’s tariffs and China’s retaliation.  Thanks Donald. 
        My new “stunning”physical therapist showed up at 3pm to give me a work out.  She know her stuff and presents herself well at , I think, 24 years of age.  She treated me better than most Doctors and asked a million questions about my medical history and my on going problem with my circulation and my immediate problem with my shoulder. After probing around to ascertain the location of the pain and the problem she applied ultra sound followed with a Tens Unit and electrical impulses.  Then she had me on all four doing a form of Yoga which was needed but a stretch for this old timer. 

          She followed that with recommended stretching exercises with those rubber bands followed by instructions and me doing a few.  She said the heart pumps the blood into the body but the calves of your legs pump it back toward the heart, so it is important to walk for that reason.   We scheduled another appointment in two days while I did the exercises morning and in the evening before bed. I was very pleased with her hour and a half house call for $16.  
         I set up my Bluetooth broadcast of Zydeco Music from Louisiana and set out with a spring in my step for dinner at Tres Bistro.  I sat by the window by myself and feasted on complimentary Tostadas and Croquettes while sipping my Cabernet and listening to my playlist while watching the world go by below with only my favorite music in my ears.  It was like a dream…except in a dream you wonder : How did I get here and where am I…that’s how you know it’s a dream. 

I knew how I got to Tres Bistro and that I was there enjoying one and a half hours of Fresh Dorado with Cilantro Sauce and Arrazo, Fresh Baked Cranberry Bread and Garlic Butter, Carmel Ice Cream on Chocolate Mousse, a complimentary Flute of Champagne with the best Chocolate Heart to accompany the last drop of my wine.  Yes I had to take half the Dorado home for Breakfast.




      I saw Alfredo the lone bartender, who makes the chocolate hearts and lives in my neighborhood, without any customers at his bar.  He recommended a primo Wild Mescal to end the evening…only a shot…and I floated all the way back to Adelina greeting me at the door.  

      I had bought a concrete drill bit before I went to Tres Bistro so I could properly hang some Canvas Photos I had and went downstairs to ask Hector for a drill in the morning.  There was a Swiss man from Bern there that married into the family 15 years ago and just arrived with his wife for two week vacation with the family.    We chatted a bit.  Very pleasant classy man…well he was from Switzerland.  Probably skied a lot and was buff in his late 40’s?  Hector granted my wish and I returned to let them all go out on the town for a reunion.  Another great night. I noticed new drapes in my old apartment and discovered Mark, the man from Canada, took the apartment for the year…and maybe more.
     
      A long time acquaintance of  mine died last night. He is from Monroe, Louisiana and always had a good story to tell.  Intelligent, cordial, sincere,  classy, and an Opera Buff.  His last car was a Huge Red Cadillac Eldorado Convertible .  He had loved Operas all his life and knew everything about everyone.  I used to try and get a seat next to him but in a Opera I didn’t understand or like I would be forced to sit through it out of respect but if Chuck wasn’t there I would have left at intermission.  He will be be missed.  He was the collection taker during Mass at the Santa Domingo Cathedral…I job he was good at and suited for. He always tried to look his best depending on the occasion…casual, formal, business like, but always tasteful.  He enjoyed Canasta or Fandango as we called it.  It is a little different than Canasta but I never got the hang of it and quit after about 3 games..  Adios Amigo Chuck.

           I walked from a nice visit at the library…where Chuck’s caretaker visited and I wanted to ask him about how he felt but he was obviously saddened.  Young Mexican that went to like “caretakers” school and lived with Chuck…he made the best Guacamole to share at our card games when we were there.  So I walked to Tom’s place and found it but he hadn’t arrived yet and the workman was not going to let me in to wait.  Tom showed up and I got the tour…and think it’s going to be really nice.  We walked over to Merced Market next door to get some Tamales he likes.  I bought some and later shared with Adelina when I arrived home.  We or I broke down and visited the Meat Market with the great bacon I love.  I bought a pound and a couple artisan Tonic Water with some fresh tomatoes to take home. I took a cab.
     I arrived to discover China is going to levy 25% tariff  on us.  The nerve. Well Donald so far you owe me over $25,000. Not bad for a week’s work….or whatever you call it.
    That evening I ate a Chicken Mole Tamale of high quality and discover Ranker.com  that tells me I am way off with my likes/dislike in old and new media…like TV and Movies.  Got some good leads on future shows to watch.


    Today llse was coming to treat me for the 2nd time.  I asked if she could come early and do Adelina’s leg injury she suffered in a fall.  She agreed so the two of theme took over my spare room for an hour. Adelina just kept talking for the whole hour? I think she talks in her sleep.
     We tried some different exercises today and my arm is now feeling better.

TRAVEL:     To me, a road map is the printed lyrics to a siren’s song where highways and rivers are like stanzas, and the little circles indicating towns are notes-some sharp, a few off-key.  To begin a journey is to hunt for its turn, its melody, its harmonics, and to follow along from stanza to stanza is to hum a route from, say, Waxahachie to Marfa, Shamokin to Altoona. 

  
      I didn’t get much sleep and woke early to write my tenants and inform them that I wanted my house back and that if they  couldn’t find another place by August, they could have one more season.   
       llse arrived today at 11:30 for my therapy session.  Maybe our last this year.  My shoulder feels much better after 3 sessions.  She has a great touch and is very knowledgeable. She is professional.  On her card it says: My job is to lift the fallen, restore the broken, and heal the hurting.  I love Oaxaca.
    She came early because I was to meet Zoe at her house for a ride out to Yarterini and Lleglas Restaurant and Bar which Annalisa, the lady we will meet for lunch, recommended.
Zoe tried to get me to go one night when Eric was playing but I didn’t want to go out late to a loud bar.  Turns out it was recommended for a reason.  It opened a year ago and the owner had cooked in the US for 7 years or so and was a very professional restaurateur that reminded me of ME.  He knew what would work and how to make it work.  It was a small place that filled up really quickly with both Gringos and locals that appreciated his food and professional service.  The drinks were outstanding.  I had an Local Brewed Portermescal that was Porter Beer with Mescal flavors…outstanding as was my Shawarma sandwich that was excellent accompanied by a salad.  $3 Prices were way too low.  The total bill for us 3 with 2, maybe 3 Gin and Tonics, my beer, and a Mojito with my sandwich, Annalisa’s Wrap Sandwich and Zoe’s Buffalo Wings was $23 Tip included.

       Zoe dropped me off at the bus stop and I was home by 4.  Good day and “Buenos Noches”  
       Easter is over!  My daughter’s family in California sent me some nice photos.

I leave you with one week left to say good-byes , do laundry, empty refrigerator, etc.  Some updated photos of what my condo looks like now.


2018 END OF MARCH…

       I sent a Birthday card out today at the Post Office.  Put it in the Exterior Box for USA.

Before Spain invaded the Aztec, Mayan, and Inca Civilization Runners could deliver a message from the North to the Southern tip of America faster than a letter takes to get there today….like the Pony Express across the top of the Sierra Madre Mountain range.
      
    Today I stayed in and am working on cleaning my stove and recleaning the wine soaked camisa I so like.  It was 4-5 pm and I just had a small piece of waffle but instead of wanting to nest I wanted to attend a “Happy Hour” with food like in Snottsdale at a bar that I can meet people.  I took the bus to Constitucion and was going to Biznaga in hope some lingering snowbird or resident would be there. I decided to branch out and explore new venues so turned down Cinco de Mayo and remembered the good food I had at Distiliro and noted a sandwich board promoting a “Happy Hour” …rare to see in Oaxaca and especially with a real bar…all 8 seats but real…with seating for another 8 next to it…full!  I found the last seat on the end and ordered the tripe menudo for $3 with a Chilcano Cocktail of Mescal, lime, Lillet, and something that made it great…for $3 then just relaxed and noted the patrons were retired married couples and read my New Yorker.  The Menudo arrived…WOW.  The flavor reminded me of the best Pozole I ever had but with Tripe…honeycombed pig’s intestines that was so tender, flavorful and filling…I toyed with the thought of ordering the Guacamole made with Sweet Potato and??? 

     I was full and Happy Hour was drawing to a close so decided to try the only other cocktail offered for H H…a girlie drink with flowers on the lip that looked like a butterfly and a rosa drink with…artisanal Rum.  Now the bar cleared…HH was over and one man was finishing the last of his meals when I commented on the Mescal he was drinking.  The bar had NO Vodka and mostly featured distilled liquor from Mexico…as well as food. No Pizza here!  He was a entrepreneur from Chicago that was working his business for 3 week before moving on.  He also travels the world for his company and his work.  Maybe in his 50’s or late 40’s.  Did travel a bit when his dad was in the Air Force Reserve…2 brothers and a sister if I remember.  I told him my life story…all the travels and Vietnam.   
          He knew his Mescal and recommended the top shelve…I added that to my stomach.  Then a bought a bottle to take home.  850$…I’ve paid more and less but this was 100% and delicious.  I took the taxi home with a driver that worked in LA and spoke good English…I spoke a lot of Spanish..loose lips.  Best part of my trying to learn is to speak it all the time…so Mecal is my lubricant and Distililo is my venue for now on.
     Adelina was greeted me when I came in the Gate with Teri sitting outside enjoying the warm evening.  Adelina has been dressing up of late.  Fancy ear-rings with matching skirt, nice blouse and lipstick. I think she has a new boyfriend or is looking for one, and I only just noticed it during the move??
      David Chang has “Ugly and Delicious”, a Documentary series on the food channel where he travels into Mexico and discovers Real Tacos and other Mexican cuisine.  I am now getting interested too.  Before it never sparks my appetite but now!  He travels the world to try different cuisines Bulgaria, Japan, etc…interesting.

      This is a Zapotec Salad after I ruined the presentation.  Shredded Oaxacan cheese, Pickled Nopales, Tomato, Red Onion and Chapulines.  Never would order it until I decided to try and it was great…couldn’t finish it all though.
      This is a cone made from fried tortilla and filled with chopped blanched Hibiscus flowers with lime juice…served with fresh delicious Guacamole. Thank you David Chang.
   
      Man training for “Stunt Man” .  Good Samaritan Day and start of Easter.

        When Joan was leaving she gave me the best Peanut Butter I ever ate

       I had breakfast at the Bakery today…

          I met Hector today for Menudo at the place it was so good but he would not eat Menudo so I ordered it again but it was terrible.  The presentation sucked, there was no flavor or broth…all tough tripe.  I ordered the pickled vegetables that were inspiring and delicious.

The Sweet Potato Guacamole was blender Guacamole with too much lime served with tasty cold sweet potato chunks, spanish peanuts and rice crackers.

That was OK. Hector had the Fish Tacos…eh.

The Happy Hour drinks were still good!

  We stopped at Importado for Don Julio Tequila and Hector told me about Casa Mescal just around the corner as being the very best.  We finished the evening at the Casa Mescal Cantina with really good cross between Mescal and Tequila..called Centeron.

  I took home 2 bottles.

     Today was Palm Sunday.   I awoke and was doing my exercises when I kept hearing noises…like chanting in a foreign language.  I didn’t have my hearing aides in and the windows were open so went out in the living room and looked out the window. Mass was being held in front of my condo!!!Mass was being said!   My landlord is trying to bring me back into the fold? I was afraid if I opened the drapes the large congregation would see me with my camera..in the middle of communion? 

5 minutes later it grew quiet and everyone was gone…but I have no idea where they went?

      I checked my email and got a notice about a folk concert at Casa Historical and it wasn’t the normal entertainers.  I was already signed up for another “Chamber Concert” at the Learning Center at the same time.  I would enjoy both but probably fall asleep listening to the French Cellist so cancelled and took a taxi to the Casa, where I’ve been for many concerts but none this year.  Jane was collecting increased admission at the door 150 Pesos. I like Jane and she has a runs a classy B and B without the AIR. It was hot and I was hungry but the features was always Hot Dogs and Hamburgs…

now Jane had Empanada of Spinach, Taco with Taso?, what looked like Pizza and some mushroom and cheese thing.  I had the Empanada and late the Taco with a glass of wine and what my friend and pool player Allen recommended…the best Margarita around.

Allen picking his Nose

It was.  I sat in the shade with another friend from Boston area…David.  He paints with acrylics as a new hobby in retirement.  His lady friend was sitting with Ed who lost his wife last year but returned this year. The music was excellent.  as well as the crowd, though small.

I left about 6 pm and Allen was out front in his car…I tried to bum a ride but he was going the other direction so I walked home while stopping on the way for a Crucifix of Christ and 1/2 a Roasted Chicken.

      Palm Sunday families out in force.
      It was early and I was sick of Netflix so turned to Amazon and paid to see 3 Billboards in Ebbing Missouri which I thought a great movie about small town america and our ethics.  I love Woody Harrelson but he is putting on weight…it’s the Marijuana…I know.  But the star was Marilyn or Margaret…who did a brilliant job in Fargo.  She was great. The movie was a little exaggerated in places but great.
I played pool today with ‘Christopher Stowens who is also a Oaxacan Blogger and a really good one. He lives out in the villages and attended Palm Sunday procession that was quite impressive:   I HIGHLY RECOMMEND HIS BLOG ON PALM SUNDAY and Shannon’s VIEW FROM CASITA COLIBRI

MAZUNTE A OAXACAN BEACH VILLAGE

         Joan arrived on Friday evening.  Saturday I took my suitcase for our trip to Mariposa to leave for our departure the following morning.  Teresa, the owner, greeted me enthusiastically , offered me coffee and invited me to visit anytime.  She used to be my landlady at my first apartment in Oaxaca.  Usi, her right hand man who has been working with her for over 7-8 years, also greeted me.  He was my best first friend in Oaxaca before he married then built a house for his parents and wife to live.  It was a nice reunion.  Joan and I left to meet two other couples she met in Chacala where she stays every winter.
      It was their first time in Oaxaca and I had recommended Biznaga for dinner.  They all had Mescalritas and I gave them some sites to see.  All were from Washington State and here for two weeks..  We had a good meal and returned home.
     The next morning I met Joan and we taxied to our collectivo departure point and was on the way to Mazunte by 11am.  We arrived after 6 1/2 hours of Sierra Madre switchbacks that caused your stomach to churn.  We stopped in San Jose de Pacifico, the home of psychedelic mushrooms for a light lunch  and coffee. 

Then we were nauseous the rest of the trip but arrived around 6 pm at our Posada on the ocean.




     It was hot.  We ate at the Sombrero , an open air restaurant near the beach, then retired to the sound of the surf which kept us company the rest of our stay.
      Breakfast at the Posada then off to explore a bit and plan our next few days. 

We decided just to sit and watch the surf, visit the Turtle sanctuary, Zipolete, and eat in different restaurants. Tonight was to be an Italian place that was closed when we arrived with no sign other than “Open”?  So we went to our 2nd choice and the same.  Both were touted to be the best restaurants in Mazunte.  We stopped into another on the main street that was OK then retired.  I spent most of that day washing wine out of my clothes.  I packed two boxes of wine, one broke and spread a liter of red wine on everything in my suitcase forcing me to throw out two shirts and a pair of undershorts.  I may throw out more when I return.  I forgot my belt so had to walk around holding up my shorts.  I will manage.

    Today I awoke to a high tide and crashing waves, nature at it’s best.  We stopped for coffee at a business that the Italian man Alejandro owned. He owned the other restaurant that was closed last night. He was cooking Pizza!  I wanted to ask him why he advertised he was open and was closed with no sign out!  Joan didn’t tell me until after that he was the guy from Italy.

    We took a taxi to Zipolite to have breakfast at a highly recommended place that was also closed when we arrived.  We had breakfast at the Nude Hotel on the beach then looked for Boomer’s bar.  I stopped where I stayed 2 years ago when I visited Zipolite last.  Daniel Wiener, the owner remembered me and knew Ron Williams the owner of Boomers.  He told me he is only open at night, keeps a cot there and spends the night, then has breakfast next door on the beach…then returns home to Port Angel to his family.  
        It was hot so I visited Sativa, another place that I liked and considered staying at.  She showed me the room which was fine but I thought it was on a roof top terrace where I could sun myself while enjoying the view but only room for a chair. It was hot so we returned for the afternoon and will try to catch a sunset and a decent restaurant to eat at.

HELP…LET ME OUT OF HERE

    We returned to Sidhartha for a wine then on  to La Cuisine.  We knew they were open tonight and had Electronic Folk music at 8 pm. 

Our dinner was fantastic but Joan wanted to return while I wanted to hear this “Electronic Folk”..mine was always acoustic.  I stayed and she left.  I tried to get my waitress to order a Mescal and get the bill and finally went to the bathroom that was blocked by a Walker.  Finally the man came out I went in. When I returned another was in my seat.  I went to the waitress and she directed me to a table in front of the stage and brought me a Mescal.  The music started and I was enthralled so started taping it on my camera then ordered another Mescal to hear more of Vana Mazi
    A couple near by smiled like they knew me.  Finally Dave came over and invited me to join him and Debby.  They heard our conversation about travel and just sold everything including their transportation and took an early retirement to travel.  First trip was SE Asia.  Now they lived above the restaurant at Posada Ziga and have been noticing me in my underwear and camera.  I took Dave’s offer for another Mescal…that’s 3 ..over my limit.  I took advantage of the break and introduced myself to the entertainer…I bought his 3 albums…gave him my card and introduced myself .  He was very interested in  Scott Jeffords in Arizona and I assured him that I suspected Scott would be interested in him. I gave Dave my Servas card and email then bid him and his ?? significant other Debby,  Goodbye, Paid the bill then stopped for Sorbet on the way home.  It is 10:20 and I am finishing a j and to bed. Click on Surf to see and hear:
Surf from my Balcony
       
      Such a nice morning.  Shower and then a nice breakfast in the restaurant while watching naked women frolic in the surf.  What more?  Dave and Debby were just finishing their breakfast and returning to  LA before heading out for Guatemala for travel adventure.  I am headed for the Turtle Sanctuary.

    It was interesting and pretty well done …like a turtle zoo.  Never saw anything like that and I forgot my camera.  I had to return home because of the heat and no available bottled water in the facility.  I thought that rather thoughtless.  Nice afternoon breeze in the room…now time for Pizza? Happy Hour and dinner.

      Mazunte wasn’t as hot as I thought.  Humid though, so I did stay in during the afternoon.  I listened to the crashing of the surf all four days.  Very pleasant.  Especially the Nubile Nymphs that played in the surf every morning while I had my breakfast overlooking the beach! Our return was a little nicer than our trip to Mazunte.


     I told Adelina, my maid, not to clean since I was gone four days and moving when I returned.  She went over to empty the trash and saw that I had packed almost everything into boxes so moved it to the new place.  When I returned Deke, the Manager had said he would help with the furniture (my desk,tv stand, tv, end table etc. ) I started moving that evening and Adelina helped with my clothes closet, dresser,etc.  I finally had to tell her to stop.  I was tired from the trip back and moving.  The next day she and I finished moving everything and I gave her 400 pesos…she was happy. 

        I showered then left to get something to eat.  I fixed coffee in the morning but never finished it or ate all day long. I dropped off the wine soaked clothes at the laundry.  They had sent me home the last time with baby socks from another persons laundry.   When I showed him he laughed, took them and gave me a flannel shirt the sock people had given them.  
        I treated myself at Tres Bistro to another Grilled Salmon dinner.  Saul jokingly brought a tray of chocolates over when I finished.  I told him just put it in the Take Out container with the Salmon I couldn’t finish.  He came back with 8 chocolates.  I ordered a Carlos I brandy to sip while I enjoyed two of them then put the rest in the bag to enjoy tomorrow. It started to rain so I went to the Taxi stand but the thunder and lightening had everyone taking taxis and none were available.  I walked home in the rain.


        The next day…I was happy but now had to unpack all the boxes, go back and get my oriental shades, special bulbs I bought, toilet seat, etc.  Left my new bathroom faucet but took the shower head I bought. Finally was getting things completed and spent my first night in the place.   I decided to move my double bed into the other room and swap everything.  I still have to take down all the photos I hung and get new ones for the bedroom.   I like this place.

     I think Deke might have rented my old place to the guy who rented my former place.  He has a roomate so they thought between the two of them they could each have their own room.  Not sure if they decided yet.  I gave another dresser to Deke to put in the other room so they would each have there own storage.  Anyway…Happy St Patricks Day.  I go to a nice dinner party tonight.  It is put on by Hagar, an Israel Chef that is very good.  This is my third time eating her food. Just as I was ready to leave…I got a notice from my companion that she was worked out…too tired …bad day.  I didn’t want to go alone and didn’t know whether she called and cancelled our reservations and got no response when I asked her?  I stayed home.

Today Joan and I meet for dinner at Tres Bistro…then her last day lunch at Biznaga.

       We bid goodbye after stopping for a Pizza to go for her dinner and plane ride tomorrow. Joan, being the generous spirit she is, brought me Organic Peanut Butter and shared 1/4 of her Pizza for me to sample tonight.  Until our next encounter.  Safe trip.