Sunday, December 28, 2014

My Second Book - Ghosts and Skeletons

My second book has now been published on, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple and Kobo but hasn't taken off yet.  Maybe it is too scary for some people (just joking, it is the second edition in the "A Time Before Facebook" series).  It continues with the story of Jimmy growing up in Northern Idaho, and discovering new things and meeting new people.

This second book took much less time to write, edit and publish.  Not that I am getting better or faster at writing, but I've now learned where to publish online, how to properly format my writing and my cover designer is getting into the groove of designing my artwork.  Kasey is an artist I met in Port Alberni BC, and her work is sometimes a little morbid, but as long as I try to give her inspiration from appropriate stories in my collection, she seems to create the right visual scene.

Here is the link to the Smashwords Page for this, and my first book.

Please be sure to download your copy before the end of December for a discounted price.  Now, onto Book #3 in the Series. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tech de Monterrey, Cuernavaca Mexico.

I rent a self-contained room in a house in Lomas de Cuernavaca that is situated along a bus route that has easy access to Tech de Monterrey University.  A short walk up the street takes you to the bus pickup in front of their Lomas de Cuernavaca campus (smaller than the main university).  Many international students attend this university, and the Casa where I live is in the perfect location.  Not only that, it is relatively inexpensive compared to university housing sponsored by the university itself.

Casa Lomas has ten available rooms for rent, and of those, two are completely self contained (includes bedroom, bathroom and kitchen).  Four of the rooms include a bedroom and private bathroom, but no kitchen.  These rooms share a common kitchen area and fridge.  The self-contained units cost in the area of 4,000 - 4,500 pesos, and the smaller rooms cost between 3,000 - 3,500 pesos.  Costs include weekly cleaning, cable, internet and power/gas.

One of the things I love about Cuernavaca is the temperature.  It hover somewhere near 70-75 degrees all winter, and from October to April it is sunny most of the time.  The rainy season begins in May and runs through September each year, but rain here is usually one storm per day lasting only a few hours.  And the rain is warm, not cold.

Casa Lomas is an extremely safe house to live in.  It is located on a gated cul-de-sac with 24 hour security at the entrance.  The neighborhood itself has security at all street entrances and 24 hour guards situated at most street corners.  The house itself has a secure wall all around, a large yard, and is locked at all times.  A safe and secure home located near the university, and also a short bus ride to downtown Cuernavaca.

Any students interested in a welcoming place to live while attending university in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico should definitely consider this friendly home.  Raul and his mother Magdelena own the home and Magdelena lives at the home permanently.  Raul visits daily to maintain the yard and grounds, and swimming pool.  Please call Raul if you are interested in renting.  His cell number is 52-777-140-8307.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas in Taxco, Mexico

My daughter and I just returned from a fantastic Xmas Eve spent with our extended Mexican Family.  Taxco is a short one hour drive south from Cuernavaca, and is in the state of Guerrero.  It is located high in the mountains, and we decided a few months ago to book our Christmas celebration there this year.  Taxco is built on the side of a mountain, and our hotel was at the top of the mountain.  A resort/hotel called Montetaxco.

The drive was uneventful, although it rained most of the way, and we only got lost once.  I did fine when we turned off the highway (the cuota or pay highway), but when we hit a tiny section of road that was being repaired, we took a detour onto the freeway (or more dangerous highway - but free), and immediately started slowly crossing the numerous topes (speedbumps) in the road.  This was my first trip driving solo in Mexico, well solo being that there was no experienced Mexican passenger in my vehicle.  BTW, all of the tolls were 1/2 price because it was Xmas I believe.

We drove through a tiny community, and were supposed to take a right turn to re-enter the highway, but unfortunately I decided to go straight ahead, and we remained on the freeway.  This, I explained to my daughter was the scenic route up the mountains.  We passed through about three or four communities (and about a hundred topes), and after passing numerous accidents and federal police on the road, we made it to the final entrance to the toll highway before Taxco.  It was sad that people were wrecking their cars on Xmas Eve, but Mexicans don't seem to slow down much when the highways get wet and slippery.

We finally arrived at the entrance to Taxco just before dark, and our friends were waiting at the bottom of the steep hill leading up to the resort.  We asked if they had tried to drive up, and they said yes, but the couldn't make it.  Now this road up to the resort was made of cobblestones, and when they get wet, the are like driving on ice.  My new tires on my car are great for dry streets, but not great in the rain.  Anyway, my friend Raul decided to try one more time, and after watching many cars go up the hill he drove across the street to get a good run at it.

Off he went, and once he made it around the first corner and out of sight, I knew he had a good chance of making it all the way.  Now what about us?  As we sat at the bottom of the hill contemplating our next move, a man approached our car and asked if we would give him 40 pesos to drive us up the hill.  I immediately said yes, and gave him the wheel.  He drove across the highway and got a run just like Raul had done.  This guy had obviously done this many times before, so we headed for the far left of the roadway as we climbed, and basically stayed right near that side of the roadway the entire way up - which was about a mile.  The road contained one switchback after another, and we had to be careful of cars coming down and running into us because we were driving on their side of the road most of the way up.

The reason our driver did this was to stay on the side of the road nearest the uphill bank because it was drier on that side.  Once we finally reached the top (only having to back up and try one of the last hills for a second time because a car coming down made us stop in the middle of the hill), I gladly paid the driver 50 pesos.  It was worth it to make it up safely.  I wouldn't worry about getting down until we left the resort in two days.

After our driver left us to our own at the front of the hotel, we only had to drive about 1000 yards down another steep hill to the Villa's that we had all rented.  Thank god we had visited this resort a few months ago because we discovered the villa's adjoining the hotel, and their cost was about 1/2 the cost of a room in the hotel.  We not only got our own separate condo, we received all the benefits of staying in the hotel itself.  Swimming, sauna, restaurants, etc.

After checking in, it was time to have a couple of drinks and relax before changing for the Xmas Celebration.  Next - The Party.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Los Garcias Restaurant, Mexico.

My daughter arrived for the Xmas holidays on the weekend, and we went for dinner at a little restaurant south of town called Los Garcia's.  After driving to Mexico City to pick her up at the airport with my new/used car (first time driving in Mexico City), I again got to drive my car while being given directions from my best friend here in Mexico, Raul.

The restaurant was located south of Cuernavaca about 10 miles, so we took the Highway for most of the drive.  We took the Airport exit just past the Tech de Monteray University exit, and paid our 10 pesos toll.  Then we made a returono and crossed over the highway and headed east for about 2 miles.

Once we reached the restaurant we could see it was extremely busy inside.  The driveway to the parking lot in back went right past the open-air building (it did have a roof however) and it looked like almost all of the 20 or so tables was crammed with people.  Once we parked, we entered from the rear door and walked all the way to the other end, searching for a free table.  There were six adults and two tiny children in our group, so we needed almost a full table to ourselves.

As we walked through the restaurant, against the back wall were numerous cooking areas with tables in front displaying various types of food.  Soups, toquitos cooking in hot oil, tostados, burritos, etc.  We found a small family leaving as we arrived at the far end of the restaurant and we quickly snatched the table before someone else grabbed it.

We were given menus, and Raul started explaining how this restaurant worked.  It was owned by one family, and all the brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts and children were the people cooking along the back wall, and the waiters were also family. The restaurant was only open Friday and Saturday evenings for dinner.  Raul wasn't sure if the family members had other jobs or just worked two nights a week.

The menu was a typical buffet of Mexican traditional foods, and for some reason, I had tomales on my mind.  Raul suggested the house specialty, which contained chicken, mole, chiles and cheese - all wrapped in a banana leaf.  He told me it was rather large, so I should probably only order one.  My daughter had never tried Pazole, so I ordered a very tiny bowl to go with my tamale so she could have a taste.

Because all the relatives working in the restaurant were constantly cooking, it only took seconds for our food to arrive.  Now I've eaten tamales before many times, and knew that the normal size was about 5 inches long by a couple inches wide and perhaps an inch thick.  When my tamale arrived my eyes almost popped out.

It was centered on a plate that was about 8 inches wide, and it actually hanged over on both sides of my plate.  Wait it gets better.  Not only was it bigger then the plate it was served on, it was folded over - not once but twice.  It was the biggest tamale I had ever seen.  I wondered how big my mini Pazole would be when it arrived.

Needless to say, it was the best tamale I had ever eaten, but I had to be lifted out of my chair before leaving.  Oh did I mention the cost.  This monster tamale was 23 pesos - about $1.50 Canadian.  Oh, and my daughter loved the Pazole until we explained what the ingredients were.

I'm glad I found this new restaurant, and will never forget the name.  My second ex-wife is currently living with a man names "Garcia".

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Procrastination, a writers greatest nemisis. Well at least mine.

Okay, I have to admit I have suffering from this for about 8 months now.  It is not that I have been sitting on the couch twiddling my thumbs, my life has been quite busy.  I had my second book edited and I published it online.  I spent 5 months in Canada living on and repairing my boat and visited all my family there.  But the writing habits that I had developed during the past couple of years were thrown out the window, and I have been dedicating my 'writing time' to other less important things.

Well, they may not be less important per se, but they are things that can sometimes be moved to a time in the day not previously assigned to writing.  This problem kind of snuck up on me, and before I knew it, I didn't even think about writing in the mornings.  Over the past few weeks I've been mentally addressing the problem, but still finding ways to keep my procrastination continuing.

How did this happen?  I don't think it is because I've now written and published two books and they are not selling as well as expected.  I don't think it is because I've reached a block in my writing abilities.  I have been writing blogs, texts, emails and other forms of written communication.  I have even written the outline for a future book to begin after my current series is completed.  I don't think it is because I'm not organized.

When I first arrived in Mexico a few winters ago, an accident immobilized me temporarily.  This accident provided me with the time to organize my entire series of books.  For each book, I established the title, chapters and even a paragraph outline on what each chapter was going to consist of and how it linked to other chapters.  I definitely had the background information prepared to keep writing until my series was complete.

So why haven't I written for almost 8 months.  Fear!  I think I reached a point where I felt that over the past year I have not received one rating or positive comment on either of my two books.  Sure, it's only been a year, but some writers get all kinds of feedback right away don't they?  I think what happened to me was self doubt took over, and was able to slowly eat away at my original inspiration.  I have to get over the presumption that my writing depends on what others think, and it is really the enjoyment I actually get from sitting down and creating.

Yesterday was and impasse day for me.  I finally said to myself 'Fuck it' and got back into book #3.  I didn't make a whole lot of progress yesterday, but I put in my usual time writing, and I feel good.  So let's get back to business and fuck everyone else.  I'm writing for me.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Conspiracy theories - I tried, but I just can't keep silent on politics/corruption.

People make fun of conspiracy theorists, but I don't think it will be all that funny when the environment is eventually destroyed, the it turns out the 'paranoid's' may have been right after all.  For most of us mortals the complexity of the world is mind boggling.  Wars, politics, health crisis, environmental destruction, finance, law, racial differences, water and food shortages, drugs, rich vs. poor, etc., to name a few.

For me, there are just too many world issues, and it is difficult to focus on just one or two.  When I start, it almost gives me a headache.  Many times I just decide to worry about myself and my own family and friends.  But then I seen news, certain people in the world, that are not solely concerned with just getting by and raising their families.  They have had a taste of wealth and power, and it has given them the fuel to become even richer and more powerful.

Let me try to break it down if I can.  These billionaires are the richest of the rich, who not only want power and wealth, they want complete control.  They use their wealth to purchase entire countries (well, at least the politicians running the countries), and to enact laws in their favor.  Because many countries have laws against making direct contributions, they have set up various Funds to funnel their bribes to the political parties and politicians.  For example, the Koch brothers in the USA and their 'Americans for Prosperity' Fund or Walmart and their employee political contribution program.

With politicians in their pockets, their opportunities are boundless and there is no such thing as borders.  Whatever resources they want to take anywhere in the world, they just have to have the laws of that country changed in their favor.  If people protest, they take control of the news media and mislead the public.  If they want to pay less taxes, they again have the laws changed for their benefit, in most cases making it look like the Government is giving them tax breaks to benefit local industry development, rather than to pay little or no taxes.

Buying into the banking system gives them opportunities to get cheap financing for themselves and higher financing for the general public.  Banking interests also gives them the ability to invest in foreign corporations and banks that are having difficulty, and either cleaning out the bank's assets, or gaining control over the finances of another country.

They do not care about the environment, they do not care about natural resources, they do not care about any system that provides help and assistance for the general public and they do not care about YOU.  They care about making more money, obtaining more power and control, and passing on their status to their children, so that they can continue their plundering for generations to come - with what appears to be absolutely no remorse or guilt.

They have corrupted politics to the point where lying and cheating are the normal, with absolutely no fear of punishment, and worse yet, their lies are accepted or ignored by the public.  There is no accountability by these thieves, and they not only appear to be, but actually are, above the law.  It is time to start publicly identifying these criminals so the public can see who and what they really are - just like rapists are being identified in the news of today.

So, if you think I am crazy for joining the 'conspiracy theory' group, perhaps you are right.  But on the other hand, what if I AM right? Boy is the world in trouble.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Buying Car Parts in Mexico.

As I previously mentioned, try to buy a North American car in Mexico (like Chevrolet/GM, Ford/Lincoln, Dodge/Chrysler, and specific to Mexico Volkswagen and Seat); and if you can find one in the 1990's to early 2000's, you will find relatively cheap parts for them almost anywhere.  Cuernavaca has a population in the city of almost 350,000, and it is loaded with car parts stores.

We have already found our favorite parts stores, and the prices are relatively similar from store to store.  What you need are the parts stores that sell GENUINE manufacturers parts.  You have to have a sharp eye to find these stores.  They usually have a tiny storefront, with a large storage area in back.  You can identify them by the signage located somewhere on the front of the store, and you will see words like Motorcraft for Ford, Mopar for Dodge, and OEM for GM/Chevrolet.  Also, of course, you can look for the symbols for the Manufactures name or symbol.

You would think that spotting these stores would be easy, but if you know Mexico at all, there are thousands of stores situated side by side on busy streets, and every business has about a hundred signs on their storefronts.  With crazy traffic thrown in, it's a little like finding a needle in a haystack.  That is why, when you find a good supplier for the make of your car, pray he stays in business at his current location for years to come.

Once you have your parts to repair your vehicle, hopefully you can drive it safely to the repair shop.  DO NOT take your vehicle to the dealership or you will have to mortgage your house back home to pay for the repairs.  For example, we have found a mechanic that does general car maintenance and repair.  I have left my car with him for some fairly major repairs, and the parts that I have not pre-purchased, he will order himself.  Many times my vehicle has been there all day, and my bill for labour was less than 500 pesos (about 40 Cdn).  He not only does excellent work, he is cheap and his work is guaranteed.

This is just the engine/automobile mechanic.  In Mexico you also need an Electrical Mechanic to do the repairs to your car's entire electrical system;  a Front-End Mechanic to do the repairs on your suspension (our's also does work on automatic transmissions);  a Radiator Mechanic for the obvious;  and an Electronics Mechanic for repairing your car's internal memory system.  Thank god my landlord in Mexico shares his mechanics with me.  Trying to find them myself would be next to impossible.  There are many of these mechanics out there, but many of them are as shady as the dealerships.

It is always best to contact your mechanic a few days ahead to organize an appointment, and on appointment day, arrive right at their opening time.  If you don't arrive first, even with an appointment, you may not get in before others.  Many times we have arrived early at the business, left the car and walked to breakfast (our favorite toquito restaurant is nearby) and then take the bus home.  Many of our mechanics are in the North part of the city, and we live in the South, but the bus only costs about 6 or 7 pesos each way.

Anyway if you move to Mexico and buy an old car (and get your Drivers Licence), I hope this helps.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

More driving in Mexico.

Well, I've almost got one year of driving in Mexico under my belt, and I can't believe all that I've learned.  Here are a few helpful tips for anyone crazy enough to attempt driving down here.

1. You can only rent vehicles in Mexico with your current drivers licence.   To own and drive an authentic Mexican vehicle, you need to become a resident and obtain a Mexican Drivers Licence.

2. Mexicans do not look after their vehicles like, say Canadians do.  They basically drive them until they quit, doing very little or no maintenance, and then sell them.

3. Car dealers service departments are one of the biggest ripoffs in Mexico.  If you are crazy enough to buy a new car, don't take it to the dealer for warranty servicing. You will likely get the vehicle back with unchanged oil and filters, parts not replaced but charged for, etc.  In other words, they charge you for servicing they didn't do and parts they didn't provide, and sell the parts to someone else.  Any work you have them perform is usually about 10 times the price of local mechanics.  We use mechanics that we have found to be honest and cheap, and pray that they stay healthy for many years.

4. Many street lines have completely faded, so driving in your lane can be difficult, if not impossible at times. I was told to look ahead, find the place you think your lane should be, and drive in a straight line - or just follow directly behind the person in front of you.  People behind you will try not to run into you.

5. Parking.  It is best to always park in lots.  Even though you will probably have to pay a nominal fee, they have security and your vehicle will likely be safe.  Many lots give you a discount if you get your slip stamped by a local store (oh, and don't forget to get a parking slip when you park).  If parking on the street, be sure to park only in designated areas.  Yellow curbs mean it is safe to park, and red means no parking.  Put your club on your steering wheel, and if there happens to be a Mexican assisting with parking on the street, give him a few pesos, and they will usually watch your vehicle for you, just like in a parking lot.

6. Topes.  These are found everywhere in Mexico except on the paid toll highways (generally).  We call them speed bumps, and they can be found on all neighborhood streets and free highways.  These will wreck you car in a hurry if you are not vigilant.  Some are small, some are huge, and some are downright dangerous even at slow speeds.  You are extremely lucky if you happen to find one that is painted yellow.

7. Other obstacles.  Holes that appear out of nowhere in the middle of the road, people walking out in front of you, no one stopping at STOP signs, changing lanes without signalling, crazy bus and taxi drivers, fallen trees and rocks on the highway, and instead of wild animals on the highway you will find dogs, burros, cows and horses.  Constantly scanning the road in front of you is critical, not just a suggestion.  Speaking of suggestion, that is what most of the signage is, a suggestion.

8. If buying a car in Mexico, stick with the old standbys, Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Seat (a Spanish vehicle), and to my surprise, Volkswagen.  The old style Beetles were made in Mexico up until a few years ago, but there are still large VW plants located here.  I purchased a 1999 Pontiac Sunfire, and with our trusty mechanic(s), it is now in almost perfect condition.  There are hundreds of tiny parts stores in the city (many of them started by employees ripping off the dealers parts), and they are cheap too.  Do not buy a new Toyota, BMW, Nissan, Mercedes or Audi.  They are not only expensive to buy, they are expensive to repair.

9. There are two major types of highways in Mexico.  Libre (free) highways will get you from town to town with no tolls, but you will take the longer scenic route.  Only take these highways during daylight, and in some cases, not at all because they are through dangerous areas.  Cuota (toll) are the faster, straighter, and generally well kept freeways that have tolls (usually near any city or town).  Tolls range from a few pesos to over 100 in some areas.  These highways, however, are far less dangerous then the Libre's.  Also there is almost no chance of hitting animals on these highways.

10. Making left turns.  Generally in Mexico, there is no such thing as a left turn lane.  You may find a few of them in the larger cities, but most turns to the left will involve taking a Returno.  The sign for these areas is similar to a 'U-Turn' sign back home, and that describes the process rather well.  If you have to turn left on a certain street, you must pass that street and then look for the next returno.  Oh and if there happens to be a traffic light at the returno, the left turn arrow happens after the green light, not before.  You then whip a Uee, and head back in the other direction and take your turn on the right.

I'll try to provide more helpful driving tips as I progress in my skill improvement here.  And don't forget, the secret to driving successfully in Mexico is:  Don't hit anyone, and don't get hit by anyone.  If you follow these two simple rules, you'll be fine.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Many writers like to read. Sometimes good and sometimes bad.

I have found that one of my main downfalls as a writer is the fact that I love to read.  Before the deterioration of my eyes made it difficult to focus on my favorite pastime, reading books, I used to consume at least one novel a week.  I loved to lay in bed and read a book before falling asleep.

Now my reading consists of editing my own writing, and reading the news online.  This second one has become quite a distraction for me because I now have the TIME to actually read about what is going on in the world.  Before I retired a few years ago, I never seemed to have the time to read the news, let alone comment on it.  In fact, I tried to ignore the news as much as possible back then.  News was almost never nice, and I wanted to remain as happy as possible in my own safe little world.

The point is, when a writer hits a lull in their daily business of storytelling, it is far to easy to get distracted on the internet.  With MSN as my homepage, it is too easy to read all the news and keep up on the stories of the day (even commenting once in a while) while letting my creativity sit on the back burner.

There are some internet sites that are not a complete waste of time however.  My twitter account allows me to keep my followers up to date on how my books and writing are progressing.  Also I am constantly trying to increase the number of followers for potential futures book sales.  My blog is a great venue to promote my writing, and when I get the motivation, to even try to write some knowledgeable gems for other writers.  My Facebook site is also a good place to keep in touch with other writers and to promote my books.

So, in essence, even though I may not be actually writing my books every day, I am still marketing the works that I have already completed.  Not a complete waste of time I guess.  Anyway, if anyone has some good advice about maintaining and improving my motivation to stay focused on my book writing, I would appreciate it.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Free medical heroin prescriptions in Vacouver BC coming soon.

I read an article that soon, medical heroin will be administered by the Vancouver Addiction Clinic to heroin addicts that cannot seem to quit.  I agree that drug addiction is a terrible thing, and my heart goes out to those people addicted to them.

But wait a minute, aren't there other dangerous and addictive drugs out there that people are trying to quit?  Perhaps there should also be Government controlled sites where this group of addicts can shoot or snort quality controlled cocaine, crack and other impure drugs.  And what about the drug dealers that just can't seem to quit pushing.  They've tried so get other work, but with no success.  Should they be provided with safe outlets to sell their Government provided safe drugs to clients?

And what about the alcoholic that has been trying to quit for years?  Should there be free alcohol provided for them in a controlled situation.  Oh my goodness, what about the other criminals in our society that have been trying to beat an addiction.  What about the rapists that just can't seem to get control of their sexual urges.  Perhaps they could be provided with a safe place to rape their Government inspected victims, while at the same time, receiving free counseling until such time as they are able to quit.  What about mass murderers that truly can't seem to stop.  Should they be given free reign under controlled situations until they get their addiction curbed?

If we want to do something truly helpful for people who truly need it, how about providing food and shelter to those that can't find a job and are trying to support themselves and/or their families, instead of supporting medical drug manufacturers, or worse, the drug cartels.  Your tax dollars at work.

Has the Government gone completely crazy?

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

ISIS jihad - On the positive side.

The situation with ISIS in the Middle East is quite sad in many ways.  But on the positive side, I believe it has created the perfect platform for a means of cleansing some of the worlds new and youngest monsters, who would have probably been culled naturally anyway.

ISIS has called on supporters from all over the world, the weak-minded fanatics, or those without a peaceful direction in life and who will follow anyone like sheep, and amassed them all in one general place.  This has now made it much easier for the USA and it's coalition to bomb the hell out of them, while at the same time, destroying ISIS and it's leaders.  Instead of having to weed these traitors out from the various countries throughout the world, they are now all in one general area overseas, just asking to die.  Give them what they want.  I feel sorry for their parents though.

When the conflict is finally over, it is critical that any surviving jihadists are not allowed to return to Canada or whatever Western or European country they came from.  This will be the perfect opportunity to leave them in Syria or Iraq, or whatever Middle Eastern country they are in at the time of the end of the war.  There they will get what they deserve from the locals they have been killing.

Secondly, this conflict has awakened peace-loving countries, and they are re-examining their immigration laws and policies.  It is time for them to better screen new arrivals, and turn back criminals, before they are able to abuse our immigration and welfare systems.  There are a lot of immigrants out there that really do want to move to the West to improve their lives, not destroy others.

Okay, I'll try not to blog about war and death all the time.  But this seems to be all that is in the news recently.Should I concentrate on writing about books or living in Mexico?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Terrorism has come to Canada. What should we do, or do I even have a say?

I am currently retired and living during the winter months in Mexico; spending my spring and summer at my home on beautiful Vancouver Island.  I like to keep up on world news, and particularly Canadian content, while I'm away.  Now that Canada is participating with the USA and other countries in the coalition fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq, terrorists have brought their fight to our soil.

I may be spending the winters away from my country, but I am still a Canadian - born and raised.  I spent almost 60 years living and working in Canada, and now that I can, I choose to spend the cold winters in sunnier climates.  Recently, after commenting on a Toronto Star or other news article about the problem of Canadian born terrorists going to Syria and then returning to Canada, I received a reprimand.

My comments were unimportant, but a response I received from a fellow Canadian was not.  I was called an 'expat', which in my mind (and the USA Expatriation Act), meant that I had relinquished my citizenship or had had it stripped from me.  This is what expatriate meant to me.  It is now my understanding that 'expat' also applies to retired Canadians that reside part of the year outside Canada.  It was not his use of the word expat that bothered me so much, it was the context in which he used it.

His implications were that because I spent my winters outside Canada, I should not have a say in what my country does unless I provided specific solutions, and I should rather concentrate on the many problems found here in Mexico.  After deciding that this fellow was actually a bit of an idiot, I did realize that he had one valid point.  I could not only spend some of my golden years assisting with the problems in Canada, I could also help out here in my 2nd home, Mexico.

So anyway, to the jerk, thanks, and here are a couple of my solutions; instead of your suggestion that we basically just let these people come and go as they please.  Our border guards, police and CSIS are already far overworked. 

1. A Canadian leaves to fight jihad against non-Muslims (which includes most Canadians).  Charged with treason and sent directly to jail.  But hopefully they will be killed in a Canadian airstrike and this problem will not arise.

2. A Non-citizen leaves Canada to fight jihad.  If they have a Canadian Passport, it is revoked and their information added to the customs database to stop them from re-entering Canada.  Immediate deportation and never allowed back into the country.

3. This then leaves the citizens/non-citizens that have already left and now returned, and it is unknown whether or not they participated in the jihad.  There appear to only be about 90 of these people, so it shouldn't be too taxing on our Government to watch them.  24 hour surveillance for all of them, and if they are found to have participated in the jihad, if Canadian, charge them with treason;  if non-Canadian, send them back to Syria or their home country.  Drop them off via parachutes if you have to.

4. Of course, anyone providing money or other assistance from Canada to these terrorists should be charged and dealt with as in 3 above.

Face it, Canada's perception has now changed from Peacekeeper to Coalition Participator.  So let's start being more aware at home, particularly at large events, and protect ourselves and our Country against these lunatics.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Jian Ghomeshi and Chimpanzees.

It states that scientists believe that overly aggressive chimpanzees have developed this trait in order to procreate more often and create more offspring - continuing their blood line.  Darwin's theory, I guess.  It's ironic that this article has been published shortly after the public heard about the CBC's problems with Jian Ghomeshi and the numerous accusations of his sexual abnormalities.

Perhaps if Mr. Ghomeshi can be scientifically linked to Chimpanzees he can get off any potential charges on a technicality.  I don't believe it is yet possible for a chimpanzee to be charged with sexual assault or even rape like a human can be.  His lawyer should get him tested to see if he has any chimpanzee DNA in his jeans (sorry, genes).  Oops, I guess we all do.  BTW, I wonder what a lawyer thinks in order to convince themselves that an apparently guilty client is innocent.  Then, can they sleep at night, or does their paycheck eliminate their own feelings of guilt?

So, if the Government continues with charges, he could just use the defense that 'The monkey made him do it'.

Sorry to make light of this situation, particularly for his or any other rape or sexual assault victims, but this type of behavior is inexcusable, for any human being.  The monkey defense just won't fly.  Sorry scientists, nice try.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Imposter at Canada Day Ceremony in Ottawa interviewed...

I am not a vet, but have had many veterans in my family (including my father).  I am totally amazed that this fellow was able to blend in and actually be interviewed on camera on Canada Day.  He must have done some fancy footwork to make this happen.

My opinion is that he is either crazy, a publicity seeker, or lastly, has ulterior motives that may not be nationalistic.  If it is the latter, his fake uniform worked well.  But I wonder why the veterans and servicemen didn't do anything more than just notice him and feel angry.

With the country under threat of terror, and terrorists apparently targeting large congregations of people (particularly soldiers so far), then why on earth didn't anyone actually confront him.  If it was so obvious to attendees that he was an imposter, why didn't find out what was actually going on, rather than just getting angry.  Particularly since Canada is currently under threat by terrorists.

I think people have to start becoming more aware of their surroundings, especially at large gatherings, and question things that are out of the norm.  Don't just notice them.  It is scary that this nut was able to blend in so well, and no one actually did anything about it at the time.

Monday, November 10, 2014

I was in Iguala Saturday, and..

I found that the town appears to have recovered from the tragedy of the missing (and now found murdered) students.  I bought 3 lots on a mountainside overlooking the city a few years ago and had to drive down to make my quarterly payment.

Myself and a few friends from Cuernavaca purchased 8 lots in this huge development and are either waiting for our investment to increase or the right time for development.  Although there was a definite lack of police visible in the city, the opposite was true for the Army.  There is an Army Base located in central Iguala, but on numerous past visits, I hadn't even realized it was there.  Basically until things settle down in Iguala, it is under martial law.  I don't know whether this actually made me feel safe or not.

We made our property payments and chatted with the lady selling us the property.  She went into great detail about how these innocent students were not quite as innocent as the news had made them out to be.  They come from a nearby town and are poor students trying to survive and continue their schooling.  Groups of them in the past have been hired to protest in theirs or nearby towns on behalf of various factions (including police, politicians and narcos).  Their protests have always been boisterous and many times have led to extreme violence.

Recently they burned the city hall with all the records in Iguala, destroyed the local mall and have stolen buses to return home and from what our friend told us; even set people on fire and killed them.  The residents of Iguala know these 'students' to be a little more than protesters.  We were even told explicitly that the residents were sorry that they were murdered, but quite relieved that they were gone.  Anyway, I have to return to Iguala to make the last payment on two of my lots this January, and we'll see if the city has settled back into it's normal routine by then.

As an aside, I have witnessed many protests in Mexico, and the chanting and sign-waving are always exciting.  However, if you ask many of the protesters just exactly what they are protesting and what the issues are, they will look at you dumbfounded.  You see, most of the protesters in Mexico are paid to attend, and some even make it a career.  Amazing.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My 4th winter in Mexico...

Winters in Mexico are fantastic.  I'm well into my 2nd month of 7 in my 4th winter living in Mexico.  Today a strange thought struck me.  I remember my first winter here, and it was totally new and exciting.  Every day seemed like a new adventure, and the warmth, oh how I enjoyed the freedom from Canada's cold winters.  Now, it all seems normal.  I am still busy, and I'm sure there are many adventures to come, but life here now leaves me with a feeling that I can only describe as comfortable.

Although I live my summers on Vancouver Island, I can clearly remember the winters there were nothing like winters on the Prairies or the Rocky Mountains.  But it can still get cold - especially compared to Mexico.  Cold here, now that we are into November, is a chilly 75 degrees during the day and an icy 60 at night.  It sends shivers down my spine just thinking about life in Canada at this point in time.

The winter smells here are extremely similar to the summer smells back home, but perhaps just a little more pungent.  However, the sounds of the local birds (including roosters crowing every morning) and insects are completely different than Canada.  Today I noticed hummingbirds flitting from flower to flower in my yard, and realized that they seemed much larger than the northern variety.

I now own a car and have my Mexican driver license, so I think it is time to do some exploring.  Hopefully this will put a little spice back into my life. It is funny how as we grow accustomed to new situations, excitement wains.  So now it's time to make a new life decision.  Do I sit back in my new comfortable position, or do I get out there and explore more of the world?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Enough blogs on politics....

I brought my old Blackberry Bold 9900 to Mexico this year.  My plan was to sell it here and switch to iPhones when I got back to Canada next spring.  I decided against it, and instead found a site to unlock it so I can use it in Mexico.  I found a site called and gave it a try.  My model was one of the lucky ones that could be unlocked free (in 48 hours) or if I wanted, I could pay a whopping $3.00 Cdn and unlock it immediately.

Because I'm retired and on a fixed income, I decided to try the free option.  As promised, today my phone was unlocked, I installed my Mexican SIM card from my Motorola, and voila; my phone is unlocked.  I now think I'll keep it as my permanent Mexican cell, and now have my Motorola as a spare for my daughter when she visits.  In Mexico, you can purchase a new SIM card for about 200 pesos to activate your phone and get a 200 peso credit to boot.  200 pesos will give you about 200 text messages, free incoming calls, and for local calls about 2 pesos a minute.  Almost free...

Not that many people have Blackberry's anymore, but still a very useful site if your phone is paid for and you travel to other countries.  Now to re-program all my Mexican contacts into my BB....

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Russell Brand and Stephen Harper.

Canada is now under attack from extremists, and are now just like the USA.  Why?  Why is Canada now a target?  It is pretty obvious.  Our Federal Leaders (run by Harper) declared war on ISIS by promising to send our planes to Iraq.  Now this in itself may not be a bad thing.  ISIS extremists are dangerous and murdering innocent people, and they must be stopped by someone.  But in the past, Canada has always sent peacekeepers and humanitarian aid, not warriors.  Why change now?

Canadians are not idiots, but I think they are currently being manipulated.  Harper knows full well that during the heat of the Iraq/Syrian, or any other conflict, if we sent soldiers to fight we would become a target.  It is just like George W. Bush knew that if America allowed bin Laden to continue his threats, it would only be a matter of time before the jihad was brought to America.  When the twin towers fell, this gave his government the power to go to war, and strengthen US homeland security laws.

Sad, but now Canada is following in the same footsteps.  It is unfortunate that politicians thirst for power forces us into situations like this, and it is the Canadian people and our soldiers that will suffer - not Harper or his associates.  I will fight for Canada to the end and support our military, but never on behalf of a corrupt government that is more concerned with power and re-elections than with doing what is right for Canadians.  I hope Harper's motives are honorable. What do you think his motives are with an election looming next year?  Here is a link to Russell Brand's video.

In closing, it seems like the entire world is controlled by those with money and power - and to top it off, they all seem corrupt and above the law and are almost never held accountable for their actions.  I wonder if Democracy has a chance, but enough negative thoughts.  Russell Brand at least nails the sad truth, but makes it interesting at the same time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Taliban, ISIS, Terrorists.

C'mon, don't tell us not to worry about between 80-130 or more potential terrorists living among us in Canada.  Aren't these the people that have been trained to despise Christians, and to infiltrate us and kill us whenever they get the chance.  They will lie and say anything they think we want to hear, to conceal themselves among us.

How our RCMP and CSIS actually think they can convert them from Islam is beyond my comprehension.  It's like convincing a serial rapist to live amongst his/her prey and to just please stop doing it.  I don't think so.  These people are so radicalized that nothing will bring them back.  Particularly since they truly believe heaven is waiting for them if they kill us.

The non-Canadian born potential terrorists that have now been trained in Syria, or wherever, and returned should have their passports revoked and shipped back to their home countries.  If they were born in Canada, that is a different matter.  Charge them with treason.  If they have been trained to make war on Canadian citizens, it is just that, an act of war and they should be treated as war criminals.

How can we allow people to leave our Country to be trained to kill us upon their return; and then let them come back.  Oh, I feel much safer now, we are watching them closely.  Yeah, watching them drive their cars into innocent Canadians.  Will we next see public be-headings from these people being watched?  What is wrong with our leaders?

I think I'll just stay in Mexico for a few more months, and upon my return to Canada, I'll watch carefully over my shoulder.  Don't tell me to feel safe with these fanatics living amongst us, and to have faith in our policing system to protect us.  To me, both have already proven their incompetence.  Do you feel safe?

Saturday, October 11, 2014


Here is a link to the WHO (World Health Organization) site that gives a very good history of the Ebola virus.  How it started, how it is transmitted and how to protect yourself from coming in contact with, and contracting it.

Ebola Virus Disease

As of today, October 11, 2014, Ebola has only surfaced in Dallas, Texas.  Canada has no reported cases, and the chances of an infected person arriving in Canada is relatively slim.  That being said, if high risk potential carriers of the disease arriving from West Africa are not discovered and stopped in the USA, they could potentially be able to carry on to Canada.  Hopefully the disease has been stopped in it's tracks in Dallas.

I have to travel through the USA over the next few months, and I will sure be careful what I touch and who I come in contact with at the airports.  Scary.  I think I'll stay away from West Africa for a while.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Mexican policing?

Police helicopters are flying over our neighborhood today supposedly looking for the Mayor of the City of Iguala, one hour south of Cuernavaca,where the recent disappearances/murders of college students took place.  I don`t know if they actually have information that he might be hiding in our area, but I suspect they are performing these searches (as I have seen them do many times) to try to prove to the public that they are actively searching for this criminal.

How, on earth, can they expect us to believe that the can fly over various areas in numerous cities and actually expect to flush this guy out of hiding.  As I stood out on our balcony watching this ineffective search being performed, I thought to myself, I sure do hope I don`t look like the Canadian version of the Mayor of Iguala.  We could have paratroopers sliding down ropes into our back yard.

This search would be laughable if it wasn`t for the fact that all these students have disappeared and are feared murdered.  It is indicative of the system here whereby known criminals are allowed to wander freely around the country, with everyone knowing that they are criminals, and no one seems to be able to catch them until they do something that lands them in the international news.  Then the search by helicopter begins.  Crazy county sometimes, but I do hope they catch the guy.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Deaths in Iguala, Mexico.

I bought land in Iguala a couple of years ago, about the time the violence there started getting worse.  A long time local family I know there were attacked by armed assailants, and ultimately had to leave their home and business and move.

Iguala, and numerous other towns/cities in Mexico, are infested with 'Narcos' (the term used for people dealing narcotics).  With the crackdown on drug movement in Mexico over the past few years, many of these Narcos have moved into other lucrative businesses;  like theft, kidnapping, extortion, murder, and the list goes on.

To the average Mexican citizen, Narcos are easy to identify and stay away from.  It is ironic that the Mexican Government cannot seem to catch these criminals that their public sees daily.  Gee, maybe the Government and Police are actually being paid off by these guys, or even worse, are related to them.

The feeling here from my Mexican friends is 'Thank God' something like this happened; even though it is too terrible to imagine.  Now, because the world's eyes are on Iguala, perhaps this will finally force the Government to actually do something about the problem there.

For me, it will finally be nice to go see my property there one day.  My prayers go out to the families of the victims recently discovered.  It seems pretty certain that these may be the missing students, or at least some of them.  If not, the Narcos in the Iguala area have been busier than we thought.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

What did we do before computers, cell phones and the internet?

I don't know about you, but I actually remember those days.  My first computer was a Commodore 64, and my family used it basically for playing games.  You know, the one called "Pong" or something like that.  You had a small paddle and tried to hit a small dot before it hit the bottom of the screen.  And yes, this computer had a whopping 64 kilobytes.  Computers today don't even burp on less than a megabyte.

With the introduction of the internet, computers really took off, and started growing to the mega, giga and terabytes of today.  They have become faster with more storage and RAM, but at the same time, have become smaller.  You can now buy a cell phone that has all the capabilities of a personal computer, and contain 128 gigabytes of storage.  Amazing.

Speaking of cell phones, what did people do before their invention?  Well, believe it or not, they used real telephones that were installed in their homes permanently.  You actually had to be at home, an office, or at a pay telephone booth to make a call.  How inconvenient is that?  If you couldn't reach the person by telephone, you actually had to physically try to find them by walking, biking, driving or bussing to the location you believed they may be at.

Letters were written, not on a PC, but on a thing called a typewriter.  When I first started working in an office, we used these things all the time.  I think it was sometime in 1982 that I was first introduced to the "Fax" machine.  Prior to that we used teletypes.  They were like a typewriter, but were connected to telephone lines, and you could type a message on one machine and it was received on another machine in a different location - instantly, almost.

I'll never forget the installation of the first fax I saw.  It was in the Government Agent's Office in Nelson, BC.  Once it was installed and set up, we started to receive a message from our Headquarters in Victoria, BC.  I watched as the light moved back and forth inside the machine, and paper started to slowly inch it's way out of the front of the machine.  This entire process of transferring maybe 100 words, took about 5 minutes.  We were in shock.

Anyway, my series of books "A Time Before Facebook" describes a time before all of these gadgets.  Book 2 in the series, "Ghosts and Skeletons" has just been published online, and both books can be purchased at, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and lastly, Amazon.  I am busy writing Book 3, "The Black Bridge", and will probably be working on this series for a few more years to come.  If you have an electronic book reader or a computer, please download a copy, and enjoy reading.

A Time Before Facebook

Ghosts and Skeletons

Friday, September 26, 2014

My 2nd book, Ghosts and Skeletons is now online.

I'm happy with this, my second work, and hope you like it too.  It is the second book in the "A Time Before Facebook" series, and there are a few more books to come.  If you are already following Jimmy James Jr. on facebook or have 'liked' me, there is a discount available on the site to save 25% off the regular retail price.  This discount is only available until October 25th, so download soon.

Also, make sure to download your free copy of the 1st book, "A Time Before Facebook".  It will be changed from FREE, to the regular $3.99 price next week, so get your copy ASAP.

This second book has a couple of stories that I had actually started quite a few years ago, but with the demands of career, family and playing music, I wasn't able to finish them until now.  "Alfie" and "The Meterman" are a couple of my favorites.  But I must say, the Ghost and Skeleton Trails on the Southside hill have fond memories for me also.

Enjoy reading my books, and thank you for your support.  I am an almost starving retiree.  Just joking.

I had to come to Mexico a little early this year to renew my Resident Card.

I'm glad I did because I was, for the first time, able to wish my landlord and friend, Raul, a happy birthday.  I was quite excited about this.  I had purchased him a new cigar lighter, the kind with three flames (more like jet burners) and a few of his favorite cigars - White Owl Grape.  We had a nice dinner and small party.  Tomorrow would be Mexico's Independence Day celebration, and that would be the big party.

We booked our seats at a Cantina in northern Cuernavaca, and arrived about 8:30 PM.  Parties seem to get started a little late here in Mexico.  We were lucky and were seated right next to the Mariachi Band.  Now, although the entertainment was advertised as Mariachi, the band was not wearing the traditional Mariachi attire.  You know, the Mexican Sombreros, and pants with gold stripes down the side, and those smart looking jackets.  The lead singer wasn't even wearing the real (unloaded) 45 caliber gun and holster.

Their instruments weren't quite Mariachi either.  Instead of a guittaron, the bass player had a 5 string electric bass.  The guitar was played by a keyboard player, and the horns came from another keyboard player.  There was also a drummer playing a full set of drums.  The lead singer was hilarious because he had a fake moustache that kept falling off all the time.  He did wear a sombrero at times though.  I must admit thought, they put out some pretty good Mariachi Music.

The price for this extravaganza was a total of 175 pesos each.  This included about a 5 course meal, and everyone had to pay the minimum price, but it was based on how much you drank.  If you drank only 100 pesos of drinks, you paid 175 pesos; and it you drank over 175 pesos of drinks, you paid that amount.  I found it extremely difficult to drink my full amount because they recommended we drink Michalada's that were in mugs that held one full litre.  After two of these, and all the food, I absolutely couldn't drink another drop.

About 10 PM, the band took a break, and all the TV's in the Cantina were turned on to watch the opening ceremonies.  At this time, everyone was given a treat that I wish I could one day see in Canada.  All of the Parliament, including the President, were on-screen yelling "Viva Mexico" and acting like a bunch of idiots.  Just like regular people.  I thought this was really neat.

While the band was taking a break, a rather large transvestite entertained the crowd for almost an hour.  She/he wandered throughout the crowd and sang traditional Mexican songs.  It still always amazes me that everyone here knows all the words to so many traditional songs.  Even though the entertainer was large and not very good looking (even for a guy), he/she was a fantastic singer and entertainer.  She joked with the crowd constantly.

We decided to leave around midnight, just before the band was getting ready to start again, and headed home in the Cuernavaca rain.  Oh, did I forget to mention, coming to Mexico early this year has given me the opportunity to experience the rainy season.  It should be over in a few weeks, but I'm enjoying the clean air and also the thunder and lightening shows every evening.  Only two downfalls.  Some of the streets are getting washed away and driving is trecherous.  My morning walks can be dangerous walking on wet pavement/rocks/gravel/slime...

As we left the Independence Day Party, people were just starting to get wound up.  I guess they planned on welcoming in the sun the next morning.  Hope they didn't get too rowdy without us....

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

One of the most difficult things as a writer, is to accept cuts from your editor.

OK, I admit it, I have an ego when it comes to my writing.  I think every word and every sentence that I have written is important to my reader.  If it wasn't crucial, why would I have written it anyway?  However, my editor sees things from a different light.

I am the kind of writer that likes to ensure that my readers have enough background information regarding certain scenarios in my books.  I like to describe how a certain situation arose, and give intimate details of my characters, so you know why they did something.  My editor feels that much of this is either repetetive, or even redundant.  How could do this to me?  She has struck some very fine lines from my first two books.

As the writer in charge of my works, however, it is my prerogative to either listen to her suggestions, or to ignore her and leave in the passages I want to.  This, of course, is at my own discretion and any repercussions are mine, and mine alone, to deal with.  Needless to say, I usually adhere to her suggestions and cut the segments she has identified.

But I must say, when I re-read the edited works, I realize that she was right.  I guess that is why I pay her the big bucks.  Thanks Linka.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

When did I first know that I wanted to be a writer?

I was almost 20 years old and was moving to Vancouver from my little hometown in SE British Columbia, Creston.  I was starting my Business Degree at BCIT, and decided that I wanted to seriously learn to play the bass guitar during the few minutes I had available to me between living, studying and making new friends.  It was also about this time that I knew that I wanted to write song lyrics.

When the inspiration would hit me, I would jot down poetry in the form of song lyrics.  I had written about 50 songs during this period in my life, and somehow, this led me to writing something more substantial then song lyrics.  For god's sake, I hadn't even learned to play the bass guitar well yet, so what would I do with my lyrics?

After I received my Business Degree, I soon moved back to my hometown, got married and started raising a family.  On top of this, I began a new career with the BC Government, and my writing career was put on hold.  I did, however, start writing down a few titles of books I would like to one day write, and they all centered around my time growing up in Northern Idaho.

Fast forward 39 years, and I am now retired, the children are raised and I am spending most of the year in sunny Mexico.  My writing career has finally begun.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

I love writing and love my editor....

Safely back in Mexico to begin another round of writing after a very busy summer in Canada.  I faced numerous family challenges, while at the same time maintaining and upgrading my yacht.  I must say it is nice to live on the water on Vancouver Island each summer.

I made two trips to Bellingham, WA to visit my editor and drop off my second book "Ghosts and Skeletons" in the "A Time Before Facebook" series.  My editor is one of those old fashioned gals that likes to edit works 'hands on'.  This means that I can take my work to her in electronic formats such as zip drives, etc., but she likes to print out the document and make corrections by hand.

In the past I have used my home printer to print the documents (usually around 250 pages), and this gets rather expensive as far as printer ink goes.  We decided to try Office Depot to see what they would charge, and the cost is about 1/2, and they printed it out in seconds.  I felt so good about this, I bought my editor a 32 Gig Zip Drive.  I can now email her my finished first draft of future books in the series, and she can simply download them to her zip drive and take it to Office Depot to print.

Of course, I am trying to get her modernized, and hopefully one day soon, she will make all corrections to my manuscripts online and simply email them back to me.  Oh, that will be a wonderful day.  Then I won't have to physically make all the updates and corrections to the electronic documents myself.  But on the bright side, she has told me that the number of edits in my second book are far less then my first work.

Oh well, at least the second book is almost ready for online publication through Smashwords.  I love these guys as my publishers.  Now onto writing Book 3.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Living on a boat...

About 6 years ago I purchased a 28 foot Uniflite Mega power boat and kept it at the local Fisherman's Harbour in Port Alberni.  Shortly after purchasing the boat, I entered into discussions with the harbour management and asked to be placed on their wait-list for live-board status.  I was planning on retiring during the next few years and planned on purchasing a larger boat to live on.

In 2011 I retired, and proceeded to get the Uniflite ready for sale.  I entered into an agreement with my son so that he could purchase my house;  and I now had the funds to look south of the border in the USA for a deal on a larger boat.  I decided to wait until I sold my 28 foot boat before seriously searching, and this happened in the summer of 2012.  I was now ready.

I was in my usual Mexico residence when I began my search online.  The Canadian dollar was in great shape, and prices of large boats were still quite low, particularly in Florida.  I searched through Yachtworld and various other sites, and did not really have a make or model of boat in mind.  I was concentrating on prices within my price range.

After much searching, I found a 51 foot Sea Ray Sundancer near Tampa Bay, Florida; and arranged for a survey and sea trial early in 2013.  I flew to Florida and met with the seller, agent and surveyor.  Anyway, to make a long story short, I purchased the boat, had it shipped across the USA and motored from Bellingham to Port Alberni; arriving in May of 2013.

After all the commotion of arriving at the dock and having a few drinks, the next morning I walked up to the office, only to find that the manager that had put me on the wait-list had been recently fired.  Not only that, but the wait-list was gone.  To make matters even worse, the new management had decided that no new live-boards would be granted, and as current live-boards left their numbers would eventually dwindle to none.

I must say this was a little shocking to me.  I've now sold my house and smaller boat, purchased a yacht; and now can't get live-board status.  I decided to check out live-board availability in Victoria.  I might just have to relocate.  After discovering that the monthly fee in Vic would be about $800.00 a month and that my boat would have to be hauled out every year for bottom cleaning - I decided against a rush move.

Besides, there is a policy in Port Alberni whereby you can camp on your boat for 8 dollars a night; which comes to about $240.00 a month extra (compared to the $100.00 or so for live-board); and this calculates to just over $500.00 a month if I remain and live on my boat.  Also, Port Alberni is mostly fresh water, and boats do not have to be pulled out and cleaned every year.

I wrote a letter the the Small Craft Harbour Commission complaining about this new decision at the local dock, and was told that all of these decisions fell under the local Harbour Commission.  No sense butting my head against the wall; but it seems to have worked out well.  I am off to Mexico for  7 months again in early September, so why worry.  Next year may be another story.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Commercial Gillnet Fishery...

I have been spending a lot of time at the dock with my 8 year old granddaughter this summer.  She recently befriended two little native girls and their younger brother; and they have been fishing and swimming off my boat in the marina for the past few days (when the oil slick moves to other boats that is).

These new friends are living with their parents on their commercial fishing boat two fingers over, and I am amazed that all of them can fit on the boat (including two other children).  My granddaughter returned last night to tell me that they all sleep in one room on the boat that also has a small kitchen area, but no bathroom.  One of the girls mentioned to me yesterday that they live on the boat all year, and they are from a town somewhere up the coast.

The 'no bathroom' explains to me why I saw the oldest boy (about 5 years old) having a poop on his poopdeck, and the tiny brother (about 2) handing him the toilet paper.  They then poured the bucket contents overboard and both looked at it and said "oooooh, gross."

I have worked hard all my life and am now retired with a large Sea Ray, complete with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, and even though I feel I have earned everything I have worked for;  these people are hard workers too.  All I can say is that is is nice to see a hard working native family getting out there and working as hard as white people do - instead of lazily throwing their nets out across a river   (can't really call that working hard).

Anyway the mom dropped over last night and gave us two Sockeye for looking after the kids.  Super nice people but I wish they had a bathroom on board.  Oh well, I guess they can use the one up at the Marina Office.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Here I go complaining about Governments again...

I just read that France has upheld it's law banning face covering Muslim veils in public.  Finally, a Government that upholds the laws of THEIR land before the religious beliefs of it's immigrants.  If every country in the world did this, it would send a clear message - 'If your religious beliefs conflict with your new country - go home'.

If an immigrant from one of the Radical Muslim factions that believes all white infidels should be killed whenever possible moves to your country, do you change the laws to accommodate their beliefs?  I think not.  If my face needs to be uncovered at a public airport, why should not theirs?  If I am not able to carry a knife in public view, why should they?  Any country that bends to the wishes of a few over the majority, is a country that many would be embarrassed to call home.

I was always taught that when I travel I must follow the laws of the country I happened to be traveling in.  It's about time that the world's spineless politicians actually protected their birth citizens instead of buckling to religious pressures of immigrants.  Don't let these new residents/citizens dictate change in a countries cultural laws that apply to all, just for their own beliefs.

I live in Mexico for a greater part of the year and am doing my best to learn their language and culture, as well as to understand and follow their laws.  I don't for one minute expect them to change their laws to accommodate my beliefs.  Actually, I don't understand how anyone in their right mind would.

Hey, and when these trouble-makers go back to the countries of their religious beliefs, please take our corrupt useless politicians with them!  Oops, that wouldn't leave us with many responsible leaders, would it?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

I went to the Friday Night Jam last night, and boy do my fingers hurt.

Living in Mexico for 7 months a year without a Bass Guitar means death to my callouses on my fingers.  Bass guitars have the ability to wear off the skin on the tips of your fingers really quickly, and I was able to make it through about 8 songs before they almost started to bleed.

I have played music in various bands for over 45 years, and over time have built up relatively strong fingers.  But not only are they now without callouses, my wrists and fingers start to seize up after these few songs (if I was still in a band, I would use a couple of aspirin to loosen them up).  It doesn't help that I only play at jams on an irregular basis now.  This is because it is difficult to be a member of any band in either Canada or Mexico.  For some reason, bands tend to prefer their members to be available to play ALL year.  What's with that?

Anyway, I am going to rent my apartment in Mexico all year now (instead of only the 7 months that I am physically there) and plan on buying a bass guitar and amplifier this year - and just leave it in the apartment down there for my return.  This will not get me into any bands there either, but will at least keep my fingers in shape so I don't look like a complete idiot when I return to Canada next Spring and start jamming again.

Hey, what the heck, I'm a writer now anyway - not a musician.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

RCMP - Are they protecting us, or their jobs?

A few years ago when I was raising my 6 year old daughter in a small town on the West Coast of Vancouver Island, I arrived at the Elementary School to pick her up as always.  I waited and waited, and when all the kids had left, I entered the school to ask where my daughter was.  I was getting worried.  The office ushered me into the principals office, where I was told that I had to go to the RCMP office to get her.  I was now extremely worried, but they wouldn't tell me anything further.

I arrived at the RCMP station where I was taken to an interview room and grilled for about a half hour.  Finally the officer told me that he was confident that I hadn't abused my daughter.  I was in shock.  How could they even think this?  Well, I guess my daughter and her friends were playing 'Harriot the Spy' and I had even bought her a small notebook to keep her spy notes in.  I had watched the kids spying on me and everyone else that walked or drove by, and thought nothing of it.  Supposedly one of the kids had drawn some kind of picture in the book, and one of the parents had seen it and called the police.

After discovering the reason for my interview and my daughters immediate removal from the school, I asked the RCMP officer why none of the other kids parents were here.  Obviously if some sexually explicit pictures were drawn in the book, and it was now determined that it wasn't my daughter, perhaps one of  her friends may have drawn the picture - and they may be the one being abused.  The officer informed me that they couldn't do anything about that unless someone filed a complaint.  Because the notebook had somehow disappeared, I told him that even without seeing it, I would file a complaint against the other parents to make sure their children were safe.  No way.  Needless to say, my daughter was completely traumatized by the situation, both the school principal letting her be taken away, and to make matters worse, by not identifying the undercover policeman as RCMP.

My second incident with the RCMP was a few years later after we had moved to Port Alberni.  I had purchased an older boat with an inboard engine as well as a 9.9 kicker engine chained to the back of the boat.  One night the kicker was cut off and stolen, and it was my understanding that this had happened numerous times all over town.  When I reported the incident to the RCMP the next day, they said an officer would drop by to get my information, but that they probably couldn't really do anything about it.  It was recommended that I contact the local Pawn Shops and give them my motor description and serial number.  The RCMP never did come and take a statement, but fortunately I had insurance to cover my loss.  What is it exactly that the RCMP do?

The last incident happened to my son last Thursday, June 12, 2014.  He is a commercial fishing deckhand and had just delivered their catch in Zeballos BC.  This is the story I got from my son while under the influence of morphine at Victoria General, waiting for neurosurgery.

After unloading their catch, my son and another deckhand got a hotel room for the night.  They had a few drinks and met with some old friends in town.  They had been delivering in Zeballos for about 10 years and my son knew many of the locals.  They were invited to a house to celebrate one of their friends birthday.  A lot of drinking ensued and the party broke up early and they thought everyone had gone home.  Because the two boys hadn't eaten anything for some time and the party was over, they decided to return to the boat and get some prawns and bring them back to the house.  There had been a fire out back of the house, and they thought they could get it going and cook some dinner before returning to the hotel.

They got back to the fire and threw a couple of pallets onto it to get it roaring again (pallets are readily available in BC and are given away free usually).  My son sat down on one of the nearby lawn chairs and it immediately broke.  He chucked it into the fire too.  Somehow the fire or their commotion woke someone up inside the house, and before my son knew it, a girl had come out and hit him in the face with a rock and told them to leave.  That is the last thing he remembers.

He assumes that some of the guys had not actually gone home earlier as he had suspected, they were still at the residence.  He and the other deckhand were attacked from behind, and the last thing my son remembers is that his friend was lying unconscious by the fire, and there were a group of people beating him with a rock, a two by four and some metal object and forcing him towards a cliff overlooking the ocean.  He was fighting for his life before being beaten unconscious like his friend, but it was another guy that hit him - with a hammer.  They then stole his two gold chain necklaces, and this may have been the motive for the attack.  Another deckhand had witnessed this incident and got the two boys away from the house and back to the hotel; where he called 911 and an ambulance.  He probably saved their lives.

From what I have now heard, my son and his friend are being charged with mischief under $5,000; and nothing, so far, is being done to the guys with the clubs who seemed to be trying to beat the two boys to a pulp.  You've got to be joking.  I am sincerely hoping this is not true, and if the Port McNeil RCMP do NOT press charges against these people and not the two boys, really what use are the police?  If so, I will be writing my MLA, MP, the RCMP Complaints Commissioner and anyone else that will listen.

I must say that I am really losing faith in our RCMP and am wondering if they are capable of doing actual police work.  I know they are good at issuing insignificant tickets to motorists, but assume this is only to justify their positions and pay for their own salaries.  Have they lowered their standards over the past years so much that this, and other similar incidents, are a reflection of that change?  If nothing happens to these people in Zeballos, I will have totally lost faith in our RCMP to protect us - and shame on them.  If you could see the lasting physical damage that was done to these two fishermen, you would know that this was attempted murder, or at the least, more than one count of assault with dangerous weapons.

Let's hope these RCMP do the right thing and I don't totally lose faith in our justice system in Canada.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

About time I blogged again...

I just returned from a 12 day visit with my mom, who had a mild stroke, in Creston BC.  I decided to try to travel through the USA on the way there, and thought it might be faster and cheaper.  No way.

I drove from Port Alberni to Victoria and took the Washington State Ferry (make a reservation if you plan on using this ferry), took an hour to clear customs in Anacortes and then drove a half hour to a friends in Bellingham.  Stayed a couple of days and then drove across Washington State via north Seattle.  I took the I-5 south to Seattle and then headed west on the I-90.  By the time all was said and done, the driving trip took approx. 16 hours, and the cost was about $250.00

On the way home, I traveled through southern BC via the Okanagan and went through towns such as Castlegar, Grand Forks, Osoyoos, Princeton and Hope - then finally caught the ferry in North Vancouver to Nanaimo.  The total trip took 12 hours and cost about $175.00.  Weird, for some reason I thought it would be faster and cheaper (with lower fuel prices in the USA) to go through Washington State.

Mom is doing fine, and had a minor stroke only.  She is now taking her high blood pressure medication again, and only suffered very minor damage.  The doctors said it could have been much worse.  Anyway, I'll try to blog more often now that I am home.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

First it was birds waking me up, not the Cicada's are the culprits..

It is a couple of weeks before the rainy season here in Cuernavaca, and the Cicada's have emerged from their underground lairs.  I asked Raul what all the noise was about, and he informed me that this happened every year to signify the change in season.  The 5 months of rainy season was about to begin.  Luckily for me, I was getting packed for Canada, and would miss this wet season once again.

I thought there were only one or two of these large beetles (I have yet to actually see one) in the neighborhood, but it seems that the first one or two woke up all the rest.  Now they are everywhere around the house, and their noise can be quite disturbing.  If they are close, you can actually hear their wings, at least I assume they make the noise with their wings, start to slowly beat with a pulsing noise.

Then they reach their full pitch, and the noise is a steady buzzing noise that remains on one note; and is extremely loud.  Each burst lasts about 20-30 seconds, and when one starts, they all seem to chime in.  We drove downtown the other day, and they were everywhere.  It seems like they are making the noise up in the branches of trees, but because they live in the soil, I guess they are on the ground and their sound is emanating upwards.

I hope I get to see one of these creatures one day.  Sorry, posted a couple of weeks late from Canada.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Oh Canada...

Well, made it safely back to Canada last week, and I'm amazed I arrived on time.  While sitting in the airport in Mexico City, we were notified that our flight was going to be arriving two hours late, and guess what, it was coming from Chicago.  Say no more.

We caught our flight and arrived in San Francisco two hours late of course, and I now had 45 minutes to clear immigration, collect my bag, clear customs and then run to Terminal 3 to find my gate.  Oh, and did I forget, clear security.  But a long story short, I made my gate when they were calling my name for the last time.  Luckily I couldn't hear this announcement at the security gate, or I may have had a breakdown.

I would like to thank the people in the immigration line that graciously let me slip in front of them (there were about 50 or more).  The customs officer was great too, and I literally ran to the carousal to pick up my bag.  Another piece of luck sent my luggage to me in the first group.  Thank goodness for wheels on luggage because I was able to make it to the luggage re-check in just in time.  Then more running across the airport to security and my gate.

I had decided that morning before leaving Cuernavaca to not take my mile and a half speed walk that morning.  Good decision because I must have ran at least two miles through the SF airport that day.  It would have been nice to have a bottle of water with me, but then of course, I wouldn't have gotten through security as fast as I did.  Anyway, I made it to Victoria right on time, and my daughter was right there to pick me up.

Thanks United Airlines, San Francisco immigration, customs and security, various travelers in the airport that let me sneak ahead of them, and Sky-link, who waited for me.  The next day in Victoria, a bus driver almost ran me off the road, but that is another story.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Back to Canada in 4 days, a little sad but happy too...

I absolutely can't believe how fast seven months can fly by. I feel that I haven't accomplished as much writing as I had hoped, but I finished my second book, and it is currently being edited.  The cover is looking good too.

Upon arriving in Mexico last October, I immediately applied for my Temporary Residency, and now have my first one year card.  I have to return this September to renew it for a further three years.  After that, I can apply for Permanent Residency, and who knows, even Citizenship.

We traveled to Toluca for a few days, had another trip to Acapulco, and then I spent about a week in Veracruz with my daughter (who had flown down for Christmas).  I got my Mexican driver license, and went to the Dominican Republic for two weeks to visit my mother and sister and her new husband.

I published the first book on Amazon and a new site called Inkbok, set up a Twitter site and a Blogspot and have been posting regularly.  The third book in my series is organized and I have just started the first chapter.  On reflection, I guess I have accomplished more than I thought I had.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that I am now retired, and everything does not have to be completed today.  This is Mexico and "manana" should be my new word of.

Happy Mothers Day Canada.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Six-Flags in Mexico City, am I crazy?

About a week ago, Raul my landlord, asked me if I wanted to go to Six-Flags Theme Park in Mexico City.  Of course, being almost 62 years old, I told him 'not in your life'.  After a couple of days of pestering on his part, I finally gave in, and committed to going on a minimum of five of their scariest rides.  Okay, I'm both crazy and weak for agreeing.

We just got back from a full day (and I mean a full 12 hours of rides), and I must admit it was fun.  My only apparent injuries were sore shoulders from being strapped into the various rides.  I made it to four of the five committed rides, and the only reason I missed the last was because it was shut down temporarily.

The park itself has been around for many years and is located in south Mexico City.  A few years ago Six-Flags bought it and have been upgrading and adding new rides ever since.  I was very impressed with the cleanliness and professionalism displayed in the park.  The rides all looked extremely safe, and I know because that was one of my pre-requisites before getting on any of them.

We made sure not to eat a large breakfast before attempting the scariest and most difficult rides, and once we arrived at the back entrance to the park (just at 10 AM, the opening time), we walked under the largest ride (Superman) and to my first ride, Batman.  Because it was early, there was really no lineup, and we were able to get on the first ride withing minutes - unfortunately.

I'll backup for a minute.  Part of our agreement was that Raul would purchase my entrance for the day, which included some money for food, and I would go on the five rides he suggested.  Batman, he thought, would be an easy ride for me to start on - because of my age.  He was wrong.  I have been to Disneyland numerous times, but have never been on one of the rides that the seats are underneath the rails.  I hung on about as tight as anyone could, and thank goodness, the ride only lasted about a minute or so.

I'm not a screamer, but after the ride was over, both of my arms ached from hanging on so tight.  The upside down turns and spins are what I really hated.  Raul asked me if the ride was fun, I guess because I hadn't made a sound and he was screaming the entire way, and I said emphatically - NO.  Now that he knew that I was a seasoned rider, he decided that we should immediately go to Superman next door.

It was lucky that I was still shaking from Batman and was basically being led to the next ride, or they may have never gotten me on.  Oh, and let me mention, there were five of us on this excursion today.  Raul and his girlfriend Carolina, our friend Horacio and myself; and a German student that lived at our casa.  It was her first time ever on a roller coaster.  Carolina sat out during the Batman ride and held my glasses and our money.

Superman was an extremely long ride that went from one end of the park to the other.  In size, it made most of the other rides look like ants.  Not only was it long, but at one point near the beginning, it was over 60 meters tall, and at the top, it was almost straight down.  I've never been so scared in my life.  Thank god it didn't go upside down at any time during the ride.  But it was fast too.

I was shaking after Superman, but don't know if I was more amazed about not screaming again or just that I was alive.  As we left, I did however notice that I wasn't quite walking in a straight line.  After surviving these first two rides, the group decided it was time to slow down for a little while and take a couple of easier rides.

It was a sunny day, and Carolina suggested that we take the river ride.  It was easy and you just floated down a couple of little waterfalls and got a tiny bit wet.  Horacio decided that he didn't want to go on this ride and I thought it was because it was too wimpy.  He had another notion about why he didn't want to go, which I soon found out.  

About 10 people were on the ride with us and we all sat in this round floating thing with seats all around the inside facing inwards to circular railing to hand onto.  I had brought a ziploc bag to carry my money in, and put my glasses into the bag before the ride - luckily.  After the first few little rapids in the river, we went past some statues spraying water on us.  We got a little bit wet, but at the end of the ride, there was a waterfall.  We tried spinning the boat like crazy so some of us didn't get wet, but nope, we all got thoroughly soaked.  I must have looked like a drowned rat, because the three others could only laugh when they looked at me.

We came out of the ride soaked to the skin, but fortunately I was wearing my clothing that dries quickly.  After standing in the sun for a few minutes I could already feel a little warmer.  We heard an announcement and off we all went to the Dolphin show.  The show started out with a couple of seals doing tricks (Canadian seals), and then progressed to the dolphins.  I have never seen a show like this, but have seen lots of seals and dolphins back in Canada.  I live on a boat.

The show asked for volunteers to swim with the dolphins, and a couple of little girls got selected.  I was disappointed for them though, because they didn't get to swim with the dolphins at all.  They just got to pet and kiss them.  Oh well, I guess they had fun anyway.  When we left the show, it was time for the next scary ride.  Raul thought it was time for the Kilahuea, the one that goes straight up 60 meters in about three seconds.

As we walked to it, Horacio told us that he had seen that Flash Passes were cheaper than Raul had previously thought.  Raul had told us that we could pass the long wait lines with these passes, but that they cost 300 pesos for 3 passes.  Horacio found that they were 3 for 50 pesos, or 10 for 120 pesos, but you couldn't share with others.  We all bough ourselves three passes for the next big rides.

So we Fast Passed to the Kilahuea, and Raul told me that the view from the top was fantastic.  At least this one doesn't spin upside down or get you wet.  Carolina again didn't want to go on this one, and held my eyeglasses again.  Now how was I supposed to see anything without my glasses?  Raul also told me that I should keep my head back at all times, and once we got to the top the last time (the last time?), it took three seconds before we did the last big drop.  God, what had I gotten myself into?

As we sat there waiting to go, I could hear the machine starting to pump up and get the large air cylinders filled.  Then all of a sudden, off we shot 60 meters to the top of our tower (there were three), and then immediately back down again, almost to the bottom.  Then back up and then down and then up and then down, and finally one last climb to the top.  Once there, I guess the view was nice, but even if I could see, I think my tongue was blocking my eyes.

Then the chair took us slowly up about another five meters, and we just sat there.  Then all of a sudden, we dropped full speed to the bottom.  I actually lifted right out of my seat when we took off.  Thank god the shoulder harness didn't come undone.  I staggered out of the ride area and could feel my entire body shaking.  I don't know if it was pure fear or adrenaline.  All I know my hands were shaking when I held out my arm.

By now it was about 2 PM, and we were all starting to get hungry.  Even though the plan was to get all the difficult rides finished before we ate, we decided to take a chance and eat anyway.  Besides we were more than half way through my commitment.  We found a place called the Saloon Corona, and had a Michalada and lunch.

We had a liesurely lunch, and it was almost 4 PM when we began our afternoon shift of fun.  We decided to start out easy and ride the Carousel.  They had a double floor antique ride that looked fantastic.  The two girls and I decided to try it while the guys waited.  As we stood in line, I remembered that I hadn't ridden a Carousel in oh, about 55 years.  There were sure a lot of little kids in the lineup.  Oh well, we got in and immediately took three horses on the main level, side by side.  The ride started, and it brought back fantastic memories, and I didn't even get dizzy or sick from my horse going up and down.  Too bad Horacio's phone died and he couldn't get a photo of us on the horses.

After the Carousel, we all went to the Bumper Cars.  We had a great time there, and that brought back memories for me too.  Then it was off to the 4th scary ride, The Boomerang (or sometimes called the Scorpion).  Raul said that after my brave first three rides, I was obviously a professional ride rider, and the Boomerang would be a piece of cake.  Little did he know.

The ride itself only lasts about a minute, but what a ride it was.  We used our Fast Passes and got to our turn in record time - darnit.  This time the two couples sat together in their own cars near the back, and I had to find my own seat, right in the front car.  My Spanish is not good yet, but luckily my partner spoke English.  All he told me was to hang on.  Great, the ride started by us being pulled backwards up a steep (a very steep) hill.  Once at the top, off we went back down through the loading area and up.  Then the ride went upside down and made a turn, the crossed over and flipped around and over two more times with a final full upside down loop.

And the ride wasn't over yet.  We went up a last tall hill and climbed to the top for about 10 seconds.  Then a release and we went backwards through all the twists and turns and flips back to the start.  When I climbed out, my new friend in life asked 'otra' again?  No way, I could hardly stop shaking and my shoulders, hands and arms hurt like hell.  Also my legs were cramped from being so tense.  I definitely didn't like this ride at all.

Of course, Raul had to now ask me what my favorite ride had been so far.  None of them.  He laughed, but again repeated that I was a professional.  He hadn't heard me scream once all day - he should have heard inside my head.  It was time to slow down again, and on our way to the final big ride, The Dark Knight, we stopped at the Roller, a kids tiny roller coaster.  It was just what I needed, something easy.

Then the girls decided that they wanted to ride on the Vuelo Alpino, one of those rides where everyone sits in their own seats hanging by long chains from above.  The ride starts spinning around in a circle, higher and higher and faster and faster, and people feel like birds flying around in a circle.  Raul and I bowed out of this one and found a washroom.  By the time we got back it was dark.  So that meant it was about 8 o'clock and we only had two hours left.

Raul couldn't make up his mind what my final scary ride should be.  He thought of either the Dark Knight, the Hurricane or perhaps The Joker.  Or, of course, we could do Superman or Batman one more time.  I said no way to the latter.  We started walking and there was the Dark Horse in front of us.  I guess this would be it.  To make a long story short, I sat this one out, because the lady at the gate wouldn't let Carolina on with her tiny bag.  I volunteered to hold it because I could see she really wanted to go on this one.

When they all came out a few minutes later, Raul decided that I should definitely go on this one with him.  I used my last Flash Pass and he and I went into the building.  He told me that compared to all the other difficult ones I had already been on, this one would be easy.  Not.  It was one of those rides where two of you get into your own car and go way up into a dark building.  The you quickly work your way down and around past corners that feel like you are going to fall off the tracks.  Definitely not an easy ride, for me at least.

But now I felt better;  I had met my commitment.  From here on, it should be no problem.  Raul, Ricarda (the German girl) and Horacio all wanted to finish off the night with either Superman or Batman.  We worked our way towards them, and decided that the next roller coaster looked neat.  It was called Vudu and next to it was the Tsunami.  We had tried to get into Vampire Infestation, but it was closed.    By the time we finished these two rides, we only had about a half hour before closing.

We walked towards the exit and parking lot, and in front of us was The Joker.  Everyone but me wanted to try it, so I sat this one out.  I decided to find another washroom and check out one of the sales outlets.  But first a 49 peso cappuccino.  Now I could shop.  The store had thousands of extremely high-priced junk.  For example, a key chain for 100 pesos or a coffee cup for 190 pesos.  No thanks.

I returned to the ride area, and the group was finally starting to get close to their turn.  Carolina threw me the purse thing she had over her shoulder.  I caught it and waited, drinking my cappuccino - god it tasted good.  About 10 minutes later, they emerged from the sales store, and we headed for the last ride of the evening.  They voted on Batman.

Carolina and I both sat this one out because she hated Batman, and I was sore and tired.  After they finished the ride, we wandered down to the exit.  As we walked, and maybe because it was dark now, we had a perfect view of the bottom of the Superman ride and the huge hill.  We would be walking right underneath the spot where the car was going the fastest.  From this vantage point, it looked like about the scariest ride I had ever seen - and I had been on it.  We stopped for a few seconds to watch, and I swore that this was the last time I would ever do this.  Yeah right.

As we left Six-Flags, we drove past a car near the entrance trying to tie one of the stuffed animals they had obviously won, onto the top of their car.  It was some kind of purple animal and was as big as their car.  Thank god we hadn't played any of the games and won one of these monsters.  Now an hour and a half drive home, and bed.  We took the highway and paid the toll instead of taking the freeway and possibly getting robbed.