Sunday, January 5, 2020


Our Smashed Golf Cart Frame!
Another lesson learned while living in Mexico… with a happy ending.
It all started on Dia de Los Muertos, November 2, around midnight when an out-of-town visitor, clearly having imbibed too many adult beverages, tried to find his way out of Sayulita but got lost in our neighborhood. As he backed up on our narrow, dead-end street, he slammed his car into our golf cart where it has always been parked outside our garden wall, leaving red and blue plastic debris scattered on the cobblestone as evidence that both vehicles had suffered significant damage.
It was time to create an off-street parking place for our carrito, our new-to-us 2012 golf cart. In small-town Mexico, most vehicles are parked along the streets parallel to the curb. Land here is not typically wasted on garages and carports, so our casita was built ten years ago without off-street parking. We planned to change that!
            We had an area at the end of our yard that was filled up by a struggling banana tree and three leaning palm trees. I was ready to knock a hole in the garden wall, cut down those four trees, and pull our golf cart off the street into safety. 
            That was the beginning of a month-long, messy project to create not only off-street parking but a carport to keep our golf cart clean and dry. As involved as this little project was, I can't imagine taking on the chore of building a home here in Mexico.
Down Came the Last of Four Trees
Marking the Line for the New Gate Width

Jackhammering a BIG Hole in the Garden Wall

Cleaning Up the Mess--That's a BIG Hole!

Lupe Installed Power for the Gate Motor

The Mason Repaired the Wall and Built a Level Curb

The Golf Cart Safely Inside the Yard

A Tempory Fence Kept Bella Safe

          Now it was time to find a gate manufacturer, but not just any gate manufacturer. I insisted on an automatic sliding gate with an electric motor and remote controls. After all, we plan to live in our casita for the rest of our lives. I thought we might as well plan ahead so we have an easy to use, automatic gate when we’re old and feeble. Jon felt this was an unnecessary luxury, but I was looking ahead to the days when his Parkinson’s Disease may make his life more difficult.
          An internet search and an investigational trip to the outskirts of Puerto Vallarta led us to the Automatic Doors and Blacksmith Pitillal, a company that specializes in automatic sliding gates powered by Merik products. Augustin, an owner and manager, made a trip to our home to scope out the project and give an estimate. He speaks English well, is mellow, patient, and knowledgable about gates, doors, and metal fabrication. We hired him, paid him a deposit, and they started the work the next week.
The Welder Installed the First Gate Post

The Painted Sliding Gate Was Installed

A High-Quality Motor Moves the Gate Along a Track

The Gate Rolls on Wheels, Quietly Opening and Closing

            The project evolved from installing an automatic gate to having the team build a carport with a cement board Mexican-style roof. They also fabricated and installed a gutter to Jon’s specifications.
Metal Posts, Beams, and Rafters were Installed
Cement Board Roofing Was Installed
The Carport (Golf Cart-Port) Taking Shape

          On New Year's Day, 2020, the week following the completion of the carport, we had a tropical storm like none we’ve seen here in years. Our golf cart stayed dry and protected from falling palm fronds under the new golf cart-port. Jon and I were relieved the project was completed on a timely basis and our carrito is tucked into it’s safe, dry, off-street parking place.
Dry Golf Cart, New Year's Day 2020 Rainstorm

          If you decide to have Augustin and his team from Automatic Doors and Blacksmith Pitillal help you with your gate project, tell him Terry and Jonathan sent you. We think you’ll be happy with the work and the price.
Enjoying the Rainstorm from our Outdoor Terrace

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Wednesday, December 4, 2019

HEALTHY LIVING AND TRAVELING IN MEXICO Monthly Newsletter has Been Published!!

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Monday, November 25, 2019


A Wonderful Adventure When Family Come to Visit

     Jon and I splurged on a week of fun tourist activities when my sister, Cindy and her husband, Al came to visit us in Puerto Vallarta and Sayulita this month! Usually, we live pretty much like the locals in Sayulita. But this was a perfect time to take a catamaran trip to the Marietas Islands where we were looking forward to snorkeling. Vallarta Adventures Eco Discovery Tour included even more enjoyable activities than we expected.
Cindy and Al Enjoying the Catamaran Trip to the Islands
     On the catamaran trip to the islands, we were excited to see three whales, one spouting as they breached the surface. The captain motored around the Marietas Islands before anchoring to show the guests how beautiful this protected national park and world heritage site is.

     Once anchored, we got ready to snorkel. On this tour, we swam quite a distance around rocks, coral reefs, and through an archway with a slight current, so we were required to wear life vests. It turns out, the vests allowed us to be more relaxed while we enjoyed viewing the marine life and playing in the ocean. The water temperature was perfectly comfortable, refreshing yet warm. The tour guides made sure we had fun and captured photos of us enjoying the snorkeling portion of our trip.
Jon & I Loved Snorkeling in the Clear Water
Cindy and Al Had a Blast Snorkeling!

Snorkeling with My Sister, Cindy, for the First Time

     Back onboard the catamaran, we were cooled off from our swim but ravenous! Lunch was served—a build-your-own sandwich smorgasbord and drinks from the open bar, alcoholic and nonalcoholic. We climbed back up to the top deck to eat while the boat made another pass around the island, giving us a close-up view of the many birds living there, including blue-footed boobies, pelicans, and magnificent frigatebirds.
Jon and Terry Back Onboard After Snorkeling
     Next stop—Playa Majahuitas, a beautiful tropical beach where we could choose to relax in hammocks or on lounge chairs or play in the water. We did it all! Paddleboarding was our favorite water activity. Many chose to kayak in the bay. The water was amazingly clear, blue, and pleasantly warm. I enjoyed relaxing while I floated on my back in the still, saline sea, peering up at the blue sky that created the hue of the water.

     On the trip back to the Marina Vallarta, the crew members, dressed in costumes and wigs, entertained us with hilarious skits. Our 6 ½-hour adventure was nearing an end. As we disembarked, a large, brilliantly-colored iguana posed near the bay for photos, completing a perfect adventure in Puerto Vallarta. 

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Monday, November 4, 2019

Dia de Los Muertos in Sayulita—AMAZING!

Sayulita Plaza Entrance Decorated for Dia de Los Muertos
Dia de Los Muertos in Sayulita was amazing! So much color in this celebration. So much work done by the town’s people! It is one of the most popular holidays in Mexico and this year Sayulita went all out on their decorations. Everything was beautiful!
          The altars built in the plaza by families are memorials to a loved one who has died but is still remembered publicly. Many of these are built each year using fresh marigolds, candles, personal items of the deceased, and other memorabilia, to be displayed for the two days of Dia de Los Muertos.
An Entire Block of Calle Delfines Was an Altar
Dia de Los Muertos (The Day of the Dead), a beloved festival in Mexico, honors the loved ones who have passed while celebrating the preciousness of life. Unlike Halloween, this holiday is not scary but a time for honoring and family reunion with loved ones on the other side.
La Catrina has become a symbol of Día de Los Muertos. Originally portrayed in a 1910 etching by Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada as a high-society skeleton lady dressed in a fancy floral hat, she is now seen in Mexican handcrafts, art, and costumes. Throughout the festival, children and adults dress in imaginative versions of La Catrina, including elaborate face painting.
A stage was set up in the street across from the plaza with lights and speakers for the dancing and singing performances that would last from 6:00PM until late into the night. The crowds gathered early to get good seats for the shows.
Thousands of handmade “flags”, ribbons, and pom-poms were used to decorate the plaza’s gazebo, the entrance to the Catholic church in the plaza, and hung in streamers overhead in the main streets of the town. Not only did this décor create an incredible swirl of moving color as everything swayed with the ocean breeze, it eliminated the use of plastic flags this year and can be reused in future festivals.
Food vendors' tables lined the streets, ready to sell tacos, hotdogs, pozole, elotes, cake, and other delicious fiesta food. Eating is an important part of the festival and would continue late into the night.
I have never seen so many people in this little Pueblo Mágico, Sayulita, at one time. It was beautiful to see so many people working together to create the fiesta atmosphere and then, for two days, enjoying this solemn yet joyful holiday.
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Terry L Turrell, Author