Sunday, November 13, 2022

Sidewalk Chalk Art Festival is Amazing!--By Sister Cities Puerto Vallarta and Santa Barbara

This Chalk Art Festival in Puerto Vallarta is a Must-See!

The Madonnari Festival in the Plaza de Armas finishes on Sunday, November 13. Artists are still working on their creations. It is located between Los Arcos and Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. What a wonderful experience!

La Catrina Was Still There Saturday!

The photo I used for this book cover is of Plaza de Armas and the Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe during another event. There's always something going on there. Never a Dull Moment

Check out my other books on my Amazon Author Page. Thank you for reading my books and blog articles.

Happy Travels!

Friday, November 11, 2022

Holiday Joys and Hazards in México ⚠️ An eBook Sale!

Holidays in México are Festive!

Jon and I had a lot of fun this year during Día de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead celebration. And then we had some terrible trouble! The lessons we learned apply to all of the popular upcoming holidays in México.

Taking a walk around town is the best way to see the holiday décor and events. We had to cruise down the Malecón to see Puerto Vallarta’s sexy La Catrina. She broke the Guinness record for the world’s largest Catrina! Read more HERE.

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Pickle Jar Test: A Novel

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Through November 16!

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Día de Los Muertos 2022— Altars, Catrinas, Fun Parade, and a Street Party!

Our Condominium's Altar was for Bella and Other Pets

Dia de Los Muertos, the Day of the Dead, is a joyful and positive celebration in México, honoring those who have passed from this life. It has become a popular, festive holiday that lasts for days beginning November 1.

From the moment we walked out our condominium door that day, we saw flags and alters being constructed for the evening street party. Altars for dead loved ones are built in homes and on the street with marigolds, sand designs, candles, photos of the loved ones, food, drink, and articles of clothing or other objects that belonged to the person or animal.

Restaurantes La Palapa's and El Dorado's Altar

Our condominium had a beautiful altar in honor of the pets who have lived there and passed on, including our beloved dachshund, Bella. There was what looked like a replica of Bella’s skeleton with a big bowl of dog kibble, and now that we understand the beliefs behind this celebration, it brought joy to my heart. Bella looked happy.

Pet Altar Honoring Bella and Other Pets Who Have Died Here

The Pinnacle Condominium team created a nice Catrina for the street party. She wasn’t as beautiful as the award-winning Catrina on the Malecón, but she welcomed those coming up the stairs and funicular to Calle Púlpito in her pretty pink skirt.

Pinnacle Condominium's Catrina

Puerto Vallarta's Sexy Catrina

The 2022 Día de Los Muertos Puerto Vallarta parade was the first in three years due to the pandemic. The city went all out with displays on the Malecón this year, especially with the tallest, most beautiful, sexy Catrina. We wanted to see the parade, but after my pickpocketing episode on the Malecón, I was hesitant to get into another crowd.

So, we walked over to Restaurante L'Angolo di Napoli and settled in with salad, pizza, and wine to wait for the parade to come to us. We were just guessing this was on the parade route which hadn’t been published, but if nothing else, we would enjoy some of the best pizza Puerto Vallarta has to offer.

L'Angolo di Napoli's Colorful Ceiling
We Shared an Insalata Mixta, Fresh and Healthy
There's a Good Reason Their Pizza is #1 on TripAdvisor!
Our Waiter Posed for this Photo😄

It was nearly dark by the time the parade reached Old Town, so my photos are not the best, but I hope it shows the community's efforts to bring the spirit of the Day of the Dead back to Puerto Vallarta. We were in a perfect, crowd-free place to enjoy the parade!

A Horsewomen's Group Dressed for the Parade 
We headed back to the street party but were too full for tacos. After a little dancing and talking to neighbors, we said, “Buenas noches” and headed to our little, quiet haven in the condominium. It was a fun Día de Los Muertos holiday.

I even Convinced Jon to Dance on the Stage with Me!

Do you or someone you know consider moving to México? If so, you might like to read my book Retirement Before the Age of 59: Healthy Living in Mexico eBook #2, in which I wrote about the whys, where, hows, and pros and cons of our move to this wonderful country. Over seven years later, we’re still grateful that we retired early and chose Mexico as our new home.

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I invite you to SIGN UP for my "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico Newsletter", published monthly with stories about our latest adventures, my recent blog articles, and news about my books. Here's a sample, September 2022's Newsletter.

Terry L Turrell, is the author of 5 books in the Healthy Living in Mexico Series and 2 novels in the In Sickness and In Health Novel Series. All are available on Amazon worldwide, FREE with kindleunlimited.

Thursday, November 3, 2022

Pickpocketed in Mexico During Día de Los Muertos


Beware of Pickpockets in the Crowds!
I made a newbie mistake Sunday night on the Malecón in Puerto Vallarta. After living in México for many years, I let my guard down in a crowd for the first time and a skillful pickpocket helped himself to the contents of my backpack purse.

Puerto Vallarta's 2022 Beautiful La Catrina

I brought my Canon digital camera to try to get better photos of this year's Día de Los Muertos Catrinas, especially our record-making tall beauty. I had raised my arms over the heads in front of me to snap a couple of shots of the Beatles—they were great!

The Beatles Catrinas

When I turned to find my husband, Jon, I immediately realized my backpack was significantly lighter. Every zipper on the back was wide open! A slick pickpocket got my Clinique bag containing paracetamol, ibuprofen, carbidopa/levodopa for Jonathan's Parkinson's disease, and other miscellaneous OTC meds. No big loss. I hope they were greatly disappointed. But he or she also got my cell phone.

My Gratitude for the Day, Week, and Month: They didn't get my wallet with my ID, debit card, and money. And I’m happy that I got some nice photos of the Catrinas and displays on the Malecón with my Canon camera.

There Were Some Great Older Model Cars Displayed

It's crowded out there during the parade and evening viewings of the Catrinas. It’ll continue to be crowded in tourist cities from now through the holidays. Beware of pickpockets! Another Lesson Learned...

My Canon Zoomed to Capture the 23-Meter-Tall Catrina's Face

The two women who helped me at the Telcel store with a new phone both said they had had phones stolen. One said she was taking a photo with her phone and someone snatched it out of her hand! The other had it taken out of her front pants pocket. They were both coaching me on how to hold my backpack purse—it was so sweet! Most Mexicans are so caring and helpful. It’s during these busy holidays that the thieves come out to work the crowd.

After their advice, I’ve been carrying my backpack purse in a front/side position with my arm hugging it. I've always kept a leash from my purse to my belt loop or my chair at a restaurant so it can't be snatched. But during these crowded holidays, skilled pickpockets don't need to snatch your whole purse—just smoothly remove the contents. Fortunately, I’ve always kept my wallet in a secret pocket. Now my phone will be stored there, too. We can’t be too careful.

To read about “More Lessons Learned”, check out my latest book available on Amazon worldwide. Thank you for reading my blog articles and books.

I invite you to SIGN UP for my "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico Newsletter", published monthly with stories about our latest adventures, my recent blog articles, and news about my books.

Terry L Turrell

Sunday, October 23, 2022


 Walking in México can be Dangerous

Careful! Don't Step Off the Curb Here!

Walking in México can be dangerous—but not for the reasons you might think. It’s the obstacles in the sidewalks and streets that you need to watch for constantly because there are many. I’ve included “Wheelchairing” in this because now that my husband, Jon, sometimes uses a wheelchair, we’ve learned that there are even more obstacles, ones we had previously overlooked.

The Sidewalk Ends Abruptly Without a Warning

Watch for obstacles constantly while walking. This might seem obvious, but I’ve seen too many tourists with new casts on their arms or ankles. Bleeding knees and black eyes are all-too-common among newcomers, too. No, it’s not from being mugged. Stumbling, tripping, and falling can easily happen in México and there’s no one to blame. The belief in this country is that if you fall and hurt yourself on the sidewalk, it’s the sidewalk’s fault. 

Everyone is responsible for themselves here. So, to help keep yourself safe, here are 7 common hazards to watch for when walking or “wheelchairing”.

1.     Tripping Hazards

Beware of Bent, Damaged Drainage Grates in the Middle of the Sidewalk!

Tripping hazards come in more shapes and forms than you can imagine. And they pop up in the most unexpected places, even walking along a popular tourist Malecón. It’s easy to become so distracted by all of the amazing views in México that you don’t see the danger your feet are about to encounter.

Bolts are Left Sticking Up When Signposts are Removed--Ow!

This Toe-Stubber is Right at the Crosswalk!

Abandoned Raised Concrete Slabs in a Walkway are Common

     These are just a few examples of the many tripping hazards for pedestrians. We now understand how abruptly these obstacles can jarringly bring a wheelchair to a halt, too.

2.     Crossing Bike Lanes Next to Walkways

Look Both Ways Before Crossing Bike Lanes!

     Once, I stepped into this bike lane without looking when I crossed from the sidewalk to the street to get on the bus! Fortunately, there weren’t any bicycles coming. Bicyclists travel fast in México! Be aware that they travel on sidewalks and streets, as well, so always be on the lookout for bikes and motorcycles. And they sometimes ride against traffic or the wrong way on a one-way street, so look both ways!

3.     Steep Ramps Can be Slippery, Especially if Damp or Sandy

There are No Slope or Width Requirements for Ramps
     Stepping onto a steep ramp can be dangerous, especially if it is damp or has a film of sand on the surface. I once stepped onto a tiled ramp that had a film of dust on it, my foot slipped out from under me, and down I went—fast and hard! Taking a wheelchair down a narrow, steep “Handicap” ramp can be especially treacherous. This one is in the middle of the block, drops onto the rough cobblestone road, and has no ramp up to the sidewalk on the other side of the street. 

 4.     Uneven Step Heights and Treads, Double-Step High Curbs

Watch that Extra Unpainted Step by the Taxi Bench, Too!

     This photo shows multiple hazards that make this corner especially dangerous. I saw one young man try to quickly hop up the high double-step curb, trip, and nearly land on his face. Fortunately, he had quick reflexes and was fine—others are not so lucky. The hidden steps,  uneven stair treads, and broken concrete add to the risk of corners like this one. I've watched people fall going down unseen steps just as often as walking up! Be careful.

     And in a wheelchair, good luck! Thankfully, Jon is able to stand from his chair and walk down these steps.

Concrete Humps On the Handrail Side can Cause Stumbling

       Puerto Vallarta has plans to make sidewalks accessible to all, but some areas of Old Town still need improvement. High, broad, uneven steps and no ramp as shown in this photo make some businesses inaccessible for those in wheelchairs.

5.     Trees in the Middle of Sidewalks and Plant Cut-Outs in the Concrete are Possible Stumbling Points

Someone Tried to Repair this Broken Planter Area, But...
Trees are Protected Here, Even When Taking Over the Sidewalk

     Trees take priority in México, which is overall a good thing for the environment and the appearance of cities. Just be aware that trees are often growing in the middle of the sidewalks with little room to maneuver around them. Also, the edging of the concrete cut-out for the tree may be broken, raised, or sunken, creating a trip-and-fall hazard. Tree roots sometimes extend into the sidewalk and lift the concrete. Beware, be aware.

6.     Cobblestone Streets, Especially with Missing Stones and Loose Gravel

Loose Stones, Missing Stones, and Missing Concrete

     Many streets in Mexican cities are paved with cobblestone or other types of pavers. I love the old-world feel, but these streets take some practice to walk on without twisting an ankle. If stones are loose or missing, a hole is left that is even more treacherous. Stepping wrong on sand and gravel in the streets can cause your feet to fly right out from under you. I have first-hand experience with that!

7.     Pedestrian Bridges are Wicked to Cross but Sometimes Necessary

Wild Motion plus Protruding Rebar and Wire Fencing 

     Suspended walking bridges like this one are scarier to cross than they look. And they’re more common in México than you might think—we have to walk on this one to cross the Cuale River to our Zumba class on the Isla Cuale in Puerto Vallarta. As soon as you begin walking on this bridge, it begins to bounce and sway. If more than one person is walking, their differing cadences cause the bridge to dip and dance in three directions. On top of that, the curled rebar and bent wires at the base of the chain-link fencing will cut into your calf if you get too close. We usually end up laughing at ourselves, walking as though we are drunk, even while holding onto the fence. 

     And there’s often a guy with a motorcycle patiently waiting at the other end for the bridge to clear so he can walk his moto across. The moto will barely fit side to side, so no pedestrians can be in the way. The locals know to clear the bridge and give the moto the right of way when it’s his turn—we follow their example. Another Lesson Learned...

7 Safety Suggestions for Walking and “Wheel-chairing” in México (Part 2 will be published next week)

     Have you read my latest book in the Healthy Living in Mexico series, Living in Mexico More Lessons Learned? Available on Amazon worldwide, it's free with kindleunlimited.

Living in Mexico

More Lessons Learned

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