Tuesday, February 20, 2018

I'm Bella, a Long-Haired, Miniature Dachshund, and I LOVE Living in Mexico!

Sand, Surf, and Sunshine

I LOVE Digging for Crabs on the Beach!
     My name is Bella. I'm a chocolate and cream-colored, long-haired, miniature dachshund. I’ve traveled in México with my people since 2011. I’ve lived in México for almost three years and I love it. Before that, I lived at the beach in Ecuador for a while when I was a pup and I liked it, but I enjoy México even more, especially since I have a house with a yard now. There are so many things to do here and I am very busy.
It's Fun When My Dad, Jon, Helps Me Dig
My Mom, Terry, Throws the Ball for Me
The Weather is So Good, We Play Ball a Lot
     When I’m not playing on the beach or taking walks with my people, I have a lot of responsibility at home. I will tell you about some of my jobs at home. 
Birds Like Juan the Guan Sit On Our Wall
I Have to Bark at Them to Make Them Leave

In Rainy Times Land Crabs Show Up in Our Yard!

I Have to Point to the Crab and Bark...

Until Dad Catches It and Carries It to the Jungle

Lots of Chickens and Dogs Live on Our Street

So I Spend Hours Listening & Guarding the Gates

     I'm lucky that dogs are allowed to bark in México. Barking is part of my job, to protect my people. Yes, I work hard in the yard, but I also take time to relax in the sunshine and play with friends. 
When I Sunbathe, I Put My Babies in the Sun Next to Me

I Like to Play with Other Dogs When We Visit Friends

One of My Favorite Things is to Ride in the Golf Cart

When We Drive Through Town, I get to Look at All the Tourists

     One of my favorite things to do is to ride in the golf cart. I get to sit in the front seat right between Mom and Dad. When we drive through town, I get to look at all the tourists. They look at me with my ears flying back and smile because they think I’m cute. I know I am. Sometimes when we are stopped at the lavandería to pick up my people’s clothes, someone will want to pet me because I have soft hair. If they are mellow, I let them. Then when they start to leave, I loudly tell them to come back and pet me some more. I don’t know why that always makes people laugh. 
I Tell Mom & Dad When They Take Too Long to Give Me a Treat!

     I talk a lot and some people don't seem to understand me. But, Mom and Dad always understand my words. I tell Mom and Dad when they take too long to give me a treat! They listen, too, but sometimes laugh at me and Mom says, “you wait. Dad’s not ready, yet.” So, I squirm a little, but wait patiently in my perfect “down” pose until Mom gives me a treat. Then, they leave through the gate and I think, oh good, they’re going to dinner. Now I’m in charge here and can bark whenever I need to.
I Like to Sit On Dad's Lap in the Motorhome
     Sometimes we take motorhome trips and I go along for the ride, tolerating the long, boring drives that my people seem to love because we do it several times a year, traveling around Mexico and to the United States to see my people’s Mom and children and grandchildren. I like to sit on Mom or Dad's lap, when they aren't at the wheel, because I get lots of pets.
Our RV trip to the Yucatán & Other Places in México was Fun

     I have also traveled between the U.S. and México on an airplane. I am famous on the internet for a photo of me waiting patiently in my pet carrier. My Mom wrote an article about flying into Puerto Vallarta with me. 
I am Famous on the Internet for This Photo

     I guess I caused a lot of trouble because we had to stay in the airport for two hours, waiting for a vet to come and look at me and give me a pill. Some new law in México, not anything I did wrong. But I sure wasn’t happy with all the fuss, and I told the inspector so. He didn’t seem to like me voicing my opinion, but someone needed to. My Mom explained it all in her article, “Bringing Your Pet into Mexico: New 2017 Laws are BeingEnforced!”.
     I love traveling in my carrier on the buses because it means we are going on an adventure. I’m so quiet when we do that, so my Mom and Dad will be happy with me. The bus drivers in México don’t mind if I travel on the bus with my people.
I'm Happy to Be Home in Sayulita!
     I like traveling just fine. But, I’m always so happy to get back home to Sayulita, México. The warm, sandy beaches and my cozy home and yard are my favorite places.
     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, Author"
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Thursday, February 15, 2018

RHYTHMS OF THE NIGHT IN PUERTO VALLARTA--Our 25th Anniversary Celebration

A Weekend Getaway

Jon and Terry Entering Rhythms of the Night
     One advantage of living in Sayulita, less than an hour north of Puerto Vallarta, is that we can travel a short distance from our small-village life for a great selection of big city adventures. Our 25th Anniversary was a perfect opportunity to spend a long weekend celebrating in Puerto Vallarta. 
     We decided to splurge on Rhythms of the Night, a dinner and show put on by Vallarta Adventures. I had heard many positive comments about this tourist activity, beginning with a boat trip to the romantic, private beach called Playa Las Caletas. Jon doesn’t usually go for tours and touristy shows, but being the accommodating husband that he is, he agreed to book the trip. 
The Puerto Vallarta Trailer Park
     Our motorhome comes in handy for getaways like this one, so we’re always glad we have it stored in the area. No hotel rooms for us—we carry our suitcase, our bathroom, our bedroom, our kitchen, and Bella, our doxy, with us wherever we go. The Puerto Vallarta Trailer Park was our home away from home, a tropical garden setting, a quiet oasis away from the city traffic noises, yet only two blocks from the bus stop. We could catch a short, inexpensive bus to the Romantic Zone for night life or the marina for the Rhythms of the Night event.    
Kelly's Pour Favor Saloon & Cookhouse
     We started our celebration Thursday evening at Kelly’s Pour Favor Saloon and Cookhouse in the Romantic Zone. The Gecko Band was playing rock ‘n’ roll and the house was packed. We managed to belly up to the bar and eventually secured stools. The music was great, including two harmonica players who took turns playing with the band. Singalongs included a loud and rowdy version of “Living Next Door to Alice”. Jon’s fried chicken dinner and my sweet potato fries with chipotle mayo were perfect saloon meals.
Jon and Terry Posing with a Macaw
    Friday afternoon, the dark clouds rolled in, and we wondered if we would get rained on at the Rhythms of the Night show. We packed jackets and rain ponchos in a backpack to be safe, but by the time we checked in for our sunset cruise to Las Caletas, the sky had cleared. While waiting to board our boat, we settled in at a tiki bar for our first celebration margarita. That’s when an animal conservation group introduced us to their Macaw, let him sit our shoulders for photos, and had him kiss our cheeks for more photos. Naturally, we had to purchase all of the photos as memories of this once in a lifetime anniversary celebration. 
Disembarking and Entering the Tropical Jungle

     The hour-long sunset cruise was enjoyable with an open bar and entertainment by the crew members. We didn’t see any whales that afternoon, but the view of the Puerto Vallarta shoreline past Mismaloya to Las Caletas was beautiful. After disembarking at the dock, we followed the lighted path into the tropical jungle to the restaurant. Here, the pre-dinner show began.
An Actress Portrays People from Ancient Times

     Over 3000 candles and many torches lit the paths and seating areas, creating a glowing, romantic atmosphere. Along the way, we were constantly presented with beauty and entertainment, from waterfalls to costumed actors portraying people from ancient times and beings from the spirit world. I especially enjoyed the trio of musicians, one of which played a crisp tune by tapping a stick against a row of hanging wine and liquor bottles filled with different levels of liquid.     
Musicians, One Playing Wine Bottles


Caleta, A Romantic Setting with Over 3000 Candles

     We dined at a prime table on the upper terrace overlooking the clear blue ocean and two floating docks complete with palm trees, hammocks, lounge chairs, and shade umbrellas. As our attentive waiter served us margaritas, the sunset colors softened, mixing coral pink clouds with the clear blue sky, all reflected on the ocean below, adding to the romance of the evening. We couldn’t have asked for more from the dinner experience.
Sunset View From Our Dinner Table

     From the restaurant, we followed another candle-lit path through the palm forest to the outdoor theater where a skit was already underway on the stage, entertaining those seated and waiting for the show to begin. The backdrop was an actual pyramid, towering high above the stage. The lighting projected on the pyramid changed with each act, altering the setting from a waterfall to a Mayan temple and various other colorful structures.
Skeletons Performing Acrobatics

     We were very impressed with the quality of acts and music—even Jon was glad we had experienced this show called Savia. As described on the Rhythms of the Night website, “Powerful images, original music, dance and acrobatic performances surround you in this magical environment. Let your imagination soar with Savia: The Legend of the 5 Suns.” Jon and I agreed that the show was magical. I have included a brief video below to tempt you to take in this spectacular show. We were told that the show changes periodically, so we plan to attend it again sometime in the future, hopefully taking our children and grandchildren to see it.
     Saturday night was our last evening to go out on the town in Puerto Vallarta. We decided to ride the bus to the Romantic Zone and then walk to the beach. Our goal was to find a restaurant that wasn’t too fancy (no white tablecloths for us), but still had tables set on the sand and a menu of good food and wine at a reasonable price. We were hoping to get to view one of Puerto Vallarta’s famous sunsets that night, and we weren’t disappointed. 
Sunset from Langostinos in Puerto Vallarta

     Langostinos Restaurant & Bar, on the beach near the Muelle de Playa Los Muertos, was a wonderful choice for the food, service, people watching, and amazing sunset. While seafood was our original thought, we ended up ordering the Chateaubriand steak, a tender, juicy, flavorful tenderloin prepared perfectly. It was large enough for us to share and take how a portion for lunch the next day. As we sipped our wine and relaxed, the brilliant fire-orange and blue sunset was the perfect conclusion to our memorable 25th Anniversary weekend.


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, Author

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Thursday, February 1, 2018

HELPING OUR NEIGHBORHOOD WITH A RECYCLE PROGRAM: Plan #2 for Reducing Trash

Helping Our Mexican Community Become Greener
A Truck in Mexico Hauling Plastic Bottles to Recycle
     Mexico is recycling, at least in some cities. When I saw this in Nayarit, a truck and trailer-load of plastic bottles being hauled to a recycle depot, I was impressed with this recycling effort. It would be even better if the amount of plastic used and discarded was reduced. But I was impressed that this large volume of plastic was removed from the trash and did not end up in the city dump or the rivers and ocean.
Plastic Bottles Protruding from Trash Bags on Street Corners
     In our small town of Sayulita, many of the locals have not been taught the importance of separating the plastic, glass, and cardboard from the trash and recycling it. Or, they just don't have a way to get to a recycle center, and there is no recycle pickup program here, so much of the plastic and glass goes in the trash. The people do a pretty good job of recycling metal, including aluminum cans, because they can sell metal, so this is worth money to help feed their families. But as you may have read in my article REDUCING OUR TRASH--PLAN #1 FOR THE NEW YEAR, Sayulita is attempting to reduce the amount of trash from 50 tons per day to 14 tons per day. A huge change in recycling is needed! The amount of plastic that I see included in the trash and thrown on the streets every day sickens me. I wondered why Sayulita, a Pueblo Mágico, did not have a better recycling program. It was time to get involved.

     I was excited to learn that Centro de Reciclaje de Sayulita (Sayulita Recycling Center) was opening at their new location February 10, after being closed for almost two months. The new Recycle Center will be located about a mile outside of the city's centro, which brought up a new problem--transportation of recycle items that far when many of us in this town do not own cars. My immediate concern was, how can we set up a system to get the locals to recycle and get the recycling to the new Recycling Center?  
We Used to Haul Our Recycle with Carlos, Our Golf Cart

     I decided it was not safe for us to drive, Carlos, our golf cart a mile out the Punta de Mita highway to deliver our own recycle items to the new Recycle Center. We would need to arrange for a truck to pick up and deliver our own recycle, so why not haul our neighbors' recycle at the same time?
The First Recycle Bin Signs

Our First Attempt at Signs for the Recycle Bins

    I now realize that I went about starting the "Calle Niños Heroes Recycle Program” on our street a little backwards, but the end result is what’s important, after all. So, here’s the process we used. My first step was to find a way to have sturdy bilingual signs made for the two types of recycle bins we would build, plastic and glass. After googling "bilingual recycle signs", I found a source that could ship them from the U.S., but the cost was well over $50 U.S. per sign including shipping. That wasn't going to work! I had to find local printer.
Israel Lozoya at "Print On" in Sayulita

     Thanks to many helpful answers to my request on the "Sayulita People" Facebook group, I learned about Israel Lozoya and his printing shop, "PRINT ON". He has printed our initial set of eight signs and was friendly and prompt with his service. We've lived here for over two years and just discovered that his shop is on the corner of Avenida Revolución and Calle Miramar! It was becoming clear that getting involved in a project in your Mexican town helps you learn a lot about the community. It also has forced me to learn to speak more Spanish. 
The Wire Fencing (Malla)   
Jon Forming Fencing Material into Recycle Bins

     Our next step was to find the right fencing material, called malla in this area. Jon was determined to use sturdy material, not chicken wire, so the bins would hold up. After visiting three hardware stores in Sayulita without luck, we decided to take a bus ride to Home Depot in Puerto Vallarta to see what they stocked. On our walk from the PV bus stop to Home Depot, we passed a metal supply shop, Aceros Ixtapa, and decided to check their stock and prices. We found the perfect wire fencing, with 5 X 5 cm. square holes, 1.22 meters tall, and 20 meters long. Jon estimated he would be able to build 5 bins for plastic recycle, 23 inches in diameter and the full 1.22 meters tall, and 4 bins for glass recycle, 17 inches in diameter and half as tall, from each roll.
The Chain and Locks
     Home Depot stocked the same fencing, though at a slightly higher price. We purchased 6 meters of chain and two master locks with keys to be used to lock our first two sets of recycle bins to a power pole. We had been told that if we didn't lock down the wire baskets, they would disappear to be used for chicken coops or to be sold to the metal recycler for a few pesos. We were determined that wasn't going to happen after all of our hard work.
     Back at Aceros Ixtapa's, we purchased one roll of the wire fencing, then set about finding a taxi that could haul it home in his trunk. That, in itself, was a comedy. We watched in horror as the fencing salesman tried to wrestle and shove the heavy roll of sharp wire fencing into the trunk of the first taxi to arrive, a shiny, new car without a scratch on it. I'm sure the taxi driver was cringing, too, but watched without showing any emotion, until finally he calmly shook his head and quietly said he would call another taxi for us. The second cab driver popped his trunk, hefted the heavy roll up and threw it into his trunk without hesitation. No problema! After negotiating a fare, we hopped in and headed for Sayulita, excited to start building recycle bins. Even starting a neighborhood recycle program turns into an adventure for us!
Jon Builds the First Two Bins
Crimping the Wires to Form the Seam of a Tall Bin for Plastic

Forming & Attaching the Wire Bottom

Jon Attached the Recycle Signs to the First Bin

Set Up & Chained the First Pair of Plastic & Glass Bins!

Assistance from Neil Lamb of Amigos de Bucerias
     As we worked through our system for building and signing the recycle bins, we received a huge amount of help from Neil Lamb, the Recycling Coordinator for the Amigos de Bucerias. I contacted Neil through their website and was very impressed with their recycling system and his tireless replies to my questions. He sent me photos of their bins and signs. We decided to adopt their sponsor sign idea, naming ourselves and Zumba with Terry in Sayulita as the sponsors of the first 8 recycle bins in the "Calle Ninos Heroes Recycle Program", adding our phone number in case of questions or service needs. 
     Neil emailed me with another source for the fencing material, Aceros Murillo in Bucerias, closer to us and slightly less expensive. He also told me that they get their Recycle and Sponsor signs at Atmoshera Creative in Bucerias and their bulk price is slightly less than we are paying. It's always good to have alternate sources for material. Thanks you Neil, for all of your help. It looks like Bucerias is doing a great job of recycling.
Neil Lamb & the Amigos de Bucerias with Their Recycle Bins

Our Sponsor Signs for the First 8 Recycle Bins

Getting the Kids Involved
     We decided to set up the second set of recycle bins on the corner of Ninos Heroes and Coco Sur, an area used to pile trash for the garbage men. Since it was across the street from a tienda (small food store) and a taco stand, it appeared that a huge number of plastic bottles were dumped into the trash daily. Recycle bins on this corner should greatly reduce the volume of trash!
     When we hauled the two bins to the corner and Jon began digging a flat spot in the dirt to set up the bins, the neighborhood kids surrounded us wanting to know what we were doing. A ten-year-old girl started pointing to the recycle signs and reading, "Botellas Plásticas Leche Soda Aqua” and then, “Vidrio Solamente”. So, I grabbed a couple of plastic soda and water bottles off of the ground and tossed them into the taller bin, saying "Si, plástico!” Within minutes, there were six or seven children surrounding me, calling “plástico!” and showing me plastic bottles and cups. I showed each one how to look for the triangle on the bottom indicating that the item was recyclable, then said “Si, plástico!” The child would excitedly throw their item into the plastic bin and then dash off to find more plastic trash lying on the ground.
     Who knew recycling plastic could become a game? Those children were so excited about this new game that they dragged me up the street and through vacant lots, picking up plastic and glass. I carried a couple of empty plastic bags I’d found on the ground for garbage. When someone showed me an item that didn’t have the recycle triangle on the bottom, I told them “basura” and offered my bag for the trash, encouraging them not to throw it back on the ground. Part of the training needed in México is to stop throwing trash on the ground or in the rivers. But first, they need a place to put their trash and recycle.
Part of Our Ninos Heroes Recycling Team

Recycle Flyer Passed Out to Neighbors on Ninos Heroes

     When the children could no longer find plastic or glass recycle to put in the bins and we had made an improvement by picking up trash scattered along the street, I handed each child one of the Recycle Flyers we had designed. Jon told them in Spanish to take the flyers home to show their parents. We watched as the children scattered, each excitedly showing a parent their flyer. We felt good about our progress that day.
     I will never forget what the little 10-year-old girl said to me at one point as we scoured the hills for recycle and trash. She spoke in Spanish, simple words so that I could understand, "This is a good thing we are doing." I answered, "Si, es muy bueno," and we smiled at each other.
The Recycle Bins are Filling & The Trash Pile is Reduced

Next Hurdle--Recycle Pickup and Transfer to the Sayulita Recycling Center
     The Amigos de Bucerias are way ahead of Sayulita in their system for hauling recycle to the recycle compound. They have a trailer and two regular drivers who tow it, taking 6 to 8 hours with a 3-person crew to pick up all of the recycle in Bucerias, usually every two weeks. During high season they have a four-person crew including the drivers. Recycle pickup is a big job.
     We know recycle pickup and transfer to the Sayulita Recycling Center is going to be one of our biggest hurdles to clear. The first four recycle bins are almost full and we will need to empty them soon. We plan to bag and store the plastic and glass until we have at least enough to fill a pickup bed. We still need to determine who we will call to haul the recycle to the Sayulita Recycle Center, but we have neighbors who are interested in having their accumulated recycle hauled at the same time. We will get that organized next. We have until February 10, when the Centro de Reciclaje de Sayulita (Sayulita Recycling Center) opens to figure out a plan for the hauling of recycle for the "Calle Ninos Heroes Recycle Program".
What Does It Mean to Sponsor a Recycle Bin?
     Without an organized recycle pick up program in Sayulita, each person who sponsors a recycle bin is responsible for building the bin or buying one that Jon has built. But that is just the first step. The sponsor is also responsible for keeping the bin(s) clean and free of trash, empty them into trash bags when they are full, and arrange for transfer to the recycle center (or finding someone to manage this for your bin). If you are interested in sponsoring a recycle bin, contact me through my Facebook Page "Healthy Living and Traveling in Mexico" or this blog. To obtain a plastic recycle bin built by Jon, including sign, chain, lock, and delivery, a 600 peso donation is needed. To obtain a pair of recycle bins, one for plastic, and one for glass, built by Jon, including signs, one chain, lock, and delivery, a 1000 peso donation is needed. Let’s see how green we can make Sayulita!
Our Next Goal: Recycle Bins in the Sayulita Plaza
Long Term Goal: Recycle Bins all over Sayulita and a Regular Recycle Pickup Program.

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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.
  To read more, check out my website at   http://www.healthylivingandtravelinginmexico.com/.
Terry L. Turrell, Author