Wednesday, March 28, 2018

SURVIVING SEMANA SANTA IN MEXICO: Stock Up, Stay Home, & Sneak Out for A Look Once in A While

The Beaches Become Crowded with Umbrellas and People
     During the week before Easter, Semana Santa (Holy Week), and the week after, Semana Pascua (Easter Week), our small village with a population of about 5000, explodes with people who fly in from the U.S. for spring break and Mexican Nationals who come here for vacation. Sayulita expects an estimate of 17,000 to 21,000 tourists to visit, depending on how many busloads of people come in each day.
     It's a scary thing to see for many who live here. Some restaurant owners close up and take their vacation to avoid the masses. Some shops don't open to avoid shop-lifting. Many snowbirds leave to return to their homes north of the border, saddened that the generally peaceful town is about to be invaded.
Lots More Porta-Potties to Handle the Crowds
     Grupo Pro Sayulita brought in many porta-potties, paid for trash pick-up services, and provided trash bags and extra trash containers for the mounds of garbage that is produced during this holiday. Volunteers work hard to clean the beach daily. This holiday creates an overwhelming assault on our small beach town.
      We are expats, meaning Sayulita is our home. We stay most of the year, leaving only when the rainy summer brings uncomfortable heat and humidity, and the electricity bill from running our one air conditioner at night is more expensive than the cost of driving our motorhome to Oregon.
     We love living in Sayulita. But during the two weeks of Semana Santa and Semana Pascua, we become hermits much of the time. In the weeks before Semana Santa, we stock up as though the town will run out of food and water. And it does.
We Stock Up On Purified Drinking Water and Wine
     We stock up on garafons (5-gallon refillable plastic bottles) of purified drinking water in case the Ciel water truck runs out of water before he makes it to our door. Some days there is so much traffic, pedestrians and vehicles, that the Ciel truck can't possibly make it up our street. We don't want to run out of water or wine!
We Stock the Freezer with Healthy Meals, Bread, & Tortillas
     We stock the freezer with healthy meals we've made in our crock-pot weeks before the food ran out in town.We stock up on wine, toilet paper, groceries including bread, peanut butter, cheese, and paper towel because the town will run out of these things. We found out yesterday that if we had wanted steak or hamburger in the freezer, we should have purchased it a week ago. The town is already out of meat.
Mi Lola's Pizza Prep Station and Oven
     We do venture out to take a peek at the town occasionally. We found a peaceful escape and delicious pizza at Mi Lola’s restaurant. The walk there was interesting, with the rows of vendors tables displaying colorful trinkets and the tourists throwing rocks at the beer and wine bottle-breaking booth. On the walk home, we always look for some fresh fruit and vegetables to purchase, as these will disappear from the stores by Easter weekend.
Pom-Poms Are a Hit with the Tourists this Year
     But then we needed to return home for the quiet of our hideaway. I find it’s a perfect time to sit at my desk and proofread the final version of my novel scheduled to be published in May. It is peaceful, sitting at my desk in our casita with the background sounds of the constant chattering of parrotlets in the mango trees, hens and roosters in the street, other tropical birds, chirping, and Bella barking at tourists who walk too close to our gates.
     A couple of days of hiding and we decided to venture out again, somewhere calm and peaceful. A good way to stay calm amongst the crowds is to take yoga classes. Yoga with Jim Gallas at the Don Pedro Palapa, overlooking the ocean, gives us the feeling of being a million miles from the chaos.
Peaceful View during Yoga Class at Don Pedro's Palapa
     Zumba is also a good escape from the mobs. We stay fit during Semana Santa by doing Zumba at home or at Debora’s class at El Club. I cancelled my Zumba classes for now because my students had either flown the coop or were hiding at home, avoiding the crowds, too. It’s a good time to practice new Zumba choreography to Desde Esa Noche - Thalia ft. Maluma.
We Remove the Trash from the Recycle Bins Every Few Days
     When we get cabin fever, we clean out the garbage dumped into the recycle bins we’ve placed in our neighborhood. Jon will help with the weekly recycle pickup from our eight bins and the delivery of the plastic and glass to the Sayulita Recycle Center. We pick up trash on the streets on our half-mile walk from the beach-side recycle bin to our home. We’ve done our community service for the week. 
Jon & Mey Collect the Recycling & Haul it to the Recycle Center
It’s worth it to hunker down and survive Semana Santa in Sayulita. When the crowds disappear, the tourists returning to work and school, this town becomes ours again. May is one of the most enjoyable months in Sayulita. 
Sayulita Beaches Return to Normal After Semana Santa
     We will return to the quiet beaches for long walks, boogie-boarding when there are waves, and Stand Up Paddleboarding when the ocean is calm. We will be glad we endured Semana Santa and Semana Pescua in Sayulita.
     I invite you to SIGN UP for my "Healthy Living and Traveling inMexico Newsletter", published monthly with stories about our latest adventures, my recent blog articles, and news about my books.
     Have your seen my newest ebook, Living in Mexico LESSONS LEARNED? Take a look on, and Amazon worldwide.
Terry L Turrell, Author
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Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Maybe This Will Help...

I Created a Table Sign to Help Us When Ordering Drinks
     Jon and I have been trying to remember to order our drinks in restaurants “without straws” for years, and we still forget, over and over again. As soon as our drinks arrive (aqua de jamaica, orange juice, margaritas, etc.), straw inserted in glass, we exchange that “NOT AGAIN” look. How were we going to remember, short of tattooing it on my forehead?
Even with the Sign, We Forgot to Order Sin Popote
     We can remember to take our reusable grocery bags when we are going to shop for food and supplies. We can remember our cloth 6-pack wine bag when we are going to Licorería El Coyul to stock up on wine. We are very good at not using plastic bags. But we could not remember to order our drinks without straws, sin popotes. 
     I racked my brain for months to come up with a solution to train ourselves, and maybe even assist the restaurants in changing their policy about using straws. Finally, I created a friendly table sign, written in English and Spanish, that said “Sin Popotes Por Favor ☻Without a Straw Please”.
Printed on 4X6 Photo Paper, This Makes a Cute Tented Sign
     I figured that if I held two of these tented signs in my hand as we walked to the restaurant, then placed one on the table in front of each of us, either Jon or I would surely see it as we were ordering our drinks. If we didn’t see it, the waiter might.
     This has worked about fifty percent of the time, probably because the other fifty percent of the time the sign was in my purse and not in my hand. But the interesting thing is, just since I made these table signs, several times we have remembered to order drinks sin popote even when I have forgotten to put the signs on the table. There is hope! We are learning.

     So, what is the big deal about “No Straws”? Once you’ve seen this YouTube video of the person removing a straw from a sea turtle’s nostril, you will never forget the image.
     It is so sad how the plastic straws, plastic six-pack beer holders, plastic bags, and other plastic items have harmed sea creatures. These items wash or blow into our creeks and rivers and find their way to the ocean. They are discarded on the streets in beach towns like Sayulita, then as soon as it rains, they wash down the cobblestone roads, onto the beach, and into the ocean.
18 Straws I Picked Up in a Half Mile Walk One Day
     I have become obsessed with picking up straws and plastic beer can holders and putting them in our trash at home. There are few garbage cans along the streets in Sayulita to put them in and this is part of the reason they end up lying in the street. In one day, I picked up eighteen straws while I walked the half mile home from downtown Sayulita. How many straws must be lying in the streets all over town? How many straws are lying in streets in beach towns all over the world, poised to wash or blow into the ocean, possibly to end up in a sea animal's nostril or stomach. 

     When Campamento Tortuguero Sayulita releases baby turtles on the beach, I feel happy that I have done my part to help the turtles' chances of living healthy lives without plastic straws stuck in their nostrils. (Avoiding the use of plastic bags also helps lessen the chance these turtles will ingest a piece of plastic, believing it is a jellyfish.)
Baby Olive Ridley Turtles Being Released at Sunset
     We can all work together to help eliminate the use of plastic straws. Some restaurants in our town no longer offer straws. Some offer metal, reusable straws, though I am not a fan of this for sanitation reasons. Others provide paper or other biodegradable straws. The waiters at some restaurants are trained to ask the customer if they would like a straw and we always thank them for offering, and then we decline the straws.
     We have started a list of our preferred restaurants in Sayulita. It’s interesting that many of our favorite restaurants are owned and managed by people who care about their customers’ desires, as well as the environment, and have stopped using plastic straws. This is an example of an environmental cause where pressure from the people is having a positive effect. Thank you to every restaurant and person who declines to use straws, when possible.
     While there are circumstances when a straw is necessary, thank you for using care to dispose of it in the trash where it will not find its way to the ocean. Together, we are working toward a more green Sayulita and a more green world.

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     Have your seen my newest ebook, Living in Mexico LESSONS LEARNED? Take a look on,, and Amazon worldwide. 

Terry L. Turrell, Author
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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

BORED AFTER RETIREMENT IN MEXICO? NO! How Did We Ever Have Time for a Job?

A Day in the Lives of Jon and Terry in México

     We are frequently asked, “Do you get bored living in México? What do you do all day?” It was time to try to describe why we have not experienced one day of boredom in the three years since we moved here. “A day in the lives of Jon and Terry”, after retiring in México, is anything but boring.   
View During Our Yoga Class at Don Pedro's Palapa
     I decided to track one of our typical days with photos. When I looked at the thirty-six photos and three videos I took throughout our day, I wondered how we ever had time to hold down full-time jobs!
     Our plan was to start the day with a 9:30 yoga class at Don Pedro’s palapa. What a view we would enjoy from the palapa overlooking the ocean and our village, Sayulita! Well, okay, we do have to take care of some everyday tasks on our way out the door, the typical morning routines… put the
garrafón on the porch so the water man will deliver a full bottle,

shoo the chickens out of my front garden,

sweep up the leaves from our porch and street in front of our house… you know, México chores.
     Why is life in México so much more enjoyable than before we quit our jobs and moved here? The answer is, when we worked 8 to 12 hours a day, five or six days a week, that left very little time to cram in our personal appointments, exercise, and leisure activities. After retirement, there’s no more cramming appointments into lunch breaks, evenings, and weekends. After moving to México, the need for money drops to about half that required while living in the U.S., so early retirement works. Life becomes fun!
Yoga Class with Jim Gallas at Don Pedro's Palapa

     Exercise for the day? Walk to yoga class. Not only did we get a mile round-trip walk to the beautiful Don Pedro palapa, overlooking the blue Pacific Ocean, we enjoyed a wonderful hour-and-a-half yoga class with Jim Gallas.
Walking Home from Yoga through Villa Amor's Pretty Property
Cleaning the Trash Out of Our Recycle Bins on the Way Home

     Walking home from yoga through Villa Amor's pretty waterfront property was relaxing and enjoyable. Cleaning the trash out of our eight sponsored recycle bins on the way home completed our volunteer work for the day. 
Orgasmic Peanut Butter & Smucker's Jam on Toast for Lunch

     Time for a quick lunch at home before our 1:00 appointment. I fixed Orgasmic peanut butter, made locally, and Smucker's jam on toast with apple slices for our healthy lunch, then we took a one-mile walk through centro to the other end of town.
We Walked Past Calle Delfines in Downtown Sayulita
and Past the Sayulita Plaza, Quiet This Afternoon
     Personal appointment for the week? We needed haircuts. Jon called for an appointment at El Corte salon the day before, and then we walked to town for haircuts this afternoon. I was even able to work in a pedicure while Jon got his hair cut by Marta. We had a two-hour leisurely salon visit, reading our Kindles while relaxing. 
El Corte Salon is Easy to Recognize and Well Known
Marta Cuts Jon's Hair While I Enjoy My Pedicure
A Stop at Rodolfo's Market for Groceries on Our Walk Home
I Get a Little Time for Writing While Jon Reads
A Walk Down the Beach to Coco's Beach Club for Dinner
I Caught a Short Video of the Surfers

Margaritas and Fish and Chips at Cocos While Watching the Surfers
A Walk Past the Elementary School, Admiring Their Art
To the Secret Garden for a Live Theater Sayulita Play
     After the play, we stopped at the Cake Lady’s table in the plaza to buy a slice of chocolate cake to share for breakfast. I bought two bananas at Mi SuperTiendita to make breakfast a balanced meal. By the time we walked home, my Fitbit reported that I had over 13,700 steps for the day, about six miles. We didn’t get our dishes washed or our laundry put away, but there’s always mañana.
     That was just one typical day in our lives. Other days will include Zumba classes, a Recycle Center work party, an Elementary School dance performance, beach cleanup work parties, baby turtle releases on the beach, the ProSayulita Fiesta, surf competitions to watch, Stand Up Paddleboarding and boogie boarding, local fund-raisers, and more. There’s lots more time for fun, living in México!

     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. 
     Have your seen my newest ebook, Living in Mexico LESSONS LEARNED? Take a look on, and Amazon worldwide.
Terry L Turrell, Author
Follow me on Facebook at Healthy Living andTraveling in Mexico