Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Don't Panic, breath through your nose.

That's what my buddy Geno used to say when things went to defecon 4. As I type this I'm using one hand, kinda difficult and slow. I'm a little screwed up and I'll get to that part in a sec...but the big news is, I didn't panic Geno, at least not that you'd much.

Last week my friends and team mates went to the wall trying to help me catch that big Robalo that I want so badly, we've been traveling to Dimas 40 miles from here..  I had him hooked on Friday and brought him to the rocks and as I planned on how to gaff or lift him he escaped, about a 15 pounder. For me the fish seem to win a lot. But as a team we had a couple great days,that's a pic of Slah with a huge Corvina and a nice Robalo...maybe even the one that spat my hook. Thanks for the extra effort Slah. And ya know, I'll just keep that same goal and carry over to 2014, no worries.

Mazatlan has a lot going on, including the worlds tallest natural lighthouse at 157 meters, about 500 feet. We hike that baby once a year or so so and Monday was a bit blustery on the beach so away we went. This hike is ultra cool, the pic of the steps and the drop off will give you feel for what its like. I have the feeling that N.O.B. they'd have a guard rail right about there. Breath taking for sure.
So we reach the summit (hehehe) and we're taking in the views. Its just stunning, you have the metropolitan area to you north  and the wilderness of Isla De Piedra to the south. I even spot a huge bait ball and with the zoom of my Lumix camera I get the shot.
This next pic is the reason for it all. With today's electronics I don't know how many mariners really use the light but I'd bet dollars to donuts it makes you feel good just to see it as you make your night time passage. Just to know, people are out there, they're watching, they care.
We'd just met a nice couple from Alberta and had them snap this pic.
And I was telling them a story about a spring snow storm that me and MP got stuck in at White Court Alberta in 1978 and talking with my hands like I do when I felt it. I'd collided with a bee and he left his stinger in me on the first joint of my left ring finger. When I was a kid my mom always emphasised to me just how allergic to bees I was but I figured it was another one of her ways to help me feel special. Well, she's right and I'm wrong. MP pulled the stinger out and told me " don't panic", I didn't have my epi-pen with me. We retreat from the faro and head home, its the darnest thing, its aching pretty good and then it just stops. When we get home theres no swelling and I'm pain free. I convince myself that my finger skin is to tough for the stinger or that MP got it out so fast that I dodged the bullet. So I elected to not use my epi-pen and save it for a 'bad' sting. I played music that night (Monday) for the building and seemed to have no problems.

The next morning MP was off on here Tour of Homes with the girls. My finger was a little sore and that's about all. I took an antihistamine and as we needed just a few last things I went to the store for us. It's just astounding, here's a pic of what 330 pesos ( about 27 bucks) will buy you at Soriana, our favorite grocery store.
Through the day the finger got a little redder and a a little stiff and sore but no biggy. We had a pot luck supper, I donated 200 peso's to our weekly poker game and went to bed. I woke up to this:
Yikes, don't panic...Ernie tells me its blood poisoning. If it weren't my left hand I wouldn't be so worried, I've never seen a 3 fingered guitar picker and I'm already struggling through playing with a pinky that has the muscle separated from pulling my anchor. I've got a lot going through my mind. One thing all of us that stay here for extended periods think about is our strategy should things go bad. One thing I know about Mexico is that you can buy anything so I'd always thought I'd take large American green to the airport and jump the first jet if I had to. Its bad enough that the finger looks this way but as MP and I discuss it we notice that I also have swelling in my hand.

I just have a feeling. I know a gal named Elena that works at Pharmacy Moderna, she's got great English and is just a caring  neat person. So I figure we'll just ask Elena whats best to do....she takes one look at it and trying not to be to horrified says we need a doctor for sure, now. She makes a call for us and I end up at Dr. Libia Zulema Paez Garcia's place. I'd have gotten a pic or two but I really wasn't thinking blog at the time, sorry. She was positive and upbeat. Cleaned the wound that was beginning to seep pretty good and then gave me a huge antihistamine by injection right into the ol glutamous maximus. Then she prescribed an antibiotic and it was back to Elena to fill it. So...if you ever need Pharmacy help in Mexico go to this one,DO NOT go to the touristy pharmacy that advertises Viagra and sleeping pills.
So I think I'm on the mend. At least I feel better knowing that something has been done. We'll keep an eye on it and hopefully I'll be able to fish next week, one last chance for that elusive Robalo, not to mention my life long guitar project. We should be just fine...I hope....and I didn't panic Geno, I really didn't.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Heavy Lifting

With just a couple weeks b4 we head back to the frozen north I got to thinking that maybe  Mile 14'ites might wonder just what the heck do we do there for so long. Well, the truth is that we're pretty darn busy doing things you just don't always know what and especially when, that's the cool thing about having no schedule. Besides my everyday fishing and the usual problem solving around the terrace and the entire day it takes now and then to have your walk and breakfast , I've been busy on projects.

I'm a frustrated song writer for sure. Instead of finishing the one that I spent so much time on and needed to finish, I started 3 more and  don't really like them to much either....mmm....I have a new start that the working title is ' tough old man' but.....well.... The good news is that I have worked up 3 or 4 new songs. Just 2 days a ago I heard this song on Texas Radio ( K.O.K.E ) if you love real country and Texas swing. It just struck me and thanks to technology I found and  downloaded the song and then transcribed the lyrics. Then I sat down and assigned chords in the key of A which seems to best for me...magic. The songs a little rough, I've only played it maybe 15 times but I love the story....its always the story.

And of course I've read a book or two. I've always read a lot, I think its in my genes. But I used to read novels and now I just want to read non-fiction, I guess I want to learn to things. If  I'd had that same drive and desire about 40 years ago  in college who knows what we'd be doing now. I got the feeling that it couldn't be as good as this or maybe at the best as good as this but with more money....Here's a list, ya know how I like lists, of the books I've read here in  Mexico. So far that its is.

My current book is ' 7 Tipping Points that saved the world', the Miracle of Freedom by Chris and Ted Stewart. ...From the defeat of the Assyrians to the Battle of Britain, all the struggles that might have gone the other way and effected the future of 'freedom'..

'The Search for the gold of King Tut' by Arnold Brackma...the story of the last and only untouched ancient find  and the real story of the 'King Tuts' curse. English nobility with a passion for antiquities.

'The Road' by Cormac McCarthy...a great novel by the same guy that did "No Country For Old Men'...end of the world kinda stuff.

'Serpent in Paradise' by Dea Birket...the real life story of the people who live on Pitcairn Island, the descendant's of mutineers. Pretty cool book. Kinda crazy how to this day these people are so isolated and a culture completely of their own.

Captured....The story of young settlers children who were kidnapped by Indians (mostly Comanche) and brought into the tribal ways. In many cases these kids were conflicted after their eventual rescue and remained Indians the rest of their lives.

The Lost Squadron....The story of a lost mission by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in the early 1900's. This story underlines what all of us that live in the far north's extreme, it'll kill ya.

The Rise of Teddy Roosevelt, by Edmund Morris....mostly about his rise to political power. Did you know that he finished a 45  minute speech with a bullet in his guts from a would be assassin ?

The Missouri, by Stanly Vestal....This is compilation of stories about the Missouri River and its part in building our country. Pretty cool, of course Montana which is one of my favorite spots in the world is the headwaters of this great waterway.

Nathan Bedford Forrest....the story of the baddest of all the confederate generals. And he couldn't just let go so went on to form the Klu Klux Klan.

Patton and Rommel, Men at War, by Dennis Showalter. Guys that lead from the front. WW 2  folklore has them as the big rivalry when they actually faced each other in battle only one time. Rommel was involved in the Valkerie project to end Hitler and build a peace.

Mussolini, by Dennis Mack Smith....For all this guys bravado and public machismo he was an insecure manipulated wine guzzling coward.

The Lincoln Lawyer, a novel by Michael Connely....a real page turner,

Lucky Man, Michael Fox....the story of his fight with Parkinsons Disease. But, its really the story of gaining perspective, knowing life, finding life....something I relate to.

West Dickens Ave- A marine at Khe Sanh...What can I say. I got this book form my friend Tony who was at Khe Sanh duriing the 77 day siege. He had it highlighted with references to things that happened to him. It made me speechless. I got no right to complain about anything..and I mean anything.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Fat Tuesday...and....

This years Carnival theme was ' The Magic Lantern', a tribute to the film industry. Of course every single parade we've ever done has to start with a salute to Pacifico beer. MP and I have it figured this way - if you're an attractive and interesting young Mexican woman in Mazatlan you start out as carnival royalty. Then the next year you're royalty alumnus and the years after that you're a Pacifico girl until you get tired of the whole deal.
One of the many things I love about Mexico is how people cherish their elders. It really never dawned on me that respecting your elders was all that important and I guess I didn't do a very good job of it when I was young...and then  I started to become an elder. So here's the float that had all the past years royalty on it. Carnival Mazatlan is over 100 years old , its connection to the past important. Don't these lovely ladies look to be having a great time? I like it.A lot.
Every movie had it's music blaring and a Mexican dance troupe along. Old movies, new movies, the were all there. A few of my favorites.
My all time best float though is one I don't know what the corresponding movie was. I was just taken by the timing and the beauty. The sun was just going down and we had this great 'afterburn' that we talk about going on. The globe seemed to amplify the light so I ran along beside it until I got this pic just right. The movie could be anything but the moment sure wasn' was everything.
This year we watched from in the inland side of the malecon. We found a nice elevated curb that's actually the island of the road, we're strategically placed next to a Pacifico tent and a banos. Perfect place. But as the parade got going we were kind of mobbed by people wanting the same great view that we we ended up spending the evening with a Mexican family and shared some laughs . Their little girl let me take this pic after she got all her Carnival eye lashes, wig and make up on.
But the gals who stole the show this year were the Brazilian beauties as everyone was calling them. It seems that as part of Brazil's promotion for the up coming Olympics and to showcase their own somewhat more riske Carnival they sent 30 representatives to our parade. Well...mmmm...I guess all I can say is... you can only imagine. This pic will give you an idea of how one of the three floats looked. Colorful, loud, just a fun time with the sun going down.
It was pretty much dark as we walked out the Malecon to get our ride home. I took these two pictures, the 1st kinda shows you the feel of the lit up malecon during the event and the second shows the importance to the economy. They estimate that this night we shared  with about 400,000 people. Not one single problem, not one single weirdness.
As me and MP continue to try and get our 10,000 steps a day we get a little bored with the same old walk down our street so we often go into town. This morning we came across the kids Triathlon. What a great scene, our town full of energy and excitement. These kids here were in the middle of the pack but you couldn't tell it by looking at them...they certainly deserve a picture at Mile 14 for the effort. The next pic was the finish line and all the proud parents...Just like a SoHi basketball tourney.
We stopped at a fountain so I could set up the tripod and get a pic of us...Just so all our family and friends will see that we're OK.After almost 3 months of being closely together neither of us is sporting black eyes. It was so cool there that I took another pic looking up the road through the fountain.
I remember a bumper sticker I saw one time that said ' Graffiti saved my life'. Well we came across this graffiti and its just confused and nonsensical and it surely can't save any one's life...but to me it said ' you're doin OK, mentally, physically, spiritually ...and I think MP is also means that I have another 385 pics available on my 4 gig SD card.I can't wait.
And of course for all of you wondering about the fish...well, ya don't hear me braggin do ya? Ern offered to get my pic with this nice Robalo he caught. But I can't do that, there's still plenty of time for me to catch my own and get him to Mike Dinkel for my  office wall. 
So this last pic is of me and Alberto with all that we've really caught on the last few fishing trips...friendship.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Sign Language

The sign I posted in my last entry got me to thinking about one of my things, signs. I guess it's always been my need to resist authority that's always made me notice and in most cases, dislike signage. In my lifestyle I'm always saying in the 'lower 48' and now 'n.o.b.' (north of the border) , in these places the signs usually tell you what you can't do or to be careful doing anything that you want to these. Man, that first one's a pretty darn wordy watch out ain't it. I hate that. And of of course the second one is a no brain er, everybody I now hates that one.
But here in Mazatlan the signage takes on an interesting flair. Sometimes they're colorful and informative and every now and then they actually tell you what you CAN do...I like that. Like  this one here. every business has the right to refuse service to anybody or anything, these guys just make it a little clearer for us, no confusion. The only thing negative I could say is...ain't lions kinda cats to?...but hey, it's their place.
Some signs just give you some insight to the business. People n.o.b. are all hung up on appearances. I even know people who have  hired graphic designers. But me I admire the guy that keeps expenses down and instead of focusing on the promotion focuses on the product. That's something I tell the folks at the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce...lets focus on the product...NOT the Promotion. The product IS the promotion. Ricky here has it right.
This next series of signs are just examples that jumped out at me. I love the color of the sardines. I like the bait shops guys courage. I like the officialness of the church store. The fish/beer sign says it all and you've seen it before. And the guy asking  for you secrets...well I don't know about that deal. There's a whole bunch of stuff on this planet I don't want to know about, seriously.

I also appreciate it when people use what they have. In the 48 people spend some serious lettuce just to let you know where they are. The blue Stewarts Landing sign we have to get you to Mile 14 cost over a thousand bucks. I see myself taking advantage of one of the 10 gillion trees we have to put a sign on just like this guy used his entryway. Or even putting the meeting place sign on the ground where you'd actually meet.
I'm a guy that spends countless hours on the river absorbing its beauty. One of my pet peeves are signs like this, brought to you by the government of course. They're ugly and  controlling , they always tell you what you can't do and never what you can. They basically say...don't have fun here.
So for me its refreshing to see colorful and whimsical signs. Some are fun and some say lets have fun and some are just plain practical. Signs like this....take a picture.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I've got a good excuse...honest

I've been feeling like a jerk for not updating Mile 14. I know a lot of you just enjoy reading this but there's also a few - well quite a few people I hope that actually love me and I was afraid they'd be worried, after all we are in Mexico. I just haven't been in that upbeat writers mode as on Superbowl day I came down with my yearly dose of 'tourista'. I slept through most of Superbowl and of course the biggest thing with tourista is that you're kinda confined to the house, or outhouse in this case. But being a true veteran of  tourista and with help from Nurse Ratchet I was good enough to fish at Marmol on Tuesday. About noon thirty as I was waded out throwing a 2 ounce kroc and thinking about the king of the sea I began to sneeze. I thought it was allergy but now its morphed into the worst cold I've ever had. I have enough clear fluids coming out of me to end the drought in South Dakota. This morning I actually wasn't too bad and even went for my weekly massage...well, my masseuse Denise felt my head and said you gotta get out of here and she was right. My temp was 101.
So that's my Mantra. I hope my progress is good enough that I'll feel like a beer in a few days. And when I do I'll bring everybody that reads Mile 14 up to date on all the exciting things that happened while I was sick.
But I do want to print a couple pics before I go. The first two are looking north and then south from our place in Marmol, 25 miles from here. If anybody wonders why I'm so jazzed about surf fishing the story is told in two pics. And I'd bet ya all would feel just like I do, I'm sure of that.
Monday night as it got dark and  the nurse was preparing my soup there was a knock at the door. My new friend Francisco was so excited that he was overflowing...he'd caught his first Roosterfish.  He was gidddy with excitement, you can tell by that smile. Something about those fish and fishermen with passion...that fish made him a 12 year old for about 20 minutes. How cool.
Nothing load tests our marriage like me being sick. I mean stupid do you look complaining about having a temp and being hot to a women that's been enduring hot flashes for the last five years? But last night was the coup de gras, the creme de la  crem of married life. As I sweated and sniffled in a bed way to small for the two of us she rolls over and says " CAN"T YOU SUFFER A LITTLE QUIETER ! ".

Wish me luck...I gotta get better.