Trailer Park Nirvana image created by Stefany Kleeschulte.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

We're sorry, this content cannot be viewed outside the United States

One of the more frustrating things about living here has been the limited access to movies and music on the internet. No free Hulu movies, no renting Amazon movies, no watching full episodes of Criminal Minds, no buying mp3s. I guess if I were an i-thingy kind of person - iPad or iPod or iWhatever - I could take advantage of iTunes but I'm not. Besides, I'm not sure how much iTunes' content is available outside of the U.S.

There is now Netflix Mexico but I couldn't get that to work. I don't want to use any of those download sites like Pirate Bay because I'm paranoid about viruses.

So one of the things that saved me from feeling culturally deprived was my Kindle e-reader. As least I could feed my need for instant gratification with books from Amazon.

Then suddenly one day I could purchase mp3s from Amazon. A friend was visiting last fall and she tried it on her Kindle Fire and was able to successfully buy an mp3. What the hell? So I tried it from my computer and tada! it worked. With no hoopla or notice, people outside the U.S. (at least here in Mexico) were able to buy mp3s.

Books and music. That's a start.

I gave my mom my Kindle when I upgraded to a Kindle Fire.

One night I was roaming around on the Kindle Fire and just for the hell of it I clicked the rent button for "Silver Linings Notebook" and voila, there it was. I was so shocked that I couldn't concentrate on the movie. I figured it was a fluke so the next night I tried it again. Bingo! "The Promised Land" with Matt Damon and Frances McDormand.

Free Prime instant videos are still holding out, expressing their condolences that because I'm out of the U.S. I can't view them. But I keep trying, knowing that it's only a matter of time until they cave.

I love the Kindle Fire. The Dolby sound is terrific. I've enjoyed watching movies in bed and last Sunday I sat outside beading with the Kindle propped up on the table, watching some lame chick flick. The battery life of the Fire is good and can be extended by keeping the wireless signal off. Setting up my email account was super easy. And I can even download transcription jobs on the Kindle to be uploaded to my laptop which is what I plan on doing when I'm on this road this summer. (When did we get to the point where laptops are considered big and cumbersome?)

Finally I'll get caught up on movies! I don't mind paying a rental fee - to me it's worth it. And when I'm in the States I plan on taking advantage of the free Prime movies as often as possible. I'm not sure if I'll regret not getting the 4g version. If so some day my mom will be getting this Kindle Fire HD 8.9"....

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Beach and Taxes

The federal government here in Mexico decided to start collecting on a beachfront owner's tax that was apparently established in 2008 only no one knew anything about it. A couple months ago people with homes on the beach received notices tucked into their doors and gates about this tax but most people just kind of ignored the notice, waiting for some other official word which never came. Finally some people took it upon themselves to go to the tax office and sure enough, if your home sat along the blue line on the map you were on federal property and had to pay the tax. However, home owners were told the back tax penalty would be waived if people came in before the first of June.

This was the purpose for our trip to Hermosillo. My friend who will be gone for the summer needed to see how much in taxes she owed. So along with another friend and our trusted Romanian chauffeur, we went to Hermosillo for the day. No movie plans, no big shopping plans; just hit steaming pile of poop bank
(really, doesn't the logo look like that?), go to the tax office then fine dine.

Our driver found the tax building with no problem and we found the correct office also with no problem. There was no line and we were immediately ushered into the tax lady's office. She showed us the map of Kino. My friend's house sat behind the blue line meaning she didn't owe the tax and woohoo! drinks would be on her. But it was amazing how many of the homes did sit on federal land - way on federal land. Why were they allowed to build there in the first place? Who knows. This is Mexico.

The restaurant we chose was Mochomos on Morelos over by San Jose Hospital. It's a lovely restaurant with a great wine list and a varied menu with enough meat to satisfy our meat-loving chauffeur. We had two bottles of a white French wine, chef's salad to share, a wonderful queso fundido (a melted cheese dish with green chiles and chorizo) and, of course, our four main dishes which included pork, beef, duck tacos and chicken and asparagus. The prices were terrific - our whole meal including tip came to about $40 a person.

That will be my last trip to Hermosillo with my girlfriends for the next few months because they're all leaving for the summer. Will I leave, too? Fingers crossed that the answer is yes.

~ ~ ~ ~

Back at the trailer park I pulled my chair over to the seawall. The kitten followed. He always does. We spied some kids digging in the sand.

peeing in the Sea of Cortez

plastic glimmering in the setting sun

Blue's feeling a little jealous of the kitten and joined us, too

Monday, May 13, 2013

Stolen Sand Chair

It only took five minutes - the time it took for me to go to the trailer and make a gin and tonic - for someone to steal my beach chair.

On Sunday (Mother's Day in the U.S.) the biggest Mother of all mothers - Mother Nature - switched on the summer heat. Fortunately it was a dry desert heat and not humid sea heat so it was kind of nice, especially sitting at the water's edge in the sand chair, the water lapping at my feet, a cold Negra Modelo in hand. No book, no camera - I just sat and watched the terns, pelicans and gulls dive for fish. The wings of the Ibises absolutely glimmered as they soared by.

A man with a chocolate-colored pit bull/boxer mix walked by. When the dog strained at the leash to come see me the man said in English that the dog only wanted to say "hi" and I commented on how beautiful it was. Then the man's wife/girlfriend joined him with another dog and I watched them play ball in the water.

Mother's Day. It was hot. I had no work to do. So I decided it was time for a gin and tonic. I left shells and the worm tubes I'd been collecting for a friend on the chair as a sign that the chair was occupied. I was gone five minutes at the most. Before I even noticed that the chair was missing the man with the dog yelled that someone had taken my chair. My first thought was why didn't you sic your dogs on him? I asked where the thief had gone and he said "On the other side of the wall."

I headed to the road that runs along the back side of the trailer park, the road behind my trailer. I'd heard from Flo that someone was squatting in the lot behind the white party house (she goes there daily to water two puppies). I saw where the chain link fence was down and stepped through, careful not to spill my g&t. It really stunk back there of shit - hopefully from the puppies and not the human. I walked around trash and plastic sandals and empty bottles of booze. There was an unfinished bodega - four walls but no windows or doors. As I got closer a man's head appeared in one of the windows.

When I'm pissed my Spanish improves. "Tienes mi silla?" To my surprise the man came out of the bodega and said "Si. Disculpe!" He said he was sorry, he was sorry, yes, he had my chair. He would go get it - it was on the roof. It was on the roof? Wouldn't you think that a homeless guy living in an unfinished storage room would be sitting on a newly-stolen chair? No. It was on the roof. What did he have up there? A sundeck? A beach umbrella? A tiki bar? He scrambled up on the roof and brought down my chair.

When I had the chair back I asked him if he was the thief who had stolen my beads and things and he said no, that he had a job in Punta Chueca diving for scallops. I said good because I didn't want to have to call the police.

When I came around the seawall with my chair, the couple with the dogs gave me big thumbs ups.

Sitting in my sand chair with my now lukewarm g&t I remembered that I'd bought that chair in Calle Doce for just a few pesos. Then I remembered I'd bought that chair because my other one had been stolen.

kitten photo bomb

Friday, May 10, 2013

No Mas Hora Feliz?

From 2010 a smaller happy hour group
A few years back - before all the scares about Mexico - our happy hour group here at the trailer park would number somewhere around thirty. People gathered in a circle by the seawall, or if it was too windy they'd set up between the first and second rows of RVs. Often there'd be two separate groups - the Canadians in one and the Californians in the other although the lines weren't that clearly drawn; the Canadians included New Mexicans and the Californians included Oregonians. But the two groups represented a sort of changing demographic where the California group were the older people who'd been coming to Islandia for years and the Canadian group represented the more recent arrivals. Then the Canadians left. Because Mexico was too dangerous. Because there were too many dogs. Because it was too noisy. Because it was too cold. Because of whatever. The Californians - the old-timers - they just got old (and beyond old if you get my drift).

Now, no matter the state- or country-hood or size of the group, happy hour happens every night at the patio table at S's place on the front row. If S isn't there for some reason, happy hour happens anyway (we don't need no stinkin' host). A couple summers back when I returned to Mexico after a month or so in Bisbee I was surprised to see that happy hour was in full swing with Islandia's three full-time residents. Senior Citizens and Happy Hours go hand-in-hand come hell, high water, humidity or hurricanes.

But a change is comin'. S may be moving out of the park to a place he's built a few blocks away. He has a buyer for his RV but the sale is contingent on whether he not he's going to like living in town, whether or not he'll be happy giving up his ocean view, and whether or not he'll be lonely at happy hour. He's got a couple buddies who I'm sure will go to his new place but will they go every night? Will the rest of us want to walk over with our snacks and beverages? If I need to refill my gin and tonic I won't be able to just wander back over to my trailer; I'll have to arrive at happy hour with all the fixings. And do I want to sit on someone's patio inside a walled compound and not be able to see the sea, to watch the sunset? Isn't that one of the reasons I'm here?

This summer will be much like my first summer here when there were so few people in the trailer park and I had no friends outside the park. I was pretty creative that summer. I spent a lot of time in the water. I read and drank beers under the palapas watching the pelicans and gulls do battle. It wasn't as hot that summer and I spent a lot of time walking the beach, taking photos. I'm kind of looking forward to my own private happy hours.

The current happy hour spot - soon to become a thing of the past?