It is becoming increasingly apparent that we need to know more about the birds and the folk who dedicate their lives and purses chasing around the world looking at them. It just happens to be World Migratory Bird day this past weekend and the San Pancho birder/twitcher community is having an event at a local bar, which we agree is worth the entrance fee to attend. The event is under attended which gives us the chance to properly meet the head of the local bird watching company and his family. He has been here forever and knows pretty much everything there is to know on the subject. He is probably the foremost expert on birds & their habitats in this region.
We learn a great deal. It turns out this whole area is unique and a very attractive prospect for the bird friendly. It’s a huge draw for many tourists. They are predominantly retired, in the higher budget bracket and from Canada and theUSA. The issues we need to look at will be to cater for older guests who may be used to room service and a touch more luxury than we currently offer. Transport over the rivers during rainy season will also be a challenge.
Another bonus for not having a large crowd at the event is that our odds of winning a prize in the raffle are greatly improved. We leave the event much wiser and with a free night in a Hotel in Sayulita and a free brunch for two (endless Mimosas included) at the Polo Club when it reopens for lunch in December.
One of our newly met friends is a girl from France who has been employed by the Polo Club this year to conduct environmental impact assessment and recommend actions. The Polo club has bought up over 250 hectares of land. That is a huge chunk of San Pancho. They have an immense and beautifully designed and executed club house, restaurants, beach club and stables. It’s vast and very very well funded. I have never seen a game of Polo up close and have never been dressed well enough to be let into the Polo Club so we arrange to visit early the next morning to take a bird watching tour there and check the place out. We are in a small group who are clearly used to these things by the size of their camera lenses and telescopic viewing contraptions. We are given the task of logging sightings for an International Survey taking place simultaneously on every continent. There are, unsurprisingly, many types and numerous quantities of tropical birds. We recognize all of them from our land. Our host has the skill to be able to identify the species and number of birds we are going to see from the song/calls. It’s an impressive skill.
We are on a path through the foresty jungle and come across a gathering area where art has been installed. There are faces crafted onto huge rocks and stand alone sculptures. Smaller rocks in the shape of body forms and obscure natural creations which give the whole place a magical vibe. I study the art while the others study the birds. This is inspiring. They are all formed by shaping clay-stone around a wire-wood cage-frame . It’s simple but very effective. I would love to have this sort of art throughout our land. Would be great thing to do. Need to learn more about the process. Our French friend tells me she will put us onto the local artists. We “borrow” a few cuttings of yellow bamboo from beside the Polo field and head back enthused by the art and the potential to introduce our bird population to more people. If we can attract a younger, slightly more adventurous and less needy type of bird loving guest then that would be perfect.
Our needy pool has been given a good amount of attention. The pool has been considered a luxury bonus item for months so has been slightly neglected despite being constantly attention seeking. Things are changing fast. The humidity is now 80% plus and rising by the afternoon. The pool will soon become essential for ginger life. The only place to cool off. We bite a further bullet and pay the money to have the guy who has fixed pools for 8 years to come and banish the stubborn green that all the chlorine we can find will not shift. In 24 hours the pool is transformed. It looks like a real actual proper posh whistle clean pool! Already it’s getting well used. Even our delicate Calgary princess has approved the balmy warm water temperature and is now a regular feature bobbing about on some inflatable ice cream device.
We are visited by friends from town for lunch who generously bring us a box of crispy slices of bacon. It is well understood that bacon improves most things. In this case it’s task is to improve a bottle of tequila and limes that they have also brought for us. We have pre-lunch first courses of shots of tequila, followed by lime and then bacon to finish. We discovered in a very short time that bacon gets you drunk ! Who knew ??
Mausetrappe has been, as usual, very generous. Mice are a very regular gift and sometimes even whole ones. More recently there have been regular piles of cockroaches (cucurachas) left as morning offerings. They are harder to deal with as cockroaches have a bizzare play dead feature. They look pretty dead, upside down and motionless on their backs in a pile of fluff and other bugs until you try and pick them up. They then spring to life and try to escape. It’s a game. There have also been a few too many cockroach sightings for us around the kitchen sink. We dismantle the still slightly sticky kitchen worktop, clean everything and cover it with vinyl. We deploy anti-bug spray in all the places. Next morning I get to play the alive or dead? game with 18 (we counted) full size upside down blighters spread around the place. The cat had clearly lost interest in gathering them in a pile for me. Problem solved.
So we have officially become local media sluts. Our friends who dined with us recently have put us as lead feature in the world famous San Pancho Life newsletter. We can hardly walk down the street anymore. Fame is such a sweet burden.
We are now even more officially Mexican. The local hospital is free for Mexican residents as long as we are registered for Seguro Popular which is their equivalent free at point of service health system. It includes all medication & treatment and is impressive considering the alternative on the other side of the wall. The registration lasts till 2021 and involves the correct amount of pedantic messing about, creative administration and flirting with large ladies. We managed it. This is a main benefit of our temporary residency.
Our residence cards runs out in September when we reapply for a further 3 years which is pretty much guaranteed to go through smoothly. We then get the right to be full Mexican citizens. This has a number of financial benefits but also means we cannot own a vehicle that is registered outside of Mexico. So this might be a touch premature but if anyone would like a well loved 1989 Chevy Van delivered around September 2022 we can offer you a very good price.
It has been noted that a project is not a project till someone gets a tattoo. That has certainly been true of some that we have done. We weren’t expecting it here. We have had a Welshman in a hammock for a few days here and there. He sometimes finds his way home and loves it out here. He is, amongst many, a fan of our logo. Our local pub (Ceveceria) is a great meeting spot and we introduce him to the owner and his lovely assistant. She is an artist that has begun a mural on our orange block and has started hand poked tattooing recently. Our Welshman is very easily persuaded to meet up with her after a surf and get a hand poked tattoo of our logo on his leg. We are now a proper project apparently.
Strange times. The local tax authority has conducted large scale raids on Sayulita and San Pancho. They have entered businesses and shut them down with immediate effect. Lots of them. We drive down town to check it out. The local Hostel had its guests chucked out and shut down. A clothes shop, a hardware store and many cafes and restaurants have large stickers on their very locked up and closed front doors. Some of these places are of significant size and reputation. The sticker tells us that there has been some financial or administrative obligation that has not been met and the business is closed. These businesses are owned by well known locals, many of them Mexican, who have been here for many years and all strongly and loudly claim to have paid all their taxes. It’s not clear what the story is yet. It could be the authorities are doing an end of season shake down on businesses that they think should be paying more taxes. It’s certainly got people’s attention. There is a strong rumour that all these businesses use the same accountant and he has failed to submit proper accounts on time for all of them. Wouldn’t want to be that guy right now.
The exodus continues. More of our friends are heading North and elsewhere to avoid the impending humidity. We are the poor neighbours they are leaving behind and the focus of much welcome generosity. As folk clear out their houses for the great escape we get all the stuff they no longer need! Chairs, art , house fixings, and food.
We have had a number of friends invite us to dinner. This is a rare treat and we have certainly taken very grateful advantage. I’ve had more meat and decent wine in the last few weeks than I can remember.
I‘m a great fan of spreading out meat into small amounts that fit well into a taco. It uses less of the stuff and makes for great eats. There is, however, for me, no substitute for a hunk of meat that you chew on. It’s not a common thing here and usually offered at places that we don’t currently have the budget for. This is something my face has missed but my body has not. Digesting large amounts of meat is not something I’m great at anymore. Not going to stop trying when I get the chance. The wine here is a mixed bag price & quality wise. In my previous life I became a fussy arse when wine was concerned. I spent time in France in the vineyards and brought back special batches of extraordinary unique nectar for my horribly unappreciative mates to chug down. I saved all the best wines and refused to drink most of the “everyday” bottles. I got on my own nerves. Now with choice and budget limited I have modified my judgments accordingly. We have a self imposed 150 peso a bottle limit . I did have someone buy us a decent Pinot Noir in a local restaurant recently and it was splendid beyond description… it did take me back. I have not lost all my pretentions just yet.
The pub closes soon. Our dear mates are having a well earned break to pulling pints before heading up to Portland. What are we to do??!! Before panic sets in we must help these guys out and make sure they aren’t left with any stock. I am in training to help them as much as I can. Only two weeks of pints in San Pancho left… ok slight panic. Might have to look at opening our exclusive bar before the footy starts. Jayne is so excited.