Trip report and helpful hints--

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Escrito por Gringo Viejo () via proxy desde ( el día miércoles, 22 de diciembre, 2010 a las 07:52:47 horas :

Trip Report Part Uno---Long

Departed Phoenix on time Sat, Dec 11-arrived 30 minutes early in ZIH. Friends met us at airport, made quick stop at Commercial Mexicana and then to digs at La Casa Que Ve Al Mar—5 stars on this place in my book! My last trip here was in 2007.

Note: I hit the red light at customs. The inspection was cursory except for the bag with my wife’s medications-19 prescr1ptions plus custom vitamin packs for 4 months. Each medicine/vitamin bottle was removed and examined. Each was in original container with ‘scr1pt info. Included the usual stuff as well as antibiotics and pain killers (opiate based). The inspection called over his boss and they discussed something, then that boss called over his boss. I’m trying to remember where my attorney’s telephone number was and how bad it could be in a Mexican jail. After several polite questions (How long are you here? Where are you staying? What is this medication for? And his one? And this one?) the boss of bosses shrugged his shoulders and walked away; then the boss did the same. The inspector smiled and waved us through. Whew! I don’t know if it helped but my wife was in a wheel chair.

Sunday was rest up/unpack day but did make it down to Paty’s for dinner. Tuesday to Tomales Any for lunch and then major stocking up trip to CM. Taxi downtown, El Centro, on Friday for lunch at Caprichios (delicious fresh fish tacos). Taxi fares as advertised by Zob: 20 pesos minimum point to point on La Ropa is sometimes hard to get. 35 pesos to downtown. 25 downtown to Commerical. 40 Commercial back to La Casa Que Ve Al Mar on La Ropa just past Catalina. All is well until Saturday when taxi fares went to a 40 peso minimum anywhere-even down the hill to Paty’s. Learned later this was probably due to a cruise ship being in town. Rob, I tried and tried to get past the 40 peso minimum without success with several cabs. We did go to La Perla for dinner Sat night (a friend took us down) and there were 4 taxis sitting at La Perla but still had to pay 35 pesos to get back home. Now, all in all, taxis are still cheap! Two more “fare enhancement” tricks by taxis. One is to agree on fare, say 40 pesos, then not have change for a 50 peso note at the destination SO agree on fare and asks if the driver has change before you depart otherwise he MAY pull out an empty wallet at the destination and say, “no cambio”. Second, the driver will roll up windows and turn on AC and then charge extra 10 or 20 pesos for AC at destination-just say “No air conditioning” when you depart.

Have made some bus trips on the La Ropa/El Centro express, .55 or .45 pesos. Dependable, frequent, quick, polite and I just have to say it, I feel safer in a bus than in a taxi! Many of the drivers still like to drive like Jeff Gordon (Juan Fangio in my day).

SECURITY: We/I have been up and down La Ropa at least twice, from one end to the other. I took a bus to the laundry near the Kyoto/canal bridge. I walked from Kyoto up the hill to Perla Negra and all around the neighborhood then over the bridge to downtown. And I have walked up and down the main road along the canal and to the NW of Kyoto circle to DHL and well beyond. I gotta tell ya, I HAVE SEEN NO EVIDENCE OF ANY SAFETY OR SECURITY PROBLEMS! Sure, a pick load of uniformed officers and an armed guard at the bank but that is just normal.

Four ATMs at Commercial Mexicana: Santander, Scotia, Banamex and one other. I used Santander with B of A debit card and got 12.47 on Dec 11.

Downtown looks absolutely great! A lot of hard work and spiffing up that shows well all over the place. The streets and businesses look clean with fresh paint evident everywhere. Really like the overhangs over the sidewalks. Still a few projects ongoing, most notably the basketball court.

Yes, inflation has hit here---the 5 pesos ice cream at CM is now 8 pesos. Restaurant prices have crept up but still very reasonable. CM is jammed with Feliz Navidad consumer items. Wine and liquor selection has increased substantially. Fruit and vegetable selection not so good but still adequate—will go over to public market for these items from now on. Some downward pressure on real estate prices but nothing like in US.

Landscape vegetation very green from heavy rainy season.

We’re here at CVM (La Casa Que Ve Al Mar) until April 9 except for 16 days when we will move over to a place in La Noria. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus! Salud, Amigos!

Having not stayed in Zihua before (we went to La Barra de Potosi for several years) my observations on tourist traffice may or may not be valid but seems to me to be way down. Some restaurants on waterfront closed. A general lack of gringo tourist traffic on the streets----as we used to say, you could have an artillery barrage and not hit a gringo tourist. I have walked the waterfront 3 times and never have seen more than half a dozen tourists. Feliz Navidad tourists picking up now (Dec 21), both MX and gringos.

And a reminder from my wife, “Tell them to always take toilet paper when they leave the house” as lack of T.P. in restrooms seems to be quite common.

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