Mexico  September 2017 - 2018    We returned to Mexico to continue our boat trip south.  I visited family in the San Francisco area in September while Pat and Sushi stayed on the boat in Tapachula, Chiapas.  On September 7, 2017 there was an 8.2 earthquake in the Gulf of Tehuantepec, very near to where our boat was in the Tapachula marina.  Pat was sleeping at the time and was awoken by the movement.  Other boaters in the marina were awoken as well, and Pat listened to the radio to find out if a tsunami was imminent in the aftermath of the earthquake.  No alarm was given, so he went back to sleep.  A few hours later, he was awoken again by the sudden movement of the boat, and realized that indeed a tsunami had occurred, with approximately six feet waves, and he quickly ensured the boat lines were properly tethered.  Luckily, he aftermath of the tsunami left no boat damage in the marina; however, many boat docks and travel lift were destroyed, and fish were washed up on land.  There was, however, extensive damage in Oaxaca and Chiapas, followed by more tremors.

When the tsunami came into the marina, it rose over six feet.  Our rental car which was parked above the marina had water on the car floor.  Here's a photo of water nearing 6 feet:

When the water receded, it went way below normal water level, leaving fish stranded on the shore.  Here is a photo after the water receded:

A photo of a damaged dock after the tsunami:

We decided to take a trip back to San Miguel de Allende, one of our favorite cities in Mexico, to hang out for a while in case another earthquake was imminent.  We also visited some nearby towns; the one below was taken in Tequisquiapan, a small town known for its baskets and rattan furniture.

Great to be back in San Miguel!  Here's our walk down to town to enjoy a lovely lunch on the terrace.

We ended up staying for a couple of months and during this visit, we bought a small house on a hill above the town; it has great views of distant mountains, and it is about a 15 minute walk into the town center.   We purchased the home in mid October 2017, and finished renovation at the end of April 2018.   The house needed updating.  The major work included a roof over the garage, a kitchen renovation, a new rooftop terrace, furniture, painting, tile ....and naturally other repairs.   We enjoyed working with talented artisans, choosing the Dolores Hidalgo talavera tile in our kitchen and staircase, the Puebla hand painted sink in our half bath, and finding local art, furniture and household items.

 

 

 

 

Second floor photos:

Art/exercise room:

 

Below is a photo of part of the new tiled terrace with great mountain views.  Antonio made the patio set and siding for privacy, using all weather synthetic material.

San Miguel is situated at 6200 feet, and we have about two months of cold weather, which means no snow, but temperatures under 50 degrees F.  The homes have no central heating; heat is generated by fireplaces, space heaters and warm clothing!  We plan to rent our home during the winter (high) season as we are not fans of temperatures under 60 and travel during that time.  Christmas in San Miguel was festive, complete with a manger and live animals.

In November, we drove from San Miguel to the Bay Area to visit my mother in San Francisco and my son Armand and his girlfriend, Amita, in Los Altos.  We had Thanksgiving at Fred's; he is a family friend who lives in Los Altos.  At 95, he is very fit! Amita's mom, Tanya, joined us, as well as Mark, a friend of Amita and Armand.  My mom turns 91 in December; boy does she look great! 

In March of 2018, I was able to visit family again; we had a great time!  My mom is always amazed how tall Armand is!

Armand went surfing near Half Moon Bay.

It's cherry blossom time in San Francisco's Japantown where my mother lives.  Here's a photo of her with her caregiver, Tonami.

We decided to spend the month of May 2018 along the coast of Puerto Vallarta.  Our first rental was in La Cruz de Huanacaxtle.  We were able to visit our new favorite beach town, San Francisco (also known as San Pancho).  It's quiet(er), the shops and beach are great.  We rented loungers and an umbrella on the beach, and had all day food service...Coronas, ceviche, quesadillas and more.  It doesn't get any better!

We decided to rent a place in the hills of Puerto Vallarta, which had a private rooftop pool and a view of the distant ocean, and we enjoyed relaxing on the patio.

It was an easy walk to town and the beach, filled with excellent restaurants.  We particularly enjoyed the Vista Grill; great loungers and food on the beach.

We visited the botanical garden in Puerto Vallarta.  The gardens were spectacular, and the grounds including great hiking trails.  There's also a great gift shop and fantastic restaurant.

A few trails led to a river, with fresh water from the mountains.  It was great to swim in the river after our hike; Sushi had a great time!

We received wonderful news from our daughter and husband, Isabelle and Niko.....they are expecting their first child at the end of September!  It is a girl!  We are thrilled for them.  Isabelle is an employed in the Foreign Service of the U.S. State Department and Niko is an independent consultant.  They are currently based in Dakar, Senegal.   They have a choice to deliver worldwide, and they chose Mexico City.  The State Department approved delivery of the baby in Mexico City, where there is an embassy and great medical care.  Our home in San Miguel is a 3 1/2 hour drive from Mexico City, and we are looking forward to seeing them and the baby.  Below are a couple of photos of Isabelle in Senegal at 4 and 5 months pregnant.....she's feeling well and looking great!

Pat has accepted a four month contract from his former employer to work at a mine located in Panama, Central America.  It will be great to have the extra income after our house projects.  He begins work in Panama on June 4, with occasional trips home;  I will be at our home with Sushi in San Miguel de Allende during this time, with a trip scheduled in July to visit family and friends in California.  When he returns, we plan to leave San Miguel for 5 months to go sailing. 

I went to Mexico City on August 6 to meet Isabelle at the airport.  It was a long journey for her from Senegal, especially when she is 8 months pregnant!  We spent a week there to rest and explore the city from our Condesa rental.  Isabelle returned with me on the Primera Plus bus (a very comfortable, 3 1/2 hour ride), and she stayed with us in San Miguel de Allende for a month, prior to her delivery (her due date is Sept. 27) in Mexico City.  We had a great time!

pics

We returned to Mexico City in early September to get settled in her Polanco rental near Hospital Espanol, where she would deliver the baby.  Her husband, Niko, arrived from Dakar.  I returned to San Miguel to await the arrival of the baby. 

On September 22, I returned to Mexico City to be with her during her labor.  Lucia was born on September 30, a beautiful baby girl weighing 7 lbs. 3 oz. and 20" long.  We are thrilled to be grandparents.

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Lucia is about one month here:

Pat finished his project in Panama.  We prepared our home to rent while we are away.  We left San Miguel on October 23.  We visited with Isabelle, Niko and Lucia in Mexico City for a week.  Our son, Armand, who lives in California, was able to visit us for 3 days, a few days before the Day of the Dead celebrations.  It was wonderful we were all able to be together.

 

Lucia smiling at six weeks old:

 

It's time for each of us to go our separate ways for now.  We will miss everyone, especially our new granddaughter.  Armand is returning to his home in Los Altos Hills, CA.  Isabelle, Niko and Lucia will leave Mexico City on November 11 for Houston, TX to stay with family, before heading home to Dakar, Senegal.  Pat and I are headed to our boat at Marina Chiapas in Tapachula, Mexico.

 

 

 

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