The Munchkin goes to school in Mexico

We’re in small town Mexico for a month over Christmas holidays and the Munchkin has a chance to go to school for a couple of hours one morning with her best friend. This is one of the schools she has gone to with her mother to talk about pet care and to explain about the free spaying and neutering clinics offered twice a year.

Today, she’ll just be another student in her friend’s classroom.

The Munchkin goes to school in Mexico









The school isn’t fancy, but the rooms do have air conditioning. The playground, as you can see, is cement. At recess the kids improvise a soccer game using a small plastic cube for a ball.

The cafeteria, manned by a couple of local women, offers (mostly) healthy food at a nominal price.

The Munchkin goes to school in Mexico





















The Munchkin goes to school in Mexico




Yes, we tried some and, yes, they did taste like cucumber–with a dash of chili.

Only in Mexico - cucumber candy


corn syrup, sugar, water, gelatin, citric acid, modified startch, natural flavours, lactic glycerin, red, yellow, and blue food colouring.

Each package contains 3 grams of protein and 26 grams of sugar.


Once again we’re at the Christmas Tree Festival in Victoria, BC and we say:

Merry Christmas !

from the book club.

Merry Christmas - Feliz Navidad


Feliz Navidad !

from Mexico.

Merry Christmas - Feliz Navidad

Wishing everyone a wonderful Holiday Season.


Out with the old, in with the OXXO

Just the other day, this corner was home to several little shops.


“What’s going to be built here?” I ask one of the workers.

“An OXXO,” he says,

What’s an OXXO, you ask.

It’s the ubiquitis convenience store found in Mexico. Our little area (population approximately. 20,000)  has at least 10 (at last count). For good measure there is one on the highway at the corner nearest our end of town, one at each of the three service stations along the highway, with the remainder dotting the streets in town often with little more than a block between them.



From bottom to top

Sitting under the palm tree, this is what I see.


Looking up, this is what I see.


And, no, I do not want one of those coconuts to fall on my head!


Invasion of the critters aided and abetted by the rescue kitten

Yes, you read correctly. This sweet, innocent looking little kitten, a scrawny bit of body on legs when we found her in an empty lot in December,



is responsible for the influx of critters which occurs each night just before we are about to go to bed.

She drags in bugs of various sorts, most of which we have never seen before. They are alive and squirming. One of us has to capture the cat while the other, with broom and dustpan, encourages the critter to come along for a ride to the garden where, hopefully, the cat will not find it again. At least not until tomorrow.

Then there are the geckos and lizards, some of which are at least half the kitten’s length. Holding these critters captive with a paw firmly planted on their tails, we once again are forced into rescue mode. “I really wish they didn’t move quite so fast,” I mutter as I wield the broom.

And let us not forget the frogs. Tiny babies a week ago, the evidence of their growth is obvious as the latest contributions of dear rescue cat are now an inch long. Soon they’ll be the size of the palm of your hand and we’d be really really happy not to have them inside.

For more about frogs in the house in rainy season Mexico.







Mastery of recycling

They’ve done it right in the tiny beach town of San Pancho, Nayarit, Mexico. It’s here that we find the home of Entreamigos.

Start with an abandoned creamery built in 1970.


Add imagination, creativity, materials originally intended for the trash can and you get walls,



an overhang for the office area (plastic pop bottles dipped in paint),


and a tree,


and a classroom door (to the original cold room),



and lanterns,


Put it all together and you have a community center–with a lending library of 10,000 books, areas for numerous arts and crafts, an indoor gym and an outdoor activity area, both offering space for a multitude of classes–all of which serves over 250 people a day.


Kudos to the Entreamigos team.




Montessori in Mexico


In San Pancho, Nayarit, Mexico, we find a Montessori school–a compound of buildings and gardens and play areas sequestered in a jungle setting, hidden from the highway by a row of car and tire repair shops, and backed by an abandoned abandoned bull ring.

We step out of the car and hear roosters crowing. I feel like I’m in Mali.

In this hide-a-way spot, we see the kindergarten class washing their lunch dishes and brushing their teeth. We hear the laughter of kids playing and gathering vegetables from their garden to prepare for their lunch.

One of the teachers shows the Munchkin his classroom.

“We have this,” says the Munchkin who is in grade 2 Montessori in Canada. “And we have this, and this, and this.” I think she’d like to go to school here.






The Mexico tourists seldom see

Yes, families live here,



and here,


and here.



The sounds that live in us


What is it about sounds that seep into our soul? And, why is it that the sounds of night lodge most deeply and forever in our psyche?

Saskatchewan: The cramping solitude and loneliness of the Canadian prairies captured in the mournful tones of the train whistle—reverberations that carry for miles across the hard packed snow, sounds that haunt me still; that cause an ache in my heart for all the things lost. An ache that brings tears to my eyes all these years later.

Alberta: The squeal of crotch rockets roaring down the boulevard near our house—I shivered then and shiver again now as I cannot shake the image of bodies sprawled on the tarmac seeping blood onto the road and bikes, marooned some yards away, reclining on their sides, wheels spinning crazily, denying any connection to their riders.

Mali: The crowing of roosters—not just at dawn. Roosters crow whenever they damn well please and they please to crow all night long. Donkeys don’t sleep at night either. Instead, they bray on the other side of the mud brick wall sending us jumping a few feet into the air each time we hear the grating and drawn out love song of their heehaws. Heartbroken and heartbreaking commentaries on life.

Mexico: More roosters—these ones crowing day and night. And which clown thought it would be funny to set my cell ringtone to “rooster?” Add the whine and squeal of a semi’s brakes as the drivers realize they really should slow down for the red lights of the town. And, from time to time, the sound of metal crunching against metal followed by the wail of sirens.

British Columbia: The mournful tones of cruise ship and ferry fog horns and we’ve come full circle. Not trains, but once again, at night we hear, those drawn out echoes rolling over the water, sounds that render us vulnerable to bouts of loneliness and even despair.

Good or bad, sleep or no, could we live without the sounds that anchor us to our environment, to life?