Sunday, January 31, 2016

Flight delayed!

Our flight was scheduled to take off at 1am. But that did not happen! Then, a new time of 1:20am was posted. That did not happen either!

So guess what happened next? A new take off time of 1:45am was posted!

Here in Mexico, it is not the custom to inform passengers what is going on. Because Mexicanos are supposed to endure. Supposed to suffer in silence. And that is what we are doing now.

Except when I discussed with my fellow passengers who are sitting near me about suffering in silence, they all laughed! Can you imagine that?

Arrived Guadalajara Airport
6:30am - The flight from Tijuana to Guadalajara was completely smooth. Our pilot/Captain landed perfectly.

I am typing this blog post to you from a boarding area of the Guadalajara Airport. I have a long layover here. My next flight which will take me to Guatemala does not board until 12pm. About 5 hours from now.

The powers that be have provided a fast and free WiFi all over the passenger area of the airport. I am sooooo thankful for that WiFi.

Question: Does the airplane in the pic below look sleepy? This plane is the Airbus A320 that was sooooo tired that it took an hour nap in order to be flight ready!
Resting airplane
The pic above shows the delayed flight airplane

Starbucks Guadalajara
9:30am - This post is typing at you from a small Starbucks in the Guadalajara Airport [GDL]. Starbucks management has thoughtfully provided electricity for needy computers. My MacBook Air got down to 69% charge. But now that is up to 85% and MacBook is sooooo happy about that :)

When I first arrived at GDL, I did not know the departure gate for my flight to Guatemala. That's because the flight announcing boards only show departures within the next three hours. Instead of just sitting and waiting for my flight to show up on the boards, I decided to walk for exercise and my health.

There are a huge amount of shops at GDL and I have now walked thru nearly all of them. My iPhone keeps track of how many steps that I take. I have 4,865 steps so far this morning. My goal is 6,500 steps for today

Gate #3 - Go thru this gate and you fly to Guatemala!

Hotel Carillon
5pm - The 2.5 hour flight from Guadalajara to Guatemala City was perfect. Hardly a bump in the sky!

At the Guatemala Airport I caught a regular taxi [no Uber here] to take me to Hotel Carillon. I'd stayed at this hotel during my Guatemala visit in 2012. The fare to the hotel was 70 Quetzals [$9US]. Are prices high here in Guatemala? I'll have to wait and find out later on.

The daily room rate at Hotel Carillon is 197 Quetzals [$25.61US]. There is a very good WiFi here.



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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Sleeping?

1am - I am supposed to be asleep now. But I am just too hyper! Too excited to sleep! So, I got up, went online to the Volaris Airline site, and checked in for my flight tomorrow.

Once checked in, I was able to obtain my boarding pass in PDF [Adobe's Portable Document Format]. I saved the PDF to a travel drive and tomorrow I'll print out my boarding pass.

2am - I watered my impatien flowers on the balcony. Then, still not sleepy, decided to eat a beef and bean chimichanga [deep fried burrito]. I think that I'm going to watch some TV while eating the chimichanga.

8am - I did sleep about 4 hours last nite. I had breakfast then straightened up my apartment. Then I'll take Mariner for a bike ride to John's home to leave off my apartment key. Then comes printing out the CBX ticket and my Volaris boarding
pass.

That's all there is to do! I am ready to take an Uber Cab to the Cross Border Xpress around 2pm. I will be staying at a hotel near the Tijuana Airport.

My flight takes off at 1am! Is this the famous Red Eye that they talk about?

Uber Taxi
I've downloaded the Uber Taxi App to my iPhone. For me, using this Uber App is a leap of faith. No phone number is provided to ask any questions.

I am guessing that I am supposed to tap the link in the Uber App, and a taxi guy just shows up a few minutes later. If Uber shows, great! If not, I fall-back on Yellow Cab.

Uber review
I give Uber Taxi 10 stars! Works great. The taxi driver already has my phone number from when I signed up. So, he phoned me to make sure that I was waiting for him to arrive.

Cost to CBX was $30US, less than 1/2 regular taxi fare.

Gamma de Fiesta Hotel
2:30pm - I'm checked into my room at Gamma. It's a lovely room with firm mattress and in the bathroom, is a bathtub! One of my favorite things is a hot bath!

But first I am going next door to the chicken place for supper. Tell you about the chicken when I return.

Pollo Feliz prepares fabulous tasting chicken!

1/2 delicious chicken for $5.35US


Taxi journey
Google Maps Mexico shows that the distance from Tijuana Airport to Hotel Gamma de Fiesta, where I am staying, is 5.2 km [3.2 miles]. It should take the taxi 8 minutes to get to Gamma.

But it takes about 25 minutes! Somehow this little trip evolves into a journey. Come on, Mexico! Give me a break!

Uber Tijuana!
7:30pm - I wondered if there might be Uber in Tijuana. So, I turned on my Uber App and guess what? I found several Uber taxis right near my hotel!!

I have to return to the airport around 11pm, and I'll give Uber a go!!


Uber worked sooooo good!
10pm - This Uber is so terrific. In minutes I found my Uber taxi. I knew the driver's name, his car make, his car license! He picked me up and dropped me at Volaris at the Tijuana Airport.

Cost from airport to hotel in a regular taxi: 200 pesos.
Cost from hotel to airport via Uber: 38 pesos!!

Waiting for Volaris flight to Guatemala
11pm - I have checked my flight bag thru to Guatemala City. I have gone thru airport security.  I am now typing this blog post to you from a small airport restaurant. I bought a bottle of apple juice for refreshment!

Can a trip get better than this? Hmmmm?

Boarding time for my flight is 12:30am.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Mañana Guatemala

That is right! Mañana begins my trip to Guatemala! So, necessary preparations are coming down to crunch time.

For example, in order to go thru the CBX, Cross Border Xpress [link], I need to have two things. One is a boarding pass for my Volaris flight to Guatemala. The other is a CBX ticket. Both of these items are available to me online in the form of a pdf which I will print out and take with me.

Packing up my stuff is one thing that I have already begun. My flight bag is on the kitchen counter. That's the place where I load the bag. I like to begin loading the bag a day before leaving. Everything to take is in the bag and if I need something meanwhile, I take it out, use it and return it to the bag. That way, I have less chance of forgetting things.

Convenience things that I like to take on trips are: Scotch Magic Tape, assorted rubber bands, nail clipper, xtra plastic shopping bags.

Balcony flowers
While I am gone, my friend John is coming round to my apartment to take care of my flowers. The flowers need watering about once a week.

John and I have agreed to watch over each other's stuff while we are vacationing. John's fish will need looking after later in the year, when he and his wife Mimi are gone.

Bluetooth Camera Shutter
Just yesterday my new camera shutter arrived from Amazon. There are a lot of these camera shutters for sale. I've ordered some, and found them bad news!

But the Gadgin shutter [link] works fantastic! Switch it on and my iPhone is immediately connected. Click the button from across the room, and my iPhone snaps once. Not a zillion times like iPhones often do.

I love this camera shutter and it is definitely going with me to Guatemala!


Star Wars 3D
1pm - I'm pretty much all packed up. So, I decided to treat myself this afternoon to go see, Star Wars 3D!

Oooooohh! I am sooooo spoiled!


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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Laguna Woods Village

Cousin Jacky lives in Laguna Woods Village, a retirement community that used to be named, Leisure World. Last nite when I went to sleep, I found that it is sooooo quiet here. That's the thing about retirement places. The people living there generally make no noise.

Cousin Jacky and I lived very close to each other when we were children. In fact, right across the street when we were babies. And then, in the same neighborhood until we were about 11 years old. Every summertime, our family spent a lot of time at our Grandma's cabin in Tujunga Canyon, in Southern California. Those were fabulous times for the kids of our family.

A creek ran right behind our cabin, and we made little water dams in that creek. We listened to "The Adventures of Superman" at neighbor Jack McBow's cabin because he was the only person around who owned a radio. We went swimming in the swimming hole dug out by our Uncle Seymour.

Those were swell times, and swell memories for Jacky and myself. And those summers are the main reason why Jacky and I got close with each other and became friends for the rest of our lives.

Our Cabin

Australian Tennis Open
---at Amtrak Irvine Station
My bike ride from Jacky's place to the Amtrak Irvine Station went smooth. On arriving at Irvine Station, I found the TV set tuned into the Australian Tennis Open. And none other than Roger Federer playing Novak Djokovic!

I am definitely a Roger Federer fan! Roger was down, 2 sets and battling bravely in the 3rd set. Will Roger win the 3rd set?! Go Roger!



4pm - Guava Gardens
I've returned home to Guava Gardens. Safe and sound! It was easy. Exciting too! I am sooooo delighted to have dreamed up this way of going to my Cousin Jacky's home.

On this trip I traveled by three modes:
  • Mariner, my electric bike
  • San Diego Trolley
  • Amtrak
I have to admit to you, that my going this way is easier for me than traveling by car. Strange.....but true!





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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Amtrak Station

7:50am - I'm at the Amtrak Station and waiting for my Pacific Surfliner train to depart at 8:20am. The waiting room is inside San Diego Metro's, Sante Fe Depot.

This place kinda reminds me of Union Station in Los Angeles. Very high vaulted ceilings in both stations. Sort of a 1930s look.

Santa Fe Depot - San Diego

You may board early, Sir!
8:20am - Ten minutes to departure time. A lot of passengers are waiting in the coach class line. A few in the business class line.

An Amtrak lady approached me. "You may board early, Sir!", she told me. Aren't these lovely words to hear?

I was instructed to put Mariner in the front car and I would find a bicycle rack there. Perfect!

Upstairs in that same car with Mariner, is the business class section. Double perfect with sugar on it!  :)

Interesting note: Mariner with her new and larger battery weighs in at about 50 lbs. She was a bit of a struggle for me to heft up the two steep stairs in the trolley. However, the floor of the Amtrak train is level with the platform. A snap to board with Mariner!

Along the Pacific Coast
Amtrak's Pacific Surfliner travels near the coast. Sometimes, right near the beach!
View from an Amtrak Surfliner window

Self-Realization Fellowship
When MsTioga and I traveled together, every single time that I arrived at Encinitas, California, I spent a couple of days at the splendid creation of Paramahansa Yogananda.

My good friend, Pete Olson studied and lived here for some years. That experience changed Pete into the soul that he is today!

Pete! This one's for you!



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Tuesday, January 26, 2016

D.Z. Akins

John and I went to play golf at Tecolote Canyon this morning. So, this blog post should be titled, "Tecolote Golf", or something like that!

Instead, this blog is titled, "D.Z. Akins", which is a very popular Jewish deli here in the City of La Mesa. John and I went to eat lunch at D.Z. Akins after golfing. There is no doubt in my mind that both of us had a much better time at lunch than we did at golf today! If you play golf, then you know that some golf days really suck!

I ordered a sandwich/soup deal which was supposed to be a "mini" sandwich and a bowl of chicken-noodle soup. My sandwich was the pastrami, and this was huge! Definitely not a mini-sandwich. John suggested that I add a matzoh ball to my soup, and I did! Yummm!

John got a reuben sandwich and could only eat half. And John is a really good eater too. He brought home the half for later. I brought home most of my chicken-noodle soup and matzoh ball.

D.Z. Akins size sandwich!


San Diego Trolley Station
After D.Z. Akins, we headed back to my Guava Gardens apartment. On the way, we drove passed a San Diego Trolley Station that is only a short distance from Guava Gardens. John asked me, "Why don't you use this trolley station. It's the closest to your apartment."

Good suggestion! Tomorrow morning when I am headed out to my Cousin Jacky's place, I'll bike to this trolley station to begin my trip. The San Diego Trolley will take me to the San Diego Amtrak station. My Amtrak ticket includes me boarding with Mariner, my electric bike!

Man-O-Man! What a fun trip tomorrow will bring! :)

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Monday, January 25, 2016

Fantastic week ahead

Today is the beginning of a fantastic travel week ahead for me! In the middle of this week I leave on a two-day visit to my Cousin Jacky. The fantastic part of this Jacky trip is, that I will use Mariner [electric bike] for a significant part of the trip!
  • Bike from Guava Gardens to San Diego Trolley in La Mesa
  • San Diego Trolley to Amtrak Station
  • Amtrak to Irvine, CA (About a 2-hour train trip)
  • Bike from Amtrak to Jacky's home
Guatemala trip!
This coming Saturday, I leave Guava Gardens and fly down to Guatemala for a six week stay. This will be a second trip for me flying out of the airport in Tijuana, Mexico.

The price difference for a round trip flight to Guatemala leaving from Tijuana compared to leaving from San Diego is staggering!

  • Tijuana round trip = $365US
  • San Diego round trip = $873US!!

Waiting for the hummingbirds


View from my kitchen window

Note #1: Not one hummingbird was observed today at our feeders! :(
Note #2: The above pic was taken late this afternoon and replaced a morning pic that had less light.


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Sunday, January 24, 2016

Flower shelf

Last Thursday at Guava Gardens, we had a potluck party. We have a party like this once every month. The guy who owns Guava Gardens Apartments is pretty social. His name is Robbie, and he attended this month's potluck.

After we all had finished eating, I noticed Robbie in the corner not talking to anybody. So, I went over and began a conversation with him about the flowers that I'm growing on my balcony.

When I mentioned that I have a bunch of potted impatiens growing on my balcony, Robbie hopped right on that one!

"Your flowers aren't on my balcony railing, are they?", Robbie asked.

I assured Robbie that my impatiens are growing on a wood board that is "sitting" on his balcony railing. This is not the truth. I told this lie to stay out of trouble with Robbie!

Buying wood
That afternoon I drove to Dixieline Lumber to actually buy the "wood board" that I had told Robbie my flowers were sitting on. "Oh what a wicked web we weave when first we practice to deceive!"

Dixieline also is a hardware store. I bought a couple of hummingbird feeders and iron hanging supports for those feeders too.

Now it is Sunday afternoon. All of my impatiens are sitting on the new balcony railing boards. So I am not a liar anymore!

Also, my two new hummingbird feeders are hanging and waiting for their first customers!

New hummingbird feeder

Note: Not even one hummingbird was seen today! :(

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Pacemaker

Earlier this week a phone call came in from Kaiser's cardiology department. The machine in my apartment which tracks my pacemaker, picked up some interference in the signal. Kaiser asked, "Have you been feeling dizzy or nauseous lately?"

I get a kick out of medical people. I believe that they either tell you too much, or not enough. This time, it was too much [made me worry about something I could do nothing about]. When I had cancer back in 2002, my oncologist did not mention to me that my upcoming chemotherapy would play havoc with my muscles  for 5+ years (ie; I could not lift up my legs in the shower in order to wash my feet!).

This morning I had an appointment at Kaiser's Pacemaker Clinic. Cheryl, a tech, and friendly young woman from the Philippines, hooked me up to a machine which read my pacemaker's activity.  Then she printed out a chart which showed my heart beats. Each beat represented by a jump in a squiggly line.

"This is why we called you in", Cheryl told me. She pointed to a place on the graph where the line began jumping a great deal for about an inch (one inch on the graph is 1-second in time). I am going to adjust your machine's sensitivity so that the graph line will be smooth again.

Cheryl told me, "Your normal heart beat is 60 times per minute. Your pacemaker is set at 70 beats per minute. I suggest changing your pacemaker to 60 beats, the same as your normal rhythm". And she made the change.

I couldn't feel any difference between 70 beats per minute and 60 beats per minute.

Mariner to Kaiser
This morning I rode Mariner [electric bike] to Kaiser. Over the past few weeks, I biked to Kaiser three times [about 6 miles one way]. I just love to bike. Much more enjoyable than driving Fitty [Honda FIT].

There is a place where Montezuma Road goes downhill for a mile or so. Mariner speeds up on the down slope to close to 35 miles per hour!

Daily Grind Cafe
I'm typing this blog to you from the Daily Grind Cafe. I was here for breakfast yesterday too! Very popular eating place!



Friday, January 22, 2016

Daily Grind Cafe

7am - I am sitting in the Daily Grind Cafe. It's a bit slow this morning. Only myself and Farida the owner/manager are here. Farida arrived in California from Iran, many years ago. Farida is a very nice lady who has a fantastic memory. I ate at Daily Grind Cafe for the first time about a week ago. This morning, Farida recalled where I sat and with whom I chatted!

Before going to the Daily Grind Cafe this morning, at 6:15am I drove Terry to her cleaning job. Terry lives at Guava Gardens. Although Terry has reached 70 years, she continues to work. As we drove to her job this morning, I asked Terry when she planned to retire, she told me, "Oh, I can't retire. I need the money."

Active senior living
Guava Gardens is an active seniors, over 62 years apartment house. Rent here is in the "low-average" range. I am paying $725/month for a studio size place. A one bedroom place at Guava Gardens is $800. Apartments in La Mesa that are in the ordinary rental market, go for $1,300 to $1,800 for a studio to 2-bedroom.

Many of my apartment mates living at Guava Gardens, have a tough time paying their rent. It's very close. Some of my mates constantly search for low rent subsidized apartments.

HUD apartments usually charge 30 percent of a renter's gross income. So, a person who has an $800 monthly gross income would pay $240/month. It's a pretty long wait for my apartment mates when applying for HUD housing. Often 3+ years!

Before I began living at Guava Gardens, I knew nothing of a senior's plight to make ends meet. Guava Gardens was the first place that I applied to live. When manager Rosie showed me apartment #309, I loved it! "How much?", I asked. Rosie told me, $725/month. I did not learn for a long time, that $725/month for a studio was very low rent in La Mesa CA.

Potluck party
Yesterday at noon there was a Potluck party at Guava Gardens. My contribution was 15 pieces of mixed [dark/light] fried chicken. I picked up my chicken from "Crispy Fried Chicken" in El Cajon. My fried chicken was a hit!

We have a Potluck about once each month at Guava Gardens. Although there are 81 apartments at Guava Gardens, from the tenants here, only about 25 attend our Potlucks.

Many Guava tenants have lost the ability to be social. Old age affects some by withdrawing into themselves. Some have experienced so many deaths in their family & friends, that they are now alone. The ability for many seniors to make new friendships has evaporated. Physical challenges, being confined to a wheelchair, walking very, very slowly with a cane, etc., makes some depressed.

Sometimes I meet some of these unsocial apartment mates in the hallway. Introducing myself, I begin a conversation. Usually I see surprise in a person's face. Because hardly anybody here begins to chat in the hallway when they do not already know somebody. Wow!

Wire transfer challenged
I wanted to buy stock in a company named, "Alliance Resource Partners" [ARLP]. This stock purchase would be classified as "wild speculation."

So yesterday, I opened an account online with Etrade Financial. This is a cash account, which means that I must have cash in my account before I am able to make a purchase of ARLP shares.

I went to my nearby branch of North Island Credit Union, to make a Wire Transfer. But the teller informed that the Wire Transfer would NOT go thru today. It would likely be stalled waiting for a Federal Reserve approval! What bull sh*t!

When something gets in my way like this, I take it as a sign from my Guardian Angel that I am on the wrong track. I stopped the Wire Transfer, and closed my Etrade Financial account.

I do not feel that it is a good idea to battle against the tide of destiny. Go with the flow, is my way.


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Thursday, January 21, 2016

iP Man tripod

iP Man is the chosen name for my iPhone 5s. [The real Ip Man was a Chinese martial artist and master of Wing Chun.] I've been shopping for a tripod for iP Man. Only eight days from now, I leave Guava Gardens for my Guatemala trip. And I really should have a tripod for that trip!

A Best Buy store is very close to Guava Gardens. I thought I had found a combination tripod/selfie stick which had really cool features. But it did not work out. The online instructions showed the handle with a USB port, switch and LED. My handle only had a threaded nut in the base!

It's a weird thing about most of today's electronic gadgets. They come with minimum instructions. I don't get it?!  Anyway, I returned this ReTrak Ultimate Selfie Stick to Best Buy. And now I am shopping for a tripod again.

Buying online
I may have mentioned before, but over the past year, I began buying nearly everything online. It is sooooo much easier buying online, mainly because "everything" is available online. Compared to a store like Best Buy, which only has what they can display on the store floor.

I've got a hunch that retail outlets with brick and mortar locations will sort of fade away. Unable to compete with the new online store. Amazon.com, for example.

Bought tripod with remote camera shutter
It took me less than 1-hour to locate the tripod that I wanted including a
Bluetooth Wireless Remote Control Camera Shutter. Click [here] to view what I bought.

And....Amazon guarantees delivery tomorrow! I am not kidding. Amazing performance by Amazon!


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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Sweet people

9:20am - Time to play golf. I had just opened my apartment door with golf clubs in hand. Passing my apartment was my friend Rosalie. "I have soup for you!", Rosalie told me.

This morning, Rosalie was walking the apartment hallways for exercise. She uses her walker for help when doing this exercise. Rosalie came to the US from Sicily many years ago. Her Italian accent remains, and for me, that accent is delightful to hear.

Rosalie is one of the very sweet people who live in Guava Gardens. I feel very lucky to know her and be friends with her.

My friend Rosalie

Golf
Today, my buddy John and I played a round of golf at Tecolote Canyon Golf Course. The course is close to the Pacific Ocean. So even on hot days, the temperature is moderate. Today was a cold day, and I was bundled up.

By the 15th hole, I felt pretty much exhausted! Recently I had let down on my daily walks. As a result, my physical stamina had plunged.

Exercise at my age is so important to me. And because of a lack of discipline, I had stopped walking everyday. I don't know why I do that to myself? Tomorrow I'm going to give myself a mental kick-in-the-butt and begin daily walks again.

Google Voice Recognition
John and I like to go out for lunch after golfing. I carry my iPhone with me, and we use that iPhone for directions to the restaurant we choose.

Siri is what Apple has named their voice recognition routine found on my iPhone. Siri often does not understand what I am asking. And John, who definitely is not an Apple fan, jides Siri when there are several Siri replies:
"I don't understand the question."

Recently, while I was out shopping, I wanted to get some reviews on a product. Instead of asking Siri, I asked Google. Amazingly, Google understood nearly everything that I was asking. Google even figured out questions not properly phrased.

The next time that I am out with John and looking for a place to eat, I'll use Google. It'll blow his mind! :)

Big shopping spree
11:30 am - I biked off on Mariner to do my errands. Went to the post office to buy stamps and post some letters. Then to the library to return movie videos.

Next came a trip to Dixieline Hardware to buy screws for my golf putter. The "golf ball picker upper thing" was loose. The screws should fix up that looseness fine.

Then biked to Target where I bought boot polish and iron-on patches. Next biked down the hill to the Best Buy store where I picked up a combination tripod/selfie stick for my iPhone.

Really tired!
All that shopping took about 2.5 hours. After that, I was pooped. I wanted to go to the YMCA to workout. But now I was really too tired for a 'Y' workout.

I got to thinking that maybe this is what will happen to me when I get old. Maybe this is the first sign that my time is close to being finished. Then I said to myself, "No!'

I am not going down that easily. Old Mister Time is going to have to fight to bring George down! I returned home to unload my now-full back pack and rest up a bit.

To the YMCA
4pm - I decided to use Fitty to go to the 'Y'. It will be easier to use Fitty than Mariner. Also, I can wear just a T-shirt and short pants instead of bundling up as I do when biking.

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Naming notes: 
Readers have been asking me to name stuff on my Team. So, I have!

Mariner:
I am calling my electric bike Mariner. My electric bike is manufactured by ProdecoTech in Florida. Prodeco has named my bike model, "Mariner 7." That's where I got, "Mariner."

Fitty:
My car is a Honda FIT. In my opinion, my car is much too small for the name, FIT. So after thinking about that name for awhile, I settled on, "Fitty." That sounds just about the right size name for my tiny Honda! :)

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Monday, January 18, 2016

Bike lights

After sundown, I almost never ride my bike. However, a couple of weeks ago I wanted one of Yum Yum Donuts' pastrami sandwiches. There was still some sunlight out, and Yum Yum is pretty close to Guava Gardens. So I took off on Mariner [ProdecoTech calls my bike Mariner, so I am calling her Mariner too].

During this trip, sunlight was fading fast. I saw one driver at an intersection begin to go, then step on his brakes. Apparently I was not completely visible to this driver. That's why he began to move.

At that moment it was clear that I needed lights when I rode my bike. Even during daytime bike riding, lights should make me more visible. A definite safety plus!

Shopping bike lights
It is incredible, the amount of bike lighting products that are out there to buy. And shopping for what I wanted is no short process because of the 1000s of reviews. I do nearly all of my shopping nowadays on the internet. Mostly buying from Amazon.

What I bought is really cool! A front light named "NightShocker" which you may read about [here]. And a rear light which you may read about [here].

I've mounted both lights on my bike helmet. When I am out riding, I like to put both of them into "flashing" mode.

I'm really visible now!


1pm - Sushi on the way to the 'Y'
As I was peddling Mariner [my bike's name is now Mariner] to the YMCA, a bit of hunger stirred in my tummy. Somebody new bought the Japanese place in the shopping center, close to the Y. It's a small restaurant. Several tables were occupied. A very good sign!

I ordered hot tea, ice water and a 2-piece Nigiri Tuna Sushi. Wow! The new owner is a fabulous sushi chef!

Oh! I forgot to tell that I got a bowl of miso soup too.
Man-O-man! Good lookin' sushi!
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Sunday, January 17, 2016

Remarkable journey

My life has been a remarkable journey! I never knew where my journey would take me until I got where I was going. And even then, all I knew was where I was right now.

I used to believe that I could plan my life. In the 1960s I kept a ledger paper with 20 entries. One for each year showing my financial net worth. By the 20th year, my goal was to be a millionaire! Wow! Pretty shallow goal!

My guardian angel had a long way to go with me before I would be anywhere close to the path of my destiny. I have a feeling that I am close to my destiny path now. That feeling likely means that just up ahead, something is going to thump my skull.

Looking back, it is clear to me now that my life's path went in one direction from birth until March 28, 1984. On that date, about 9:30am, my guardian angel had enough of my nonsense. I was sent tumbling, helter-skelter into the future searching for myself.

The event that happened on March 28th, was a terrible bicycle accident in which I broke my right hip and several bones in my right wrist. By the end of 1984, my 21 year marriage was breaking up and I no longer was properly attending to my restaurant business.

Right path
From 1984 on, I was on the right path to find my destiny. However, I would not actually get to walking that path until the end of 2003. Wow! That's about 19 years spent searching for my destiny. A long time! Very tough time for me.

I am very proud that I never gave up!

My family 1983





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Friday, January 15, 2016

Busy Friday

So much happened today! It was a fun day. And a busy day.

Golf
John drove over to my Guava Apartment at 9am. We had reservations at Sycuan's Pine Glen Golf Course. One more from our golfing bunch arrived. His name is Jere, and he is a real good golfer. The best of our bunch.

I did really good on the course today! My game is coming together!

Honda FIT collision repair
A lady from Elite Auto Collision phoned while I was golfing. My Honda FIT is ready for pickup. Wow! Took a long time to get that car back to me. The accident happened on December 10th!

John dropped me off at Elite so I could get my Honda.

Note 1: More blog coming later on! It's only 8:22pm, but I ran out of gas and must go to bed now.

Note 2: I'm back now. Good sleep. It's 6:42am Saturday.

Now that I have my car back, I am able to pick up a picture that I had framed. That pic was too big to carry on my bike, inside my backpack. It's a very unusual pic of the Earth!

Earthrise
Earthrise is a photo of the Earth
by astronaut William Anders in 1968
Apollo 8 Mission

Note: I took a pic of Earthrise with my iPhone's camera so I would be able to display Earthrise here on my blog. I edited that pic with the Photos APP. That edited pic that I took is better quality than the original now hanging on my apartment's wall!


4pm - My Vanguard advisor phones me
My retirement funds are with the huge Vanguard Group. An investment management company.

When I first retired, I managed my own investments. Over time I found that I did not have the emotional discipline to deal with all that goes on in the stock market. I was like most other investors. Buying when the stock market was highest. Then panic selling when the market crashed.

During the time when I managed my own retirement investments, all my funds were in accounts at Vanguard. I had noticed the information about:
"Vanguard Personal Advisor Services"
.....but I never paid much attention to what the advisor service was, or how it worked.

When I decided to transfer all my $dough$ to being managed by Vanguard Advisors, I still did not know how it worked. It took over two months time for me to learn how valuable Vanguard Advisors would become for me.

Now, whenever I have questions or simply want to chat about my investments, I make an appointment. I make the appointment online, for a particular day and particular hour of that day. My advisor is always prompt with his appointment phone call. He is also very knowledgeable.

The reason for a phone call from my advisor this afternoon was because he believed that I was making a mistake in drawing down funds from my personal account, instead of my IRA. He patiently went thru what should be done. And after that explanation, it was clear to me that he was correct.

This is the value of me using Vanguard Advisors. My advisor really does look after my best interests. And the cost of Vanguard Advisors is very low. Lowest in the industry!



5pm-Supper at the VFW
Three of the ladies and myself, all from Guava Gardens Apartments, went for supper at the Veterans of Foreign Wars building in Lemon Grove. I ordered the fried shrimp and fish combo. Yummm!

It's a good time going out like this.






Thursday, January 14, 2016

They are watching

Back in 1956, I bought an LP record. Frank Sinatra's, "Songs for Swingin Lovers". All of my young friends loved that LP and loved Sinatra. We played Frank's records at our socials [our 50s word for a party].

I still love Frank Sinatra. But that LP record is long gone. Now I listen to that same record's songs on YouTube. The person who uploaded that LP record to YouTube, even took a pic of the Sinatra record jacket and posted it with their YouTube songs!

Now, here's the point of this blog post. When I found "Songs for Swingin Lovers" on YouTube, and began to play it, an advertisement played first. Before the song started. I watched this ad because it looked kind of familiar!

The ad was from Sycuan Resort. I am playing golf tomorrow at Sycuan Resort's, Pine Glen Golf Course!? I am pretty sure that this ad is no coincidence. Because I wrote an email to my friend about playing at Pine Glen just yesterday!

They are watching me. But how do they do it?



Booked Tijuana hotel
Remember that I wrote to you about my upcoming trip to Guatemala? Just this morning, I also booked the Gamma de Fiesta Hotel in Tijuana for January 30th, the day before the Guatemala flight.

The flight takes off at 1:45am, January 31st. All I have to do to make that flight is, take a taxi from my hotel to the airport and check in to the Volaris desk at the Tijuana Airport before 11:45pm.

Traveling info for me can get confusing. I'm making reservations weeks before my trip. I don't want to forget details. As I make a reservation, I write all the info down on a small note pad with the oldest note on top.

I could put all that info into my iPhone's "Notes" App. But I'm an old fashioned guy. I like being able to simply pull my notes out of my jacket pocket while traveling.


Sleep test [Chapter 2]
Remember me writing to you about my Kaiser doctor wanting to check me out for "Obstructive Sleep Apnea"? Well, this afternoon, Kaiser's neurology lab phoned to inform that the test was positive! I have it!

That piece of testing equipment that I wore to bed last nite recorded that I stopped breathing during sleep an average of 20.9 times per hour. That's a lot!

The next thing that will happen is that I will get an appointment from Kaiser neurology in order to obtain an APAP machine. The APAP will allow me to breathe thruout my sleep without my stop breathing episodes.

My Aunt Shirley will be interested in this turn of events in my life! Aunt Shirley has been predicting that I have Sleep Apnea for several decades.



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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sleep testing

The Kaiser sleep class that I attended yesterday, taught me how to use the little testing machine. [ie; How to put it on and use it.] There is a pic of me in my pajamas below, showing you what I look like with that machine!

If I would post this pic on my blog, I must have no shame at all!

I went to bed about 10pm. Must have gone to sleep right away. Next thing I knew it was 2am, and I wasn't sleepy. So, I got up out of bed and took that testing machine off. As I was putting the machine back into its little cloth carrying case, I found the instructions.

"Go to bed about 9pm wearing the testing unit as instructed. Wear the unit for a minimum of 6 hours......!"

Whoops! Too late for me to read those instructions!! I only wore the unit for 4 hours.

I biked back to Kaiser and returned the testing unit. The young woman at the Neurology desk told me not to worry. "If they do not like your test, they'll phone you. Don't worry about it."

Jorge just before bedtime

Electric bike trips
Yesterday I wrote to you about my bike trip to Kaiser for me to attend the Sleep Class training session. Kaiser asked me to return the testing unit this morning between 6 and 10am. This morning's bike ride went much smoother than yesterday's. Because I now had in mind the route to take.

This route is mostly flat. But there is a section of Montezuma Road where the slope is really sleep. Going down this steep section is really fast, sometimes over 30 mph.

Going up using the electric bike motor while pedaling, I maxxed out at 8 mph, which is pretty good for going uphill on a bike. I biked faster than almost all the very experienced strong bikers also going uphill on Montezuma Road. Of course as I zip by those strong bikers, I know that they are not immediately aware of my bike being electrically powered! Gotta love it! :)

Being a fabulous faller!
Remember me mentioning that I am a very talented faller? I wrote to you about my fall in the Mazatlan, Mexico airport. My observation then, was that I had a big talent with falls. It's true!

This evening I biked over to Yum Yum Donuts to buy one of their fantastic pastrami sandwiches. You're probably now thinking, "A pastrami sandwich at Yum Yum's?! George must have lost it!"

But it's true. Whoever is running Yum Yum Donuts really is a great operator. Yum Yum bakes their own bagels. In very small quantities too, so their bagels are very fresh. 10 different bagel varieties [ie; plain, onion, blueberry, garlic and more]. Their pastrami is excellent. I'm guessing that Yum Yum buys their pastrami from RC Provision [link], because the pastrami they sell is sooooo good!

But back to my falling down  story. Approaching a signalized intersection, I wanted to bike onto an adjacent sidewalk. To be safe, I have to cross from the street to a sidewalk driveway at a steep angle. Otherwise there is a chance of my bike tire "catching" on the tiny curb at the driveway's beginning.

Well, that's exactly what happened. My front bike tire caught on that tiny curb, and down I went. But when I landed, I found myself on my back facing skyward, with my legs up in the air!

Somehow it is always the same for me. When I fall, I roll with the fall thus dissipating the downward force. I have never practiced falling. That's why I believe that I am a talented faller. But I am intending to enroll in a martial arts class to learn more about falling.

Dancing pic
Here is a pic of me line dancing in the Plaza Machado in the City of Mazatlan. Carol [of Carol and Bill fame] took this pic in March, 2013.

The Plaza Machado is a favorite place for Carol and Bill to eat and watch the Friday night goings on. Of course if I am with Carol and Bill, they always invite me to go with them! :)

Jorge line dancing in Mazatlan [2013]



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Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Biking to Kaiser

Kaiser [my HMO] wants to check out if I have "Obstructive Sleep Apnea." My Kaiser doctor suggests that sleep apnea might be why I am bothered with insomnia.

My appointment for the Sleep Clinic is this afternoon. Since my Honda FIT is in the shop, I plan to travel to the Sleep Clinic using my electric bike. According to Google Map, a bike trip from my apartment to the Sleep Clinic will take about 1/2 hour. It's a 5.6 mile trip.

I love to bike, and feel very excited about this bike trip!

Trip to Guatemala! :)
I've made Volaris Airline reservations to fly from Tijuana, Mexico to Guatemala City, Guatemala. Wow! I sure have turned into a traveling guy lately.

You may recall that I flew to Guatemala in February, 2012. Stayed there for several weeks. Mostly near Lake Atitlán. This new Guatemala trip will begin on January 31st and continue for six weeks.

So, what happened to me? Until several weeks ago, I was content to be a stay-at-home. Now I'm running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Whoops! Bad image!

Lago Atitlán
Espejo de Guatemala

Note: The Lake Atitlán pic above is from the front cover of a Volaris Airlines airplane magazine. The pic description reads: "Lake Atitlán - Mirror of Guatemala"

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Swami's for breakfast

There is little doubt in my mind that, although I am far from being rich, I do live an affluent life!

Yesterday, I returned from spending four days with my friends Carol and Bill in Mazatlan, Mexico. At 8am this morning, I biked to La Mesa Village to breakfast at [Swami's] wonderful restaurant.

La Mesa, California [where I live] is a special town. La Mesa retains a small-town atmosphere located inside the huge megalopolis of San Diego County.

La Mesa is mostly flat. Hardly any hills. Which means I am able to scoot around town on my electric bike with very little effort.

My breakfast at Swami's

Honda FIT repair
While  I was visiting in Mexico, Elite Collision Repair found hidden frame damage to my Honda FIT. Repair costs zoomed from $4,000 to $6,000.

It turns out that my 2013 Honda FIT was grossly under-engineered for very low speed collisions. Fragile bumpers! In comparison collision tests, the 2013 Honda FIT is ranked at the bottom.

But my repair cost is going to be higher than ANY low speed collision report that I've read about. I was practically stopped when the accident happened. Going maybe one mph. But the steering wheel air-bag deployed. The bag did not touch me because I hardly moved forward.

After breakfast I plan to bike over to Elite Collision to have them show me the frame damage. I am only paying $500, my deductible. But even so, I am curious.

Line dancing in Mazatlan!
Here is a pic of me doing my version of line-dancing with a bunch of other dancers last Saturday evening.

Tioga-George line-dancing in Mazatlan

4pm - FedEX delivered new bike battery
I am so very excited about my new bike battery. I wanted to show it to you here on my blog. Just a little while ago I stopped trying to use the Picasa editor. Could not figure Picasa out. However, on my MacBook is a photo editor named, "Photos" which is easy for me to use.

I took a nice pic with my iPhone of my old small 9 amp-hour battery sitting on top of the new 12 amp-hour battery so you would be able to view the size difference.

Edited the pic. Resized so the pic would upload fast. Cropped it. Edited for light. For color. Pic came out good.

When I went to load the edited "Photos" pic into Blogger, it worked! I have been trying to do that for weeks. And finally I did  it! :)

Old 9 amp-hour battery [top]
New 12 amp-hour battery [bottom]

PS: Tomorrow I am using my electric bike to go to the Kaiser "Sleep Clinic." My Honda is still in the shop. With my new battery and electric bike, I should have no problem with the 12 mile round trip to Kaiser!
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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Fly home day

Well, I will not be flying "all-the-way-home." Today I will be flying from Mazatlan to Tijuana on Volaris Airlines. After using Cross Border Xpress [CBX], I'll likely use a local taxi to take me all the way home to my Guava Gardens apartment.

Enjoying strange things
From comparing what I get a kick out of doing with what others like to do, I believe that I enjoy strange things. Like going thru airport inspection, for example. It's true! I like to observe what goes on there.

While I am in airport inspection, I keep my eyes wide open, and my mouth closed. I won't have trouble with the inspection people if I am quiet.

What really is funny to me during inspection, is to see passengers hassling inspectors. Bad move! But I like to watch.

Flight rules?
During my Volaris Airlines flight going south to Mazatlan last week, I was seated in the front of the plane. I was very surprised to view one of the plane's passenger attendants open the cockpit door, and go inside to do something for the pilots. She did not knock on that door or unlock it! Just went in. Blew me away!

8am - Leisure is the plan
I'm in my hotel room, about to take a hot shower. Frank Sinatra is singing non-stop from my JBL bluetooth speaker! Today is nothing but leisure.

I've got this hotel room until 12:30pm. Then, I don't need to get to the airport until 4pm to make the 5:35pm flight boarding time.

The shower in my hotel room is huge! I cannot even reach the hot/cold water knobs from outside of the shower. It's necessary to go inside the shower, stand alongside those knobs, then adjust the hot water the way that I like it. There's a ton of water pressure here! Terrific!

Later this morning, I'll likely go out for a little breakfast. But I'll go slow, not fast.

Two things to read today:
"All The Way To Argentina", by Bill and Carol Sirimarco. Yes, these are the same Bill and Carol that I came to Mazatlan to visit! This is the story of Bill and Carol's family when they were very young and journeyed in their motorhome from Los Angeles,  California to Argentina. Click [here] to buy.

I'm also reading a magazine story about Lake Atitlán in Guatemala. Remember when I spent a magical month in Guatemala in March, 2012? My imagination returns to Lake Atitlán often.

Stumbled on to David
I spent some time this morning, updating the HTML code of my blog posts for March, 2012. That's when I stumbled on a post about my son, David.

It is a fact of my life, that I would have forgotten nearly everything about my RVing years, if it were not for my own blog. Thank God for my blog!

Click [here] if you would like to read that 2012 blog post of mine.


2pm - Mazatlan Airport!
Well, it's only 2pm and I am at the Mazatlan Airport. I ordered a CocaCola, a glass of ice and a straw from the Medas Bar in order to buy my way into a table and chair. Asi es la vida, verdad?

After I check-in my flight bag at the Volaris Airline desk, I will be able to go thru inspection to the waiting area upstairs. But check-in is not before 4pm. Until then, I am very comfortable here at  the Medas Bar.

My daughter Johana texted me!
You may know that I have two children. My oldest, David, died in 2010. David and I were close, and I miss him sooooo much!

My youngest is my daughter, Johana. The two of us have always had a terribly challenged relationship. However, just this afternoon we exchanged text messages! Isn't that fantastic?! I am sooooo happy! :)

5pm - I fell down
There is a Carl's Jr at the Mazatlan Airport. It is inside the boarding area waiting room. I was paying for a Honey Mustard Chicken Sandwich when I dropped some money on the floor. When I bent down to pick up the money, I fell over backward!

I will tell you this. I am an extremely talented faller. I have fallen many times, and always roll with the fall. This fall was the same. I rolled onto my back. Smooth as could be.

All around me, the young people were shocked! I could see the worry on their faces. Several reached out for me and helped me back on my feet. Of course I thanked them all and hoped that they were not worried for me.

The Honey Mustard Chicken sandwich hit the spot!

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Saturday, January 09, 2016

Volaris check-in


Thru the magic of the internet, I just checked-in for my return flight tomorrow. Flight 591, Mazatlan to Tijuana. And, better than that! I got my seat assignment too. The last aisle seat on the airplane!!

Got my boarding pass too!

Man-O-Man! We live in wildly magic times.

9:30am - Breakfast in El Quelite
This morning, Bill and Carol are driving to the Costa de Oro Hotel to pick me up. I will be waiting at 9:30am out front of the hotel for Bill and Carol to arrive.

We are driving to the fabulous El Meson De Los Laureanos Restaurant in the Town of El Quelite. Click [here] to read about day tripping to the Town of El Quelite.




My blog began in 2003
I published my first blog post in May, 2003. Back then, Blogger was a very buggy website. Blogger had just been purchased by Google in February, 2003, and it would be much more than a year before the big Blogger bugs were fixed.

Blogger used to crash very often! When Blogger crashed before I published a post, all of that post would be lost. Because of crashing, I began the practice of saving the HTML code of my blog post to my computer's cache memory. I would save that HTML code every minute or so, just to protect myself.

I believe that it was on January 1st, 2004, that Google came out with a completely re-written Blogger site. And on that day, every one of my 2003 blog posts disappeared. Just vanished!

When I complained to Google about my vanished blog posts, Google promised to restore them. But after a few months of those promises coming to nothing, I myself began the laborious chore of republishing all of my lost 2003 blog posts.

Rebuilding the text of those blog posts was not too difficult, because I published my blog under my own domain name. So the text was not wiped out when Blogger lost all of 2003. That text remained on my web host's server.

But all of my image pics were stored on a Google website. And although all of those image files still remained on my computer, they were not connected to my individual blog posts. I had to "match-up" those pics one-by-one. Sometimes that matching process was just a guess! :(

It took me nearly a whole year of republishing my blog posts, day by day, before all of my 2003 blog posts were online again.

Those were the days!


4pm - Mary's Ice Cream
Yesterday as we drove by my hotel, Carol pointed out an ice cream store. I'd asked Carol about buying ice cream. So, I walked over there and bought myself a hot fudge sundae!

Mary's is pretty much like Baskin-Robbins back home.

After the delicious hot fudge sundae, I ran into a tiny store named "Brownie's". Where, coincidentally brownies were sold. So I bought some. I just love the sweets!





7:30pm - Gus Gus [again]
I like the Gus Gus restaurant. Not only is the food very good, but the atmosphere is exciting too! I don't know why the atmosphere is exciting to me. Maybe because Gus Gus is located on the main drag of Mazatlan?!

I ordered a cheese burger. Then, I went online and made this 7:30pm blog post to you using the Gus Gus WiFi. My MacBook memorized Gus Gus's password from when I ate breakfast over here yesterday. So I did not have to ask what the password is again. BTW, the password is "SAVETHETACO".

8pm - Loud band warming up!
Gus Gus' band just began warming up. They are sooooo loud! Also, Gus Gus WiFi is sooooo slow!

After finishing the burger, I am heading back to the Costa de Oro Hotel lobby where it is peaceful and the free internet is really fast. There, I plan to watch a NetFlix movie.



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Friday, January 08, 2016

Posting from iPhone

Because my internet connection is so spotty, I'm trying a blog post with my iPhone.

Wow! It worked! But there are ads right on the posting page! Posting with my MacBook requires an Internet connection. All the iPhone needs is a phone connection. Now....if I could just talk my posts using Google's talk facility instead of using this awkward finger tap keyboard!

Gus Gus Restaurant
The Gus Gus [pronounced "Goose Goose"], is just across the street from my hotel Costa de Oro. And....Gus Gus has a reputation as the best restaurant in Mazatlan! When they open at 7am, I think I'll give them a try.

iPhone photos
When I take a pic with my iPhone, they disappear?! Where do they go? I don't have a clue! I would like to:
  • Take a pic with iPhone
  • Edit that pic with Picasa
  • Publish the pic with Blogger
Also, for some reason that I have not been able to fathom, when I do find a pic often there are a zillion copies which appear identical to me. Why? One pic is all I took. One pic is all I wanted.

9am -Gus Gus breakfast
Took me longer than I figured to get to Gus Gus. I'm here at 9am. Ordered a nice omelette. Cheese, ham and bacon. Coffee. Real OJ.

Gus Gus is an outdoor restaurant. Very nice. Tables mostly under tall trees. Hardly any customers at this time in the morning. Only three tables filled. When I ate here last nite, Gus Gus was loaded!

Gus Gus has a fast internet connection. I asked my waiter for the contraseña [password in English]. The password is "SAVETHETACO", all caps.


Tourists in Mazatlan
Yesterday evening, the five of us were in Bill and Carol's car for a tour down the main boulevard in Mazatlan. Bill commented, "Less than 20% of tourists here in Mazatlan are from Canada. All the rest are Mexican tourists! No tourists from the USA."

I believe that Bill hit on something. Persons from the USA after 911 became fearful of Mexico. And now, US government action is driving the middle class into poverty.

Interesting facts. Mexicans can always find a job when they live in Mexico. Not so when they move to the USA. Both Americans and Mexicans have a hard time getting work in the USA. And in the USA, many available jobs don't even pay your rent.

11:45am - Ocean side at Costa de Oro Hotel
After a very leisurely breakfast at Gus Gus, I walked across the boulevard to my hotel, changed into short pants and T-shirt, and am now at the hotel oceanside restaurant.

Of course, it is lovely here. A magnificent heavenly place. I am sooooo fortunate to be able to be here. Maybe when I figure out my iPhone pic challenge, I will be able to show you some pics of the beach!

Pic of me and my Fat Fish ribs
I could NOT eat the entire slab!

Note: This pic of me and the ribs was taken Thursday evening.


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Could you eat all these ribs?


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Thursday, January 07, 2016

I'm a new guy!

A few months after my friend Dora died, somehow I fell under her influence. Don't laugh at me. It's true. I don't know how it's true, but it is.

I first wrote to you about this phenomenon in my January 4th blog post titled:

Yesterday evening, here in Mazatlan, I used the "Just one thing!" concept when I danced with those Hawaiian girls at the Gus Gus restaurant. Since I now believe that I am able to do anything I wish and be successful, why should I be concerned about dancing like that? Or what the people in the restaurant think?

Again I used "Just one thing!" when I told the hotel about the hammering noise in my room. Before "Just one thing!", I was fearful of what others would think about me. Fearful of being judged.

Right now I am inside my new hotel room. It is sooooo quiet here! I am able to hear the ocean waves in the distance, landing on the shore. All because of "Just one thing!"

I guess old George is definitely NOT too old to learn new stuff!

Hotel change!
Oh! I didn't tell you about that. When I arrived in the airport taxi at Margaritas Hotel yesterday evening, the receptionist calmly told me that the hotel was closed! Wow! "What happened to my hotel reservation?", I asked. She told me, "You have a room at Costa de Oro Hotel across the street."

This is how Mexico is! The culture here is hugely different than the USA culture. The Margaritas Hotel did not bother to email me about my hotel booking change. Since the people of Mexico don't get upset about changes [like we Americans do], then it is not necessary to send me an email about the reservation change! I guess that the hotel people figured that I would find out about the change when I arrived.

Anyway, my taxi driver drove me across the boulevard to Costa de Oro Hotel, carried my bags to reception, and waited to be sure everything was OK and that I had a room.

Carol and Bill coming
A text message arrived from Carol and Bill asking me to phone them. They had phoned me while I was eating at Gus Gus restaurant, but I wasn't carrying iPhone.

We made a breakfast date for this morning. Carol and Bill are picking me up at Costa de Oro Hotel at 9:30am.

Photo challenged
I've spent several hours here in Mazatlan trying to figure out how to get an iPhone photo edited with Picasa, then uploaded to my blog.

I am still trying to get this under my belt. I believe the problem has to do with very poor connectivity to the internet.

Wow! Finally got it! However, I spent so much time on the upload process, that I don't know how I did it!


Jackie, John, Carol and Bill at breakfast [LtoR]
(I am taking pic)
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Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Tijuana, Mexico

This blog post is sent to you from my hotel room in Tijuana, Mexico. This is a fabulous trip! So exciting to be traveling again!

Yesterday afternoon, when I arrived at the CBX border tunnel [which looks more like a hallway], I got my boarding pass for tomorrow's airplane flight and the ticket to go thru CBX. I need both of these in order to use CBX.

 CBX Cross Border Tunnel

This plaque is located in the center of the CBX border tunnel


Tijuana hotel
After going thru CBX, a Tijuana Airport taxi took me to the Gamma de Fiesta Inn, where I stayed the nite. My room at Gamma is lovely.

When I went out for supper, a super friendly taxi guy showed me to the best taco place around. I ate four tacos asado. Yummmm!

When returning to my hotel, I soaked in a hot bath for about an hour. Wow! Do I love hot baths. My room in Gamma is really nice. Hotel appears fairly new. Very clean. Costs $58/nite.


Breakfast
Gamma Hotel has a first class table service restaurant. For breakfast, this restaurant offers a beautiful buffet. Toaster for the bread. Belgian waffle maker. Lots of cut up fruits. Cereal. Three large serve yourself ovens with much treats. Also a cook prepares omelettes or eggs cooked to order.

All of this for 150 pesos. A peso is now worth about 6 cents US. So, breakfast costs $9US. Even here in Tijuana, near the USA border where prices are highest, this price is very good.



Estoy en Mazatlan!
(I am in Mazatlan!)
I want to tell you everything. However, I'm very hungry. Will you be patient until I return from eating?

Eye glass challenged
I am back in my "Costa de Oro" hotel room after eating a delicious broiled salmon steak at a restaurant across from the hotel. The restaurant is named, "Gus Gus" and it is a really good place to eat.

A live band played at Gus Gus. And a group of young girls came by with bongo drummers. The girls attempted to dress like Hawaiians and danced to the drum beats. Their feet kicking high. I went out and danced with these girls for a few minutes. The girls liked me out there with them and a few customers clapped for me!

After returning to my hotel room, my eye glasses just dropped off my head and on to the tile floor. The right lens popped out. Now I am using my computer with only one good eye. The left one.

I have messed around with this situation enough to find out that if I look thru the lower right of the left lens and keep my right eye closed, I am able to use my computer.

Changing hotel room
There is a very loud hammering noise that I can hear inside my hotel room. The hotel is going to change my room to a different location.






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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Packing up

I stayed in my apartment all day Monday waiting for the FedEX delivery of my new electric bicycle battery. Late in the afternoon FedEX emailed that the delivery would be Tuesday. But I am leaving to begin my Mazatlan trip on Tuesday. So I put a FedEX "vacation hold" on deliveries until I return to Guava Gardens.

I am now in the process of packing up for the trip. The staging area for packing up is on my kitchen counter. That is the only place with enough room in my little studio apartment.

Want to hear something weird that popped into my head during all of this packing? It came to me that I should phone my Mom about the trip. But my Mom departed her life in 2002. I guess a lifetime worth of conditioning about keeping Mom informed is still in place somewhere in my brain. I get a kick out of contemplating Mom in this way so many years after she died. Somehow for me it is sort of like she is still alive. Comforting!

Rain!
There are a bunch of library items that I need to return tomorrow. I was planning to bike over to the library to return that stuff. But the weather prediction here where I live is for 100% chance of rain tomorrow. So, I will use the taxi that takes me to the trolley station in the afternoon to first go to the library.

I wanted to buy a collapsible umbrella during that library trip. I'll need that umbrella during rainy parts of this Mexico trip. I'm probably going to get that taxi to also take me to Target to buy an umbrella. Gotta be flexible about these kinds of things!

Flight bag
When son David died in 2010, I latched on to some of his stuff. Mostly clothing. 1/2 dozen t-shirts, a few nice sweaters. Also, an American-Tourister flight bag. Really good quality bag. David bought quality.

I used that flight bag to go lots of places. Like the month that I flew to Guatemala. This bag has served me well. Now I am flying to Mexico using the flight bag. That David.... Wow!

Entering Mexico
I blogged to you a few days ago that I'm using the recently opened Cross Border Xpress [CBX] to enter Mexico [link]. The only people allowed to use CBX must have a boarding pass for a flight from the Tijuana Airport that takes off within 24 hours. Also, a CBX ticket.

In order to get my boarding pass and CBX ticket, I will use convenient kiosks located at the CBX entrance. Very clever!

Here is today's travel plan:
  • I am using a taxi to go from my apartment to the San Diego Trolley in La Mesa.
  • I catch the San Diego Trolley which in about an hour takes me to the Iris Avenue Station. 
  • Now I will be close to the International Border. One more taxi will take me from the Iris Avenue trolley station to the CBX tunnel. 
  • The other end of the CBX tunnel is inside Mexico at the Tijuana Airport. 
  • From the airport, I catch another taxi which takes me to my hotel located about a 15 minute drive from the airport.
Note about this travel plan
It took me awhile of figuring out how to go before I came up with this travel plan!

I considered a Men In Black shuttle-taxi from my apartment in La Mesa all the way to the CBX tunnel. That taxi ride costs $108, and is the fastest and smoothest way to go. Instead I chose the taxi to trolley way to go described in the travel plan above. I am not in a hurry, and I like to ride that trolley.

I feel good about my travel plan! :)

PS: The taxi guy that picked me up at the Iris Avenue Trolley Station mentioned that a regular taxi would cost only about $60 + tip to go from my La Mesa apartment all the way to the CDX tunnel!

Wow! [Live and learn]





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Monday, January 04, 2016

Just one thing!

It was sooooo simple. In fact, it was so simple that it was almost incomprehensible. Almost invisible. It was so simple, that almost nobody zeroed in on it.

How could everything boil down to just one thing? How could it be? How could one thing be the answer to everything that anyone could ever possibly encounter?  Any disaster that might befall you. Any success that may greet you. The loss of a child, lover, wife, leg or arm. The moment when a doctor tells you that your dreadful cancer gives you only one month to live. Or winning $100 million in the lottery.

If I told you that, regardless of everything or anything that you knew, nevertheless, it was true. Everything boils down to just one thing!

HERE IT IS:
"To maintain an incredible sense of hopefulness and confidence about the future. So much so to believe that you can do and try anything and be successful."

PS: How do I know that this is true? Because my 104 year old friend Dora Tuchin told me about "Just one thing!" a very short time before she passed on.

PPS: I will work for the rest of my life to be as hopeful and confident about tomorrow as my friend Dora.




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Sunday, January 03, 2016

Still cooking

Didn't go out for breakfast this morning. Looked in the fridge and found some vegetable sausage from Trader Joe's. Half a bagel. And eggs!

I cooked a lot more when I was still RVing. Living full time here in La Mesa CA, close to my favorite restaurants, it's a strong temptation to eat out.

That's a pic of sweet David next to my plate. Miss him! Yes, I have another kid. We have a challenged relationship. But I still have hopes that one day........



Note about my posting:
I often post several updates to my daily blog posts. As I go thru my day, different things happen, and some of them may seem interesting enough to share with you.

You must scroll down to view these updates. Blogger adds additional text (updates) at the bottom. Not at the top of a blog post.



New bike battery
Tomorrow FedEX is delivering to me a present! A new bike battery!

My Prodeco Tech electric bike was engineered for a 9Amp Hour-LiFEP04 lithium ion battery. And for about two years, my 9Ah worked OK. But batteries do not last forever. I had my 9Ah battery capacity tested when it was two years old because it was getting discharged faster and faster.

I came to the conclusion from my experience with my bike's battery, that 9Ah was under engineered. So, when I phoned Prodeco Tech to order a replacement, I ordered a 12Ah battery instead. The 9Ah costs $399. The 12Ah costs $499.

For $100 more, I am gambling that I will have a zippier and farther-traveling bike for the next 5 years!


Rosalie views Dora 100 year tribute video
At the Guava Gardens Christmas Party, I asked Rosalie if she would like to see the YouTube video of Dora's 100th birthday tribute. She told me, "You bet ah wanna see da video!" Rosalie has lived in the United States for over 50 years and still has a thick Sicilian accent that I adore.

I went over to Rosalie's apartment this evening to show her the video. Afterwards. Rosalie told me of the events of her life that led her to live in Guava Gardens. Rosalie and I have gotten to be good friends. Not boy-girl friends. We are friend, friends.

Rosalie does not get out of her apartment much. Her eyes are not good for sight seeing. But she still likes to go out! I asked Rosalie if she would like to go out to lunch with me some afternoon. She told me, "Yes!"

Pretty neat, huh? :)

Dora and Rosalie out for lunch
(I am taking this pic)

The pic above of Dora and Rosalie was taken about 6-weeks before Dora passed on at age 104.


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Saturday, January 02, 2016

Junk mail ads

A couple of weeks ago an email arrived from DMAchoice.org.  The gist of the email was providing a way to stop junk mail from being delivered to my mail box by opting out.

I thought about that for awhile, and decided that I wanted advertising mail to continue because for me some of it is useful. However, there is one class of ad mail that I really don't like. These are ads that are printed newspaper size.  From groceries, furniture stores and the like. Before I'd take these ads up to my apartment and drop them in my waste basket.

However, a comment on the DMA website told of the writer putting a note up inside her mailbox so that the postal delivery person would read it. I decided to try that tactic myself.

Here is my note:
"Please do not deliver any bulk ad mail here.
Examples are ads from: Vons, Sprout's, Ralph's grocery,
Direct TV, Trader Joe's"

It worked great!

Trip preparations
This morning I made hotel reservations for my four day stay in Mazatlan. The reservations are all in place now. The hotel in Tijuana. The Volaris Airline. And now the hotel in Mazatlan.

I biked down to the Metro Trolley station nearest Guava Gardens because I was not exactly sure where that station was located. This coming Tuesday, my trip to Mazatlan begins with a taxi ride to this trolley station.

While I was at the station, I loaded $10 worth of fare on the Compass card. $5 each way. La Mesa to San Ysidro near the International Border and return. The Compass card is a smart card used for paying fare on the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System.