Mexican Otomi Linens

I am seriously obsessed with Mexican Otomi linens.  These gorgeous, hand embroidered Mexican textiles are truly incredible works of art.  Here in Cabos, you see them quite a bit.  Hotels use them for various forms of decorative enhancements, and they are sold in many stores.  I have been on the hunt for what will hopefully soon be in my home – a square tablecloth.  Since I have been looking around, I have found out that there are different qualities of these linens.  Yes, they are all made by hand, but some of the artisans use better materials, such as the quality of muslin for the backdrop of the article being made.  You will see napkins, tablecloths, placemats, pillow cases, bedspreads/duvet covers, coasters, runners….  Also, you will see that some artisans are more skilled in their embroidery work.  The stitching is more fine and less loopy.

There are several shops in San Jose that sell the Otomi textiles.  I have found that the prices fluctuates at lot for what seems to be the exact same item.  In fact, there is a shop that has more than one location in San Jose, and they are selling the same tablecloths, but quote different prices.  It pays to shop around if you care about both the quality and the price.   I think that when I finally do make my purchase, I will get my tablecloth at Las Ventanas Hotel in their home shop.  They have a wonderful selection, and their cloths are the finest quality.  If you don’t see the color you want, they will special order it for you.

A little bit on the traditions of this hand craft which I find really interesting.  The Mexicans have been creating these hand embroidered textiles for thousands of years, and originally these linens identified the maker’s village or ethnic group.

The Otomi people live in the Sierra Madré mountains in the central state of Hidalgo.  It is said that the prints’ figures, birds and animals were inspired by cave drawings.  These designs symbolize the harmony between humans and nature and contain symbols connecting to ancient Otomi myths stories and rituals.

Large pieces, like a bed spread or table cloth can table up to 3 months to make, and no design is exactly the same.  So imagine, each piece is a one of a kind hand made creation….who wouldn’t want that in their home?

 

 

 

Krug’s First CABO Grooming Appointment

Do dogs ever like going to get groomed?  I can say with most certainty, Krug does not like it.  Maybe afterwards when he’s feeling all fresh and clean, but he hates being dropped off.  Back in California I took him to PetSmart.  Over the years they did a fairly good job, with the exception of his last CABO Cut.  This was just a terrible disaster.  It’s finally grown out, and I knew I had to find someone who could handle a big dog, and a rare for Cabo breed like Krug.  Since I have already been to see the vet about 5 times in 4 months, they all have gotten to know and love Krug.  I found out they also do grooming, which is a great plus since he has so many skin issues.

I decided it was time.  It’s sooo dusty here, and Krug’s Cabo cut needed shaping and he just needed a good clean up.  Today was the day!

When I dropped him off, I got the usual jumping and struggles to not be left behind.  I really think I bring out the beast in him.  When I am not around, I have been told he is very well behaved.  He did really well today, and came out looking and smelling great.  I was so happy and relieved that I found a trustworthy place.  I wish it was a little closer to my house, but I like them a lot, so I will go the distance.   The place I take him is the Cabo Pet Hospital near downtown Cabo.  We see Karina when we are there for veterinary needs.  She is amazing and has already in a short time been so helpful.  Here is their website.  They all speak English and go above and beyond.   “Pets”

It’s so interesting that the cost for medicine, services and the grooming is so much cheaper than in the states.  I do pay the same for Krug’s food and monthly Apoquel prescription, but everything else is dramatically cheaper.  Today’s grooming was under $20 USD – back in CA, I would have paid over $110…and, quite frankly he looks much better!

 

Our “little” Mexican Christmas Tree

There’s nothing like the spirit of the holiday season!  Clearly, its such a busy time of year with so much to do and never enough time.  One thing is for sure, we always make time to put up a Christmas tree.  We have always gotten a fresh tree, and over the years have accumulated many beautiful ornaments.  Many of our ornaments have come from our travels.  It’s so much fun to put up the tree, and reflect on the memory of each ornament as I unwrap them.

Sadly, all of our ornaments are in storage in California so no memory lane Christmas tree this year.  I am actually not even going to be here for Christmas, but know how much Xavier loves having a tree up in the house.

This year, I decided on an all Mexican Christmas tree.  It’s funny, all of our neighbors, who are expats from mainly the US or Canada have their homes all decked out.  If we are here next year, I think I might do more to get into the Cabo Christmas spirit.  This year we just decided on a tree.

I got a small table top (artificial) tree and white lights from Walmart, and went on my  search for ornaments.  Many of the stores here have Christmas Decoration sections.  They carry the typical ball ornaments, strings of lights and general home holiday decor.  I really wanted to capture the Mexican spirit – not the traditional American tree.

I went to several places to find my ornaments, all of which were made by hand.   I knew right away I wanted the glass blown hearts that I see everywhere.  I honestly, have no idea why the heart?  I will have to ask some of our Mexican friends, because Google does not know.

There are many places that blow glass here (the main one is the Glass Factory), and the hearts come in many different sizes and colors.  They come in clear colored glass, as well as a mercury/metallic finish.  Since my tree is so small, I decided on a variety of colors in the two smallest sizes.  I think I bought about 30 different color/sized hearts for my tree.

Next, I saw these adorable mini piñatas that are so bright and colorful, I definitely needed some of these.  I found these at a shop in downtown San Jose.  Each of these are one-of-a kind, and are painted by hand.   Lastly, I added a colored pom-pom garland.  These are also handmade and just so darn adorable.  I love them!  I think I put 6 stands of the pom-pom’s on the tree to finish it off.

A funny side note….I forgot to buy the ornament hooks at Walmart (the ONLY place that sells them).  I found this out after I went to about 5 stores searching for the hooks.  I couldn’t figure out what all these stores were using to attach their ornaments.  I had to check for myself – They were using PAPER CLIPS!  Seriously!!  So, I actually found green colored paper clips, and that’s what I used to put the ornaments on my tree.  Ya gotta be resourceful here.  Another lesson learned.

 

 

Be Patient – 25 day tires….

The “25 day tire” story started late one night, on my second day here, driving alone on the Corridor.  The Corridor is a two-way road that goes North to South, and at night is basically pitch black dark.  There are a few portions of this road that are lit up, but for most of the road – darkness.  I am still confused every time I drive it at night, why the lights are not on….There are lights, but they just don’t turn them on???? HUH??? WHY?? Some parts of this road are very curvy, and don’t even have lane line indicators making it very, very dangerous – especially driving in total darkness.

Ironically, I had been to look for new tires earlier in the day, as I was concerned from the looks of the tire shops that my tires came from.  I went to Costco and they did not have the tires for my car.  A local friend then was kind enough to take my car to a tire shop and they had one tire in stock, which I had them replace, and a second tire was ordered.  Not that I need the most expensive tires, but when two tires cost $120 for a Mercedes, I was a bit skeptical.  The tire on order was going to take a week to arrive.

So, on day two of my arrival, I was still nervous about driving in the day time, let alone driving alone at night….and not totally sure my tires were in good shape.  I guess this post should also be the one that talks about driving in Cabos in general.  You might be thinking, it’s only a two-lane road, how difficult is that?  Let me count the reasons….

1. There are NO merging lanes.  You have to gun it, and move super fast to merge on to the corridor from basically any entry point. (Think Fred Flintstone)

2.  Many Mexican drivers either drive about 90-100 miles an hour, tailing you closer than the French do (Trust me, I know this), or they drive the extreme opposite, about 15-20 miles an hour.  So, you are driving around 60mph, and all of sudden the driver in front of you is crawling….You can’t be distracted for a single second, or your will ram right into the person in front of you.  I was told that Mexicans are required to have a drivers license, but do not have to pass a driving test – many don’t know how to drive.

3.  There are no turn around points.  Well, this is not technically true because here, they consider the underpass (bumpy, dirt, gravel pathway) the turn around point.   These “Retorno’s” or Turn-Around Points are actually ARROYO’s which means “Dry Creek” in Spanish.   This is where here in the Baja, the water flows out to the Sea of Cortez after a rain storm or hurricane.

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4.  The Bumps or TOPE’s – They are EVERYWHERE – and they come in many shapes and sizes.  Some are small diameter but mountainous, some are fatter and lower, and some are large sized dotted bumps in the road.  Another surprise is that sometimes there will be a sign alerting you that is a TOPE ahead, and sometimes there is no alerting sign and BANG!  Oh…and sometime the sign is right in front of the TOPE and BANG!  No wonder tires are such a big business here….and Tires are actually supposed to be the topic of this post.

Back to the “25 day Tire” story – So, day 2 of my arrival, I was driving North on the Corridor from the Montage Hotel back to my house.  It was night time, and like I said earlier, most of the drive is pretty dark.  As I was driving, all of a sudden my tire indicator lights go on, which has never happened to me before.  It was dark and I really didn’t know the landmarks here yet to know how far away I was from a gas station.  I fumbled around for my phone (got rid of the facial recognition after this night) and of course called Xavier.  He was not far behind me, and I was able to get to a gas station without incident.  Now, being that Xavier had just driven the 22 hour Cali to Cabo drive, and had 3 flat tires, he is now an expert tire changer.  He changed my tire in less than 10 minutes, put the spare on, and we were on our way.  Oh, this tire is one of the tires that got changed on the Cali to Cabo drive – obviously from the looks of it, it was VERY VERY used.

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Clearly, I needed a new tire ASAP – this was the other tire that was ordered earlier in the day.  I of course had NO IDEA I was driving around with a tire this bad.  After this incident, I told Xavier I wanted all my tires to be looked at, ,and wanted to take my car to the Mercedes Benz dealership (there are actually a lot of Mercedes here) right away!  I think he knew that this was the only way to move forward with handing this situation.  We drove up there the following morning and they were really nice and helpful.  They said that I actually, needed TWO new tires.  Ironically, the tire that was changed the day before, was not the right tire for my car so this one needed replaced again.  I felt better about ordering all the necessary tires from the dealership.  Not sure where the tires came from but it took over two weeks to arrive – so by the time I got new tires it took 25 days.

So after 25 days I was back on the road again.  Krug was super happy, as my car is low to the ground and he can hop in and out very easily.  The moral of this post is to “Be Patient” here in Mexico – sometimes you just have to wait it out…..

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Krug’s Road trip to Cabos!

#CALITOCABO

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In my last Krug post I mentioned that we had plan for getting Krug to Cabos, but unfortunately this plan fell though, so we needed a QUICK new plan.  Our new plan was for Xavier and I to drive Krug to Cabos in my car.  I would drive from San Francisco to San Diego (Part 1) and Xavier would drive from San Diego to Los Cabos (Part 2).  Fortunately for us Krug LOVES car rides!!   When I say LOVE….seriously, I mean it.  Sometimes he won’t come out of the car.

It’s actually very easy to bring pets (however, I can only speak about dogs) to Cabos.  Here is what is required to bring your dog into Mexico:

  1.   Proof of current vaccinations at least 15 days prior to travel.
  2.   Proof of current rabies vaccination
  3.   Tick and worms treatment within 6 months of entering Mexico
  4.   Health certificate within 10 days of travel
  5.   MircoChip is recommended

Since I was pretty much at the vet on a regular basis, and was in communication with my vet about all the requirements Krug would need, I was able to get all this accomplished quickly and easily.  It actually was pretty sad leaving our vet and all the great pet caregivers.  They all came out to say goodbye to Krug – who was definitely a regular there.

The plan was for me to drive to San Diego in my car, and there I would meet Xavier who would take over driving from there.   I would fly back to SFO from San Diego.  I had a co-pilot, and we left around 10am with a car packed with Krug’s things and headed South.  We have friends that live in Laguna, so we stopped there for the night (and a party, which was so much fun and great timing), and left the next morning around 10am to meet Xavier in San Diego for the transition.

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I had Part 1, the easy part.  Part 2 – was a bit more of an adventure for sure.  I still get bits and pieces of this part of the trip to this day.  The drive is about 22 hours from the Mexican boarder to Los Cabos.  We have a friend, who has done the drive several times and told Xavier where to stop for food, lodging and gas, and what hotels (I should say motels) take large breed dogs.

Here are some photos from Part 2.  Xavier said there are some great parts of the drive and some not so great parts.  There are parts of the road that are not paved and if you happen to be French and drive too fast (LOL) you might just end up with a few flat tires from the out-of-no-where pot holes…..The last count I heard was that there were 3 flat tires!  My big question was….where do you find tires when you are in the middle of nowhere?  I guess there are tire stands at various points on the drive since so many people get flat tires.  Now, the tires are not new tires, they are all used and not necessarily the proper fit.  Oh well….at least they made it to Cabos!

Here are a few other photos from the Part 2 portion of the trip down.  Krug did great ,and everyone along the way wanted their photo taken with him – even the police.  Speaking of police….Xavier was stopped by the Mexican Federali and military about 10 times.  They asked a lot of questions, and at times made them get out of the car to search it.  And, of course wanted a photo taken with Krug HAHA!!

One of the sites to stop and see along the way is the Eiffel Church of Santa Rosalia.  Alexander Gustave Eiffel (famous for Eiffel Tower in Paris) had designed a pre-fabricated metal church in 1884 as a prototype for missionary churches in France’s tropical colonies. Built in 1887 to be strong enough to withstand severe tropical weather, the church is made from galvanized iron, and stands today in the Baja in the town of Santa Rosalia.

I think there are a lot more road trip stories to tell – too bad Krug can’t talk because I think Xavier is still hiding some things (maybe they ran out of gas ??? ) Anyways, in the end they all made it here safe and sound and Krug loves his new home.   One last thing…The tire story didn’t end with the road trip.  This is another forthcoming post – The 25 day tires….Coming soon!

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Mountain Dog in the Desert

How to get Krug to Cabos?

Oh boy….Krug!!!

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Talk about a challenge!  Krug was definitely my biggest challenge of the move.  When we decided that Xavier was going to take the position with Montage my immediate thoughts were:  “How are we going to get Krug there”?, and,  “A Bernese Mountain Dog in the desert”?

For those of you that have met Krug know….He is crazy!  He is a lover, but he really is nuts at times, and he does not adapt well to knew surroundings.  Yes, I know, I know….he is just a dog, but we just love Krug to pieces, and he has such a big presence in our home and in our lives.

Krug is turning 7 this month and has had so many health problems over the years.  This added to my stress of brining him to Mexico.  I was so worried about finding a good vet and what happens if there is a late night problem or if something happens on a weekend?   They do not have 24 animal hospitals here which is still a concern. (I will do another post on this topic at a later time)

I will tackle the first obstacle – Getting Krug to Cabos.  Back in May when we made our decision to make the move, some friends of ours said that they were going to drive Krug from San Francisco to Cabo.  I thought they were just kidding and actually a little nuts, but they really, really wanted to do this.  So, this was the plan for months, until they were not able to take the time off of work.  The drive is from SF to Cabo is a minimum 3 day drive (29 hours).  So, fast forward to late August when we found this out I needed a new plan to get Krug to his new home.   A Krug recap – Krug is a 90 pound Bernese Mountain Dog.

So many people bring their dogs to Cabos.  I was so shocked one day to see all these crates coming out of the airport.  I did notice that none of the crates were as large as what Krug would need.   I never even wanted to consider the option of putting Krug in cargo, but I was desperate.  I started making calls to companies that could help me get Krug to Cabos.  I first was checking to see if a company would drive Krug.  I thought I found a company that would do it – they were quoting minimum $10,000.  OMG – but then they told me that they would not allow their drivers to drive in Mexico. Ugh….so, I was back to checking into the Krug as Cargo option.   What I found out is that even though there are a lot of direct flights from SFO to Cabos, the planes that fly down here have a smaller cargo hold and cargo entry door – Krug’s crate would not fit in the cargo hold area.  Apparently, my only flying option was to custom build a crate for Krug, and fly him on Delta from SFO to Mexico City, and then on to Cabos.  Well, this was a quick “NO”, and I was back to square one!  How will we get Krug to Cabos?!?!?!

 

 

 

 

Our Mexican Casa

At the time I am writing this, we are pretty much settled into our new home.  This was a bit of a process for several reasons…the main two things being the rental house availability, and our dog Krug (separate post on this forthcoming).  We were able to stay at the Montage while waiting for our house to become available.  If you aren’t familiar with Cabo, there are basically three different areas in which to live….Cabo San Lucas (South), San Jose del Cabo (North) or in between (the corridor).  We were both immediately drawn towards the San Jose area.  We liked the convenience of being near many things such as the airport, Old Town San Jose, grocery stores and coffee shops etc…The downtown area is less than 10 minutes from our house and is really is charming.

When we decided to make the move to Cabos we opted to rent a furnished house.  I was surprised about what type of houses were available here.  Since a main segment of visitors/renters here are Americans or Canadians the houses available are very nice, and similar to what you would find in the states.  There are many different price ranges for homes here.  Many are priced quite moderately, and then there is a whole other level which is off the charts expensive.  Cabos draws a very high end customer and the prices, which being in Mexico tend to be on the higher side.  My comparison is The Wild Wild West meets Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

Our rental house  (a three bedroom-3 bathroom) came fully furnished and with some bedding.  It’s interesting because we know other friends who chose to rent a furnished house, and it came with absolutely everything.  In the beginning we were going to ship down some boxes of our things, but were told to avoid having to pay taxes on goods brought into the country, it was easiest to bring everything in suitcases.   We brought down all of our own bed linens (we have three king size beds), bath linens, dish and glassware, pots/pans, kitchen utensils (don’t forget – I am married to a chef) There are just so many things to try and bring down that a Chef would need.  In the end, I think I did pretty good.

Here are a few photos of our house.  Actually the photo shown is not actually our home, but ours looks just like it.   It is located within a golf and beach club community.  Our house is on a golf course and we can walk to the beach/club.  We love it and use the beach club almost every day.  Many of our neighbors (who are mainly from the US or Canada), have built in kitchens on their patios and on their rooftops.  Ours just has a grill, but the chef can still grill up some pretty tasty things.