Monday, November 26, 2007

Algadones Mexico Border Crossing | The Wait Is Often Long

Crossing back into the U.S. through the Algadones Mexico border is often torturous.

Walking back through the Algadones border gate can often last over an hour. Several years ago... Mexico took pity on the Gringos and put in a shaded walk way with nice benches. As you do the sit and stand routine, many vendors will pass buy... hoping to catch you in a generous mood and add some of their wares to your last minute shopping.

Planning to stay longer than a few hours in Mexico? We do the Sunday afternoon crossing in our truck about eight times a year. Our travels to El Golfo de Santa Clara are usually over a long holiday weekend which leaves us little choice but to cross at the worst time of the week.

We have made the pilgrimage to the border as early in the day as possible (which generally means we hit the crossing line about 1 p.m.) This usually works out okay in the early fall and late spring months.
But... November through March are brutal for crossing.

We crossed after a long Thanksgiving weekend on Sunday. The wait time??? About 3 Hours!

Positives: Bathrooms are available at a few places for a fee. Shopping is always easy from your car window as the vendors are walking up and down the line... for miles.

I often hop out and cruise up to the main drag... to get supplies. This can include liquor, medicine and if you smoke... very good prices on cigarettes. We try to make the best of a bad situation.

Of course... I carry my trusty mp3 player to keep me entertained. Their is usually a large group of us in several vehicles, so 3 way radios became a must.

The heartbreak of this long, dusty... boring traffic jam? You can touch the U.S. border just a bit outside the car window. :(

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Driving To El Golfo Mexico | Mexican Road Sign Transtlations

El Golfo Tour Guide

Traveling to a new destination for the first time is always an adventure. But... it's always nice when some kind person warns you of a few things that you should be looking for on the road.

Like a dangerous curve. The road to El Golfo, Mexico is pretty straight forward. First you drive through farm land and then a few towns and pretty soon you hit desert. Straight, flat roads with very few variations.

But... you know you are close to the end of your journey when you see this sign:

Peligrosa means Dangerous in Spanish and Curva... means Curve.

And then you barrel down and curve to the right and then left, just as if you are on a roller coaster. It isn't really all that bad, if you know it's their. You can see the many crosses on both sides of the road that are a sign that many didn't pay attention to the sign.

The many times I have traveled this road, it has never been at night. This curve and drop is not lit, nor do any of the signs have reflector tape. Please be careful and drive this road with caution.

For other road sign translations:

Friday, October 05, 2007

Rosarito Mexico | The Road Less Traveled

Opps, we did it again! Yes, we traveled to Rosarito, Mexico again in October. I guess we can't get enough of the beach life, and it is so cheap compaired to San Diego.

When I say travel, it's really just a hop, skip and a jump to Rosarito. We left Yuma, AZ at 8 a.m. and arrived in San Diego at 10:30 a.m. Then after a nice breakfast we hit the road through Tijuana and made it to our Condo rental by 11:35 a.m.

One of the things you must adjust to when traveling to small towns in Mexico, is that most of the town is not "touristy". It isn't filled with lush landscaping and clean cobblestone streets. On this last trip, I took some photos of things that make the area a very cool adventure.

I know that the food is good, everywhere. And... the resorts are gorgeous. But, I wanted to show you a bit of what makes the area so interesting. I think the native residents in Rosarito must all be artists.

Carved Sign Over Entrance To The Lobster House

Little Garden Paradise

Stamped Sidewalk...

Friday, August 31, 2007

Best Travel Gadget Gift Review - Audio Interview

Packing light... isn't that what we always start out to do when packing for a trip? Who wants to lug one more ounce through airports, up an elevator or down escalators than is necessary?

Now... I know you all are aware that using travel items for double duty is an absolute must.  What if I told you I found the coolest new travel item I have ever used? Call me boastful, but really... this is very cool.

This little item is useful for men, women or children. Curious?  Let me give you a few instances this little item can be used for while traveling.  Make no mistake... this item can be used for a ton of other uses... some you may think of yourself, but I am strictly going to focus on travel. 

For Women: 

  1. Nice blanket for the airplane - an you know it is clean!
  2. If it's warm on the plan, use it to cover the seat. It will help you feel cooler.
  3. Use if for a pretty, soft and flowing shawl in the evenings. It comes in a large array of fashionable colors
  4. Use if for a beach towel... you can lay it on the sand and the sand doesn't stick
  5. Cover your legs when lounging on the deck of a cruise ship or beach front cabin... it has better sun blocking properties than most sunblocks and doesn't it doesn't sweat off.
  6. You can wash and dry it for years and the colors will not fade.
  7. Use at the gym... no more stinky, sweaty or mildewed towels for you! It contains X-Static Silver Fiber, which kills hundreds of odor causing bacteria and fungus, and unlike other antimicrobial treatments, it's permanent, and completely natural.
  8. This company also sells a sheet and pillowcase cover in the same material but with a very smooth hand. It keeps your skin dry when you sweat.... I paused for a few seconds when I read that the first time. Women of Boomer Age... It keeps your skin dry when you sweat. 
  • It really works! I have been using it for weeks. We are at 118 degrees and 75-80% humidity... plus I am a Baby Boomer.  I love this product!

This towel will make the best gift.... and they embroider beautifully.  What a wonderful, personalized gift for all your girl friends!  I can think of some very cute quotes to have embroidered on these for my 'pausal friends. 

For Men:

  1. The best and only golf towel you will ever need
  2. You will only need 1/3 of the space in your RV or boat for towel storage.
  3. Are you a jogger? See Womens reason #7... enough said.
  4. Throw this on your leather chair in the summer... no more greasy sweat stains on your expensive furniture.
  5. Need a towel and a sheet to carry in your backpack for camping... this little guy does double duty and you will hardly know it's in the pack.

For The Kids:

  1. Swim Towel - It comes in a variety of sizes
  2. Baby Bath Towel
  3. See Womens reason #7...think of the towels you find in backpacks. :(
  4. Baby beds, bassinets, swings and car seats... they use an all natural material to make them antimicrobial.
  5. Any child playing a sport... swimming, football, track, basketball... golf... tennis........track...... any sport!

Are you ready to learn what this miracle product is?  Here is the story:

Leslie Hanes contacted me several weeks ago and asked me to check out her website. She wanted me to let my readers know about these great new Wicking Sport and Travel Towels her company manufactures.  

I looked around the website - - and thought she had some very nice looking products. I was particularly interested in the - keeping dry when sweating - idea and particularly interested in the sheets and pillow case.

I called Leslie and we talked for quite a while, her story about this new material is very interesting. Then she offered to send me a sample to review for my travel website.  Well... when it came in the mail, I thought she had just sent a small towel or sample piece of fabric.  The box was very small and very, very lite. 

Imagine the surprised look on my face when the sample turned out to be a full size towel.  I mean... It's as big as a beach towel, and the color she sent is a deep, rich eggplant.  I have already used if for a shawl in the movie theater and for a light cover up when the air conditioning gets a bit drafty.  

I called her back and we had a nice talk about this product that I have recorded. We talk about every idea we could come with to use this towel for... and I even gave her a new use she hadn't thought of yet.  

Listen in by clicking here:  Interview with Leslie Hanes 

Discovery Trekking Outfitters Ltd.



Friday, July 27, 2007

Mosaic Craft as Art - Artist Living His Dream In Rosarito Mexico

South of the Border travel is always fun. Great food... including sea food, frosty drinks made with tropical fruits and good liquor and my favorite... Shopping!

We were not disappointed with the shopping district in Rosarito, Baja, Mexico. Store after store are filled with custom iron, blown glass, talavera tile and my favorite... independent crafters.

mosaic-in-rosarito.jpgWe strayed of the main path and followed signs up the stairs to an out of the way shop.  Mario Rodriquez met us at the door with a smile, a hearty greeting (in English) and  then began instantly with a torrent of explanations about his work.

Here is a guy who uses the stuff that others are throwing away to make his craft.  This town is filled with tile and pottery stores, which leads to a ton of breakage.

Every shop owner piles these shards of ceramic "junk" into a box and Mario makes a weekly trek to pick up his supply of  "craft supplies". He takes these bits and pieces of color and works his magic making beautiful mosaics to sell in his little shop. He is so into the entrepreneurial spirit that he welcomes custom orders.



His business name is Baja's Mosaic Spot and he describes his wok as - "A very unique twist of mosaic art... anything your heart desires we will do!"










mosaic-sun.jpgOf course... I had to purchase a few items, I mean a girl has to support the arts doesn't she? 

The sun is cut out of wood with a jig saw, and painted with black acrylic paint.

The mosaic shards are grouted with cobalt blue grout and the sun face in the center is painted by hand. 




This mask isn't as scary in life as it is in this photo.  The base of the mask is a broken roof tile, which always has a hole to attach to the roof, thus leaving a great place for Mario to attach a hanger.

The colors are so vibrant and the use of black grout really sets them off. The pattern used for the eyes is actually a very common tile pattern found in Rosarito tile shops. 

I had a wonderful shopping excursion in Rosarito, Baja, Mexico... can you tell?

Technorati Tags: Mosaic, craft, Rosarito, Mexico, Baja, shopping, home made, mexican art,

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Puerto Nuevo Baja Mexico - Lobster Dining 2

Restaurant Puerto Nuevo Two, Baja, Mexico.

Since this group was vacationing in a condo nearby we couldn't help ourselves. The call of Lobster was too loud.

Restaurant number one was closed on Sunday... so we went to their sister site next door. The food was equally as good as the other restaurant, but the atmosphere is not quite the same. It is very nice, but not as much fun as the original.

Hand written menu posted outside guarantees that the same menu is available, but the meal includes a soup or salad and a margarita. The price was a few dollars more... well worth the extra expense.

This may look like a margarita, but it's actually a michelada

The weather was warm, and a cold beer is always good with Mexican style food. A michelada added a different twist to a regular beer and so cold we all got a short headache.

The cool drink is made with beer and lemon and/or lime and salt. Some other ingredients are often added as well.

I think the waiters have too much time on their hands!

With the bill comes these cute little mice scooting across the table. Made with napkins, limes and antenna from lobsters.

You can see the little lime hiding under this little mouse.

A website has instructions to make something similar for your next party.

Marble Mouse

Friday, July 13, 2007

Puerto Nuevo Restaraunts - Lobster By The Pound

Lobster! Puerto Nuevo Baja Mexico Dining.

Dining in Puerto Nuevo means eating lobster by the pound. When you add the drawn butter dripping down your chin and arms... well these are not restaurants for the Weight Watcher crowd.

3 of these grilled lobster halves for each with beans, rice, tortillas and salsa is served family style. A true Mexico dining experience and the price was a steal! About $14 each.

Puerto Nuevo 1 is the original lobster restaraunt. If you go... plan on an hour wait, outside! Oh... but it is so worth it.

The original carving over the door. It appears to be 2 lobsters and 2 fish... of course this is what they serve.

Don't expect anything to be searved in this diner like atmosphere. Family style means searve yourself. The tortillias, salsa, rice, butter and beans are searved in bowls just like Mama would. Plain food that tastes great. What could be better?

Our table was located right next to the kitchen. The waiters, managers, clean up crew and cooks all performed with expert ease. Like a choreographed dance.

Puerto Nuevo is a clearly marked village on the Old Road, 10 minutes south of downtown Rosarito.

Take the Rosarito-Ensenada toll road to the Puerto Nuevo turnoff at kilometer 49.

Turn left onto the Old Road and continue south a short distance to the village, which will be on your right.

It is exactly 10 miles from Rosarito's southern toll gate.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Rosarito Mexico Condo Rental | Video

Notes about our Rosarito Mexico Condo Rental:

Sometimes you just have to get away. The weather in our area is topping out at 118 degrees and we needed to find some cooler weather for a few days. Two trucks and 8 friends headed out for a new adventure and beach weather in Mexico.

Rosarito is a small community on the west coast about 30 minutes south of Tijuana, Mexico. The condominium rent in San Diego is getting prohibitive in cost and the crowds are mostly like Spring Break. We wanted see some new sights, eat great food and sleep listening to the crashing waves.

The condo rental we lucked in on is available at this website: Villa Pacifica

This 3 bedroom, 2 bath condo slept 8 with an air mattress (provided by the condo owner) on the living room floor. The kitchen is huge with plenty of cabinets for all our junk food. All towels and bedding is provided . We did bring our folding lawn chairs so we could all nap in the sunshine and breezy afternoons.

The condo is in a secure complex... and the guards are walking the compound 24 hours.

Gorgeous landscape is everywhere. You just wont find a prettier spot in this area.

The drives are a bit narrow for our full size truck. ... and as you can see the parking was a bit tight, but we squeezed in.

The garage is not really a garage. A small portion of it is storage for the condo owner and the rest of the space was turned into the 3rd bedroom. It is a neat use of space. Very cleaver.

We did have a bit of trouble following the directions for the lock box. I laughed until I had tears streaming down my face. It really wasn't that difficult, and 3 heads are always better than one.

This is sunset on the one night the marine layer didn't invade our space. As you can see the pelican air force was on site.

When you see the pelicans diving, you have to go to the fence and look down over the edge of the cliff. Dolphins are bound to be fishing in the area for supper and the pelicans are their to clean up the leftovers.

This video is not of our trip... it is a family that stayed in the same condo in 2006. Don't they look like they are having fun?

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

7 Things You Can Make Out Of Cactus

If you're like me, you probably have not thought about what you could make with cactus leaves or the fruit from cactus. However... if you live in the desert southwest, you will see these items in the local grocery stores. I often wondered what could be made with cactus.

Finally... now you know at least 7 things you could do with cactus or cactus blooms.

How To Make Cactus Soap

The most common cactus used in bath and body products is prickly pear, known for its conditioning and skin-soothing properties. Prickly pear can also be used as a mild acne treatment. You can find cactus juice, extract, and even leaves or puree at health stores, and at some beauty supply outlets. If you have trouble locating a retailer, there are a few online stores that carry it as well.

Cactus makes an excellent addition to bar soap. It has hardening properties when combined with heated glycerin, and adds emollients that are kind to the skin. Here's how to make a melt-and-pour cactus soap.
Cactus Salsa

For a real crowd pleaser at a picnic or party make this cactus salsa ahead of time and allow it to blend its flavors in the refrigerator for a few hours or more. Just mix all the ingredients above that you can obtain. Some hot peppers are always in favor here in the SouthWest, but other folks may need it tamed down on the hot peppers some. One can use this as a dip for tortilla chips, or a relish and garnish on burritos, meat dishes or a general spicy condiment.
Cactus Breakfast Burrito

This is one of my favorite recipes, the cactus mixes very well with many ingredients and tastes very good. Take the cleaned and diced cactus and add to some diced potatoes that are already pretty well cooked with your favorite spices including garlic and onions. After a minute or so add a couple of fresh eggs to the mix and scramble all together well. Heat some tortilla shells and spoon the mixture into the shells, add salsa roll up and enjoy.
serves four

Preparing Edible Cactus
Edible cactus is also known as nopales (no-PAH-les), nopalitos or cactus pads. This vegetable is popular in Mexico and other Central American countries, parts of Europe, the Middle East, India, North Africa and Australia. Its popularity is increasing in the United States where it can be found at Mexican grocery stores, specialty produce markets and farmer’s markets.
Stir-Fried Edible Cactus With Tomatoes and Herbs

4 cactus leaves
1 jicama
1 chili seeded and finely diced
1 orange, peeled and diced
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped

Make Your Own RainStick

The rain stick is a musical instrument from South America. Traditionally, rain sticks are made from the wood skeleton of a cactus. First, the thorns are pulled off and pushed back through the soft flesh of the cactus. Then the cactus is left in the sun to dry--with the thorns on the inside. Later, the hollow cactus is filled with small pebbles, and the ends are sealed with pieces of wood.

Prickly Pear Cactus Jelly

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Travel to Los Algodones, Baja, Mexico

Just 15 miles outside of Yuma is the border crossing into Mexico at Los Algodones. The weather is hot and most tourists don't bother with this little out of the way town, but you will find bargain shopping even better in the summer weather.

The winter months are the tourist season in this area, so summer income is very lean. We joke with the locals... we not only want Walmart prices, (local joke) but we want our summer price discount as well. The shop keepers are all very cheerful and want to make a sale. It just isn't polite not to bargain.

If you are headed to the Southwest U.S for Summer Vacation and are traveling anywhere near Yuma, Arizona... which is a wet spot on the road from Phoenix to San Diego... and, if you ever dreamed of shopping in Mexico, here is your chance.

My Father-In-Law found dentures in Algodones 1/2 the price he would have paid in the states... I mean one-half of what the insurance covered price would have been. And he really liked the dentist! Which is hard to believe... he is very particular.

Hubby and I stroll around the shops with coffee from the local Cafe' House, which is very much like a Starbucks... only very cheep in cost...not quality.

I am headed to get my glasses next week. I had my optometrist write up a very detailed prescription and the optical stores in Aladones have all the latest styles.

Hubby and I don't have health insurance, so we have almost all our pharmacy prescriptions filled in Algodones. It's not a far drive, and the prices are so much lower. I know you have probably heard that prescription medication may not be of the highest quality. Gee... I don't know of anyone who ever had a problem. And my doctor in the states agrees that prescription prices are way too high for the uninsured. So if I can save a little cash, and have a nice day trip once a month... Well, you get the picture!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

HooHaa Monologue | Hoo Haa and HooHa Worms

The HooHaa Monolague Worms!

I wrote about these little green worms in a previous article. Click on Photo

Today's news showed a billboard in Atlantic Beach, FL. A driver complained about the title of a new play in the area - The Vagina Monologues. So the owner changed the title on the billboard to include the word Hoo Haa.

View Video at CNN

I have been using this word in place of other words less tasteful for many years.

These worms... sometimes found in the water in the Baja area of Mexico must have a name. I am a novice at oceanography and fishy things, so the name I use... HooHaa Worms.

My explanation??? Be carful to keep your pants on, so the worms didn't swim up your Hoo Ha. This are tiny worms and it could very well be a problem for gals.

I have only seen them once on the beach in El Gulfo, Mexico. All our other visits yeilded many other fishy type things, but alas.... No More HooHaa Monolologue Worms.

El Golfo Tour Guide

Monday, January 15, 2007

Las Vegas Smog | Gloomy Yellow Day in Vegas

December in Las Vegas... some snow and some smog.

Driving into North Las Vagas and on to Downtown Las Vegas is a bit scary when this is the first view seen. We had seen snow in Las Vegas the week before and the mountains had a good coating...but this was the view driving back into Las Vegas from the northern mountains on December 26, 2006.

A yellow haze coated the valley and all we could see clearly was the Winn and the Stratosphere Hotels. It looked like a yellow sulphur haze but without the smell.

Traffic was light that day, and we didn't see any heavy costruction along the way. The cold was keeping this Las Vegas smog down at sea level.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Planning a Vacation | Budget Tool and Guide

Planning a vacation can be fun and also it can be a pain. When I am planning a vacation I love to research the places I will visit. I want to make sure we see everything that is important to that area. Maybe it's a historical area or some local market that should be at the top of the planning a vacation list. This journey through the internet and travel guides is one of the best parts of planning a vacation and gives me an image of the locations to dream about.

But... I am starting to really dislike all the data bases for deals on airfares and hotel rooms. I am usually confused by the package deals and the layover/airline choices. All the travel choices are overwhelming and then I never know if I really got a good deal. It just makes travel planning a real pain in the neck.

TravelThen I found James Steubing’s book ! This "tell all" guide shows you, in detail, how to get travel deals at a discount. You can learn to save on hotel, airfare and cruise prices. Now you can have a great vacation without needing to take a vacation from travel planning.

Just one of the many secrets revealed in the book is a Power Search Tool. This is so cool! Use it to power search across all the major sites like Orbitz, Cheap Tickets, Expedia, Priceline, Hotwire and Travelocity. With this tool you can compare travel sites and save! Here is just one example of the secrets reveled - Airfare consolidators.

Airfare consolidators are one of the best kept secrets in the travel industry. They can save you hundreds, if not thousands on International flights So, what is a consolidator anyway? Consolidators are companies who purchase flights in bulk directly from the airlines and then resell them to travel agents and the public with a slight markup. These consolidated fares can be as much as 50%, 60% or 70% cheaper than a regular fare. This guide tells you how to find these low fares and what to be careful of.

The TraveL Secrets Guide for Travel Planning is delivered to you through a secure website. You can log into the site anytime and receive the most up to date information for LIFE. No need to request or download updates ever.

TIP: If you are afraid you won't like the book and tools...It has a risk free guarantee. If in 30 don't just love all the information and find money saving tips, you can ask for a refund.

For more information Click Here!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

El Golfo de Santa Clara Mexico Beachcombing

El Golfo Tour Guide

Beachcombing in El Golfo Mexico... and alternative to rock hounding!

We drove to the Punta Banda estuary, Baja California, Mexico which is about a 30 minute run down the beach from our camping area. We had intended to arrive at low tide so we could do some claming in the tide pools, but we were about 2 hours late. It was a beautiful clear sunny day, and the area is amazing to walk through or take out a chair and just watch the wildlife.

The "end of the beach at high tide". The "second light house" is on the other side. If you get here at low tide...make sure you are quick at the light house, the tide comes in quick and it's a 6 hour detour if you can't make it across. We did see a few rusted car bodies to prove the point.

Perfect clear waves uncovered treasures at every lap. We spent many years traveling to the beaches of California and never found water this clear, and we were the only ones on the beach for miles. The sounds of waves, pelicans and sea gulls were our background music.

The end of the beach is marked with several monuments. Interesting, but all in we don't know who the memeorial is for. I guess we should ask next time we are at the local watering

We passed a coyote, dolphins playing near the shore, and tons of fishing equipment left to float ashore from the local fishermen and their pongas.

This amazing drive and beachcombing jaunt only took a few hours. We were back to camp in time for naps and cocktails before sundown.

El Golfo Tour Guide

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Bathrooms in El Golfo Mexico | Moving the Outhouse

El Golfo Tour Guide

Our latest trip to El Golfo Mexico and the project this trip is to move the outhouse to a new View location. Spending New Years at the Mexico beach with friends and family is a great alternative to parties and driving the streets after drinking!

Warm breezy days, cool evenings by the fire, and mixed punch drinks called "Gilligans Island" to keep us warm just before bed. We made soup and listened to the "ball drop at Times Square" on the satellite radio.

We always have a project at the "place" in El Golfo Santa Clara Mexico... this year it was the OUTHOUSE. A new Christmas gift was bestowed on this room by way of a new "seat", reading material and air freshener. That is all it took to get the ball rolling. The group had been talking about relocating the "throne" to a new view lot and giving it a "Dutch door" for entertainment.

Checking out the structure before moving...required much talk and consideration. ( this was done in our "jammies")

Measuring for the new block base. This outhouse will be elevated on a block base, this will create a "cleanout" for those that are involved in that excluded.

Some measurements are best left to the professionals!

How far up the hill will be the best view spot for those in the "Go Spot"!

Some things just have to be decided by an expert.

The block base is set and the outhouse is moved. This must be the spot!

Double Dutch Door : The Outhouse at Sunset!

El Golfo Beach View from the Throne at Sunset!

El Golfo Tour Guide