Mexico – Driving me crazy – You’re crazy

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Well it’s been four (4) full years of living here at Roberto’s Bungalows in San Pancho and driving full time here in Mexico.

Let me tell you a story that I can’t get out of my mind. A friend and I decided to drive with the wives to San Sebastian which is up in the mountains a few hours away. My friend is a school bus driver and he asked if he could drive, so I thought it would be cool and let him drive.

We take off all happy and excited about our road trip and he tells us that a local Gringo friend from our village let him know some good tips on driving in the area. He tells us that she said if we come upon federal police and Military at road blocks to just drive through and wave and smile and don’t make too much eye contact. He says his friend informed him that they are looking for Cartel members and drugs and not grey haired old American tourist folks.

I get real scared thinking maybe he got his information from the wrong Wacky Gringo. We are having a nice drive when I see up in front of us a road block stop in both directions. There are about 20 military men with machine guns on both sides of the road all looking at our car and there is a big Military truck with a dude with a huge gun mounted on the back of a pickup pointed at the cars going by. My friend Dan says “ok everyone smile and wave and I’ll just drive through.”

Thoughts of Bonnie and Clyde and millions of bullets piercing my body race through my head and I think I passed out, but the next thing I know is we are past the stop. I do remember that I was waving and smiling like I was a little insane thinking it might help. I told Dan that maybe if there was another road stop that we should probably stop. He said NO we’re good.

In about 20 minutes we approach another one and this time there is a cop with a machine gun standing in the middle of the lane with a red flag signaling us to pull over along with the huge truck with the massive gun pointing at us and about 20 military police and there is nobody smiling.
Dan says again “ok we are not going to stop, so smile big and wave.” I know from the look on the guys face with the flag trying to get us to pull over that we are probably going to die in a flury of machine gun bullets. Dan goes around the guy and pulls into the oncoming lane and is waving and smiling and telling us to do the same and quick. The machine gun cop is waving his flag and looking pissed and we go right on by. Dan says as he speeds up don’t look back they are watching us, but they aren’t following us.

I must have not eaten any breakfast, because I didn’t crap my pants, but I did express my thoughts about how dumb I thought that last non stop was to Dan. He just smiled and said hey they probably thought we were just a car full of old stupid Americans that didn’t understand what was going on.

Well the rest of the ride I was terrified that the next road check was probably going to be the end of our lives. I knew they had probably called ahead and said “when you see the black Izuzu SUV with the four crazy waving Americans just start shooting, as they have gone through two stops without stopping.”

Well I’m here to tell you there were no more stops and we got to San Sebastián unharmed physically, but damaged mentally for life.
Do not do what we did! Stop and say hi! They are there to help fight crime!

I have since been through a few stops and have never been pulled over. They just smile and wave you through!

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American Burgers in Mexico

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Sound the horns and ring the bells I finally found the cheeseburger I have been roaming the streets and ducking into dark alleys looking for here in Mexico. We here at Roberto’s Bungalows love to eat! We got a tip from Chas and Eva Eller www.charlesellerstudios.com/ about an awesome burger place in Puerto Vallarta. All the tips up to this date have fallen short of a real tasty burger. You should know I have been looking for the ultimate cheeseburger for years. I started looking and even started a blog about it Back in December in 2010 in the San Francisco Bay Area. https://cookinwithearl.wordpress.com/2010/12/
I have spent many years looking for my favorite cheeseburger. For Over 35 years I was known as Cookin’ with Earl in local publications. I was always going to restaurants and doing reviews and in all my years my heart belonged to cheeseburgers. The Burger Bar in San Francisco and Taylor’s Refreshers in St. Helena (had me standing in line many days) held the top spots in the S.F. Bay Area. Well now I have one for you in Mexico called Jean’s located in Plaza Commercial real close to the airport. Hal and Eneida Hilton have opened their burger restaurant called Jean’s (named after Hal’s mother) in P.V. Let me say that the hand patties, the buttered buns grilled and crispy with the shredded lettuce and tomatoes made me melt into my stool. If that wasn’t enough we ordered a malt and a Vanilla shake that finally busted the curse of crappy shakes here in paradise. The California fries brought tears to my eyes, as I was dipping them into thousand island sauce and ketchup. Don’t go to P.V. Without making one of your stops Jean’s American Burgers

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Cock-A-Doo-El-Do——–Cock-A-Doo-El-Do

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Roooooster

Roooooster

To loud!

To loud!

When will it stop?

When will it stop?

Ok it’s time I tell my story about living here in Mexico. There is something I really miss about the United States and that would be Peace and quiet! Yes peace and quiet. 

Living in the United States I can’t recall having roosters wake me up in the last 60 years.
Here in Mexico in our little village it just isn’t the same. Two seasons ago my next door neighbor bought a rooster and it was one without a sense of what time of day or night it was. The rooster would Cock-A-Dude-El-Do day and night as LOUD as loud can go. Starting at midnight and 3 in the morning 5 in the morning, 7 in the morning as he wanted to beat all the other roosters in the village to be the first to crow. 

 I went to my neighbor and asked if he would get rid of the rooster, because I owned a hotel next door and he just looked at me and smiled. He could speak no English and With how little Spanish I know it was a dead end talking to this guy! I went back and this time he was a little more understanding, as he nodded much more this time with a bigger smile. 

 Well this went on for months and it got more irritating as the season went on. I had had it at one point and I decided to go over and up the amount of money I would pay or cut the head off that bird. On my way over I stopped and told one of my guests what I was doing and she was smiling and I told her I was going to offer them $150.00 and she said make it $1500.00 and I will pay and maybe I can get some sleep. I told her if I was to offer $1500.00 everyone in the village would buy one hoping the neighbor was getting annoyed. 

 Well I left for my vacation in August and September and to my surprise when we got home the rooster was gone. I thought about asking, but I left well enough alone. 

 Something I did notice was my neighbors across the street had bought a few roosters while we were gone. I didn’t think much of it until the noise level along with their dogs, chickens and dam roosters were making noise now 24 hours a day. Kind of like living in the middle of a Rooster zoo. Well I noticed many chickens running around and even started catching them in my courtyard. Before I could complain to the owners about the roosters I noticed the rooster noise had gotten to a fever pitch.
Well it was time to go have a talk with my neighbors who I really enjoy. 

I sat with the son and asked why they needed 8 roosters and he seemed to act like it was no big deal, as he was telling me about the roosters he said that his daughter had a real hard time sleeping, because of them. Then he said that his grandma who is almost 90 likes to hear them sing in the morning, so she keeps buying more. 

SING? I didn’t know they were singing. I really never thought of it as singing. I just thought it was just a bunch of noise all night and day. every day I see the grandma out front sweeping her leaves and listening to her roosters sing. Well I am not someone to take away another persons joy, so I am just going to let it go and know that I am a visitor in another country. Oh Oh Mexico.
What can I say except…….Cock a doodle do!

Dali Lama honors Founder of Entreamigos as Unsung Hero of Compassion

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Nicole Swedlow with Entreamigos
will be honored for the work she does in San Pancho, Mexico
At the 2014 Event Heroes of Compassion

Nicole is a friend of mine in the village and one with a heart for the children. I understand the trials of a director of a huge non profit, as I was in the center as one in the S.F.bay area for 20 years. This is a job with no hours on a schedule just work. The task at hand is always tasks at hand. To see Nicole on any given day you would not believe she runs such a large operation. She always greets you with a smile that is ready for what you have to say. I have got to see from the beginning what compassion really means. I believe that they have really chosen not only a hero, but an angel sent to San Pancho to change the world one child at a time. Congratulations to you Nicole for a well deserved honor.

Wisdom in Action, a California Bay Area non-profit organization is for the fourth time presenting Unsung Heroes of Compassion on February 23, 2014 at the Ritz Carlton hotel in San Francisco, California.
This event is a celebration of the extraordinary effort of 51 individuals from around the globe who work to alleviate the suffering of others without expectation of reward. In addition to their acknowledgement by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the event is a call to action—a reminder that the well-being of our communities and, in fact our world, is ours to shape through our own daily acts of kindness and compassion.
Although His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a world-renowned Buddhist teacher, this is not a religious or political event, nor is Buddhism or Tibet its focus. The honorees are a diverse group of men and women representing different faiths, countries of origin and ways of working in the world. The characteristics they share with the world include kindness, quiet dedication to others and belief in the importance of caring for our underserved brothers and sisters.

This is the link for a live stream of the event as its happening on the 23rd of February
Unsung Heroes of Compassion
Live Webcast
Wisdom in Action will be providing a live webcast here of the Unsung Heroes of Compassion program on Sunday, February 23, 2014 beginning at 12:50 P.M. Pacific Standard Time.
Individuals can access the webcast from any computer, and we are also encouraging individuals, groups, and organizations to host viewing parties of the event. Hosting a viewing party is your opportunity to come together to witness this special event, hear His Holiness the Dalai Lama speak about compassion and take part in this celebration of the extraordinary effort of 51 individuals from around the globe who work to alleviate the suffering of others without expectation of reward.

This is her story
Nicole Swedlow

Jace and Ali have grown up in Nayarit, Mexico, sharing their mom, Nicole Swedlow, with an entire community. “It isn’t always fair or easy,” says Nicole, “but I hope that they have learned that life and family and work are all inspired by the same seeds of passion and love.”

Nicole learned this lesson from her parents at an early age. “My very first job was picking up nails on my father’s job sites,” she says. “At some point I graduated from picking up nails to pounding them, then to painting and to helping in the construction of homes with my dad. I helped build my family home when I was 14. Three years later, after it burned down, I helped build it again.” Nicole says these skills, along with those she learned in the Girl Scouts— “a little art, a little sewing, a little resource- fulness”—have been key to the success of Entreamigos, the nonprofit organization she founded in 2006.

More than 12 years ago, after completing college in the U.S., Nicole spent time traveling in Mexico. She eventually fell in love with the sleepy coastal town of San Francisco in the state of Nayarit. She says, “I didn’t come to Mexico to start a nonprofit. But I was living in this tiny town that needed and really wanted the opportunities of tourism, but didn’t seem quite prepared to make the most of it. There were serious economic and educational needs in the village, and people arriving in the community who had skills and resources to offer, yet the connection between the two wasn’t happening. It seemed like with just a little impulse or a little bridging, everyone’s best intentions could help San Francisco grow in a healthy, community- centered way.”

Nicole wrote what she refers to as a “mini- manifesto,” an idealistic plan for what San Francisco could be if everyone worked together. She explains what happened next: “A friend who is a former teacher offered to support me for a year so I could try to make my vision a reality. He told me, ‘If you don’t do it now, you will always wonder.’ That is how Entreamigos was born.”

The nonprofit began small—offering community art classes and establishing a store to sell locally made crafts. Other classes quickly followed because, Nicole says, “at Entreamigos we believe that everyone has something to teach and everyone has something to learn.”

In 2009, the Nayarit state government gave Entreamigos the rights to remodel an abandoned milk processing facility on the town’s main street. “The community came together to remodel the facility using a ‘green’ design, and it now serves many purposes,” Nicole says. “Approximately 150 kids use the facility each day for classes in technology, sports, circus, art, or just to read a book in the library or get help with homework. Adults come as well for classes, workshops, and conferences. In 2013, we offered more than 700 classes to the community. One of the hardest things for us to do now is to keep track of it all and to let people know about everything that is happening.”

Nicole explains that she learned a valuable lesson about scale and impact through the experience of Entreamigos’ scholarship program. “At one time in the early years we had 150 kids on scholarship,” she says, “but we really couldn’t keep track of them all. Today we have about 70 kids but we know everything about them, their families, and their challenges. We also know that every single one will be able to go to college if they choose to. That is a generational change that will be of true long- term value in our small community.”
Nicole’s decision to create her family’s life in Mexico was not an easy one. But, in her words, “If you believe in something with the whole of your heart then you have to jump in with two feet and go all the way to the deep end.”

The Riviera Nayarit Gringo says – This is The place to stay!

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 Roberto’s Bungalows

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Roberto’s Bungalows winner of the Tripadvisor award for top 10% worldwide businesses to have the best reviews of the year in 2013.

San Pancho rentals, Mexico rentals San Pancho Mexico, Roberto’s Bungalows in San Pancho. Check us out on Tripadvisor. In 2013 we were in the top 10% of businesses worldwide for our reviews!

Roberto´s Bungalows , San Pancho Vacation Rental´s are located in San Francisco (San Pancho) Riviera Nayarit, Mexico (35 miles North of Puerto Vallarta and a few miles north of Punta Mita, Litibu and five minutes from the famous surfing village of Sayulita. Just past San Pancho are Los De Marcos and La Penita . We are just a few minutes walk from one of the most beautiful beaches on the Riviera Nayarit Coast .This is the best kept secret up the coast.

http://www.robertosbungalows.com

www.rivieranayaritgringo.com

Enter into a private tranquil courtyard, where you are taken back to the Hacienda times of old Mexico to five beautiful rentals. They surround a beautiful lush tropical garden courtyard and large pool.

Our rentals have kitchens and living space that are open to the tropical courtyard and have blinds for privacy. The large bedrooms and nice size bathrooms all have Air Conditioning and ceiling fans.

Our grounds are safe and very private with keyed entry. Each rental is fully equipped with all the amenities that you will need to enjoy your stay in paradise. Restaurants and everything you might need are minutes away. The beach is less than a 5 minute walk. This is the place to stay if you are looking for a peaceful, quiet town with everything you would like to just chill. San Pancho is becoming the place to be, so if you are thinking of visiting please make your reservations as soon as you know you will be coming!

Roberto´s Bungalows would be the perfect setting for private parties and small weddings.

This is our Downtown!

This is our Downtown!

A beautiful night in January

A beautiful night in January

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San Pancho Sunset

San Pancho Sunset