Monthly Archives: April 2019

Family Sojourn


On our way home from Mexico we stopped in Winnipeg to see Kyle, Ashley and Elias and in Ottawa to see Michelle, Tim, Wyatt, Jackson, Nathan and Jordan.  It was a direct flight from PV to Winnipeg and the same from Winnipeg to Ottawa.  Too easy!

Elias, now 6 months old,  seemed very happy to see us.  He is very calm and accommodating letting us pick him up and hug him without a fuss.  He is eating some solid food now and growing quickly.  We think that he will be a tall guy like his Papa Dave.


Kyle and Ashley live in Woolsley, a great area of town not far from Polo Park.  So we walked over there with Ashley and Elias on a warm and dry Winnipeg day.



On the way back we snapped a few pics in and around the beautiful Assiniboine River just a block or two from their home.

On Good Friday Marie and Dave walked to Kateri Tekawitha Parish to attend their cross veneration service.  We always try to visit this Oblate parish when we are in town.  It was great to see some old friends there.



Fr Francois Paradis, OMI and Pastor Fr Robert Laroche, OMI


Parishioner Sister Eva Solomon who we had met on our 2018 Holy Land pilgrimage

The night before we all relaxed after going out for some great Italian food for Dave’s upcoming birthday.  Ashley surprised Dave with an absolutely delicious chocolate fudge cheesecake she made from scratch.  Boy was it good – all 3 pieces!  Thanks again Ashley!



It was soon time to head to Ottawa but not before a few more hugs with Elias.



We flew to Ottawa without a problem and it was time to continue the family party on Easter Sunday.


Wyatt and Jackson


Nathan and Sarah

We finally made it home to Arnprior on Easter Sunday afternoon after these great family visits.  Of course the party continued when Dave had his official birthday celebration at home.  Thanks Marie!




We received a couple of georgeous follow-up photos of Elias and Ashley on their Easter family getaway.



It was a a very enjoyable end to our 2019 snow bird get away.  Thank you Kyle and Ashley and Michelle and Tim for your hospitality and warm welcome home.  Now if it would ever warm up here…



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Mexico by the numbers


This is not what you think it says, just like Mexico is not what you think it is…

Well we have completed our 2019 sojourn to Nuevo Vallarta and are looking forward to returning next winter. Our 8th floor condo looked out on the beach and pools and was like being on a cruise ship that never went anywhere. Best cabin we ever had.

We have been blown away by the overall beauty of the place, particularly the weather and beach. It is the cleanest beach we have seen save perhaps for Florida panhandle barrier island‎ beaches.  The Mexican people are gentle and polite and seem very happy that we and thousands of others are here.

Yes it seems to say Arnprior Hockey.  Bizarre!

Some challenges. Toll free phone numbers to Canada often do not work.‎ It is a different banking system here but hey so is the US. It is mostly a “credit card” free society and cash rules. The locals are always parading stuff unsolicited for you to buy (but quickly smile and leave when you decline).  The price of golf here is almost 2 x Arnprior prices but 30% cheaper than in FL. Great courses here I must add.  Dave misplaced his bank card and we got locked out of the condo one night, lol.
Love the pedestrian society.  We have not driven a car in nearly 3 months, relying on our feet, busses and taxis. This is very healthy, refreshing and good for the environment given our “knee jerk” use of cars back home.  We had no trouble with the water or food.  Also lived comfortably without an automatic dishwasher!
The entrepreneurial spirit of the Mexicans is to be admired. It seems everyone is operating a small business to rent or sell you something.  ‎For example the “collectivo” 10-12 passenger mini-busses that roar around to take you quickly everywhere are small businesses – the faster he goes, the more the driver makes lol!  Milk in a box that stores for months is a joy here.  Love those Lime scooters!
The prices of food and restaurant meals here are cheaper than in Canada and way cheaper than in the US. The rental accommodation is world-class beach front and cheaper than Florida for the equivalent. There are more Canadians than Americans here and for many good reasons it seems.    We had many visits with friends from home plus enjoyed meeting a growing number of snowbird friends who winter here every year.  Jessica our property manager looked after us extremely well.  We even got to meet her mother, brother and son.
So here goes our ratings for another swell trip:
Nights here: 78
Kms walked: 400+
Busses taken: 50+
Taxis taken: 20+
Yoga classes: 60+
Restaurant meals: 30+
Concerts (jazz, classical, live shows): 10
Stair flights walked up: 45 x 8 floors
Best night: Andales Bar in PV where we danced and sang “Who the xxx is Alice?)
Best meal: tapas at Marival Residence Sky Bar in NV
Best Mexican meal: tacos al pastor at Ponchos in PV
Books read: (Marie 5, Dave 7)
Cloudless sunsets into the ocean: 50+
Laps swum in the pool: 300+
Swims in the ocean: 25
Days of rain: 1
Cloudy days: 6
Ave high/low: 28/17
Weather 10/10
Beach 10/10
Condo location 10/10
Condo 9.5/10 (another bdrm/bthrm would be handy)
Cleanliness of the hood: 10/10
‎People: 9.5/10
Food: 9.5/10
Transportation 10/10
Our rental agent Jessica 10/10
Church experience 10/10
Overall experience/value 9.75/10
Hence as you can see, we are very satisfied and highly recommend Nuevo Vallarta.  But remember, don’t walk on the grass in Mexico – No pisar el pasto favour!  Mexico Si!
Dave and Marie

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Semana Santa


“Abandonment is the supreme expression of love, this giving of oneself to the divine will, which is the total gift of our very selves. This heroic attitude formed from inexpressible trust in God’s Love, from perfect self-renunciation and from loving generosity, is the pinnacle of love.”
Venerable Concepcion Cabrera de Armida                                                              (Wife, mother and writer in Mexico)

We are still in NV and have been hearing about Semana Santa – Holy Week for sometime. Mexicans (there are some 20 million living in cities just a few hours away, flood to ‎PV and NV for 2 weeks of holiday, beach and family time.  Schools are closed for 2 weeks.  The wise we are told, get out-of-town before it is too late.


Apparently there will be huge traffic jams, shortages of food, cash and gas. Church bells will compete with party revellers in one non stop loud and boisterous Mexican mash-up of the spiritual and the physical.  It is a really big religious week here!!!

At Palm Sunday Mass today with 700 Mexicans, we felt the Mexican spirit. Mexicans have not forgotten the mystery of life. Young and old flock to Church here not because they have to but because they want to. You can see respect, joy, calmness‎, love and kindness in their eyes. No one is in a hurry. The Mass lasts over 90 minutes and could go on forever.

On the way in we buy a woven palm frond. There is an entrance processional with people lining the aisles and the Priest sprinkles holy water on all as we wave our palms. The words Viva Christo Rei echo through the church and we bow and join in.


There are no chocolate eggs or Easter Bunny in Mexico.  Instead people will crack cascarones over each other – colourful egg shells filled with confetti. There are large stations of the Cross processions out doors on Good Friday. The city is packed, the hills in the country side call out – Viva Christo Rei!

We all abandon our selves, bow and join in.

Welcome to Semana Santa everyone.



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Enjoy Now


What we do down here in Mexico is go on frequent “outings” to restaurants and bars with a growing circle of friends.

This may sound somewhat counter-culture to our demographic, habits and religious identities back home.  I believe though it is teaching us a lesson. Bare with me.


Wednesday night we went to a fundraiser‎ in nearby La Cruz which is known as “a little drinking town with a fishing problem”. This annual street event raises funds to pay the medical bills of a local family in need.  Wonderful since minimum wage here is $7.50CDN/day.


There were a dozen talented bands all volunteering their time, that played on the street as we watched from our restaurant seats above. There were expats, bare footed people, people in cowboy hats, young and old all dancing in the street and smiling in the warm evening air. The bands ranged from acoustic flamingo type music to Jim Morrison and the Doors. They were all top-notch!


About half way through the evening, I noticed one of the servers had a tee-shirt on that said “Enjoy Now”.  I complimented her on it and she smiled and said thanks. This is so Mexican!  I was too shy to ask to take her picture (this is so Canadian).

The other part of this story is that we were with a friend named Doug who has just lost his wife tragically due to complications from a car accident. He is grieving and needed to talk about his pain all evening.


So I juxtapose these two precepts – the pain of loosing your spouse and “enjoy now”.  Yes we must feel our pain, struggle to get beyond it and enjoy now.  ‎As Marie puts it, the art of letting go of whatever it is that is keeping you off-balance, is what life is all about.  And so, enjoy now is a great lesson.  So folks, wherever you are in life, enjoy now!


PS As I write this on the beach a large group of Mexican volunteers are scouring the beach, digging up cigaret buts and any other litter to take away. Says it all about the lovely, gracious and humble Mexican people who are teaching us how to enjoy now.


PPSS Minutes after posting this Ron Rolheiser, OMI sent out a post saying the same thing that he had written a few years back…

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Around The Bay


Banderas-Bay-Mexico-mapWe have now journeyed around most of Banderas Bay … by bus – from Boca de Tomatlan on the right hand side to Punta Mita at the extreme left.  The coastline is about 100 km long as it’s a very big bay.

Our first outing to Boca was to go to the Ocean Grill restaurant for lunch.  This required us to take 3 separate busses which took 90 minutes to journey the approx. 40 km to get there.  The bus ride was exhilarating looking out at small beaches and upscale villas and resorts.  It cost us only about $3.50CDN each.  We met our friends in Boca as planned but unfortunately the restaurant decided not to open that day.  They claimed the waves were too rough for our short boat ride from the pier to the restaurant.  Bruce remarked that it was much calmer that day than the last time they had been there.  Such is life.  We had a great lunch at another restaurant taking the “Pacifico” beer in.  We headed home by bus stopping in PV for a little souvenir shopping.







Our second outing was to Punta Mita at the other end of Banderas Bay.  This time we took 2 busses lasting approx. 90 mins to get there.  This ride was scary going around some blind hairpin corners almost on two wheels.  Punta Mita is a fishing village and luxury resort town known for upscale homes, golf courses and private beaches. The public El Anclote Beach, backed by restaurants, has gentle surf. We had la nice lunch as we watched kids learning to surf.  The beach is rather rocky here and not to our liking.  Offshore are the Marieta Islands, with wildlife such as humpback whales and blue-footed boobies (birds).  We wandered around town, did some shopping and caught the bus for home.  This time the bus stalled several times and the young driver drove into a gas station to gas it up with everyone on board.  He then proceeded to drag race other busses as we hung on for dear life.  This is Mexico folks!  Another great day!






And we are under the protection of Our Lady of Guadalupe here, even on the bus where this photo was taken.










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