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Tuesday, August 31, 2021

Our Granddaughter is a High School Freshman

Aloha Everyone,

Today was our granddaughter’s first day as a high school Freshman. Such an exciting and momentous occasion for her and her parents. After being schooled online for two years, we heard that our granddaughter enjoyed seeing her friends in person.

J.J. and I are reminded of the passages of time. Our oldest grandnephew is in second year college, three of their generation are in high school and the 16 1/2 years old just got his drivers permit.

Caught up with a couple of good friends. and updated events in our lives during the past 6 weeks.

Perhaps due to Hurricane Ida, today was a cool and windy day. A few large raindrops  fell on us while J.J. and I were transferring items from Honu to our room.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, August 30, 2021

Safely Back in California

Aloha Everyone,

Arrived safely in California. J.J. and I are staying in Torrance at Extended Stay America. We got the same room as our previous stay so it’s good to be back in a familiar place.

Delayed in take off and experienced some turbulence due to Hurricane Ida. Flight time is 2 hours 58 minutes, but I was able to doze off for about 1/2 hour before our flight took off.

A pleasant Lyft driver named Sam drove us from LAX to pick up Honu. Sam told us that he is originally from Mexico. Interesting conversation about Spanish language. According to Sam, Chileans speak a very different Spanish than the rest of the Spanish speaking world. Chileans have a different vocabulary, use different expressions and even people who are fluent In Spanish take a while to get accustomed to it. Sam also said that Chileans speak fast and run their words together. 

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Packing & Ready to Depart

Aloha Everyone,

My sister asked me if I started to pack our bags. Actually J.J. and I travel very lightly. As customary, we pack our things in two suitcases, small and medium weighing no more than 25 pounds each. J.J. carries his laptop in a small carryon with rollers and handle to pull. Since Ecuador, we check in these 3 items. J.J. in turn carries a small backpack and I carry a cloth backpack plus a small purse.   

I am organizing my iPhone photo albums in preparation for our next adventure. Here are the breakfasts and lunches we enjoyed on our last week in Guadalajara.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, August 27, 2021

Reflections of our Guadalajara Stay

Aloha Everyone,

Accidents do happens. Whether we are living in the United States or in this case, Guadalajara, Mexico, one could fall on a sidewalk.

Thank you so much for those of you who shared with us your own “freaky” accident stories. They are unexpected events that can impact one’s physical and psychological well being.  

One of our friends in Canada wrote that her husband cautions her to be careful after she had a fall. He humorously reminded her that we are no longer “spring chickens.” So true. 

J.J. and I enjoyed our stay in Guadalajara. We experienced kindness. We meet wonderful people everywhere and they make our long-stay that much more memorable.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

People Who Cross Our Path

Aloha Everyone

ISDIN is a line of skincare products. I first discovered it during one of our travels through Spain. It cured my skin condition while no prescription medications worked after numerous visits with American dermatologists.

Yesterday Elena assisted me in identifying a couple of ISFIN products I needed. Today I walked by her pharmacy and she came running after me and said she found the third product I asked about. As Elena, J.J. and I talked, we found out that we have many common interests and experiences. We talked about her trip to Hawaii, our travels through Mexico, our families, etc.

There was so much to share and the three of us could have spent the entire afternoon talking. As Elena and I exchanged our contact information, she said, “Remember you have a friend in Guadalajara. Get in touch with me if there is anything I can do for you.

After spending a day trying to get an appointment for our COVID test, Soledad and her colleague Dinorah helped us in securing one. With a printed appointment confirmation and a directional map for the driver, we will take an Uber to have our Covid test on Saturday morning.

J.J. and I are happy and grateful for these wonderful people who crossed our path. We hope too that it is a beginning of a real friendship.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

International Dining Selections

Aloha Everyone,

Turkish food at Istanbul Restaurant is a delightful change from spicy Mexican meals. Enjoying my salad with lots of olives, tomatoes, cucumbers and onions plus feta cheese, I thought that I can have this everyday. J.J. chose grilled beef with pita bread. His comment was that the meat was tasty but a little tough.

After 5 weeks in Mexico, it was a time for J.J. to look for a Japanese restaurant. This tiny restaurant located at the other end of the mall faces a parking lot. The interior of Asahi is small though we noticed steady diners and people getting take-out. We suspect that they cater to Japanese corporate employees who are stationed in Guadalajara.

Food quality was passable. J.J. savored each bite by commenting, “Ah, this is the taste of home.” I had to assume that he was referring to Los Angeles. Udon was served hot. J.J. thought Gyoza was too salty. I refrained from commenting on the vegetable tempura served with cold rice and lukewarm miso soup. One has to adjust and accept local interpretation of familiar dishes.

Our lunch at Chile’s Plaza del Sol was unexpectedly wonderful. J.J. enjoyed his baby back ribs and I truly loved my house salad plus a small cup of Tortilla soup. Like Sanborns Restaurant, we would go back for another meal.

Aloha -- Cathi

Monday, August 23, 2021

First Week Breakfasts at StayBridge

Aloha Everyone,

Daily breakfast menu is posted in Spanish & English. As the two of us approach the dining area, one of the staff meets us to take our orders. They write on a small sheet of scratch paper in what appears to be Spanish short hand. We are ask to take our seat and our food is assembled and brought to our table.

Our usual server is a small man in his forties. He is always dressed in a pair of black pants and light blue shirt. He has absolutely no personal charm, but he is very efficient moving from table to table. I try to be extra cheerful and greet him “Buenos días” brightly with big smile behind my mask. A few times, he didn’t quite get our orders right and usually coffee or Mexican hot chocolate are served lukewarm. This is not a place to expect great service.  

As you can see, I am getting “creative” with my breakfast which I still regard as the most important meal of the day.

Aloha -- Cathi

Sunday, August 22, 2021

A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende

Aloha Everyone,

Isabel Allende is one of my favorite contemporary writers. With an extensive background research incorporating real historical events and historical individuals, she introduces her fictional characters.  

The story follows two refugees from the Spanish Civil War. Their lives guided by events that were far beyond their control. This is a story of friendship, trust, despair and hope. And finally, it is a story of family and true love.  

Here are some notable quotes from the book:

  “Going around in a sulk will get you nowhere. Pain 
   is unavoidable, but suffering is optional.”

  “Nothing can grow in the shade of secrets, she would
   say, love needs light and space to flourish.”

  “We have to defend democracy, but remember that
   not everything is politics. Without science, industry, 
   and technology, no progress is possible, and 
   without music and art, there's no soul.”

   “Their longstanding friendship turned into a deeper 
    complicity in which there was no room for secrets, 
   suspicion, or offense; they started from the 
   principle that they would never hurt each other and 
   that if this happened, it would be unintentional. 
   They protected each other, which made their 
   present hardships and the ghosts of the past 

Aloha -- Cathi 

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Fabulous Seafoods at Boca del Cielo

Aloha Everyone,

We returned to La Gran Plaza Mall specifically to dine at Boca del Cielo. Restaurants in Mexico typically open for lunch at 1:00 pm. The food is Mexican with assortment of hot chili sauces to spike up your meal.

My grilled salmon prepared with olive oil and garlic had a smoky Hickory flavor. Everything on the plate including corn on the cob, rice with chili pepper and mixed green salad was delicious! J.J. also enjoyed his steamed shrimps. We both agreed that this place is worth waiting until 1:00 pm.

Aloha -- Cathi

Friday, August 20, 2021

Hair, Pedicure, Manicure Appointments

Aloha Everyone,

To keep our appointments for hair, manicure & pedicure simple and less stressful, two days ago we stopped & asked the manager to set aside a block of time for the two of us.

Starting at 1:00 pm, we were attended by a total of 4 technicians. While my nails were being worked on, another person was busy with my hair.

After 3 hours, we emerged pleased with the services rendered. The professional costs for the two of us was $120. We also gave each of our technicians a $10 tip which made them very happy.

J.J. also picked up the glasses which was perfectly repaired. I cannot say the same for my new reading glasses. After taking my eye measurements with what appeared to be a high tech machine, my new pair of glasses are worse than the one I had hoped to replace. You win some and you lose some. Agreeing with J.J.’s advice of “let it go”, I will continue to use my 2 years old prescription glasses from Walmart Cedar City.  

Aloha -- Cathi

Thursday, August 19, 2021

Accident, Happened 10 Days Ago

Aloha Everyone,

This happened 10 days ago. The two of us were excited to choose our horse drawn carriage to go on a tour of Centro Historico. Maintenance of sidewalks in the old city is extremely neglected. I had a numerous times tripped on broken pavements or uneven stone steps only to regain my balance. On this day, J.J. tripped and he was holding my hand. I clearly remember being thrown over and momentary my body hung in the air. I landed on the left side of my face, arm and upper body.

J.J. fared a lot worse. A passerby who happened to be a medical doctor called for ambulance immediately. Two ambulances responded, attended to J.J.’s cuts, put bandages and told us to be careful. The main wound started bleeding again as we slowly walked back to the hotel.

We asked our hotel front desk to call for a doctor. Within 15 minutes Dr. Sandoval was at our door with an assistant. During the first 10 days, J.J. was on antibiotics, pain killer plus he applied antibiotics cream on his wounds.

We were very lucky that the fall did not damage his eye. After 36 hours of bed rest, J.J. felt strong enough to venture to La Gran Plaza Fashion Mall.

Aloha -- Cathi

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Money Changers

Aloha Everyone,

Money Changers are licensed currency exchange dealers. From our past travels to pre-Communist Hong Kong, J.J. would find a small hole in a wall money changer reputed to be honest and offering fair exchange rates from US dollars to Hong Kong dollars.

Here in Guadalajara, Money Changers have established retail store fronts. Concealed behind chain link entrances and surveillance cameras, a money changer sits behind a protective plexiglass enclosure to conduct business.   

From our hotel, I crossed the driveway, then onto the entry for Plaza del Sol. I counted 9 money changers. The most popular and where you always find a line of customers waiting is a bank owned shop.

This is the best one because they publish the daily exchange rate. A quick personal survey showed why there is always a long line. Their rates are at least better.

J.J. had to complete a written form, show his passport and visa which were copied. He had to again sign after receiving the cash.

Aloha -- Cathi

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Plaza del Sol

Aloha Everyone,

Plaza del Sol is the first mall built in Latin America and it is the largest outdoor mall in Guadalajara. Established in 1968, this 52 years old open air shopping center is reminiscent of the original Ala Moana Center in Honolulu. 

A very large Soriana, similar to a Super Walmart in the USA, offers everything from large household appliances, shoes, clothes, to bakery and groceries. When it is pouring outdoors, it’s a great indoor place to walk to get my daily quota.

Sanborns, one of my favorite restaurant chain has a stand alone place in the Plaza del Sol. Their menu is extensive and tempting. However, I have yet to try something new. During our visits, it is always an assortment of tropical fruits with cottage cheese.

Water features are strategically placed to entertain visitors especially children. What is lacking are shoppers. Stores are empty and while I like the idea of not rubbing shoulders with other pedestrians, we are concerned how much businesses in suburbs have been affected by the pandemic.

Aloha -- Cathi