More thoughts on Mexico

Puerto Peñasco signs and buildings.
A view from downtown Puerto Peñasco.

A friend told me she and her husband visited Puerto Peñasco 25 years ago and there was nothing there but a campground. Today, there are giant towers of condos, hotels, restaurants, beach houses and three golf courses. The marina is packed with fishing and pleasure boats.

I wonder what the residents of Puerto Peñasco think about this?

Are they happy because American tourists have turned the town into a flourishing tourist town? Or, do they resent us with our brand new cars driving into town throwing our money around? Maybe they liked the quiet Mexican fishing village pre tourist destination? Or, maybe they like the jobs and opportunities for a higher standard of living? I don’t know.

Here are more photos from our trip last weekend:

Statue of El Camaronero downtown Puerto Peñasco
El Camaronero statue downtown dated 2003.
Shrimp dinner at Pedros Puerto Peñasco
My dinner at Pedro’s. Fresh, delicious and $8.
Pedro's seafood restaurant in Puerto Peñasco
The exterior of Pedro’s restaurant. There were six tables inside and two on the deck overlooking the ocean.
Las Palomas golf and beach resort, pool bar
View of the ocean and pool bar from the condo we rented.
Sandy Beach Condos Puerto Peñasco
A view of Sandy Beach where condo developments have sprung up during the past 20 years. I should have gotten a massage from one of the many vendors lined up on the beach. Next time.

What are your thoughts about Americans coming into a sleepy fishing village and turning it into a tourist destination? Do you think the Mexicans appreciate the changes? Why or why not?

I enjoyed watching pelicans dive into the ocean and catch fish.

A weekend in paradise

Sunset in Puerto Peñasco on Sandy Beach
Here’s the sunset view from Saturday night.

My husband has been dying to go to Puerto Peñasco (known as Rocky Point to the gringos) for at least six months. I’ve been hesitant because it’s a four-and-a-half-hour drive south and across the border into Mexico. Number one, I can’t stand long drives.

Number two, we hear all these stories of drug cartels and crime in Mexico, so I’ll admit, I was a little afraid. Then, the neighbor across the street said she and her family went to Mexico and got COVID. They had to quarantine in their hotel room for 10 days before they could come home.

She said “People think what’s the big deal, you’re in Mexico at the beach? But we weren’t allowed to leave our hotel room and we weren’t enjoying great food. It was hard.”

vendors on Sandy Beach in Puerto Peñasco
Sitting under a palapa outside the hotel, the parade of vendors selling everything from tamales to henna tattoos give the beach a circus atmosphere. The vendors aren’t allowed inside the rope fence and they do respect the boundary.

The drive wasn’t bad at all once we got out of Phoenix. I even drove part of it. We drove through Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument which was beautiful.

Organ Pipe National Monument visitor center
The visitor center at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument with an Organ Pipe Cactus in front.

I absolutely love Puerto Peñasco! I loved being at the ocean. I didn’t realize how much I missed it. The food was amazing and cheap. Fresh seafood to my heart’s content at around $20 for dinner for two. The accommodations were wonderful.

I’m so thrilled I got out of my comfort zone and went exploring with my husband. We’ll definitely be back — and I’ll post more photos and details this week.

Downtown Puerto Peñasco after dinner Friday night. The young man on the drums impressed us.

Where have you been hesitant to travel to and then once there discovered you loved it?

Traveling the world — or not?

Beach house near Santa Barbara
We’ll be returning to this beach cottage for the sixth time this summer.

When you go on vacation, do you like to return to the same place — or do you like to explore new areas?

I read a Wall Street Journal story called: “The Joy of Traveling to the Same Places Again and Again.” It’s written by novelist Tara Isabella Burton who wanted to travel everywhere when she was in her 20s. Now, that she’s older and married, she longs to go back to the cities and regions she loves deeply.

WHEN I WAS young I wanted to go everywhere. I had notebooks’ worth of lists: half-imagined, half-researched, of all the places I would fly off to without warning. It was easy for me to travel—I went to university in England during the golden age of budget European airlines. I could buy flights from London to Slovakia or Italy for under $10, or student-fare Eurostar tickets to Paris for $25. I would spend 4½ dreary and bleary-eyed hours on the bus from Oxford to London Stansted to catch a morning flight for a $50 weekend in Istanbul or Marrakech. I had a sense of myself as someone with wanderlust, an inchoate desire to be anywhere but where I was. Raised eclectically—I barely knew my Italian father; my American mother changed our home base with the school year—I gloried in the fact that I was never at home, anywhere. And so, there was nothing to keep me still.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-joy-of-traveling-to-the-same-places-again-and-again-11647345601?mod=life_work_featured_pos3

She goes on to say that she began to fall in love with certain areas and made friends. She’s pulled these days to traveling to those few locations.

I like to return to the same place for vacation. We spent two decades vacationing in Laguna Beach in the summer. Lately, it’s been the Santa Barbara area. We have friends there, restaurants and beaches we love. It’s like going to my happy place. We also like to visit Park City — another place with friends and natural beauty.

My memories as a child are vacationing at our cabin, Ocean Shores and Sun Valley, Idaho for skiing. We went to a few more places like the once in a lifetime big trip to Hawaii and the road trip to Disneyland. But for the most part, vacations were in the same few places and in the same hotels or condos.

I think there’s a certain comfort in returning to places we love. When traveling to somewhere new, I’m a little anxious, while returning to the places I love feels like going home.

What are your thoughts about traveling to new places, versus returning to places over and over again?

Feeling out of sorts

A view from our beach vacation.

The last few days of our beach vacation, ringing began in my right ear. Then vertigo. I’m a mess. Some days it’s worse than others. Some days it goes away completely. Other days, it’s hard to function.

After two weeks I went to an ENT. I’m worried because a friend’s daughter had a side effect to the COVID vaccine of tinnitus. It’s really bad and they don’t know if it will ever go away. I googled it and it is a rare side effect to the shot, although they aren’t entirely sure that it’s related or due to something else.

In any case, the ENT PA told me my ears are fine, but my right sinus is not — and that might be causing the problems of vertigo and ringing in the ear.

They put me on prednisone. This is my first time taking it and to be honest — it’s not great. My poor son, who suffers from severe asthma has been on it every few years. I remember the first time his allergy doctor prescribed it — I didn’t fill the Rx. When I returned with my son, who was still sick, I got scolded from the doctor who said, “Doctor Mom, WHERE did you receive your medical degree?”


I had heard so many horror stories about kids and prednisone but the doctor assured me he wasn’t prescribing anything that would put my child in danger. Right. Ten years after my son was put on an inhaler for his asthma, they discovered it stunted growth. He was on it from fourth grade until a year ago. But on the bright side, he is alive

I’m alive too although feeling out of sorts. The ringing in the ear isn’t bad today and I don’t have vertigo. In a month I’ll go back to the ENT and hopefully I’ll be AOK. If not, the next step is an MRI and perhaps sinus surgery.

Have you ever not taken an Rx that a doctor prescribed for you? Have you second guessed your children’s doctor? Have you had tinnitus or vertigo and how did you get over it?

It’s all about the sea

Cloudy day at the beach with sun peeking through
Evening at the beach during a cloudy day, looking north. University of California Santa Barbara is at the furthest point of land in the distance.

Our vacation is centered around the ocean. Every morning we start the day with a long beach walk. Then after the strong rays of sunshine and crowds leave the beach, we head back to sit, read and walk some more.

Yesterday was cloudy and I wasn’t sure about going to the beach in the evening. I thought it would be too cold. But it was quiet and peaceful, except for the roar of the ocean. I sat watching perfect wave after wave curl into a barrel. Only two other families were at the mile long beach. I felt so thankful to be here on vacation.

beautiful blue sea and sky that matches
Walking south during the cloudy day. I loved how the blues of the water and sky matched.

One thing that surprises me is that our friends who live here don’t take advantage of the beach. One friend said she’d like to join me for a beach walk this weekend. That she hasn’t walked on the beach since last time we were here! I think that was last August. To give her credit, they do own a sailboat and sail one day per week.

I know if I lived here I’d make it to the beach every single day. At least for my morning walk. I wouldn’t take it for granted having lived for 35 years in the desert.

Where you live do you take your environment for granted? Or do you try to enjoy it to the fullest?

“Do good. Be good. We’ll be doing good.”

Every August we’re at the beach. I can look back through my facebook or instagram posts and see photos from the same location this week for the past six or seven years. Before that, we were at Laguna Beach — an entirely different beach, but still… While I’m finally relaxing into “beach mode” here’s a look back at what I wrote in August 2015:

My son learning to dive with the swim team.
My son learning to dive with the swim team. He’s third from the right.

“Do Good. Be Good. We’ll Be Doing Good.”

This was the recorded message our son made for our answering machine when he was four years old. I saved that for years. It was on our landline, which is now non-existent, or I’d probably still be using it.

What a thoughtful thing for our young son to say. My husband and I adopted that saying as our family motto. We repeated those word often to each other and to our children.

A walk on the UCSB campus during our vacation.
A walk on the UCSB campus during our vacation.

I try to do good. Be good. Some days it’s a bigger struggle than others. But, it’s something to think about, too. What are we doing with our lives? Are we making a difference? Is the world a better place because we are in it? Are we being good to each other? To strangers? To family and friends?

A lot has to do with our outlook. I’m definitely one of the “glass half full” types. I try to look at the positive and stay away from those who are negative. Turning on the TV can put you into negativity land. I truly believe that we can stay positive by removing negative influences around us. Turn off the TV. Listen to music. Read interesting books and essays. Swim! Like Ray Bradbury said, “Garbage in, garbage out!”

My kids at the age when my son recorded the voice mail message.
My kids at the age when my son recorded the voice mail message. Vacation pic from years ago.

After spending a week in paradise—otherwise known as Carpinteria, CA—I look back on our vacation as perfect. We have great friends who live there who inspire me. I always come home with so much energy from being around positive, hard working entrepreneurs.

Also, my children spent a bit of the week with us. What a treat that was for me! With two college aged kids, having them together was priceless. We rode bikes, hiked, swam in the ocean, sailed, shared meals together. It’s hard to leave them, but I’m so thankful for the time we had together. That’s my glass half full talking as I sit in my lonely, quiet house once again.

Our main mode of transportation on our vacation.
Our main mode of transportation on our vacation.

I’m proud to say my kids look truly happy. They are definitely doing and being good.

My kids and friend.
My kids and son’s girlfriend.

What good things are you doing today? Is your glass half full or half empty? Can you give an example of your outlook and how it affects your day?

Here’s a link to a swim parenting article I wrote. It’s about Teagan O’Dell, an up and coming swimmer, who broke a second National record of Missy Franklin’s. It’s from her mom’s perspective: Marni O’Dell on Raising Teagan.

A vacation to recover from vacation?

Carpinteria State Beach, known as the world’s safest beach.

I am guilty of over planning vacations. I did this when I was first married and my husband and I would leave Palm Springs to return to my home state of Washington. I’d bring my Daytimer with me and schedule visits with friends and relatives — sometimes on the half hour.

Honestly, I’m not that bad anymore. But this year, after moving from our former home of 28 years in December 2020, we decided to stop for two days in Palm Springs. It’s on the way to the coast after all. We stayed with my dad, took him out to dinner and spent the next morning with him. My husband had meetings with his boss and met with others (they’re still working remotely). These were the first in-person encounters since March 2020. I visited with one of my former swim parents who remains a close friend. I got my hair done by my hairdresser who needs to move to Arizona. That’s a lot to pack into the “start to our vacation.”

Once at the coast, our VRBO was still 24 hours away. We stopped in with other dear friends that we haven’t seen in a year. We had dinner with them, spent the night and hung out until check-in time.

FINALLY — we made it into our VRBO and said “Whew! It’s time for vacation.” My husband set up his remote station and immediately the phone began to ring. It’s his “week off” which turned into days of driving, meetings and no down time. The rest of the time he’ll be working remotely.

I had scheduled an interview. It’s for a story I’m writing about a swim mom of a 14-year-old who is breaking Missy Franklin’s records. I figured if my husband is working, I can squeeze a little work in, too.

Then I got an invitation to a luncheon tomorrow. My friend said I have to go because it’s in a historical landmark and it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity. I told her I can’t go because although I packed a few sundresses, I only brought a pair of flip flops and running shoes. She told me either one is fine. I begged to differ for a fancy ladies’ luncheon. She told me to check out the two boutiques in Summerland, which are two blocks from our VRBO.

I told her they wouldn’t have my size. I have very big feet for a 5’4″ frame. Guess what? I found two pairs of sandals that fit. They are a bit dressier than my beach flip flops, but probably not dressy enough. I’ll be gone from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow. We have dinner scheduled with friends tonight and over the weekend.

When is it truly vacation? What is vacation? I’m ready for the beach and a good book. I’ve brought a stack of them. If I keep up at this rate, I’ll need a vacation from my vacation. Maybe after a year of mostly solitude, being with friends and family is the vacation?

How do you vacation? Do you over schedule? Or are you able to check out and relax?