Once Again                                                               February 2, 2006

you will obtain the weather information required to either exchange the snow shovel and mukluks for Bermuda shorts and boogie board or batten down the hatches for 6 more weeks of Arctic wind and snow blowing down from our northern neighbor.   The Texans have attempted to duplicate the Punxsutawney event with Al but the charm and mystique is somehow lost through the process of digging him out of his burrow with a backhoe and hoisting him upright with a crane.   And each year it requires more and more timber to brace him in a “standing” position long enough to look for his shadow.   Phil, on the other hand, merely pops out of a tree trunk when summoned and is light enough to be carried about without the assistance of earth moving equipment…

Somehow, I managed to survive this day with only a few minor scrapes.   I did, however, have several near death moments while leaping from rock to rock in an effort to keep up with my gazelle-like daughter who turned a leisurely canyon stroll into an episode of “Survivor."  Those familiar with us know that one of our favorite activities (NO! I’m not talking about sex!!) is eating.   There is a plethora of restaurants in the San Carlos/Guaymas area and a half dozen or so within walking (YUK!) distance of our campground (why did God even bother to make Jeeps if he expected people to walk everywhere??).  My sidekick’s favorite eatery in San Carlos is a place called El Bronco…it is also one of the more expensive… coincidence?? One of the waiters looks exactly like, in my humble opinion, a rather famous person…my bride doesn’t agree…

or the “Devil may care” attitude of that 6’3” 540 pound scourge of the Texas panhandle, Amarillo Al…

Getting to bed at a “reasonable” hour each night meant that we had plenty of time and energy to take the kid exploring during the day.   One exploration included a day of hiking, climbing and spelunking in Nacapule Canyon, a local area inundated with tropical plants, mysterious critters and spooky caves.   My bride, not being much of an adventurer when it entails interacting with wild creatures sporting rows of sharp teeth and darting tongues, decided to forgo this particular trip…

We are once again at that time of year when the eyes of America turn toward a small town in western Pennsylvania in anticipation of the annual Nostradamus-like proclamation by a large rat whose only claim to fame is his ability to garner so much attention every February 2nd; Groundhog Day!   And so, whether it is the charisma and notoriety of Punxsutawney Phil that draws your attention…

In a landslide victory, my brother-in-law became the first Gringo to win the annual Amarillo Al look-alike contest.   As Grand Marshall of the Dia Del Puerco parade (Day of the Pig), he was driven through the streets of San Carlos in the back of a dump truck, naked, and occasionally popping out of a mound of dirt, grunting and flailing his arms about while in search of his shadow.   Several of the local children were so frightened by the sight that they ran off screaming into the jungle while their parents pelted him with bananas in an effort to drive him further underground.   I found a bargain on a case of Cuban rum and now have a lifetime supply of banana daiquiris.   Goundhog Day is also one of the 2 holidays per year for which we send out greeting cards…the other is Saint Patrick’s Day.   We tried sending out Arbor Day greetings for a spell but suspended the practice after all of our Republican friends thought we had become enviro-wackos and stopped talking to us.   Regardless of the prognostications of either of these future bath mats, we are still happily immersed in the “mañana” lifestyle on the beaches of San Carlos.   Christmas was made infinitely more special this year by the arrival of our youngest kid who stayed with us through New Year’s.   We had the opportunity to squire her around town and show her off to all of our fellow olde farts.   She did have a bit of trouble adjusting to the hectic pace of our nightlife but after a few evenings of maneuvering through the wheelchairs and walkers in our favorite haunts, and the inevitable bruises and contusions on legs and feet, she finally adapted to our 8pm bedtime just fine.

Hugs and smooches, Chuck and Zookie

P.S. Check out http://discoversonora.blogspot.com/

The waiter is the guy on the right.   Recognize him??  Be careful now, you may be dating yourself.   Drop us an e-mail if you know who he looks like.   Send us one even if you don’t!   Be sure to include cash!   And, NO, I am really not that much larger than most living creatures…. the indigenous people are just rather small around here.   Well, folks, I’ve rambled on for about as long as your endurance will permit, so we’ll wrap it up for the time being and see y’all on the next go round.   I know that this missive is much longer than I usually send but I want to include one last picture of us at the local New Year’s Eve event because it is the one time each year that we don’t wear shorts and t-shirts and actually get “dressed up”…