It was almost exactly ten months ago that we were here at Embarcadero Chago (Chago's Marina) on Lago Avandaro near Valle de Bravo.
At the time, our host Chago and his wife Carmen had a 12 year old son (Isidro) and a 10 year old daughter (Mariel).
Now, they also have 8 day old Fatima! Their newest daughter was born December 27, and Chago still seems a little confused about the whole scenario!
When we arrived yesterday, we looked for our friends Paco and Oty. They have an old truck camper on the property that they have made into their weekend paradise here at the marina. They live in the city of Toluca, which is about an hour and a half away. They also are part of a rare group of Mexicans who happen to own a motorhome. Paco is retired, but they have to wait three more years for Oty to retire in order to travel as much as they want to in Mexico with their motorhome.
Despite the fact that Paco and Oty speak English about as good as Ruth and I speak Spanish, we hit it off with them right away last March and we've been looking forward to getting together with them again. They had been out getting some fruits and veggies and so they arrived back shortly after we did. Our apartment wasn't quite ready, so we spent the afternoon with them while Chago got the apartment cleaned up. It usually sits empty during the winter, and they couldn't even find the keys!
Paco and Oty bought themselves a new toy for Christmas!
What do you think? Even trade for the little blue car? No, we wouldn't do that! :-) We like the little blue car! This is actually a Jaguar replicar on a VW chassis. Sure is fun to drive though!
We sat out all afternoon with Paco and Oty. I had brought them one of those special bottles of tequila from Valle de Juarez, Jalisco and we enjoyed that as well as some food and lots of laughs. Good thing we had the Spanish/English dictionary handy. I think we spoke more Spanish yesterday afternoon than we have in the last two months!
Paco, Oty, and Ruth.
In the batch of fruits and veggies, Oti had bought some fresh sugar cane. Have you ever tried fresh sugar cane? It was a new experience for us! You carefully cut it into sticks and then kind of suck the juice and pulp out of it. What does it taste like? Well....sugar!
Cutting up the fresh sugar cane.
Then you kind of run it tightly between your front teeth to suck the juice and pulp out. It was okay for one or two pieces, but too sweet for me!
The apartment was ready, but the kitchen is in a separate room. They still don't have the key for that room, so have said that we can use the fridge from downstairs. Good thing we have all our camping gear for cooking. We've kind of got it all set up on the balcony and told Chago not to worry about it. We'll probably have to do it that way for the next two weeks but it's no big deal.
We were just getting settled in the evening when Paco came and knocked on the door. He had a big round cake with him and said we were all going up to Chago and Carmen's house for a Three Kings Day celebration. It's a traditional cake, and Chago had also bought a bunch of tostados, so we had a nice evening snack with their family as well as hot chocolate and cake. Ruth deals with her gluten allergy pretty well, but I think she was disappointed that she couldn't have any cake!
Mariel, Carmen, new baby Fatima, Chago, Oty, Ruth, Paco. Not sure where Isidro was hiding. I think he ducked when I took the photo!
After we ate, there was another traditional event. Isidro and Mariel both had helium balloons. The tradition is to make a wish, write a note, attach it to the balloons and let it go...and hopefully your wish will come true!
Isidro and Mariel letting their balloons go.
What a great day we had! And even better, Paco and Oty have invited us to their house in Toluca next weekend. We have a pre-arranged meeting spot and we will arrive on Friday afternoon. We'll spend Friday evening with them, then they are going to drive us to a couple of interesting places on Saturday. Then we'll spend Saturday evening with them. Then they will show us central Toluca on Sunday, and Sunday afternoon we will drive back to our apartment here in Valle de Bravo. This works out great because we will go climb the Toluca Volcano (15,400 feet) on Friday before getting to their place!