At the Purcari Winery in the village of Purcari, Moldova. Photo taken December 7, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Tiraspol, Transnistria...the country that doesn't exist.

Where are they going next? Northern Moldova. Arrive December 11th.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Now...that's better!

We arrived here on Tuesday afternoon, and since then we haven't had very good internet. We've been using our BearExtender long distance antenna and it was picking up a very weak unsecured signal. And of course only one of us could be online at a time...and even then, the internet would come and go.

Very frustrating, so that was the first problem we had to fix!

And, because we had been gone for six weeks, there wasn't a lot of food in the fridge. So that's the second problem we had to fix.

Oh, by the way. I had left the fridge running for the entire time we were gone. We had filled up the propane tank and I figured that would easily run the fridge for the six weeks. And it did. The tank is still 1/3 full. We have an indoor/outdoor thermometer and I keep the outdoor sending unit in the fridge. That way, we always know if the fridge is working properly.

Digital Thermometer with Indoor/Outdoor Temperature

And, it keeps a record of the highest and lowest temperatures. While we were gone, the lowest temp in the fridge was 1C and the highest was 7C. In the motorhome itself, the lowest temp was 11C and the highest was 32C.

Beautiful day. Sunny, and about 25C (77F). Perfect.

Around 1:00pm we walked up to the road and flagged down a collectivo taxi. These are shared taxis. From here, the price to go the 5 kms (3 miles) into the town of Valle de Bravo is 13 pesos ($1.08 CAD) each. When we first came to this area in 2010, the price was 10 pesos. But the cost of gasoline in Mexico has gone up a lot since then.

We found a TelCel cellular store and bought a new SIM card for the iPhone. They were on sale for 50 pesos ($4.15 CAD) and included 90 pesos ($7.50 CAD) worth of credit. Good deal. Then, we bought another 400 pesos ($33.20 CAD) worth of credit and activated a data package for 3 GB valid for one month. Now we can use the iPhone in hotspot mode and both be on the internet at the same time if we wish.

Next, we stopped at a computer supply store and bought a 10 meter (32 ft) USB extension cable. Now we can put the BearExtender antenna on the roof if we need to get a better free wifi signal from a distance.

Next, we walked to the big Chedraui grocery store. There is both a Chedraui and a Soriana in Valle de Bravo, but we find that the Chedraui has better prices. 

We spent a total of 1,380 pesos ($114 CAD).

(Note for our American readers. You can subtract another 30% from the Canadian dollar prices I've listed. It is very cheap in Mexico for anybody with U.S. dollars!)

Stocked up on beer and wine. 24 beer and 4 litres of white wine and 4 litres of red wine for a total cost of  538 pesos ($44.65 CA). Nice.

We've been coming to Mexico for 8 years and while prices for most items have gone up, we don't think it's by very much. Groceries are still much cheaper here than in Canada or the U.S.

We had quite a load of stuff so we took a private taxi from the store back to Sherman. Cost was 50 pesos ($4.15 CAD).

Later that afternoon, our friend Chago who owns the marina where we are parked suggested that we move Sherman to a nicer spot. So he and one of his employees got an old trailer out of the way and we fired Sherman up for the move. We got parked up nice and level, and have a gorgeous view out of our front and side windows, as well as a nice patch of grass and greenery out our front door.

Perfect!  GPS 19.224730, -100.139089

I'll take a video of the property and location for you all and post it tomorrow. We love it here!

And, I tried the extension cable with the wifi antenna, and now we get a nice strong unsecured (and free!) signal so we've got lots of internet available. Nice!

Ruth spotted one of these birds again. A groove-billed ani, almost the same as the one we saw in Colombia which was smooth-billed ani, which is strange because we don't think we've ever seen one in Mexico.



38 comments:

  1. You may have never seen an ani in Mexico, but that's their home turf. :)

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    1. I even saw one along the Texas coast several years ago

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    2. I guess we just haven't noticed any before but we are becoming a little more into birds now so we are starting to notice more different varieties than we had before. We have a long, long way to go before we could ever get even close to your authority on all the different birds, Judy. Somehow, I don't see that happening. ;-)

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    3. We saw Groove-Billed Anis in Belize and have seen a couple in Playa del Carmen as well. Never seen a Smooth-billed!

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    4. We hadn't seen either until this year, the smooth-billed ani in Colombia and now the groove-billed one here in Mexico. Yesterday we saw 4 of them on the wall beside us. :-)

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  2. Nice for you to be settled back home again. Enjoy..

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    1. We most certainly will George, thanks!

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  3. We have lived in Mexico, Lake Chapala area for a little more than 5 years. The USD/MXN peso exchange rate has gone from around 11 or 12 to one dollar up to over 17 to one USD. I remember the first time it went over 14 to one, very briefly. Like you said, gasoline goes up every month, which is about to change. (However we usually go a month or so on a tank of gas.) Of course when we take the motorhome to the coast, (Coconutz RV Park) we use quite a bit more gas! Utilities creep up a little every year. Everything else seems to stay about the same. Our favorite restaurants still have the same menus for the most part. Fresh vegetables seem too cheap to even think about how much they cost. Real Estate taxes are also too inexpensive to even think about. The climate here is so moderate, that we do not have central heat or air conditioning in our house.

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    1. Gasoline hasn't gone up since last January.

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    2. Oh, sorry, I did not notice. It used to go up a few centavos every month, I guess I just assumed that it still was. Good News! Like I said, unless we are traveling in the motorhome, we only fill up every month or so, and in the motorhome, the total is just such a large number, I do not pay much attention to it either. I just try to calculate the miles per gallon. Enjoy your caravan experience. We are headed to Cuyutlán the day after Christmas for a while. I will be sure the check the gasoline prices the next few times I get gas. Thanks for the "heads up" on that.

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    3. Gas is supposed to go up in price again at the beginning of the new year then it should be the same price for the rest of the year. It is always possible that they might change their minds!

      Enjoy Cuyutlán, the area around there is quite nice but still too hot for us. ;-) We can do beaches for about a week or two then we want to get back in the mountains.

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  4. ? can one swim in that lake?? kj/ajijic

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    1. Yes, on the weekends it's quite busy with people boating and water skiing and tubing. No reason that you couldn't go for a swim.

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  5. do you use a special program for posting videos on the blog? one that doesn't eat up the data.

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    1. No, unfortunatey doing anything with video is going to use up a lot of data. The only thing I've learned is to make sure the camera setting is on 720p.

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  6. It's always a good feeling to get home again and find everything is still working.... especially if you left stuff in the freezer ;-)

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    1. It is a good feeling and we are really enjoying it! :-)

      Yes, we had a few things in the fridge and freezer, so it was nice to see that the fridge kept working right through for us.

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  7. Sounds like you have been very busy since returning to Sherman.

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    1. Not really, we have had lots of time to just relax, which is really nice.

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  8. Do you share the signal from your BearExtender to more than one computer? From what I understand it only connects to one PC?

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    1. No, that's the one drawback. You are correct that it will only connect to one PC at a time. But at $45 USD it's reasonably priced for what it does, and it works amazingly. They have an outdoor model for RVs that is probably the one I should have bought but it looks like it's more for a permanent setup.

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    2. Actually, I think that you could share the Bear Extender's signal by uising the laptops wifi... You could create a 'hotspot' similar to what you do with your iPhone.

      Here is a tutorial for Win 7... It should also work with other versions of Windows.

      http://lifehacker.com/5369381/turn-your-windows-7-pc-into-a-wireless-hotspot

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    3. We have tried this before Alex but it has never worked for us. Having said that I don't think we have tried with our new computers. Kevin, will check out the link and give it another try, maybe this time it will work, it sure would be nice if it does.

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  9. I am very impressed that the propane lasted for the refrigerator. Good to know though.

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    1. We have a fairly large 20 gallon tank. I was pretty sure that it would be fine. I was more worried about it going out for whatever reason and the mess that we would have to deal with. But fortunately that never happened!

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  10. Welcome back and a big THANKS for a fun trip!
    Loved your shopping trip!
    Time to relax and enjoy your lovely spot by the water.

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    1. Thank you Connie and Barry, so glad that you enjoyed our trip.

      We are really enjoying this relaxing thing! :-)

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  11. Good thing was this year we didn´t have any fuel increases after January. We expect one next month. I guess since I don´t use dollars I don´t see much difference except for seasonal produce. Wine has gone up only because Mexican wines have come so far over the years. Vodka Oso Negro hasn´t changed much, still a bargain. If we do a survey of Mexican food products in dollars it hasn´t changed much. Also, Monterrey is the most expensive city so basics cost more like milk. Eggs have remained cheap and we don´t buy a lot of animal product anymore so I couldn´t say.

    Great site for Sherman.

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    1. That's what we figured but maybe they will think twice about raising it in January with the price of oil so low, would be nice if they left it where it is. ;-)

      The cheap wine we drink has gone up a bit over the years but no more than 10 pesos at the most. Like you said, we haven't noticed a huge increase since coming here in 2007 other than gas really. I know for the locals electricity is high as well, and of course the price gas will be hurting many of them too. Even with the higher price of gas, I think we live cheaper here than if we stayed in the US for the winter but a lot of that has to do with the way we travel and how we overnight.

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  12. What a lovely place to relax for the next few weeks...and some free internet :)

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    1. It is one of our three favourite places in Mexico and it will be the longest that we have stayed here. We think there is lots to do around the area that will keep us busy, so we won't be bored!

      Being able to get free internet is a bonus too! :-)

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  13. Really looks like you could be comfy there! I like the photo of the Groove-billed Ani -- never saw one before! Welcome back to North America!

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    1. We will have no problem sitting back and relaxing here. We have a beautiful view and there are lots of places in the area that we can go out and explore that we haven't had time to see before and the weather is perfect for us.

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  14. Glad to see you've got your priorities straight - internet first, food second. LOL!!
    What a fabulous spot you've put Sherman in. I might never move from there.

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    1. Yep, got to get the priorities straight! ;-)

      We love it here, a beautiful view, perfect weather, no bugs and lots to do. We are looking forward to sitting in one spot for a month, it will certainly be a change for us after the last 6 weeks.

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    2. Yes, we are enjoying sitting still as well! While the traveling is exciting and a lot of fun, it can be exhausting and the down time is also necessary.

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    3. We totally agree with you Esther! Sometimes it is hard to rembember this though, when you are travelling around in a country and you know you only have so much time there and want to see as much as you can because you aren't sure if you will ever be back again.

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