Sunday, June 1, 2014

Mexico Trip May 2014

Me and Joey

Kiley with Joey
Having fun in the surf

I never got in the water...
Taking in the sun
On the beach
Hanging with the fam

Devery, Heidi, me
Tyler sulking
Dorine with Jeannie
Devery with Noelle
Casa Alhaja from the beach

Riding a banana boat
Devery and Easton with Noelle
Jeannie, Stuart, Leah
Some fat guy with Dorine
Don, Margarita, Rosita

Kiley, Sam, Joey
Heidi with Tyter and Kayla
Mason with the sunset
Mason with his (second) cousin Nathan
Steve, his sister Krii, and two of hers
Scary selfie

Sunset on the beach
Kristy, Chris, and kids

Devery, Easton, and kids
Sucking in my gut big-time
Family photo by Kiley

Heidi with Leah

Hailee and Maddi riding horses on the beach
Dorine and I took what has become our annual trip to Casa Alhaja, a nice beachfront home near Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico (partly owned by our son-in-law Easton's parents, Steve and Jeannie Hamblin), starting on Thursday, May 22, and ending on Saturday, May 31.  I actually had to make a business trip to the Washington DC area on Tuesday the 20th, so I flew "back" to Tucson on Thursday and rendezvous'd there with Dorine and most of our family, who'd driven down that day from Albuquerque.  Dorine and Jeannie had worked things out so that we could spend the first four nights of our stay at Casa Alhaja with our children and grandchildren (and with Dorine's brother Don and his family), and then most of them -- excepting Devery and Easton and their kids -- would drive home, and Dorine and I would stay another four nights with the Hamblins.  Thanks to our brother-in-law Mike, we were we able to get three nice suites for Thursday night at the Oro Valley Worldmark resort north of Tucson.  Then we set out on Friday for Mexico, following our usual route through Sells, Why, and the border crossing at Lukeville/Sonoyta.  It was somewhat difficult to travel in a four-car caravan, although we'd resolved for safety reasons to travel together all the way to Puerto Peñasco.  We arrived fairly late in the afternoon, and Don and our son-in-law Chris were promptly stung by sting-rays out in the low-tide surf -- which was enough to convince me to stay out of the water for the entire trip, using my recent hernia surgery as an excuse.  (Devery and Easton also drove to Tucson from Albuquerque on Thursday, although they spent two nights in Tucson so that Easton could have a couple of wisdom teeth extracted, and so that their baby Leah could have minor surgery to remove the two "tags" from her left ear with which she was born.)

Since it was the Memorial Day weekend in the U.S., there were a lot of Americans in PP, and many of the beachfront houses in the Las Conchas area were occupied (by renters or otherwise).  That brought out a lot of local vendors and other entrepreneurs, including people offering boat rides (on a "banana boat" towed by a fishing craft), horseback rides, hair-braiding, and even massages, all of whom received some patronage from our group.  I didn't buy anything from anyone on the beach, although I did give away a green Mexico "home" jersey (one of my too-small Aliexpress Adidas knock-offs) to an ice-cream vendor.  (I had three camisetas demasiado chicas that I wanted to give away, although Easton and my grandson Zach ended up with the other two.)  I think our kids and grandkids had a good time, and I'm glad that Dorine worked so hard to give them a chance to go with us.

I won't try to give an hour-by-hour account of the rest of the trip, but here are a few highlights.  We attended sacrament meeting in PP on Sunday (along with many other LDS gringos), taking Easton's suggestion and donating to the branch's fast-offering fund.  We went out a number of times to eat, either at chicken joints or burrito restaurants.  We had ice cream at La Michoacana several times, and once at a Thrifty ice-cream parlor in downtown PP (where I had a double-scoop cone of really good chocolate-chip ice cream).  We bought mariscos (specifically clams and shrimp) in town for several meals, and, since I don't care for clams, I got to eat all the shrimp I wanted during one of our dinners.  We went shopping several times, either at the downtown shops or what Jeannie calls "Shacks Fifth Avenue," located on the road to Choya Bay.  We also ended up buying food every day (at the "Super Ley" on Constitución, the "Ley Express" on Josefa Ortiz de Domínguez, or the Sam's Club), and I found a couple of Circle-K stores in town that had Dr. Pepper in 600ml bottles.

Dorine and I shared the "Peach Room" (all the bedrooms in Casa Alhaja being painted different colors) with Heidi and Tyler for the first four nights; I felt bad about making Heidi sleep on the futon!  Then, when our family left, Dorine and I took the "Yellow Room," swapping with Devery and Easton and their three little ones.  Steve and Jeannie came down from Tucson on Tuesday evening the 27th, and Easton's brother Stuart rode down the next day with Steve's brother David and sister Krii (and her husband Tim and various of their children and grandchildren).  (Again, I felt bad that we got a bedroom when Hamblin family members had to sleep in the living room or the loft, although I was grateful for the privacy it gave us.)  The Hamblins are a lively bunch who often make me feel even more antisocial than I actually am.  We took several long walks with them on the beach, although they couldn't induce me to play board games (or volleyball, due to my surgery) with them.

Dorine and I had decided to drive back to Albuquerque on Saturday the 31st, whereas Devery and Easton stayed over until Sunday.  We came back via Phoenix so that we could give Stuart (and his dog Otis) a ride home, although I made the mistake of taking I-17 north to Flagstaff instead of the significantly shorter route through Payson and Heber.  Dorine spelled me behind the wheel when we stopped for gas in Winslow and ended up driving the rest of the way to Albuquerque.  In the end, everyone got home safely, and we're already looking forward to going back next year, if Steve and Jeannie will have us again.