Thursday, November 16, 2017

'17/#33 A New World Of Shopping

If you are following us on this blog or on facebook you know that we are spending the winter in very south Texas. We are literally 15 minutes from Mexico and the area is dominated by the Hispanic culture. I am not sure whether English or Spanish is the most used language here. Either way the culture is found everywhere and no where is it more prevalent than at the grocery store. In my youth I was exposed to more ethnic (ahem) delicacies than Mary was so I was not taken aback by some of the things we came across. I'm not saying I am going to eat them but I have seen them.

Mary was a little shocked to see these large slabs of meat that she was convinced were still covered in blood. I guess she is used to seeing everything portion sized and neatly wrapped in plastic. Based on my past experience with my own grandparents larger less expensive pieces of meat were brought home and then cut into the size and shape need to prepare different meals. Tubs of chicken parts, whole cat fish, and fish heads did nothing to make her understand that this is normal food used in different styles of cooking. But there is more!



 When we moved on to some of  the more unique pieces Mary was to say the least
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kind of grossed out. She could not comprehend why in the world anyone would want to eat beef tongue, cheek meat, or sweat breads once she found out what they were. Nor could she figure out what you would do with beef feet, beef tripe, or beef tripas which translates in English to beef "guts"! It looked like intestines or worse if you asked Mary. She couldn't look at it any more and had to get away from (and these are her words) the blood bath!

I personally couldn't stop laughing but I can understand the culture shock involved. Mary is starting to understand some of the differences in the local cuisine but I don't think she is looking in any cook books for ideas. I am just as happy about that myself as I don't think I am up to trying any of those "exotic" foods either. My main concern is the potential nightmares Mary might have after her traumatic experience at the grocery store.

Well this is goodnight (I hope a dream free night) from our home in Pharr because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Saturday, November 11, 2017

'17/#32 More Than Just Another Day

Today we woke up and went through our usual morning rituals. After a short walk to work we settled in for our scheduled Saturday shift. As I was thinking about what to blog about this morning it occurred to me that today was a holiday. Being retired sometimes the days run into each other. Well today is a day we must not forget. Veteran's Day is a holiday that we all should acknowledge. Today there are no Republicans or Democrats, no Christians or Muslims or Jews, no white or black or brown or yellow. Today we are Americans. Today is the day we set aside to honor those who have defended our country. So to all the veterans out there I want to thank you for your service, not just today but every day.

Another serious note for today's blog. Yesterday I got a text message from my bank or so it appeared. I bypassed the instructions in the text and contacted the bank directly. It was as I expected a scam. I guess I am now one of those old people that these scammers target. Well I am just passing along this warning about text scams that tell you that your credit/debit card is locked and to call the attached number to correct the situation. IT IS A SCAM! Don't reply! Your bank will not contact you by text or phone on matters like this. Just consider this my public service announcement for the day.

Well two hours have passed and it is kinda slow. A few guests have come in and chatted, Mary is playing on the internet, and I have blogged. Life is rough! LOL. Only six more hours to go here at work near our home in Pharr because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Saturday, November 4, 2017

'17/#31 Still Just Tourists

It has not been quite two weeks here in south Texas but we are starting to find our way around. We have found the stores that we are familiar with and are checking out the ones that are known in this region. This is one of the joys of Rving. We get to experience so many different things throughout the country. There is a Walmart and Target nearby as well as a Walgreens and CVS. Good things to find when on the road. We have found our new grocery store called H.E.B. It is a chain primarily in Texas with great looking produce and really good prices over all.

Since we not working full time we will be doing a lot more cooking at home and will be trying some of the local vegetables and other products. With that said, we will still go out on occasion so we are looking for restaurants in the area. We have found some of our favorite chains in the area and are looking into some with a more local flavor. That local flavor will be leaning towards Mexican since we are only ten miles from Mexico as the crow flies.

Speaking of Mexico we took a drive down to Progresso TX which is supposed to be the place to cross the boarder for us gringos. As instructed, we parked in Texas and walked the International Bridge across the Rio Grande. As you can see we were underwhelmed by the actual crossing.
It is like going to an old school amusement park or subway. Put your quarters in and walk through the turnstile. Once in Progresso Mexico it was a whole different story.

The sidewalks were crammed with vendors selling anything from hand painted items to NFL team wear. Kind of what to expect if you ever went on a western Carribean cruise. Now the actual store fronts were something else. Over half the the stores were dentists or pharmacies or both with people outside trying to get customers to come in and see all that they offered. If it wasn't a dentist or pharmacy it was a general store with tourist oriented products and a pharmacy! Are you getting sense of what we are seeing?

We had to check it out. Once inside the general store we found all the usual Mexican trinkets that are meant to entice tourist to part with their money. There was also the food section where if we didn't recognize the product the label was no help. And then there was the pharmacy. They had a lot of what we buy over the counter at very reasonable prices but what really got our attention was all the prescription drugs that they sell as over the counter. Everything from A to Z literally, amoxicillin to Zoloft, and at prices 50% to 70% less than in the US. It makes you wonder about the truth behind the claims that the drug companies are ripping off the American public.

Well we are back in the good old USA and taking it easy in our home here in Pharr Texas because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Saturday, October 28, 2017

'17/#30 First Day Issues (and I'm not talking philatelic)



Here we are on our first day of work in Pharr Texas. This job is supposed to be simple and for the most part stress free but as with most plans things happened. We showed up on time, like good little workers, and our key wouldn't work. That means we can't get into the office. That also means we can't get to the list of phone numbers (in the office) we need to call someone for help. Security was able to get in contact with the park manager and she let us in and straightened out the key issue. Our day finally started but it must have been an omen.

We opened the office, logged on to the computers, set up the cash drawer, and turned on the phones with no problem. We were on a roll...or were we? The first customer of the day came to check in and ooops! The system won't let us in to do anything so another call, this time to the office manager. We didn't want to bother the park manager again. Our purpose of being here is to allow the regular staff to have the weekends off. We were off to a good start.

Until the office manager gets here to fix the computer problem we are hard at work. I am blogging and Mary is entertaining herself on her phone. We have been told this is what we will be doing most of the time we are here. Life is rough! LOL.

I am going to sign off now because we are so busy (NOT!) and I need another cup of coffee to keep me awake on the job near our home in Pharr TX because....                  
Home is where we park it, 
Frank and Mary

Thursday, October 26, 2017

'17/#29 Hola From Our Winter Home



We have arrived in Pharr Texas, just north of Mexico, and are getting settled in. The first thing we encountered was another electrical problem (*#$@%$^) but fortunately it turned out to be just a loose connection. Our site is a good size, it's orientation is ideal for our satellite TV, and it is conveniently located to everything around the office/club house. We got to meet the people we are going to work with and by first impressions it is going to be a fun winter.

The past two days we have been driving around finding grocery stores, department stores, pharmacies, etc. This area is called the Rio Grande Valley and it has become a mecca for snowbirds. Everything we need and things we didn't know we needed is nearby. Traffic is starting to build but it is not a problem after 30 years in Florida dealing with snowbird traffic. Like every place else we will find the short-cuts around the area.

We will do a couple of hours of orientation and officially start work this weekend. It doesn't seem to be anything we can't handle and look forward to meeting the rest of our coworkers and the soon to arrive winter residents. This is a very active park so we won't be bored. I'm going to sign off for now so we can finish setting up for our stay here in our home in Pharr Texas because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Monday, October 23, 2017

'17/#28 The Next Adventure Is On The Horizon

Golden Colorado was fun. It was good to see Scott and spend some time with an old friend. Our last day there we went to the Coors Brewery. The tour was interesting and with the three of us it was down right hilarious. Since Mary doesn't drink beer I got to drink all her free samples. Add that to the lack of breakfast that morning and I got a pretty good buzz. We fixed that with an awesome lunch at a local sandwich shop called Snarfs. If you ever pass through Golden and are looking for some good food check out Snarfs.

Our next destination is south Texas. We are not planning to burn up the highway so we will take four days getting there. The first night was in Dalhart, TX, the second was in Loraine, TX and tonight is just outside of San Antonio. Tomorrow we should be in Pharr TX and that will be our home for the winter. The people we are working for down there are as excited as we are about our arrival.

Tonight we will get to bed early so we can get on the road early. We would like to get settled in so we can get the lay of the land. It will take a few days to find all the local stores, restaurants, laundromats, and other retailers in the area. Of course we will find our favorites and establish our regular haunts. That is why we take our home with us.

Well dinner is ready and our home here in San Antonio is smelling good because...
Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary


Friday, October 20, 2017

'17/#27 And The Wheels On The Rig Go Round And Round....



Everything is fixed and the jello has settled. It is time to hit the road and that time is 6:15 am. Keystone this time of year is winding down it's season and at this hour the downtown area is a ghost town. This is the last picture of us heading out of Keystone and on to our next adventure.

Our next stop is Golden CO where we will stay for a couple of days. The drive was easy with perfect weather all the way. 400 plus miles is a good day for us now that we don't live by a time clock. We are looking forward to meeting up with a friend of ours from our post office days while we are here. Scott, a co-worker and friend, has retired and is now living in the area so we will visit while we are here. He has only been living here for a few months so we will all go see the Coors brewery together.

Scott must be as excited to see us as we are to see him. He arrived at the RV park the same time we did and we had some time to just sit and shoot the breeze. Later that evening we went out to dinner at Woody's Wood Fired Pizza in downtown Golden. Awesome pizza and even better company...who could ask for more? Tomorrow we head to the brewery.

It has been a good day but a long day so we are going to call it a night here in our home in Golden CO because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary