Wednesday, November 22, 2017

'17/#34 Thanksgiving In Texas

Here we are in Texas, a thousand miles away from family and friends, but we still celebrate the holidays. Rvers can be a very close knit community so there is never a shortage of friends to share good times with. Many travel south for the winter and are just as far from family yet still wish to celebrate. In that spirit there is always a Thanksgiving dinner to go to or a party to participate in.

This year we are having Thanksgiving with many of our new friends here in Pharr. Dinner will be of the pot luck design and promises to be fun and as tasty as any we have had in the past. Since there will be over 100 people at this Thanksgiving, groups of sixteen are gathered and the pot luck is organized for that group. There will be turkey and ham and all the usual sides that come with Thanksgiving dinners and everyone will be able to share their own specialty as well as try other's take on holiday traditions. We look forward to the camaraderie as well as the good food.

One challenge in all of this is cooking for sixteen people in an RV kitchen. Close quarters and small appliances inspire creativity. Mary is making her traditional stuffing/dressing and I will be making my home baked bread, both of which seem to go over very well wherever we go. The oven will be working overtime and we will use it in shifts to get everything done by dinner time Thursday.

To those of you who are celebrating with family and friends elsewhere we wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and a safe one as well. Many people travel this time of year and there are the inevitable accidents that come with the increase in traffic. Another reason we like to participate within the safety of our RV park.

I have to go now because it looks like it may be my turn in the kitchen here in Pharr Texas because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

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