I have wintered on Isla de la Piedra since 2009 in the RV Park, Tres Amigos. It came to my attention in early April that its residents needed some serious help. Dallas Jewall is an American and his wife Rocio ( a local born on the Isla ), along with her family, own Restaurant Cerro los Chivos on Stone Island. As a couple they have been giving for many years to those in need on the Isla including Christmas hampers. Dallas had been doing fund raising but was out of money and contacts to provide more food during this pandemic. Having heard about the need I first wrote a blog post and then the next day I sent a copy to every person that I know, who lives on the Isla, that I had an email for. Within ten days I had raised enough money to feed 130 families for one week and now there is enough money to feed them for a second week. After that I don’t know where the money will come from. Rocio being a resident all of her life, knows who has the greatest need. She also speaks with the leaders in each section of the colonia to get more input of the neediest.
This is the article that I emailed April 15th. If you read to the end you will see a recent update of the despenses ( food packages ) being given out as well as a few photos.
Can you please help feed the Isla?
The state of Sinaloa had asked everyone to stay home, no walking in the streets, in parks, nor beaches and certainly not the malecon between 4:00PM and 8:00AM ( although that may even be closed now ). There are to be no home parties, no gatherings and no alcohol sales. Restaurants are closed and can only offer home delivery. Residents are being asked to stay home and only venture out to purchase groceries but they must wear a mask.
Mexicans can no longer go to work which means that they are unable to earn pesos. For many families and especially those in the Colonia on Isla de la Piedra that means no food. Many work every day just to earn enough to feed their families. Now they are going to bed hungry.
The above exert came from an article published on April 11th. Please click here to read that article which goes into more depth.
Most of us are home and safely waiting out the Covid- 19 virus. We have enough money to purchase groceries and to spend hours online and to watch movies, read books, etc. These people are worrying every minute of the day if they will have any food to feed their children at the end of the day. Many of you have been following my blog for years and enjoying the photos of the Isla and especially the magnificent sunsets. I am asking you to please donate something to help, even $10.00 would be of great help. More if you can.
Dallas and Rocio have asked those on the Isla to donate what they can and they have even received donations from people living in the city of Mazatlan, people who come often to enjoy Stone Island. They have asked all who they know to please help. Two days ago they had 50 kilos of beans delivered as well as 50 kilos of flour delivered. They are hoping for rice, pasta and cooking oil to be delivered tomorrow. As soon as they gather food they give it away to those who are in need. Once that is gone they have nothing left to give.
Can you please help the Isla? Any amount will be welcomed and used to help the neediest.
I am asking Canadians to e-Transfer their donation to me @ firstname.lastname@example.org. I will then send the entire amount to Dallas, my contact on the Isla, in one transaction thus saving a $3.00 fee per donation.
Americans have a few options. If you have a PayPal account you can make your donation via PayPal directly to Dallas Jewall @ email@example.com. There is no additional fee attached to this donation as it is a direct US to US transaction. For those who do not have a PayPal account you can still make a donation again via PayPal using your credit card as directed on the site, but you will incur an additional approximate $2.00 or $3.00 service charge. If you prefer, you can always simply e-Tranfer your donation directly to me but there will be a bit of loss because of the US funds going to CAD funds and then back to US funds but it is still a huge help. However you choose to do it, please donate.
This is a photo of one of the 50 despensas that Dallas and Rocio delivered before I got involved. Every package contains one kilo each of beans, rice and flour and one litre each of milk and of cooking oil plus a small package of pasta and of tomato puree. A small bag of onions, potatoes and carrots are also included. Just this past Friday because of my donations the same package was delivered to 130 hungry families with the addition of one kilo of masa flour used to make tortillas. Each despensa should feed a family for a week depending on the size of the family.
We hope all of you are safe and healthy. Life here is still wonderful with no real issues, weather has been amazing. Masks are being worn by most everyone, can’t get in Sam’s, Walmart and many stores without one. No liquor sales! Hotels, beaches, restaurants, golf courses in Mazatlan, all closed til end of emergency period of May 30.
Sending this link of the newest Tourism video for Mexico created for Canada market. Don’t cry….. https://youtu.be/3qf4KS9nEq8
Wishing the best for all!
Cheers, L & J
A bear walks into a bar. “Give me a beer………………………………… and a shot,” he says.
“Sure,” says the bartender. “But why the big pause?”
“I don’t know. I guess I was born with them.”
My dilemma: Should I remain alone in Mazatlan where, in addition to enjoying beautiful weather and a wonderful golf course, we’re building a house, or, should I return to Saskatoon to be with our family?
Our situation was further complicated by the fact our house is nearing completion in Mazatlan and there are a number of details to be ironed out, for which we felt I needed to be there.
When Lynn left on March 24, I expected, in my naiveté, that our house would be nearing completion by mid to late April, that my WJ flight for April 26 would be operating, and that Mexico’s graph re Covid-19 cases, would be following along with Canada and the USA.
The reality was that none of the above occurred. Our house still has another month to go, at least. WJ suspended all flights in and out of Mazatlan until mid May, and Mexico is lagging Canada and the USA numbers by at least two, if not three weeks.
The best case scenario now was that I would be there another 5 weeks before the house would be completed and I could get a WH flight home on May 16. The worst case was, that not only could I be there longer than 5 weeks, but the options available for me to get home were possibly going to diminish weekly. If American Airlines decided to reduce, suspend or cancel their daily flight out of Maz to Phoenix(like Alaska Airlines had just done to LA) I would be screwed.
I’m not sure I could have handled it emotionally. No way off this island! I was in a pretty good space, emotionally and physically. I had experienced a few rough nights, as had Lynn. But, overriding all of this, was a nasty ‘what if’ scenario — what if I got the virus? I couldn’t leave and Lynn couldn’t come there to help me. Neither of those options were very appealing, and in fact were down right scary to us.
Then, after reading the story about the Ottawa lady and her husband who had beaten COVID-19, I got very concerned (see CBC News online). What if I got sick like she did? Who would be there to look after me? i have wonderful friends down there but i wouldn’t expect them to risk their life to help me. This could have happened and certainly would have presented us with some difficult decisions to be made.
So, my decision became, do I leave now, or in 7-10 days from now, or stay until May 16? I couldn’t see Lynn or myself lasting another 5 more weeks apart. It was difficult, in and of itself, but made even made more difficult because of all the other uncertainties hanging over us.
What I preferred was to stay another 7-10 days and finish up most of the key decision re the house. But, based on the escalating numbers coming in from Mexico, I feared leaving might get more complicated and the options would get fewer and more cumbersome to navigate. Normally a trip home involves about 8-10 hours and 3 airports. At present, my best option was I could make it home in 36 hours through 5 airports. What would it be in 7–10 days? I didn’t know for sure but the numbers weren’t expected to be any better. The airports are not risk free for Covid-19. Adding more of them to my flight itinerary was not very comforting or ideal, in my mind.
So, I booked a flight to come home as follows: Mazatlan to Phoenix – Thur April 9: 2:10 to 3:23(gain an hour), then on Friday at 7:30 a.m. I leave for Vancouver, arriving at 12:00 after a brief stop in Seattle. At 8:50 Friday night I leave on a direct flight from Vancouver to Saskatoon, arriving at 11:44pm— approx 36 hours after arriving at the Maz airport to go home.
Now, I am home. It is Saturday, April 11 and I’m now self-isolating in the basement of our house in Saskatoon. While it is so nice to be home, two things are painfully clear—Firstly, I’m not sure the trip home was worth it (more later), and secondly, the reality of COVID-19 impacting life at home hit pretty quickly when I met Lynn at the airport and we said hi from a distance. We drove home in separate vehicles, and I went straight to the basement of our home, from whence we visited for an hour— she at the top of the stairs and me at the bottom, before we each retired to our beds to sleep! I thought distance was supposed to make the heart grow fonder??? What’s with being shunted off in exile to the basement for 2 weeks after being apart for 17 days? Welcome home Frank!! This is the new norm, Frank.
Maybe I should have stayed at EDM. Nope, I’m happy to be home. But it was so nice there, and so quiet. Nope, I’m happy to be home. But… , no, I’m happy to be home!!
I was well aware this would happen. Lynn and I had discussed this. My one over riding thought though, “how does that _________ virus survive in this ridiculously cold weather?”
Eventually Friday morning at 7:30 arrived and we departed Phoenix for Seattle on plane with 20-25 other passengers, each sitting a row or two apart from the other.
Seattle — I arrived at ~10:15, well ahead of schedule. It will be a challenge for me to say anything positive about Seattle from this day. As I walked off the ramp from the plane I entered what appeared to be a very old terminal with low ceilings, narrow hallways, and dated decor. It took me about two minutes to find my gate for the next flight. Lo and behold, right beside our gate was a McDonald’s. Do I or don’t I? I decided not to indulge in a McDonald’s meal for a strange reason. I went to the bathroom first. As I entered the toilet, I almost couldn’t turn around because my feet stuck to the floor due to the stickiness of the floor! Who has sticky floors in a toilet at 10:30 in the morning? Haven’t the cleaners been working all night to make this place spotless for the day? They certainly were in Phoenix, where it seemed as if every 10 minutes a cleaning crew was coming through cleaning one part or another of the wing in which I was resting. But, not so in Seattle, I guess. I decided not to eat at McDonald’s.
I, along with all passengers, got called to the ticket counter in order to validate our ticket and seat selection. As I approached the counter I held up my Passport and Boarding Pass to make it obvious I had it and I would hold it. Not so! The ticketing Agent grabbed it out of my hand before I could even realize what he was doing. In Phoenix the ticket agent had allowed, insisted in fact, that we scan the ticket ourselves. This guy would have none of that. He would take care of it. So, when I returned to board 20 minutes later, after wiping clean my Passport and Boarding Pass, I said to him ‘do you mind if just I hold it?’ He replied ‘works for me’. Why is common sense not always so common? Who had trained him re: COVID-19? In general, in Seattle it did not feel like the public was respecting what was happening globally re: this pandemic. Masks and social distancing were not that common. Is that why their numbers are so high?
Vancouver – We landed in Vancouver about 15 minutes early. It felt good to be on home soil, to be back in Canada again, although I must admit, I didn’t feel a lot of relief. I think I was too tired and still too concerned about being safe with everything I did. Customs was straightforward. Then the grilling began. These Border Patrol agents were trained to grill me hard on COVID- 19. They seemed determined to find out if I was being truthful. It all went well.
Vancouver airport seemed like the most organized and most structured airport I had seen on this trip. Essentially everyone was following protocol. Most people were wearing masks and virtually everyone was practising social distancing Did you read what I just said? Most people (in the airport) were wearing masks!! That is now considered normal protocol already in Canada!! Crazy! Everything seemed to be orderly and under control. But, the airport was the busiest of all the airports. As is often the case in Vancouver, there seemed to be a lot of Asian visitors— just another thing to make one nervous, knowing full well where the COVID-19 started…..
By 1:00 I had already found my gate for my 8:50 flight. I had noticed a food court nearby, and, since I was still hungry, I decided to meander over there. There was a Tim Horton’s, a Booster Juice, and an A&W open. After great consternation, and a helpful reminder from our son, that ‘food has so far not been determined to be a transmitter of the virus; it is a respiratory disease’ I decided to indulge in a Mozza Burger. For the first time in over a month, I ate out!! It tasted very good.
Okay, so it’s 1:30, now what do I do for the next 7 hours? Well, a friend from Saskatoon, Don Neufeld, suggested, in one of his texts to me, to get a room at the Fairmont, a hotel in the Vancouver Airport, for a 6 hour rental. I checked it out and within minutes I was asleep!! What follows is my text to Don around 5:00 after I woke up about 2 1/2 hours later from my nap.
[Well I’m back at my gate awaiting my flight at 8:50 local time. I figure that hotel cost me about 3 cents Cdn$ / breath for my 2 1/2 hour sleep!! But, it was the best 3 cents/breath I ever spent. I woke up totally out of it– totally bewildered as to where I was. Seriously, it took me at least 5 minutes to figure out where I was, why I was there, how did I get there, what was I doing there, what did I need to do next etc. I think I was tired!! Duhhhhh!! Thanks for the suggestion. I sure hope our builder finishes our house first!! I won’t have soda crackers for supper every day the rest of the year!!!
The last part was in reference to a standing bet we have as to whose builder will finish our respective houses first as we both started at similar times last year.]
Awakening from that sleep was a nightmare!!! I did not know where I was. I looked out over part of the Vancouver airport from the 11th floor of the Fairmont. I recalled being in Mazatlan but this wasn’t the Mazatlan airport. I recalled COVID-19 being a big issue. Had I escaped it or was I in the midst of it? Where was I? I gradually came to my senses. What an experience!!
After returning to the airport I decided to munch on a few of the crackers I had brought with me. So, my first supper in Canada in more than four months consisted of Soda Crackers, and a Coke. I managed to convince myself that it was safe to buy at a nearby Bookstore. It hit the spot. The bookstore was selling the Cokes on sale. My 500ml Coke cost me $.75 —Mexico prices— am I still dreaming? They had switched their supplier to Pepsi from Coke. Big mistake!!
An hour or so later I returned to buy some more Cokes-why not at that price? Sorry— all sold out!! You snooze you lose!!
I then went back to my gate to catch my flight home We boarded early and left at 8:40, again about 10 minutes early. I had booked Business Class on this one and so was one of the first to board. As I’m sitting there waiting, the rest of the passengers on the flight started boarding. They all had to walk by me. In this new world, shouldn’t the Business Class board last? I think so. The other interesting par of this was that because I had purchased Business Class for the flight, I also had access to the Airport Lounge prior to my flight. Oh, but the Lounge was closed due to COVID-19. No word from AC on this.
We had barely reached our flying altitude when the pilot announced we were well on our way for the one hour and 26 minute flight to S’toon. What, 86 minutes from Vancouver to S’toon? That’s a record. How sweet! What a great time for a short flight! I couldn’t have been more relieved and thankful.
I texted Lynn when we landed. We had arranged she would get a vehicle to the airport (with the help of Chris and Sue). I saw her exiting the terminal just as I was walking through it. I followed her to our vehicles. She got in one and I in the other and we drove side by side all the way home…….. and then I went downstairs and she remained upstairs from whence we visited for the next 90 minutes or so. How nice, but how strange, it felt.
Now I get to text with the rest of my family from my basement in Saskatoon, instead of from Mazatlan. Doesn’t that feel better? Yes, I guess it does but I’m still trying to figure out how does that ____________ virus survive in this _________ cold weather?
Thanks for reading and allowing me to share these thoughts and experiences from the past few days.