wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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The Islands

Vancouver Island is surrounded by many other smaller islands. It’s an easy boat ride to go for an overnight picnic on one of them. With our troller and the sporty boat of our friends, we did just that. Here we are snuggled up together.

The aluminum skiff is handy for ferrying us to shore for some exploring and picture taking.

So many plants and shells are different from those on most beaches of Vancouver Island.

Our friends’ dog may have been a bit nervous at first, but he proved to have sailor’s blood running in his veins. He had a great time and was as good as gold.

Dogs and people all got along fabulously and had a good time.

More on this outing next time.

*** Again – a reminder that all my novels are half price until the end of July. The Wind Weeps remains FREE. See my webpage for more info: www.anneli-purchase.com

 


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Palapas

Building material inside!Cardon cactus

Pablo built the palapas you see in the photos below with very basic tools and supplies. He used a lot of haywire to fasten the cross ribs to the upright support posts and to lash the date palm fronds to the frame at the roof and sides. There were few trees in the region, so Pablo was always on the lookout for dead branches. I think he said he used palo verde branches or trunks for the main upright posts. For the cross ribs and the roofing ribs, he used the ribs of dead cardón cacti. I’m standing by a fairly large cardón cactus in the photo above.

When a cactus died, the inside ribs, usually about 20 of them, dried up and were very strong. Frequently, I had seen Pablo carry a huge bundle of these ribs, 10 to 15 feet long from someplace in the desert where he had found a dead cactus. He also stockpiled a collection of date palm fronds for making the walls and ceiling in much the same way we use cedar shingles to make a shake roof, overlapping them to keep the rain off.

One of the main building materials used in palapa construction is from the inside of the cardón cactus.

One of the main building materials used in palapa construction is from the inside of the cardón cactus.

Palapa under construction. Turkey vultures are waiting for the construction workers to keel over in the heat.

Perfect perches

Perfect perches

Pablo’s eyesight was poor and he was in the habit of carrying binoculars around his neck in case it was important for him to see something.  One day he and two of his sons were working on the roof of the palapa pictured above. A young Italian lady was staying in one of the palapas farther down the beach. She had the kind of body you see in the Sports Illustrated, Swimsuit Edition, and a very uninhibited nature to go with it. The singer Ray Stevens must have known her because just like his “Little Egypt” she “came out strutting wearing nothing but a button and a bow-oh-whoa-whoa.”

Well, it’s a wonder Pablo didn’t fall out of the palapa rafters and break his legs as he felt around, looking for his binoculars without taking his half blind eyes off “Little Italy.” Pablo’s sons didn’t get much work done for the next half hour as she held their undivided attention.

Later, Pablo complained to me, “The one time I leave my binoculars at home….”

La PerlaWhat a place to come for peace and quiet. Or to read about yourself in a romantic suspense story set in Baja.

Orion’s Gift is waiting for you.

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Spider Hideouts

 

 

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Camped near a beautiful beach in Mexico, we often bought our fruit and vegetables from the produce truck.  One day, I lugged home three big bags of vegetables.

“Coming to the beach?” Gary asked.

“You go ahead. I’ll be down right after I clean these veggies,” I grumbled, slapping at the tiny biting flies. I soon gave up trying to work outside and brought the vegetables into the bug-free trailer to clean them in my little kitchenette.

Done at last! Now for the beach and a cool swim. I hurried outside to bring in my bathing suit from the clothesline we had strung between two coconut palms. I was about to step into it, when I let out a shriek. A brown critter about the size of a wolf spider was waiting for me inside the bathing suit bra.

Anyone passing by must have gawked at the bathing suit flying out the doorway.

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I was late getting to the beach that day, and although the water was refreshing, I couldn’t relax. Other swimmers must have wondered at the woman who kept pulling away the top of her bathing suit to look at her boobs.

That evening, we sat at the kitchen table playing cards and relaxing with an Oso Negro gin and peach juice. I tidied up the last few things before getting into bed.

Gary had just finished brushing his teeth and as he came out of the bathroom he heard me GASP! His eyes followed my arm as I pointed to the corner of the trailer. There, clinging to the ceiling, sat the biggest spider I’d ever seen. The fuzzy dark brown visitor had a body the size of my thumb and could easily straddle a saucer. If I had been a screamer they would have heard me all the way to Mazatlan.

“And I’ve been sitting there playing cards all evening with that thing poised over my head,” I wailed.

I handed Gary the fly swatter. “If it gets away,” I said, shakily, “I’m not sleeping in here tonight and I’ll be on the plane tomorrow.”

“It must have come in with the vegetables,” he said, as he tossed its crumpled body outside.

And where had it been while I sat there cleaning them? I wondered. Hiding in the cauliflower leaves? How close had I come to touching it? Shivers ran down my back.

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The next day we visited an open air market. I admired the handmade wooden cutting boards and picked one up to study the grain. Something ran over my hand. I threw the board into the air and squealed, “Una araña!” The vendor laughed and seemed unperturbed as I pointed to the gigantic spider running in his direction.

I was having serious thoughts of home. But imagine missing all this fun.


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I’m Dreaming of a …

December on Vancouver Island often means high winds and vigorous waves. Lately it has been blowing and raining buckets sideways so often that we are surprised if the sun comes out, and we wonder what that bright light is. Before we can point it out to anyone, the moment of sunshine is history, so we don’t get too excited about a peek at the sun.

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The road that goes along a spit of land below our house has wild waves on the exposed side and relatively calm waters on the inland side. Still, today it was choppy on the sheltered side too.

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We drove to town taking the long way around, passing by the beaches and the bird sanctuary you see below. For most of the year, the sanctuary is a marsh in places, but these past weeks the water level has come right across the road, making the marsh look more like a lake.

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The walking trail that follows the edge of the marsh has almost become a part of it. High boots are needed to walk there today.

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Driving on, we see that the second access to the ocean is even wilder than the first. Anyone foolish enough to stand in front of these waves would disappear in them and be tossed around like the logs that tumble around in the frothing surf and end up flung onto the high tide line.

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At most times of the year, it’s very pleasant to sit on a bench and watch the waves. The benches had no visitors today.

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Just when I was feeling sorry for myself about the weather, I dug around in my photo folders and found one of the winter of 2007. No flooding then, no high waves, but also, no power when the heavy branches broke and fell onto the power lines somewhere down the road.

The snow is pretty, but when you sing, “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas,” you have to be careful what you wish for. I don’t want a snow-laden bough to cut off the electricity to the oven just when my Christmas turkey is half done.

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So I think “Dreaming of a White Christmas” is okay as long as I don’t really wish for my dreams to come true.