Monday, September 01, 2014

Monday 1st September 2014….the busy weeks begin……Rabbits, rabbits, rabbits!!!!

Wow September already a sure sign I am getting older the weeks go flying by……did not feel stiff or sore after the big hike yesterday and 9.30am saw me at yoga class but of course I had to clean my casita before I left because Patti was coming to clean!!!!!!

Did some banking and errands in town and was home for 1pm for an afternoon of tennis watching and also class preparation  and 5.30pm went to my first class.

I saw some of my students from last year and we chatted for a few minutes they are all doing well….

In my new class I have 8 students of which 6 of them are women….they again surprised me with their great level of knowledge and this is going to be another good class…we just talked and introduced ourselves and I gave them a tiny bit of Homework and look forward to getting to know them in the weeks ahead.

Home for 8 o clock and had some eggs and now settling down for the late night tennis game from New York..

This article below was in the New York Times!!

CreditPatricia de Melo Moreira for The New York Times


SANTIAGO DE COMPOSTELA, Spain — There are the pilgrims who hobble along with a staff, painstakingly making their way through a monthlong journey of contemplation. Then there are the others, looking all the fresher for walking a shorter route or paying a tour operator to carry their backpacks, and more likely to be clutching a cellphone or a guidebook.

All, however, must navigate the proliferating array of souvenir shops selling Jesus key rings and T-shirts and painted scallop shells: the symbol of the pilgrimage to the shrine of St. James, which ends in this city in northwestern Galicia and has become known simply as the Camino, or the Way.

The surge in popularity of the pilgrimage, which dates from the ninth century, has turned what was a spiritual obstacle course in medieval times into a booming part of modern Spain’s tourism industry. At a time when other parts of the economy are still suffering, the pilgrimage has become big business here — so much so that it has invigorated not only local economies but also a debate over how to balance mass tourism and spiritual reflection.




“You suddenly find yourself, exhausted, walking alongside people who are in party mood, as if they were heading to an entertainment park,” said Marie Ange de Montesquieu, who works for a Christian radio station in Paris and was completing a 480-mile route that began on the French side of the Pyrenees.

Still, she was philosophical. “It’s like life itself,” she added, “a mix of pleasant and less pleasant experiences.”

Such challenges transcend Santiago. In southern Spain, the municipality of Aznalcázar announced earlier this year that it would impose an environmental fee on pilgrims going to worship the Virgin of El Rocío, to cover the cost of cleaning up the trash left in the wake of the springtime passage. The decision generated an outcry, forcing Aznalcázar to shelve the plan.

Near Santiago, dozens of private establishments have started to compete with the network of government-owned hostels, and some municipalities have been pushing to add more official routes to the Camino, hoping to benefit as well from this tourism bonanza.

Santiago was the final resting place of St. James, and the discovery of his remains created one of the main medieval pilgrimages. Its importance dwindled because of the rise of Protestantism and the effects of the plague and conflicts, which hindered European travel.

In 1984, just 423 pilgrims were certified as having completed the route here. This year, an estimated 240,000 pilgrims are expected to come, up from 215,880 last year. The most prominent recent visitors included Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy of Spain, who walked a short part of the route when they held a meeting on Aug. 24.

Ahead of Ms. Merkel’s visit, Santiago’s mayor, Agustín Hernández, criticized the lack of public money spent on upgrading the access ways to his city for pilgrims. In an editorial, El Correo Gallego, a regional newspaper, urged Ms. Merkel to pressure the Spanish government to invest more in the Camino.


The reasons for the growing popularity of the pilgrimage are not altogether clear. The Roman Catholic Church has welcomed the swelling numbers as evidence of a religious pickup, perhaps coinciding with hard economic times. The number of people attending Mass in Spain rose 5.7 percent in July from a year earlier, according to a study by the Center for Sociological Research, a government institute.

But it has no doubt helped, too, that with joblessness at about 25 percent in Spain and also high in other parts of Europe, people have more time on their hands. Many have chosen to travel, helping to leave tourism one of the few unscathed parts of the Spanish economy. Last year, Spain welcomed a record 60.6 million visitors.


Pilgrims to the shrine of St. James huddled for a photograph at the Praza do Obradoiro, in front of the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.

The Camino has “given me confidence that I can overcome obstacles like not having work,” said Maria João Martins, who is from Portugal and lost her job as a supermarket cashier in 2011.

Much of the Camino’s recent growth has come from abroad. Lolita Forján, the owner of a grocery store in the village of Escravitude, was excited about having recently welcomed clients from Alaska and South Africa. “Who would have thought that a pilgrim would ever show me a bank note with Mandela’s face on it?” she said.

Ms. Merkel followed in the footsteps of Germans whose presence on the Camino almost tripled in a decade, reaching 16,203 pilgrims last year. German interest rose after Hape Kerkeling, a television presenter, published a 2006 diary of his pilgrimage that became a best-seller. “The Way,” a 2010 movie featuring Martin Sheen, helped broaden awareness among Americans.

Such is the popularity of the Camino today that many of the more devout pilgrims now travel off-season to avoid the summer rush, according to Maria Angeles Fernández, the president of the Spanish Federation of Associations of Friends of the Camino de Santiago.

In the village of Faramello, a new hostel with 40 beds opened in May. “This tourism has really become the main opportunity to find work around here,” said Concha, the receptionist, who would not give her full name. Before finding this job, she had been unemployed for five years, she said.

The Spanish authorities “must strike a balance between developing tourism and maintaining the tradition of the Camino,” warned Lijia Zhang, a Beijing-based writer, who spent two weeks walking in August. “Otherwise it will lose its soul, and therefore its appeal, before too long.”

Other pilgrims describe their experience as unforgettable, even if some seasoned visitors remember more fondly earlier and less commercial times.

For pilgrims, the final hurdle comes in Santiago itself, at the office where certificates are delivered to those who have walked at least the last 100 kilometers, or 62 miles.

There, the line in August can take as long as three hours, said Walt Scherer, an American volunteer. Mr. Scherer, a former mayor of Loomis, Calif., discovered the Camino after surviving colon cancer. As a young pilgrim complained to him about the line, Mr. Scherer replied, “The first thing you should learn on the Camino is patience.”

Virginia Gómez and César Martínez, an unemployed couple from Madrid, said they were delighted to have reached Santiago but disappointed by the costs of nearly everything along the way. Some establishments did not provide free toilet paper, they said.

“I didn’t think you needed to bring a full wallet to a pilgrimage,” Ms. Gómez said.

Yashi Kochi!!!

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday 31st August 2014…another repeat!!!!

May as well go to last Sunday’s blog because was another repeat….I met Pierre at the hiking club base at 8am this morning and we were the only ones who wanted to do a long hike so off we went in Pierre's reliable but old VW bug.

On the way we talked about last Sunday and Pierre really wanted to go back and do the same hike and this time find out where we went wrong and I was game for this too.

So here we are the X is the first peak we have to reach…



The view looking back into the valley and the dark clouds


Another peak we are aiming for


It was a great day for a hike and we both had brought lots of extra water and food just in case!!!!


Not even close yet!!!!


Some views on the way up


It took us over three hours but we reached the summit about 9200 feet and again looking into the old volcano


and the lake behind L & G’s house



We had lunch and rested here before heading back


we passed this lady again and said a silent prayer to let us find the right track


and after about 300 yards we found the reason we went so wrong last week…there were two tracks no more than 20 feet apart and we took the one to the left last week and that was the wrong one this time we took the one to the right


the dark clouds lifted and the sun came out and these were the only animals we saw this week


So it was a successful mission we came down in 3 hours less and about 8 miles off last week..still we hiked for 7 hours and about 17 miles but it was great!!!

Home in time for a recorded soccer game from England, some dinner and now watching tennis from New York.

Hard to believe the last day of the month…have a great long weekend !!!

A good friend of mine here in SMA John does many many things for the community especially the children one of the big things is the distribution of gifts to children, about 1200, in the Campos at Christmas time.

His other main cause is the deaf school here in SMA..I said I would post the following website for your information and in case you felt like you could contribute..well done John!!!!

Yashi Kochi!!!!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Saturday 30th August 2014…….a repeat!!!

Really all you have to do is check last Saturday's blog to see what I did and this day was a virtual repeat!!!!

Anyway here goes up at 7am to watch a live soccer game from England whilst having breakfast and then off to the tennis courts for 9am and and again glorious weather and two hours of good fun, good banter and the occasional good shot, not by Loren though!!!!!  Sorry bud could not resist that one!!!!

Home in time for a snack and another game from England this was a classic with 9 goals you could not take your eyes off the screen….

At 1pm I went to get Paola and we were going to the water park and she asked if her friend Angelica could come and that was no problem….they had fun and were in the water the whole time almost three hours except to come out to eat and drink!!!!



They look happy enough!!!!   and if not an ice cream on the way did the trick!!

They were fun and well behaved and I did not get home till 6 o clock….

Had a sandwich for a change and now watching tennis from New York!!!

Would like to wish all my Canadian and American friends a great long weekend holiday be safe out there!!!

Yashi Kochi!!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday 29th August 2014…….a day to myself!!!

Before I left on my epic summer Camino I tried to make every Friday a Pearson day…a day when I had no appointments, usually saw no one and most times did not even speak to anyone and after a busy 6 day week that I had I liked the idea……so I am going to continue on with it and after breakfast I packed up lots of food and drinks and went to get Little Bluey from L & G’s house and set out for this town!!!!!



The rebirth of Mineral de Pozos

Many call Mineral de Pozos, Guanajuato a “ghost town”. But that is because they have not visited it during the Mariachi Festival, which in April dresses up its quiet, cobbled streets. Actually, this Magic Town wakes up from a short break to brighten up its streets with the “Son de la Negra” song, as well as with a good dose of international rhythms: (the Blues Festival in June), or with the beat of the huehuetl or pre-Hispanic drum (the Toltequidad Festival in July).

Surrounded by cacti and arid hills, Mineral de Pozos was founded in 1576 to exploit the rich gold and silver mines nearby. During its most glorious period, there were 17 gold and silver mining haciendas, and up to one thousand men worked in each one every day. “Pozos” became one of the cities where more silver was produced in Mexico and in the world. By the early twentieth century, “Pozos” had become a prosperous city, with about 50,000 inhabitants and a strong trading network. As the veins became depleted, the town slowly faded, until the last mine was closed in 1950.


Just about 300 people remained in the town. Thus, almost abandoned and demolished, Mineral de Pozos captivated the big screen as a result of the film “Pedro Páramo”, directed by Carlos Velo and starring John Gavin. The roofless mansions with their old furniture were the natural setting for the spooky novel written by Juan Rulfo. Gradually, “Pozos” began to creep into some films and into the routes of adventurer visitors…

In the 80s, as a result of its architectural heritage, as its buildings date back to the sixteenth century, Mineral de Pozos was declared Historic Heritage of Mexico; a few years ago it was recognized as Magic Town in Guanajuato. Both designations have marked the rebirth of this place, with its first renovated streets, dressed in white and ochre. Spa services, tours of the mines, workshops on pre-Hispanic musical instruments, craft shops, a vibrant cultural activity and the first boutique hotels begin the define Mineral de Pozos’ style: a perfect place to indulge, to become disconnected from everyday life and lose yourself in a clean landscape with the echoes of the mariachi, blues and pre-Hispanic rhythms.

It took me just over one hour and it felt good to be behind the wheel again this is the first time I have driven the car since I arrived home almost 3 weeks ago!!!

The government and town’s folk have obviously sent a lot of money to modernize the town and it is very clean but I saw no tourists.




I took a side road out to the old haciendas they are all deserted but you can just imagine the majesty of this area a few years ago!!!




I found a bike trail no yellow arrows but at least signs…


problem was this was the last sign I found but I was heading for the top of this range below


It was a beautiful day and the hiking was fairly easy and at the top the views lovely



I took a different route back and came across more old buildings



Still a few open shaft mines


This one went down forever!!!





Had lunch inside one of these old buildings and let my imagination run wild into what it may have been like here when the mines were flourishing!!!!

It was a different and a great hike and I enjoyed the solitude…the drive back was easy and I washed Little bluey and got on my scooter and came home and it started to rain on the way home so jumped into a nice hot bath and then I had dinner and now relaxing watching live tennis from New York.

So I did not see anyone…did not speak to anyone…..and I enjoyed my day!!!

Yashi Kochi!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday 28th August 2014…..a beautiful day in SMA!!!

and my morning started out with 2 hours of great tennis with Loren and Alfredo


and Steve


What a wonderful way to start the day…..

Before I left the casita this morning I washed my sheets and decided to go to L&G’s house for the afternoon and hang the sheets out in the sun…..took my book and read for a while then washed Little Bluey and Little was a nice change.

Back home watched two great tennis games from New York…so an easy day…

Aren’t these roses so lovely…


Have to go another tennis match coming on!!!!

Yashi Koshi!!!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wednesday 27th August 2014…..I am relocating to Vegas!!!!

Just another great sunny and warm morning and after breakfast I went down town to my yoga class…I really enjoy this class and I think the stretching is helping me.

Came home and watched some live tennis from New York and also prepared some dinner for later and at 1 o clock went to poker which is why I am moving to Vegas…. another winning afternoon this time 325 pesos!!!!!


After poker I went to Jane's house and here she is busy with my project


Jane has done the three projects and they are ready to be framed…

here is the collage


and the special quote


the other one is a collection  of Camino stuff.

So I took them to the framer’s store and they should be ready next week I think they are going to look so good and then Jane will come over and help me hang them…she has done a great job for me!!!

Home in time to relax on the roof terrace for an hour and then a nice English dinner followed by a bath and now watching tennis again!!!!

the days fly by……..

Yashi Kochi!!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tuesday 26th August 2014……. sunny and lovely!!!

Had a much better sleep and the sun was shining early and I was on the tennis courts by 9am…again another two hours of great tennis here is a shot of one of the players, Barry, who is one of my hero’s..he is 78 years young a great player, a fellow pilgrim from about 5 years ago and in the hiking group!!!


Home in time to watch live tennis from the Big Apple and saw this young lady win what I am sure is the high light of her young career!!!



American 15-year-old CiCi Bellis caused a sensational upset as she beat 12th seed Dominika Cibulkova at the US Open.

Bellis, ranked 1,208 in the world, saw off the Australian Open finalist 6-1 4-6 6-4 on a raucous Court Six.

The junior world number two only received a wildcard by winning the US girls' national championships.

She becomes the youngest winner of a US Open match since Russia's Anna Kournikova, who was 59 days younger when she reached the fourth round in 1996.

At 15 years 152 days old, Bellis is the youngest player to feature in a Grand Slam main draw for over nine years. She is the youngest player in the draw by two years

had never played at WTA level before, let alone in a Grand Slam, and she has only 12 singles matches on the lower ITF circuit to her name.

Who is Cici Bellis?

Real name: Cici is a nickname. Her full name is Catherine Cartan Bellis

Born: 8 April 1999

From: San Francisco

Senior WTA debut: February 2014 in the Abierto Mexicano Telcel

Her favourite player growing up was Kim Clijsters

She chose tennis over "soccer" at the age of 10

Her first US Open memory was Maria Sharapova in 2005 or 2006.

She is schooled online at home in California

"I'm feeling amazing," she said. "I'm still speechless. I'm still in shock about that match.

"I went into the match thinking it was going to be such a great experience, but I never thought I would come out on top winning."

The teenager from California came back from a break down in the final set, fist pumping all the way and urged on by a home crowd that packed into and all around the outside court.

"I had like four friends that started some of the chants," said Bellis. "I was like, 'Oh, my God!' I loved it. It made me play even better."

Bellis will face Zarbia Dyas of Kazakhstan, the world number 48, in the second round, but she cannot collect the US$60,420 (£36,518). prize money on offer as she is an amateur.

"I don't really think about it," she said. "I try to just focus on the tennis rather than anything else.

"I think I'm definitely going to stay an amateur right now to keep my options open for college, in case an injury or something happens. But I'd love to be a pro one day."

One day could this be Ashley!!!

At 2 o clock I went to Rita’s casa and we again had a lovely visit we sit and chat and eat her delicious banana bread then we play a card game called phase 10 and we have fun at this…who won..well I could tell you but then you would say here he goes again that Pearson kid is a braggart!!!!

Did some errands in town after I left and home in time to do some paperwork and e mails and then a nice meal and now enjoying late night tennis from New York!!!!!

Yashi Kochi!!!!