Monthly Archives: March 2012

Back to Mexico

After spending a month in Takapuna, we thought long and hard about where to go next.  With the whole world to choose from, it was hard to make the decision. The original plan had been to settle down on a south pacific island for the next few months, but that wasn’t going to work since those islands didn’t have the community (or internet access) we were looking for.  While we both love Akumal, right now is the high season and everything is totally booked, so that was out. Both of us have been feeling the need to settle down, get more comfortable, be closer to friends and family, and have our “stuff,” so we thought, why not try Rosarito?  Yes, Rosarito, Mexico, as in just over the border from San Diego right next to Tijuana. We have been thinking about Rosarito as a possible new home, so we decided to use the next three months as a trial period. If we like it, maybe we’ll come back here in the late fall to start up a semi-permanent winter/spring residence here.

There were lots of condos for rent since there is not much tourism going on in this part of Mexico (you may have heard there is a little bit of a drug war going on in Tijuana).  While we are concerned about safety issues, before we arrived we spent hours reading and corresponding with both Americans and Mexicans that live in Rosarito, and we think that it’s not an issue that will affect us personally.  We’ve been here two weeks so far, and already we feel very safe. We avoid going to Tijuana, and are mainly staying around the south side of Rosarito, where there are plenty of shops and restaurants to keep up occupied for now.  I feel comfortable driving by myself (our beat-up truck is the perfect Baja car) and everyone we have met is nice and friendly and oh my god the food is so good (and cheap!).

And we love our condo in the Calafia Towers.  We have an amazing view, with dolphins and seals going by every day. Yesterday we also saw our first whale. Pretty neato. The community area here is also amazing–with beautiful walkways, six jacuzzis, two (freezing) pools, and of course, the beach.  The oceanfront gym is a huge plus (which of course Mark uses every day and I have even been known to set foot in), and there is a large lounge downstairs with pool tables, ping pong, fooz ball, etc.,  that we are already enjoying.

Mark and I are playing tennis together. So far I’ve been a big girl and haven’t pouted too much when I lose. He also discovered a left surf break called Popotla, which is just north of us, and it has a great little fishing village attached to it, which has great “autentico” seafood restaurants and taco shops.

The best part is that we are less than an hour away from San Diego (well, it’s a quick drive south, but the north-bound border wait can be hours). We plan to visit as much as possible. We surprised the Vargas/Jasner/Wilson clan a couple weeks ago, and it was great to see the family.  We headed up about a week ago for Mark’s birthday–golf at Torrey Pines and dinner in La Jolla with all our friends. Then back to Mexico the next day.

It’s a nice balance of mellow-Mexican life with US amenities and friends and family nearby….I think this might work for awhile!

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Posted by on March 13, 2012 in Uncategorized


Last Week in New Zealand

Our time in New Zealand has come to an end, but we did have an extra fun last week, so I thought I’d share a few more stories.

I took Erica’s bike to Waiheke island for the day. It was an easy ferry trip from Devonport, and though it was cloudy and threatening rain when I left, in half an hour I found myself back in the sunshine. Turned out to be a beautiful day–perfect for biking and wine tasting around this little island.  As soon as I got off the ferry it was easy to navigate my way through the quaint streets of Waiheke. The island has a very mellow, slightly hippie vibe. There’s not much on the island except for beaches, bed and breakfasts, and wineries.

I started on the south side of the island where there was a lovely auto-free coastal track.

Then I made my way to the first winery: Goldie’s Vineyard.  I hopped off my bike and met a friendly American in the tasting room who hooked me up with lots of wine and then sent me to the top of the hill with my glass to enjoy the view. Not too shabby.

From there I went to two more wineries (already forgot the names) and one of them also was a brewery, so I got to taste some beer, too.  I treated myself to a lovely lunch and then rode around the north side of the island, stopping at various beaches along the way. The entire time I was thinking of Mark and Jennie Johnson–you guys would love this place.  I was even scoping out the best hotel to recommend to you, so if you ever are in that part of the world, let me know!


One day we rented a car and headed to the west coast to see what kind of surf is on the Tasman Sea. Piha is a well-known surf-spot for Aucklanders, and the beach is just gorgeous with giant rocks framing the surf.  Mark rented a board and caught a few waves while I enjoyed lying on the warm black sand.  We wandered around a bit and saw some pretty cool surfshops/beach pads. Everyone we met was really laid back and friendly, including the deli shop guy who gave us free brownies. Mark was impressed with the friendly vibe out in the water, too. Out in the lineup he accidentally bumped the board of a huge Maori guy. The guy turned around, and Mark got ready for a thrashing. The guy said, “I’m so sorry, brah!” and smiled. Love those kiwis! Overall it was a great day and felt a lot like being back in California.

We had a few more touristy things to knock off, like the zoo, which was fun.

Then Erica and Rob took us to the Sky City Casino for a big night of gambling and fine dining. The view was fabulous from the observatory (probably the best view in the entire country) and we had fun down in the casino, too.

The very last night Rob took Mark sailing, and they both came back hooting and hollering with excitement. They had four races and managed to place in the last one. Mark loved every minute. Here are few videos:

Well, I thought another month in Kiwi Land might make the novelty of this country wear off, but no such luck.  We just love everything about New Zealand, and we’re truly grateful that we got a chance to spend two months there.  Here are a few more classic kiwi pictures:

Love the Airport Terminal Screen, with its “Relax” message:

Will always remember our view from the Spencer on Byron

God Bless New Zealand!

And where do we go next? Well, the five readers of this blog probably already know…but stay tuned for our next blog coming soon!

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Posted by on March 2, 2012 in Uncategorized