No Cambio (No Change)

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I’m sure just about everyone who reads this has experienced the same dilemma when trying to buy something in small town Mexico, and some other countries south of the border. Stores and restaurants don’t have any change!

It’s not usually a big deal paying for everything in cash, unless you’re at a fancy restaurant and don’t want to take a chance that the ATM is out of money again. Yes, even the banks seem to be low on cash. We’ve had the experience in Sayulita, Melaque and Barra de Navidad.

The thing I don’t get is at places like OXXO or Kiosko (stores like 7-11) who have customers in and out all day long, they never have any change for paper money that would be the equivalent to our ten or twenty dollar bills. If people are giving them change all day long (cuz the can’t get any) then where the hell does it all go?

It’s like a comedy routine, watching a store clerk search her own purse, or running to the store next door to make change. We’ve tried to pay our bar tab and have seen the waiter dig into their tip jars for change. They never carry a float and in many places a metal box serves as a cash register.

You get to the point where you break into a sweat after opening your wallet and you see only $500 peso notes…what the ATM normally dispenses. So, can anyone tell me where all the Cambio is?

Dark Sacred Night – Michael Connelly

38204691._SX318_Dark Sacred Night (Harry Bosch, #21; Renée Ballard, #2; Harry Bosch Universe, #31)
by

Michael Connelly (Goodreads Author), 
15204490

Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Feb 04, 2020


I’m a huge Harry Bosch fan and have also become a Michael Connelly fan. His writing voice is strong, his cop lingo and research into police procedure is spot on. Having been a cop myself, I can easily relate to Connelly’s other police characters as well as the creeps and criminals they pursue.
I didn’t think this novel deserved the fifth star only because the story didn’t seem to put me on the edge of my seat as his others have. I did like how the author switched perspectives, telling us the story from two different sides, both Bosch’s and Renee Ballard’s.
If you’re a Harry Bosch or Michael Connelly fan you’ll enjoy this book. If you’re new to the character or author you’ll still like the book and probably become a fan.

ChavaKiah Massage Cafe

chavaI literally stumbled across this hidden gem while exploring the back streets running parallel to the blurred Melaque/Villa Obregon border. I saw the words Chavakiah and Desayuno scribbled on a chalkboard near Esmerelda’s and ambled over the cobblestone to see what I could see, and maybe eat.

And there it was, an oasis among the non-descript faded pastel bungalows, a few umbrellaed tables and another chalkboard to signal I had the right place. I sat outside the first time but had to take shelter inside today because of the unusual rainstorm (it never rains while we’re here in the winter).

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Toba Wings in Melaque

58724844_1086800061443780_6099295323476197376_oFinally, a restaurant in Melaque with good chicken wings. Not the small pigeon wings or tiny appendages stolen from young birds before they grow feathers, but large-almost jumbo, fat and juicy wings with a few decent sauces to choose from.

Everyone knows I love food, but no everyone knows I’m a chicken wing aficionado, having sample cluckers in restaurants from here to Alaska, and from San Francisco to Capetown, Africa.  Toba Wings might not have the best wings in the world, but they are good enough for this birdman to make a return visit.

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The Gatekeeper – Michelle Gagnon

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The Gatekeeper (Kelly Jones, #3)
by

Michelle Gagnon (Goodreads Author)
15204490

Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Jan 30, 2020


I chose this book more out of curiosity than anything else. In Googling or searching my own name on different websites I sometimes come up with the name Michelle Gagnon. We are from different places and walks of life but may be related somewhere down the genealogical road. Her book, The Gatekeeper gets praise from best selling Author Lee Child…I’ve often wondered how an aspiring author gets a plug like that.
Anyway, I found The Gatekeeper a bit tough to get into and keep track of with two sets of (four in total) protagonists who worked at building the story from different angles. The problem was compounded by my own writing – my creative wheels interfered with my reading wheels. It seems I have a hard time keeping the two separate so when I’m in the writing mode, I’m not reading much.
The plot was descent but I think it’s been done to death…special agents racing to stop the terrorists from setting off bombs in major US cities. And throw in a kidnapping to add the level of stress and compassion.
Although predictable, the story still worked and managed to be entertaining, but I won’t be racing out in search of another of my long-lost cousin’s novels.

Maria’s in Melaque

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West Melaque is becoming a hub for tasty new restaurants. Cathryn and I haven’t been here in two years but were happy to see restaurants like the Wok and De Maria en la Playa in the end of town we’re staying. We’ve been to Maria’s three times now and had excellent food each time.

The Italian restaurant is right next door to Tito’s, in the same building that was Tito’s the last time we were in town. The dining room is cozy, extends out onto a wood deck, and has seating on the beach. Menu items include salads, pasta and steaks. The guacamole we had for starters was one of the best we’ve had in Melaque.

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Saving Faith – David Baldacci

15157Saving Faith
by

David Baldacci (Goodreads Author)
15204490

Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Jan 19, 2020


I’ve read much better by Baldacci and was disappointed that I had a hard time getting into this novel. Admittedly, some stories are difficult that way, trying to understand the plot and the introduction of new characters. In this case, I found way too much fluff and back story, to the point that I had to skim ahead through the first quarter of the book.
Granted, some history and back story go to character development, but I don’t believe we need to know how a certain character behaved in grade school if it has nothing to do with the overall plot. Having said that, I found the characters in Saving Faith likeable. And having said that, personally, I found some of their actions and dialogue a bit sappy and unlikely in the real world.
Maybe I’m being a bit critical but that is what reviews are all about. Baldacci acknowledges certain professionals who aided him in his research and the writing of this book. If that’s the case then I have to wonder if perhaps they were holding back or what world they are living in. I see the book was written in 1999 and I know for a fact the world was not such a gentile place back then.
The book does get better in the second half, but with the exception of one nice twist, it was very predictable.

Restaurant “El Quetzal” de Laura

IMG_4680It’s not often that I rave about a great breakfast restaurant, you’d probably find only two or three if you searched my archived blogs. And if my memory serves me correctly, I’ve only wrote about one in Melaque, Mexico.

Today, during my morning walk through Melaque, San Patricio and Villa Obregon, I came across the Restaurant “El Quetzal” de Laura, in Villa Obregon. Cathryn and I had walked by this place before and I think it was recommended to us for dinner a couple or three years ago. Obviously, it was our mistake in not taking the advice.

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Soprano’s – Best Pizza in Melaque

IMG-20191225-174736jpgThis post is for all Canadians and pizza lovers staying in Villa Obregon, Melaque or San Patricio. The pizza restaurant formerly known as Nonsolopizza, on the corner across from the bus station and beside the taxi stand, is now called “Soprano’s Pizzeria.” The owner said he had to change the name for technical reasons.

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Beverly Hills Dead – Stuart Woods

1426558._SX318_Beverly Hills Dead (Rick Barron, #2)
by Stuart Woods

15204490

Edmond Gagnon‘s review

Jan 05, 2020


I’m glad I only borrowed this book from someone else’s shelf, it came nowhere near to living up to it’s promise of a fast-past sexy thriller full of nail biting twists and turns. The pace was okay but it took 3oo pages before anything really happened.
The story is an old Hollywood tale about the business side of things and how easy it was to get accidentally discovered and become a successful movie star. The only real jeopardy was pressure from the U.S. government who were pursuing communists in Hollywood at the time.
The was one clue as to who done it so there was no mystery involved. I came across no twists or turns and thought the plot fell flat.
The subject matter kept me interested enough to finish the book but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone unless you’re keenly interested in how a movie was produced in the 1950’s.