Next up, Gulf Coast

September 18th, 2016
David and Alison

David and Alison

I returned to Guadalajara from Puerto Vallarta on Tuesday. I really enjoyed my time down there and got a lot done. I was back in the office on Wednesday, but then took off again Thursday morning, this time to meet David and Alison in Destin, Florida.

I don’t think I’ve been to Destin before – the beach is so pretty! The white, powdery sand is incredible.

 

Destin

Destin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David and Alison rented a lovely condo right on the beach…just walk off the deck into the sand. We generally just goofed off and had fun together. Thursday night we grilled burgers on the deck. Friday we took a long drive and stopped in several little villages to shop and poke around. We had a great lunch at the Red Bar, and we fantasized about which of the fabulous homes on the beach we’d buy. Saturday it was a bit rainy, so Alison and I took the obligatory trip to Wal-mart and to another store, then we took a long walk on the beach to scope out condos for the next vacation!

We all left at oh-dark-thirty this morning – they hit the road for Hot Springs and I went to the airport. I had a nice trip back, good connections and a quick breakfast at the new Centurion Club in Houston – and before I knew it, I was back home!

Here are a few photos from my travels this week.

Alison

Alison

David patiently waiting while we shopped

David patiently waiting while we shopped

Cutest PO ever

Cutest PO ever

What are YOU looking at?

What are YOU looking at?

Alison

Alison

Beach bikes

Beach bikes

This way

This way

Destin: surf's up!

Destin: surf’s up!

Vallarta Pelican

Vallarta Pelican

Sun, sand, and good friends

September 11th, 2016
With Wayne and Mike

With Wayne and Mike

I was lucky to get to come back to Puerto Vallarta to work this past week – always fun to get down here. In an amazing coincidence, Mike and Wayne were here, too, so I flew in a day early on Labor Day to see them. We met up at Allyn and Scotty’s cool condo overlooking the ocean where they rolled out the red carpet for us, then we all went to a fun restaurant where they like to flambe lots of things – plus another beautiful view. It was a great evening, and so relaxing to be with good friends!

 

Dinner with the fellas

Dinner with the fellas

With Scotty and Allyn

With Scotty and Allyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Work here at the agency has been busy. We get a mix of tourists who lost passports, folks who moved down here years ago who need to renew passports, and Mexican parents who need to get U.S. passports for their U.S.-born children. It’s a small office and I love the coziness of it – plus the three local staff are just wonderful. We’ve had several sad cases where U.S. citizens needs assistance, including several deaths.

It’s wonderfully quiet here at the hotel and I’m sleeping great. My days are pretty routing – breakfast with a view of the ocean, walk to work, then a nice long walk along the beach after work. Not too shabby!

John left early Labor Day morning to work for a few weeks in Suriname. They’re opening a new Embassy building there and needed some help. It’s a nice change of pace for him and a good chance to check out another country. There’s only 300,000 people in the whole country; John says it’s super-pour and can get hot. It’s located on the shoulder of South America, by Venezuela, and has a Caribbean feel – but it was a Dutch colony, so there’s also a lot of Dutch influence.

Here are a few beach shots!

Storm moving in

Storm moving in

Going, going...

Going, going…

Gone!

Gone!

Lifeguard chair

Lifeguard chair

Porcupine fish

Porcupine fish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve found a little salon down here that I like. It’s not a Ouidad salon, but for little trim and a color touch-up, Miriam does a good job! I’ll leave you with a selfie that I sent to John!

Getting a touch-up at my favorite little salon in Vallarta

Getting a touch-up at my favorite little salon in Vallarta

Congrats to friends

September 4th, 2016

Foreign Service promotion lists came out this week, and John and I were happy to see many names of friends on the list! Congrats to them! I was especially glad to see that my boss was promoted – we had a non-alcoholic toast and pastries to celebrate the next morning. Also, many other friends from around the world. (John and I weren’t eligible to be promoted since we’ve been promoted within the last three years.)

The nice thing this year it that the promotion panels made their decisions pretty early, so now everyone knows what level of jobs they need to bid on later this month. For example, my boss knows he can bid on higher level jobs, now that he was promoted to FS-01.

Speaking of bidding, we’re still planning to bid on DC jobs. We’ve started the process of asking co-workers to send in references for us. Next week, I’ll start sending letters of interest to my top choices. Then you start trying to read tea leaves to see if you’re getting any bites. This is really our first time in the regular bidding pool, since we went to Pakistan in 2012 and then used that equity to get the jobs in Guadalajara, so it’s all a bit new (and scary!) to us!

We had a nice dinner out on Friday night with our friends Chris and Monica – we went to our favorite restaurant for a delicious steak.

I hate to admit that we’ve been watching a lot of TV, but darn there are some good shows out. We finished the wonderful series, “The Night Of,” with John Tuturro. We watched a campy, wonderful old Nicole Kidman movie, “To Die For.” Yesterday we watched a very entertaining Norwegian movie (billed as the Norwegian “Fargo”), “In Order of Disappearance.”

Taking it slow

August 28th, 2016

I’m pretty much recovered from my cold, but still moving slowly. Every day is a little better! It’s especially aggravating to see my Fitbit steps go down to nothing – argh!

Yesterday John and I went to the office to work – he worked all day because we’re moving into his busy season for procurement as our fiscal year comes to a close next month. I just went in for a couple of hours in the morning to write a letter of recommendation for a co-worker and get some other administrative stuff done.

Afterward, I drove out to Tonala and poked around some of the stores there. It’s historically a artisan town – yesterday I went to several of their stores for blown glass. I had a good time, and brought home a torta ahogada to eat – a “drowned sandwich” that Guadalajara is famous for. It’s basically a mini-baguette stuff with pork, then “drowned” in a spicy tomato sauce. Messy to eat, but good!

I had a discussion this week with my mothership (Consular Affairs) about my onward assignment – bidding opens next month. John and I have made the decision to come back to DC for a tour – it will be nice to be closer to home for a while. I’ve got my eye on some interesting jobs, so wish me luck!

Starve a cold…

August 21st, 2016

I’ve been fighting a cold all week and finally threw in the towel Thursday at noon and came home, and I stayed home Friday. I’m feeling better but just not 100%.

Despite not feeling well, I did go to Tlaquepaque yesterday for the En Arte crafts fair – it’s my favorite and I just didn’t want to miss it. I ended up not buying much, but it was good to get out for a little while. They have vendors from all over Mexico and they have some interesting things.

We finished “Band of Brothers” last night – what an incredible story.