Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Backyard Entomology





Todd and I have been working in the back yard the last little while trying to resurrect our overgrown garden. It is a very small space so I’m not really sure how we managed to let it get away from us to such an extent. I guess we’ve had some other things on our minds, LOL.

For such a small area there are a lot of critters living in and around our yard. We are used to seeing a variety of insect life, the occasional opossum and last week we rescued a tiny rabbit that the cats were trying to take down.There are several types of lizards as well, although their survival rate is limited with three cats lurking around. I think I’ve mentioned before that we also seem to have an inordinate amount of spiders as well. 

There are the big brown house spiders, the little black jumping spiders, and the creepy little scorpion spiders to name a few. However, on our last weeding day the insect population was much more interesting than usual. In the picture below you are seeing an emerald jumping spider, a busy little guy that didn’t really want to stop to model but Todd managed to catch him anyway.




Shortly after the spider made his appearance I noticed a beetle that I had never seen the like of. He was at least 2 inches long and one wide, with a shield of shining copper on his back. I tried to find out what he might be, I’m not even sure he is a beetle, but I couldn’t find anything that was exactly right. He might be some kind of leaf eating bug.




Sometime later when we had stopped investigating bugs and moved on to actually weeding plants, Todd came over to me and said “Look down at your left shoulder, you are not alone”. Sure enough I had a little green passenger. A praying mantis. I don’t think I have ever seen a praying mantis prior to that, other than in pictures and public television shows. We immediately went back to investigating bugs.


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My little passenger, and a closer view below.

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I was amazed and thrilled by this little guy. We didn’t get a lot of work done that day but we had fun with critters, enjoyed the sunshine and just being together in the garden, which I think is more important.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Opulence in Querétaro



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Antea Lifestyle Center


Whoever said there is no money in Mexico has clearly never been to Querétaro. The city is booming, American factories and Japanese car companies are springing up everywhere and real estate is flourishing. In Juriquilla, a suburb of Querétaro, resides the largest shopping mall in Mexico and Latin America.

Recently my friend Lin arrived at my house and whisked me off for a day at the mall, and what a delightful day we had! The three department stores in the mall are very upscale versions of El Palacio de Hierro, Liverpool and Sears. El Palacio is so huge that we actually got completely lost inside!




The Antea Lifestyle Center was designed by architect Javier Sordo Madeleno, and reportedly cost one billion dollars to build. It covers 271,000 square meters and is the ultimate in luxury and opulence. The project includes a huge housing development, hotels and recreation as well as the gargantuan mall.




Breaking ground in 2011, Antea has been some time in reaching fruition. Todd and I dropped in to look when it first opened, but although many of the storefronts had the names of future occupants, few were as yet in residence. The names though, told the story. Tory Burch, Chanel, Burberry, Michael Kors, Carolina Herrera, Louis Vuitton, Chico's, Anne Fontaine and Dolce & Gabbana to name a few. As well there was the promise of a Ferrari / Maserati dealership and JW Marriott plans to open a property adjacent to Antea by 2017.


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Of course all the designer stores were wonderful to browse through but it was some of the vendors that we don’t usually see here in Mexico that really fascinated me. We found Victoria’s Secret, Old Navy, Banana Republic, Benetton, Pottery Barn, Crate and Barrel, Zara Home, H&M Home and on and on and on.




For a makeup artist it doesn’t get much better than this. Cosmetic Departments in Liverpool and El Palacio that carry Chanel, Lauder, Arden, YSL, Orlane, Clarins, Dior and just about anything else you can imagine. To top it off there is a Sephora and a MAC Cosmetics store!


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Lin treated me to lunch in P.F. Chang’s. OMG it was wonderful. If you don’t want Chinese there is also El Almacén, Fisher’s, Chili’s, Las Pasteria, China (okay that’s Chinese too), Moshi Moshi, Italianis, and the California Pizza Kitchen. Fast food? You name it. Kiosks, which are really little restaurants line the center of the main floor. You will find Starbucks, Krispe Kreme donuts and Suchi among the many offerings.

If you want to be entertained there is a Cinépolis VIP where you can sit in lazyboy comfort while you watch the movie. You can also order from the sushi, sandwiches, bar or coffee menus and the staff will bring your order without disturbing your entertainment.


Photos above and below by Todd McIntosh,



Amazing décor and merchandizing abound in every corner







Sensory overload






Thank you Lin for a very special day!



Thursday, July 2, 2015

Canada Day!!!




Yesterday was Canada Day and for those of us who are not “snowbirds” the Canadian Club put together a great party at the Hotel Misión El Molino in San Miguel de Allende. It was a beautiful afternoon and all the tables out on the lawn in the pool area of the hotel were covered in red clothes and topped with beautiful flower arrangements.




The hotel was a great choice, a perfect venue for events, they do a lot of weddings and bus tours etc. Even though so many of us are not here during the summer, there were still about 50 or 60 attendees. Johnny Favourite, our local celebrity from La Noche Piano Bar, and resident Newfy, led us in the Canadian Anthem and I even (almost) remembered all the words. I only missed one.


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There was a bar set up by the pool but the staff was also very attentive, for those of us who are mobilely challenged. Is that a word? A glass of wine which was all of two ounces cost 70 pesos however, so I pretty quickly switched to beer which is very hard to short pour if served in a bottle.




There is even a windmill. I’m not sure why, but there it is.




Through the arch is the mini golf course. Definitely something you don’t see here every day.




Unfortunately even the Canadian Club can’t control the weather. A representative from the Canadian Embassy in Mexico City, and one who even came all the way from  the Mazatlán Embassy, were asking questions too see how much we knew about our two countries, and giving away prizes the for the correct answers, when the ominous sound of thunder began in the distance.

In an incredibly short time the black clouds rolled in, a cold wind picked up and the rain began. It is the rainy season after all. And boy howdy, is it a doozy this year! Prizes or no, everyone ran for cover. Luckily the bar was open, or maybe they opened it for us, I am not sure, so on went the party. A Canadian will never let a little rain slow them down, particularly if they come from the west coast.




Inside it was a little dark, but dry and out of the wind.




There was also a better selection of drinks. Even Canadian Club if you were so inclined. And so the party continued to the sound of torrential rain and wind. Sodden people, staff and even a small dog took refuge in the bar, and a good time was had by all.


I hope everyone had a Happy Canada Day!