Hotel Paraiso Miramar

For the last 5, or is it 6 days, I have camped in the grounds of the Hotel Paraiso Miramar near San Blas. Come here.

Why go anywhere else?

It is paradise. Perched on a cliff top overlooking the ocean, it has a sprawling park of huge trees and coconut groves. There are 2 swimming pools, hot water showers, flush toilets, a restaurant, fast wifi, hence all the recent posts, and above all birds!

This morning I stumble out of the camper at 8:00 ish and see this.

Black Necked Magpie Jay. They are huge!
Yellow-winged Cacique
Lineated woodpecker. Poor photo – hands shaking with excitement.
Iguana taking morning air.
Vermilion Flycatcher
Meadowlark – less exotic but beautiful.

There were also Citreoline Trogons but the photos are too poor to expose here. All that in the first 15 minutes of the day encourages you to lie down for the rest.

Frigate birds I have seen previously, usually flying very high and far away. I blurt, “Look, quick, a frigate bird!”

A fleet of Frigate Birds! Outside the restaurant where I usually eat.
The sort of stuff I eat.

I have to get out of here!

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Get Your Motor Running

Not a care, few helmets, talking on phone, kids loving it, what a cool way to get around.

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Stuff that Started Life in the Sea

I tell you, when it comes to ingesting fish and other stuff that started life in the sea, then the west coast of Mexico is hard to beat. In San Blas, if you stop, close your eyes, spin around and open them again, then you are facing a fish restaurant.

No messing

These restaurants are rarely more than shacks with palm roofs and earth floors. The cooking is done over a very slow burning grill, more smoking than grilling really. The menu is look at the grill and choose what you want.

Just a break from pictures of fish monotony.

The market is overwhelmed with fish stalls.

Fancy a snack?
She makes me fresh ceviche, which around here is mashed fished, carrot,onion,garlic,tomato, cilantro and lots of lime juice.

I go to an upmarket restaurant, one that has a menu.

Oysters are good for the libido.
Fresh octopus with fried banana .

You look out onto the ocean. Frigate birds and pelicans drift by. The meal, with 2 mugs of homemade limonade, comes to $8:00.

I eat a lot of shrimp and ceviche.
Where I live at the moment
I am not roughing it.
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Bosambo of the River

I fix up a meeting at the bridge for 7:00 am. They were to boat me around the estuary swamp land that surrounds San Blas. I am there at 6:45, still terrified of being late and thus unworthy. I sit in a cafe and order breakfast, refried beans, eggs, warm tortillas and Nescafe. By 7:15 no one has shown up. I start to sob into my refried beans. An older guy, riding by on a very beat up bike, comes to comfort me.

“I have boat, come. I not speak English!”

5 minutes later we are skimming over the estuary towards the swamp. Anyway, this reinforces my ever strengthening opinion that organization is grossly overrated, especially in Mexico. Not a criticism.

Very rare Common Black Hawk
Little Blue Heron
Groovy billed Ani
Green Kingfisher
Frigate Bird taking a rest from all that flying around.
Not a bird; it is a crocodile of which there are lots
Yellow Crowned Night Heron.
Lesser Nighthawk
Green Heron
Baby crocodile
Bare throated tiger heron.

Incredible trip. Ricardo, for it is he, has a fantastic eye for birds and we see so, so many species. The photos are small selection. My biggest problem was that we got so close to the birds and reptiles that my big bird lens had too much magnification, allowing only close ups of heads or other body parts.

Thanks Ricardo!

A who knows what hummingbird, on feeder I hung beside the camper.
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What Larks Pip

Slow internet equals no posts. Happy New Year dear readers, a small but distinguished bunch!

I head off to San Blas in Nayarit, Mexico for a 6 week trip of hardcore birdwatching fun.

It takes me a week to get there. There is too much to say. The US and Mexico are huge and very scenic.

Very cold camp at Mono Lake California.
Much warmer camp in Stovepipe Wells Death Valley
New Year’s Eve somewhere in Arizona.
I spend 2 days at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument because it is so amazing.

I burst into Mexico at a tiny place called Lukeville. For the first time I get all the documents for legal driving in Mexico. Normally everything is so chaotic that I give up and just drive – never been busted. About 15 miles South of the border there is a big shiny new building where I get my Temporary Importation Permit, my Tourist Card and insurance. I feel very old.

Inside camper – super comfy
First new bird – Curved billed Thrasher.

I drive down the west coast of Mexico. There is nothing here. I stay in a hotel in a Puerto Libertad.

Wifi? Non

ATM? Non

Gasolina? Non

There are a lot of fisher folk chopping up fish.

Mushy peas

California, Arizona, Sonora, Sinaloa, Nayarit 2,300 miles. Well done truck! What is more the dreaded turnbuckles did not budge an iota. I settle into an idyllic camping spot in San Blas where I am only disturbed by coconuts thunking into the ground and by the grunting of White Faced Ibis that cluster around.

I take a couple of days off to concentrate on seafood.
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One of the things that I enjoy most about being back in California is that it is coldish. These means I get to wear wool. I love wearing wool.

Pure wool sweater, pure wool jacket.

For recreation, James and I go for a tramp on Christmas morning. We head for Point Reyes again to play with elephant seals and collect mushrooms. Weather not so good but the rest is amazing.

Golden Crowned Sparrow
White Crowned Sparrow
Whimbrel, or 2 turtle doves.

We hit the beach, which is strewn with huge seals celebrating Xmas.

Now’s the season to be jolly.
Run with torches.

I mean, isn’t it wonderful that 40 mins away from the house, I can cuddle elephant seals as much as I want.

Lo he abhors not the virgin’s womb
Different beach
I want 6 geese a laying!
More Elk
Not Elk.

James is a super skilled mushroom collector. He spies loads of oyster mushrooms growing on trees.

Sages, leave your contemplations.

Anyway a great day’s ramble. Thanks James for mushroom mastery.

This is what the world has been waiting for. Truck Camper Magazine’s top 10 articles.

Everyone loves a good comedy.

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So, once Xmas has waved goodbye, I will head South on a long trip to San Blas, Mexico. Read all about it: I hope to spend a month there; watching, photographing birds and eating lots of fish.

I start to pimp the truck to make sure she can master the many thousands of  lang Scots miles, the mosses, waters, slaps, and styles, that lie between San Francisco and San Blas.

New shoes! She is so pleased.

The radio volume control has stopped working and I splash out on a new sound system.

Go here.
So loud! It has a blue tooth.I am so pleased.

One of the biggest difficulties of driving the truck plus camper is that you have very poor rear vision. The camper is too wide for the standard mirrors to see around. Who are you going call? Yup, Amazon. I order up 2 extension mirrors that I arrive the next day. Amazon is incredible. No matter what obscure knick knack you want, it arrives on your doorstep usually the next day. I showed Jeff Bezos around SLAC once. He did not seem very interested but was polite.

Yay! Big difference.
I can now actually see what is coming up behind.

I check all the fluids and James cleans out the air filter.

Super clean air filter.

The truck is in really good shape and raring to go.

I zoom down to Stanford.

Fun in the Faculty Club with Rachel. Wine at lunchtime.

James and I bike down to Salesforce Park. This is a long park, smack in the middle of the city, built 4 floors up on top of a bus station roof. Amazing place.


Happy Holidays everyone!

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