Zihuatanejo, Mexico – December 2014

Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Zihuatanejo, Mexico

Photo’s are here, or just click on the photograph above…

Silly me – I have been actively avoiding coming to Mexico for the past few years – choosing Central or South American countries instead – and here it has been all the time –  another hispanic country which we have fallen in love with 🙂 ! … but boy – it is really hot here – even as we head into high season and allegedly cooler weather!

Not people for typical beach vacations we really ended up here by default but we were ended up loving the town of Zihuatanejo and the beach is also kinda special in its own way.

There is the usual chaos associated with life in this part of the world – which is, of course, really what draws us here in the first place.

The municipal market was a riot of colors, sounds and smells (not all good for vegetarians 😦 !!) and as we wandered through, as anonymously as possible being gringos, it was fascinating to observe daily life. There were butchers with 2 foot long machetes, colorful fruit and veg stalls, exotic looking unctions and potions for unpronounceable ailments, bakers flitting away flies from their baked goods with feathery fly flitters, fresh juice vendors waiting for their next customer, TV’s blaring in most of the stalls, … and even some rather ancient-looking slot machines.

In the arts and crafts district, the dozens of artisans market stalls along Calle Cinco de Mayo were a mix of items … some hand-made and interesting… and others quite awful …. presumably ” machine crafted” in China rather than hand crafted in Oaxaca 😉 At least our nephew and nieces got luckier in this art market than the previous week in Puerto Rico 😉 !) – even the junk sellers  are honest here – we passed one who said in broken english “wanna buy some junk amigo?” 😉 … at least he had a sense of humor.

There was a beautiful (hot… very hot…) ocean walk from our hotel on Playa la Ropa, winding along the bay and passing various cafes and restaurants, and eventually leading into the town of Zihuatanejo. Geoff was less than enthusiastic about the pleasant early Sunday morning stroll I had promised him – just to check out the town – by the time the thermometer hit 90F and we had only just started our tour 😉 Good practice for Singapore I kept having to remind him ….

Despite my skepticism of the tourist information I had read about the authenticity of the fishing village here I have to say they are absolutely correct – it really is as real as a real fishing village gets 🙂 Early in the morning we caught the fishermen having what smacked of a heated trade union meeting under the shade of the palm trees. The fish market was well under way with locals buying the freshest fish you can imagine and a group of policemen were sharing a huge plate of fried fish for breakfast on make-shift tables. There were fishing boats as far as the eye could see stretching along the beach from the “market” – literally a large sheet of tarpaulin strung between a couple of palm trees for shade. There must have been hundreds of boats.

Back at the ranch, with the benefit of Playa la Ropa literally at our feet (reputedly the top beach along this stretch of the Pacific state of Guerrero), we were looking forward to cooling down out on the calm waters of the bay. Geoff decided it looked like ideal conditions to take out a hobie cat and sail the bay but by the time we dragged ourselves away from the rather spectacular view from our balcony the wind had all but disappeared and the waters were perhaps a little too calm 😉 Still, it was peaceful and we had a beautiful view of the the surrounding mountains and some rather nice properties dotted along the palm-fringed coast. From time to time Geoff did manage (quite cleverly given that mother nature wasn’t exactly playing ball) to navigate into some wind and catch a few speedy runs across the water which was more exhilarating 🙂

With Geoff working for much of the week I had to entertain myself with less than my usual energetic adventures given our relatively remote location on the coast far away from some other towns and cities I would love to have visited …. oh well… maybe next time!!

Still, for this trip,  I had to improvise and ended up spending far more time than usual beach walking, early morning running on the beach (Geoff did manage to squeeze in time for this too at least) … swimming in the clear warm waters of the Pacific ….. watching sunrise and sunset from the sun beds on the balcony etc etc… more beach walking … and more swimming….

Having exhausted those options, however, I passed much of the rest of the week testing out masseurs in the billowy white tents on the beach so that I could pick the “absolute best one” for Geoff on his birthday day off later in the week … obviously that was a tough assignment and I’m sure he was grateful for all of my dedicated efforts 😉 🙂 My favorite was the lavender oil salt scrub … funny .. he didn’t fancy that one too much …. didn’t seem to relish the thought of having his epidermis brutally removed by an energetic Mexican AND paying for the privilege 😉 …

All this extended relaxing (a total anathema to me) was rather odd…and I found myself “resigned” to passing my hours getting facials, pedicures and manicures which is a far cry from my usual vacation activities  (I am much more likely to chip all my nails clambering over rocks to get some obscure photo than having them polished by a nice lady in a spa 😉 ) …. I could barely get away with convincing Geoff I that was testing THOSE services out for him but it was probably far less costly overall than having me mooch about all day in the artisans market or the arts and craft stores back in town collecting even more gifts for our nephew and nieces 😉 On that note, bearing in mind how much time I was actually spending at the various spa facilities it came as a considerable relief to Geoff that the cost of a facial, massage, salt scrub, manicure and pedicure was 25% of the cost for the same services back in the USA…. thankfully … 😉

However, though it pains me to admit it, even I have to concede that somewhere between the cool ocean breezes fluttering the sheets around me in the thatched palm leaf massage huts on the beach listening to the rolling waves and the minor birds singing in the giant shade tree protecting the hut from the heat of the mid-day sun…. and my delicate tootsies being buffed and polished as I watched the sunlight glistening on the water and butterflies drifted about me making their way from flower to flower, I must have had some kind of epiphany. I finally “got it”. Relaxing in the sun for a week (for me at least – I didn’t like to share my observations with Geoff at this stage as he was having a particularly heavy day “in the office” back in the room) wasn’t actually going to kill me 😉 I can fully understand why it is many people’s version of heaven 🙂

Still, for more than a few days it just isn’t really for us.  Not known for my ability to sit still for more than 5 minutes anyway, I am forever conscious of the fact that the world is just too big and exciting to relax for too long and there is still so much left to see, and too many metaphorical and literal mountains to climb etc. etc. to fritter time sitting around contemplating the universe from an albeit rather comfortable padded whicker armchair with a lovely view having my toe-nails painted … But I do understand it a little better now… 😉

In between all this chilling out (me more than Geoff, obviously) we did get to enjoy excellent fresh fish at some lovely beach restaurants for dinner (no chance of being fully vegetarian in this part of the country – so it’s a good job we are flexible “veggies”) . There was something very carefree and relaxing about being able to walk along the sand barefoot by moonlight from the hotel heading out for the evening. It really was kinda fun to eat barefoot at a table digging your toes into the sand with the waves lapping at the shore no further than 6 or 7 feet away whilst the lights of the town twinkled in the distance.

The ambience at dinner under the stars on the sand was enhanced by watching the local kids industriously collecting bagfuls of shellfish along the waters edge. The were digging very enthusiastically in the wet sand as the waves receded… they must have had a sixth sense to actually locate these tiny little creatures as it was almost pitch black and they were working only by the light of the moon…. impressive….

Of course, this barefoot-type vacation rendered the 5 pairs of heels and sandals I had deemed absolutely vital to my survival when we had packed our bags for vacation somewhat superfluous to requirements. Geoff was thrilled, as you can imagine, as I am rather prone to overpack on shoes and it had been quite a squeeze getting some of my more ridiculously useless shoes into the hand luggage. I am now fearful that all the eyelash fluttering and girly implorings in the world won’t get me very far shoe-wise when we pack for Cambodia and Laos 😉

The end of the week saw Geoff packing his laptop away so that he too could swim, enjoy the beach and more importantly, test out my carefully chosen masseur!! We strolled the local residential neighborhood in the evenings checking out the street life – busy cafes, colorful courtyards, friendly dogs roaming around looking for a stroke, cockerels scuttling about in gardens, bougainvillea growing in old buckets brightening up people’s properties, junk piled high in yards waiting for a second lease of life, women making tortillas in store fronts etc. etc….

It was a busy day for birthday boy on Friday – breakfast at the fish market …we can’t stay away 😉 …watching a crazy local shimmy up a 45/50′ palm tree with a machete clutched between his teeth and hack off huge clusters of coconuts for his friends below, then testing out said freshly harvested coconuts. An afternoon on the beach followed snorkeling with a huge Ridley Turtle 25′ from the beach. And the day ended with a couple of massages in the palm huts on the beach listening to the waves… pina coladas at sunset and candle lit lobster dinner on the sand 🙂

So… adios Mexico… hasta luego! 🙂

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