WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO OUR BEACH?

And why are they doing it is a big question. The basketball court is gone, the artist plaza is torn up, there is a huge ditch in which they are building a rock wall through Casa Arcadia. No one seems to have any information on what the end result is supposed to be. I think it is good there are so few tourists here to see this heart breaking mess.

I planned to post several pictures, but I’m not able to post pictures today. I wish I knew someone who is a word press expert or just someone who is more skilled than I to tell me why I continually have such trouble with pictures

No more basket ball court

This is the only picture that I can get to post today. Will try again later. Signing off KO

A Perfect Thanksgiving

Folks here have been busy choosing which restaurant to try for as near as possible traditional Thanksgiving dinner, a meal dedicated to Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy. None of which I like or eat. And usually the next day you hear about how “they just don’t know how to do it right”.

While I’m sure some places “did it right” but I opted for a different “Thanksgiving meal”, I headed to Las Gattas for an afternoon of swimming snorkeling, reading and getting some sun on this lily white body. Topping it off with a fantastic meal of coconut shrimp, with dipping sauce, guacamole and chips, rice and fruit.

The perfect Thanksgiving dinner

Las Gattas has always been a favorite place for me to swim and snorkel. I enjoy seeing a few colorful fish and on this day I even saw a spotted sea snake. The beach is so protected that it is easy to get in and out of, no sneaky waves to make your loose your balance and knock you flat. I really don’t do waves any more, just don’t have the balance and grace required to keep on my feet. Then when I get knocked down, I’m like an upside down turtle, hoping some kind soul will rescue me.

This pandemic has brought a few changes to Playa Las Gattas. Number one the price of the water taxi ticket has jumped to $80 pesos. The new pier is lovely, but I don’t understand why they couldn’t have made the stairs go clear down to the water, the tide is such that the return trip requires stepping higher than my artificial knees permit and I’m always afraid the skinny little man who is hauling me up won’t be strong enough. I alway tip good and am great full that I have never been dropped.

The beach restaurants have to keep a 10 ft wide space with no chairs or umbrellas between them and the water line. No lounge chairs are permitted, and the crowds are so sparse that there is no problem with social distancing.

For me, shrimp to eat, a good book to read in the sun, some time in the water is a perfect day. A perfect Thanksgiving Day. Signing off KO

Sounds and sights of Zihuatanejo

I never tire of sounds of Zihuatanejo. It’s music to my ears. There are the sounds one would expect in a beach side community, like the crashing waves which on a very still night I can hear from my back porch although I am a good block away. There is the sound of music coming from the neighbors back yard or the restaurant across the street, but my favorite sounds are the songs of the street vendors. Each of these have there own song. The loudest is the propane truck that announces his presence in your neighborhood with a horn that plays “the charge sound followed by “gaaaaz”.

Bolillo Man hawking his wares

First thing in morning one hears the call of the bolillo man calling “boy-lee-yos” with a basket on his head filled with just baked, warm, crusty buns from the oven of the bakery 1/2 block away. I put a few pesos in my bag, lower it down on a string from the back porch. He takes the pesos and puts a fresh bollio in my bag and I pull it up. This is so much more efficient than looking for my shoes, purse and mask and keys to go down stairs out on to the street and hope he hasn’t moved on. It save both he and I time and is more, fun and more Mexican.

The knife sharpener is another of my favorite mini merchants. He pushes his sharpening wheel through town to the tune of a high pitched penny whistle. Fruit carts of every size and shape are pushed others are powered by bicycle. The coconut man cry’s out “cocooo, cocooo” and then with his machete he will wack out that coco nut, put a straw in it and you have a delicious drink. The candy man is strangely quiet as he moves from one location to another pushing an enormous wooden wheelbarrow filled with the most beautiful array of candy. Ice cream carts have the sound of a tricycle bell, or a clown horn depending on what type of ice cream. I still prefer the home made ice cream that you get from the big metal tubs. They usually sell 3 types from their divided tub, vanilla, lemon, and coconut, all really yummy.

Come evening you hear the hamburger carts getting pushed across rough streets to their corner locations where folks say you can get the best ever hamburgers. And listen for the steam whistle of the “comote” man selling his hot roasted sweet potatos with a sweetened canned milk drizzled over them, one of my favorite dinners. So much of life here is just as it has always been from the earliest times, the fishermen selling their catch on the beach and carts being pushed through the streets.

And yes there are still tiny children selling trinkets to the tourists at the bars and restaurants while mama watches from a distance, frequently with this years baby wrapped up in her shawl.

Still having trouble getting pictures placed where I want them, and some just won’t up load. This iPad is quite the learning process. Signing off KO

I’M LEAVING ON A JET PLANE, JUST NOT AS SOON AS I WANTED

Originally I had planned to arrive on the 25th of October, ticket was bought, all plans made but medication and equipment I need didn’t arrive. It is much simpler and cheaper to arrive in October than it is in November. In November you have to stay over night in LA as no Alaska flights get you to LA early enough to catch the plane to Zihuatanejo. That alone adds about $200 to the cost of the trip considering hotel and meals. And the cost of flights jump about $200 RT, but what the heck it’s only money, right??? It could sure buy a lot of margaritas! Alaska Air is only flying 2 days a week and some flights are full due to no middle seat usage. If anything changes and I can get a earlier flight I will other wise it will be 11/12/20.

If anyone out there is flying about the same time I am and would like to split the costs 50/50 I do have an unused companion fare that will expire this,year if I can’t use it. Could save us both of us some money. Any how looking forward to being in Zihuatanejo soon. Signing off KO

Carnival Zihuatanejo Style, Kayaking, and More

IMG_1050Zihuatanejo is dressing up for Carnival.  Zihua’s Carnival never coincides with traditional Carnival dates, it has a mind of it’s own and occasionally it just doesn’t show up and then it pops up again at the whim of whom ever is currently in power.

The current administration appears to be big on celebrations, decorating the town

with lots of color and lights, making Zihuatanejo very welcoming and tourist friendly. Among other things they crown a king and queen, but the big deal is the parade, it’s about 2-3 hours long with the most incredible floats I have ever seen.  Not the traditional flowers and a pretty girl type, but highly creative, done with many recycled items.  One year there was a jaguar made entirely of plastic water bottles and spray paint.  It was incredible.  There will be traditional dancers, and probably the show girls from the Hotels in Ixtapa. A very colorful event, with loud music and hopefully horses.

Went kayaking again, this time took a couple of friends with me to the lagoon at Barra de Potsi. We thoroughly enjoyed our day in the sun on the water.  It’s quiet and peaceful there.  The water near the shore is very shallow and full of sand bars for some reason I’ve had no trouble finding my way to deep water headed out, but coming back is a whole different story. Also we were paddling into the wind making us work a bit. My friends decided just to take the shortest looking distance and ended up walking and pulling the boats over the sand bars, I was determined to paddle all the way in and almost succeeded in getting to deep water when I got stuck on a sandbar. A nice fellow we had met on the bus coming over to Barra offered to pull me off the sand bar to the deeper channel. Next time I will master it.

Guitarfest is in full swing this week, usually I attend the opening to see a bit of most of the musicians, but I had already made plans with friends to attend a Blues IMG_1069Festival in Ixtapa. It was poorly attended and I wasn’t impressed by the band, but there was a girl singer who I would have liked to heard a lot more from her, but she only did a couple of songs, she was really good.

There are lots of good beach days, I spend most of my beach time at Playa Madera as it is just a short walk from my apartment, the waves aren’t so big that I have no problems getting in and out of and I can really swim there without fear of jet ski’s or IMG_1095para sail boats.  I was fascinated by this game of Moki that friends were playing.  The sand was too hot for me to want to join in, but it was really quite interesting. Signing off KO

 

 

 

 

The Good the Bad and the Ugly

I took a taxi tour with 3 other friends to see all of Zihuatanejo, the good the bad and the ugly.  It was eye opening to say the least. The El Centro part of Zihuatanejo is flat, but a large part of the residential areas are on the steep hillsides.  To access these areas you travel on very steep, winding roads that are narrow, have lots of speedIMG_0971 bumps and pot holes the size of a Volkswagen.  Some are paved, many are not. I was surprised to see there are a large contingent of small buses/vans called combi’s that service all the hillsides until you get to the parts that are stairs only.

As we started up the hills the houses were mostly cement and brick and appeared quite nice like in the town center.  It was explained that this was the middle class, neither rich nor poor.  Most owned their own homes.  Most communities I’m familiar with at home, the higher IMG_0903on the hill the more exclusive and expensive the housing.  Not so in Zihuatanejo, the higher on the hill the poorer you are with tickey tacky patched together wood and tarp and wire fencing shelters.  We came to the area that was hit by a devastating fire a year or so ago, that wiped out 40-100 of these very rudimentary shelters that were home to these folks. They had very little and still lost it all.  Some are just now rebuilding, but once again very rustic post and pole wood structure, some require a ladder to access their homes from the street as it is so steep.  But the view is to die for, absolutely stunning. On IMG_0978 happy note there is and has been a wonderful community outpouring that has and continues to help these families. Throughout these hillside communities are IMG_0953sprinkled tiny little churches and laundry stations where the women were enjoying each others company if not the work of washing clothes by hand.

But this was not the poorest region. We then moved on to the dump.  If any of you have read John Irving’s “Avenue of Mysteries” you have heard about folks living and working in the dumps.  It’s a bit unbelievable as the homes are about on a par with some of the worst homeless camps in the states, if that good. But there is a school there that is a very bright spot.  Education is the only way out for these children for a better and more promising life. Other than the classrooms are

exceedingly rustic, inside it looks like any primary school.  Colorful displays on the

IMG_1016
School administrators

walls and happy smiling children who are out going, friendly and eager to learn from dedicated teachers. Fortunately there is a group of Canadians who have taken this situation to heart and have built and furnish structures and help any way they can. As do many other local and visiting folks.

Visiting the schools at the dump is encouraged, especially if you bring school supplies, food or clothing.  It helps to

IMG_1019
Manuel with me

spread the word of the need.  We all dug deep into our pockets and left a small but heartfelt donation for food for their breakfast and lunch program. If you choose to just donate supplies for the families that live there, there is always someone set up at the Ecco Tianguis Saturday morning market to accept your donations.

Their living conditions are the worst I have ever seen.  And the job their parents do for them to survive is unbelievable.  I don’t think I ever really understood poverty until this day. Signing off KO

Trips to Barra de Potosi, Playa Linda, and Punto Gorobo

Been a busy week beginning with the Spring Street Fair in Barra de Potosi, it is a fun and colorful annual event.  It is full of local hand made items for sale, many made by

image_b4690d0b-cdff-43fb-ba2a-a88841ca9ba1.img_0781
Street Fair Barra de Potosi

the village children.  Lots of great homemade Mexican food and drink.  This event helps to support their animal protective society which funds neutering of dogs and cats, help find homes for otherwise unwanted animals. I went with the plan of purchasing 4 kid designed and painted place mats and some flavored sea salts.

A couple of days later went back to Barra de Potosi to

kayak in the lagoon. Great place for kayaking, smooth water in the lagoon. We did a double, and it was fun.  But I prefer a single, easier to paddle at your own rhythm.

IMG_0843
6 turtles and an iguana at the croc sanctuary

I’ve been to Playa Linda many times, but just as a stopping of point to catch the water taxi to Ixtapa island.  After visiting the crocodile sanctuary, our group settled in at a table at one of the many restaurants and watched the huge waves that day.  No swimming for any of us.  That evening I was on to a cocktail party for Sailfest volunteers at Punto Garrobo,  a new upscale,

luxury establishment high on the hills overlooking a small inlet on the far side of the light house, sort of behind Playa Las Gatas.  Lovely facilities, absolutely top notch, but not for me.  Property is on a very steep hillside, lots of wide stairs but of course no railings.  They “vanned” us down to the “Beach Club” which is exquisite, the road is very, very steep with a hairpin turn that takes  two two three passes to complete the turn.  It is walk-able for the young and healthy, but not so much for senior citizens and it is too steep for golf carts to pull.

The beach club  infinity pool in-spite of it’s slightly irregular shape is long enough for lap swimming and is gorgeous as are the views.  It was a very pleasant evening complete with a drinks and tapas.

My birthday last week was perfect.  The concert was a fantastic, wonderful entertaining singer followed by a local mariachi band. Forgot to bring my phone so no pictures.  Signing off KO