It’s our last morning in Sayulita. Time for one last coffee and tea at El Fortin. We buy pastries at the next door bakery and sit on the patio at the street. We have done this for the last 4 days and it is so lovely to start the morning like this. The air is still cool but the sun is shining. People walk by with their dogs. Motorcycles with full families drive past. Today is no school so the kids do not have their school uniforms on. A beefed up truck with flashing blue headlights, a strip of neon lights on top of the cab, and music blaring bullies its way down the street in front of us. Another morning in Sayulita.
We have to be out of our place by noon so we will roll our suitcases down the streets to the bus station and take the trip on the local bus into Puerto Vallarta Airport. Perhaps we will pick up some smoked Marlin tacos at the famous taco stand just outside the airport and then we will wait for our plane. We have our kindles charged up, a Netflix show downloaded on our phones, and Rudy has his crossword and I have my sudoko so we should be okay until we touch down in Winnipeg. I am looking forward to settling in at home. See you all soon.
Perhaps this will be my last post for the trip. Tomorrow we leave…..hopefully. I have been following some stories on the news as well as anecdotes from a friend or a friend… The long and short of it is that Swoop (and other airlines) have been canceling flights and people are stranded. I am hoping that our flight is not only running but also on time.
But for now we are enjoying our last days.
Yesterday, I woke up and wandered down to the beach for Luca’s (Tessa’s boy) surf club. His Pops (my brother Wes) takes him every Wednesday at 7 a.m. before school. Not only was it a great opportunity for a walk on the beach and a visit with my brother but I also got to see Luca surf with some of his friends. As a child it would have seemed strange to think that I would have a Manitoba niece who would have a child who surfs frequently. Life is strange. It takes you places that you would never have imagined. And then it is commonplace and you hardly give it a second thought. This is Luca’s life and he probably can’t imagine anything different.
Yesterday, we decided that we needed to get our fill of seafood before we left Mexico and so for lunch we went to our favourite shrimp taco place (Diose) and filled up on Tacos Cameron a la plancha. By suppertime we were thinking of shrimp again so off to El Jakal for their famous coconut shrimp plate. Am I full of shrimp yet? I don’t know. It is 11:15 a.m. as I write this and already I am beginning to think of the shrimp tostadas that we had a couple of weeks ago. (A tostada piled with chunks of avocado and tomato and large shrimp. Maybe we will go there for lunch if Rudy is on board.
Lunch time and we do go for one last taco at Naty’s .I get a some final chicken mole ones. Afterwards we stop at Wa Kika for a yogurt paleta and we meet Wes and Bridget and a pile of their grandkids. Wes hasn’t eaten yet so we go back to Naty’s for food for him and afterwards wander down to show him our place. One story leads to another and we wile away a couple of hours on our couch. We agree to meet at Miramar Bar for the sunset. There is still time for one last walk to the end of the beach. I never tire of watching the waves crashing and trying not to let the big waves get us too wet. I even find a few little stones and shells and a broken chunk of tesserae to bring home. We stop by the Miriamar Bar on the way back to see if Wes and Bridget and the gang are there yet but no go. It is Friday night (Pizza night) so we walk to the little Italian place by the bridge. This guy is from Italy and makes all his own pasta and pizza dough. We have wine and a lovely little pizza. The crust is heavenly. It’s quite dark now and we are late for Miramar but we head there anyway only to find Wes and Bridget packing up their instruments. We ride back into town where they are meeting their kids and grandkids so have a chance to say goodbye to them all.
Rudy and I have enjoyed our time down here in Mexico. Life is good. We have each other’s company. The days are warm and the nights cool. People are friendly. There’s really nothing much to ruffle our feathers. We’re just “wasting away again in Sayulita-ville.”
Today we went out for a late lunch. We wanted to get tacos at Naty’s Cocina, a restaurant that Augusta and James had raved about. Supposedly the chicken mole tacos are delicious. But when we got there the sun was shining hotly on the picnic tables at the curb and there was a lineup. So instead we headed for a place called Ruben’s for sandwiches. The tables were in the shade on the sidewalk and all was well…
Except for a bit of commotion on the street in front of us. A man had a couple of crates on end with a towel placed nicely on top of them. He had three shells and a small pebble which he moved around under the shells — the ‘shell game’ — and around him were a number of people who appeared to be placing bets on which shell the pebble was under. There was a lot of cheering and yelling and it looked like the players were guessing correctly and winning way more often than not.
But appearances can be deceiving. As we sat and watched over lunch, it became clear that all of these people were in on what was a scam. Instead of watching the shell game, they were mostly keeping their eyes out for innocent passers-by and calling out to them, trying to convince them to come join them in the fun. I didn’t understand much of what was being said but lots of (fake) excitement was radiating from the betting table as they tried to lure people in.
At one point they managed to attract a woman who was walking by to come on over and one of the scammers asked the woman to put her finger on what she claimed was the winning shell so that she could get something from her purse. Surprise, surprise! When the shell was turned over, sure enough, it was a winner! There were cheers from the scammers and the dealer passed out 200 pesos to the supposed winner. “And,” he exclaimed to the passerby, “here’s 200 for you too because you kept your finger on the shell.” The passerby declined and walked away, but the scammer woman who had “won” the 200 pesos ran over and pulled her back and urged her to take the other 200 pesos from the dealer. Then all the scammers around the crate chimed in for her to continue playing. “No thanks,” she said and walked away with the 200 pesos. Yikes! The scammers were scammed at their own game — not only did they not entice the stranger to bet (and lose) a pile of money; now THEY were losing 200 pesos of their own money! This was not how the game was supposed to go. There was a moment’s hesitation and then the scammer woman ran after the passerby and grabbed the 200-peso note back.
All very entertaining for us watching from our tables on the sidewalk. You don’t get live theatre like that everyday. And we didn’t have to pay anything for the show.
Rudy has made a discovery. It took him a while. We had been in our new digs for the afternoon and evening yesterday and as we were climbing into bed he spotted it. “Oh,” he gasped, “Did you see that?” I glanced up nervously. What could it be? We have had large spiders on our walls and lizards clambering up into holes and cracks in our last place. All that is par for the course and really nothing that I worry about. But what was Rudy getting excited about? Was it a scorpion? That would warrant my immediate attention. There really was no possibility of a snake which is really the only thing I am terrified of.
“IT’S a TV!” he said incredulously. I let out a big sigh. Whew! Nothing to get worried about. But there he sat, eyes wide and heart beating just a little faster than usual. He definitely was shaken.
Yes, it is true. The man who spends hours watching news and sports on TV has been without it for two months. Really, I am surprised he recognized the device. But surprisingly after the initial shock he has not even tried to turn it on. He seems indifferent to it. Perhaps he will come home a changed man and rearrange his living room and take down his TV and maybe start some new hobby? Who knows? He has been watching me do crafts for two months. Maybe he will haul up a craft table and construct little wool monsters or get out the yarn and knitting needles and knit a sweater. The possibilities are endless. Miracles happen and people are changed by their experiences. Get ready, friends and family at home. The new Rudy Nikkel will be stepping off the plane on Saturday.
Today is moving day. When we originally booked our airbnb in Sayulita we thought we would fly home the last day of February. But by the time we purchased our return tickets the next possible flight was March 4th. So today we had to move to another place for our final days. We considered a stay in San Pancho, the village up the road. It is charming and has a lovely vibe. (Not to mention the clean streets and wide sidewalks.) When visiting there we (especially Rudy) was impressed with the order and cleanliness of the place. (Rudy stands by the old German adage, Alles in Ordnung.) But we couldn’t find a place there that was satisfactory. We also checked Buscerias. I had been impressed by the beach there and wanted to spend my last days in the calm water (Sayulita’s surf is rougher). And I stand by the camping motto, Everything is better at the Lake (or Ocean if no lake is available). Then finally we decided we were too lazy to move and so were going to extend our stay by 4 days. But we had waited too long. It was now booked. So we began our search for another place in Sayulita.
So now we are at a little hotel on Playa Azul. It is tiny but bright and new and modern. The rooms are small but everything is clean (Rudy is smiling) and there is a pool in the back courtyard (I am smiling). Rudy has done his nesting. (His toiletries are hanging in the bathroom, the beer is in the fridge, and he has arranged his t-shirts on the shelf. Now he is sitting doing a crossword puzzle. I have also done the thing that makes me happy. I have taken a dip in the pool.
All is well. In fact compared to yesterday we are super well. And I mean well in the healthy sense of the word. Yesterday Rudy was suffering from a terrible headache and fever. (Today he has a rash from it.) And I had a gastrointestinal upset. Yuck. It was terrible. I was weak and sick and couldn’t wander too far from the facilities. Although we are not a hundred percent today we managed the move across town and are looking forward to the new sights and sounds (I am hoping for no dogs, no roosters, and no loud motorcycles) and of course a new bunch of restaurants. We are very close to the North Beach as well and I will certainly spend some time there.
The air cools off in the evening and I even wrap a scarf around my neck to go out for supper. We decide on burgers as my stomach is a little iffy and the thought of seafood is too much. We end up in a scruffy little place past the main square area. The waitress wears leather and has lots of tattoos on her midriff. A man inside the bar/restaurant sees a friend driving down the street and hollers loudly chasing him down. This is not a genteel establishment. We order two for one priced margaritas and they arrive with tajin on the rim of the glass. Delicious. Rudy and I share a burger and fries. The fries are the homemade sort much like the ones my mom used to make. The burger has a similar feeling. Comfort food. Like home. Like where we are headed for soon.
So…..what have we been up to? The days are whipping by and by now I am almost at the point where I feel like it is hardly worth while to catch everyone up on the news. We will soon be home. We have less than a week left in Sayulita. James and Augusta and Callum leave tomorrow and really I would be ready to hop on a plane and come home too. It seems like it is always that way at the end of a trip. I have to breathe deeply to enjoy the last dregs of the journey.
Food (the procurement and consumption) has become a big focus to our days. We have our favourite spots. Don Juan’s at the end of our street is our go to place. It is really nice and the menu is extensive. We’ve sampled everything from the tortilla soup to the shrimp and beef hamburgers, to the seafood pasta as well as traditional Mexican cuisine. On my last visit I had the fruit of the sea pasta dish which included shrimp, Mahi Mahi, mussels, scallops, and calamari.
Another favourite eatery is on the opposite end of the spectrum. It is a little food stand with only a few stools at a narrow counter. Tacos Tono (short for Antonio) opens most nights some time between 7 and 8 pm. Tono and his wife run the stand and they are always delightful to observe. They are a classy pair and good business partners. A large wedding photo of them hangs on the wall in the small area. She is often singing and both of them chat and joke with the customers. This is a super feel good place. The vibes AND the food are top notch. The best taco is the Taco Suedero, a beef brisket taco. The toppings counter is extensive…..delicious guacamole, fried onions, shredded cabbage, tomatoes, radishes, beans, and LOADS of salsas. My mouth is watering now as I am writing about it.
I could go on and on about the places we have discovered but I will just mention the delicious churros from the street stands and the dozens of flavours of paletas that are made locally that can be found at Wa Kika.
A highlight from our stay here in Sayulita has been James and Augusta’s son Callum. He is a sunny cheerful chap and is easy to be around. He has lots of giggles for his Opa and Nomi and we have enjoyed babysitting him. Today Augusta and James are at a fancy rooftop bar and pool. (Augusta won tickets to this at a fundraiser event she went to with her cousins.) When it is time for nap we lie him down with Boris, the stuffed deer, and his soother and he chatters himself off to sleep most of the time. When he doesn’t, all you have to do is pat his bum for about two seconds and he is out. On Saturday we had him for the whole day when all the cousins (Hilary Klassen included) and their children went on a boat for the day. Supposedly it was fantastic. They saw whales breaching, were followed by between 150 to 200 spinner dolphins, went to an island and climbed through caves, etc. etc. Maybe our day doesn’t sound as fantastic staying with Callum, but it was close. It may be a bit of a grandparent thing but seeing one’s kids happy and enjoying each other and taking care of their offspring is a huge pleasure.
One day we did an adventure to Buscerias to see friends of Augusta and James’s (Murray and Jane Kessleman). These people are parents of their good friends Steve and Elise and have been like second parents to James. So, James feels totally at home with them. (“Is there any food,?” James says when we arrive. “I’m starving.”) Jane and Murray were very gracious hosts and fed us a lovely brunch. We then walked the beach and saw a sidewalk chalk painting contest. After that we left to have our own adventure. Yikes it was so hot that we only managed a bit of walking and then we found a restaurant for a nice cold drink before we headed back to Sayulita on the bus.
This past week we had the annual Sayulita Days. The first indication that it was going to be a loud party time was the load of beer in the back of our neighbour’s truck. Even though we live on the edge of town the noise was deafening at times. (Even the roosters upped their game in order to compete,) This week long festival involves a huge midway as well as a parade, a crowning of Miss Sayuliya, and a rodeo and loads of partying. We tried to steer clear of it for the most part but on Friday when James, Augusta, Callum, Hilary and I went on the beach jungle hike to San Pancho, Rudy stayed back and saw some of the festivities. He watched the parade that had school children with traditional costumes and horses. (He said it was kind of like the Pioneer Days Parade in Steinbach minus the tractors and combines.)
On the weekend was a music festival in San Pancho (a town just up the road a number of miles). Bridget and Wes and a pile of their friends volunteer at it. It runs Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings. I even volunteered at the event. There was a variety of music from jazz to electronic, Latin, and also folk.
We took the local La Compostela bus to the event and even had some excitement on the way on Sunday night. A 30ish year old man tried to get onto the bus at the station without a ticket. He claimed the ticket was in his pocket but when pressed could not produce it. The bus driver told him to go out to the street and he would pick him up there.( I think it is cheaper to catch it on the street and the bus was ready to leave.) Anyway, we were seated right behind the driver and got a front row seat for the action. When the bus stopped to pick him up he didn’t pay right away so the bus driver said he would pull over until the passenger could get out his money. And so we waited. There was more patting of pockets and looking in his bag for the “lost” ticket. But to no avail. An argument ensued. My Spanish is limited but I got the feeling that this young man was familiar to the bus operators and this bus driver was not going to let him get away with his lame story of losing his ticket. After much back and forth at a high volume, the young man hauled out money to pay. By this time both the bus driver and the young man were feeling hot under the collar. In a fit of self righteousness the young man refused to take his change and stomped towards the back of the bus with a few choice words thrown over his shoulder. The bus driver threw the change back after him. This was too much for our pony-tailed passenger. He marched back to the front, leaned menacingly above the driver, raised his fist and tried to punch him. There was a scuffle. The bus driver got up and ordered him off the bus. Another passenger (an expat going to the festival and possibly his friend) tried to calm Mr. Pony-Tail. More shouting occurred and finally the young pony-tailed festival goer exited the bus. Yikes, what excitement. Rudy saw him later at the festival. I would have loved to see how he got there.
Besides these activities we have enjoyed some beach time. I absolutely love swimming in the waves. Rudy, not so much. But he sits on a beach lounger and plays with Callum when James and Augusta come down. True to Rudy form he is certain to obtain a good deal for the chair rental. He pays by the hour instead of the day because that’s just the kind of guy he is. (Why would he pay for the whole day if he knows he has no intention of being at the beach all day? After all he hates the beach). He settles on a price of 100 pesos for one hour and gives the chair boy a 200 peso bill and asks for change. When the chair boy returns a couple of hours later he says that our time is up as we have been there for 2 hours. Rudy argues his point that he made a one hour deal and the boy did not come back with his change. By this time Augusta, James, and Callum have come down to the beach and I would just like to spend another 100 pesos for the total day deal (300 pesos is the day price for the chairs and umbrella). Rudy does not like this. He wants his 100 pesos in change. His dealings are based on principle (his words) and he does not abide any slipperiness on the part of the chair rental people. An argument ensues. And soon the chair rental manager shows up. This causes some embarrassment for me. I am not known for my haggling abilities and heaven forbid that I might have to confront someone and, if it comes down to it, I just want to stay and swim now that I have some willing swimmers. And really, in the big picture, a whole day’s charge is not that much more. In the end Rudy wins the fight but loses the war. I slink off down the beach in the opposite direction, somewhat humiliated.. Rudy walks away with a sour expression on his face. Augusta and James are mystified by the haggling over 100 pesos. Only Callum is oblivious to what has all gone down. I would like to come any to Playa Los Muertos again some day. It is a nice beach. But probably I will have to go to the less desirable boat beach. I really cannot show my face here again.
When I first arrive in a new locale, especially one where the culture and language are different from my own, I try to become attuned to the sights and sounds of the area. This is true for our trip so far. It’s a way that we, as outsiders, gain some understanding of a place. In San Miguel we watched and listened to the workers in the courtyard below as they built forms and poured concrete and slowly, day by day, made progress on a building project. The tap tap of their hammers began precisely at 8 a.m. and soon after, as we took our morning tea and coffee on the rooftop patio, we heard the radio softly playing Mexican music. The workers across the street and farther away were not so subtle. They used power tools and preferred their tunes louder. In the streets the drivers were very courteous, stopping for pedestrians to cross. Many people greeted us on the street with Hola, Buenos Dias or Buenas Tardes. In Guanajuato, we had the constant of the church bells immediately in front of our hotel in the central square. It rang on every quarter of the hour and the deep bong bong marked the day (and the night) in a comforting sort of way. I used my limited Spanish and although our tourist status was apparent, it felt like we belonged in the rush of university students, shop vendors, and others that packed the streets. Yes, we were not locals and, as such, stood out, but we were caught up in the daily routines of those around us.
Now we are in the beach town of Sayulita and learning the lay of the land. I am beginning to understand the language around here. And I am not talking Spanish. Really, in Sayulita, a person hardly needs to know Spanish. Even Rudy’s charades that have kept me quite amused during the trip are no longer necessary. (Although he still pretends to scribble on his hand whenever he wants the bill.) What we have found, that needs some translation, is the constant chatter on the street. And I am not talking human chatter. There is the overly loud cha cha cha of the music coming from across the street, (Does that guy sitting on his plastic chair contemplating some possible activity today really need the whole neighbourhood, or even the whole side of town east of the Punta Mita highway, to hear and appreciate the amateurish out-of-tune recording he has playing on the radio or does the man who expertly maneuvers his massive scrap metal truck down our narrow potholed dirt road in our neighbourhood each day, his loud speaker blaring from atop the cab roof, really think that today I will have some old barbed wire or a bedspring to throw out for him. I didn’t have any yesterday and he probably only needs to check with me (and the neighbours) in a week or so from now.
But really what I want you to know is that I am beginning to understand another type of language. It is the language of the dogs and the roosters. Because they are constantly yelling, I now am able to identify each of them. For example, there is Senora Sanchez across the street. She is a small dog and the sound of her high-pitched voice is excruciating. She is often pissed with Mrs. Gibbons (owned by the expat at the corner)and has no qualms about letting her know. And when she starts, the two dogs that live across the empty lot beside us, chime in. You can see their heads poking over the concrete wall putting in their two centavos. Senor Pablo Garcia and his partner in crime, Senor Rodrigo Lopez, who appear to have no fixed address, are always up for a squabble. They are particularly testy after a night on the town. Really, I can understand the short fuse they have with the rooster, Senor Canta Incesantemente, who begins his morning wake-up calls at 4 in the morning and doesn’t shut up until noon. I also would like to make chicken soup of him each and every morning. Old lady Lucia Maria Hernandez de Perez, who lives below us, and can barely move her rotund aging body off the road, always has a say, even though she never joins in physically to a fight. And so it goes, each and every morning…..and afternoon……and evening. On and on and on. The Bremen Town Musicians have moved to Sayulita.
This morning we have a jungle and beach walk planned. Augusta and James and Callum pick us up and we drive to get breakfast pastries and drinks for the hour and a half walk to San Pancho (the next village up the coast). The day is cooler than usual so we are glad about that. We head up Avenida de Palmar and the houses are beautiful. This is a nicer part of town. When we get to the end we take the dirt trail and then climb the rocks along the edge of the ocean until we get to an easier trail. We follow this awhile until we get to a huge beach that is more private. You can only access it by walking in. It is beautiful.
The tides are low enough that we can go through the tunnels. Gus is excited. She has never been here when that is a possibility.
After walking an expanse of beach we are back into the jungle. Even though it is not rainy season, it is lush. There are built up areas where mountain bikers have built jumps and other obstacles. The last bit of the walk is along the highway and then into town. The town is lovely. The streets are wider, the sidewalks wider and it is just a bit more genteel than Sayulita. Rudy likes it. Augusta and James spent a week here with friends so take us to a restaurant that they like. Delicious. Afterwards we take the bus back to Sayulita. Rudy and I decide we might spend our last week in Mexico in San Pancho.
This morning, very soon after our breakfast, I got a text from Bridget. She and Wes and a bunch of friends are meeting at Patrice’s place (which happens to be just around the corner from our place) for their regular Monday morning jam. Did Rudy want to join? Rudy was game so I brought a chair and Rudy brought his guitar and off we went. There were about 10 musicians and a few hangers on. The structure of the jam went as follows. The musicians went around the circle each taking a turn to suggest a song and sing and play while the others joined in. There were some original songs and lots of cover songs from various artists from Johnny Cash to Chris Stapleton. This type of jam is familiar to me, but new to Rudy. It is a nice way to pass a morning with friends In a courtyard in Mexico.
By one o’clock we were hungry so we joined Bridget and Wes at a restaurant for shrimp tostados. Mmm. They were delicious. Fresh shrimp, chopped tomatoes and onions and avocados on crispy tostados.
After that I had some time to rest before heading off to James and Augusta’s to babysit Callum. They had a date night planned. Callum is as sweet as pie all the time and it is a pleasure to take care of that smiley boy. After some fun playing we went for a walk and met Rudy who joined us for the remaining time. After more fun and a tub time we popped him off to bed in his little tent and sat out on the patio reading until the parents came home.
Well, some people (Rudy) might say that today is important because of the super bowl but for me the day seems to be important for family reasons. It is Nas’s birthday and there will be a celebration at The Ranch. Nas was delighted with the monsters I have been constructing and would like one with a baby so I have finished stuffing and sewing one and it has a tiny baby in its front pocket.
At noon I walk down the highway and up to Augusta and James’s place to go for a swim with Callum. I am hot and dusty by the time I get there and the pool is a welcome reprieve. It is a strange pool. It is relatively small (about 6 by 9 feet) but it is about 6 feet deep so I have to stand on my tiptoes. Callum loves it. He splashes around, frog kicks his legs and giggles. After a cool off I take the dusty hot road home.
Supper comes soon enough and I am back on the same dusty path for the birthday celebration. The food is delicious, the kids are sweet and the evening air is cool and refreshing.
After the festivities Bridget walks me home. It was a win win day for me. Not completely so for Rudy. Although the super bowl game was exciting and he had a good spot at the bar right in front of the TV (there were many people standing on the street looking in at the screen), his team did not win. But that is the way it works sometimes. He didn’t seem to be entirely devastated when he arrived home. It seems that the experience is just as good as the outcome.
Today is going to be a beach day. Lots of sand, salt, and heat. James and Augusta pick us up with their golf cart with all the paraphernalia (umbrellas, diaper bag, sun screen, towels and blankets) and off we go. Gus and Callum and I trek to the beach from our parking spot and James and Rudy go for food. We are at the beach where all the fishing boats are and although this is a good choice for calmer waters it is not so good in terms of beach traffic. We do manage to eat our lunch (sand and all) and sit by the ocean edge with Callum playing in the water and sand. But when Augusta and I go for a swim there is lots of action back on the beach with boats coming in and out .Also, large trucks and tractors are kicking up sand as they pull the boats up out of the water to higher ground. By the time Gus and I are done swimming, the blankets and umbrellas have had to be moved and Rudy calls it a day and heads back to our place. The rest of us manage to hang out a little longer but it is too loud for Callum to fall asleep in his beach tent so we head off home as well.
This morning we are off to the market to hopefully catch some good live music, buy some fruit and maybe some good hearty bread (aka bread that is not made by Bimbo which is the local iteration of McGavins). Then we must get money from the bank (known affectionately as Banco No Dinero because more often than not it has no money to dispense). Well the market is a bust as the music consists of one woman doing some karaoke and the bread offered by the organic crowd is too expensive and doesn’t look that great. We have better luck at the bank and are able to withdraw money. That seems to be a full mornings work so we head off to a well known taco shop for beers and shrimp tacos. Wow, delicious. I think I will eat fish or shrimp tacos for the rest of my time here. We meet a young man from Austin, Manitoba. He’s a farmer there and has come for 10 days. We commiserate about the Manitoba winters but, truthfully, I can hardly imagine the cold. It seems so far away. Gus and James and Callum pop in during the afternoon and then we have a bit of down time before we head to the Miramar beach bar to listen to Wes and Bridget and some of their friends jam. But the down time proves too much for Rudy and when it is time to leave he is fast asleep. So I head off and it is hours before Rudy gets there. Although I left a map for him he doesn’t see it so does a tour of town before he locates the ocean and, in time, the Miramar bar. We end up sitting with another couple, John (from Vancouver) and Glenna (from Toronto). There are fascinating stories shared and the evening fades quickly into sunset. James and Augusta pop by at the end of the evening. Callum is still laughing and chirping, the happiest little camper on the beach. We ride home on the back of their golf cart and climb into bed.
The vacation has changed. Suddenly we are in a place where I know lots of people. Well, that may be an overstatement but I certainly am acquainted with many of Wes and Bridget’s friends. When in the company of either of them, I cannot go many places without them being greeted by passersby in the street or in a restaurant. Besides that, there are the people I know. Luca and Chia (Tessa’s kids) call out when they pass by me on the way home from school with their caregiver. “Hi Aunti Nome,” calls Luca, “It’s Aunti Nome, Chia, (he says as he nudges her). Aunti Nome is back.” When up at James and Augusta and Callum’s place, Nas, (Kaleigh’s boy), climbs the stairs to the balcony with a Coco Fresco. “Pops (his grandpa and my brother Wes) and I cut down the coconuts. Pops is bringing one up for you.” He snuggles and plays with Callum and chats with me. Later in the evening Wes texts me to say that he and Bridget are taking a drive around town in the golf cart and should they pick up Rudy and I for a drive and sightsee. It all seems pretty natural to me. I am used to the rhythms in Sayulita. But it is strange for Rudy and strange for both of us to suddenly have more people that just the two of us to hang out with.
Today Augusta and I decide to go “shopping”. Augusta drives over in the golfcart with Callum strapped in the carrier in front of her. We head downtown and find a parking spot in the congested street. We head straight to Wa Kika for a paletas. I choose a Mango Chili one and Augusta a plain yogurt one so she can share it with Callum. He is wild for it and keeps grabbing his mom’s arm to pull it to his mouth. Afterwards we wander through some shops and wish for some of the brightly and intricately painted animals and mystical creatures. (alebrijes). Augusta tries on beautiful leather hats with beaded bands. After a few stores we head back. Even though shopping doesn’t necessarily mean buying I really enjoy having someone wander with me.
I come back to the house to find Rudy deep in his book. I join him. After 3 o’clock we head down the street to Don Juan’s for a drink while we wait for Wes and Bridget to pick us up for a trip down the road to San Pancho. Wes, Bridget and I are volunteering at a 3 day music festival in San Pancho at the end of February. Rudy is going along for the ride. When we get to “The Ranch” Rudy decides to stay back as it is too crowded in the truck. The long and short of this quick decision is that I have the key to our place in my purse which leaves Rudy stranded for hours. All seems to be redeemed however when we arrive back and Rudy has a delicious fried fish, mashed potatoes and vegetables at Don Juan’s.
Well, we are in Sayulita and have been for a number of days. The roosters crow, the big dogs woof, and the little dogs yip. Frequently a motorcycle roars by or an old truck back fires in front of our house. I can hear a washing machine or dryer going in someone’s courtyard on most days. And let’s not forget the ever-present chaaaa ch ch chaaa of the traditional Mexican tunes that emanate from the houses down the street.
We live in a very Mexican neighbourhood although it is very hard to imagine finding one in this village that is overrun by tourists. The expats rule the place, spilling out of the bars and restaurants. The place has changed a lot since I first started visiting Wes and Bridgit here ten or more years ago and even more so for them. “The Ranch” where they live along with Tessa (their daughter) and her kids is further away from town is quieter but more houses are being built there as well.
We arrived on Sunday afternoon to the bus station on Revolucion Road and because of our suitcases, guitar, and backpack we thought we would catch a taxi or an Uber to our place even though it was pretty close. Well Uber did not exist and the taxi would be between 100 and 150 pesos so we set our directions into google maps and set out. Immediately we were down some dusty road and definitely lost. Three young men assured us that we could continue on and we did. But something was lost in the translation and we ended up dragging our suitcases along the dry but very sandy riverbed. I wanted to sit down and laugh but the drag from my suitcase in the 5 inches of gravelly sand took too much effort so I could not expend any extra energy on a chuckle. Eventually we climbed out of the river bed to find a “nice” road following the curve of the river. Duh! By nice, I mean dusty, lots of garbage, lazy dogs lying mid road and no clear street signs to direct us. Thank goodness for google maps. (I remember wandering for hours in little Portuguese towns with Ana trying to find our hostels or hotels, unable to communicate, and only outdated or missing street signs and vague gestures by passersby to help us find the hotel that we had walked by at least five times.) That being said, we found our accommodations. Whew, we were not used to the heat. Down at the coast the temperatures are definitely much hotter. The only thing Rudy needed was a cold beer but after that was procured from the corner tienda he needed to do an inventory of what the amenities. (Did I mention how happy he was with the kitchen utensil supply, both the variety and quantity, in our San Miguel place?) Anyway, the long and short of it was that this place did not meet some housekeeping standards. No place to hang clothes, no place in the bathroom for toiletries, and some kitchen necessities were missing. We did manage to do some rearranging but the next day would require some shopping at a housewares tienda for more knives and a kettle.
For supper we made our way to the main part of town near the plaza where I had shrimp tacos. Yummmm. I think I will eat those every day until we leave this place. So despite the trials and tribulations of the day we were soothed by our delicious supper.
Today is a day to take it easy. Last night was less than restful. I felt hot and had a fever, my whole body ached, I was awoken with nightmares frequently and it was Friday night so the music was pounding. So today I am just relaxing. Rudy and I did go out for an empanada, a coffee, and a sit in a restaurant for a drink. Rudy bought some t-shirts and I nattered to him about what else we should buy (Rudy’s interpretation of the shopping trip.)
We spent a quiet afternoon in our hotel room… me having a nap and Rudy working on a website. We emerged around 7 pm to find some food on the street and were astonished to find the place buzzing. Hundreds of people on the streets, people in costumes, people selling coronetas (flower headbands with twinkling lights) and plastic toys, and tickets to evening strolls with minstrels. After procuring a hotdog for Rudy and elote with cheese for me we joined the throngs streaming towards the Union Garden. There were musicians and dancers and noise. Wow, what an incredible night. It seems like a carnival but I am sure it is just a regular Saturday night downtown in Guanajuato.