Warning; another longwinded one!

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Escrito por frostbite desde (94-10-237-24.gci.net) el día domingo, 10 de abril, 2005 a las 17:46:39 horas :

Trip number 3 this Winter. This was essentially a business trip, since we've been trying to have a house built there for over a year. This has been a truly bizarre experience so far, and there just might be enough material for a book on this subject. The working title: "Manana does not necessarily mean Tomorrow".
I was able to squeeze in 1 day of lounging on the beach at "Otilia's" on Playa Las Gatas. The other days were dedicated to meetings. So this report deals mostly with meals. Come to think of it, so did the last one. All prices listed in Pesos.
Day 1. Arrived at 16:00 via Alaska. No problems checking in and a free upgrade LAX - ZIH made things easier. A welcoming dance by LadyM in her usual tie-dyed outfit behind the glass partition at Migracion was a nice touch. Moved into my usual digs at Bungalows Pacificos and wandered down to Daniel's for dinner. Shrimp tacos and beer: $110.00. Shared a table with Stan from Seattle. The scheduled musician for the evening arrived and set up his equipment. There was so much noise from the basketball court, that he packed up again and went home.
Day 2. I always eat breakfast at Casa Cafe, except on Mondays, when they are closed. Lorna has concocted a great new addition to the menu: Chicken Fajitas (40.00), I recommenmd them highly. After a 10:30 meeting it's off to Comercial Mexicana for supplies. (Chips, beer and cold cuts). I was disappointed that they have removed the A/C from above the side door, which provided such a welcome blast of cold air after the 20 minute walk. Taxi back home, small lunch on the deck and a walk into town. I took an older cellphone to Telcel, across from Rob's place. For NP 200.00 to reprogram and 100.00 for activation (+ minutes) I could now make phonecalls without pestering my landlady to use her phone. A pretty good deal, I thought. For dinner, I went to Mariscos El Costeno on the Paseo del Pescador. Had Pulpo al mojo de Ajo and a Negra Modelo + water. Neither item is on their menu, but they produced it anyway. Sure is nice when folks know you!
Day 3. After breakfast, a cab ride to Ixtapa for a meeting. Then back to Zihua and lunch at MJ and Richies. Chile Relleno con Mariscos and water: $105.00. Contrary to prior assertions on this board that they are closing down, they claim that they are not. We'll find out for sure next year. Then it's back up the hill to my digs. Watched a dolphin feeding in the bay (first time I've seen this) followed by a couple of frigate birds who were diving for scraps. This was wonderful to observe, until some dimwitted parasail-towing boat driver aimed directly at the dolphin which, after that, was not to be seen again. For dinner, I wandered over to El Almacen for dinner at Casa Bahia. I got there around 18:30 and took a table on their new deck upstairs. I don't like crowds, but I was the only one there, until just before I left, when 2 couples showed up. I had the spinach salad and baconwrapped tuna + beer and water: 240.00; excellent!
Day 4. Back to Ixtapa after breakfast for another meeting. This time with architect Enrique Zozaya, who showed me his house. Absolutely stunning: high on a hill overlooking Ixtapa and the Pacific. I was speechless. Dinner at Daniel's, joined again by Stan from Seattle. Spaghetti Marinera + beer + water: 114.00. Walked over to Rick's afterwards and was pleasantly surprised to find that they carry the amber Dos Equis on tap. This is the first time I've found this beer, which is so common up North, in Mexico.
Day 5. Awoke to find one of those floating hotels obscuring half the view of the bay. Meeting cancelled, so wandered around town, instead. No lunch today. Went to dinner with some new friends from Bungalows Pacificos at Jarocho, a new restaurant featuring seafood from the Veracruz area. It replaced the now defunct Indian restaurant Gondwana. I ordered Jean's salad and squid cooked in its own ink, but was informed that they were out. So I opted for Tequila shrimp. The salad was great, the shrimp merely so-so. With beer 170.00. A nice touch was a magician who showed up at our table and entertained us all, not just the 2 kids who were with us. Particularly enjoyable was the musical accompaniment to our dinner provided by now-local guitarist Eric Reid. At about 20:00 he moved indoors and was joined by a bassplayer and a percussionist and they played until closing at midnight, which is normally well past my bedtime. They were absolutely first rate! Imagine my surpise when I learned that they were not invited to participate in the upcoming Guitar Festival.
Day 6. I had tried several times to call Amuleto to make reservations for dinner, but kept getting a recorded message which, not speaking Spanish, I couldn't understand. A friend and his son finally drove me up there to make one in person. I was under the impression that all Zihua phone numbers started with 554-. Turns out that there is a new one: 544- due to congestion. Amuleto keeps their door locked, so it took several rings to get it opened. My friend commented: "this place looks like a whorehouse"! Reservation was made and the phone number mystery solved: 544-6222, for those interested. We then drove down the hill to El Manglar for lunch. One large crocodile was basking on the beach behind the fence. When a bunch of gawkers showed up, it got into the water and parked itself next to me, about 6 feet away. Had it been a dog, I could have sworn it was begging for table scraps. I had the tuna filet blackened with 27 spices (I didn't know there are that many!), rolled around shrimp and avocado and cut into slices. Superb! Another nice touch: serving Pico de Gallo with the tortilla chips, instead of some glop out of a bottle. 3 entrees, 5 beers and 1 water: 340.00. Closed on Wednesdays.
Dinner: Pulpo al Mojo de Ajo, beer and water at Mariscos El Costeno: 110.00
Day 7. Easter Sunday. Spent most of the day hiding from the crowds. Dinner at Daniel's: Fish filet with shrimp and octopus covered with melted cheese + beer and water: 120.00. Very good.
Day 8. Breakfast at Malibu Cafe due to La Casa Cafe being closed on Mondays. This was folowed by another meeting in Ixtapa and an inspection of our lot. Dinner was at Amuleto with new friends from Colorado. Rang bell several times before being admitted and then treated with some suspicion until our reservation was confirmed. Had one of their potent margaritas and an excellent meal. Between the residual effects of the margarita and the wine at dinner, I don't recall what I had or the prices, but a good time was had by all. The 2 kids had a great time making friends with the guard at the door. A lack of a common language seemed to make no difference.
Day 9. Another cruise ship in the bay! Lunch at Caprichos with friends. "Shrimp Hamburgers" with fries followed by barbequed banana. The burgers were not very exciting, but the banana was excellent, in spite of the fact that it looked as though it had been prepared by an arsonist. I really like the ambience of the "back yard" at Caprichos. Cold cuts and beer for dinner.
Day 10. Had lunch with a friend at La Perla on La Ropa. I had some misgivings about going there due to several negative comments on the board, but was pleasantly surprised. The service was friendly and fast and the food very good: guacamole, chicken Cordon Bleu, cesar salad, pulpo al Mojo de Ajo and 2 beers: 340.00 for 2. Dinner at home.
Day 11. Finally a day at the Beach! The usual lovely view across the bay was obliterated by a wall of steel in the form of another cruise boat. Excellent shrimp tacos at Otilia's. I was expecting a phone call from my wife in Anchorage, so it gave me a great deal of pleasure to answer my cellphone:"Otilia's restaurant, Playa Las Gatas, Zihuatanejo". The humor went right over her head. Dinner once again at Daniel's: Spaghetti Marinera + beer, 110.00 Day 12. Another damn cruise ship! Cold cuts for lunch at home. Dinner with friends at Jarocho. Had Jean's salad again and finally got to try their squid cooked in its own ink; very good! Also got to sample a new (to me; the brewery is 100 years old) beer: Montejo from Yucatan.
Day 13. Packed up my stuff and headed to the airport. Check-in went smoothly, unlike in January and I got a free upgrade LAX - ANC, which was a pleasant surprise. Clearing customs and immigration in LAX, which is usually a real pain in the butt, was painless, due mainly to the fact that I was only traveling with carry-ons, rather than checked baggage.
In closing: I think we've made progress with the house and it was great to spend time with old and new friends. If I had to do it over again, I'd try to avoid Semana Santa; it was awfully crowded. And if I had any say in the matter, I'd banish all cruise ships, jetskis and parasails from the bay.
Now it's back to planning the next trip down.

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