Overdue, very overlength trip report Day 5

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Escrito por Ket desde (?) el día lunes, 15 de mayo, 2006 a las 19:49:40 horas :

Day 5 Tuesday 25 April, 2006

We made arrangements to meet Capt. Amado at the pier between 6:30 and 7:00. I had requested a wake up call for 0530; I also set our travel alarm clock and armed the alarm on my watch as well. All of these precautions proved moot, however, since I was correct in my assumption that sleep would be difficult as I was so eager to be going out with my old friend and the greatest captain ever to sail the Pacific. I silently slid from the covers, very quietly knocked the travel alarm onto the floor, ejecting the battery and other electronic guts, and proceeded to very quietly knock several bottles of water off the sink area in the bathroom. All of this went down at about 5:25. Of course, I left my watch by the bed, and as I was using the bathroom, it started shouting its wake up call, much to the delight of the sweet creature, now quite agitated at the cacophony of sounds in our room. The phone rang about five minutes later. Dormie answered and I heard her say in her scratchy sleep voice “No, not really, I was going to go just because I thought you had your heart set on it.” Then she started laughing, said “OK, I’ll see you a little later for breakfast at a more sane time.” Dorm looked at me, smiled sweetly, and said “Kath and I aren’t going after all…you boys have fun.” Not interested in any further discussion of the topic, she fell back into the covers and was cutting Z’s in about two nanoseconds.

Darrel and I yelled at the screaming bird on the way by and woke the guy at the front desk, who called us a cab and unlocked the front doors. We were at the pier at 5:50. We entered the market and after an easy discussion on essentials, we picked out a Corona styrofoam cooler, ice, and bottled water, and Red Bulls. For the days activities we chose Modelo light, not only for its clean, easy taste with a nice finish and no bitter aftertaste, but perhaps of greater importance, for the ease and convenience provided by its aluminum cans. We were a little nervous about the cost of all this stuff, because the prices weren’t clearly marked and we were sure that the store was going to be taking every advantage of its locat1on and hours of operation. Not to worry, 120 pesos each and we were on our way. We bought a couple of sandwiches and a couple of coffees from the Senioritas outside the store, and this there is where we got the price shock; 20 pesos each for delicious, huge homemade sandwiches with our choice of filling and a cup of coffee? A bargain, if ever there was one. It was now 6:15 and we started making our way down the pier, to wait for Amado.

There weren’t many people milling around yet, as it was pretty early and there was no sign of the sun peeking over the hill tops yet. We found a bench and had a seat. After about the second gulp of coffee, the rich food from the previous evening was now fully processed and demanding liberation; I needed to find bathroom. Darrell asked where I was going and found it quite humorous when I told him what was going on. I ran-walked back up the pier to where the bathrooms were…closed and locked. No biggie, I would just cruise around to the ones over behind the store. Uh oh…Houston we may have a problem here, those bathrooms were also closed and locked and not a soul in sight. I went back into the store and asked the gentleman behind the cash register if there were bathrooms available. He said, “No, no bathrooms here”. I asked what a guy was supposed to do if he needed a bathroom, and he said “No understand”. I tried it in Spanish and he replied “No Intiendo”. Hmmm…only one option left; cowboy up, batten down the hatches, secure the gangways, and hope the urges went away. If not, well then we’d just have to deal with it later.

When I got back down to where Darrell was now standing, he informed me that Amado was not coming. Darrell is quite the trickster and spends much time conceiving new tricks, ploys, ruses, hoaxes and practical jokes to play on me, Dorm, Catalina, and if we won’t bite, any other victim he can find. “Yeah right, Bonehead” I replied. He asserted that this was no joke, and started his homily; “A guy who said he was Amados son-in-law came up to me and asked if we were waiting for Amado. When I said yes, he said “Amado no come, no gas. He try to find you another boat, but he have no luck. Very sorry.” “Oh bull sh*t” I once again responded, some shadows of fear starting to find their way into my psyche. “No dude, really…he’s not coming, this is not a joke.” It didn’t make any sense…No gas, what the heck? We were discussing our plight when a slick looking dude wearing expensive preppy style American duds walks up and says “What’s the matter amigos, no boat?” We replied that maybe that was the case. “Happens all the time, man but no worries, I can take care of you.” He said in excellent English. When asked what he meant by that he said he could have us set up with a boat in no time flat, a big nice boat with a full bathroom (that sounded pretty good to me, considering present circumstances) and lots of fishing poles, for a mere 300 bucks. Darrell and I had quick meeting and thought that maybe the ladies might want to join us in an affair like that, and told him we might consider it. “Tell you what, why don’t I give you guys a ride back to your hotel, you can pick up your wives, and you can still get in a great day of fishing.” This was starting to sound pretty reasonable, and we decided it would not hurt to go back and at least talk it over with the girls, and away we went in the guys shiny new VW Golf.

We woke the girls and relayed what was going on. It was now going on 7:30. Dormies agitation at being awoken again in the middle of the night soon turned to confusion as I explained what was going on. “Amado would not do that to you without a good reason” she exclaimed. “Besides, do you really think you want to fish with someone else?” “This other guy might have a co-conspirator he sent to you when he noticed you waiting for a boat, heck maybe Amado is down there waiting for you right now. You at least should call Amado to find out what’s going on.” The latter premise seemed like a reach, but she was really making sense on the rest of her discourse. A quick call for Darrells opinion, and we made our way back down to the car to tell the driver the deal was off. “But guys” he said “I already informed the captain and he is filling his boat with diesel right now.” “So” I replied. “That diesel will burn just as good tomorrow as it will today”. “But you said you were going with our boat.” He whined. This was getting very, very, pushy and I knew I’d made the right decision to cancel. I gave him a 200 peso note for the ride and walked back inside; he was trying to tell me something else, and was starting to say something disparaging about Amado in a whiny voice which we ignored.

I went back to the room, and as I was using the bathroom felt certain that this happened this way for a reason. I found Captain Amados business card, and after a few aborted attempts through lack of Mexican pay-phone knowledge, rang his cell-phone. He answered on the first ring. “Thank the God you call me, Ket”. (That’s where the handle came from) My boat would not go this morning; I have a mechanic look at it at 10:00 today. I try to call you but, I could not remember where you were staying so I call many places, but no Ket there. Finally, I wake my son-in-law and tell him to get in my little boat and go find you and tell you what is going on. I even try to find you another boat, boat nobody else able to go this morning. Please accept my apologies, Ket.” Well, I knew it all along. I told him I’d call later in the day to make sure the boat was fixed and asked if we could go tomorrow. “Yes, of course” was the replay.

We then all decided to walk down to the La Perla for some delicious French toast and coffee. Over breakfast, we decided to travel to Ixtapa Island and try some snorkeling.

We took a cab to Playa Linda where we caught the water taxi to the island. Some guy latched on to us early on the pier and tried to carry our snorkel gear and was being overly friendly. I knew he was playing us for a restaurant sale on the island, but I didn’t recognize the name on the shirt he was wearing. We politely told him no thanks, we could carry our own gear, but he stuck like glue and followed us onto the taxi where even the driver ignored him. When we stepped off the dock at the island he was telling us “Right this way please”, and tried to lure us down the beach. We ignored him and headed for the path which would take us across the island to where we wanted to snorkel. I had done this little trip last time we were here, and knew exactly where we were going. A shouting match ensued between the guy from the pier and a waiter from the restaurant by the dock with much arm waving and pointing at us. As we were scurrying away, a lady’s voice came over a loudspeaker, and the two abruptly knocked it off. The whole thing was a little strange.

When we arrived at the beach on the other side, we were greeted by a friendly waiter who showed us to a table where we could stash our stuff, and told us to signal him when and if we wanted anything. He was not pushy at all. I regret that I can’t recall the name of this place. The beach was very crowded, though the restaurant did not appear so. The crowd appeared to be about half gringo and half locals, near as I could tell, with the majority of those at the restaurant being gringo.

Darrell and I made our way through the crowd and got in the water. It was somewhat cloudy and pretty warm upon first entering. As we made our way out, past most of the people milling about next to the shore, the water became cooler and much clearer. We saw tons of gorgeous fish, beautiful coral, and pretty plants. I am thinking that the water was cloudy closer to the beach because everyone was keeping the sand stirred up. About a half hour into our excursion I caught sight of a huge bright blue fish and turned to see if Darrell saw it as well. He was no-where in sight, so I dived down about 15 feet for a closer look. I soon was at the point where the importance of not breathing over rode the thrill of chasing the fish and started for the surface. Ascending, I nearly ran into a pair of hairy legs with a baggy pair of swimming trunks around the ankles being held in place by finned feet which I recognized as Darrells. I was subjected to not a full moon, but all the equipment which is mounted on the other side. My mask is made so that on my face anyway, if one smiles, it will leak profusely, and water will gush into the mask. The water gushed in, and trying unsuccessfully to suppress a laugh and being out of breath anyway, spit my snorkel out and proceeded to inhale and swallow a couple of gallons of seawater. I came to the surface choking, hacking, spitting, and laughing. Darrell asked with a smile, “What is your problem, man?” “My problem?” I sputtered between laughs, and fighting to expel the water and catch a breath....”what the sam-hell is your problem, naked-boy?” “Nothing, just chillin’ taking a little break” I warned him about dangling a worm in front of so many fish, re-adjusted my gear and started back under the water. As I dove I attempted a quick moon of my own, but forgot my shorts were tied tight, and as the ridiculousness of this process sank in, I started to laugh again and the whole routine started anew.

We came from the water still laughing, and joined the girls back at the table. We signaled the waiter and ordered a bucket of Coronas, some fish tacos, and cheese quesadillas. The girls also ordered a couple of pina coladas which came in a whole hollowed out pineapple with a fruit face attached and flowers for hair. The girls’ drinks were pretty, and I might add quite delicious with plenty of rum. I found this out through several stolen drinks as Dorms attention was diverted by someone or something. We bought some silver from a vendor named Hector the Protector, and the crowd started to thin out. The meal and drinks was only about 350 pesos, which was not too bad considering the fun, and the fact that the pina coladas were 90 pesos each. The rum, sun, Coronas and tranquility of being in paradise were starting to overwhelm me again, and the lids were getting heavy. Darrell noticed and suggested another swim. Suspecting another stunt, I cautiously went back into the water. This time there was no gross nudity to foul the pristine underwater world.

We boated back to the pier and caught a cab back to the VM. I called Amado and confirmed that the Burbuja (his boat) had been repaired. We showered and met at the front desk. The girl who was working the desk had showed Dormie how to use her phone card in the pay phone across the street, and the two were becoming quite chummy. I asked in Spanish, to the girls delight, if she could recommend a good restaurant for our evening dining. She suggested the Escollera and called us a cab.

The Escollera is across the bay imbedded in a steep hillside. As we exited the cab and entered the open air restaurant, we once again transcended reality into a sublime place which defies explanation. The view was absolutely striking. I sat and stared at Dormie, our best friends, the sunset, and the bay, and once again found myself wondering how I could ever have such luck to find myself at this place at this time. I felt like I had seen this before, somewhere…a movie when I was a kid, a dream? Surreal, sublime…I finally snapped out of it, a little anyway, and ordered a margarita, and grilled shrimp. Darrel had a fish fillet, Catalina shrimp pasta, and Dormie had chicken pasta. Of course the food and drinks were fantastic and ridiculously inexpensive, considering. Enjoying after dinner drinks, we commented on the place to the waiter and he informed us that they also have four rooms to stay in. We asked if we could see one and he said “Sure, follow me.” Surreal, sublime time again. To attempt to write what I saw would not do it justice, you’ll just have to see for yourself. Still reeling from what we had witnessed, and yes a little from the drinks, we left in a cab, deciding we must return this trip.

Darrell and Catalina needed some more pesos so we asked the driver if he could take us downtown to an ATM. Of course he replied “Sure” and we were off. El Centro was saturated with people, laughing talking, making out, hanging out, and much like us enjoying their good fortune at being there. “Hey Keith, do you feel a little out of place around here, tonight?” said Darrell as we were gawking around. “No, why do you ask two dogs?” “Because man, we are the only white people in this whole vicinity, there must be some kind of celebration or something.” By golly, he was right. The locals were out in force tonight. On the way back to the VM, I was trying to ask the driver if there was some significant event going on, to bring everyone out, but he either did not understand the question, or he was just ignoring the question, smiling and nodding politely.

We hit the rack when we got home, and though I was pumped for the next days trip, I fell right to sleep, again exhausted from being so overwhelmed and enjoying every minute of it.

Next up…Electric water, FISH ON, and Sushi.

Man, I got carried away again…

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