Mango Margarita Trip Report, Parte Uno (Long!)


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Escrito por Swimming Sister desde 69.30.9.59 (69-30-9-59.pxd.easystreet.com) el día sábado, 11 de diciembre, 2004 a las 15:21:06 horas :

Alas, the best mango-infused refreshment I had lacked any alcohol, but more on that later----

First off, I viewed going to Zihua so early in the season w/ a little trepidation. Being from PDX, I like to head south towards the middle/end of February, when the winter rains have made me severely depressed. At the end of November, I was only at the ‘mild depression’ stage. But some good friends of mine who got married in Zihua 20 years ago (on the restaurant balcony of the Catalina to be exact) had invited me and other friends to join in their anniversary festivities. As this couple had over the years encouraged me to visit Zihua (which I did 4 years ago & has now become a mandatory ‘escape’ destination ever since), I thought I owed them a thanks & what the heck, it would be nice to spend time w/ a group of friends.

Finally arrived in Zihua a little after 4 on 11/27. Had to bag the combi transport option as I had waaay too much luggage. Got to my hotel (Casa Sun & Moon), did a cursory glance to make sure it was ok, & then headed down the steps to Madera Beach. I was in the ocean in a flash, and it was pure bliss! Paddled around for a while, then headed back up to the hotel to change & then hoofed it on over to the Catalina Sunset Bar to meet the rest of the group. About 20 revelers already assembled, well into the ‘dos por uno’ ritual. I asked the bartender if they had mango margaritas. Si! Que suerte! Blame it on sleep deprivation & severe climate change, but I inhaled the first 2 drinks, guzzled the third one, and by the fourth drink I was finally ready for the sipping stage. By that time my stomach began to severely rumble since the last food consumed was Alaska Airline’s pathetic ‘snack’ 5 hours ago. When I started making suggestions about dinner I got a bunch of affirmative replies but no one willing to make a decision. At this point I’m beginning to think, hmm, this is going to be like trying to herd a bunch of cats. Finally after yet ANOTHER round of drinks I got up & announced, ‘some of us are heading to Rossy’s. Anybody else interested, head on down’. So we straggled our way down the beach. Got to Rossy’s & there wasn’t much happening. But the staff was happy to see such a big group, even if it meant they had to give up watching their precious game of ‘futbol’ on tv. Had ANOTHER excellent mango margarita & a superb dinner of grilled shrimp. Thanks to Curly for recommending this place in his trip report. Not sure what time I got back to Casa Sun Y Moon, but at this point didn’t care as I was in vacation mode!

Woke up the next morning at the unreasonable hour of 6:30 am & couldn’t go back to sleep. So got up, heated some hot water for tea & did a more detailed ‘survey’ of my accomodation. Casa Sun y Moon is a no-frills place in a great locat1on. It suited a couple fundamental needs. One, it was one of the few places that offered rates for the solo traveller. And two, it offered access to a kitchen, and since I travel nowhere in Mexico w/out my stovetop espresso maker, it fulfilled that ‘quirk’! Plus it was right on Madera, two minutes walk down to the beach, and had wonderful terraces open to all guests. My room did not have an overhead fan, but it did have a fairly modern air conditioner. By fairly modern I mean quiet from the inside and outside AND had a remote control. The staff there was wonderful and treated me very well. The grounds were beautiful and the pool was clean & refreshing for a dip after the ‘strenuous’ walk back up from the beach. After making these ‘observations’ I headed to the beach for a swim, then came back up for my jolt of espresso. By that time I was seeing some movement @ MJ Ritchies, so headed back down there to secure a lounge chair & a palapa. I established a good rapport w/ Martin, the young waiter there, and spent the rest of the day swimming, eating, drinking cervezas, reading, napping & repeating this cyle twice over the next 8 hours. To my great disappointment I learned that Antonia, the massage lady, took Sundays & Mondays off so I would have to wait 2 days for this indulgence. Late in the day I headed back up to my room to change & meet a smaller group of the ‘wedding party’ @ the bar @ Irma’s. The bar there is not very atmospheric, so we decided to head down Madera to the Sunset Bar @ Hotel Brisas del Mar. The view was stunning, the bartender was charming, & the margaritas were potent (alas, only margaritas de limon, no mango!) After a few rounds we headed back down the beach & walked into town to check out the Sunday night scene @ the Zocalo. Not much entertainment was occurring, but the place was PACKED. The aromas emanating from the food stalls were enticing, but we decided we wanted a more substantive meal so headed down the Paseo del Pescador to La Sirena Gorda (another gracias to Curly!) Had an excellent dinner of grilled tuna and—yippee–a mango margarita! We started to get our 2nd wind so thought we’d go somewhere to close out the evening. Walked to Ricks, but it was closed. So I got the idea of heading to the Blue Mamu. Got there on the early side (9-ish??), but 3 women customers must have been enough to get the band motivated, as they started playing a set & man were they smokin! Blue Mamu is a nice place. Think we even got a glance of Mr. Mamu himself in his gold lame jacket. After the end of the first set our energy started to lag so it was back to our respective hotels for some sleep.

On Monday morning got in a swim, consumed my java, & then got together w/ Mary Rushing to deliver some educational supplied & clothes (more on that later). We walked down Paseo del Pescador & had breakfast @ Café Marina. Met Joe, the cook/owner/whatever, who is quite a character. We were just finishing breakfast when the ‘trippers’ from the cruise ship started appearing in masses. Uh oh, I thought, I’m staying clear of the Artisan’s Market today! Instead I headed up to Café Zihuatanejo to redeem my coupon for a free cappuccino (thanks, Rob, for having them on your website) and to restock my supply of coffee. Got an excellent organic blend to bring home. After that headed back to the hotel to hit the beach & MJ Ritchie’s. FINALLY ran into Rico from PDX but didn’t have much time to converse as it was time to get together w/ the ‘anniversary revellers’. I headed over to La Ropa to meet ‘the group’ for drinks @ Orlando’s Bar @ Villa del Sol. Some friends were staying there, so got to see what $200+night buys you. And THAT was one of the cheaper rooms. Suffice to say my style remains, spend less on accommodation & you can spend more days on vacation. The mango margaritas were good, but I almost fainted when I got the bill of $16 for 2 drinks. And these were margaritas made w/ cheap tequila! Since we’d spent so much on cocktails decided to go the cheap route for dinner so waylaid a couple taxis to take us downtown to Los Braseros. It was then I realized I was in Zihua on the tail end of the ‘slow’ season, as the restaurant was pretty quiet. Usually when I’ve been there in February the place is packed to the gills. After stuffing ourselves on the house specialty (tacos al pastor) we decided to forego ‘clubbing’ and went for dessert instead. Stopped @ the pink bakery for some cookies, then trekked on down to the gelateria. It was there I experienced true mango nirvana–the mango ice cream sent me into another world! Caught a taxi back to Sun & Moon, & was so tired I fell asleep w/ the air conditioner on. Woke up about 3 am freezing my you know what off!

The next morning had my ritual ‘swim & espresso’, then walked down to Casa Café for breakfast. Several posters on this board rated it as a great breakfast place, & they were right. The best conventional (i.e., gringo) breakfast I had while there. I wish I’d had more time to talk to the owners (who spend 6 months a year in Zihua & 6 months in my fair city) but they were busy & time was short. Later met Mary Rushing & we headed up to the Squatter’s School. There has been a lot of heated discussion about this school lately on the Board, and I want to emphasize that this is a TRIP REPORT, not a thread to start another debate. However, I want to make 2 comments. Was I glad I did something (bring down clothes & school supplies) rather than nothing? Absolutely. And was I glad to have visited the school? Absolutely. End of commentary.

Got back to Madera around noon and hooray–Antonia was set up & ready to massage my stress away! Also @ MJ Ritchie’s the owner Rafael’s daughter (or daughter-in-law??) is a jewelry maker, so she whipped out her bag of goodies & it didn’t take me long to find a few silver baubles I just HAD to have. By that time the day was waning & it was time to go up to my room & get changed for the big ‘ anniversary ceremony’. The ceremony must have lasted a whopping 15 minutes, then we all trekked down the Catalina’s numerous stairs for a party & dinner @ Elvira’s. The setting was stunning. They had roped off the tables closest to the beach, and all the tables were covered in white linens and beautiful floral arrangements. The margaritas flowed (alas, no mango variety!), followed by speeches & then a wonderful dinner of sopes, guacamole, huachinango al ajo & later flan de coco for dessert (note to Pam in NJ–you are right–the flan is yummmerooony!) Shots of tequila ‘miraculously’ appeared, & soon everybody was dancing in the sand. The ‘groom’ even got Hidalgo, our favorite waiter, to dance with him. Finally yours truly decided it was time to cool off, so into the ocean we went, some in swimsuits, others in their underwear, & many ‘au natural’. Fortunately it was dark enough that we did not offend any of the cultural sensitivities of the local inhabitants! Somehow I managed to stumble back to my hotel later that night, & relayed the day’s events to the night manager in some incoherent language that was neither English or Spanish!

Next Installment: Barra de Potosi



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