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Escrito por Minnesota Mike desde 136.234.220.45 (?) el día lunes, 24 de enero, 2005 a las 13:04:47 horas :

THE FLIGHT THERE
I went on Sun Country Airlines. It was unremarkable. I took an evening flight, scheduled to land at 8:00 pm. We started an hour late. The gourmet dinner consisted of a “hamburger”, very hot and wrapped in some sort of tin foil. It was okay for a charter meal, though I could have skipped it and endured. I brought a bottle of soda and a bag of peanuts with me, so I had plenty of stuff. No problems going through customs, picking up the baggage, etc. I took a cab, 260 pesos to the Villa Mexicana.

VILLA MEXICANA
I stayed there last year and liked it, might stay there again next year. I walked up to the desk, said my last name and they were ready for me. I signed the little slip with my credit card number so I could charge stuff to my room, and off I went. I had a nice room with a patio. I ate most of my breakfasts at the hotel’s restaurant, the Dona Prudencia. The breakfasts were just fine. I had a couple of dinners there – I had the seafood pasta and was very impressed. The pricing is, I feel, just a bit higher than for the equivalent food at other restaurants, but I was satisfied. The service at the hotel was wonderful. I would take a $100 peso note and ask for change, they gladly gave it to me. I asked for them to make phone calls, give directions, make recommendations, etc. and they helped me in every way. I couldn’t ask for better service. The waiters would come to my patio and announce it was happy hour, and I’d order some two-fer drinks. Great place!

TEMO
I went fishing with Captain Temo again this year. Last summer, I sent a picture of Captain Temo holding a 125-pound sailfish (biggest one I ever caught) to a company that makes custom T-shirts. I had ten shirts made up with the intention of giving two of them to Temo. Of course, I wore some of the others. During my wanderings, many Mexicans would stop me and ask me if that was Temo. I’d tell them “yes” and we’d laugh and then chat a bit. I think 75% of the people in Zihuatanejo are either related to Temo or know him! By the second week, people on the pier were calling me by name! So, I went fishing with Temo. I gave two shirts to Temo, and he was very appreciative. Temo has a newer boat now, GPS, radio and an assistant, Carlos. My partner couldn’t make it, and it was just as well – I got skunked! It was my own fault. Temo told me, while we were trolling, there was a school of tuna out about 25-30 miles. He heard it on the radio. Since I have never caught a tuna, I asked to go for the tuna. By the time we got there, the school had dispersed. There were about 18 boats in the immediate area, all of them starting to leave when we got there. By the time we got back to sailfish territory, it was time to go back. All the other boats I saw for sailfish had success. So my own greediness contributed to my being skunked. Bummer. Wait until next year.

LAS GATAS
I went there twice, the first time to Arnoldo’s, the owner is Temo’s mother. Of course, I wore the T-shirt and was besieged by the staff! It was fun. The second week, when my wife was along, we climbed over the rocks and walked to Las Gatas. What an adventure! I would recommend it only if you wear shoes with good traction. There were some boulders we had to climb over as big as semi trucks. Why do they call those trucks “semi” trucks? They look like whole trucks to me. I never could figure that out. Large old men with bad knees are indeed capable of making the trek. We went to Otilia’s to see Franco. Lalo wasn’t there! I was disappointed. I have always liked Lalo. He was so eager to please and accommodating. We had some beer, a nice light lunch for $200 pesos, and walked back over the rocks. It seemed easier going back than coming.

TRONCONES
We took a cab to Troncones and went to the Burro Burracho. We enjoyed a few refreshing beers, a cocktail, a light lunch and the wide-open surf. I am really happy I finally got to see Troncones. I’ve read so much about it. It is really laid back. We did meet a couple of vendors who trekked up and down the beaches to visit the sparse number of tourists.

CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP
We attended services held at the Mediterano at 9:30 am on Sunday morning. It is nice to meet people at that gathering. We learned that Dr. Jody, the pediatrician from New York who volunteers for the medical mission in the hills to the east of Zihuatanejo, is heading for Sri Lanka to perform volunteer work there for victims of the tsunami. Ron and Rose Cavanaugh conduct Bible study at their home on Thursday nights.

RESTAURANT REVIEW
MJ & Ritchies – wow! Am I ever sad I haven’t tried that one before! $30 pesos for their chicken tacos – three hot tacos in a lush bed of lettuce, tomatoes and cheese – more than enough for this guy! The salad part was a meal in itself! Great people there, good service and a lot of fun! They didn’t open until 11:00, so I didn’t get a chance to try any breakfast. Great place!
Anatoles y Tamale Any – same as ever. Great authentic Mexican food with great prices. You can order combinations of tamales from $15 pesos to $25 pesos. $5 pesos for a shot of mescal. $30 pesos for a “small” bowl of pozole. This place is a must.
Il Mare – I ate there twice. I ran into one of the waiters there, Angelo, who is a Greek. Even though I haven’t spoken Greek in 40 years, we communicated! He said my Greek wasn’t too bad, but I needed to practice more. I ran into him twice at MJ & Ritchies. The food at Il Mare was great! We had appetizers, cocktails, wine, the house special (shrimp on a bed of spinach with a touch of Ouzo flavoring the spinach) and the bill came to $900 pesos. The view of the bay is wonderful. I ate there myself and had the shrimp marinara with all the trimmings. It was $400 pesos for just me. You have to be able to navigate about twenty stairs to get to the restaurant, and there are more stairs going down even further to get to the bathrooms.
Elvira’s on La Ropa – an absolute must is their house special. Their tuna steak sells for $90 pesos. I ordered mine cooked medium – they’ll ask you how you want it done. It is huge. It is wrapped in a strip of bacon and served with wonderful vegetables and rice. They make a very strong drink, so if you are there for happy hour (5 to 7 pm) be sure to avoid driving! I had one two-fer jumbo margarita and it took me most of the evening to finish it. I took a couple of breakfasts there – they have generous portions but charge a bit more than most breakfast places.
Elvira’s in Zihuatanejo – we went there for their pina colada. They have one of the finest pina coladas we’ve experienced in the area.
Senior Pinto’s – it is located near the Elektra, about a block off the main drag. It is open 24-hours a day, so the cab drivers go there a lot. I had their all-you-can-eat barbeque rib special on my first Monday there. It was $135 pesos. The ribs are mango-smoked with a wonderful sauce. It is served with potato salad, coleslaw and baked beans. The ribs are meaty and rank a little higher than Famous Dave’s ribs. I talked with the owner, Steve, and he told me how he had been experimenting for years and finally came up with this recipe. I told him his recipe worked and that his ribs were about as good as any I have ever tried. I recommend this place – I only could eat one more plate of ribs after the first plate. There was plenty to eat and it was great! This is a must-try place for Monday night.
Paty’s Mar y Mar – This is a good place as well! I had the tuna steak for $60 pesos. It wasn’t as large as the one at Elvira’s next door, but it was certainly large enough! It came with a baked potato and vegetables. I recommend it.
Capri – located across the street from the Radisson in Ixtapa. The owner is an Italian and he cooks his stuff over a wood-burning oven. His wife, Lourdes, is a gracious hostess. This year we had a bottle of wine and a pizza – it was pretty good! In years past, when we stayed in Ixtapa at the Posada Real, we’d take our breakfasts there. Try the shrimp-kabob for dinner.

EL CROCODILO
They have fenced off the lagoon, and a large crocodile stays behind the fence (apparently not all the time, however). This one is different than the one I saw last year, it is a bit longer and a little more on the brown side.

LA PERLA
I decided to put this restaurant in a category of its own. I have read a lot of things about it in the past year, and I want to put down my own observations. I will start with the beach and the palapas. I did not see any signs posted demanding payment for use of the beach chairs. I have no doubt there had been one posted before, but there isn’t one there now. I made five trips to the restaurant during my two weeks. I had two meals there and had snacks during the football games and just went there for drinks on my first night (it was the only place open). My meals were all good, as were the snacks. I didn’t have any problem being served. I had to wait no longer than I had to wait in any other restaurant. My subjective feeling was service was more prompt than it had been in the past. The prices were in line with other similar restaurants. Don Francisco was present during each of my five visits. I spoke to Don Francisco about his restaurant. He said he pays his taxes and complies with all the environmental regulations. He said most restaurants in the area don’t always pay their taxes or comply with environmental regulations because of lack of strict enforcement. I thought that was interesting. I also visited the humidor. It was well-sealed and appeared totally solid. I talked with eleven people who had smoked or were smoking cigars from the humidor. One person said they encountered a cigar (a Cuban Bolivar) that didn’t burn very well – it burned down the middle rapidly in spite of cutting it and relighting it several times. That was one bad one out of 10 Bolivars he smoked. Nobody complained about any cigar being dried out. These observations may contradict what others have written, but this is what I observed during the past two weeks. I recommend La Perla and am satisfied with the quality of food, the overall prices and the service.

CUBAN PRODUCTS
As we all know, it is now illegal for citizens of the United States to purchase or to even use any product made in Cuba, even if they are overseas. As a loyal citizen, I found Brazilian Daniemann cigars at the Commercial Mexicana and enjoyed them. I made sure any rum drink I had contained Jamaican or Mexican rum. Unfortunately, I did hear some Cuban music. I brought ear plugs along for that eventuality, but I couldn’t get them in place in time. I hope the government will forgive me.

BOARD PARTY AND BLUE MAMOU
Wow! It was so great to meet other board people! I brought name tags and gave out 22 of them. What a joy to put the faces to the names. I was shocked at how young everyone was! I had the feeling many of the posters were older people! The Blue Mamou rocks! They had their barbeque going, $35 pesos for a small salad, two chunks of tasty ribs and two chicken wings! A great deal! The music rocked, and Minnesota Mike brought his dancing shoes and boogied! I hope they can establish themselves and be there next year to boot! Thanks to all who came to the party. Wait ’till next year!

TRIP BACK
Our flight was delayed about three or four hours. Apparently, there had been a nasty storm in the Twin Cities on Friday and into Saturday. I had to remain in Mexico an extra four hours instead of being in Minne-snow-ta. A perfect ending to a perfect vacation. Viva Mexico! I am starting my next countdown! Only 350 days (or so) to go!




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