Trip Report 8/20-8/27 part 5

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Posted by scott from ( on lunes, septiembre 02, 2002 at 13:27:49 :

After two days of visiting other locales, we decide to stay close to the hotel today. And we splurge by having breakfast in the café. M even goes so far as to partake of the buffet, but I, as usual, stick to the more calorie-friendly menu and order a stack of hotcakes and a side of bacon. My breakfast is good, but apparently not nearly as good as the chilaquiles, huevos, frijoles, fruitas, papas, carne, and who knows what else that M is shoveling into her petite frame at an alarming rate. Nearby guests pull back their tables. Parents grab little children and hold them close to their chest. Even the birds remain back a safe distance. Thankfully J is at the playground, unable to watch the carnage.

The hotel is abuzz with conventioneers. People are everywhere and it’s obvious that many have partied long into the night. Unshaven, sporting red eyes, and in some unfortunate cases, reeking of booze, groups of Mega Merzers roam the grounds and fill the elevators. Already, the Crystal is setting up tables outside. I don’t know what is on the agenda today, but I feel sorry for the non-conventioneers staying at that hotel. If we had stayed at the Crystal, we’d be in Troncones today.

It’s also clear that the weekend crowd has arrived. People from the surrounding region have come to spend a couple of days. Last night at the lounge we met a family from Acapulco. They come to Ixtapa to vacation because Acapulco has become “too large, too crowded”. The family has a son around 10 years or so and a pretty daughter age 4 with whom J got along with famously. The hope is that we’ll see them here today so that the kids can play together in the pool. But if that doesn’t happen, it’s okay, because there are lots and lots of families already. And unlike other days, before we even leave the café, many of the best shaded poolside lounge chairs are occupied. And so, before all of the shade is spoken for, I casually walk out, and place a couple towels on chairs for us. I won’t get up at seven am to do this, but now, knowing that we’ll be down shortly, it seems ok.

It is up to the room for a change and straightening up, and then back to the pool for a day in the water. One thing I hadn’t yet mentioned is the strange giant mutant fiberglass frog that has appeared poolside since our last trip. Some six feet high, it sits directly at the pool’s edge. It is a slide and the kids love it. Next door at the hotel Riveria, it’s twin sits in the middle of the children’s shallow area of the pool, and a couple of doors down, a bird of similar proportions is found. It’s like the people who walk through your neighborhood, saying, “Hi. We’re painting addresses on curbs for your neighbors. Would you like us to do that for you too?” Somebody has made the rounds selling pool slides. I wonder out loud if they might have come from the water park across the way, but M says she heard one of those timeshare touts say that it was open. Anyway, the slides are fun and I even try it a few times.

Something else I hadn’t yet mentioned was the pool maintenance going on during the day. Around the pool is a foot-wide strip of white paint, and since we arrived, a man has been chipping away the paint in preparation of repainting. He sits on an overturned bucket, underneath an umbrella, holding a small hammer-like chisel. Chip, chip, chip, chip, chip, chip. All day long. It’s not loud, and after a few minutes it becomes one of those background sounds that your consciousness ignores, but it’s always there. Chip, chip, chip, chip, chip, chip. Since Wednesday, he has chipped, maybe, 8 feet of pool edge. Which means that at the current rate he’ll finish sometime in December. One reason for the slow progress is his care in keeping the paint chips from falling in the water. I appreciate this, but still want to go over to him, put a cold beer in his hands, and express my sincere condolences for drawing such a gawdawful task.

After such a big breakfast, M decides to skip lunch. Actually, I think she’s discovered that there is no food left at the hotel but just doesn’t want to tell me. But in any case, she and J retire to the room for his lunch and nap. I move to the beach, pull up a chair under a palapa, and prepare to finish the latest book. Not so fast. All of a sudden I’m overrun by Merzers. They’re running down the beach and they’re everywhere. To make matter worse, they ignore the rope that separates public beach from hotel area and they’re kicking up sand, bumping into people and generally acting like a**clowns. In what can only be called organized chaos, little groups start forming here and there and they do some really dumb things. One group is chanting. Another is holding hands and skipping in circles. Still others have proceeded past our hotel and are doing similar silliness down the beach. It must be some kind of competition. I’m hoping that the next round has them swim out to the nearby islands, but alas, it’s not to be. Instead, they come, they make lots of noise and get in people’s way, and then they leave, only to return again and again. I escape back to the pool. Chip, chip, chip, chip, chip. Una cerveza, por favor.
Dinner tonight will be special. After reading an earlier trip report, the restaurant of choice is Puesta del Sol. Of course, we first have to stop and say hi to Juany. That’s my story anyway and I’m sticking to it. But as long as we’re there, I have to sample the reposados. Cazadores is especially fine. Not that I didn’t already know it. Ahem.

The taxi driver doesn’t know the restaurant, but he does know Kau Kan, and so we direct him there. The sun is headed for the horizon and judging by the restaurant’s locat1on over Playa Madera, I guess that we should have a nice view. Nice doesn’t begin to describe it. The owner, Jorge, welcomes us with enthusiasm. We’re the only ones there although several other tables will be occupied before we leave. He shows us to a table that will have the best view, but J spies a beautiful toucan in a cage and so we instead sit closer to the bird and I thank Jorge all the same. The toucan’s name is Picasso and he will be J’s entertainment for the night. Well, him, and the two song birds next to him and the two parrots hanging out in the kitchen. Yes, that’s what I said. Two. Parrots. In the kitchen. Hmmm.

It’s clear the Jorge loves his birds and takes wonderful care of them. Within minutes, he brings out a plate of diced mangos and shows J how to feed Picasso. I’ve never been so close to a toucan except at the zoo and wonder how that rather large beak works around little kids, but Picasso is more gentle than either of our two dogs when it comes to taking food. Over the course of the evening, we’ll all get up and go talk to the bird. He seems to like it. We also get up a few times to see the sunset from different angles and it is gorgeous.

Jorge brings us a couple of glasses of Chardonnay and we settle in to make the difficult decision for dinner. We’re in no hurry. For starters, we have a wonderful tortilla soup that’s creamy smooth and has a pronounced roasted corn flavor. For entrees, M has shrimp and I have lobster, J has his usual quesadilla and fruit. Jorge prepares the shrimp tableside, al diablo style. There’s nothing like flaming shrimp to really get the appetite going. The plates are large, full of food, and both dishes are cooked to perfection. For dessert, M and I split an order of flan, and I ask for Spanish coffee. Little do I know that the coffee comes with it’s own light show. Freshly brewed, rich and full-bodied, the coffee is combined with several different liquors. But not, as I find out, until those liquors are set ablaze and poured from one container to another. Over and over and over. With the lights off. The effect is not unlike those nights many years ago when the U.S. Park Service pushed tons of burning coals off of Glacier Point in Yosemite. Then they called it the “Firefalls” for its similarity to the many waterfalls in the park. Here, I call it “Flaming Coffee of Death” as a salute to those “microbusses of death” travelling to and from Petatlan. And yes, the coffee was delicious.

Eventually, after several hours of dining, we roll ourselves out of the restaurant, thanking Jorge for the wonderful food, the gracious service, and the beautiful atmosphere. We add this to our mental notepad of “must return to-s”, and take the taxi back to the hotel. The day has had no travel, no new towns or sights, no real beach swimming, and yet it has been satisfying nonetheless. We already know what we’ll do tomorrow as it’s something we do every Sunday when we visit. Although it somewhat marks the beginning of the end of our vacation, it’s a personal favorite. Tomorrow we spend the day on La Ropa.

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