Trip Report 8/20-8/27 part 6

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Posted by scott from ( on jueves, septiembre 05, 2002 at 10:20:35 :

Sunday morning dawns bright and clear. Last year, nearly every day was either overcast or raining. This year is the exact opposite. We spend the morning snacking on food, reading or playing, and preparing for our day on La Ropa. By 10:30, I’m anxious to leave. We stop by the towel desk to stock up and then over to the front desk to change some large bills into smaller ones. The desk is packed with Merzers checking out and I dutifully take my place in line, but I’m immediately pulled out of line and directed to a clear part of the counter where somebody cheerfully makes 200 peso notes into 20s and 50s. Did I say I like the service at the Dorado Pacifico?

We have the taxi take us to Rossi. Twice before we’ve had good food here. Only a couple of tables are occupied this early in the morning, but being Sunday, it will be full by afternoon. We choose two lounge chairs under an umbrella on the front line of the water. It’s here that we can best keep track of J, have easy access to the water, and watch the people as they walk past. All we need to complete the picture is a couple of Tecates, which our waiter brings in short order.

The first thing I see as I sit down is a thong bikini. On a lovely backside no less. I’m not used to seeing thongs in Mexico. Perhaps they’re more common in someplace like Cancun, but it definitely seems out of the mainstream here. Needless to say, it attracts the attention of most of the male set around me. Not overt attention, mind you.

The beach is the cleanest I’ve seen it. The first year there was a lot of trash. In April it was better and we saw folks actively raking the sand. This year the beach seems spotless. With a perfectly blue sky, just a hint of surf, and sparkling sand, all I can do is sit back and smile. Well, that and squeeze lime onto the top of my cerveza. It isn’t long before we order a plate of fish tacos to nibble on. Que rico.

For swimming, La Ropa is hard to beat. Just enough surf to have fun and yet no worries about J getting dragged off or tumbled around face down in the sand. It isn’t long before he meets new friends, digging in the sand for sand dabs, which they keep in a plastic ziplock bag. I guess that they’re going to take them home to cook. Never had ‘em before, not sure what they’d taste like.

We also go visit “tick tock” the resident crock nearby. He’s there along with a half dozen or so little crocks. These guys are no more than a foot long and very cute. There’s also a snapping turtle who’s brave enough to take fish heads that somebody has dumped for food. If I was a turtle, I’d stay well away from that big ol’ crock, but this turtle is not the least bit afraid. Over the course of the day, we’ll make several visits. It cracks me up that the only thing separating us from big teeth and searing pain is a rope. Well, that and a bit of common sense.

More beer and more food, this time guacamole and chips, and shrimp cocktails. Yes, life is rough. The place is filling up now and lots of people carrying coolers, bags, and toys are walking north to their favorite spot. Next door, a large group comprised mostly of teens has taken up residence, ordering tons of food and congregating in smaller groups in the water. One set of 5 go ride what J calls the “bananarama”, a large inflatable torpedo with handles. It’s towed behind a ponga at a rather fast speed. Not content with a peaceful ride, the riders energetically bounce up and down as they go. Every now and then somebody speeds by on a jetski, more often than not just trying to get one of us on the beach to rent it. We used to own one of these years ago. Now I hate them with a passion and every time it comes by and pollutes my breathing air I give the guy a dirty look. Not once during the day will we see a parachute float by.

A monster yacht is anchored just off of Las Gatas. I think this is the same boat I saw coming out of the marina in Ixtapa earlier in the morning. I also think that it was anchored off of the north end of La Ropa last year when we hung out here. Somebody has mega bucks to have a yacht this big. The back is open, where several smaller watercraft launch from. I envision scantily clad busty women sunning themselves on the deck. For a moment, just a moment, I think about swimming out to it.

And that’s pretty much how our day is spent. We eat, we drink, we swim, we play in the sand. I’m on my last book of the trip, ‘A Continent Lost’, by Bill Bryson. We watch people. We drink some more. J tries his hand at body surfing with dad showing him how. The sun is hot, the beer is cold, the ocean is warm. Families play everywhere. It doesn’t get much better than this. But eventually we have to leave. In previous years, we’ve walked to the north end of the beach where we make that steep walk up along side La Casa de Canta to the road to catch a taxi, but I’ve promised M that we could just catch a taxi at Rossi this time. The price for that concession was more time spent at Rossi. I consider it a fair trade.

By the time we get back to the hotel, we’re tired, but hungry again. We haven’t yet done any shopping on this trip but we have lots to buy as gifts. So, we go down to the pool for a couple of hours of freshwater swimming, and then off to dinner by way of the artisian’s market.

This market isn’t markedly different than the market in Zih except for one point: it’s more expensive. Vendors almost always start out higher in their asking price. Now that we know this, it’s not an issue. What we do like is that the arrangement of shops makes it easier to go back and forth between vendors when you’re trying to decide between two items. Today, however, we just go to one woman in particular. We’ve purchased ceramics from her in the past. Her prices are fair, the quality of the work better than many, and her selection is quite good for this market. One thing I really like is her approach to selling. She’s not one of those who are in your face with aggressive “Hey mister. Best price. Many plates. Look, look. Fish. Flowers. Plates. You want bowls?” It’s not that I don’t understand vendors who do this, but for me anyway, I’m just likely to thank them and move on. This woman, though, will point out the different details of pieces you look at and compare. Today, we buy a large platter, several midsize bowls, and a set of three small bowls (which we call ‘salsitas’ for lack of anything better). We bargain well because she’s started high and in the end both parties seem satisfied.

Purchase in hand, we walk towards dinner, stopping only at the Mercado for more water and fruit. A young boy bags our items for us and walks them outside expecting to deliver them to a car. There is no car, of course, but he gets 5 pesos nonetheless. The timeshare touts have by this time learned that their breath is wasted on us and let us walk in peace.

For dinner we go to ‘El Infierno y La Gloria’. We ate there in April and enjoyed it. I think I read somewhere that this restaurant is part of a chain, but it’s kitchy and fun. We sit on the front patio and immediately regret the decision as the music inside the restaurant competes with music from a restaurant not 50 feet away. Both are loud beyond belief. The day is still hot and a couple of large glasses of ice cold jamaica are just the ticket while we scan the menu. We both order beef with M having huaraches while I have the filet with blue cheese sauce, served with rice and mashed potatoes. My filet is prepared table size by the same gentleman who prepared the shrimp tableside in April. Both dishes are flavorful and tender beyond belief. For dessert, we walk to the ice cream shop and leisurely sample several different types before settling on hazlenut, melon, and quava. Take that, 31 Flavors.

Tomorrow is our last full day on vacation in I/Z. It will also turn out to be a bit of a surprise.

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