Trip Report Day 1 - Dec. 21 to Jan. 5

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Posted by David(in Bellingham) from ( on miťrcoles, enero 15, 2003 at 21:05:51 :

Day 1 Ė

Whoever said that getting there is half the fun hasnít traveled by air in recent years. I had to get up at 3:30 in the morning to get to the Vancouver airport for my flight. I think I hit every extra screening possible at the Vancouver airport and LAX. The only thing missing was a strip-search. The only bright side to my flight was I used first class upgrades that I get with my Alaska visa card, so I was seated in First Class the whole way to Zihuat.

I hit the red light coming through customs but it only added about another minute or two to the process as they gave a cursory examination to my suitcase. While on the receiving end of the inspection is was nice that it went so fast, but it made it seem like anyone could bring just about anything into the country.

I took a private car to Sirena Gorda restaurant. I private car is now $190 pesos. You can share a Suburban with others for $65 pesos each, or walk off the airport property and catch a bus or a cab.

I stayed in the Gorda apartment above the restaurant. I highly recommend the Gorda apartment or the Sirena apartment as a place to stay. I rented through Robís mom Judith. She was very helpful and I didnít have any problems.

The Gorda apartment is much bigger than the average hotel room. To get to it you go around to the back of the restaurant, go through a locked gate, through another locked door, and up one flight of stairs. My apartment has a patio overlooking the interior garden area with a table and a ceiling fan. The refrigerator is outside the door to the apartment on the patio. Just through the door is a kitchenette, a small counter with a sink, two gas burners, a coffee maker, and some cabinets that contain basic dishes and cooking utensils. Just past the kitchenette to the right is the bathroom all in tile. The bathroom is much bigger than most hotel bathrooms in town. Down a short hall from the bathroom door is the main room with a king-size bed, a small table, a ceiling fan, and an air conditioner. Off of this room is a balcony that overlooks the fishermanís walk. You can see the bay at an angle, but directly in front of the balcony is the coast guard building. The balcony has several chairs, a hammock and a ceiling fan. The floors are all tile. The apartment is very nicely decorated. Iíve seen some other reviews that mentioned problems w/ bugs, but I didnít see any the whole time I was there. This is the perfect locat1on for fisherman, right in front of the pier. The downside to the apartment was that it didnít have hot water.

After I was settled in and unpacked, I headed down to Casa de Arcadia on Playa Principal. This is my favorite restaurant on the beach in town, and I usually go there on my first night just to have a drink and my first meal with my toes in the sand. I have the shrimp al Diablo and 4 drinks and my bill was less than 200 pesos.

My next stop is for a few drinks at a bar in town called Barracruda. Iíve been told that in Spanish cruda means a headache from a hangover, so the name of the bar is a play on words, not a misspelling. Some of the people I know in Zihuat hang out at this bar, but none of them are there. Itís usually a place to meet some interesting people. This time I meet the new bartender, Freddie from Victoria BC, and an author from Italy. Freddieís quite a character and I talk to him for a while before I move on.

The next stop is the bar at Paccaloís. This is usually a good place to hang out and meet people. Iíve met a lot of interesting people, both tourists and locals, in this bar. Tonight itís empty, so I chat with the bartender Ellowina (aka the beer goddess) and pass on several hugs from some of my friends in Vancouver. Sheís been tending bar there for years, and sheís a really neat lady. My usual drink in Zihuat is Bacardi Anejo rum with club soda (anejo con tehuacan). If margaritas are too sweet for you, you may want to try one of these. Itís a crisp clean drink thatís good in the tropics and I can drink socially without getting hammered they way Iím prone to do when I start drinking straight anejo tequila.

Iím about to call it a night when I notice that thereís a new restaurant that wasnít there last year in the courtyard behind Paccaloís. I poke my head in and find out that itís owned by a friend of mine Florian. Iíve known Florian for a few years, he used to own a bar in town called Indios. His new restaurant is called Florianís Kiosko (Florianís Pavilion). Heís got a flame grille and specializes in grilled meats (steaks, ribs, kabobís, sausages, etc.) with a salad bar. Florianís place is open air with no roof, which makes it a nice place to hang out. This is a good locat1on for groups with people that want different types of food. You can sit in either restaurant and order from both of them.

I sit and talk with Florian for a while and meet his bartender Olga and his chef Michelle. After a while we start playing backgammon. Florian is a tournament caliber backgammon player, so if you play with him, youíll be using the doubling cube and playing either for money or drink. I opted to play for drinks. We played until about 2:00 am, when Florian was ready to close up and head home, and I think I had to by Florian around 6 drinks and he had to buy me 7 drinks, so it was a pretty good night.

I headed back to the apartment and hit the sack.

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