Posted by Linda on Sunday, December 16, 2001 at 14:45:19 :
TRIP REPORT NOV. 17 - DEC. 1/01
My husband and I were more than ready for our 2 week adventure in Zihua. For weeks before we left, I dreamt, ate & lived in Mexico as much as my job would allow. We both work in very high stress careers, and really needed to get away from it all. The day couldnít get here quickly enough and we were both so excited, we barely slept the night before we departed. We left Vancouver, BC at 7:00 a.m. on November 17, connected in LA to Z/Ixtapa. No real problems with the connection other than the minor detail of Alaska Air having sent us to the incorrect gate..*sigh*...no harm done, we figured it out and managed to make it to the correct gate with minutes to spare. We arrived in Zihua at around 4:30 p.m., where we collected our luggage and found that customs, or whoever had broken our fishing rod case, and even taken apart the rods to make sure we werenít sneaking anything into the country.
Our hosts, LaRae & Syd Baker from La Barra De Potosi were there to meet us, and made us very welcome. They took us on the scenic route to La Barra, via the airport road for our first real glimpse of the magnificent beaches. The weather was, of course perfect. Certainly a real change from our rain/cold at our home, to the humid heat. The sea breezes out at La Barra were delightful. They showed us to our bungalow which was to be our home for 2 weeks...what a delightful place! A perfect little house, almost in the sand at La Barra, complete with 2 double beds, bathroom with a shower big enough for about 6 people, a little ďspareĒ room, and a lovely kitchen with everything we would need. We immediately ran down and splashed in the waves and couldnít believe how warm the water was! Like getting into a bath, but still refreshing.
We managed to pack a lot of adventure into the next 2 weeks. We managed several exciting day trips into Zihua, picking up the little pasajero trucks that travel into Los Achotes several times per day. In Los Achotes we meet the regular bus to take us to Zihua. The truck rides were bumpy, dusty and a blast..the bus rides were scary! I canít believe how everything in Mexico is so laid back, EXCEPT for the drivers! Always up for a thrill, Dave & I enjoyed all of the trips!
We explored every corner of Zihua, did a little bargaining in the Mercado, ate at a few restaurants. We werenít that keen on the food for the most part, and found everything very expensive considering our Canadian dollar. Each 100 pesos meant $18.75 for us, so we thought that was pretty pricey. No matter, we were there for fun, and thatís what we were going to have.
We picked up groceries at the new Commercial Mexicano to take home and prepare our own meals quite often and that worked out well. One restaurant we really liked was Lalloís, they made the best burgers (by that time we were very tired of Mexican fare). Maximís also offered nice meals, and Elviraís wasnít bad, although Iíve never had FRIED filet mignon before!
We went snorkelling at Isla De Ixtapa and really enjoyed that. We were there first thing in the morning, and as long as the tide was in, the views of fish were tremendous. Once the tide receded, the water became quite murky, and the fish were less plentiful. We found things very expensive there, with a Pina Colada for 60 pesos.....pretty pricey drink! We just had a fruit plate, and a few bottles of agua and had a pleasant day.
We did manage to get out to Petatlan one day, and had an enjoyable bus ride there. We looked around the town, and found the church lovely. We felt rather unwelcome there, as we appeared to be the only caucasian people around, and the natives were less than friendly. We looked around at the gold market, but found the prices very high and so didnít make any purchases. We left Pet, and took the bus all the way back to Zihua, for the rest of the day. One thing we did notice, was that the fare on the buses seemed to vary, depending on which bus one took. One day the fare was 10 pesos for both of us, another time it was 22...go figure. No matter, it was well worth it to experience the true Mexico.
We found people so incredibly friendly and helpful all around Zihua. We even encountered an old man, with no legs, riding on the bus with his wheelchair. He actually took time out of his day, got off the bus a stop early, just so that he could show us how to take the bus to Ixtapa. He refused any payment and we were honoured to have received his assistance. Another occasion found a waiter, who also took time out of his day, to chase around half of Zihua with us, looking for a fishing store. He also refused payment, just asked us to come and try his restaurant, Taboga? Alas, we never managed to get there after that, as it was closed when we were around the area.
We had the privilege of meeting Lupita, who is such a sweet and charming lady. The next week we were able to go and meet and chat with Rob at his place of business....what a great guy he is, and what a terrific service he offers with this message board.
One day, we decided to take a ďwalkĒ to Playa Tortuga..now THATíS a hike! We had to wade about a hundred meters through the end of the lagoon...yucky water, but never let it be said Iím a chicken (loco, perhaps)! It was rather fun, although a heck of a long ways. We encountered a mexican fellow on our travels, and inquired as to whether we were going the right way. He ranted on a bit about ďmi casaĒ, and we carried on. We did hike over the hill and find the lovely white sand beach with the crashing surf. Watched a mexican spear fisherman diving in the waves and marvelled at him for a while as we rested for the return hike. Alas, no turtles, must be the wrong time of year. On the way back, we once again encountered the mexican fellow, who at this point was very angry with us...not sure exactly why as we couldnít interpret his raving. He was however, waving a machete at us with one hand, while brandishing a large hunting knife in the other..*G* Needless to say, we left before we had to defend ourselves physically!
Dave did plenty of surf fishing off the beach where we stayed without any luck. A fellow named Joseph offered to take him fishing in his boat, and Dave of course jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, he did everything wrong...didnít eat breakfast, had only coffee, didnít drink any water....fought about a 20 lb tuna for about 35 minutes, before collapsing from heat stroke in the boat. Poor Joseph had to quickly get him back to shore and bring him home to me. It really scared Dave, as heís NEVER sick, and certainly had never experienced anything like that before! He was still very happy that he caught the tuna though!
We took our school supply donation directly to the little school in La Barra, as we couldnít seem to find Laura at the time. We enjoyed seeing all the beautiful happy children who were all dressed in the whitest clothing I have ever seen! I have no idea how these people get their clothing so white! Iím sure the teacher must have had at least 40 or 50 children in her class, and they were all so well behaved. Makes one wonder why our teachers canít seem to keep a class of 25 under control! The kids loved the goods we brought, although we also found that customs or somebody had actually broken the wax crayons to make sure they werenít drugs or something! The children all thanked us, and we left them with their new possessions.
One morning, we set out from our beach at La Barra, and walked for 2 hours towards the airport/Playa Blanca. It seems like the beach just goes on for miles and miles and I donít think we encountered another soul on our walk. It is just heavenly to enjoy the sunshine and the refreshing splash in the waves from time to time.
On our last day in La Barra, we managed to finally connect with Laura from Casa Del Encanto. She showed us around her delightful bed & breakfast and we were charmed by her and her little heaven on earth. I would highly recommend giving her place a try when on a vacation! She has her home decorated in such a welcoming style and it was so peaceful. She is a beautiful, warm woman who obviously loves the children she is working with. Please, anybody who is going to Z, please remember to take donations of supplies for Lauraís library project! The kids were all gathered round the library, having spent the morning collecting garbage from the beaches..waiting for their prize! This little village is absolutely fascinating.
We really enjoyed our adventures and relaxation in both La Barra and Zihuatanejo! Mexico is truly another world and it was a pleasure and an honour to visit the place and the remarkable and happy people.
All in all, it was a wonderful vacation.