Posted by Candice from 22.214.171.124 (host-29-200.dsl-sea.seanet.com) on Monday, February 25, 2002 at 13:41:27 :
Better late than never...
Trip Report 2002, Part Two: Zihuatanejo and La Barra de Potosí
We are delivered at Villa Mexicana by Teresa, the Troncones cabbie. A few minutes to settle in, then down to the beach to make sure Paradise is just as we left it. It is.
Off to La Perla, where we find Francisco and deliver the bottle of Washington Cabernet we brought for his wine cellar. Dick purchases his stash of cigars, takes a few and leaves the rest in the famous humidor. The dinner special is tuna steak, offered with Hollandaise, which we pass, and order it instead in the Mexican style, con ajillo, my favorite. It’s one of the best fish dishes we have on our trip. Day or night, La Perla is a favorite hang-out of ours, and we spend a few lazy middays there lounging, lunching and drinking in the sun. While we’re in Zihua, the football playoffs are on, so the bar is often filled with fans cheering madly for their teams. One afternoon, we sip margaritas and listen to the parrot, who has a lot to say, in Spanish, of course. A young boy, perhaps one of the La Perla family, is checking out the scores and football pools posted on the lower wall of the bar, chanting for his chosen team, “Green Bay, Green Bay.” We are sent into gales of laughter when we hear the parrot, perfectly clearly, squawk “Green Bay!” Seems the parrot can be persuaded to join in the football madness, although you Packers fans already have an advantage!
Tuesday morning, Dick is off to the Marina course for a round of golf, so we share a cab, which drops me off in Zihua centro, then continues on to Ixtapa. I love those soft mornings in town, watching the markets open, checking out the fresh catches along Paseo Pescador, picking up a pastry and a cup of coffee, shopping a little. There’s a shop between La Sirena Gorda and the pier that I like, with reasonable prices and a few unusual offerings. Later in the week, we buy a decoration there for our front porch, looks like a big rope of garlic but made of little clay pots. At happy hour, a drink or two at Elvira’s, giant 2/1 mango margaritas, with Mike from Minnesota, his wife Robin and friends. Dinner in town at Tamales y Atoles Any, where we run into Tom and Mary from Minnesota who we had met earlier in Troncones. Yummy dinner—I’m in a rut though, as I can’t resist ordering the green pork pozole. Had the taxi drop us off at Casa Que Canta for an after dinner drink and cigar, then walked down the road to the beach and back to Villa Mexicana.
Wednesday, a lazy morning and then into town, where we visit Rob and Lupita. Meet Tom and Mary and their friends for dinner at Casa Vieja, the usual good food there plus lots of drinks and talking for hours.
Somewhere along in here we found a taxi driver who we really liked named Carlos. He speaks almost no English, but we managed fine with my smattering of Spanish. A handsome and conscientious young man. We asked him if he could drive us to La Barra de Potosí on Thursday. He said yes, he’d pick us up at our hotel at noon.
Thursday we pack up our beach stuff, a change of clothes and the duffel of supplies for the Children’s Library in La Barra. Carlos is waiting for us as promised, and drives us to Casa del Encanto. Carlos refuses to take any money from us until the return trip, which assures us that he will be back at 9:30 pm to take us back to Zihua! Laura had just received a call from the Evening Magazine crew, who were on their way to interview her about the iguana situation. We scram, leaving our things in one of her beautiful rooms, and head to an enramada on the beach for sun and lunch. Upon our return 2 hours later, the camera crew is still there. Laura tells me that she told them that we are from Seattle, and about the art workshop…and they decided to stay and film it! Vanity rears its ugly head, but to no avail, as it’s hotter than blazes and the best I can do is to splash on some cold water and pull on a skirt. Noyo has set up tables in their new lot next door. We’re expecting maybe 30 kids from the village, and here they come. And keep coming. By the time we’re in full swing, we have 60 children, age 3 to 14! I start with a little puppet show to capture their fancy, then we pass out paper lunch bags, small paper plates, pipe cleaners, feathers, markers, kid scissors, glue, construction paper and fabric. After that, it’s like being in the middle of a rainbow-colored tornado for two hours! My good husband Dick, who had planned on manning the hole punch and camera, is busy every second to the call of “Señor Deek, Señor Deek!”. I am surrounded by beautiful children (”Señora, Señora!”) asking for help cutting out shapes, asking questions (no, my Spanish is not very good), and showing me their creations. These kids are so creative—they invented puppets I would never have thought of, copying some of my designs and improving upon them, making birds and cats and pigs and people, even a snake and a spider! Thankfully, Laura is helping the littlest ones and translating when necessary. The older children help the younger and make their own puppets without a trace of adolescent cynicism. I vaguely remember the kind cameraman taking off my microphone at some point, but we were so absorbed in the process that I forgot all about the camera.
By 6 pm, it looks as if a paper factory exploded in the yard. Laura calls for clean-up. Here I want to mention a cultural note that may be of interest: She told us that it is not socially acceptable to pick up garbage. She has seen parents prohibit their children from cleaning up litter. What Laura is doing about this is inspired—she is encouraging environmental/ecological awareness by holding relay races where teams of children fan out across the village and “compete” to see who can bring back the most litter. (Everyone gets a prize, of course.) She is very well respected in the village, so this seems to be a way to transform a “taboo”, via education, into a new understanding.
As it turns out, some children go home and others stay to help, and every child stops to say thank you and show off his or her creations. The hugs and beaming smiles are the sweetest imaginable.
Noyo is cooking pozole for us and their guests, so after a cold cerveza with him and Laura, Dick and I head back to the beach for a while. We are so high from joy and adrenaline that we feel like we’re floating 2 feet above the dusty road. It’s dark now, the lights are on in the homes, and we see children in the doorways grinning and chattering and pointing us out to their parents, who smile and nod. A few little ones run out for a hug. I think I’ve gone to heaven and I’m not even dead yet.
At the beach, the enramadas are dark. We spot one with lights on and walk over. The family is cleaning up in back. We ask a young man whether he can serve us tequila y cerveza. Of course he can, and he brings it to us with a lit candle to a table on the beach. We pay him, he says good night, the family departs, and we are left in a haze of pleasure, alone on the beach, once more under the Mexican stars.
P.S. Carlos was an hour and a half early, so Noyo invited him in to share the pozole, which was delicious.