The Congressman, the Queen and Ebeneeza

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Posted by Mary from DC from ( on Tuesday, March 26, 2002 at 23:39:58 :

After having visited Zihua every other year since 1997, this January (in an "off" year) I called my previous travelling companions, Liza and Michael (sis and bro-in-law) and asked, "wanna go in March?" knowing they would say, "no we have to stay home with the kids" and instead they said, "when in March?" Now I couldn't back out!

First we'll go back to our first trip to Zihuatanejo when Liza and Michael came to DC the night before our departure. That morning Michael said that he had dreamt he was a Congressman. Well, from that moment on we were his legislative aide and security detail on that first trip and ever since. Later, after spending about a day or two with them I was dubbed Queen Mary, since as an older sibling I tend to make pronouncements. Whether of displeasure or happiness, my declarations began to be met with observations like, "the Queen is displeased." Or conversely, "pleased". Finally, Liza, famous for rubbing two coins together was dubbed "Ebeneeza" - no "r".

So it is this motley crew that has previously set up housekeeping on Madera Beach. Either at Brisas del Mar or Bungalows Sotelo. This time the Queen (me) wanted to be close to the dappled sunlight of the palm trees in front of La Perla. So the "royal we" made reservations at Casa Tucanes, next to the coconut plantation and a reportedly 3 to 5 minute walk to La Ropa. Casa Tucanes is charming and very reasonably priced. But the coconut plantation was in the process of being completely demolished to make way for a parking lot. They are literally "paving paradise and putting up a parking lot." This was being accomplished with loud machinery from about 7 am until 7 pm. Long hours, loud noise. Oh well. Not that big of a deal actually, which tells you how relaxed we were. We also heard the donkeys (burros?) braying at those same early and late hours. A tribute to their distinguished visitors, no doubt. Quite charming. As far as the 3 -5 minute walk, it was more like 10 - 15 minutes to get to La Perla from Tucanes. Nice walk, just a surprise and HOT without the shade of the palm trees!
Our days:
Wednesday, March 13
Hook up in Houston from Philly and DC on Continental. Smooth flight and connections. I always forget that the plane from Houston is only 3 seats across like a giant cigar. Arrive Zihua 2:30pm. Green lights across the board with our entourage's diplomatic immunity. Pick up cash at the ATM by the staircase in the airport. Yes it's there. Thank you Message Board! Casa Tucanes picks us up at the airport and we are wisked away past the familiar sights. The road work is done! We arrive at Casa Tucanes. Unpack a little bit. Throw on our bathing suits and head to La Perla. On the beach by 3:45. We don't leave until 8pm or so. We have dinner there at La Perla. We're used to snacking out on the lunch menu at la Perla this was our first dinner menu and it was okay. Not great, but okay.
Thursday, March 14
Head to our traditional first morning breakfast counter at the Mercado. Excellent tortillas, fresh squeezed oj from the counter behind us. Yum! Pick up our fruits and paper towels at the Mercado, head back to La Ropa and go to the beach. Dappled sunlight, fresh guacamole, limonada and the bodice ripper for the Queen, Tom Clancy tome for the Congressman and Ebeneeza's reading choice eludes me. All told we probably kicked back about 10 books in a week's time. (The Congressman and Ebeneeza stayed 10 days all told so I cannot vouch for their book progress the last 3 days when I wasn't there. If I had to guess I'd have to say there probably wasn't a lot of page turning going on.) We also spotted Lloyd Bridges on the beach. Probably on a Sea Hunt sabbatical.
Dinner in town at Garrabo's. It was okay. Not great. We are not a fan of fluorescent lights and high prices together. The Queen honestly believes the higher the price, the more flattering the light should be.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday March 15, 16, and 17
Get up whenever, head to the beach, eat breakfast and lunch at La Perla with the incomparable Thomas doing yeoman's work keeping us well fed and hydrated. Nap. Splash in the water or watch splashing in the water. Read. Gaze at the horizon. Yes we're here. Read some more. Head home around 4 to 6. Read. Shower. Play cards. Go out to dinner: Friday- the terrific Indian place Goddawanda (sp?). Very surprised- excellent! Saturday- the one the only KauKan. Date night for the Congressman and Ebeneeza... and their chaperone the Queen. Fantastic food, service and view! Our waiter admired our flashlight when we were reviewing the bill under the starry sky so we gave it to him. He was thrilled! What a gift that something so simple can make someone so happy. He was one happy camper. Sunday- Casa Viejo. A Madera favorite and delicious as always, but frighteningly empty and apparently according to our waiter, who remembered us from last year, it had been that way since February. Charming setting and staff.
Also, on Sunday, the debonaire Francisco Ibarra escorted me to his various rentals at the end of LaRopa away from town. We say Casa Hueso, Casa Rosa and a new very luxurious B&B that he is having built. Csa Rosa has AC and is adobe, one bedroom and bath. Casa Hueso is 2 bedrooms and 1 bath with a great view fron the terrace. I don't know what the breeze situation is there but they have floor fans. The B&B, I think Francisco said it's going to be called Casa Francisco or some such, will be exquiste in the way La Casa que Canta is beautiful. Designed by the same architect and designer it will be gorgeous. We walked through the whole small property. About 8 rooms all told. If it doesn't have a view it has a huge plunge jacuzzi or soaking pool or water feature of some sort. Definite honeymoon/romantic destination.
Monday, March 18
Road trip! Taxi to Troncones, specifically Hotel Eden. It took as long to get to the hotel once we hit the beach in Troncones as it did to get to Troncones from Zihua. The road in Troncones runs parallel to the beach and is VERY rugged. The Eden hotel is not prepared for day guests, but they were as accommodating as possible and very nice. We lazed on the beach, read... you got the idea. The Eden Hotel is a gem. Very simple. I would have no problem staying in any of their rooms or their larger bungalows. And I am picky (as you'd expect from any queen). It is in the middle of nowhere. Which is good and bad. You can figure that out. But if I wanted to get away from it all, this place is heaven. And Ebeneeza pointed out once she got a glance at the room rates, VERY reasonable. Lunch was declared, "better than LaPerla", by the Congressman. Long day, we didn't want to leave, but I roused all sleeping folks and a cab came and retrieved us for the trip back to LaRopa. Note: The cost was less from Troncones than from Zihua. Maybe we should haggle but I just don't have it in me when it's already so reasonable (and it must be reasonable, because you-know-who agrees). Once we're back at Casa Tucanes we jump in the shower, rinse off and then head to the Message Board Party at Daniel's. We got to meet some wonderful people, including Cathy from NY, Pam and Rick and John the guy who was concerned about being bumped from the Hotel Irma to Villa Mexicana. He and his wife Linda were very happy at Mexicana. Afterwards we headed over to Goddawanda for dinner number 2. Again, excellent!
Tuesday, March 19
My last full day. The Congressman and Ebeneeza generously annouce that it is my day to with what I will. WE... go to LaPerla, eat, read, nap, eat, splash (or think about it), sip, read, gaze. Perfectamundo! They leave early I stay until after 6pm. I really am enjoying it on the beach in the dappled sunlight of the palm tree. Final dinner: Lalo's. I'm not sure what the deal is with Lalo's, but we think that Lalo or whoever owns the restaurant is the offspring of Reuben. Reuben's used to be behind Madera Beach the first couple years we came to visit and then they moved to Ixtapa. We loved the old Reuben's with their hanging paper towels and corn and huge burgers. We haven't gotten ourselves to the new Reuben's yet, we'd have to be in town for a good long time to have us start to search for places to eat in Ixtapa. Our preference is Zihua. Anyhow, we went to Lalo's and it was just okay. A bit of a disappointment. Thin burgers and no corn:-( But then we went to Bing for ice cream cones, always a good choice! And mosied over to the Oaxaca/Zihua Festival by the basketball courts. Fun stuff! A fond farewell to town for me on this trip.
Wednesday, March 20
Pack up in the AM. Head to the beach and maximize my time relaxing. By the time 12:30 rolls around I'm getting antsy so I bid adieu to the Congressman and Ebeneeza and head back to Casa Tucanes to pack up and head to the airport. I'm at the airport by 1ish for my 3pm flight. I have a ton of time, but I get nervous if I don't think I have enough time. I go through the check-in line security. No line. Run into Lloyd Bridges from La Ropa and find out his name is Ray and he's also mistaken for Ed McMahon and Laslie Nielsen. And I can see why, once his lovely wife mentions it. There you have it. The plane takes off uneventfully. There's a final search, no big deal before you get on the plane. The airport renovations are very well done in my opinion. It's a pleasure to be at the airport. Uneventful trip home.
I'm back at BWI by 11:30pm and my husband, Len, picks me up and I remind him that he's coming with us next January. Hmmm, I wonder what we'll call him?

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