My Trip to Zihua - The End

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Posted by Travis in Seattle from ( on martes, marzo 18, 2003 at 20:52:44 :

Days 10, 11, 12 – Friday, February 21 through Sunday, the 23rd

The rest of my trip to Zihua is blissfully uneventful and totally relaxing. One excellent day is spent at Patys on La Ropa. Another is had at MJ & Richies on Madera. At the end of the day at MJ & R, Mauricio hands me the bill. I tell him he’s made a mistake, this must be someone else’s check as the amount owed is far too small. With a smile, a laugh and a shrug, he says, simply, “That is what my father wants you to pay.”

All in all, the vacation winds down perfectly, with everyone hitting their stride and experiencing that sense of total relaxation we only seem to know in Mexico.

Other than that, about the only thing of note happens one evening after we’ve enjoyed an outstanding dinner at Tamales Any. The four of us are walking around el Centro shopping. Now, I’m not really a shopper. I can take it for about seven minutes. And on this evening, nobody is shopping for anything in particular. But we are looking. And looking. And looking. So when Chad, Kim and Allen walk into yet another store, I hold back. I decide I’ve made enough compromises on this vacation.

Knowing I’ve got a good 20 minutes to kill, I spot a tiny, open-to-the-street bar right around the corner. Basically, it’s a counter with 7 or 8 bar stools. Without telling anyone, I slip into it. (I figure there’s no need to mention where I am as from inside the bar I still have a view of the store.) There are maybe five people in the place, I presume locals since everyone is speaking Spanish. I pull up a seat and order a Michelada. The man next to me, Sr. Cortez, immediately starts up a conversation. I’m sure you can guess what happens….

Anyway, Sr. Cortez and I are quickly engaged. A few minutes pass, and when I look back to the store it’s dark. As in closed. Friends gone. It couldn’t have been more than five minutes. Seriously. I tell Sr. Cortez I have to go find my friends. After trying to talk me out of even doing that, he insists that I come back if I don’t find them. Well, a quick search around the neighborhood proves futile, and I figure I’ll probably never find them so I head back.

(Was I intentionally trying to lose my group? I would say “No”. Then again, if you were to ask Freud, he might argue otherwise. He was a smart guy.)

Back at the little bar, I buy a round of micheladas for the “house”--all of five people—and Sr. Cortez and I resume our conversation. We cover quite a bit of ground despite my butchered Spanish. He says he is a painter and that he lives/works near Calle Adelita. I tell him that’s very close to where I’m staying. He hands me his card. He says his paintings are shown all over and that in a month--“maybe”--there will be a show in Ixtapa. I wonder how much truth there is to all this. His card looks impressive enough, that’s for sure. It’s even 4-color. But I am, after all, in a bar, and I also know that sometimes in Mexico a card is just a card. So who knows. Either I’m sitting here talking to the modern day Diego Rivera, or Cortez is some guy who makes a living peddling caricatures of tourists on the beach. No matter, I’m enjoying our conversation.

Eventually, Sr. Cortez asks me why I’m staying in Zihua and not Ixtapa. I tell him I just prefer Zihua, that it suits me better. Mr. Cortez suggests that maybe I prefer to vacation in Zihua because it is less expensive than Ixtapa. It takes a bit of effort and a couple of attempts on my part to convince Sr. Cortez that cost is not why I find Zihua preferable. I try to explain in my hack Spanish that I have a lot of other reasons, mostly experience-based, including moments like the one I’m having right now. I get the feeling that he doesn’t really understand my point. Struggling, I finally arrive at the word “soul”, suggesting that Zihua has one and Ixtapa does not. This he understands. Fully. Maybe Sr. Cortez is a painter after all.

Before it gets too late, a rare case of “better judgment” kicks in and I decide to call it a night. Sr. Cortez protests, practically demanding that I stay and continue with drinks and conversation. But I beg off, trying to do so as diplomatically as possible so as not to offend, using missing friends as an excuse, etc. I manage to exit with some amount of grace. I think buying that round of drinks may have helped.

Lastly, I think the only other thing I have to say about my vacation to Zihua is this:

After looking forward to my trip for almost five months, and doing a lot of research, I was a bit apprehensive upon arrival, wondering if my expectations of Zihua were too high or if I would be somehow disappointed. It is a testimony to Zihuatanejo’s charms, and particularly to its people, that I was in no way disappointed. If anything, even my highest expectations were exceeded.

On that sad last day as I was leaving Bungalows Ley for the airport, Elizabeth, one of the housekeepers, asked if I would be returning for another vacation, and if so, when.

“Pronto,” I said.

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