Trip Report, Day 2

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Posted by Scott from ( on domingo, agosto 31, 2003 at 12:15:40 :

We wake up bright and early this Wednesday morning, which is surprising given how late we went to bed last night and the fact that we're two hours ahead of our normal pacific time zone here. Nonetheless, all three of us rise easily and immediately head for the balconies. A few people are scattered along the beach and the staff is already setting out lounge chair cushions around the pool. High thin clouds offer the promise of a beautifully sunny day. M makes us coffee while I go sit on the balcony and finish off my first book.

Around 9 am, we decide to amble down to the Cascada Cafe restaurant for breakfast. The buffet is in full swing and there's a surprising number of people already eating. However, we decline the buffet and instead enjoy hotcakes and bacon with fresh orange juice while sitting at a table in the outside patio. Conspicuously absent are the birds that normally provide great entertainment as they raid nearby tables. It will take a few days before we realize exactly why (or at least make a guess as to why) they're skipping breakfast. J makes a beeline for the play area while we wait for food and that gives M and I a little quiet time. Waitress Lilia keeps our coffee topped off.

Today is our day to recover from the joys of travel and so we enjoy the gracious services of the hotel as we play in the pool and test the waters of the ocean. One of our luggage is dedicated to water toys and such and out comes a large shark that I get to inflate. Thankfully, M has brought a small hand pump this time so that I don't have to risk a loss of consciousness. Also included are masks and snorkels, a variety of Nerf balls, brightly colored plastic sticks that you dive for in the pool, and a collection of tools for the sand. One item that has proved to be especially useful is a canvas water bucket. Round, about a gallon in size, and collapsible, this low tech thing can hold water with absolutely no leakage and is entirely indestructible. We originally bought it for desert camping from a surplus store. Now any trip to a beach includes it.

I suppose that some folks would wonder why we travel so far just to spend an entire day at the hotel, but for us it's an easy answer: pure relaxation. We don't have to do anything to be served food and drink. We don't have to go anywhere to enjoy the sun, the clear warm water of the pool or the sand and surf of the ocean. Yes, the service comes at a price, but that price won't add up to more than a few hundred dollars over the span of a week and that's including happy hour almost every evening, breakfast several days, lunch several days, and even a couple of room service meals. Considering the small price we paid for a large suite that comes with a awesome ocean view, we consider the added expense of food and drink poolside fair compensation.

And so the day goes. We swim. We play in the sand. We read. We eat and drink. Lunch is had at the Coco-La Palma restaurant under the large poolside palapa where J and M share a cheeseburger and I have delicious seafood tacos. After lunch J and M return to the room for a nap and that gives me quality reading time to finish the Childs and Preston thriller and to start on Bill Bryson's commentary “I'm a Stranger Here Myself”. I also manage to make it down to the beach to do a little body surfing. The waves are booming as usual and yet I fearlessly wade into water after burning the soles of my feet on the hot sand. Rule one: never body surf wearing sunglasses, unless you don't care about losing said glasses. Even with straps, the glasses depart my head as I come swooping down of the face of a good 6 footer. Luckily, I had left the Revos in the room and brought a cheap pair I had purchased at the swap meet a week before. I half heartedly look around for them but know that they're destined for flotsam status. I exit the water feeling extremely foolish.

Without the protection of shades, my eyes are screaming for help and so I regretfully return to the room to grab my good pair. The coolness of the air conditioning gives me pause for reconsideration and I decide to hang out there until J wakes up. Having finished the Bryson book I use the time to organize papers and money and such within the safe to make sure that nothing gets lost or misplaced. This trip we came down with what we think are enough pesos to get through most of the week without having to use a credit card or atm (although we brought both). One of the benefits of living in San Diego is that it's an easy drive to the cambios of San Ysidro, right next to the border. The exchange rate is good and we just split the money between mom and dad for carrying. Because we're carrying 500 peso notes, we make it a habit of stopping by the front desk each day and changing one or two into small denominations.

When J wakes back up we decide to go into town to buy a new pair of cheap glasses at the Commercial Mexicana, walk around a bit, and have dinner. M has visited the CM in Tijuana before and so is familiar with the store, but for me it's a new experience. Kind of like a Mexican Walmart, albeit on a smaller scale. I find an acceptable pair of glasses; that means they're cheap and don't make me look like a complete weenie. We look around a bit and then take a taxi back into the center of town for dinner. Wanting to try someplace new, we end up at Los Braseros. The place is loud, with a TV blaring some kind of sexy soap opera, but the tacos, both beef and pork, are good. The handmade corn tortillas are especially fine and make for excellent quesadillas for J. M and J have a couple of glasses of cold horchata while I have Coke, and the entire dinner comes to about 100 pesos. Such a deal. We walk off the food by taking a stroll along the waterfront and over the bridge to enjoy the views of Playa La Madera. Here and there, young people take advantage of relative isolation to talk or neck, but nothing so offensive that we're uncomfortable with J. Walking back towards the basketball court, we're approached by the usual waiters trying to get us into their restaurants for dinner but we beg off with full stomachs.

At the court, we sit on the steps and observe the confusing array of basketball and soccer games going on within the same small space. Between two different basketball games, one at each hoop, is a group of young kids playing soccer cross ways and it's really quite entertaining to watch. J goes to the far end of the game and plays around their “goal” while the ball goes whizzing past his head every few minutes. The scene is total mayhem and yet nobody seems overly concerned when soccer interferes with basketball or vice versa. It's just good fun. Behind us on the street, a vendor sells steamed choyote squash and yams out of a wheeled contraption that lets out a tremendous whistle every few minutes.

Food settled and sleepiness coming on, we eventually decide to return to the room and flag down a taxi. But instead of going directly to the hotel, we have the driver drop us off at the supermercado where we buy water, fruit and pan dulce. Walking back, we stop at our favorite stand where we buy small cups of mango and cinnamon ice cream. All of the waiters from Casa Morelos are grouped nearby, apparently not very busy. Senor Frogs, Senor Itto, and El Infierno y La Gloria have a few tables occupied, but generally places seem sparsely attended. A few restaurant folks manage to slip us a card and ask for our business. We expect that as the weekend arrives so will the crowds. For now, though, things are slow and it shows on the faces of those working in the restaurants. The time share touts are out in force but we pass them with hardly a glance.

Back at the room, we make a pledge to go to Isla Ixtapa tomorrow.

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