turn'em loose

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Posted by ZihuaRob from (dup-200-65-183-190.prodigy.net.mx) on miércoles, noviembre 26, 2003 at 19:51:29 :

In Reply to: Activities for young teens posted by Geenance from (London-HSE-ppp3548336.sympatico.ca) on miércoles, noviembre 26, 2003 at 18:26:47 :

My suggestion is to try not to structure their experiences but rather to turn them loose and let them find if there is anything they enjoy about Zihuatanejo and Mexico on their own. Of course they will be welcome to join in any ball games on the beach or the basketball court if they wish. That's why they're there! ;~)

When I was their age I spent lots of my free time at the beach snorkeling and body surfing as well as exploring the jungle hiking along the back trails of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands. I was 16 when I first came to Zihuatanejo and almost daily I walked from La Ropa to town and back 2 or 3 times, stopping for beer and frisbee at La Madera, a game of soccer on La Ropa, maybe swim a bit on the way back.

One day on a whim this kid I'd met from Mexico City (whose family had their own plane), Jaime, and I decided to go look for Playa Manzanillo. He was wearing decent tennis shoes but I was wearing water-buffalo sandals. We took nothing with us and hiked up and over the hill behind La Ropa, stopping near the top to share some watermelon with Don Julio who was tending his garden, and down to the rocky coast on the other side. Then we followed the coast, walking right past Playa Manzanillo ("This can't be it, look at all those sea urchins! We can't swim here!") until we got as far as Playa El Riscalillo, the last little cove of beach before Playa Larga. My sandals were starting to lose straps here and there, and we were both hot and thirsty. My buddy was able to leap across the final crevice separating us from Playa Larga, but I wasn't going to risk it with my failing sandals (hey, one slip and you're in the sharp, sea-urchin covered rocks amid the pounding surf), so we went back to Riscalillo to look for a path over the hill, but we didn't see one. About that time three cowboys came out of the jungle on horseback (of course) and we asked them if they knew of a path and if they had any water. They didn't have water but instead pointed out some limón trees. We quickly slurped a few down and stuck a bunch in our pockets. Then they pointed out an invisible path through the brush over the last hill, and off we went.

Now Playa larga was completely uninhabited as far as the eye could see back then except for one little tarpaper and palapa home near the beach about a quarter mile down from the beginning. What a sight to behold, it was! We made our way to the home of a very kind woman with her teenage son and they offered us water from a rain barrel (getting sick was our last worry) and we gladly slurped down a few large glassfuls, thanking them profusely for their hospitality before continuing our exploration (yes, we knew by then that we had walked right past Manzanillo). We walked a few more miles down the beach and could see dust rising as if from a road, so we went to explore since we were looking for a way back to the main highway. That's when we discovered the international airport under construction! Funny, in 3 months of living in Zihuatanejo nobody had ever mentioned a new airport to me. We just knew we had made a monumental discovery! So we hiked over to the building where the workers were all just leaving, walking down the road from the airport to the highway. Heck, that was a breeze after what we had just walked! Down to our last couple of limes we finally made it to the highway to await a bus. Oops, neither of us thought to bring any money since we were hiking to the beach! The bus driver just laughed and bid us aboard amid our profuse promises to find him and repay him. "No hay problema, para la próxima" he told us. So back to Zihuatanejo on the bus we went, and back to La Ropa we walked with our monumental news of the new international airport and our adventures hiking the out-of-this-world coastline of Zihuatanejo!

Now if we had counted on our folks planning what to do, that day would never have turned out to be the marvelous and unforgettable adventure that we enjoyed.

So turn'em loose! They'll be fine! ;~)

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