Trip report Dec. 20 to Jan 4 - Day 1


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Posted by David (in Bellingham) from 12.129.7.100 (mx2.mossadams.com) on miťrcoles, enero 21, 2004 at 23:33:22 :

Sat. Dec. 20 Ė Iím up at 3:30 am (after getting to sleep at 1:30am after packing) to get to the airport by 4:20 am to catch my flight out of Bellingham at 5:00am. This is the first year the flights have been timed so the flight out of Seattle is late enough that I can fly out of Bellingham, which is really nice. The plane from Bellingham to Seattle only holds 37 people, and thereís never more than one flight leaving at a time, so checking in and getting through security are a breeze. The flight from Seattle to LA is on time and my connection is no problem. Once Iím on the plane for the LA to Zihua leg, we have to delay take-off over an hour while the security service searches all the luggage of the people making connections from Vancouver, BC. I guess the US government has decided that we need to be really worried about what some Canadians may be trying to smuggle to Mexico via the US. After the delay, we land in Zihua about 1 Ĺ hrs late. As a result, weíre hitting immigration and customs at the same time at 2 other planes, so it takes a little longer than usual, but I get the green light at customs and head for the ATM.

No line and no problems at the ATM. Iíve read a lot of debate about the benefits of ATMs vs. travelersí checks, so this time I kept track to see which gave me the better overall rate. My bank doesnít charge me anything for travelers checks and does charge me a fee me a fee for using other banksí ATMS, and it worked out that, once the ATM fee was factored in, the exchange rate was about the same. Given that, I think Iíll stick with travelersí checks and use my ATM card as a back-up.

Now that Iíve got local cash, I grab a taxi to my apartment at Amueblados Rodriguez. Itís located in El Centro next on the same block as Banditoís, above Archieís Videos, across the street from the Catholic Church. Iíve got a two room apartment #203 Ė the first room has a kitchen (fridge, sink, gas burners, counter, large water bottle (5 gal), & dishes, no oven), a dining table w/ 4 chairs, a small wicker couch, and a ceiling fan. The second room is the bedroom with king and twin beds, cable TV, a ceiling fan, a/c (a fairly new and quiet unit), and a clothes cabinet. Thereís a small bathroom off of the bedroom with shower only (no tub) and it does have hot water. Thereís a small balcony off of the bedroom that looks across the street to the church. Maid service is provided Mon Ė Sat. For a stay of at least 2 weeks at Christmas/New Years time it was 500 pesos a night (about $45), but a friend whoís been staying there for years set this up for me and Iím not sure if thatís the regular rate. Overall it was a clean and comfortable place and Iíd definitely stay there again. Sometimes it could be a little noisy at night between the church hymns and Banditoís music nearby, but it was about the same noise level as any of the other places Iíve stayed in El Centro. If you want a quiet place, you probably shouldnít stay in the El Centro area. I like being in El Centro and close to the pier, so it was a great locat1on for me.

After unpacking everything at my apartment, I skip my traditional first meal on the beach and head for Florianís Kiosko. Florianís is an open air restaurant and bar that you get to by walking through Pacalloís. Florianís specializes in meats and serves steaks, ribs, sausages, etc. Florian is a German national whoís been living in Zihua for 24 years. This year, I brought Florian a bottle of Dornkaat German schnapps. I really like hanging out there. I seem to meet a lot of interesting people there and Florian is fun to hang out with. Itís also a good place to work on my Spanish. Most of the conversation there is in Spanish, so I can listen and see how much I can understand, but, if I have to have a translation, Florian or someone else can probably translate for me. Tonight I see Freddy & Michael, who I met last year, and also met the owner/captain of the Champagne 1 & 2 fishing cruisers (I think his name was Luis, but Iím not sure). Freddy has a great little open-air restaurant just a block off the beach by the museum. He does amazing things with fish, especially tuna. Michael was Florianís cook last year.

My most common drink while in Zihua is Bacardi anejo and club soda (anejo con soda). Itís really light and refreshing, which is good for the tropics. I canít handle the really sweet & syrupy margaritas, pina coladas, etc. I have about three anejo & sodas (25pesos each) to get settled in before I start on the tequila. Iíve started a collection of tequila at home (Iím up to 30 bottles), and I need to sample many different kinds while Iím here to settle on which two Iím going to take home with me. I usually go for the 100% agave anejo and reposado tequilas, but Florian convinces me to try the Gran Centenario Plata (35 pesos each), which is a 100% agave white (or unaged) tequila. Florian serves the tequila in a small snifter, which is appropriate for good tequilas, rather than in a shot glass. Itís a very nice tequila, and immediately itís in the running for being selected to take home. After a couple of tequilaís, itís only about 10:30pm, but Iíve been up since 3:30am with almost no sleep the night before, so I decide to call it a night.




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