Trip Report II, February 20th - 29th 2004

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Escrito por Cindy from Portland desde ( el día viernes, 05 de marzo, 2004 a las 15:55:09 horas :

Trip Report II/ February 20th-29th 2004

As night falls in Zihuatanejo you can almost hear it sigh in anticipation. The town at night has the potential of a juicy paperback. Harlequin novels couldn't ask for a better setting for it's 'bodice rippers". Steamy.. erotic..the night features a cast of characters who run the gamut from drunken Elk Club types to intriguing, enigmatic souls on barstools sipping expensive tequila.
We would set out each night never knowing what was in store, and always hoping for the unexpected. Now I must admit, I am an adventuresome person and occasionally push my luck in order to tip the scales toward a more 'interesting time'. But even without any help, Zih provides a wealth of opportunities for memorable evenings.

And so .. the Nights..
We ate at a different restaurant every night usually beginning with drinks somewhere and moving on to dinner about 8. As has been reported many, many times on this board, food is good here. Everywhere. Consistently good. Guerrero cuisine seems to have the most ubiquitous amount of chile use I have experienced in all my Mexico travels but it is appropriate and delicious. In fact I liked the food so much I am going to attempt Pozole myself this weekend. Restaurant ambiance, however, varied wildly in our dining experiences.
One night we had an excellent meal at Tamales Any but the backhoe and construction was holding forth till almost 8PM on the street. We never did get that street name down instead dubbing it "the Broken Street". Our taxi cab drivers always enjoyed that one.. We dined at Sanka Grill and admired not only our host's fine food but his new Rottweiler puppies. We also tried Porto di Mare (nifty wood oven), Casa Elvira, La Bocana, Los Braceros and many others for both dinner and/or snacks and drinks.
I must make special mention of Coconuts. Yes, we had a very nice dinner in what is a quite magical garden setting. The waiters were attentive and the food exceptional. All told, over a three day period we visited Coconuts three times, twice for drinks and once for dinner in the process spending a large amount of money. I will, unfortunately not be back. Despite warm, efficient staff (especially the bartenders) the American host made us feel oddly unwelcome. Without going into gorey details, on our 4th visit his additude became too much of an issue for us and we left the bar without ordering. Perhaps it was a bad week for him...I try to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

The evening was salvaged though as we ducked into JJ's next door. Humberto was a perfect host and we enjoyed two bottles of wine, fondue and a number of rousing games of pool in their back room. By the way, JJ's has a GREAT slate table.. and wonderful sound system. We had the room all to ourselves and felt like it was our own private party. As we danced and played pool the kitchen help peeked at us thru the windows. They seemed quite entertained by our exuberance and perhaps because a woman, all 5 feet of me, was struggling to make decent shots on this gigantic table. But we felt extremely welcome and will certainly be back.

After dinner we usually went looking for the 'heart of the night'.. music or what have you. Some of these forays were more successful than others. One night I was determined to try out Zih's Karaoke scene. We went to a couple of 'Canto bars' and found that we were either too early or they simply weren't enjoying the same popularity as those back home. The 'boys'", Gerry and Daniel, finally convinced me I was not going to give my rendition of Patsy Cline to the masses and we moved on.
Baracruda. young.. very young crowd. The guys loved it... I didnt. Nuff said. Daniel's.. nice bartenders..
Casa Elvira.. had a reallllllly drunk crowd there the night we were there (and for ME to say that .. hmm) but hey.. live and let live.
We also visited Rick's Bar on several occasions. I like his bar. I like it alot. Maybe Im biased because I was invited to sing backups with Josie Kuhn and got a nice response from the crowd on open mic night but I still think it is a hellava bar. Rick makes the strongest Margaritas in town, he is both interesting and friendly and the crowd is diverse as they come. You dance, you sing, you drink.. what more could you ask for?! Yep, We'll be back Rick! (whether you want us or not ..)
We spent our last night in Zih at Bandidos. A band played latin music and Gerry and I danced till my arms felt limp. It was one of those kind of nights you wish would never end. The cervesas flowed and the strolling mariachi band played heart wrenching romantic tunes. We talked till almost 3 and only left because the chairs were being stacked around us. Ahhhh... what a night. By the way, was it just the cervesa or does Bandido's owner, Marcos, bear an uncanny resemblance to Johnny Depp? :)

Finally a few whines.. observations.. and highlights..
Cruise ships.. ack! Go AWAY! One afternoon I smelled a hideous toxic diesel odor. I attributed it to some kind of cleaning solution used by the maids. I looked out on the bay and saw a Celebrity Cruise Liner belching huge clouds of black smoke. Running down to the beach, I thought I could get some cleaner air and found the smell was worse. It took over an hour for the stench to clear and two advil to get rid of the nagging headache it left behind.

Nude Sunbathing... One day on Playa Madera we saw an attractive woman wandering around by Bungalows Allec's palapas sporting a thong bottom. Immediately all beach goers were staring in her direction. But then the show "kicked up a notch" as she let her top drop and casually laid back on her towel. Vendors stopped in their tracks and gawked. All work was forgotten by nearby bartenders. Tourists struggled to quickly adjust telephoto lenses and I found myself anxiously scanning the sand for the next sweep of Policia. As it turned out, she and her husband were from Italy and probably didn't know better. She never did it again although I saw her daily on the beach. Perhaps someone warned her..

ReBar.. This is one of those little recurring topics of discussion we had. Why in this part of Mexico was there a disproportionate amount of uncut rebar sticking out from the roofs? I theorized that it was for earthquake stability but Gerry and Daniel thought maybe the tools weren't available to finish it when construction was taking place. Not a criticism.. just a curiousity.

Naranja Cats.. Orange cats have the definate monopoly down in Zih. They were everywhere. All other varieties were obviously in the minority. I wondered who brought the first orange one down and why his genes took over..apparently a dude with mucho machismo..

Fred and Ginger..One night as we were dining at Porto di Mare, Daniel (our resident dog fanatic) decided to play 'dog whisperer' to these two homeless perros. The restaurant owners weren't happy about these dogs taking filet mignon from Daniel but it was a high point of his trip. No.. I dont understand it either...

Josie Kuhn... What a great talent. If you have a chance to hear her while in Zih make a point to seek her out. Wonderful, soulful singing and heartfelt, sincere song writing.

And last but not least....

Antonio Baeno Librado.. One day on the beach yet another young boy came by my lounge chair selling chiclets. As I squinted up at him ready to shoo him away, something about him made me stop. He was looking with concern at Gerry's forehead gash. In broken Spanish I explained what happened and he nodded solemnly. We began, as best we could, to converse and before the afternoon was thru, chiclets were forgotten as we poured over my spanish translation book. He looked at the pictures and I searched frantically for the phrases that would allow me to understand what he told me about about his life, his mother and his many brothers and sisters.
Over the next few days I found myself looking out toward the walkway to town wondering if he would come wandering down to sell gum today on our beach. I hoped he might come by to help me with my Spanish and brighten my day with his cheery demeanor. On his return visits he always seemed surprised I was so happy to see him as he greeted me with a shy smile and a fresh box of chiclets. On my questioning I found out he was too poor to go to school, which saddened me as he was extremely bright. He was able to quickly pick up the english phrases we taught him and was fascinated with the books we had brought. The day before we left friends of mine explained to him that I would like to have his address to send him photos and presents. My hope was to somehow be able to help him afford school.. He agreed that he would bring back his address the next morning, a Sunday. He never showed up. I was extremely disapointed but assumed he was attending Mass and couldn't make it.
My hope is that next year I will run into my amigo, 'Tonio, and that he will be well and happy. But more importantly I would like a chance to thank him for offering this gringo his friendship and leaving me my most poignant memory of Zih.

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