Random thoughts--Feb 25-Mar4 Trip

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Escrito por Steve desde (97-118-204-56.hlrn.qwest.net) el día domingo, 08 de marzo, 2009 a las 14:56:29 horas :

Returned to Z for the 5th straight year again staying at the Sotavento. After many trips in those years this will be the last for Sotavento which will be closed for 15 months for conversion to condos. Although I'm quite saddened by this it appears that the developer should have a beautiful project upon completion--full, not fractional, ownership at what seems like a reasonable price, way under appraised value, for a condo on La Ropa. Looks like it will be a shrink-wrapped version of Intrawest. I'm told that 60 of the 106 units are already sold. Will still be open, when completed, as a hotel on a rental basis, but I'm sure at a sky-high price--what a shame. So, I'm switching to the Catalina on my next trip for that traditional, Mexico feel.

After all the hysteria on the board about drugs, narco violence, shootings, muggings, pollution, sharks, break-ins, etc. and all the US media reports, I was very curious to see for myself about all this stuff. Of course, as a tourist I'll never get a true picture of these things like those who live here, but, from my perspective, I saw only the beauty that is Zihua and still experienced the graciousness and friendship of its people which is alive and well despite economic troubles. The water on La Ropa seemed the same as it always has although a little more paper in the water--nothing I SAW at least that was alarming. I experienced no evidence of threatening behavior or crime although I was always back at my hotel by 11:30 by taxi. And, of course, perfect weather every day. I saw nothing that should frighten any tourist from returning and having a wonderful time which I did.

In fact Z is a real value due to the strong USD. Starting with the taxi at the airport which in the past year was always around 320 ($29), now 220 ($15) which I cut in half by sharing a ride. Poor Andy's, really no need to walk off-airport now. Cervezas $.80 in most places except higher end tourist joints. Meals have gone down all over (coconut shrimp at Chendo's still 110, about $7). Similar deals shopping. Can't help but wonder how the locals are coping with all this--a reason to be more generous with tips. However, my hotel adjusted their price for the strong dollar but I still paid what I'm used to and also received nice discount. I'm guessing that most hotels made a similar adjustment.

Try Restaurante Perla Negra on Calle Adelita, between the 2 bridges over the canal at the el centro end. Owned by Lisa (and Abelardo), the daughter of La Casa Cafe owners. Great food, top notch service and of course you get to meet Lorna and Pedro's grandchildren. Help Lisa and Aby make the restaurant a success--they are wonderful, friendly people. Sunset Grill seems to be doing well, pretty nice crowd and Trish is a charming host. Also, spend time with Netza at La Senor de Las Chelas a great little tequila bar on Calle Bravo right across the street from Pozole Alley for some good music concert dvds, conversation and local action when soccer's on the tv.

Finally went to Las Gatas and was schmoozed by Franco at Otilia's--wonderful time, but a little worried about business there. Went in the afternoon and the beach was about 95% empty--my guess is that business is way down, so help them out. The water is very clear but rock/stones not sand so wading in is not pleasant but the beach atmosphere, tranquility and Franco's attentiveness more than make up for it.

Tried the new swipe ATM at Scotiabank and couldn't get any money, so went to the Banamex across from Any's and had similar trouble. Finally figured it out and got some pesos. When you insert your card, don't leave it in and when you take it out, take it out immediately, don't wait for the prompt. Also, don't try to get more money than the choices listed (I think 4,000 is the max). I typed in more than that and I got nothing until I accepted the 4,000. Of course the machine doesn't tell you that it will not give you more than the pre-programmed choices.

Zihua still remains a top choice for me and I'll keep coming back.

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