2 trip reports rolled into one

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Escrito por frostbite desde (50-49-178-69.gci.net) el día sábado, 10 de febrero, 2007 a las 22:05:09 horas :

First an observation: when renting, all you really need to worry about is when to go to the beach and where to go for dinner. Rude surprise: when you have your own place there are numerous other matters which crop up and require your attention. So in five weeks total in Zihua we spent 4 days at the beach and didn't go fishing once. What's wrong with this picture?
Wed. 11/'06 Arrived in Zihua. No delays and short layovers in SEA and LAX. Too tired to walk to a restaurant, so looked in the pantry and found a can of sardines and a can of refried beans. Not exactly a gourmet feast, but the left- over bottle of Negra Modelo made it all palatable.
Next day: Breakfast at La Casa Cafe and a walk to Comercial Mexicana to go shopping. Upon arriving back at the house, I discovered that I had bought 3 cases of beer and precious few groceries. How did that happen? In the late afternoon, I saw 3 waterspouts just outside the bay - very impressive!
Day 2: Breakfast at home in the company of 2 squirrels fornicating in the tree in front of the house. Have they no shame? Went furniture shopping for the caretaker apartment and contacted Telmex to fix the phone. Dinner at "De Donde Eres?" on Calle Adelita, which is rapidly becoming my favorite retaurant in Zihua. A feeling shared by many, unfortunately. Sabrina is a most charming hostess and Nick cooks up a storm.
Day 3: Had lunch at the only new place (to me) this trip: Casa Arcadia on the Paseo Del Pescador. Shrimp cocktail, very tasty. Fried abalone for dinner at M J and Richie's.
Day 4: Woke up around 5:00 am to the sound of 4 loud explosions. Never did hear what that was all about. My partners in the house arrived late that night after a long drive from California.
Day 5: Chores around the house and dinner at La Gula. Excellent as usual.
Day 6: The painter shows up punctually at 9:00 am to take care of some touch-ups. Impressive. Other tradesmen usually show up late, if at all. Since I'm stuck around the house waiting for Telmex to show up, I do a little gardening. It's quite amazing seeing the amount of "wildlife" that's moved into the yard. Just a few months ago this was a sterile construction site. The plants look like they've been there forever. The first thing I noticed was a treefrog sitting on the windowsill of the garage. Next, I scared up a toad while watering the flowerbeds in the back. I also noticed that something was dining on the plants. I found 2 huge grasshoppers (locusts?), which were swiftly dispatched. A couple of days later, after a rainstorm, I found the biggest nightcrawler I'd ever seen, lying on the walk behind the house. It was about 10" long and as thick as my little finger. Contemplating this monster was a fat toad. I picked them both up and deposited them in the flower bed. Another time killer, while waiting for Telmex to show up, was watching thousands of tiny ants trying to transport a dead cockroach up and over the wall into the yard next door. While most of the ants were running around in circles as though they were high on speed, a determined bunch was busy with the cockroach. With seemingly nobody in charge, they gradually zigged and zagged their way over the wall and out of sight. Fascinating! Dinner that night at El Mediterraneo; linguini with seafood sauce - mmmm! And then a spectacular thunderstorm as a finale for the day.
Day 5 without a phone! Finally, in desperation, we opened a cover in the sidewalk and found a wire disconnected. We twisted it together, taped it and lo and behold phone service was restored! No word that Telmex ever showed up.
Day 11: walked to La Ropa for lunch at El Manglar. The bridge had washed out during the rainy season, so we had to check for crocodiles before wading through the water to the restaurant. The food was excellent, as usual. For dinner we went to La casa Vieja. The ribs were to die for!
Day 14: Drove to Barra De Potosi for the day. 5 busloads of daytrippers from Michoacan had made themselves at home at one of the enramadas, complete with a huge soundsystem powered by a portable generator, which was blasting Mexican Rap "music" for all the world to hear. We found the beach littered with trash - quite disappointing. The food at La Condesa was delicious as usual.

Trip #2: An uneventful ride South with a complimentary upgrade into 1st class - very nice. Dinner at La Gula, which is directly below our place on La Madera. We're scheming on installing some kind of a dumbwaiter arrangement so that we can haul dinner up to the house via cable, instead of walking there and back.
Day 2: Chores around the house followed by shopping at Comercial Mexicana and dinner at "De Donde Eres?" Great food as usual; the home-made passionfruit gelato for dessert was particularly tasty.
Day 4: A day of loafing on the beach at "Otilia's" on Las Gatas. It never ceases to amaze me how, every time I do my 45 minute snorkeling trip around the reef there, I find something I'd never seen before. Dinner with friends at Il Mare. Great place.
Day 7 & 8: In the morning we met with our contractor about finally finishing up some odds and ends around the house, after which we drove to La Barra De Potosi. We had booked a 2 night stay at La Casa Del Encanto, which was to be followed by a road trip to Chilapa with our hostess. Imagine our surprise and disappointment when, upon our arrival, we were informed that she was off in California visiting family. On the plus side, we were pleased to find the beach much cleaner than it was during our last visit. There were actually trash barrels installed on stands anchored in the sand. As expected, lunches were excellent at La Condesa. Good dinners were had in the company of new friends at Dona Emi's and at a new place up the street, the name of which escapes me.
Day 9: Drove back to Zihua and enjoyed those wonderful ribs again at La Casa Vieja that night for dinner.
Days 13/15: Drove to Patzcuaro, a charming colonial town, about a 4 hour drive inland. We stayed at Posada San Rafael on the main square, which offers off-street parking. 450.00 Pesos per night. Nobody spoke English, but we somehow managed.
Since Patz is at about 7000 feet elevation, it's much cooler there than on the coast. We did remember to bring jackets. Many of the locals were clad in down jackets and gave me strange looks upon seeing my bare feet in my sandals. We hired local guide Jorge Mendez to show us the area. We drove around the lake with him , stopping at an archaeological site and at various villages where a variety of crafts are made. We took a lunch break at a restaurant overlooking the lake where I ordered a local delicacy: trucha. This fish which, upon closer inspection, was not a trout but a bass, was butterflied, covered with a sweet salsa, wrapped in aluminum foil and baked. Delicious! We also ate at various restaurants on and around the main square in Patz. Sorry, I don't recall the names, but all were good and quite reasonably priced.
Day 16: Upon our return from Patz we went shopping at Comercial for an open house we had planned for that evening to meet with friends, neighbors and acquaintances. Most invitees showed up and, judging by the amount of food and drink consumed, the event was a success.
Day 17: mucking about in the yard I discovered a baby iguana sunning itself on a limb of our lime tree. What a pleasant surprise. That same evening as I was watching a beautiful, green praying mantis on the kitchen wall, a gecko appeared out of the shadows and ran toward the mantis. When it got close, it stopped abruptly and jerked away. This was repeated several times. I wonder if the mantis exudes some kind of protective chemical?
Day 18: Spent the day taking care of a bunch of stuff that had been put off. Had planned on having dinner with LadyM at "De Donde Eres?", but they were packed by the time we got there. So we went to "Mi Chayito" and had a fine meal there, instead.
Day 19: Spent the morning putting stuff away and packing my bags for the trip home. Can't wait to return!

That's pretty much it. I'm scheduled to travel back down in April, but I'm scheming on returning in March, as well. I just need to find a way to give the trip a veneer of legitimacy in the eyes of my wife, so that it doesn't look like a feeble excuse to goof off in Zihua, rather than freeze my butt off up here in Anchorage.

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