Friday, March 16, 2007

Caleta De Campos

When gringos in Mexico talk about Hwy 200 they usually have a few third hand stories to toss around. Although it is Mexico's primary coastal road, not many people have driven the stretch south of Manzanillo and those that have don't tend to share their experience on the Internet. And so when we began to plan to travel north of Zihuatanejo I found there is very little information available on where to stay and what to expect. We reserved a rental car, started doing some extensive detective work and eventually decided on lodging in a little town called Caleta de Campos. This small town is located about two to three hours by car north of Zihuatanejo. Although I had the names of a few hotels in the area, I ran across a brief mention of an intriguing private home in town called, "Villa Tropical". After disecting their website I decided a five bedroom Villa was JUST the ticket to top off an adventure to Michoacan. Besides looking fabulous, it was a short drive to that mecca of surfing, Nexpa. So I reasoned, Gerry - our official surfer...ok - boogie boarder... would be thrilled and I could justify the expense. I wrote, John, the American who owns the house and negotiated a 'partial use' rate - two bedrooms out of the entire five. Although he would rent it on a per room basis I wanted this Villa to ourselves and got him to agree to slightly less than the full rate... private pool, great view - WHEW I was excited!

So this week we take off and head out of Zihuatanejo past familiar terrain and landmarks. Eventually we start having to consult our maps and concentrate on something other than changing the radio channels when we hit the state of Michoacan and Lazaro Cardenas. With only a stray 'bicker' or two we manage to find our way through the big city hubbub and are once again on Hwy 200. As we travel up the coast we can see a marked contrast with the landscape of Guerrero. The coastal vegetation is much lusher and high sheer cliffs frame the beautiful deserted beaches far below. Eventually we reach Caleta, find Villa Tropical and meet John, who for a few days will serve as our new landlord. He greets us in a loud, friendly voice and shows us around this "Homage to Surfing". Truly, the house is Casa Surf City. It is beautiful and tastefully decorated but is accented with classic surf boards and surf memorabilia on all the walls. Stacks of surfer journals dating from years past and surfing reference material are everywhere. I feel as though I could write a thesis about the history of surf right then and there. But of more interest to me is the pristine pool (with indoor/ outdoor tunnel) and the 180 degree view which is - unbelievable. John gives us a few pointers about the workings of the villa and then, putting some REALLY LOUD reggae on the CD player, leaves us to our own devices. Although I appreciate the gesture, reggae is one of those genres that after one song I want to pull my hair out...two songs and I'm ready to slit my wrists. But Mr. Surf's (aka John) pep talk about the awesome waves and breaks in Nexpa leave us all feeling really cool and oh so 'surfy'. So stacking the boogie boards in the built in board rack in the hall, (who has a built in rack!!??) I bop away to Bob Marley and try to figure out how to casually drop words like 'gnarly' into my conversation.

Caleta is a small Mexican town that has two distinct areas - the main street with assorted tiendas, restaurants, hardware stores and the requisite Zocalo while down the hill lies a beach area adjacent to the bay. This latter area features many enmaradas and a semi-protected bay for swimming, boogie boarding or easy surfing. We spend a couple of afternoons there and also wander the main street of town. In both cases we see only one other couple that look as though they might be Americans or Canadians.(shorts.. tank tops.. burned skin) Not to say there are no tourists. Mexican tourists come flooding in on friday afternoon and crowd the beach and enmaradas. I feel welcome though and by our second visit to a local main street restaurant, Adelitas, we are treated like family. (Fish right from the boats and wonderful fresh tortillas made for every order)

But next on our agenda? Nexpa!


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Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Zihuatanejo 2007

Another March .. another Trek Trio visit to Zihuatanejo. This year, Gerry, Daniel and I are staying up on the hill at the end of La Ropa Beach in a ritzy condo called Casa Del Rayo Verde. Loosely translated I think it means "House of Green Light " referring to the legendary green flash some people claim to see on the horizon at sunset and I assume without the aid of illegal substances. I never catch any flashes except for an amazing looking woman, who to the delight of my companions, seemed to take great pleasure in ohhhhh so slowly and provocatively bending over while wearing a very brief thong bikini at the pool. But green flash or not, this place has an amazing view. So nice in fact, that I wasn't sure I was going to be able to drag the boys off the damned deck to venture into town (maybe it was the pool view) The condo is roomy too with three stylish bedrooms (all with their own bath) and beautiful decor . Mona Felts is the owner, and judging by her design preferences, has a weakness for Frida Kahlo, cobalt blue plates, rustic antiques and ever so soothing shades of tans and golds. While I am crazy about every detail, by the end of the week Gerry had just about had it with wall after wall of Frida, lilies and artwork by temperamental Mexican artists. When he began to talk of stacking all the artwork in a back room, I threaten to wear my hair braided ala Frida for the rest of the trip. He backed off. Of course, Daniel being Daniel is oblivious to anything but wooing the small suspicious dog across the hall.

So there we are with about a week of blissful relaxation in Zih stretching ahead of us... no worries... nothing but sun and a lounge chair at Rossys with my name written all over it. But all the while a pesky little voice in my head keeps reminding me at the end of these halcyon days looms the prospect of a reserved rental car and points north on Hwy 200. No. We hadn't learned our lesson about cars or driving in Mexico last year. We felt compelled to once again exercise our grossly inferiour multi-tasking skills . Yep, give us a challenge like dodging hideously large topes that haven't seen a coat of red warning paint in 30 years while simultaneously trying to outscream one other. I couldn't wait.

But first we need to take care of all the sentimental Zih traditions we have developed over the years. Of course there is the mandatory visit to Coconuts Bar for our photo documentation of the Trek Trio in Zihuatanejo. Every year we sit at approximately the same place along the bar and bribe one of the harried bartenders into taking our picture. Over the years, the biggest difference in these pics seem to be my fickle hairstyle preference, although maybe a bit more gray is evident on the boys. Below is this years photo.. and no, as delighted as he looks, Im not trying to feel up Daniel's armpit.

Then there is Bandidos.

Bandidos .. Bandidos.. Bandidos.. What is it about you ? You make me feel like a blushing high school girl with a wild crush and aching libido. Of course we had to go running back. (well ok.. I did) Calle Cinco De Mayo by the Church.. Salsa dancing.. live music...amazing staff - Marcos, The suave mysterious host ... Enrique, the saucy salsa master... Miquel ( someone MARRY this sweet man!!) and Carlos , the Bobby Darin clone who at any given moment you expect to belt out Mack the Knife. What more can I say people?!

Damn. Just go.