Saturday, January 08, 2011

little cat feet on the sand

Mama Nature tries to be a good mother.  But she doesn't always get things quite right.

Take Friday morning.

Winter weather on Mexico's Pacific coast can be a bit boring.  Warm days.  Blue skies.  Pleasant humidity.  Day -- after day. 

Not that I am complaining.  There is something comforting in knowing that winter weather can be so predictable.  Some people would love to be cursed with such an affliction.

Mother Nature must have thought I was getting bored, though.  When I got out on Friday, the ocean looked as if a bit of the Oregon coast had been transported south.

Fog.  Overcast.  Gray.  Just about what I would expect if I had been in Pacific City in early January.

But like most unsolicited gifts, it was not quite right.  All the visual cues were there.  But the temperature (low 70s) and humidity (high 70%) made the mask transparent.

It was not Oregon.  Just Mexico in a false mustache.

And that was fine with me.  I did not need any foggy days in the 40s.  Friday was my art at the beach day in La Manzanilla.

I have written about La Manzanilla before (tripping with steve, love amongst the palms, starting the journey).  Its beach and bay are what originally drew me to this part of Mexico.  For that reason, it will always be a special place to me.

It is about a half hour drive north of Melaque.  But the drive is not like the drive to Manzanillo -- the Manzanillo drive is no more challenging than driving across southern Illinois.  Mainly flat.  A bit on the ordinary side.

The drive to La Manzanilla is closer to driving through the hills of West Virginia.

Two lanes.  No shoulders.  Steep hills with more ascents and descents than a Salieri aria.  Breathtaking drop offs.  And enough scenery to make any crash a cinematic spectacular.

And it is the scenery that makes the area unique.  So unique that I was almost a home owner in La Manzanilla. 

Had it not been for the dodgy land titles.  You can never be quite certain what you have bought once the transaction is done.

The village has one of the best swimming beaches around -- on Tenacatita Bay.  Here the surf swishes in.  Unlike Melaque where it bangs the shore -- and swimmers.

During the winter, La Manzanilla is a happening place.  Very good restaurants.  Lots of water sports.  Art shows.  Cosmopolitan visitors from all over the world -- many at the language school.

Despite everything my head keeps telling me, I found myself looking at my realtor's (Daniel Hallas) listing board.  One of the houses I was interested in three years ago is still for sale -- and the price has fallen.

It is getting close to the point where I could afford to lose my investment without feeling as if the world had come to an end.  And without full title, that is always a real possibility.

That was impetus enough to get me re-acquainted with the village as a potential homeowner. 

I drove through the old neighborhoods.  They are just as rustic as ever.  At times, the streets appear to be doing double duty as stream beds.  In one instance, the main river bed, that is literally true. 

La Manzanilla will never be confused with Santa Monica.  And that is to its credit.

I then sat on the beach and read the newspaper on my Kindle -- while enjoying the glee of children and dogs playing in the surf.  I could easily get accustomed to the routine.

In honor of my brother, I had lunch at my favorite beach eatery: Lora Loka. 

One of our first nights in Mexico, Darrel and I had dinner there with two bloggers and their families.  That night we learned Lora's chicken enchiladas with salsa verde are exquisite. 

On Friday I discovered nothing had changed.  The only thing that would have made it better is if my brother had been there to share the experience.

And I was then off to the art show.

Ed Gilliam is one of my neighbors in Villa Obregon.  I knew his art before I met him.  He painted a mural on one of the buildings where Indian children attend school.  I have always appreciated its style.

I first met him at a meeting to help clean up the laguna.  And I then worked with him on a project providing assistance to the Indian school.

Before I knew he was an artist, I knew he was a friend of Mexico.

His canvas pieces are as stunning as his murals.  If Gaugin and Picasso (in his cubist phase) were reincarnated as one spirit, the result could very well be Ed.

That is not to say his work is derivative.  It isn't.  But he takes advantage of artistic giants by standing on their shoulders.

I may write a separate post on some of his pieces -- if you are interested. 

If I had not forsworn acquiring additional possessions, I would have purchased two or three of his canvases.

I guess I could solve that dilemma by buying that house in La Manzanilla and filling it with art.  It would be easy to do.  But that would be a lifestyle change I am simply not ready to make.



Islagringo said...

His work reminds me a lot of the Cuban style. I like it. That Bay you mention is where we played amongst the phosphoresence in the water. Great fun and really eerie.

brenda said...

Sounds like you are getting the itchy coin in the pocket buying syndrome lol.
Gee, sounds great: dodgy land titles, small town infrastructure re: water, sewer, garbage, internet, cultural events and then there is always the lovely humid, hot and possibly buggy? summers.
Not sure that place sounds like it would pass your test for places to live; but perhaps your criteria has changed as things do.
Glad you enjoyed the art exhibit, we are on our way to one in San Carlos this morning.

John said...

OMG! You are actually coming to your senses on land ownership. Of course your cautious approach relative to the dangers of lacking a 'real' title has merit.

Your choice of words matched ours when looking at beach property - we would pay a price that would not destroy us to lose. This isn't to say it would not be a disaster - but it would be overcome.

In a recent email with Sparks, who owns some Mexico coastal property, he had advice regarding looking very carefully into the specific group(s) that might be able to take control of your property. In other words are the indigenous people reasonable or possibly volatile to your property?

Possession is not quite 9/10ths of the law in Mexico - but it is maybe 7/10ths ;-0 The house we are trying to buy three blocks from the beach in Puerto Escondido is a extremely fine value. We figure if we can get 7-8 years living there and a disaster like losing it occurred - we would still be ahead of the game.

That is the best logic and rational we could develop to assuage any loss worries. In the mean time the sunsets are spectacular - the weather is beyond anyone's wildest dreams. The ocean views, fine restaurants etc. etc. etc. make it all worth while.

So there's some stuff to add to your confusion ;-)

Steve Cotton said...

I have seen the phosphoresence while sailing in the San Juans. I just thought the sharks were using LED flashlights. (A comforting thought for you.)

You are correct about Ed's style. Would cubist and Cuban combined be cubanist?

Vanya said...

I, too would like a posting on the art... Just between us, how much is the work in the center? I love it! I also like the new look of the blog Steve. Good job! :-)

Steve Cotton said...

You should take a look at it -- if you ever get over this way.