Tuesday, December 01, 2009

tripping with steve

Monday was the day I was to start my mini-trips away from Melaque.

And I did just that.

The result was not quite what I had anticipated, though.

I decided to start my journey with the place that first attracted me to coastal Mexico: La Manzanilla.

It is just a half-hour drive up the highway. But it was a perfect place to start for three reasons.

The first is the ocean. Now that I have overcome my head under the water fear, I have been swimming off the Melaque beach. Our waves are not as brutal as usual.

But the waves at La Manzanilla are almost as caressing as those on the Caribbean. The Melaque waves pound; the La Manzanilla waves swoosh.

La Manzanilla also has some rock formations that make for interesting snorkeling. So, I tossed my mask, snorkel, and fins into the truck with the anticipation of finding the wily Pacific Octopus.

The second reason for choosing La Manzanilla as a starting point was Lora Loca's -- one of my favorite eateries. Laura, the owner, puts together one of the best baked enchilada dishes I have ever eaten. And her restaurant is right on the beach.

The third reason was fortuitous. My blogger friend, New Beginnings in Manzanillo, is working for a charitable organization that is sponsoring cultural events in Manzanillo -- the first this season is a Russian ballet company. (I will post more on that topic later this week.)

She told me that she would be in the jardin selling tickets on Monday. It was a great opportunity for me to see her again and to catch up on the last few months. I also wanted to thank her for all of the assistance she gave me when Professor Jiggs was ill.

That was the plan. Three fun things to do on a day trip. Should be easy. What could go wrong?

My first stop was at the jardin. My friend was there. We talked. We laughed. I bought a ticket. We had a great time.

Just like a good day trip should be.

Because the afternoon was getting on, I headed over to Lora Loka's -- where my run of good luck appeared to end. The place was closed up tighter than my Uncle Asher's wallet.

But I am not easily deterred when it comes to food. I noticed that Jolanda's was open. She is an amazing woman. Dutch, by birth, she lived in Indonesia and other parts of Asia. Her cooking reflects that background. I remember how surprised I was to find an Indonesian restaurant in little La Manzanilla during my first visit.

I probably sat there far too long. I really do not know how long it was. But the soft purr of the surf, the sand, the sun, the palm trees, all added up to what most of us seek when we come to tropical Mexico -- a sense of serenity. It is also probably the prime cause for more than a few expatriates becoming unrepentant alcoholics.

Before I could be lulled into becoming part of Jolanda's furniture, I headed out to the beach with my snorkel equipment. It then hit me: I forgot a towel.

No problema. The day was warm enough to dry off au naturale.

The French had barely left my mind when I realized I had a related problem: I forgot to bring my swim trunks with me. I was not going to drive all the way to La Manzanilla without getting in the water.

Now, I could do the math. With my walking shorts and underwear there were at least four possibilities to let me enter the water. One would potentially run afoul of the local authorities. Another would guarantee that I would be miserably wet driving back to Melaque.

So, I either swam in my walking shorts and rode back to Melaque in my underwear or vice versa. I chose the Mexican solution. Simple. Elegant. Modest.

And I had a great time.

La Manzanilla was just the start. Tomorrow I hope to head inland a bit -- to see the towns in the foot hills surrounding Melaque.


Anonymous said...

Winging it on the fly, that's the ticket....seems you had an excellent day in paradise. Any interesting fish seen while snorkeling?
Enviously yours,

Islagringo said...

Oh how I wish I had been there! I would have probably laughed harder than I am right now! Even without the underwear tale, great story.

Anonymous said...

i love indonesian food-yum! i'm always surprised at the places where you can find some really good food. two of the best italian dinners i ever had were in seoul and bali.

glad you decided to take the plunge! i wasn't going to let not having a bathing suit stop me from swimming in the med. when i was there in oct. where there's a will there's a way.


Croft said...

Exploring the tiny pueblas of Mexico is one of the things I most look forward to. Walking around the Centros, you always find someone to sit and chat with. Everyone has an interesting story! I love this country!

Chrissy y Keith said...

La Huerta is an interesting little place just North of Melaque. They do a lot of leather work in town and we had a wonderful meal of lambs tongues. Sounds icky, but it was wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I believe it was Montaigne who wrote that geography not only has an influence on forms of government, but on the development of one's ethics as well.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but I think Mexico is seriously eroding your fine Victorian upbringing.

All I can say, Sir, is that madness and chaos lie that way. I urge you to reconsider your ways, asking the Almighty to show you the path to righteousness and rectitude before IT is too late and your reckless actions sweep you beyond redemption.

A. Nony Moose

VisitLaManzanilla said...

I'm glad to hear you are day tripping. We had planned to much of the same but with weeks so busy we like to just kick back and hang out on the weekends. No time for tripping- who'd believe it! Where eles are you planning to visit?

JRinSC said...

Good day and a great trip. And glad to hear of the young lady in New Beginnings.. her last post was the 7th of November. So, one wonders... again - glad to know she's doing ok.

We seem to have one trait in common. My wife always looks to see if I have packed a swim suit -- since the last two trips I used some jean shorts (worked fine, just didn't dry very quickly).


Chrissy y Keith said...

weird, I dont know what happened with my comment.
Anyway, what I wrote was.. there is a small town inland kinda NE of you. La Huerta. They do a lot of leather work there and we had a fine meal. Its a dish made with lambs tongues. Very yummy regardless of the thought.

Steve Cotton said...

Francisco -- "Fly" being the operative word in this adventure.

Croft -- I continue to be amazed at how many people I can talk with in new places. Truly one of the joys of Mxico.

ANM -- Now that all of my maiden aunts have died, it is nice to know that I have a voice of prudence to guide my steps.

VisitLaManzanilla -- It is hard to make plans and then keep them. I know. I simply try to stick trips in where I can.

Julian -- She is doing well -- and quite busy. As for my packing habits, perhaps I do need a spouse.

Chrissy -- I have no idea what happened. Blogger was acting up yesterday. As for lamb tongue, had it in Greece for Easter. It was attached to the lamb skull that had been halved like an acorn squash and then baked. It turned out to be quite good. Brains. Tongue. All.

Steve Cotton said...

Islagringo -- I will admit that I may have been a bit more self-conscious if someone I knew had been there. Naw!

Teresa -- I am happy to find good food anywhere. And, frankly, I am happy to find any food now and then that does not involve a tortilla.