Tuesday, May 10, 2011

12 Reasons the 9-Hour Trip to the Beach Is Worth It

In random order:
1.  Roads lined with mango trees
2.  Waking to the sound of waves
3.  Main means of transportation is the bicycle
4.  Your waitress is barefoot
5.  Snorkling the unspoiled coral reef
6.  My anxiety burning off like the morning mist
7.  Our girls getting along
8.  The absence of Sean´s "you´re so annoying" face
9.  The girls still body-surfing at 9 pm
10. Shrimp botana in Cuastecomate
11. Sea Kayaking with the chance some dolphins will join you
12. Going down to sea level means your blood fills with oxygen which   
       means the Pacifico beer you drink has little effect.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Life in La Manz

The first day we saw a giant orange coin of a sunset.  Monday we saw about two dozen iguanas, from baby green ones scurrying around in the grass to giant grey/green daddies blocking our path over at Warren and Tuli´s place at, where else, Boca de Iguana, an understated resort-and-condo development with one of the most fabulous infinity pools we've ever seen and also one of the coolest bathroom sinks...it's like flora and fauna and water, but it's a sink.  Also Carlos and Sean took off for the little palapa-roofed store and had to skirt a crocodile.  Oh yes, every day we see crocodiles.  The crocodiles live in the manglar (mangrove) at the end of our street.  There are dozens of them dozing in the mixture of fresh and salt water, where the river dumps into the sea.  When we first came to La Manzanilla, about six years ago, there was a little rail separating the street from the crocs, only centimeters away.  Now there is a real chain-link fence.

La Manzanilla is truly is one of the earth's most beautiful spots.  Now, of course as soon as I say that, I have to modify it to tell you that yesterday and today again we went down to the road to an even more glorious beach....la de Tenacatita.  When I came back yesterday and told the folks in Santana Real Estate office that we had gained accerss to Tenacatita, they were left speechless.   Nine months ago, government soldiers forcibly tossed out of the town the fishermen, restaurant owners and vendors who had made their home there for years.  They bulldozed businesses and palapa shacks, having been petitioned by the real owner of the beachfront land to do so, I'm told.  The folks making their living there were in effect squatters.  Apparently they had been asked to leave several times over the past 20 years, and didn-t.  I have to say all my reporting comes from hearsay. I haven't journalistically backed any of it up on my own.  I do know, because we were there over the last two days, that the entrance to town is now guarded by 6 to 8 armed state guards and two barking German Shepherds in cages.  Once we showed some ID though, we were told we could enjoy the beaches but not take photos of anything BUT beach and sea, and we were waved through. 

I know people lost their locations and their means to make a living (but not really, most of the vendors have relocated to La Manzanilla), and I feel for the upheaval in their lives, but as a tourist, I have to say the beach, without gals in folkloric dresses hawking necklaces, is breathtaking.  We visited Tenacatita two days in a row for its major attraction - an unspoiled coral reef, through which we delightedly snorkled, spotting several species of colorful little fish.  

This morning, I was about two minutes into meditation up on our palapa porch when Carlos said, "Dolphins!"  He ran in and woke the girls and we watched half a dozen dolphins romp through our bay, often doing full-body leaps from the water. 

Dolphin watching and coral reef snorkling before the day's first meal.  Can you beat it?  I need a nap.