Sunday, May 5, 2013

It’s The Tourist Life For Us! – April 5 – May 1

As previously reported, we moved into our time-share suite at the Pacifica Resort in Ixtapa (a tourist area six miles – or a nine peso bus ride -- northwest of Zihuatanejo) on April 6 and officially became tourists for three weeks.  We enjoyed all the perks of time-share life – reaching for a beer in an upright refrigerator, for example, and sleeping through the whole night; but we didn’t just watch the parasails outside our hillside window.  We did some work on Abracadabra, practiced yoga in Spanish and performed a couple of genuine Acts of Tourism before returning to life aboard:

Bryce took advantage of the resort’s Wi-Fi and electricity to bring our oldest laptop back from the dead and to synchronize and back up both of the laptops.  When one’s entire filing system is on a couple of laptops, synchronization and backing up are key components to happiness. 

We did some boat-part shopping in the ferreterias (hardware stores) in downtown Zihuatanejo:

Bryce -- In Plastic Hose Heaven

Zihuatanejo Ferreteria

Bryce used those parts to improve our water-making system, which we use to create Eau de Chateau Abracadabra from sea water.
Molly put a new leather cover on the wheel, which involved sewing -- not one of her core competencies.  So, she’s very proud of the fact that it actually works.  We didn’t get a picture of her effort, so like other big-time publications we’re substituting a “stock photo” of our friend Irene deBruijn sewing the wheel cover on Solar Wind (though Molly was wearing a t-shirt and shorts . . . ): 

Stock Photo:  Irene at Work on Solar Wind's Wheel Cover
Yoga in Spanish:
The resort offered yoga practice with a local instructor (Yogi Carlos) three times a week.  Yogi Carlos is a very pleasant leader, and he did a very good job at pitching his classes to the type of practitioners found at most resorts – the new drop-in student.  We enjoyed the chance to stretch and meet other visitors (this time of year, primarily Mexican nationals) and found an unexpected benefit to the classes, because they were taught in Spanish:  Molly now knows how to say left, right, return to center, inhale, exhale and slowly!

Acts of Tourism:
We rented a car for a day and visited Soledad de Maciel (also known as La Chole) and Barra de Potosi to the south of Zihuatanejo.  La Chole is the site of the largest archeological ruin in the state of Guerrero – named Xihuacan by archeologists.  Significant excavation began there in 2007 and archeologists have uncovered a ball court and a pyramid.  They believe there are six other pyramids, two plazas and a palace still to be unearthed.     

Pyramid - Left: As Unearthed; Right: As Reconstructed
There is a nicely organized little museum that tells the story of the pre-Hispanic cultures that crossed paths at this trading site originally established by the Cuitlatecos – including Toltecs, Aztecs, Mayans, Zapotecans and Tarascans. 

Among The La Chole Artifacts

The site was initially brought to the attention of the Mexican government’s National Institute of Anthropology and History by a local landowner who had begun collecting artifacts he found in the area.  The local “museum” was originally in the front room of this man’s house until his lobbying efforts paid off and the new museum was built two years ago.  We toured the museum and the area with Adan Velez Romero, one of the grandsons of the initial proponent of the site.  Adan has been gathering artifacts in the areas since he was a child, and has attended an eight-month long course given to guides of archeological sites.  Unfortunately, Adan only speaks Spanish, so Molly’s tour was less enlightening than Bryce’s (there were only so many times we could stop Adan while Bryce translated).  Adan was quite charming, and after the tour took us back to his family’s home and played for us some music on a pre-Hispanic whistle he had found.  [The video we got can't seem to be rotated so it can be viewed without holding one's computer sideways and it wouldn't download anyway because we don't have enough bandwidth . . . we'll just have to whistle for you when we see you next!]

This is a “must see” for your next trip to Zihuatanejo or Ixtapa.  Take a look at the website that Adan and his family have set up: .   [Note: it takes a very long time to download, so don’t get discouraged by the fuzziness of the type!]  Tour companies in Zihuatanejo also offer tours of the site, so we are sure that an English-speaking guide (or at least a translator) can be found through a hotel concierge. 

From La Chole we drove back toward Zihua and stopped for lunch at Barra de Potosi, a small village with a few vacation houses and enramadas along a miles-long palm-fringed sandy-white beach.  We ate lunch at an enramada that had been recommended to us, and Molly napped in one of the hammocks provided for over-full diners, and Bryce just drifted off sitting at the table! 

Bryce - Post Snooze

Blissful moment: swaying in the warm breeze, listening to the background noise of a Saturday afternoon in Mexico – friends greeting each other, families laughing, and wandering musicians playing. 

Molly - Full Snooze Mode

As we left, a couple was dancing in the sand to the music of the musicians hired by their family, as their family took photos of them with their cell phones.  

A Saturday Afternoon Dance
Our other Act of Tourism was not quite as idyllic.  We signed up for the bicycle tour offered by the resort.  There is a very nice 15-kilometer cyclopista (bicycle trail) from Ixtapa to Playa Linda that for those that actually know how to ride bicycles (unlike, say – Molly) can be a nice morning ride.  For Molly, it was a death-defying activity.  Fortunately, she defied death, and returned to take ibuprophen for a couple of days - and she now has renewed respect for her bicycle-riding friends!  Bryce fared better:

Biker Bryce

Return to Marina Life:

We returned to Marina Ixtapa on the 27th, spending a few days getting ready for our sail north.  This time of year there are very few people living aboard in the marina, but we had the fortune of meeting an Australian couple with a boat registered in the Cook Islands.  Their plans put our preparations to bay-hop to the Banderas Bay area (a whopping 400-ish miles north) into perspective: they were preparing to sail across the Pacific Ocean to the Marquesas Islands – some 3,000 miles west!  A homey detail to put the logistics of our two trips into perspective: we purchased 18 eggs; they purchased 7 dozen! 

The one thing we didn’t get to accomplish before sailing north was having someone clean the bottom of Abracadabra’s hull, which was extremely dirty as a result of our few days in Bahia Zihuatanejo and the less-than-pristine conditions at Marina Ixtapa (there was some oil leaking issue with a local boat that the workers kept trying to find).  It turns out that one cannot get the bottom of one’s boat cleaned in Marina Ixtapa because there are crocodiles in the water!  And we’ve got some (not very clear) pictures to prove it:

Marina Croc -- And We Don't Mean Shoes

Northward Ho!

On May 1, with a grubby underside, we departed Marina Ixtapa minutes ahead of our Australian compadres, watching them head due west as we turned to the northwest.  Next post:  our trip north to Banderas Bay. 

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