Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Z Papaya Chronicles: This, That and the Other Thing

Mea culpa for the infrequent updates to the blog. It's really just that we have been living our lives here in Zihuatanejo. We wake up, go shopping, go for walks, groom the dog, pick ticks off the dog...just the day to day stuff. We don't go to the beach everyday and drink the day away but will go down maybe two to three times a week, sometimes have some breakfast or lunch at our favorite spot, Rossy's. When 1 o'clock rolls around we hop on the collectivo and head home. We usually cook dinner at home but go out to dinner at least once a week, sometimes twice. On Wednesdays, when Isabella comes to clean our apartment (yes, we have an Isabella and she is awesome, don't judge me), we pack up Roxy and the beach bag and head to Barra de Potosi or some other beach for the day. Its hard to believe we are on the last stretch and will be home in less then a week.

We've started taking Spanish classes twice a week, something we meant to do when we first arrived but time just seemed to slip on by.  Our teacher, Jaime, was wonderful and extremely patient with us.
Early evenings we head on up to our rooftop balcony with some drinks and watch the birds and iguanas. There is wonder and magic in each and every day. Lately  the Hummingbirds have been making a daily visit.  They are brave little things and often come and just stop in front of me, hovering. We share a moment and then off they go.

We had family from Calgary visiting for the past two weeks  and it was so nice to get to know them better. Most of our visits over the years have been at busy family gatherings where one on one conversations are short and sweet.

We just returned from a two day stay at Playa Larga. We stayed at Hotel Marbella which is right on the beach. After some confusion with our room booking and booking.com we were eventually settled into a third floor room with a balcony overlooking the stunning and wild Playa Larga. You cannot swim here as it is open ocean, her roar is loud and her force is something to behold. We saw whales and dolphins and  glorious sunsets. During the day, we parked ourselves under the shade of a palm and still managed to get sunburnt. The sun is relentless and the sand so hot, you cannot be on it without shoes. Shade is limited to the palapa restaurants so if you venture here make sure you have lots of sunscreen and a hat. We were up early and parked ourselves under a palm, the only shady spot right on the beach which we happily shared with a group of Mexican children building their sandcastles. Life is slow and quiet here, unless of course it's someones birthday and the mariachi band comes. There is not much to do but gaze out at the ocean, sip a Margarita and build sandcastles. I don't have a problem with that at all!

Mariachi on la playa
Jim and Roxy having a high five moment at Playa Larga
Never get tired of the Margarita on the beach pic
Pink Tequila!
Hall view, Hotel Marbella, Playa Larga
Sunset, Playa Larga
Sharing our shade with the ninos

More blog posts to come shortly as we wind down our life here in Zihuatanejo. Mostly reflections and such.

Hasta Luego!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Z Papaya Chronicles - Life is a Beach in Barra de Potosi

Last weekend we decided to take a break from our break and head down to Barra de Potosi for three nights. We love taking the local transportation which is a bus and then a pasero (pick up truck with seats). Roxy however questions our sanity but is slowly coming to terms with our somewhat adventurous spirit. We stayed at the beautiful Hacienda la Rusa run by Stasya and Mike, the quintessential hosts. Step through their wooden gates and you are in a tropical paradise.  The gardens are bursting with colors and the palms sway and rustle in the constant ocean breeze. Visit their website for more information and an interesting story of how Hacienda La Rusa came to be.  I will be posting a detailed review on tripadvisor in the next day or so.


Hacienda La Rusa, Bungalow Betsy.

Pool, Hacidenda La Rusa
Hacidenda La Rusa Grounds
Hacidenda La Rusa Grounds II
Hacidenda La Rusa Grounds III
Hacienda La Rusa Grounds IV
Hacidenda La Rusa Grounds V
Hacidenda La Rusa - Maria's delicious sweet bread, pre-breakfast snack. Very addictive!
Hacidenda La Rusa Bungalow Maria
Hacidenda La Rusa Breakfast Patio
Hacidenda La Rusa - Maria's Mexican Omlette with handmade tortillas

Hacienda La Rusa is very much a part of the Barra de Potosi community.  Barra de Potosi is a working fishing village, full of life and all the noise that goes along with it. Roosters crow, dogs bark, music plays, kids screech and giggle and couples canoodle in the shadows. Embrace it because this is what life in Mexico is all about.  It is not yet spoiled by looming condos and although there is an ex-pat presence, so far it is a presence that is respectful of its surroundings and community.  I hope it stays that way but I have a feeling the secret will be out before long. There was a fishing tournament going on while we were there. Apparently they do not practice catch and release but I am sure these fish fed many a villager over the next little while.

Barra de Potosi, Roosters fighting over the ladies

Barra de Potosi, Cattle crossing the lagoon
Barra de Potosi, Jazz on the beach with Cesar
Barra de Potosi,  Pretty girl
Barra de Potosi, Enramada at sunset
Barra de Potosi, lagoon at sunset

Barra de Potosi, Beach shopping with Guadalupe

Enramadas (thatch roofed restaurants) line the beach and you can't go wrong with either of them. With the sea at their doorstep, seafood and fish dishes are plentiful, yummy and very reasonably priced. After lunch you can tuck into a hammock and have a little siesta, listening to the crashing waves. No one is in a hurry to shoo you away and you can easily wile away the day, snoozing, sunning and snacking. The enramadas close around sunset so if you are a late diner just head into the village and eat at one of the cocinas economicas which open around 7. By the time we ate one of Maria's wonderful Mexican breakfasts at La Rusa and had a late lunch at at one of the Enramadas we were too stuffed to eat dinner but other guests said the food was homey, delicious and very economical.

Barra de Potosi, Enramada Silvia

Hasta Luego!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Z Papaya Chronicles: Big Bang Theory and Working Away in Zihua

On Sunday afternoon I was having a nice quiet time with myself reading on the bed. I had drifted off into a light slumber when I was jolted awake by the sound of a loud bang, followed by whoops and cheers. As I looked out my window onto Calle Adelita, there was another loud bang accompanied by a flash of light and more whooping and cheering. Either someone was setting off fire crackers or shooting a gun against the stone wall across the street. Either way, I was not about to venture out and find out.Our neighbor, Mike, a seasoned Zihua ex-pat went down to check it out. Turns out a bamboo tree, swaying in the breeze was the culprit. It would hit the the power lines making two of them touch, causing them to bang and arc. This made great Sunday afternoon entertainment for some locals who seemed to get a real kick out of this. City workers were soon out to remove the bamboo that was creating the problem. This was just another reminder of how different life here is. Had this happened back home, fire trucks and police cars would have raced to the scene and cordoned off the area licktety spit. Here it was just another day in Zihua.

While many of us have the luxury of lazing away our days, lounging in hammocks and sipping margaritas on the playa, working life in Zihua hums along at a steady pace.  Crews are working on the roads, the bread man ventures out early in the morning selling his pan, his sing song voice echoing along the street. The ice cream man beeps his horn, letting people know he is around. People set up their wares and crafts at various spots around town, hoping for good sales. These are the people we see everyday as tourists as we wander up and down Calle Adelita but there is another working side to Zihua that many don't get to see. A morning walk along the canal gives you a little peek into the day to day life of working of Zihua.

Cabinet Shop

Furniture Store

Beautifully carved headboards

Plaster Workers

Workshop Products 1

Workshop Products 2

Around 4 O'Clock each afternoon restaurants along Calle Adelita fire up their barbecues, getting ready for the evening's onslaught of hungry tourists and locals. The air fills with the scent of burning wood and charcol as the grills are readied to perfectly cook those chicken, ribs, steaks, arrachera and burgers. From our vantage point we get the heavenly scents of Rufo's as it wafts up to our apartment. The staff that work behind the scenes at Rufo's have a great comraderie and they can often be heard laughing, singing and joking with one another. Everytime I pass by Rufo's it is packed and I am sure part of the reason is the friendliness and joy of the staff. Our first meal when we arrived in Zihua was at Rufo's and it certainly won't be our last.  
Behind the Scene at Rufo's

Hasta Luego!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Z Papaya Chronicles - To Market, To Market....

There is absolutely nothing you cannot find at the mercado in Zihua, from clothing, to goats, to toys to kitchen utensils and of course the amazing array of fruits and vegetables. Saturday mornings the number of vendors increase and the streets outside are lined with people hawking their wares. Clothing is placed out and hung up along the walls and Pick-up trucks line the road, laden with fruits and vegetables for sale and if you desire, you can even buy sausage from the trunk of someone's car.  This morning Mr. Granny Pants and I set out early to capture Saturday morning life at the market. Following is a photo tour of our morning.