Mexico is the perfect place for a large family vacation.
John & Karen were the first to arrive in Z-town. They were so excited to get back after ten years that they jumped in the cab just a bit too quickly, leaving one bag sitting on the sidewalk outside the airport. Woops. The realization wasn’t made until they arrived at the condo building. Another cab ride back to the airport and, of course, the bag was long gone. But not far – only kindly taken to the Security desk, probably by one of the many cab drivers waiting outside. Amazing honesty. Missing luggage in hand John made it back to the condo and tried to pay with a $100 USD bill. The cab driver couldn’t break it, but it was ‘no problemo’, he would just come back the next day to get paid. John and Karen later walked down to playa La Ropa for dinner and the same thing happened post meal and margaritas – the USD bill wouldn’t work. But yet again, it was a case of just coming back to pay, mañana. The IOU seems to work well in this country. Incredible trust!
What to say about La Casa Que Ve Al Mar, the condo building in which our families each rented a unit? It was perfect. It’s in an ideal spot perched on the hill above La Ropa beach and within easy walking distance to the town center. The infinity pools are stunning and the condos are well appointed, comfortable, and clean. Best sunsets we’ve seen so far. On the night of the Haile posse arrival and after a yummy dinner at El Mare overlooking the twinkling bay, we piled back into the unit, eight pairs of sandals discarded at the doorway. Eight pairs of bare feet pattered around the cool stone floor – until Peter spotted a creepy crawler making its way into one of the bedrooms. A pale-colored scorpion! (The bad kind, supposedly). Emily bravely took control and trapped it with a glass and paper but then dropped it before making it to the door. We were all screaming like schoolgirls (boys included)! Peter finally captured it again, ran outside, and let it loose right in the commonly used stairwell. Hmm. Not ideal, but the right idea 😉
Below you’ll see a picture of a more fascinating creature – the whip spider (looks like a cross between a spider and scorpion and the ones we saw were 12 inches in diameter… eeek!). These oversized critters eat other scorpions – so we should like them, right? – and on our last morning my mum had a nice surprise when she found one in the kitchen sink!
Arachnid issues aside, Will and I couldn’t help ourselves but to accept a bedroom at the condo and leave Hydroquest anchored out in the bay for three weeks. With the swell at La Ropa beach (which guaranteed a good soaking with every dingy landing and takeoff), it would have been too much back and forth and not enough time with our families. She became a part of the beautiful scenery and was just a short swim away for coffee mornings à la Hydroquest.
Christmas Day was spent the best possible way – with few presents to open but lots of time for relaxing at the beach. The Christmas ‘miracle’ happened a couple of days later. Emily and Craig had planned an earlier depature to catch the winter classic hockey game on NYE – which had since been cancelled so it was very disappointing for them to have to leave. We all had a tearful goodbye at the beach but when we got back to the La Casa in the evening they suddenly jumped out of bush, the best surprise ever! Their flight had been cancelled and they were ‘forced’ to stay longer.
So we were a group of 12 again. Luckily, no one even bats an eyelid to a group of that size in Mexico. It’s a normal occurrence and large family outings and events are a huge part of the culture. The beach at La Ropa was jam-packed full of Mexican families everyday, mainly tourists from inland. There wasn’t a minute when a banana boat wasn’t cruising in the bay and at least two people weren’t flying around on parachutes (we were witness to a couple of sketchy landings, so none of our group partook). Our crowd spent many of our days hanging at Paty’s beach restaurant enjoying shrimp tacos and happy hour. The Haile/Curry party seemed small on New Year’s eve at Bandito’s restaurant – the table next to us was a family of 25!
A big thank you to both our families for coming down to meet us. It was a holiday of a lifetime and we were so thankful to have everyone there.
Will and I moved back onboard once everyone flew home. Vacation over. Hydroquest had missed us a lot and was feeling uncared for as evidenced by the fact that her bottom, anchor chain, and stern anchor rode were hosting an algae and barnacle grow-op. Will was just getting over his most recent bout of stomach problems so he was not looking forward to the tough work involved in cleaning her up. Our first morning back we were inspecting the massive undertaking when we noticed something, or someone, drifting towards us. The apparation came into focus and started talking to us: it was Augustine, a plump Mexican angel with all his tools floating beside him, come to offer scrubbing help for 500 pesos. Best money spent all month.
We’re back on the water, en route to Puerto Vallarta which will be our jumping off point from Mexico.
Mexico – we love you! Zihuatanejo – We’ll be back.