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First Time in Oaxaca - 2019

Introduction  Los Golondrinas - Oaxaca    Casa Azul, Feb 13 Mision de los Arcos, Feb 28     First 20 Days Back in Oaxaca   Last 10 Days in Oaxaca

Playa San Agustinillo - Casa Azul

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Stephen:
We made our plane reservations to the city of Oaxaca pretty early on, before I realized how far away it is from the beach! Therefore we are taking an extra trip to the beach because, as wonderful as the city of Oaxaca may be, Dawn decided we needed beach time! Especially after this cold January! We picked this small beach town and a place to stay with Luciana’s help and I found a way to get here and back to Oaxaca. See below.

Cessna Airplane
Above you can see our little plane and also the pilot flying the plane. He has folded the aluminum reflector that is used to keep the sun out of the plane when it is parked and jammed it behind the visor to create a hole for him to see through.

Airplane Airplane
Your happy travelers and a schematic of the plane from the seat back pocket if we had trouble finding the exits.

How to Fly on Aerotucan from Oaxaca to Hualtuco for First Timers
February, 2019

Stephen:
Get to the airport about an hour before the flight. Bring passports, and a printed copy of your email confirmation. When you get there, you will see the Aerotucan counter. Maybe there will be someone there, maybe not, don’t worry. There maybe people in line, or not, don’t worry. On the flat screens in the airport, we did not see any mention of Aerotucan, don’t worry. At some point, get in line. There are only 12 seats for passengers, so it won’t be a long line. Talk to your neighbors, there will be plenty to talk about. At the counter, show your passport and confirmation. They will weigh your largest bags and then your carry on. We were travelling light, so I have no information about extra charges for weight. In order not to disturb the travelers, the airport does not make announcements about departing flights. Go to security and show them your passports and hand written boarding passes. Take off your metal things, my belt buckle set off the alarm, but we left our ipads in our bags and our shoes on our feet.

Wait at your gate, there will be plenty of seats. Our morning, stores were just opening up. We didn’t see a coffee place, bur may have missed it. When a person gets behind the counter, show them your boarding pass, they will take a stub. Walk to your plane, it will be small, just follow everyone else. Important: At the plane, if your carry on is too big they will take it and put it under. If you like to have your money and passport and other things next to you, have a smaller bag for this purpose. Get on the plane, go toward the front of the plane and take the first available seat. The double seats have shoulder belts. Do the lap belt first and try to figure out how to make the other part work. Someone who I think was the fly along baggage handler helped us. There are no anoouncements, they close the door, go to the end of the runway and take off, using about the same amount of time as a jet but, of course, a lot less runway at its slower speed, don’t worry. Look out the window, take pictures, don’t worry. I think we flew over 10,000 feet. When we got to the mountains, there was a small amount of turbulence, don’t worry.

When we got to the airport, we took a left, then a U-turn and came in for a landing. When we stopped at the terminal, we got out after they opened the door, wait for steps, then hung around, thanking the pilot and grabbing our “carry-on” and bags as they came out of the airplane. They will take them inside if you want. The pilot and baggage guy just hang out, because they are about to take twelve passengers back to Oaxaca. The place we were staying at had arranged a car and the driver found us and walked us out to the highway to get into his taxi. He is not allowed to come into the airport. In fact, the walking distance to his cab from the plane is probably the same as in most large international airports.

Two Maps

map2

You can tap or something on the maps so they will open larger in another tab.

map1
We are between Mazunte and Zipolite, at the Southernmost place. We are pleased that San Agustinillo is not on the map.

Our Place - Casa Azul

Casa Azul
Hammock
Casa Azul
View from our deck
Azul Azul
I loved it the first time I laid eyes on it. It is hard to capture the grace and charm of the place in pictures. It felt like a haven the first time we walked in and does so every time since. The windows have no glass and sometimes we sleep with the doors open
Azul Azul
A pool is a great thing when it is windy at the beach or for a moonlight swim before bed. Great at the full moon. It is about a foot deep at the shallow end and just reaches the chest at the other end. No matter, it is still a welcome fresh water cooler-off-er.
Azul Casa Azul
Although the closet doesn’t hide our stuff, everything stays fresh with none of the moldiness that can be found at the beach house. This window is over our kitchen sink.
Azul steps1 Azul
After I suggested adding the blue paint on the lowest riser, it happened so fast I couldn’t get a before and after, just a top and bottom.
Azul Arturo
Arturo, the very nice gardener and caretaker, gives us dozens of fresh limes from the trees here. He was always a cheerful presence at the casa.
Azul Mujeres
Tres mujeres y una nina. L to R: Yolanda, Benny, aka Senorita Benita, Mattie, Dawn
Azul Azul
Bennie, the wonderdog, greets us and everyone else that reaches our house on its dead end road with some yaps, but is soon extracting affectionate scratches from us as the price of quieting down. We are waiting for a papaya to ripen, (a small one fell but was not ripe), but I think we are not close enough to the top of the pecking order.
Azul
Casa Azul is a short walk up the hill. We can do it any number of times a day. After dinner it is dark and our headlamps come in handy, (thanks again, Laird). The House across the street poses as “The Night Laundry”.

Though the Neighborhood to Casa Azul

Walk Walk11
Beginning of our walk
Walk Walk
Continuing
Walk
Construction behind a tree. One guy has been digging a foundation trench for a few days now
Walk1 Walk6
The steepest part is going around this corner.
Walk
Not all the way up that hill. We turn at the first electric pole on the left.
Walk Walk
Turning the corner. Construction abounds.
Walk
The dark blue wall is our deck. Dawn is going through the gate behind the motorcyclist.

My Toe and the Wind

Stephen:
We have moved the travelogue along quite a bit, aided immensely by me falling off the bottom step on my way to one of our moonlight swims in the pool. Landing in a pushup position I prevented too much damage except scraping some skin off the front of my right big toe. Recuperating the next day allowed me time to write and deal with the photos. The day after that was windy enough to turn the beach into a sandblasting machine. One short swim and we returned to our casita, leaving us time to write and relax. The next day dawned windless and we were back in the beach business. Toward the end of our stay, while swimming in the pool, I managed to communicate in Spanish to Yolanda that the bottom riser should be painted blue. Arturo did it within the hour.

The Beach

Stephen:
Hey, when you say you are going to the beach you’d better go to the beach. We do, every day. It is organized a lot like Grande Anse near Deshais, Guadaloupe. Walking left (East) takes you to the non-developed part and going right takes you to more restaurants and bungalows. Once you get to the east end, if the tide is low you can walk around the point and extend your walk. We found the good place to snorkel. We found the quiet places during higher waves, though they will surprise you if you don’t pay attention.
Beach

The beach itself is fairly flat so you can walk with your hips level. If you are under those distant cliffs, you are in the next town, Mazunte, gotten to by swimming around another point or walking on the road.
Beach

Taken from the top of the cliffs, we are looking back at the beach and towns of Mazunte and San Agustinillo from Punta Cometa.
Beach

This cave is at the east end of our beach. When the 3 foot tide is low, one can walk around the point and continue onto the next beach. The cave is about fifty feet deep and fifteen feet high.
Beach

Mazunte - The Town up the Coast

Dawn:
Mazunte is the adjacent town on the coast. We have not rented a car here, and we are not big on taking taxis except when obviously necessary like getting from airport to rented lodging, so we walk. Mazunte is less than a mile from our casita but does involve a big hill, so the time of day makes a difference as to how much one sweats doing the walk. Yesterday we left here at about 4:45 p.m. There was a pretty nice breeze so it wasn't too sweaty. To clarify, I know that sweating is a healthy form of cooling the body, but when walking to a drink and dinner instead of the beach, it is pleasant not to get super sticky.

How to describe Mazunte? Like a southern California beach bum town in the 60’s? Bigger than San Augustinillo with a much younger, international population. Lots of long hair, dreadlocks, pot-smoking, body odor, bare feet and tatoos. Sound familiar, mis amigos who came of age in the sixties? Yoga and various spiritual centers, massages, lots of cafés, shops and restaurants. Our young Mexican server at dinner last night asked where we were staying. When Stephen said San Augustinillo, she said, “Oh we call it San Aburridonillo. Aburrido means boring! I told her that we like it, but after all, we are “old” now and prefer a certain tranquillity over the young, exciting singles scene.
😊

Stephen:
On the way to dinner, I had decided to call Mazunte “Mazunte World” in reference to the Disney Corporation’s creation of villages from around the world that are actually shopping malls. So I guess we deserve the “Boringville” moniker that we got in return. Mazunte comes in three parts, the main street which was the original town taken over by shops and restaurants, a sub-division behind the beach where the government built some tiled roads, created some plots and sold them to entrepreneurs who filled them with their dream businesses. I think it is mostly foreign investment. I shouldn’t complain, this is how La Cuisine and La Pizzeria came to exist. Underneath the young crowd I sense trust funds. Hard to say. All of this will be really different in ten years. Above on the hiils are the places with the infinity pools. we haven’t seen them but I have aeen the photos on the internet.

Hike to Punta de Cometa

Punta de Comete
I am walking along a trail anywhere in the world, any season of the year, wearing no shoes, or hiking boots, snow shows or cross-country skis and I pull out my camera and I say “Dawn”. She turns her upper body and gives me her great smile and I snap it. Life is good. Here we are a dry track where people come to watch the sunset.

Punta de Comete
Someone claims this to be the Southernmost point on the Pacific coast of North America. We’ve decided it is true because our beach faces straight south, therefore the point juts out straight south, more than any of the land around it. From here the coast of Mexico curves gently northward for a while before turning south again just before it meets Guatemala. They mean point, not place.

Punta de Comete
Said sunset beach mid afternoon. You can just make out the people on the farthest ridge.

Miguel and the Dolphins

Dawn:
Stephen and I rarely take any kind of tours. Yesterday, Miguel approached us on the beach, seeing our snorkel gear, and tried to sell us on a boat ride to see turtles, dolphins, whales and have a snorkel adventure off the boat. An American or Canadian couple of women happened by and said the trip was fabulous, well worth the 300 pesos apiece. They saw everything, including whales. So on the way back from our snorkel and walk, we told Miguel we would like to sign up for tomorrow morning which meant being there at 7:20 a.m. We had no money with us for a deposit, but he trusted that we would show up.

Wanting to reassure Miguel, we were the first people at the boat in the morning. On the water, watching scores of dolphins swim, dive and jump, I was thrilled by the grace and surprise of their choreography. I started to speculate on why humans seem to love dolphins so much. Well, we are also mammals for starters. I think we are attracted to the beauty and speed of their movement but also to their apparent sense of fun and freedom. Moreover, they exist in community, something we humans keep trying to do with varying degrees of success. Our little community on Miguel’s boat was American, Spanish, Dutch, and French, all united by our joy in being close to these wonderful animals.

Stephen:
After we all got into our PFD’s and our gear arranged we got out on the water and Miguel explained the situation about turtles in San Agustinillo. In the seventies, he said, they killed 1,200 turtles a day. Was that every day or just in season? The bay was red with blood and the product of this slaughter ended up in Mexico City and from there was shipped all over the word. In the eighties, the Mexican government put an end to it and now the turtles are back and the sharks that had been attracked by the blood are gone. The dolphins that we watched cavorting help keep them away.

Toward the end the our trip, he took us near to the cliffs in Mazunte and we snorkeled off the boat. A lot of fish and it was pleasant not to have to wade out through the surf.

I shot the video below lying in the front of the boat. The music is from a Boston Arts Academy CD. Support the arts in public education.

Los Delphines


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This was a lot of fun watching the dolphins ride the pressure wave of the bow. My aim is not so good because I was watching the dolphins and just pointing the phone hoping for the best.

Beaching the Boat


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We are missing some details here. They place 10’ long 1” diameter poles that are inside rubber tubes in the sand to act as rollers. Also, you have to miss the beach strollers, kids in the water and the occasional snorkeler.

Restaurants and Bars (in Order)

We don’t go out for every meal. Mostly we eat two meals a day. Dawn feels that she is at the right weight but I know that I need to lose some.

Alejandra

On our first beach walk, when we got to the end we stopped in here for two beers. While we were there, we bought some dried jamaica blossoms from a woman to make the drink and some ground coffee from a guy to make coffee the next morning. A few days later we went back for pre-dinner cocktails, but I’ll let Dawn tell the story.

Dawn:
I do enjoy Margaritas in Mexico. The drink is basically one third tequila (although it can be made with mescal), one third fresh lime juice, and one third orange liquor, often called Controy. I always specify "sin sal", without salt, and "no demasiado hielo, por favor", not too much ice, please. People have been very accommodating about getting this recipe just right. At Alejandra’s, it took awhile for the drink to show up as they were very busy. We are never on a hurry here. When it did appear, it looked just right, no salt, just a few ice cubes. The first taste was very, very acidic. Clearly they hadn't used one of those mixes with lots of sugar in them. That’s good. Second taste also very acidic. I began to think they must have forgotten to include the orange liquor which adds a bit of sweet balance. Stephen tasted it and had the same response, later saying that he thought there wasn’t much alcohol in it either.

I am not the kind of person who complains or sends things back. It took me about fifteen minutes to decide to walk my drink up to the bar and tell them what I thought. A very amiable young man and woman offered some fresh orange to squeeze in. It didn't do the trick. So they dumped the drink and said they would make me another and I should sit down. So I did. Meanwhile Stephen ordered a second beer to keep me company when I would be drinking my Margarita. I was pleased that I actually managed to communicate what I wanted and that they were so accommodating. So we waited, and waited. Meanwhile I noticed a young blonde woman approach the bar, then ed and that they were so accommodating. So we waited, and waited. Meanwhile I noticed a young blonde woman approach the bar, then return to her seat. About five minutes later, the server brought her a Margarita. We waited some more. We are never in a hurry here, remember? The blonde finished her drink and left. By the time Stephen had finished his second beer, I said, “I’m done. Let’s pay for the two beers and get out of here.”

At the bar, our server showed us the check with “Margarita” written on it along with the beers. He had not been involved in what happened, and I had a hard time explaining. Finally the woman behind the bar who had been so nice realized that my re-made Margarita had gone to someone else...most likely the blonde! Lots of apologies followed, and the waiter refused our tip. I couldn't come up with the Spanish but said in English, “It was not your fault.” Stephen made sure he took the tip, and I said “qué es importante en la vida? Una Margarita? No!”

My apologies for writing such a long description of this incident, but it was a useful Buddhist moment for me.😊, a perfect example of craving, expectation, and disappointment, only to realize that in the grand scheme of things, not getting the drink was a pretty small problem. It became clear that their openness about the mistake and our tiny expression of generosity was way more important. All the Mexicans we have encountered have been hard-working, kind, and welcoming, even to us Americans whose government is acting so atrociously towards the Mexican people.

Stephen:
A day or two later we overheard some people talking about this restaurant and their drinks. They weren’t complaining rather talking in tones of quiet acceptance.

First Night Dinner

We went down around 8 PM and couldn’t find a single restaurant to eat in. One had a free table, but it was already full of people with drinks on their tables, but no food. It would be a long night for us at this place. We met a pretty woman with her little daughter who wanted a pizza, but we all found out it was closed that night. They went back to their caravan to make dinner instead. We ended up going to a fruit and veggie place, bought some stuff including beer and went home and cooked.

La Termita

After having camp coffee and going for a walk and a swim on the beach, we returned to the pizza place which was now opened for breakfast.
La Termita
Some night we came back for a pizza. We sat in chairs set up for beach gazing cocktails. You can just see one in the picture. We talked to an Australian woman who had just attended a three day destination wedding in Peutro Escondido and was recovering. She remembers San Agustinillo when it had only one restaurant and sometimes dinner was some guy catching a fish and cooking it for you over a fire on the beach. Ah, the good old days and I got the impression that they very much the good old days.

El Pelicano

Pelicano
This was our second night and I grabbd a reservation here when we walkd by in the afternoon. I did not want a repeat of he first night. We asked for a table in the sand. When we returned at the appointed time, 7 PM. There was our table for two, in the sand, with the candle lit. We saw for the first a clever trick for the candle. They used a bowl of sand, stuck the candle in, then the glass part from a kerosene lamp is pushed in around the candle. We had two main fish courses, both cooked by a guy over a fire, but this time on a Weber grill. Ah, the devil is in the details. Dawn’s was really good, mine was good.

We came back and had another good meal.

La Pizzeria (Mazunte)

la pizzeria
A voice on the internet cried out that this was beyond the best pizza in Mexico. It sang the praise of everything about the place. I think that he was a little bit in love with the owner, but in the main he was right.

First, the confusion. Trying to order on glass of Montepulciano we ended up with one bottle with two poured glasses in front of us. Dawn headed for the ladies room and told me to deal with it. Speaking English to the waitress, I explained our problem and she took care of it by recorking the bottle and carrying it away. Moments later, the bottle came back in the hands of the waiter who poured our two glasses to their correct height.

Dawn returned and I said, “No problem”.

The chef was away but the young woman making the pizzas was using a large Corona bottle to roll out the pizzas just like her boss. After she rolled it out, she made a few magical, mysterious moves with her hands that swirled the dough around in the air that prepared the dough for the oven. Nohing flying overhead, more like a soft tai chi move. Next the sauce. As she spread it around the dough and put the rest of the ingredients on I realized that good pizza is all about flavor. It is flavor. Nothing is being flavored, no chicken or pork is being rescued. Only flavor. Might explain why pizza is so popular. Then she slid the pie into the wood burning oven.

We moaned when we took a bite. Good stuff. We shared a pizza and Dawn ate all of her half. Half was enough. Good food should be eaten in small quantities. The reward deminishes.

La Mora

We shared a shrimp with pasta in red sauce. Dawn had a beer and I had a glass of red wine. We went in about 6 PM as the sun was setting and got a table on beach side deck. Another Italian chef.

We had a wonderful breakfast another day so large that it served as our lunch also.

This became our main breakfast place. We always managed to get a seat on their deck. Dawn became addicted to their Frappuchinos.

La Cuisine (Mazunte)

La Cuisine La Cuisine
The menu for the night. It makes it easy to order at your table if you take a picture on your phone. Then the gorgeous gazpacho.

Dawn:
Okay, let’s talk about dinner at La Cuisine. I do enjoy Mexican food, but after a couple of weeks of burritos, salsa, guacamole, etc., a French meal is a welcome change. Several friends and acquaintances had raved about this place and told us to get there early because it is popular, and sometimes they run out of some choices. We were waiting at their gate ten minutes before their 6:30 opening time. Menu choices are posted on a blackboard. Seating varies from big, communal tables, to cushioned benches in the garden (where we sat.) What a meal! The Gazpacho was the most subtle and delectable I have ever tasted. The tuna tartare was perfectly seasoned and mounded into a cone with tiny, tasty lentils. The pork Dijon was the right combination of Dijon mustard heat and something sweet, accompanied by simple broccoli florets and tasty roasted tomatoes. Everything was beautifully plated without being pretentious. Stephen had two house mescals, and I had a glass of nicely chilled white house wine which certainly could have been French. Let us not forget the chocolate fondant! It was perfectly creamy and chocolaty, topped with a mint sauce, just the right accompaniment. Including a 100 peso tip, the whole thing cost about $35 American dollars. As one Internet reviewer said, “I may have had better French food somewhere, but it cost me ten times as much!”

Dawn being Dawn, I had to say something to the chef. The French was so easy, so relaxing to speak after struggling with Spanish here. I told him that from the soup to the dessert, everything was impeccable. Apparently he is from Bordeaux. I would have loved to chat more, but I didn’t see any sous-chef, and he was pretty busy.

Stephen:
We came back for our last night. It was a good but not as knock your socks off as the first time. About eight, guys started arriving with musical instruments. I asked one of them what kind of music it would be. He said, depends who shows up. I told him maybe Dawn might sing. He said great. (Dawn, you were in the ladies room, maybe a bunch more margaritas.)

Navegante

Navegante
Stephen: It is popular and small and they don’t put prices on the menu. Supposed to be the best place in town. We have come and gone now and we followed it by a walk on the beach under a full moon.

Dawn had the Rooster fish. These things are big and not cute. They get big enough that two people are needed to hold them up for the picture.
Rooster Fish
I had the filet mignon in a wine reduction sauce. We shared a goat cheese salad to start. It was all good but not wondrous. The place itself was beautifully designed. Someone on the internet called it a hole in the wall. If he had looked carefully he would have seen that it was a cinderblock room that had carefully been made into what it looked like, the lighting from the wicker backets playing no small part. The shadows on the ceiling and the walls were great. The room is across the road from the beach up eight feet or so and the ocean is not visible. The floor is sand. What a great idea. The staff is young and energetic. Before we left we used my phone to translate into Catalan, “The food was great”, so we could thank the chef in his native language. I don’t think we will go back. We’ve had meals like that before.
END OF SECOND TRAVELOGUE - I still will add pictures above, but most of the new writing is below.

Yoga at Cerro Largo

Cerro Largo
Stephen:
This is the view back in the direction of our house from Cerro Largo where I meditated while Dawn did yoga. I also started the Vulture piece that may or not appear later.

Dawn:
Even though we are traveling carry-on only this trip, I always bring my light weight travel yoga mat. Mostly I enjoy doing my own practice with a view of the ocean here, or some other view depending on locale. I did try two local classes the last two Sundays. The first was right across the street and taught by a Dutch woman who was completing her training. It was very careful and thoughtful. Still, I like a little more flow in a class.

Last Sunday we left here by 8:00 a.m. and walked, mostly uphill, for half an hour, to Cerro Largo, an eco-vegetarian place in a beautiful locale. The class was so packed, almost all the poses had to stay within the width of a mat. Mario is a more experienced teacher and taught con mucho corazon - lots of heart. He talked quite a bit, and we chanted many chants I did not know, but by the end of the practice, I felt like I had really worked. I also felt that important basic concepts were re-affirmed.

Night of the Gecko

Stephen:
So I want to tell you about my dream. It starts out with a young filmmaker who, during the movie premiere of his new film, is re-writing the ending and searching for a better title. The movie is loosely based on Look Homeward, Angel. Somehow the end of the movie takes place in the very theater that it is being shown in. He arranges for the projectionist to stop the film before the beginning of the final monologue so he can step in to deliver the new lines. Meanwhile the projectionist is fast forwarding the film so when the filmmaker is done and says, “Roll Credits,” the projectionist can do so and in a few minutes the showing is over.

The audience is shocked, but before they can respond he tells them that the new title is “Angel,” and the five young actresses from Sarah Lawrence College who are down there in some kind of workshop situation, each learning the part, are each going to write their own ending monologue and the movie is going to be released in five different versions, each with its different final monologue.

I have to break in here to say that I had been sick to my stomach earlier in the evening and now was running a pretty good fever. So in this state, my mind was pounding at the dream over and over. Worse still, I decided that I wanted to remember the dream for the morning, so while I was awake I was remembering it and then I fell asleep my mind would continue to pound away at it.

The situation outside the dream was just a crazy. I was now sleeping on Dawn’s side to be closer to the toilet and had turned on the light in the bathroom so I could see where I might need to be going. The light was a small spotlight that shined in our faces in bed, so I felt I was undergoing a prison torture every time I opened my eyes. Actually, I remember just opening one eye.

Back to the dream. The filmmaker gets into an argument with his public relations person who is telling him that every film has to have an exact running time and this film won’t. The filmmaker says he will make the five monologues exactly the same time. This dream is difficult to remember because it make no sense. I know that.There is no Angel in Wolfe’s story. It’s a biblical quote. Oops, it is not a Biblical quote but a carved marble angel gravesite market. It was on the porch of Gant’s father’s monument store. If this is the character called Angel, it’s going to be a strange part.
angel

Now the real world, I notice that Dawn is awake and I ask her to get an eye covering and I tell her where it is because I feel badly that the light in her eyes. She finds it but when I tell her that it is for her, she refuses it. Later, maybe midnight, the roosters start making their racket but with a vengeance. I think about the biblical reference to St. Peter who denies knowing Christ three times before the cock crows. Now, besides remembering the dream, I am also trying to figure out if the roosters mean anything. All I know is St. Peter would have to say it fast three times if he wanted to get it in around here tonight.

This is before the dogs start in. There must be a new one in the neighborhood because what used to be just a hubbub is now a full scale riot. Shakespeare has got a lot of dogs in his plays (Cry havoc and let slip the dogs of war) and certainly Sherlock Holmes had the one famous quote which certainly can’t mean anything here because it was about a dog that didn’t bark in the night.) The gecko made a late appearance, coming down the wall on Dawn’s side. What is the relationship between geckos and iguanas? And for that matter what do defrocked priests and Richard Burton have to do with all this, My night of the gecko? All I know is that I was not planning to fatten it.

I guess the rest of the night was about keeping myself cool with a wet bandana and wondering whether morning would ever come. It did. I seemed to be recovered, although tired and now that I have written it, done.

Some Mexican Idiosyncrasies

Dawn:
In all of Mexico, and perhaps in Central and South America, toilet paper is never flushed. This was true in Costa Rica also. A trash receptacle is always provided near the toilet for used paper. Personally, i think it is a great idea. The soiled paper will eventually disintegrate in landfills rather than clogging sewage systems and ultimately ending up in some form in our precious oceans.

Tap water is not potable. Huge trucks with the sign, “Agua para uso humano” with a 10,000 liter capacity pump water into our swimming pool and home reservoirs and pickup trucks deliver five-gallon jugs of drinking water.

If you are going to wash fresh veggies and fruits in tap water, the water needs to be disinfected before use, There is a product called Microdyn that comes in a small squeeze bottle. Add seven drops to a liter of water and soak the fruits and veggies for ten minutes before use. If you are going to boil them to cook them you don’t need to disinfect.

Here at Casa Azul, there is no hot water. The weather is so hot and humid that it is rarely missed, although it would help when trying to shampoo salt and sand out of my hair.

Gallos y perros: The roosters get going at about 5:00 a.m. Then the dogs join in. We are usually in bed by 9:00!

Stephen:
I think Dawn has been sleeping through the 1 AM rooster party.

The People of Casa Azul

Dawn:
The owner, Yolanda, is a lovely 83-year-old who walks her dog early every morning, and does yoga, including hanging upside down in a suspended sling on her terrace. For those of you lucky enough to have known Ruth Wheeler, Yolanda reminds me of her, the same wiry, strong body and elegance. During our stay, she went to an “Afro-Mexican” community to volunteer by talking to people who had various ailments and escorting them to a healer. It was a bit hard for me to know if the therapy was massage, Reiki, osteopathy, or some other kind of hands-on technique. She said the results were amazing. Because she did this work, I decided to share the promo video of the Reach program with her. She was very moved and impressed by the program.

Mattie maintains and cleans all three casitas as well as Yolanda’s house every day except Sunday. We did not expect daily maid service here! When I asked if we could get a photo of us “tres mujeres,” Benny, the puppy showed up. I said, “No, Benny, tu no eres una mujer.” (You are not a woman.) Well, Mattie corrected me, so after two weeks of hanging out with this sweet puppy, I looked! Sure enough, she’s a girl! When I said that I thought Benny was a male name, she clarified that it was a nickname for Benita. So now I call the dog “Senorita Benita!”

Arturo has been noted in a photo caption. He is a sweet young man and very knowledgeable about plants. The garden is really quite large at Casa Azul, and he maintains it beautifully. He also maintains the little pool and unclogged our sink when needed.

Stephen and I believe that giving generous tips is our job in Mexico. Everything is so inexpensive, and we are so lucky, that we tend to tip higher than what most folks are apparently accustomed to.

Sara is a lovely, young Mexican woman with a toddler and married to a former French pastry chef. She manages several properties through Airbnb, although we booked Yolanda’s place directly as it was recommended by our friend, Luciana. We had a fascinating chat with Sara one day. She worked for some time in Boston for a company that had something to do with surveillance cameras.

Our review of Casa Azul

Casa Azul has been a five star experience for us. My review will try to help you decide if it would be for you.

We like being a little away from the water and the main street. After a swim or a meal, we could walk back to our casita in a couple of minutes. There is a moment of steepness, but it is not difficult. We are both over seventy and we feel we need the exercise. After getting back, we could wash the sand off our feet and bodies at the outside shower, take a dip in the pool or not and then relax on our deck.

We loved the casita. Its openess with many windows with no glass, double wooden doors that opened wide. Sometimes a window shutter needed to be closed to keep out the full moon which otherwise poured onto our bed. The moonlight provided enough light for a couple of moonlight dips. In the morning, there were some moments when the rising sun needed to be kept out also.

We loved the possibility of community. We shared the pool with a Chilean couple and their young son, everyone getting a chance to try a foreign language. Yolanda lives full time in the little compound and is there to make some suggestions about yoga, massages and restaurants. There is a lot of talk about restaurants, everyone has an opinion. Our two week stay allowed us to find the ones we liked and return to them.

We loved the garden and the limes we got from it. Flowers and greenery abound. The garden is a major contributor to the sense of well-being and contentment that we felt here.

Some details:

None of the places at Casa Azul are handicap accessible.
There is no heated water. In February this was not a problem except for hair shampooing.
Drinking water is supplied in the large five gallon jars with a hand pump. It was great to have drinking water without contributing to the great plastic water bottle mess.
There is no AC. The fan over the bed works great and there always seemed to be a breeze.
If you are going to cook, make plans to stop in Pochutla in your car or taxi to pick up supplies at the supermarket there. Talk with Sara about the details. There are small stores for fruits and vegetables and other sundries in town.

Enjoy.

Heading for Hualtulco, another Beach Town
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