What more could we ask for, lazy beach days and
reuniting with friends. That is why we keep returning to Zihuatanejo and our
favourite beach, La Madera.
What more could we ask for, lazy beach days and reuniting with friends. That is why we keep returning to Zihuatanejo and our favourite beach, La Madera.
We arrived in Zihua on January 24, just in time to join our friends Suzanne and David Andrews, Sheila MacDonald and Barry Mair, and Marg and Jack Dunphy, who were already in Zihua, enjoying the sun, for dinner at La Gula, one of our favourite restaurants. It was a great way to catch up on all their activities and to find out what was to happen in the next few weeks. It was sure to be a very busy time.
Our apartment this year was in Paraiso Suites on Eva Samano de Lopez Mateos directly above La Madera Beach. A flight of 76 brightly coloured stairs beside a nearby condo building leads the way to the beach. The living room and bedroom were the best features, with lots of sun and great views of Zihuatanejo Bay. We slept with the windows open, listening to the soothing sounds of the surf. The very compact kitchen took getting used to, but we eventually adapted, prompting us to reserve the same unit for next year. Paraiso Suits is one of several condo style buildings
Miguel, the waiter at our favourite beach restaurant on La Madera Beach, remembered us and greeted us warmly. We were glad to see that several friends from last year were already there and the swimming was still as good as we remembered. Ray and I started our daily routine of swimming out to a buoy a few 100 M offshore and I swam across the bay. After the swim we cooled down by walking the beach and ended with lunch at the beach restaurant. Once a week I took advantage of the excellent masseurs in the small tent on La Madera Beach. The ladies are all good, but Ana was my choice as she knew just the right pressure to exert to sooth my sore muscles. Life is tough.
If fresh fish is on the menu, that is what we pick. Since Zihuatanejo is still an active fishing port, we have lots of choices to buy fish to cook ourselves. If we are up early enough in the morning, we walk along the town beach where a line of fishing boats are pulled up along the shore. The fishermen display their fish for the day on cloths on the sand or on top of big boxes where they store their gear for the next day. The fishermen are only too glad to sell you a whole fish or cut off a steak or a fillet just the right size for you. If you don’t see the type of fish you wanted, the Central Market has several booths waiting to provide you with their freshest fish. The market also has lots of fresh vegetables, fruits and everything else you need to cook a tasty meal. Be sure to admire the sand sculptures along the beach when you return with your purchases. We are spoiled in Zihua.
Zihuatanejo was filling with sailboats, there to take part in the annual Sailfest, with activities designed to raise funds for several local schools. Barry Mair reserved an evening sail around the bay for eight of aboard Northern Passage, owned by Donna and Tim, from the Vancouver area. We boarded the boat in the late afternoon and cruised the bay, culminating in watching the sun set over the open Pacific. It was amazing how different Zihua looked from the perspective of looking back to shore rather than the other way around. Later, we participated in another annual fund raiser for Sailfest. After enjoying sampling five different chilis, we voted for the best chili recipe. It was hard to pick the best as so many were very tasty.
There is nothing like an evening on the beach enjoying a good dinner. The choice for us, the Andrews, Dunphys and Mairs was La Arena, which set up tables on the sand every evening. We started with Margaritas and while we waited for our dinners, Suzanne, using Margaret as a subject, taught us to create a panorama with multiples of the same subject using her iPhone. We had fun producing triplicate poses of me and Margaret with Zihuatanejo bay in the background.
Monday evening is not the best day to decide to have take-out pizza for dinner. Ray and I wanted to entertain the Andrews, Dunphys and Mairs before they left for San Miguel de Allende at the end of January. All was good until we discovered our choice of restaurant offering take-out pizza wasn’t open on Monday. After asking several restaurants for advice, David Andrews and I finally found Vavan Pizza who were open and could provide us with take-out pizza for ten hungry customers.
Unfortunately, our group was reduced to eight when Donna and Dave cancelled. Poor Donna came down with severe intestinal problems, just as they were preparing to join us. We didn’t know then that Ray and I were soon to be victims of Montezuma’s Revenge as well. It took several weeks and visits to two doctors before our problems were resolved. We were both well enough to swim and walk on the beach but our diet was restricted for the remainder of the month. We both are slimmer than when we arrived in Mexico but are now back to normal health.
In the meantime, we were pleased to find our friends, Joyce and Don Kaplan from Minnesota and Neidra and Ed from Northern BC, at the beach each day. Imagine our surprise when Sandy and Ron Johnson, from Vancouver, who we had thought was not coming to Zihua this year, arrived at the beach in early February. Being avid ice skating dancers, they stayed in Vancouver to watch the Canadian skating championships, held in Vancouver prior to the Olympics, before coming to Mexico. With new friends arriving every day, including the “Saskies” a large group from Saskatchewan who come for the month of February each year, we had plenty of company at the beach.
Every Tuesday and Wednesday morning I went to Yoga with Victoria, still in operation in Casa Celeste, a nice small hotel in the center of Zihua. As she had last year, Sandy joined me and the two of us thoroughly enjoyed our classes.
Our Thursday visits to Santa Prisca to hear the music and drink mescal were skipped but we did attend an excellent concert featuring Jose Luis Cobo, called “the father of guitarists in Zihua”, who plays at Santa Prisca. The concert also included several other very good musicians, friends of Jose Luis Cobo. It was a good concert to attend.
The Olympics were on and Sandy and Ron were planning on watching the finals of the pairs dancing. La Hija de Capitano (the Captain’s Daughter) pub had big screen TVs with the Olympics available. We accompanied Sandy and Ron to the pub and watched mens’ 2-man bobsled races, where Canada eventually tied Germany for the gold medal. The pairs dancing were next, just what Sandy and Ron were waiting for. Sandy had once been a competition level dance skater and still practices. Ron started skating at age 60 and now partners with their sister-in-law Liz, in Vancouver. It was a tight competition with the Canadians, Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, coming up with Gold, followed by a French pair in Silver and a sister-brother American team in bronze. Two other Canadian pairs placed in the top 10, which is allows Canada to enter more pairs in future competitions. We picked the right day to watch the completion.
Tiritas de Pescado is the signature dish of Zihuatanejo. There is even an annual festival where chefs from restaurants in Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa prepare their own version of this fish ceviche dish, where the fish is cut into strips and marinated in lime. People were lined up for this year’s event, held on the main town dock, to pay $150 MXP each to sample as many varieties as they liked. Next year we will make sure we put it on our calendar.
The Kaplans very kindly invited us to dinner at their apartment, intending to treat us to Don’s specialty, arrachera beef, marinated skirt or flank steak. This year, with our restricted diets due to Montezuma, he switched to roast chicken. Joyce gave me her secret recipe. Don buys a roasted chicken at Sam’s Club and Joyce heats it up in a pan with some water to keep it moist. She served it with potatoes and carrots. It was delicious.
Yoga had a surprise for me on our last day in Zihua when Sue and Jim House, from Ottawa joined the class. They had just arrived in Zihua after visiting San Miguel de Allende and Mexico City. Sue said that Joan Potter told her she thought we were going to be in both Zihua and San Miguel, but Joan didn’t know the exact dates. I suggested they come to La Madera Beach in the afternoon, which they did. We were glad to be able to chat with them on our last day in Zihua after we left, as we were flying to San Miguel de Allende the next day.
We are looking forward to visiting with our friends next year in Zihuatanejo and exploring more of Zihuatanejo area.
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