Thursday, January 14, 2010

No Trouble in Paradise....

January 2010

San Miguel News # 4 from Zihuatanejo
Alice, Max, Carlos and I departed San Miguel early Saturday morning, January 9, 2010, leaving the 40 degree weather and dark cloud-filled skies behind, quite unusual for this time of year. In an easy 6 hour drive, we arrived in paradise, 85 degrees, sunny, white sand beaches beckoning, a beautiful 2 bedroom “villa”, complete with a sunset view from the terrace. W e toasted our good fortune with wine as we gazed out at the sparkling blue bay. AH! The wonder of it all.

That was our first night. Whoever thought it couldn’t get any better than that was mistaken. Up early. I watched the sunset reflect on the water, loving the sounds of the waves hitting the shore. A few people walked briskly along the beach as I climbed into an oversized comfortable lounge chair to finish my first book of the trip. When the others finally dragged themselves out of bed an hour or two later, I was well on my way to completing The Kommandant’s Girl, and almost ready for my morning siesta! We ate breakfast while observing sailboats and fishing boats readying themselves for the day, as well as a few para-sailors soaring past our windows.

Our first day was a lazy one. After breakfast, , we secured 4 beachside lounge chairs, shaded by a large grass palapa. We all plopped down, books in hand, and barely moved all day.

Our activities for the day were: swimming in the infinity pool (me), rock collecting (me), ocean dipping (me, Max and Carlos), ordering food and drinks (Max and Carlos), napping (Max, Alice and Carlos), and walking along the beach ( a total group experience).

I am well into my second read, People of the Book, a fascinating historical fiction of the Sarajevo Haggaddah. Carlos just finished Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna. All of San Miguel is reading it for she will be the featured speaker at the San Miguel Writer’s Conference in February ( Unfortunately, we will be in Buenos Aires and will miss the conference.

After an exhausting day (it’s tough work being on vacation), we mustered up enough energy to walk into town. It was Sunday night so most everything was closed, but there was a music festival going on. Nothing too compelling, so we went to an Italian seafood restaurant for dinner. Back at the “villa”, we spent the next few hours challenging each other with the game Quiddles.

The days go by, calm and relaxing like the beautiful bay. We are all getting along famously and have a lot of laughs. These are our roles: Max, deacon of the Church of Stop Shopping and securer of beach chairs; Carlos is translator, driver and general handyman;

Max and Linda busy working on their computers....

Alicia is in charge of customer service and the complaint department; and I am chief rock collector (and centerpiece creator),

journal writer and chief correspondent for SMN ( It is the lifeof Riley, to be in this beautiful country and luxuriate in the warmth and sunshine of such a beautiful setting.

Our roomcleaner is a small young man named Orlando. He comes every other day and makes the bed, empties the trash, sweeps and dusts...oh yes, he folds one towel into a bird shape...

Food is mostly simple and snapper (huachinango, which seems to be the national fish of Mexico) and shrimp, prepared simply...grilled with garlic.

Sometimes the food is fancy, as it was at Amuleta, a tiny hotel and restaurant parked on a hillside high above the town.

One night we passed a restaurant where a large parrot sat on the windowsill of the kitchen.

One morning we drove to a small beach town along the coast. Talk about desolate! But a lovely beach and restaurants under a pelapa.

Alice and Linda did a little shopping.

While Max and I relaxed....

We saw this cute little girl.

Then back to the hotel for more relaxation on the beach and another beautiful sunset....

Gotto go now; the beach is calling.

Much love,

Linda, Carlos

Alicia and Max

Friday, January 1, 2010

New Year's Eve Redux

Last year, Linda and I blogged New Year's Eve in San Miguel. This year, New Year's Eve was just as much fun! We started with a potluck dinner at our house for 14 friends.

Susan and Mark brought some of Mark's homebrew beer (see Mark's beer blog)

 New friends and neighbors Joanna and Stan from Santa Barbara, California.

Dirk making a point!

Nancy and Linda posing for the camera!

The hosts....

Senora Alicia looking muy hermosa. And Max, her husband, is also clearly enjoying the meal!

Susan and chef Linda (wearing her new apron which she made with Hope that afternoon)

and of course Linda and the Hopester!

Look closely and you will see Bella on her back, sleeping peacefully amidst all the hubbub.

Minnie Mouse (yes, the ears light up and flash!)

After dinner and plenty of liquid refreshments, we walked downtown for the fireworks. The Jardin (town square) was packed with thousands of revelers. Music, dance, lights....adults, teens, children and babies....

 Lots of Chilangos (well dressed tourists from Mexico City), like this lovely young lady on the cell phone and the revelers in their red hats outside a disco.

Many of the people were wearing festive masks, costumes and hats.

The fireworks were less impressive than they were last year, except for the Bicentennial display (see first photo on this blog).

This thing lit up the sky for almost five minutes! Below is the illuminated church clocktower as midnight approached.

Lots of giant sparklers waved by young and old
Giant screen TV and searchlight in front of the Parochia (church in main town square)

Hope and Dirk (fellow Detroiters) enjoyed the light show!

On the way home we ran into our friend Raoul, the watchmaker, with his grandson (visiting from Oregon), who could barely keep his eyes open!

We arrived home about 12:30, exhausted and ready for bed. One of our neighbors must have been having a party, for Mexican music was blaring at earsplitting volume. I thought we would never be able to get to sleep, but within five minutes, we were out for the night.

Feliz Ano Nuevo
Happy New Year 2010