Wednesday, December 11, 2019
Previous visit Articles:
Click here for a look at dining costs in Zihuantenjo for 2017.
Click here for the 2016 blog.
click here for 2014 and 2011
click here for 2014, 2012 and 2011
click here for 2011 with maps
Impressions of a Trip:
The trip to Mexico's Zihuantenjo is one we look forward to each year in mid December. This is what I wrote to try and capture the flavor of our annual sojourn to Zihuantenjo.
The flight departure time this year was at 06:00 so that meant getting up;at 02:00 and taking a dark drive to the airport. All went well until LAX.
First World Problem:
We were in line to board and were told to go out to another line to get our passports checked again??
Ok, we did that but the line was on hold for some couple that had issues with theirs (they did make the flight but were last off the plane in Mexico). The repercussion for us was a bit unexpected, the delay in boarding meant there was NO room for us in the overhead luggage for our roller carry on bags. We were in row 6, just aft of the First Class seats so in a good position to exit the plane and get an early place in the Customs line. I had to put the bags in the overhead in row 15, no bueno!
To mitigate this I took action and illegally exited my seat before the plane had removed the seatbelt sign and before the aisle filled. Otherwise there would be a LONG wait to move back to retrieve the luggage. All worked well and we were through Customs and even got the 'Green' light at the last inspection point when Lori pushed the button.
More transportion fun:
We shared a taxi to town for the first time and that worked pretty well with our cost being $350 pesos or about $17 US (19.5 pesos = 1 US dollar). Our driver had very little English but our BnB host came out to greet us and was able to translate all and our it was good for everyone.
More Fist World Problems:
On getting connected to the BnB wi-fi I found 5 texts from our Visa folks. Apparently there were some fraudulent charges totalling over $4500 so our card had to be canelled. Fortunately, Lori was able to talk with everyone and get all our cards checked so we are good to go but just not with the Alaska Airline card which are now cut up and being replaced.
A quick shower (no hot water yet, maybe soon?) and lie down for a bit at 03:30 local time and then the queit ambiance disappeared as the Guadaloupe (sp?) celebrations included LOUD fireworks that shook the entire bay with some going off within a block our our room. BOOM = NO Nap!
Dining Decision Day 1:
We decided to eat at our local restaurant, now called the Cantinita whcih is where we spend our days on the beach. They provide drinks, tables, umbrellas and food for the dayon the white sand beach and we pay them.. (Generally around $350 pesos a day depending on how much food and drink) Win Win. Dinner there is good too and no hassle as it is just a 2 minute walk from our room.
There was a two man band playing Juanto Zihua, and they were very fine to listen to and we even danced a cha cha to La Bamba in the sand in the middle of the restaurant.. Fun showing off our dance skills. We were very pleased as this addition and apparently there is music every night there. This band plays Tuesdays and Sundays.
Dinner was $530 plus tip. Split a Ceasar salad with yummy chicken, two bowls of tortilla soup and two glasses of a good Sauvignon Blanc. White sand for a floor, lit up palm trees with sparkling lights, Full moon, the ocean about 40' away with waves coming and going. WOW, does it get better than that? Excellent food and atmosphere! This was the happening spot too. More diners there than we had seen in the past 10 years this early in the season (Dec. 10).
We were back in the room by 20:30 and sleeping inside of an hour. I was up at 05:00 and went off for a 2 mile or so walk in the dark with the full moon. A bit spooky but pleasant.
Got to a view point up on the hill where I could see the bay and hills and the full moon setting! WOW The lower the moon went the more orange it appeared. NO clouds!
Showered and coffeeed now have caught up on my first day's imp;ressions in this blog.
Plan for Day 2:
We have enough pesos to spend the day on the beach and then go to town for our first encounter with Jimi Mamou, our favorite Blues muscisian in the world. He is a legend, being 82 this year and had played with Muddy Waters, friend of Otis Redding, on the same stage as Jimi Hendricks , etc...
Jimi Mamou plays at Daniel's Restaurant down town Z-town on Wednesday and Friday nights from 7-9 pm. It is our intention to go there and listen and dance while we are here.
We will access more pesos at the bank in town and I will watch Lori shop.
Impressions on Day 2:
I started our day early as noted above still trying get back into a sleep rhythmn. After breakfast we made our way to the beach at 11:00 and walked the length of that magnificient sandy edge of the bay. Walking in the waves o 1-2" of 80 degree water is so relaxing and maybe the sand abrades the callous off the bottom of the foot?
We settled in at our table at Cantinita (formerly called Elvira's) with drinks. My favorite is mango juice blended with ice, while Lori has a Liminada on the rocks.
Minor lunch with corn chips, frijoles and pico de gaio. YUMMM. Bill for the day $185
A dip in the ocean and then a bit of walking looking at the construcion of the Sodoventi (sp?) which has been going on now for at least 2 years. Maybe 3-4 more to finish it?
Back to the room at 14:00 for showers and a nap. Cocktails (G&Ts) and chips at 16:00 and then off to town at 17:30 for cash, groceries, and dinner / dancing at Daniels with Jimi Mamou. Chicken fajita split for two and we couldn't even eat that portion. Bill was $230.
Home at 22:30. The basketball square and street leading to it were decorated with ziillions of while lights. VERY Pretty.
Very fun sitting listening to Jimi and watching the crowd walk by and start dancing to his music. Lori and I got in one WC swing. Her shoes were giving her blisters! Ouch.
Predictions for Day 3: (made in the morning of)
Beach with swimming this time.
This early in the High Season there is very litle crowding on the beach!
Maybe dining at the Italian a short walk away (Gianni's Tratoria) or at Patty's for a salad.
Maybe rent SUP and try that paddling. IF there is wind and it doesn't look like it, rent a Hobie for an hour $500/hour.
Impressions of Day 3 afrer the fact:
Slept in again but did make it to the beach around noon.
Our first stop was La Gaviota which required a walk to the south end of La Ropa. It is a newly remodeled breakfast/Lunch spot that sits up on a rock with a fine view of the entire bay. The palapa style roof keeps all the sun out and the wind from the bay can come in and cool. The tile floors are clean and cool.
The menu was narmal but this place had sopes so we split an order with limondas. Yumm and planty to eat for lunch. $220
This might be our new favorite spot. Our waitress's name is Grace (Gracia) and she loves to practice her English and is helping with my Spanish.
From here we walked down the beach to La Cantinita and had drinks and read. No swimming, jsut walking in the waves on the beach. Back to the room around 15:00 for a shower and a nap.
UP for cocktails (white wine from our fridge) and popcorn (microwave) at 16:30.
Out to dinner, new place:
Dinner planswas an experiment on the closest place we could walk to. Restarant Mary that used to be in a kind of a run down alley that went to the beach for public access. The Mexican government ;put in new vendor booths, pacved the alley in stamped concrete and Mary's got a huge facelift..
Not really the ambiance of La Cantinita or La Gaviota as there was no view out. We were the only customers at 17:00 but in for a penny, in for dinner! It was very clean and the prices were low.
We ordered and split one mahi mahi, fried with a salad fixing and frijoles so I built 3 fish tacos and Lori ate her fill and we still left some on the plate. It was very good! Total for that meal. $200
Home in 3 minutes of walking and watched Robin Hood with Russell Crowe off our computer hardrive library.
All in all a very lazy day that was fabulous..
Plan for day 4:
Lori wants to go to town for a bit of tourst shopping so off to the bus stop around 11:00.
We are going back to town later to listen to Jimi again at Daniels.
Impressions for Day 4:
To town by bus (little combi busses) at 11ish and then a walk through the main market looking for a new fruit called guanavana which is a green lumpy fruit that has large white seeds you eat. Not in season apparently. Liked walking through all the little cafe bars in the market. Good looking food but we were just not hungry yet.
Next was a walk to the tourist market and to see if there were any clay Xocholoesqintle (Aztec for dog I guess)dogs that Lori has a collection of. There were a couple of possible ones for sale.
We had an iced coffee and liminada by the fishing boats watching the flow of the waterfront and talking with a new visitor, Scott who was on his own down here. He had an Air BnB for $23 a night down town, 2 bedroom, AC etc... nice. He was moving in two days to near us at Villa Mexicana hotel..
Next was a light lunch of sopa de tortilla and quesidilla with pico de gaio. $170
Home on the bus and nap time, cocktail hour with wine and popcorn.
Back into a taxi (there is a taxi stand 100m from our room so it is very easy. The price went up on the trip to town. It is now $55 up from $50 last year.
A bit of wandering found us taking ;photos of the new lights hung for the Xmas season. VERY fun, it is a mini Las Vegas on the walking street and the basketball court square.
Then it was time for dinner and music at Daniels again. We split a Princess Salad and order of garlic bread. $270 with the iced teas. Jimi was on form and rocking and rolling. The sidewalk had all sorts of interesting sights walking by between us and Jimi. The tables are all out on the malecon under the almond trees and then the sand and water of the bay.
There is a constant flow of strolling locals and ex-pats who start dancing and moving with the music as they go by. There was even a small of around 4 years old, holding a toy guitar on a balcony right over Jimi and this little kid was dancing up a storm. It was very fun.
Lori and I got in two dances of West Coast swing. She had better dacing shoes tonight.
Predictions for Day 5 (Saturday)
We have arranged to be dropped off in Ixtapa this morning as we intend to rent bikes and ride the nature trail of 12 km each way. That is a fun thing and the trail is paved about 12' wide so is very nice with only a few hills.
Maybe go to Rossi's for music with Steve and Friends on La Ropa tonight for dinner.
Impressions for Day 5:
It appears the predictions came true but need to be filled in with some detail
The bikes were great and the shop is right on the trail about one mile towards the marina from our landlord's store. The distance we rode was only 8 km each way but the trail is smooth and well cared for, mostly level but with some hills up and down. The trail departs from next to the road at the 3 km sign and then winds through the jungle to Playa Linda where there are many restaurants and a very long beach of white sand. Bus loads of locals show up here and we had a good lunch of fruit, chips and pico de gaio with beer and liminada.
Our comfy seats on our bikes were perfect and after we rode a bit we could shift up and down. Nice Trek brand bicycles and for the trip the cost was $500 all in. We did see maybe 20 other bikes and a few hikers on the path. The only wildlife was a 3' iguana but he made a lot o noise in the bush as we were taking a water break at a deck look out over a pond.
We were tired on our return but good. The bike shop guy pointed out the bus stop and we were on a bus to Zihua inside of 4 minutes for a cost of $28 for boh of us.
Tragedy Strikes Tourists:
We left our bag on the bus! Lost a couple of Kindles, compass and water bottles. No question we were disoriented on getting off the little bus in a strange part of town and just left it tucked down where it had ridden. We didn't notice it gone until we had a bottle of gin purchased and were going to put it in the bag.
Now we have to rely on our BnB library of paperbacks which is actually quite large.
Tragedy number 2 (Not as bad)
We found a optomoligist shop and took my reading glasses in to be tightened and fournd the bridge was broken. They were sent out and supposed to be back in 30 minutes....NADA. The following day is Sunday and they are closed so on Monday I have a mission. This is the seond pair of glasses I brought with me and the first just disappeared out of my now lost bag a few days ago.
The day finishes:
tgWe took a shower and a nap, Cocktails and popcorn, then off to Rossi's for dinner. Steve and Friends are playing. We arrived arou 6:45 and they stopped playing an hour later or less. Good song selections though. We walked in to Crimson and Clover (not quite Tommy James but OK) Next was I feel good by James Brown and a few other oldes done by one American (Steve, our age and just making it by physically) and his backup band of local muscians. The lead guitar was real good as was the drummer who mostly caught his drum sticks. An acoutic guitar, keyboard, and a banjo acompanied Steve who played ryhthm.
We split a mixed salad and a plate of prawns with garlic. Again too much for both of us. With the water drinks it was $310, no cover.
Home to cards and then some TV off the computer. I managed two wins in Skip Bo against the Countess.
Prediction for Day 6: (Sunday)
Search for a massage, go to the Seahawk game at La Pearla or Banditos downtown at noon.
Dinner at La Cantinta because Juanito Zihua is playing.
Impressions and memory of what occured Sunday.
The Seathawk game was big fun with a win over the Panthers. Lots of big pass plays. Russell Wilson is ON FIRE. There were 6 Seahawk fans and 2-3 Panther fas (who really didn't expect a win.
Fresh squeezed OJ, water, beer, club sandwich with fries = $240 All good.
Divine Intervention and a HERO shows UP!:
There was a BIG surprise waiting on the patio for us. Our little back pack (last seen on the mini bus) was sitting on our couch. Our host, Joel had been informed of our lost bag and took it on. One of his store employees did quite a bit of phone call work and located the bag by figuring out which bus it was. Joel gave the bus driver $200 and I gave Joel $400 for his reward reimusement and $200 for his empoyee. We cannot believe the bag came back in tact or at all! Clean living?
Continuation of the day:
I had gotent home around 15:00 and took a nap, had cocktail hour with the girl and later we went to Cantinita for dinner to listen to JuanitoZihua band. Very good all.
Dinner was Ceasar salad, Blackened tuna, 2 glasses of Sauvignon Blanco and ice cream. = $640!
It was very good.
Monday, Day 7
We went downtown to look at Aztec dogs, then walked new streets to the Optomitist where we had left the reading glasses for repair. They wanted $700 as the frames were just broken. We left them there as a pair of Costco reading glasses does NOT cost $35 US.
Grocery harvest included a box of microwave popcorn and some limes. We walked about a bit and ended up at lunch on the water at the Acadia with Ceasar again. Lori bought another Impeach 45 from Felix the wristband maker for $100.
Lunch was chips, frijoles, pico de gaio, tacos pollo, beer, and liminada. = $170
We got home and went to La Gaviota but it was closed. Then to La Perla for a drink and read in the shade of the trees and umbrellas. Walking back we found my favorite massage girl, Jadita, or she found us! Scheduled a massage for 11:00 the next day. Price is now $250.
Then discoverd that my flip flops were not with us..... Memory issue? We found them way down the beach were we had sat in La Gaviota. Since there was no one there the flip flops were there.
Home for G&Ts and popcorn and more reading for cocktail hour.
Dinner was a combination of Pollo Feliz BBQ chcken and salad, wine, garlic bread, and flan at Casa Elvira's run by our friend Nahume. It was good. $240 for Casa Elvira and $82 for Pollo Feliz.
Home to Casa Iguana by taxi.
Impressions of Tuesday (Day 8):
Slept in until 09:00 and made it to my massage at 11:30 on the beach. The price went up to $250 but was still as good from Jadita. A very strong girl! I staggered out of the tent and joined Lori at the Cnatinita for drink of water, some quesdillas, and liminada. ($230) and we went swimming, I made to the swim area ropes and floats and back with only one knee spasm. We read a while and then retired to the room for a shower and nap. All very leisurely.
We had our popcorn and some wine while reading some more. Cranked up Ancient Britain on the WD Live harddrive.and then watched the Seattle news feeds. Why we get ABC, NBC, andCBS from Seattle is a mystery but there it is and the weather just looked appalling with over 2" of rani expected each day for days!. It stops raining the day we get home.
We knew where to go and get great alfredo sauce and pasta! So we went and had a Greek salad, Fetticini and wine ($10). We found out the secret of the white sauce was the chef uses whipped cream instead of heavy cream. YUMMM. We were too full to do juch so just walked about with Lori trying to instill an IMPEACH TRUMP rally. We tried to split a small ice cream bu it was too much to finish.
Taxi home to cards where we split a win apeice. Truly a fine day all around!
Prediction of activity for Wednesday:(Day 9)
(Written on the monring of)
Dinner at Daniels to listen to Jimi Mamou. Otherwise nada! Pretty unstructured. Maybe a lunch at La Gaviota as we heard the cooking there is special!
Impressions of Wednesday (two days later)
We went to La Gaviota to hang out and read in their very nice restaurant and see what different options they had for lunch. The peanut dipping sauce was not available this time. That was good. We ended up ordering Tacos La Gaviota. Basically these are shrimp wrapped in cheese and coconut, served with avacado in tortillas. Talk about rich. The order of three tacos was too much for both of us to eat. Gustava (o?) was our waiter, a short guy with a big grin and only a bit o English. Cost with drinks ($250?)
We wandered back down the beach and took a swim in front of the Cantita and then back to the room for a shower and nap.
Discovery of simple remedy:
When ever we would leave the beach the sand on our feet is there and plenty evident. We just used a bottle of water to rinse them and it worked a treat. Making thes short walk home much more comfy.
Afternoon and Evening:
Cocktails and popcorn with a look at the news from home. Why we get our local TV stations way the heck down here on Mexico cable is a question mark but seeing the news and weather is a bonus.
We went off to Centro in a taxi and found our seats at Daniels to watch Jimi Mamou again. This time there sound competition as the basket ball court was full of a HUGE production that included many young girls in tuxido tails, top hat and bathing suits doing some dance routine to NY/NY song. I had never seen this many people around the court. VERY crowded but my height allowed me to see pretty well. LOTs of scenic !
Thursday (Day 10)
Onto the beach around 11:30 ? and got a table at La Cantinita with our new favorite waiter there Tony D, He is great. Very good English.
We went off for a walk and I found Jadita available for a massage so took advantage of it. One hour later I am back at the table having to put on the SPF she had replaced with massage oils. I would burn if that didn't happen.
New type of disc discovered:
There was a father son team from Issaquah throwing a strange floppy disc the size of disc golf discs but totally flat on the bottom. Berlin something on the graphics. Very floppy and flew nice and straight. Good at 30 yards.
We were futzing around with the menu and Lori asked about their Mediterrain (sp?) salad and then added in many other veggies and Tony saw to it we had a FABULOUS salad. This bears repeating! We were not stuffed but pleasantly sated. A new way to go for lunch.
A bit of a swim again for both of us and then back to the room around 3:30 for cocktails, popcorn, and a nap that didn't occur as Lori needed computer instruction on how to get photos from her phone to the computer.
We took a taxi in around 19:00 to the Cafe Marina and ordered a very good pesto sauce pizza, with two waters the bill was $210 (our least expensive meal for dinner here this trip).
Returning the room after ice cream and watching a bit of basket ball we played some cards, Skip Bo and Lori trounced me 2 games in a row. Retiring to bed we watched a Mrs. Bradley Mystery off the harddrives.
On waking around 07:15 Lori said she thought she felt an earthquake in the night. Research on the web showed a 3.2 and 3.9 within 16 km of us last night. Not unusual apparently..
Friday the 11th day:
Disc on the beach:
A similar lazy start to the day. Getting to the beach around noon and then taking a walk down the beach., I found my friend John from Kelowna BC. He brings a nice 175g Frisbee and we shot it for 30 minutes until his knee started talking to him. It was fun while it lasted. I was able to loose off a few shots in the 40 yard range that made me feel good about my skills. He has a good flick throw but only at 30 yards or less.
Back to the La Cantinita for the Mediterrean Salad a La Tony. YUMMMM. A swim and back to the room for a shower, nap, and then cocktails before leaving at 19:00 for dinner at Daniels with Jimi Mamou playing again. We ordered a Red Snapper with garlic, rice, veggies and water. $210 We split it and couldn't finish it but it was very tasty.
We went to the gelato place for a small one, walked about a bit around 22:00 and then caught a taxi home. Watched a bit of the Vicar of Dibley and then some Miss Marple. Hitting the pillow around midnight.
Saturday the 12th day:
UP at the crack of 09:30. Off to town for souvenirs at 11:00.
Archelogic shop by the DHL shipping had a fine ceramic horse and a ceramic dog both for $550. Wrapped for shipping!
We wandered the town and Lori shopped for little bowls and spent another $140 on 5 little bowls. I went over to Casa Elvira and had a large OJ and a plate of fruit ($110).
She found me and we wandered toward the bus stop (saves $50 pesos each way over a taxi) but we stopped at the Arcadia for a bite for her at 14:00. Quessidillas, frijoles, beer and liminda for $110
We like this place for lunch. Watched the cruising boats, now up to 6. One of the latest was a Catalina 42. She looked smallish next to the others but the largest was maybe 60. Now there a 6 cruisers in the bay. Started with two got to one and now 6 which is pretty normal.
At 15:00 our host, Joel brought us hot apple pie and vanilla ice cream! It was GREAT. We must be living the good life.
After that input of calories we had showers, nap, cocktails and are going to look for NW news on the KING channel we mysteriously get on the room TV. The KOMO channel had a bowl game that was a bit of a route.
Monday, December 9, 2019
Bling, DD, and myself met at 9:15 AM up at the Cook Road exit north of Mount Vernon and transferred to the U-Boat. It should be noted this was December 8 and the temp at the course was about 45 so light sweatshirt and vest with gloves for a costume.
DD offered me a bit of peanut butter and it made me happy for the day!
An unexpected Activity:
After making the turn off Highway 99 which we went north on, we passed a Sheriff with not much going on as we were doing near 60 mph in a 45... Condensed version: A warning about not having a front license plate and watch your speed. Whew!
We sedately went around Lake Whatcom and over to Highway 9 and then up to the MT. Baker Highway to Glacier. Trip length from Cook Road to Glacier was an hour, included our roadside discussion.
The little turnoff road to the left, just past the Ranger Station was REALLY potholed so the U-Boat got out the compressor and raised itself 3" for the 150' drive up the road. Pretty cool! (Did have to push a button.)
The weather was broken clouds with dapple in the forest that was wet from heavy dew. The course was all ours. The footing was treacherous on the first hole and a few other bits but we did think we played all 36 holes. The back 18 is not really labeled very well but we think we found them in order but didn't keep track of how many we found. Note: This course has the most up and down of any course in my experience. It is a real workout!
The beautiful moss on the ground is like a little Ewok forest you can see from 1000 feet. The (Spanish?) moss hanging from the trees is prevalent and really shows the shape of the forest. 4-5" thick in most trees. Even the targets have moss on them. All targets are some sort of hoop with net. All were in good repair. We had a couple of birds each and the scores were kept for each 18 as we were not sure if we would find all the holes in the back 18.
BL = -1 for the back, par for the front
DD = +4 for the back and +1 on the front
CF = par on the back and +1 on the front
One leaves for the back 18 after playing hole #8 by taking a left turn in the trail just before the #9 tee on the front 18. There is a short walk with a log crossing to the back #1 tee. From there just mainly follow the trail and look for targets. Scouting (or called Nancy by us) is a good idea if you have not played or have a long and wrong throw in you. We did spend some time looking for Katanas that went walkabout out of sight, but no discs were lost in this outing.
We got off the course around 1:30 so three hours of pretty fine hiking, interrupted by a throw or 80.
Search for food:
There are many options for food intake but we tried the cafe in Glacier first. Closed for remodel but opening soon again. We opted for taking the Baker Highway all the way to Bellingham, search for Deming but didn't really see any commercial district but there was an interesting tavern that was serving BBQ pork sandwiches at the turnoff to Everson.
Yelp found 5 stars for this Italian place way out there but the Count wanted a "Cafe" and stipulated 3 cars outside for our search parameters. Bling got his Yelp started and handed it to DD. The learning experience didn't last too long and Bling got the phone back. One cafe in Bellingham had 4 1/2 stars so we headed in.
We would NEVER have found it without Yelp directions. It is located in a small residential housing area and has a small market attached to it and one SMALL sign. There is parking for two cars out front and some across the street apparently. It looked closed but the windows for the cafe are just smoked. GREAT FIND!
BLing had a Reuben with fries (all great!) while DD and CF had a BLTA with a cup of soup, made in house (potato and chicken mushroom). Great coffee too.
We started with a closely contested game of cribbage, interrupted by the delivery of food, which was scarfed while the board and cards lay dormant. DD took the win, with CF in the stink hole and BL about 10 point from the end.
Switching to Down the River (DTR), we played 6 games and in the end it was a draw with each of us taking 2 games to victory. It should be noted that DD sat at the little kids table for quite a few hands as BL and CF duked it out to last Ace round at least 2 times.
There is a black light rain coat in the trunk of the U-Boat. it wasn't there before the trip.