Thursday, April 1, 2010
Arrived in Yelapa by boat. Saw dolphins along the way. The porters joked as they helped us into our "panga", a water taxi, the only way to get to Yelapa, as there are no roads. A Mexican flag served as the roof for our humble transport. Bright clear day. It's an hour trip, with Mary in her outsized life jacket laughing at Peach the dog. She closed her eyes, preening in the sun like the pretty girls at the front of the boat.
Best way to get a tip if you're a porter? Ask for one.
No Fernando, our host, at the pier in Yelapa, but Corrie recognized our place just up the hill from the pictures she'd seen. There are no true streets here, only very narrow alleys, like in a Hong Kong gangster movie, as the heroes race away on motorcycles. The trails spider web in all directions.
We found our place, only 10 minutes from the pier. Amazing view of the whole bay: villagers fishing, water taxis at anchor, and the Marietas islands far in the distance. Waves are the constant soundtrack. Almost deafening, we're that close.
Exploring our new pad for the week. The find that excited Corrie and Mary by far the most: the monster bathtub!
After unloading, we decided to explore the environs a bit. We followed the sounds of chanting and found a large group of women--only women. After listening for a bit, we figured out they were saying the Hail Mary, all of them perched around a large front patio, with a small wooden table covered in pictures and statuary the focus of their prayers. We respectfully passed by, feeling like we were intruding a bit.
We ended our day by meeting up with our friend Terri Jo, the closest thing we had as a guide to this pleasantly odd little place. We shared beers, waves, and popcorn made on the stove as the sun slipped behind the wall of the bay.
Friday April 2, 2010
Cloudy day, mostly. Maybe the coolest we've had.
In the evening, we turned a corner and we very nearly ran over Jesus Christ. Cross and everything. Terri Jo had warned us that the Yelapans would be doing a processional through town. It only occurred to me later, after seeing Mexican grandmothers putting out little tables with white linen table clothes, adorned with fresh flowers, that they were preparing for a town-wide Stations of the Cross. I noticed, uncomfortably and guiltily, that I didn't automatically put my hands into a praying posture.
Mary was good, passed as she was from us to a senora, to the willing hands of a cute little nina. The large crowd pressed its way through town, praying and smiling, and holding our own little Mary.
Back at our bungalow hanging on to the side of the hill along the beach, I noticed some teens swimming up to one of the numerous small fishing boats just a ways from shore. Struck me as a little odd. Four swam out, but only two boarded, flopping into the deep well, nearly out of sight. The other two patiently waited along the side of the boat. Wonder what that's all about? Took me another minute or two to realize I was unintentionally a voyeur as these two kids began to explore each other. Some things just don't change.
Saturday April 3
Trouble sleeping with all the sounds, even and especially the waves crashing. Bright and glorious today.
Mary and I shared french fried potatoes on our porch. Can't say enough about our view, complete with hovering birds playing in the gusty updrafts. This must be what draws the paragliders to Yelapa too. Next door, snapping in the wind, was a flag with a picture of one of these hippy daredevils spiraling down from atop the surrounding mountains.
Tried our new umbrella on the beach today. A stray dog with mismatched eyes seemed to love the shade it provided. It also proved to be a nice spot to taste the lemon pie from the pie lady. In Yelapa, there is a lady with a big bowl balanced on her head filled with pecan and lemon custard pies she's made that very morning. Our new favorite beach treat.
Mary insinuated herself with a bunch of ninos playing in the sweet spot where the ocean meets the Tuito River. Day trippers from Vallarta disgorged from bigger boats. Our dog dug in a little deeper to cool himself in the damp, chilly sand and continued dozing.
Terri Jo made another appearance and invited Mary to an Easter egg hunt, something not very typical for Mexico, I understood. It's hard to do justice to the kind of woman Terri Jo is, but as just one example, she is that special breed of person who would hard boil eggs, paint them with a bunch of children she hardly knows, hide them, and just stand back and watch the glee and pandemonium unfold.
After the daily siesta, we went off in search of a place to watch Butler take on Michigan State in the Final Four. It turned out to be one of our more unusual basketball watching experiences. Corrie headed out first, trekking deep into the jungle to find Los Manguitos, a restaurant along the river which is owned by the in-laws of our host. We were promised they'd have the game on satellite. After Mary's nap, I strapped her on my back to join Corrie.
After traipsing upriver into a very rural looking area--five horses, many mules and a donkey along the Yelapan standard 2-donkey-wide trail--we found Corrie at the restaurant. It sat next to a nearly dry river bed which was dotted with wires, hoses, and pumps sitting on plastic chairs and tables to keep them dry. These snaked up and down the entire path, presumably delivering water and electricity to parts unknown.
No game. Corrie said the channel wasn't working, but we could get periodic updates, as the channel's picture and sound would fade in and out. Disappointed, I settled in to try langostinos for lunch. These are river prawns, as far as I was able to figure out. Mary loved this place, as there were dogs, pigs, chickens, and horses running around freely. We were, in fact, able to "watch" the final five minutes of the game, peering through the family's front door into their living room. Picture. No picture. Sound bites. Little more picture. It made the very close game excruciating to watch, but strangely exciting. 2 point win for the Bulldogs!
More to come,
Mike, Corrie, and Mary