Loading Map

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


You may be asking, why did John have to take Nakia out to Punta de Mita on November 18, and why was Linda in such a hurry to take the bus out there the next morning? The answer is we had another social engagement on our calendar involving a casita in Sayulita, about 10 miles NE of Punta de Mita's northern flank. The rental house is owned by cruising friends who had invited us to be their guests if we ever wanted to take a break from Nakia. So John organized a get together with Eric and Sherrell (S/V Sarana), who would drive their Toyota Dolphin camper down from Mazatlan, and Stan and MJ (SolCasa), who would drive up from Santiago Bay and give us a ride. We were leaving Nakia anchored at Punta de Mita so that Gary and Barb (S/V Hoorah) could feed Ziggy for us while we were away. They have two cats of their own and have watched Z. for us before.

After I got home Saturday morning I repacked my things for a four night get away, and Hoorah came over for a refresher briefing on the care and feeding of the beast. John ferried me and all of our vacation stuff (ukulele, computer, novel, snorkel gear, playing cards, freshly ground coffee, Tahitian rum, and Mexican snacks - salty dried peas, chickpeas, and fava beans) to shore where I settled in at El Coral restaurant. He returned to Nakia to raise the dinghy out of the water, and called Hoorah to hitch a ride to shore with them. We bought lunch for our cat sitters and were soon joined by Stan and MJ, who were happy to take a lunch break themselves before hitting the road again.

Yay, road trip! Well, for John and me it was only a 15 minute drive to a town we had sailed past exactly one week earlier. Sayulita is known as an artsy surf town full of tourists and it lived up to that reputation and then some. It may have been even busier that usual because we had inadvertently scheduled our stay over a holiday weekend celebrating the 1910 Dia de Revolucion. There was a local parade Sunday morning with kids shouting "Viva Zapata," "Viva Pancho Villa," "Viva La Revolucion," and "Viva Mexico!" They even staged mock battles complete with cannon fire, gun shots, and wounded revolutionaries being carried off by stretcher bearers.

We ate and drank ourselves silly with the following high (and low) lights. Buddha Mar, where we had a long wait for an average meal. Apparently they had recently changed the menu/kitchen from sushi to basic Mexican, and we were the only ones seated in the large dining area. As we waited patiently for our food to arrive, the very young, very blonde waitress periodically checked to make sure we were doing okay, punctuating every sentence she uttered with, "Awesome!" We were never offered chips and salsa or anything to make up for the delay. Choco Banana was always packed for breakfast but our food arrived lukewarm, was nothing special, and we had to ask for tortillas to replace the non-descript white bread which was served with the meal. Rollie's on the other hand served up a substantial and piping hot breakfast, and Rollie himself threw in a free pancake plate to share for "dessert." Everyone else thought Rollie's gringo shtick was a little over the top, but I thought the thin custardy pancakes were well worth a return visit. Panino's provided us with the most beautiful, heavy loaves of fresh bread I've seen anywhere in Latin America, and they didn't last long when we devoured them with Sherrell's homemade humus. MJ made a green salad and cooked up a pot of spaghetti for a dinner at home, which turned into two when we ate leftovers on our last night. We ate gorditas in the street at Yeikame where they served up a simple meal with unusual twists. The gorditas were made with blue corn meal and each sealed maize pocket held a choice of unique ingredients. I can't remember the extensive list but there were lots of vegetarian options like spinach and mushrooms along with the more common beans and cheese, potatoes, and meats. This was also the only place we ate where we actually had to heed the waitress's warning about the picante salsas. Finally, we were in Mexico!

Besides eating, our activities included walks through town and lots of card playing. We dedicated one day to the traditional beach resort pastime of lounging in chairs under umbrellas provided by the beach restaurant we patronized. We chose Pablo's El Capitan where all we had to do was eat and drink to pay for the luxury of digging our toes into the sand and repeating "No, gracias" to every beach vendor that walked by. The next day we worked off all the beach beers and ceviche with a nice long hike out the north end of town and through the woods paralleling the beach. We saw enormous spiders and a weird quad-winged dragonfly that flew like a helicopter. We were lucky that each translucent wing tip was dotted with yellow, or we probably wouldn't have been able to see it. As it hovered from spider web to spider web we weren't sure if it was plucking out spiders or bugs caught in the webs for its snacks. Our quiet walk was also rewarded with bird sightings! John and I are rarely able to spot any birds at all when we're out walking, but this time we saw orioles, a group of four black-throated magpie jays (big birds with crested heads and long, long tails), and something resembling a Trogon. Eric even managed to get a good zoom lens shot of the latter sitting in a tree. We were exulting over our good fortune as we returned to the main road. Our excitement turned to dismay as we silently passed a tour guide about to lead a gringo family on four ATV quads over the same track we had just exited. But as Stan gently pointed out to me, they were there to get a noisy, bumpy thrill ride, not to look at bugs and birds.

This is already way too long, but I can't close without relating the highlight of our mini-vacation which was - a baby iguana in our toilet! Yes, Sunday morning in the casita John lifted the toilet seat and lid up together and began shouting that we had to come see for ourselves or we would never believe him. We took pictures and then someone reached in to try and grab him. To our complete surprise the iguana turned tail and shot back into the bowels of the toilet. OMG! Needless to say for the next 24 hours John and I very gingerly lifted the lid up and made a point of turning on the bathroom light at night. On Monday we told the housekeeper about our uninvited guest and showed her our pictures so she wouldn't think we were pulling her leg. While we were out, her solution was to drape a hand towel into the bowl and over the rim to give the iguana a surface on which to climb out. Then she cornered it in the shower and caught it in a towel to release it with its bigger brothers in the iguana tree outside the house. Of course she had her own pictures to show us that it came out alive and well!

Finally I'll close with a big thank you to Susan and Elba for their gift to us of a stay in their lovely Sayulita casita. Not only was it a nice break from life aboard Nakia, but it was a great place for a reunion of good friends from afar!