Why did the gringos cross the border? To relax of course! Not that we couldn’t relax at home, but, just sayin’, a month of ocean views, cervezas, and all of the great Mexican food you could wish for is quite alluring. We set out on this month long journey on July 19th. Four large people, eight heavy suitcases, four backpacks, and very little sleep. We woke at 4:30 am, and we arrived at the condo at 9pm (central time). Whew!
It was a long day of truck, plane, plane, plane, and car before getting to our condo to relax. There is no easy way to get to Puerto Escondido, Mexico. All paths go through Mexico City. We had a nice long layover there which gave us time to find a nice restaurant to fuel up and relax for an hour or two. The restaurant we found was called “Wings”, so I thought for sure it would have wings. Nope. It was just called “Wings”, because it was in the airport. All Mexican fare. Too funny.
My husband, son, and his friend are on this extended vacation. My husband, Tim, is a spear fisherman, so, if you can believe this, he packed 17lbs. of diving weights, all of his spear fishing equipment, a diving float to ward off danger, and a guitar. The guitar has nothing to do with the fishing, but it was just another odd thing to deal with on the trip. The boys, Alex and Holden, packed every type of electronics you can imagine. TSA understands this in the US but not so much in Mexico. It took them 20 minutes to get through security in Mexico City with me having to translate (Yikes!) what each item was. Apparently, they had the look of hackers or something given the scrutiny the security check agents gave them and their stuff.
Who says gamification is a waste of time?
We arrived in Huatulco safely and without incident. While the boys and I retrieved our mega-luggage, Tim went to get our micro-car rental. The plan was for Tim and me to take the car with all of the luggage, and the boys would take the bus to Puerto Escondido. There was no way we believed we could get all of our gear and all of us into a tiny car.
Those of you that know me know that I love my games. The family makes fun of me saying that it is a waste of time. However, I believe it is great for developing problem solving skills and relaxing. I come up with some supreme ideas while playing Candy Crush Soda Saga©. Let’s just say that all of that problem solving development came in handy at the airport. I took one look at our car and our stuff, and I said, “We can do this! Watch!” We did it, of course. Tim and Holden in the front seat with the guitar and a backpack. Alex and me in the back seat with a suit case between us and the sport tube hanging out both rear windows and a back pack in the rear window. All of the rest in the trunk. I’m sure that every local we passed thought we were the craziest tourists ever. We only bottomed out twice on the speed bumps (topes). 😉 Strangely, the car is making some weird noises now… I never said there would be no consequences to my problem solving!
Hey, what’s your sign?
It’s always comforting to have a greeter when you go somewhere new. That’s why Wal-Mart has them, right? Well, our greeter was a little less friendly but maybe not any scarier. Our greeter, Señor Scorpio, was waiting for us in the master bedroom. Quite a whopper! Tim grabbed a towel (seriously, I thought a shoe or something would have been a better weapon), and he threw it over the good señor. A few seconds later, Scorpio came out from inside the towel. Tim squealed like a little girl, threw the towel onto the bed (what?!), and the boys ran out of the room. I could not stop laughing.
Tim finally got a grip and recaptured our friend, and, get this, he threw him over the deck! Watch out below! The people we are buying the condo from (Don and Maureen) had this to say when Tim told them about the scorpion, “One’s first experience with a scorpion is really exciting!” One person’s exciting is another’s squeal. 😉
To heck with Starbucks!
Tim and I ventured out yesterday morning about 7:30am to find the “coffee place.” Coffee beans are grown on plantations around Puerto Escondido, so there is some righteous java down here. Our building manager, Pedro, runs two shops in town that sell the coffee beans he grows. We have heard from everyone that Café Cortes is THE best place to buy coffee. We finally found the place after driving up and down almost every street in Puerto, but it was worth it.
Everything in Puerto is subject to “we will get you what you want if you can wait a few minutes.” We wanted the dark (obscura), strong (fuerte) beans, but they didn’t have any in the store. Paula, the twelve-year-old at the cash register, got on her cell phone as we stood there. Seconds later, mommy drove up on her scooter, and yelled through the window, “Cuantos kilos?!” Wow. Now that is service! Even better, we got two kilos (about 4 large bags) for $18 US.
The shop offered breakfast, so we decided to eat while we waited. As we were sitting there, I noticed the sign advertising the hours of operation, 9:00 am to 12pm for breakfast. It was 8:00 am. No one even mentioned to us that we were too early. In fact, mommy (Christina) came back with our coffee and had a nice chat with us. We negotiated language lessons. She wants to learn more English, and I want to improve my Spanish. How is that for an upsell! I will definitely be going back to Café Cortes faithfully to see our new friends and patronize their business.
Evolution is a funny thing. At home, when a mosquito is around, it makes itself known. Quite the show offs. Lots of buzzing and a sting when it bites. Down here, the mosquitos have perfected their craft. They are tiny and so delicate that you never even knew they were doing their business. Normally, I’m the last person to get bitten, but, on this trip, I have been like the fatted calf. I counted fifteen bites yesterday, and, even though the little buggers are small and stealth, they sure pack a pretty good punch.
Once you go tortilla, you never go back.
No big surprise that tortillas are a main staple in Mexico. However, the tortillas here are phenomenal. They just taste so different than what we are used to in the US. One good reason for that is that they are freshly made and not processed to death. The ingredients are simple and natural.
After breakfast, we found the tortillaria close to the Mercado. The tortillaria makes the tortillas right on site, and they sell them warm. We paid $1.50 US for about 50 tortillas, and they were amazing.
Maybe I’m a morning person…
Every day we have been here, I have been up before sunrise. This morning I was up for three hours before there was any sign of life in the rest of the condo. I’m not sure what this is about. At home, I sleep in, take a nap in the afternoon, and am usually in bed by 9 pm. It’s not like there is anything pressing to do down here, but I wake up refreshed and enjoy the cool breeze on the deck with my Café Cortes coffee. I even get some writing and work in.
I may have to rethink this whole “not a morning person” persona I have had my whole life. Darn it!
We have only been here for three days, but it already feels like home. We are getting a routine. The town is becoming familiar, and we are able to find the things we need every day like the hardware store, the meat shop (with the best bacon and carne asada ever), and the bank. I have even driven the car a couple of times… Watch out!
Stay tuned for more to come. This is only the beginning of the story for these four gringos!
A few more pictures:
The left side view from the deck.
Right before dawn, the fishing boats come out. This was this morning.
The pelicans sit on the rocks below the condo to do their own fishing. One sat there so long the first day that Holden and I thought it was a statue. It was there all day and hardly moved a muscle (or a wing).