Oasis in the Desert

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Acapulco and Valentine's Day

On the beach with Acapulco in the background
Sunset Dinner at Vayma's Restaurant

View from our table at the Vayma Resort

Our chef preparing a tableside entree

Lynne, I took a few "bird" photos!

One of the islands in the Laguna Coyuca

The Laguna Coyuca makes a nice wildlife refuge
Our Yacht Jovana

Paradise Island Beach Resort

We had a great time in Acapulco! Even though we did not do the normal tourist thing -- we didn’t go to old town, did not watch the cliff divers, nor did we visit the crowded beaches downtown. Instead, we kept to our private beach, ate at fancy restaurants in Pie de Cuesta, took a Laguna boat ride with the locals, and visited with fellow RVers, Mexican guests in the cabanas, and chatted with our wonderful hostess, Maria.

Valentine’s Day turned out to be a very pleasant day. My son-in-law, Scott, asked what I was planning for Valentine’s Day – I told him I had not planned anything, we are already in paradise. He suggested that I reconsider and treat Cindy to a nice day, that I might regret skipping the event and end up in the doghouse. Believe me, when you are living in an RV, one does not want to fall out of favor with your partner very long, and I also had to consider that fact that our RV did not have a doghouse.

The day started with a late wake-up call (about 09:30 am). I served Cindy her morning coffee in bed and prepared breakfast as she sipped her coffee. We planned a half day boat ride on the Laguna Coyuca aboard our yacht at 11:30 – made it to the launch with five minutes to spare. While we waited for the boat, Cindy picked out a serapa from a local street vendor. The boat ride consisted of a 45 minute ride to Paradise Island Beach Resort (a 2-hour stay at the beach with a light lunch) and a 45 minute boat ride back to the dock. It was a bit ordinary, but it turned out to be fun. Back to the RV, showered and dressed, we went to the Vayma Resort for an elegant seafood dinner on the beach as we watched the sunset. Thanks, Scott, I avoided creating any problems today.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Sol y Arena Resort - Acapulco

The perfect spot to watch the sunset
Poolside in the afternoon

Hammock was one of the required workouts!

A view of the RV sites

Our home in Acapulco

Aaahhhh, Acapulco! The revived playground for the rich and famous – a city of fiestas. We arrived in good spirits and found the unpublished, new campground, Sol and Arena Resort, north of Acapulco in Pie de Cuesta. Pie de Cuesta is an urban resort area with 1st class restaurants and hotel accommodations, as well as four RV parks.

The Sol and Arena Resort had it all (minus the usual vendors and crowds). The RV site included a brick patio, a dipping pool, Wi-Fi, 30 amp service, good water (not for drinking), a sewer hookup and 24 hour security. The Resort had a large swimming pool, palapas with hammocks, a private beach, showers, restroom, outdoor meeting room with kitchen, casita rentals and a very friendly hostess. All of this for a small price of 250 pesos per night (about $18.00 USD) – weekly and monthly rates for even less.

One can request a cook to drop by with food and prepare dinner for two (about 200 pesos for the dinner including the food), request a cleaning woman to clean your RV (including a change of your bedding), and drop off the dirty laundry to be washed, dried, and folded (15 pesos per kilogram).

As an added bonus, we found an electrician on site and an A/C man nearby. In two days time, we had our electricity and air conditioners restored and fully operational. It doesn’t get much better than this. We extended our stay from three days to six days and just relaxed…
More on Acapulco in the next blog

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Zipolite Beach

One more sunset photo -- I'll stop there.
The sunset on Zipolite Beach (Puerto Angel)

A break from the sun with cold drinks at a beachfront restaurant

Puerto Angel and Fernando's Hideaway

Downtown Puerto Angel -- viewing the sheltered bay

Mexican Bendix washing facility to the left of the RV, Cindy could not wait to try it out!

We were fortunate to have a Palapa next to the RV for meal preparation, etc.

Photo shot of our site in Fernando's Hideaway. Note the shower facilities to the left of the RV.

The First Sighting of the Pacific Ocean as we sped toward Puerto Angel

Upon leaving Tehauntepec and finally reaching the Pacific coast, we had three choices of beach pueblos to spend the night -- Bahias de Huatulco, Puerto Angel, or Puerto Escondido. Puerto Angel was midway, thus we decided to make this pueblo our home for the evening. From reading the Church's book, of the three, perhaps Puerto Escondido might have been a better choice, but we will never really know for sure.

Fernando’s La Palmera Trailer Park in Puerto Angel was to be our home for next few days (we now affectionately call it Fernando’s Hideaway). If one would want to “drop out” and settle in a place where no one would ever find you – Fernando’s would be the place. The photos tell it all.

It was here that I decided to acquire “Montezuma’s Revenge”. It wasn’t pretty. Through one sleepless night and into the next morning, I was not a happy camper. Fortunately, Cindy found a farmacia that opened on Sunday morning and purchased the meds that gave me relief. The medication is called “Treda”. It is a combination Pepto Bismo and antibiotic. It worked and worked well.

The beach across the street from Fernando’s is called Zipolite. Lonely Planet describes the beach as follows: “Zipolite is fabled as southern Mexico’s perfect budget chill-out spot…all in wonderfully elemental surroundings of crashing surf, pounding sun, rocky headlands and tree-covered hills “. We were told it used to attract the Hippie crowds in the ‘60s. Much to our surprise, it is also a nudist beach where you can let it all hang out (we kept our clothes on – we didn’t want to scare anyone). We stayed three days at Fernando’s while I recovered from my “Revenge”.

We left Puerto Angel, spent one night in a Pemex station in a Cuajinicuilapa, and finally arrived in Acapulco – our first visit to the fabled resort of the rich and famous.
Hey, has any one seen Elvis?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Windy Tale

Wind Turbines

The afternoon sun was fading and we were anxious to reach our next rest stop. About 18 miles (30 kilometers) from Tehauntepec, we came upon a large group of wind turbines. We felt the stiff winds blowing down the canyon and agreed it was a good place to “catch the wind”. As we passed through the area, we came upon a new Cuota. Great! We will have an easy sailing into Tehauntepec. Perhaps “easy sailing” was not a good choice of words. Once upon the Cuota, high cross winds repeatedly pushed our RV over into the opposite lane. I slowed the RV to about 15 miles/hour and hoped we would not topple over. The winds became stronger and stronger – I estimate the wind velocity at 70 to 80 miles/hr, maybe more.

It was almost like being in an Alfred Hitchcock movie. A loud knock was heard on the passenger side, near the door. I finally decided to pull over and see was making the noise. As I was opening the door to step outside, it took all of my strength to keep from having the door blown out of my hands. By this time I was sure that the Maya spirits had emerged from the canyon walls and had attacked our home on wheels. Upon inspection, the winds had unhinged the forward arm of the awning. I reattached the arm of the awning as the hurricane force winds sandblasted my body. I climbed back into the RV and as we sat there on the side of the road, our RV rocked back and forth – threatening to roll over any moment.

I reached for the ignition switch and hoped the engine would start on the first crank. Luck was on our side. The engine started and we slowly pulled away from the shoulder and proceeded to fight the winds until they subsided. A few more miles down the road, the winds decreased and we “sailed” on into Tehauntepec.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

On the Road to Tehaultepec (cont)

Friendly faces along the way

View from the copilot's seat

The roads seem to be very narrow and full of potholes from the drivers seat

Travel from San Cristobal to Tehaultepec

Doug and Darlene
Thomas and Diane

Eleven Year Full-Timer with his wife and RV

Settled in our site at the Bonampak Hotel

We stayed at the Bonampak Hotel and RV Campground. The campground was located behind the hotel and they supplied us with water (not for drinking), electricity, and sewer. As mentioned, I zapped the 120 volt system, but we were able to bypass it and lost only the microwave and A/C. It’s what we call “roughing it”. The campground was secure, spacious and occupied by friendly and interesting fellow RVers.

Two couples from Alberta, Canada, (Thomas, Diane, Doug and Darlene) were great company. We enjoyed a community dinner along with a couple from California. The following day, Thomas and Diane joined us on our trip to the Indian villages and the Ambar Museo .

Cindy and I decided to leave a day early and join the Canadians for the drive down the mountain (7,000 feet drop down to 2,000 feet) to Tuxtla Gutierrez. I was concerned about the transmission and brakes, but all went well and we traveled on to Ocozocautla and spent a night at a campground located in an Orphanage. We visited with some of the chicos and settled in for the evening. Diane made a dish of spaghetti for all. The next morning they stayed on to visit the canyons nearby and we headed for the coast.

Our drive took us through Tehaultepec where we planned to spend the night in the Calli campground behind the hotel. The Calli Hotel policy had changed and they would not let us camp in our RV. They did allow us to park the motorhome and stay in one of their rooms. Too tired to argue, we paid 900 pesos and spent the night under the A/C and watched Mexican TV (breakfast was included in the room rate).

Driving got a little crazy and dangerous when we experienced high winds 70 to 80 miles/hr (maybe more) outside Tehaultepec. The story will be told in the next blog.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

San Cristobal (continued)

Herb and Thomas with an Australian couple ready to shop
Street Scene in Chumala (a chilly day)

An Indiginous Indian Preparing Comida

Na Bolom Research Garden

Na Bolom Hotel

We visited three museums, the Na Bolom museum and research center, Museo De La Medicina Maya, and the Museo Del Ambar De Chiapas. Amber is the yellow stone as we know it. It is created from the resin of the pine tree formed under pressure over thousands of years.

We took a day trip to two small villages outside of San Cristobal, Chamula and Zincantan, where we mixed with the indigenous Indian tribes. There were so many tourists in the villages it was difficult to spot the locals, except that each village had a distinctive way of wearing their clothing. The villages were high in the Mountains and it was rainy and cold the day we visited. Our Guide had been raised in one of the villages and he had very strong opinions for the case of the Indigenous Indians keeping their traditions.

San Cristobal

La Cocina Cooking Class
Cindy shopped till I dropped

The Meat Department at the Municipal Mercado

Casa en el Arbol language school

San Cristobal De Las Casas in the state of Chiapas in the far southwest part of Mexico is a place where the international crowd gathers. Most of the visitors we met were from Europe, but we visited with folks from all parts the world. We took too many photos and visited many fascinating places. Cindy shopped till I dropped. We both took time out for a few days of Spanish lessons at the Casa en el Arbol language school and Cindy took Mexican cooking classes – preparing a meal in an authentic Mexican kitchen after shopping in the large Mercado for the ingredients.
The Mercado Municipal was one of the largest, an assault on the senses – the meat department alone was larger than a Wal-Mart Supercenter. We saw at least 100 types of chorizo (sausage) on display. All in all, we enjoyed the city so much that we extended our stay from five to ten days.