Zihuatanejo: to town and back
Ahhh...a good night's sleep can be so refreshing. So here we are at a lovely resort with the whole day ahead of us. What shall we do first? Go for a walk on the beach? Read a book? Lay in the sun? Eat? Go exploring? As is typical for us, we decide to do it all. We are starting to get into relaxation mode, but haven't quite arrived yet. We had a lovely breakfast featuring Mexican-style eggs at our resort restaurant. Then we read books in the sun, splashed in the pool to cool off, watched the waves and birds, and drank Dos Equis. Life was good.
But being the good "dutchmen" we are, we felt like we might be able to get good food for less pesos in the town. We found out that the cheapest mode of transportation was the micro bus, a.k.a the "comm-vee." So we hopped on one from our resort to the airport, and then from the airport to downtown Zihuatanejo (total cost about $38 pesos or $3 USD). We enjoyed riding with the locals, all of whom are very friendly and helpful, despite the fact they can't always speak our language. We've already learned that if we can't find someone who can answer our questions, keep asking, and eventually we will find someone who can speak enough English to give us the help we need.
We arrived in the town (actually a city of around 70,000) and again had that unsettling feeling of being fish out of water. The streets were confusing and disorienting to me. Luckily, Tom, who usually relies on me for directions, was able to get his bearings and led me around as we wandered, trying to find bank machines, beaches, markets and a place to eat.
We settled on La Casa Vieja for dinner, one that Tom's cousin Nancy had recommended. We were (sadly for them) the only customers in the whole place throughout our entire meal, which made for a very quiet and romantic dining experience for us. Tom had a "mixiote" (a traditional Mexican dish) of fish, shrimp, veggies and cheese cooked over the grill in foil, while I had a tuna steak wrapped in bacon and served over rice and veggies. Everything was "perfecto!" (although not really much cheaper than our resort's restaurant).
We have been very careful to avoid the tap water, as we have heard many warnings about the stomach upset that comes with tainted water. We've been drinking only bottled or filtered water, and the ice in our drinks is reportedly safe as well. Despite our precautions, something began to hit me after dinner. As we walked around the city, finding our way back to the bus stop, and pausing to purchase some baked goods and snacks to take back to our villa, my stomach started cramping every so often. We stopped at a pharmacy to pick up something like Imodium, just in case. On the bus ride back the cramps became more intense and more frequent. I was starting to get nervous.
The bus took us back to the airport, however the earlier bus we had taken from there to our resort was no longer running, as it was about 9:30 in the evening. We expected to pick up a taxi at the airport, but much to our dismay, the airport was dark and closed. As I exited the bus, my stomach really went into a lurch. Oh my...I started to panic. As we began walking toward the airport, the bus stopped and someone yelled, "where are you going?" We ran back to the bus, and said, "we are looking for a taxi." They pointed right behind the bus, and there sat a taxi. We had walked right past the quiet white car parked along the side of the road, not realizing what it was!
Thanking God for providing this "rescue ride," we hopped in and were back at our resort about five minutes later. My stomach finally found relief with a visit to the restroom and those little pink tablets we had the sense to buy at the last minute. Whew! We settled in to our comfy couches, and watched "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas," (a sad movie set during the Holocaust, based on the book by the same name). Feeling better and safely "home," I was able to relax again. I began to wonder if I had accidentally swallowed contaminated water during my shower earlier that day, or by rinsing my toothbrush under the tap, even though I did so after brushing my teeth. I will just have to be more vigilant from here on out.
Overall today was a mixed day. Our resort could not be much closer to heaven on earth. The city of Zihuatanejo showed us a slice of Mexican culture...from its cliff-side architecture (some of which is sadly crumbling) and poverty we are not accustomed to seeing regularly...to its lovely beaches, delicious seafood and friendly people. We enjoyed the experience despite our disorientation (and my tummy discomfort) at times. From pleasure to adventure, from peace to mild panic, as they say: "all's well that ends well."