Meira found this moth in the street, dead but still beautiful
While we’d enjoyed our busy time with Michele and Trina, we needed a few down days before our friend Ryan showed up for his visit. But we also needed cash, and the nearest ATM was a few miles inland, in nearby Las Varas. We spent the morning getting ready and getting to shore to meet the Grandmas on the beach. When they were finished with breakfast, we walked around to the main street to wait for the local collectivo (equal parts van/taxi/bus). It must have been lunchtime for the drivers; more than an hour passed without a collectivo. We finally called the whole venture off and wandered over to a small family-owned restaurant for lunch. The woman who came over to take our order didn’t speak any English, but when we couldn’t understand her Spanish either, she ran next door and brought back a local tour guide to translate. A darling abuelita stirred up delicious smells in the open kitchen and her son, Martin, came over to show off pictures of the original 1973 restaurant and the post-hurricane devastation of 2002. He said no one died in the area, but many had to share living space for a while until they could clean the place up. If I understood him right, it only took 2 months to get things back in decent shape. We’d heard about the hurricane and it was a honor to meet someone who had experienced it and the aftermath.
The food was amazing and the restaurant kittens, sweet and playful.
Next, we rowed back to the boat to get our potluck contribution. David and Carolyn had heard we had a good supply of board games aboard and asked if we could host a game night party. Michele and Trina’s hotel had a spacious covered patio with kitchenette (complete with a working refrigerator!) so we all met up there for chili and cornbread and then played games until well after dark. Some other hotel guests even joined in on the fun.
The next morning, we got an earlier start. We gathered in the plaza and only waited for a few minutes before the collectivo came by. Bryan wanted to take a look at our gear-shift troubles, so he saw us off and went back to the boat to get some work done. (It turned out that a small connector had dropped out of a joint in the shifter system. It didn't drop down into the abyss of the bilge, so Bryan just fished it off the floor of the engine compartment and stuck it back in, a little tighter this time. If only all our problems were that easy to solve!)
We found the ATM with minimal trouble and then wandered around Las Varas for a few minutes.
These cheerful flower arrangements caught our eye and, after we made a small purchase, we asked the proprietor and her family for a restaurant recommendation “muy economico y autentico!” I had a hard time understanding their directions, so they sent their son with us to show us the way to a restaurant just a block or 2 down the street.
We used the tile tables to play an impromptu matching game until our food arrived. The restaurant had a kitchen in the back and a grill near the front where a chef stood grilling onions and jalapenos. Amazing smells wafted toward us from both directions. The food was, as promised, very authentic and economical and the pitcher of lemonade most refreshing!
We took the bus back to Chacala and spent the evening at the Moms’ hotel looking at more pictures from their trip to Africa. It was strange to sit in the Mexico twilight marveling over photos of rhinos and lions. The only wildlife we’d spotted that day were a few flamboyant chickens!
About the next couple of days, I don’t remember much. We mostly moved from boat to taco stand to beach restaurant to hammock and back again. It’s been a great trip, full of lots of happenings. A few lazy days were just what we needed.