Rain and thunder awakened me for the second day in a row. Before daybreak, the volume and intensity of the rain confirmed another very heavy downpour, but like yesterday the weather changed quickly to a hazy, humid, overcast day, followed by clearing.
Another walk on the beach for the four of us this morning…I, alone, trekked just over 1.5 miles on the beach toward city center and then back, while the others turned back after just over three-quarters of a mile. When I am alone on the beach my thoughts wander. How would I get along living down here, staying in primitive but affordable housing and forcing myself to learn Spanish? I don’t answer the question for fear of wounding my ego.
After showering to rinse the salt and sand and beach aroma from my body, I joined the others to discuss plans for the day. Manzanillo proper is not a gorgeous spot for sightseers. Two days earlier we had driven to Las Hadas, a high-end hotel/resort development area on the beach (high on a cliff, though) near central Manzanillo. The area was beautiful, but there’s just so much extravagance and opulence one can take, so we opted today to drive about a little and see real-world Manzanilla. So, we drifted down Lic. Miguel de la Madrid Hurtado, the main road along the beach (drifting inland at times). There are hundreds of shops and stores along the way, ranging from Sam’s Club and grocery giant Soriana to tiny taquerias and copy/fax stations, with ample numbers of fruit stands and artisan shops interspersed between them.
We opted to have lunch at Juanito’s, a restaurant near, but not on, the beach. My sister-in-law found recommendations on Travel Advisor, so that was our target. Aside from being easy to find, it had easy and ample off-street parking, a real plus. I ordered a Dos Equis and a torta ahogada, the latter of which was excellent! The beer was a disappointment (Dos Equis is, so I cannot explain why I ordered it), so my next one was a Pacifico, much better. I would have had a Bohemia, but they did not carry it. And no good dark beer, as one would expect. At any rate, it was a good lunch.
Following lunch, we stopped at a beachfront building that houses dozens of tiny shops selling everything from candy to clothes to jewelry and dishes. I bought a t-shirt as a Manzanillo memorial and others bought coconut candy and such, also THE stuff to get here. From there, a quick stop at a tiny market nearby for snacks and beer, then home to our apartment.
The others are reading or napping, while I write this and drink my beer. I only brought one book, Zeiton, which I finished on day two…I recommend it highly. (It’s the true story of a Syrian American who stays behind in New Orleans for Katrina and helps many people after the catastrophe, only to be swept up in a frenzy of insanity as a suspected terrorist several days into the storm’s aftermath. I owe Kathy Withcats for recommending it to me.)
We’ll head back to Ajijic and Chapala tomorrow…more fun AND cooler temperatures!
But the questions remain…what about this place? What about any challenging and enchanting place? What about me?