Posted by: dolan | May 11, 2007


 The waves at Playa Madera

UPDATED (May 21): All pictures from the trip are now on flickr.

Have you been to Zihuatanejo? Until a week ago, I hadn’t either. I had only heard of it from the Shawshank Redemption, and that was after Renee reminded me that I had.It’s a nice little semi-touristy fishing village about 100km north of Acapulco. This time of year (the beginning of the low season), the weather ranges from mild and breezy to oppressively hot (over 90 degrees F and over 30% humidity is pretty oppressive by my book, especially when the wind stops blowing). However, I’d have to say this is a pretty ideal time to come. The nice times outweigh the miserable, and as long as you focus your outdoor activity to the poles of the day and stay inside when the sun is out in full force, you’re golden. If you’re foolish enough to avoid this advice, and it seems plenty are, you’re golden brown.

Since it’s still often in the eighties at eight in the evening, nighttime swims are not only possible but very amenable. The water stays quite warm and the beach (Playa Madera) outside our hotel (La Quinta de Don Andres) offers nice little swells just right for a bit of relaxed bodysurfing. Even Lucas got into the act: we bundled him into his little sunsuit and took him down into the waves nearly every morning, and like the fearless little nut he is he marched directly into the surf until we would pull him up to clear an oncoming swell.

On this weeklong trip the food has been, for the most part, pretty tasty and very affordable. We’ve eaten numerous roast and grilled chickens, tacos filled with an assortment of meats, much seafood and even more beer. Of course we also sampled the aguas frescas and the paletas — oh, the paletas. If I could bring one thing from Mexico to the U.S. unchanged that might be it. We found one paleteria with a strawberry cream popsicle that is out of this world. I think I’ve had three so far. The coconut is also very tasty, and Renee has had more than one lime flavored treat.

Outside of swimming, eating, and buying food and water, we haven’t done loads. Travelling with an infant is not the easiest thing in the world, and some places are easier to take young ones than others. Mexico is a mixed bag — at least this place is. Our hotel is wonderful and has a nice shallow pool, but it’s in direct sunlight for much of the day. The rooms are nice and meticulously clean, but the hard tile floors scare us since Lucas is learning to walk and is wobbly and prone to falling. Plus, there are far too many things for him to destroy in it. The local people are very baby friendly — Lucas got loads of attention — but there is often plenty of ground level pollution and the heat can be stifling for him, not to mention us. Your mileage may vary. For us, this was a very tame vacation (no combis to random stops in the road, no day trips, no dodgy restaurants), but for him I suspect it’s been quite the adventure.

I hope he comes back one day when he’s older, maybe with a girlfriend, or maybe on his honeymoon. And I hope Renee and I come back some day, when Lucas can be on his own for a week and we can go do the things we weren’t able to do this time. For now it is what it is: it’s been mighty fun trip, but we’re also looking forward to being home where our boy can fall down on a softer floor and walk outside in the noonday sun without reservation.

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