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Vacation Journal
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Within Isla, Days 5 and 6

By: Diane in IA
Date: 6/17/2005

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

This morning Mike had his dream desayuno, a torta 15p from the cart. The “secret” torta stand near Mineo’s has not been open, so we ate at the stand north of the bank. The breakfast of champions.

We decided to try Zama Beach Club. Taxi was 40p. The driver knew right where it was located. There is also a marble sign saying Zama. Mike liked the pools, and the beach was nice. They must have cleared a little seagrass near the shore. I snorkeled around and under the dock, but there were few fish. We took walks along the beach in both directions. Crabs scuttled through the shallows, shoals of tiny fish glittered in the sun, and needle fish disappeared and reappeared due to their clear bodies.

Around 2 PM the rain began, so we moved under the big palapa and contemplated the menu. Beverages were high with beers starting at 30p and margaritas for 55p. We had the hamburger which came with a handful of fries 70p and nachos 50p. The burger was good with tomato, onion, and lettuce. The nachos were okay.

After lunch, the rain abated and we headed for home. More showers and a short siesta. It looked like it might be a pretty sunset, so we headed for the beach. El sol did not disappoint. Lots of pretty pinks, golds, and orange. A friendly gato joined us for some ear scratching. Funny how they work it to get just the petting they want.

Around 9 PM we headed to La Lomita. Jim, the sax player who performs with Javier at Sunset Beach was there, so we exchanged holas and told him how much we enjoyed his set when he subbed at Bamboo. Ever modest he talked about the excellent drum player.

Mike picked a double chair pair this time, and we sat on the porch to enjoy the evening breeze. After we ordered pescado Isleño 40p and chile rellano 45p, a school or church group arrived. They trooped in and trooped out; then they requested tables and chairs be placed outside for their dining pleasure. The many able-bodied bodies milled around while the waiter with sweat popping on his brow hauled out tables and all the chairs. We scooted back against the wall as directed by the chaperone. Next she approached Jim and had him move inside the hot restaurant. We felt bad that he’d be sweating it inside so asked if he wanted to sit with us. After some hesitation and making sure it wasn’t an intrusion, he and his wife joined us. They’re very interesting people with lots of travel stories. Delicious food and good conversation.

We stopped at Bamboo to listen to a few songs, then headed for home.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

It looked like it was clearing off, so I headed to the seawall near Playa Media Luna to watch the sunrise. Then I walked to the end of the seawall and along the road by the airstrip and returned via the malecón. The secret torta stand remained closed, and it must have been too early for the other stands. We had our usual at Tacos Tumbras.

We decided to go to Hotel Garrafón de Castilla to snorkel and relax. We decided to take the bus to the turnaround by Mundaca, so we packed the snorkel bag and caught the bus at the stand by the ferry. Rides are 4p. We went through the neighborhoods and saw lots of interesting places that would probably be fun to visit.

We caught a taxi from Mundaca to the hotel for 20p. It was around 10 AM, so we had the place to ourselves. The water was quite calm and clear. Good snorkeling with the sunny skies. Cerveza was 16p, and we enjoyed a few Dos XX. Cancun looked very close across the bay. We walked the long dock at Garrafón Park to get a better picture. There were some huge fish cruising by the end of the dock. Boats would stop and throw out bread which caused a frantic frenzy of darting fish.

The dock at the hotel looked like a walk in a amusement park fun house. It was twisted and heaved in multiple directions. Under the dock I saw several piling were broken, most likely by Hurricane Ivan. The gardens at Hotel Garrafón de Castilla were not as lush as last summer. The flowers were still pretty, but the foliage was scrimpy in spots, and the lawn had been reduced to dirt in front of the hotel. More effects from Hurricane Ivan. Behind the hotel, the date palms still flourished and bougainvillea cascaded with red, pink, and white blossoms.

We rinsed off in the showers and walked up the road a few feet to El Pueblito. Mike ate the ceviche mixto, 60p, which was mostly shrimp and so delicious. Not sour like some ceviche. I chose tres pollo enchiladas, 35p, with verde sauce. We also had the homemade, freshly prepared french fries. A very good meal.

The taxi stand at Garrafón Park wanted 42p to Mundaca, so we walked down the road and caught a taxi for 20p. I thought about suggesting a visit to Mundaca Park, but Mike looked like he’d had enough sun. The stands outside the park had some trinkets for sale. Looked like good prices, especially the cocos for 10p. The bus took an even more circuitous route back through the colonias but still a rather quick trip. I thought I saw the baseball taco stand as we whizzed by.

Supper was more of the delicious pizza at Angelo’s. I especially like the artichokes. I almost talked Mike into trying a white pizza. Maybe next year. We moved on to Bamboo to listen to the band. They have Negra Modelo on tap and the margaritas are pretty good too.

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