Wednesday, April 11, 2007

My April 10th

Today we drove into Manzanillo, about 35 miles to the north, for four reasons:
• we wanted to look for new tiles for the house to be installed next year;
• we wanted to go to one of the big supermarkets there to look for some special stuff;
• we wanted to go to one of our favorite restaurants; and
• it's my birthday so let's get out of town and do something different. I've decided I'm tired of being 48; I think I'll move up to about 55, the speed limit in the slow lane. I'll try that for a couple of years and see how I like it.

The first thing this morning Alex called from Long Beach with good reports all around. Em is on Easter break; Andrew got accepted at four of his five colleges ~ of course he really wants to go to the one he didn't get in to so is now thinking about options for next year; Alex and Pete are fine and will be happy to welcome us for an overnight on May 8th.

We took off for Manzanillo about 9 AM. There are two ways to get there; the old highway road, a two lane job, and the toll road. We took the old road, always a beautiful, if slow, drive. There are groves of mango, lime and coconut palms that line the road. It is quite a jungle. Then as you round a bend, on the left are the salt flats in the Cuyutlán lagoon. These salt flats produce copious amounts of salt that is then processed, bagged and sold. In fact, we have a Salt Museum in our town that is quiet popular with tourists. Driving on there are more mango groves, now hung with millions ( I am not exaggerating) of mangoes just waiting to either drop to the ground and rot or be harvested for sale in local markets. We passed several stands selling big bags of mangoes, probably 10 kilos, for 10 pesos (90¢). I planned to stop on the way home to buy a bag. What you do is peel the fruit, cut it away from the seed, plop it into the blender, add some lime juice and water, give it a good whir, then freeze it. Presto! Mango sorbet, and mighty tasty, too. Soon you drive on past those groves and into banana country. Acres (hectares) of banana trees with all the fruit in blue plastic bags to protect it from, I would guess, bugs. Along the way are also papaya groves, pecan tree groves, and tiny little towns like San Jose, Santa Rita (I thought that was a prison in Alameda County), San Buenavista (prettiest little central square and jardin, Costa Rica (did we take a wrong turn??), and Venustio Caranza, the Patient's favorite place name. I think he wants to move there so he can say that's where he's from.

We arrived at the first tile emporium, Azulejos Garza about 10:15, gave their entire stock a close examination, found at least one tile that we like for the entire house, all three stories. Then we went to Interceramica where we found something we liked even better it only comes in one size, which would be fine for the 1st and 2nd floors but too small for the 3rd. Perhaps that should be different anyhow. We now know what's out there and will keep all of those selections in mind when we return to Colima to look at a couple of other tile shops. Of course none of this needs to be purchased until next December when we return but it never hurts to do your research way ahead of time.

We moved on to the marketing chore, bought what we needed, then headed to lunch at El Caribe. This little restaurant is located right on the beach. In fact, much of it washed away in a hurricane a few years ago. The location is great, the food is good, the view is stunning, and the owner is a delightful chap who speaks both Spanish and English, although I try to use my Spanish at all times. The restaurant is wide open; no doors or windows to obstruct the view or keep the spray off diners. If you look north, across Manzanillo Bay you can see Las Hadas. Remember the movie "10"? That's where it was filmed. You can see it in the middle left of this picture, with its towers and minarets. It's really quite a fabulous place. It was built by a Bolivian tin baron as a playground for his R and F friends. I hope they had a swell time. Now it's a very upscale hotel mainly for honeymooners and rich Mexicans.

While at El Caribe I had a slight accident with my insulin pump; I pulled it loose so was unable to give myself a good dose to cover lunch. But not to worry; things were OK and we ate lunch but decided we really needed to get home without too much delay so I could remedy the problem. As I said earlier, there are two ways to get to Manzanillo. The Patient decided we should go home by the toll road.

"Thank you for taking this road," I said.
"Well, it's your birthday. Happy Birthday!" he replied.

This guy's all heart.


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