Zihua 2008


February 6th thru 20th, 2008

Another year and back, once again, to Zihuatanejo.  I guess we're not seeming very original at this point but the weather is fab, the food equally as great and largely all at a very reasonable price.  One can go as high end as they may choose but one can also have an equally great vacation without high price tags should one choose to do so.  I guess next year we'll be looking at other destinations, simply for the experience.  This year we are planning on *doing Zihua* in a non high-end fashion for the largest part, finally getting to the many restaurants such as Any's we keep meaning to but . . . stuff happens as it happens in Zi.  But not -- now we're planning on returning to Zi once again in 2009.

As I've much information on Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa on my previous pages, found here & here, this page will simply be a photo log / trip report.

Tuesday Feb 5th/08 -- We left about 8AM to catch the 10AM ferry to Vancouver.  The drive down was horrendous with sheets of rain, much wind and major hydroplaning.  Arrived in Vancouver shortly after 1PM exhausted.  Won't be doing that again.  Much easier to catch a flight to Calgary and stay in a hotel overnight if needs be.  Did allow for some last minute purchases and some time with Mom but cost vs. benefit ratio is extremely slim.  
Wednesday Feb 6th/08 -- Up at o'dark thirty and at YVR by 4AM for our 6:30AM fight to LAX.  This smoker person (not being up on the latest happenings) did not know there are no longer any smoking areas at either YVR or at LAX.  Luckily my Sissy had Nicorette Gum which surely got a workout on the trip down.  The usual yucky food with Alaska - did buy Salads at LAX to tide us over on the Zi segment.  Won't be doing Alaska again -- more on that later.

Arrived Zi about 10 mins early (via an unusually bumpy flight) to lovely bright sunshine and warm temps.  Thru Immigration quickly but one suitcase was about the last off so well laid plans and seat choices made little to no difference.  Green light at Customs and we're off.

Arrived at Casa Amarilla and greeted by Lili (caretaker) and friend Claudia.  Spent the next couple of hours soaking in the incredible views and chatting with Lili and Claudia as they'd visited a friend in West Van in September so lots of common ground to chat about in our pigeon Spanish and their pigeon English, although Claudia speaks English quite well and Lili is certainly coming along well in that regard.  (Can you say run on sentence?).

We cannot say enough good stuff about Casa Amarilla (although I'm selfishly inclined not to let anyone know!).  I'll be upfront and say I tend to be a little picky but here I had no picks whatsoever.  Sidney has done an outstanding job; it's tasteful, spacious, comfortable with outstanding views.  It's heaven and you can have it anytime except when the owners or myself want to stay there.  :-))  I've a separate page with photos and a link to the Casa Amarilla website.

Dinner at La Gula tonite -- seems always our choice for the first night as it's handy and always good.  Dea and I each had the Salad Alegre and Tortilla Soup while Bill had the Filet.  Tortilla Soup here is different than at Casa Vieja but very very good regardless.  Home to snooze as it had been a pretty long day.

Thursday Feb 7th/08 -- Bill got delicious Naranja Jugo  from Isabel's Jugo on Adelita first thing, then we added a little Duty Free Vodka to that to get us started.  Off to Commercial Mexicana thereafter to do the 'supplies thing'.  Spent the afternoon on La Madera, sun soaking with a few Margs, some Cerveza & a Shrimp Cocktail or two thrown in, then dinner at Casa Veija -- always a favorite for their good and reasonably priced food and their soooo friendly service.

Some notes about MJ's -- We were a little hesitant about this year after having experienced Martin's superb service last year however his replacement Jesus (Hay-Zeus) is a delightful young man whom we enjoyed greatly.  Perhaps not quite as attentive as Martin but certainly he has his own charm.
Raphael seems to be in *un-spiff mode* as some/many of the tables were broken, had holes &/or were dirty and many of the (now fewer) loungers had long seen better days.  We understand Sotelo, who owns/leases the property MJ's is on, is up for sale so MJ's/Raphael's tenure here is uncertain.  Thus I guess Raphael is unwilling to put $$'s into upgrading for a perhaps non-existent site.  I also understand he is partners in a upcoming new venue on Pedro Ascensio not far from Three Amigos.  While we wish him luck of course, we'd find it sad to entertain the possibility of losing both MJ's and Raphael from La Madera.

Cliff Note -- What I *understand* and what *is* may vary.  Not saying this is written in stone but is simply my understanding from various conversations.

Friday February 8th/08 --  Off to the Mercado in the early (8AM) morning for fresh fruit/veg, shrimp and, of course, those huge slabs of Chiccharone!  Cerveza at Casa Arcadia on the way home, then unpack, stow & down to MJ's for the afternoon.
Lili and Claudia came up for cocktails this evening then we had Hungarian Goulash (courtesy of DH) for dinner.

Lili on the left and Claudia on the right.  We all found both of them totally delightful spending more time with them later in the trip.  Though Lili speaks only very basic English at present, she is making a great deal of effort to learn.  Claudia speaks English very well so between the two we communicated just fine.  It was actually very fun to explain to each other thru both hand and body motions what we were attempting to convey to each other.

Saturday Feb 9th/08 -- Beach Day @ La Madera so nothing much to report.  Dinner at De Donde Eres was very good of course.  Not many places to go for the quality of food, price considered and Sabrina is always a delightful hostess.  Unfortunately Sabrina and Hubby will be closing for good at the end of the season and returning to Australia.  All things considered they feel the kids are getting to school age and they have concerns about their education in the coming years.  I know many will miss their presence on Calle Adelita.  Soooo - what will be there next year?  
Sunday Feb 10th/08 -- Another Beach Day @ La Madera with plans for dinner out but . . . as we're cocktail sipping before dinner, we hear all this commotion.  On investigation we look out to observe this -- it turns out -- incredible parade.  Our vantage point from Casa Amarilla could not have been better.  Pictures follow although they don't really portray the true panorama.    We were totally stunned by both the effort that had gone into these floats and the huge number of them in this kinda small town!  We live (okay did live until recently) in a huge city and its been years since we've seen so much effort put into one parade.  We were totally blown away.  Don't recall but think we just snacked on whatever stuff we had on hand rather than 'doing dinner'.  About 9PM we were again treated with a superb fireworks display.  This was the last day of Carnival thus I guess the windup thereof.  If you happen to be there during Carnival, it is indeed a treat.  (Please understand I'm not a world class photographer!)


Monday Feb 11th/08 -- Another Veg Day @ La Madera followed by cocktails at Casa Amarilla with Charles and Carmina.  Charles & Carmina Fromen are a delightful couple who (with their son Mark) own and manage Bungalows La Madera.  If you are looking for a place a little less high end in price but with wonderful beach access and good accommodations, BLM is a great place to stay.  They have many expansion plans in place which they hope to have completed for the '09 season.  Contact them here.
Think we just ate leftovers tonite.  I'm pretty done with that!


Tuesday Feb 12th/08 --  Yet another beach day @ La Madera and dinner at La Hija del Capitan.  Excellent with large portions at very reasonable prices.  Ken Jones is a very pleasant fellow & we'd willingly recommend this restaurant  to anyone and hope it will still be there next year as we'd definitely return.


Wednesday Feb 13th/08 -- Morning spent at La Ropa with lunch at La Perla.  We found it a little odd that we couldn't get any kind of cocktail (Cerveza not included) before Noon at La Perla.  No Caesar's, Bloody Mary's, Mimosas . . . nada.  Nice venue, lovely garden area, not unpleasant wait staff (though you had to jolly them up a little) but mmmm - I guess it's a been there/done that thing.  Won't rush back.  Only reason we really went there was to convey some warm thots from a friend of ours to Francisco but he was not 'in attendance'.  Some folks there - mostly older folks (what am I saying!)  - who seem to be Bridge aficionados.  Not my game and don't think this is the place for us but we've been there and now we know.  :-))
Wandered back & forth along La Ropa then home to Madera for the PM.  Cocktail meet at Zi Blue for board group at 5PM.  We were late but only one group there on arrival which, listening to their conversation, didn't seem to be 'board folks'.  ZiBlue is mmmm interesting.  Quite different/unusual but not my kinda place.  The restaurant upstairs has a lengthy menu plus a whole board of 'chef's specials' but I'm left wondering how any place can make that variety of meals and do them all well.  Had cocktails, took pics and walked down to Casa Vieja for another super dinner.


Dea with Baby Ally at Crocodillos La Ropa looking towards Intrawest/Madera

Elvira's on La Ropa

Paty's Mar y Mar on La Ropa

'The Rocks' at athe Madera end of La Ropa Spinnaker Flying on Picante

Pics of Zihua Blue


Thursday Feb 14th/08 --  Spent the AM shopping, the PM at MJ's and then off to dinner at Puerta del Sol.  Preamble to this tale is, last year my Sissy had enjoyed an evening there and, being a foodie, thot the food was excellent and the service equally so.  As we'd not tried it (Bill and I) we made reservations (well in advance) for Valentine's Day Dinner.  In a word -->  DISASTER!  30 mins before any drinks at all, another 30 minutes to even get bread, Caesar Salad while served with flair was a yucky horrid dressing, main courses were marginal at best.  All in all we just could not get out of there quickly enuf.  AND this was not a restaurant full of folks.  Sissy was hugely embarrassed that a restaurant that she enjoyed so much last year was absolutely dreadful this year.  Don't know what changed but none of us would return again.  Total disappointment.  

Dea + Bill at Puerta del Sol

Friday Feb 15th/08 -- Not sure but think this may have been the day we went to Ixtapa for Brunch.  Quest was to find Martin at the Golden Cookie.  And we did!  Excellent Bakery and it was great to see Martin who seems to be doing well.  MJ's for the rest of the day.  I think maybe De Donde Eres for dinner but not sure.  Guess I was traumatized thus in recovery from last nights dinner!
Saturday Feb 16th/08 --  MJ's in the AM.  Then spent the afternoon at Playa Larga and then Barra with Charles and Carmina.  Wonderful afternoon at "The Wave" (El Oleaje) on Playa Larga.  Great Shrimp Brochetta!  Dinner was takeout from Pollo Loco (after attempting Pollo Feliz) and really was quite acceptable in the take out world.  I'm now feeling the beginnings of another cold - this my 2nd in a short time when I never get colds!  PITA & it gets worse.

El Oleaje Menu Charles with Shrimp Brochetta

L to R - Carmina, Charles, Dea + Bill The Huge Expanse of Playa Larga
Playa Larga is one of the long beaches you see as you arrive into ZIH.  The other predominant beach
is Playa Blanca along Barra de Potosi (below).
Looking toward the Lagoon.  Lots more Pics of Barra and Playa Blanca on my '07 Page
Sunday Feb 17th/08 -- Isabel's Jugo then off to shop in the AM.  Lunch at Bandito's (which has changed hands and some parts of their menu) then back to 'da beach for the afternoon.  Dinner tonite at Tamales Y Atole Any's.  Less than impressed.  Arrived about 8PM to a reasonably, but not overly, full restaurant.  Aside from drinks and all, DH's and Sissy's dinner was served but nothing for me.  We waited assuming they would bring mine shortly.  Not.  Finally got up and asked . . . long and short they forgot it.  By the time I got mine, the dinner partners were finished theirs.  None of us had anything but a lukewarm meal, even mine which should have come directly from the kitchen with no waiting whatsoever.  So okay - you hear recommends, you try, perhaps everyone's expectations or tolerations are different.  Mine are such that I may give it one more try in the future but it surely isn't one I'd highly recommend to others.


Monday Feb 18th/08 -- Oh we're really feeling the time crunch now!  :-))  NEEDED to shop - haven't done nearly enuf of that to feed my habit!  So we did that in the AM, then back to La Madera/MJ's for the afternoon and off to 3 Amigos for dinner.  3 Amigos fine, no problems but no huge recommends either.  Just "fine".  Then off to Rick's Bar for a true highlight.  Met Lili and her sister Theresa and hugely enjoyed a terrific band from the music school in Morelia.  They played both Mariachi and Classical music and were absolutely SUPER.  Many thanks -- Muchos Gracias -- to Lili & Claudia for arranging this.  While Claudia couldn't make it, we missed her and surely enjoyed.  Muy Bueno!


Tuesday Feb 19th/08 -- We're all in a funk.  How can the time go by so quickly?  So off for a little shopping, then down to 'da beach, back to do a little prelim pack then to De Donde Eres for dinner.  A little nightcap of Kahlua on ice then off to bed because - Oh Gawd - tomorrow is . . . . .


Wednesday Feb 20th/08 -- "The Last Day"  How did this day come so quickly?  So much to do, so little time and I feel flipping dreadful.  Major cold stuff has now set in bigtime.  So we pack, we clean the fridge of all the stuff that 'some people' insisted on buying which we didn't eat and won't last, we pack some more, we do last minute shopping, we cry and lament, we drag down all the suitcases to the courtyard.  We cry some more and know that two weeks is surely not enuf.  Lili kindly takes us to the airport (perhaps she thot we wouldn't leave otherwise!) and we do the check in/hold area thing, watching for our landlord as the Alaska inbound flight arrives.  Couldn't pick he and Belenda out but we'll be watching for you another time Sidney!  Drowned our sorrows and board the outbound Alaska flight for the . . . Oh My Lord . . . I will NEVER do this again . . . flight.
Travel Horror Tales:

Okay, the Alaska ZIH/LAX flight is your regular unexciting, uninteresting food, boring going home flight.  No high expectations & no disappointments there.  Landing in LAX it all disintegrates.  We land a touch early and get the "we needa take 'da bus" announcement.  Okay so we dutifully trek off, board 'da bus and head for Immigration.
Here we find a 747 or larger flight from Cathay/Thai or whatever in line ahead of us.  400 plus persons of folks going thru myriad pieces of paper, retinal scans and fingerprint stuff.  Easily an hour and a half later, Bill and I are finally thru this craziness, due in large part to his quick reactions when he saw a new line open.  Dear Sissy however is still waaaay back in line.  Some walkabout persons with radios and such had arguments over whether we could go in this line.  Yikes.  This place is INSANE.

So we grab her bags and our bags from the carousel, yell to her that she should meet us at the Alaska counter and hurry off (now very touch and go for our flight) to see if we can make it.  Arrive at Alaska ticket counter to be told by a not terribly friendly agent that essentially *so sad, too bad*.  I head outside with the bags for a smoke (or ten) while Bill hot foots it back to see how far along Dea has gotten and to let her know we have her bags.  After two more trips between TB Int'l  and Term 3, some person (with some knowledge I assume though I never knew who/what he was) observed me (and the lightning bolts emanating from my shoulders) and asked if we were Alaska passengers.  On our yes reply, he told us they were holding the plane (different info from ticket agent of prior mention), to take our luggage up to X place and head to the gate.  Sooo we (Bill + I) did that.  But remember we still don't have dear Sissy!

So we arrive at the gate, say we still have another person in our party to come, First Class no less so don't think that counts for diddly, and the gate agent says some version of "Sorry closing doors, cannot wait".  Bill asks him - "So what are you going to do about accommodations?"  He says, "Sorry but you are on your own about that."  Well now the Thunder is joining the Lightning Bolts.  I'm sick as a dog, my throat is on fire, my head is totally huge and plugged up and I'm ready to kill anyone and anything that gets in my way.  I yell something back at this butt head along the lines of "over my dead body" (which is a possibility considering how sick I am at this point) and we truck back, once again to the ticket agent counter.

On our arrival there, my Sissy is just arriving with a Customer Service Agent caring for her.  She is not a seasoned traveler and is pretty traumatized not knowing where we were/are, if we'd left her, where her luggage is and yadda.  Thank the LORD for this really delightful lady.  She got accommodation arranged for us, new ticketing for the AM (asking us if we'd prefer to take a later flight tomorrow and see some of LA --- Mmmm that would be a NO), but then we still had the dilemma of "Where is our luggage?"  

So off to Baggage Claim to locate said luggage.  Ours was all gone, part of Dea's was there and part not.  Funny how hers and our luggage could be on the plane but we weren't.  I thot that was a no-no?  Sooo now Miss Super Sicky person and fellow travellers are in LA without any luggage, I'm in a short light skirt which is really getting very chilly and I have to wear they same clothes in the AM.  We wait outside for waaaay too long for the courtesy shuttle to the Holiday Inn (the arranged accommodations), check in with our vouchers, get to our rooms (now 10:30PM) then quickly head down to grab some food before the dining room closes.  We have food vouchers for $12.00 and $16.00.  Sissy and I had two Scotches each at a cost of $30.00.  Yup - $7.50 per not including gratuities.  Only things on the menu under $10 are soup or salad.  Not soup AND salad.  Dinner and drinks for three of us was $90.00 but hey - at this point we really don't give a damn.

The rest went as fine as it could.  We got home eventually remembering after arriving at YVR and getting Sissy home to West Van, then we have to catch a ferry (1 1/2 hours) and then drive another 1 1/2 hours to get home.  Made it by about 6:30PM and was never so glad to see my bed.  

Next year I think I'll hire a Lear Jet!!  (In my dreams.)


Misc Pics

Agua Delivery Newest at Bungalow La Madera
Footbridge over Canal to Boquita White Blob in middle is Commercial Mexicana

Clock Tower Progress One Year Later - For Deb

Zihua Sunset

Playa Madera from Bungalows La Madera Dea with Tortuga Floaty

Charles on his latest ATV Model !


For Internet Access we used the place beside Casa Veija.  Rates seem to me to very reasonable and folks are pleasant and accommodating.  One annoyance, which has nothing to do with this place, is more and more folks seem to be using Skype so they are yakking away while you/me are trying to compose, type etc.  Two or three folks yammering become pretty annoying.  May not bother some - even most - but I find it irritating!  Next year I hope to have a laptop thus eliminate this situation.

Most everyone likely knows this but I did not so, in case there are a few nerds such as I, you can use a calling card (bot at the Tienda La Rana on Eva Semano or a zillion other locations) from any phone at all so this works superbly from Casa Amarilla.



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