Wednesday, February 9, 2011

La Manzanilla

Across the bay from Tenacatita is a town called La Manzanilla.  We chose not to sail there from Tenacatita due to it typically being a rocky anchorage and the strong surge that takes place at the shore, making it difficult to dinghy from the boat to the beach. We didn’t want to miss what La Manzanilla offered so we accessed it via the land route from Barre.  Along with our friends aboard the catamaran, Ceilydh (pronounced Kay-lee), and their parents, visiting from Canada, we took two local buses to arrive at La Manzanilla for the afternoon.  We stopped at Yoli’s, a delicious restaurant that serves wonderful shrimp salad, chicken fajitas, and frozen lemonade…something we haven’t found anywhere else in Mexico.  
Clockwise starting with Henry Wyatt, Maia, Chandler, Evan, Ann, Doug, Diane, Marge, Frank

Yoli's kitchen with its many cooks and kids

 From there we toured the crocodile sanctuary.  Pretty much in the middle of town, lies a lagoon filled with baby and adult crocs.  Some are in a zoo-like setting but the ones we spent most of our time viewing were in the lagoon. Although you could see some of the crocs from behind a chain link fence for free, we paid a mere 5 pesos (.45 cents) per person to walk across a rickety bridge, check out the baby crocodiles on dry land and climb up to a viewing tour to sight more of the carnivorous beasts.  They all seemed so calm and quiet but when our friend, Frank, reached over the cement wall to see if he could pick up a baby croc, the little guy scrambled faster than lightening to get out of there!  Their size and lazy appearance camouflage their true move-ability. 

Ann and Henry Wyatt heading up the viewing platform
Baby croc

Traveling with Diane and her family from Ceilydh is a treat, since she is a travel writer and a good one at that!  She researches destinations and finds out-of-the-way places worth visiting and we benefited from some of her kindness and knowledge when we were with her this day.  Diane heard of an art gallery in La Manzanilla so we set off to find it and were pleasantly surprised when we found it off the main street, up a dead-end, unpaved road.  Once inside the gallery I immediately felt that serene atmosphere I experience whenever I leave a busy street and enter a museum. It was such a different feeling than what most of Mexico offers and I loved it.  The artwork was surprisingly good.  One of two Mexican brothers had painted local cowboys walking down a dusty road; a woman who lives in Canada during the warm months and La Manzanilla during the winter months, showed colorful pieces of art depicting traditional Mexican street scenes; and paper mache chickens sat throughout the gallery giggling with one another as we wondered through the four or five rooms viewing art, crafts, and jewelry.    Diane and her mom bought jewelry, Doug and I contemplated buying the cowboy painting (but opted not to) and Chandler, Henry, and Maia (Diane and Evan’s daughter) found the backyard garden and its peaceful environment a fun place to play. 

Before boarding the bus back to Barre we bought ice cream bars and walked along the beach.  A good day of friendship and exploration.

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