Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Final Day in Mexico

Feeling sad to find it was our last day, here, in Manzanillo, we decide to make the most of our time. All four of us venture north to sample Barra de Navadad. The drive north takes us through arid areas and small villages, eventually delivering us to Barra, as it's known for short.

The bustling town is packed for market day and we wander or tour, depending upon one's viewpoint, much of the town just in search of a parking place. Small businesses and vibrantly painted buildings add zest to the pulsating energy in the streets. First we trail the market streets - this market is set up, extending into many and various different streets. The booths are set up within the streets themselves so that businesses exist behind the booths, adding another dimension. Alot of the merchandise we saw looked familiar from the Manzanillo Market. But, as usual, my favorite part was drinking in the faces and traditions of the wonderful Mexican people. My favorite face was that of this lil' boy, watching in anticipation, the making of his candy coated ice cone!

After the Market we drift toward the tantalizing beach on the west side of Barra. We arrive relatively early and find a pleasing spot to land, just in front of a open-backed restaurant. Once we were seated and settled, one of the employees comes to offer us drinks and lunch. We order and nest in for the day. The beach is intriguing to us because the beach slants steeply into the water and, eventually, we learn why there is a lifeguard boat patrolling close in to the shore. The life guards are watching the swimmers as we find the bottom falls off quickly AND there is a huge undertow! We bounce on the bottom, attempting to judge when the next big wave will break and laugh when we miscalculate - and - get dunked! I manage to whip out this sketch during the afternoon. Mike attempts boogie-boarding with the new friends we've made, seated next to us, but realizes that the waves break too close to shore to even consider riding. We all enjoy the warm sun and the quiet joy of friends and fun.

But our "eating" agenda is calling us. We've read tale of a charming restaurant in Malaque "that won't disappoint" us. This is a smaller village and, after a short drive, we are on dirt streets with chickens and loud Cuban music in our ears. Our dinner mission directs us back to the beach where we find the "Restaurant Maya". Actually we enter through the back, beach entrance which is wide open to the ocean view! We are seated overlooking the same "strongly slanted" beach front as we'd left in Barra. But this time, we were given a fantastic display of young boogie-boarders who HAD found a way to master those fast breaking waves! The five or so youngsters would examine the breaking waves from the shore and when they saw the "perfect" breaking wave, would rush into the ocean, throw down the boogie board and jump aboard - flying right into the wave!!! They'd catch it, ride up into the break and usually, turn and ride down the wave. A 360 degree circle! But then again, the most fantastic rides where when they did NOT turn and just shot UP through the wave - into the air - breaking into aerial acrobatics! They were better than ANY planned entertainment! And then - let me tell you the food and atmosphere was EVEN better than the "entertainment"! I had a ginger, curried chicken to die for and food presentations were so lovely, we photographed them! And all this amidst the above sunset over the ocean! Perhaps we'd died and gone to heaven :) It was the perfect ending to our final day in wonderful the Manzanillo area.

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