Here is a brief synopsis of my travel to Yelapa. After missing my flight, I still made it to Vallarta in time, got through immigration and the currency exchange to catch a taxi to Muelles de Los Muertos dock for the last water taxi to Yelapa. From there a fellow helped me with my bags to Irma y Angel’s home where I have a little room with a shared kitchen and private bath. It has an adjunct area up the stairs where I can look out at the ocean with a deck table and chairs. Not the greatest view but it is ok for the price, at least compared to the other going rates for larger casas here in Yelapa It is small and comfortable which is all I need as I am only here really when I sleep.
I briefly met the hosts, once to give the children’s clothes I brought with me as gifts to the community. They seem very nice and everyone I have met speaks well of them. I believe they are well respected in the community. There are a lot of Anglos here, more than I expected to see and this little community is certainly geared up for the tourist trade.
The first day I got up to catch the early morning light for pictures and made my way down to the main playa (beach). I had a nice time there. The first encounter I had was with a person that wanted to sell me something and then directed me to a table. I was looking for coffee. I meandered a bit and did find a nice spot where the waiter was more engaging and helpful.
Later, after I had breakfast by the ocean, a guy came up with Pepe (the ten year old Iguana) and offered to take my picture with Pepe. He did a very bad job but one picture was workable and exposed correctly. It all happened in two minutes and then he asked me for $10 bucks. I told him I would give him two bucks otherwise I would be happy to delete the pictures. He seemed obliged and took the money and off he ran with Pepe to the next unsuspecting tourist who had just off the boat.
Later, the pie lady came by and offered me some pie for $8 bucks a slice. I kindly turned down the offer. It seems I detected a trend here at La Playa. I went back up to my room and then planned my next site seeing adventure. There are two ways to la Playa, one goes down some steep steps that take you to where the river joins the ocean and you look for a shallow place to cross. The other way is to walk down along the riverside to where you eventually come to a bridge. It’s on the outskirts of town and a little rural.
I made my way down to the bridge and then back down the other way – about a 45 minute walk. It is humid here and all the paths are very steep. I certainly have been getting a work out and my body has done nothing but ache and sweat profusely these last two days. Last night I woke up with the feeling that I was coming down with a cold again. I took my echinacea and I’ve been careful to eat fruits and vegetables.
This evening I found this little restaurant that was absolutely incredible. I ordered two tacos and two quesadilla with a salad. What came out were three blue corn soft tortilla seafood tacos and a small chimichanga. I wasn’t complaining – this was not New Mex or Tex Mex. It was an incredible gourmet dinner, very delicious and all for $7.50. I could not believe my eyes nor taste buds. I think the good fresh vegetables will give my body the nutrients it needs. A meal like that in the states would have cost $35 bucks. So … I scored big time on that little place and I will go back again.
Now I have I nice Internet cafe in the morning I can go to and a fabulous place for dinner, the ocean and all the streets to climb in this village. I went out to the point end of the land, as far as one can go on the trail. There is a waterfall the other way but it is a 3.5 hour hike through the jungle. I don’t know if I am up for the trek just yet with feeling poorly and my legs and back killing me. We’ll see…
Angel has said he will take me out sea fishing this week – so that should be fun. Maybe I will make it to the waterfall later this week. So, I pretty much have the lay of the land and know where everything is in the town and around the water. I will probably hang out on the beach a bit more this week. What a life, wake up go down to the Internet cafe, have a nice breakfast for little of nothing. Hang out on the beach and watch Pepe and the pie lady greet the tourist, read a book, find a hammock some where, have a siesta and then dinner at this great little restaurant. Now if my head and nose clear up, I’ll be doing great!
I don’t know what to say about Yelapa in terms of the village. It is peaceful and I think some gringos that live here have tried to help the village grow with ecology in mind. There is construction and one gets a sense that this little undiscovered place has indeed been discovered. It is rustic, dirty, and moldy – it’s a 2nd/third world environment but the people and the place have their charm. With the bustling metropolis of Vallarta to the north, I think there is more to do if and when one wants only an hour boat ride or with the option to rent a room over night.
Oh, I almost forgot, we saw the water jet sprays in the air of a whale from the boat coming here! We didn’t get to see the whale but how cool was that? Maybe on the return home we’ll see a whale. They come here for the winter. Ok, that is my report for now. I took lots of pictures with my camera and a few with my iPAD yesterday to send to you. I hope you are well. I like it here but every time I see a picture on my camera of the mountains, I yearn for home. Funny how that goes . . .
It’s me again, checking in from lovely Yelapa. Today was a good day as I am feeling better and think I may have this cold licked. At least today I had the energy for making some delightful photographic rounds. I started the usual at Mimi’s, the Internet cafe. However, though not a problem of the connection, iMessenger would not work. I sent you my update by email and I hope you got it. More importantly, I hope iMessenger is working tomorrow as I have more photos to send from my iPAD.
I came back after breakfast and rested a while, reading the book of the Hopis. Delightful reading and very interesting. I have been reading about their mythology and migratory history which is part of those legends. What is very interesting is how evidence of their clans exist as far north, south, east and west as one can go. Their myths and stories represent many metaphors of spiritual insights that are also found in other mystical systems around the world.
Anyway, after reading I set out to the beach, ocean, La Playa. It was an overcast day and the light wasn’t there but I figured it could break which it did. When I saw that beginning to happen I was off on another photographic adventure. After a couple of hours of shooting I made my way back home, took a shower and then was off to my favorite new found restaurant.
The place was already full but there was a table for six that had a lovely view that was available. I asked the waitress in Spanish if it was ok for me to sit there and she said yes. I told her, in my broken Spanish that if other personas wanted to sit at the table they were welcomed. She understood and soon I had two lovely couples joining me for dinner, Roger, Judy, April and Ross. They are retirees who spend a month to three months a year down here. April and Ross ( a writer) have been coming down here for ten years now.
Both couples were able to provide me a lot of information about places to check out and where to stay that are cheaper. Roger made a comment that he thought the restaurant where we were eating was a forecast of things to come and a new type of clientele that is beginning to come to Yelapa, outside of the hippy group of later years.
It was a delightful dinner, with conversation spread across several topics of retirement, Yelapa, current events, anthropology, literature and various writer and artist groups in the area. I learned more about Vallarta and they remarked about the many wonderful galleries are there in the romantic zone (old town) with some world class art on exhibit. That gave me hope of maybe finding a gallery down here. These two couples both come from British Columbia but have hailed from other areas such as Britain, Minnesota, and New England.
It was a delightful time and at last ended too soon. Time flies when you are having fun. So, there you go – another wonderful day here in paradise. There is a magic about this place that is quite enchanting. I think things would really break if there was a road here but there is not and for now that is a good thing for this sleepy little village. I must say I am beginning to really like it here and could see myself living the good spiritual life on very little money during the winter months.
Also, I am told that the folks coming back on the boat yesterday from Boca did indeed see a whale. They don’t breed here but do come here to raise their young. How wonderful! OK, that is it for now – I wonder what tomorrow holds.
Now that I am home from my travel to Yelapa, I want to give you an update of the other significant events that occurred while I was there and before they fade from short-term memory into long-term moments.
Well, as mentioned, I met two lovely Canadian couples who are hail from British Columbia; Roger, April, Judy and Ross. I would continue to bump into them as I made my rounds through the village, stopping for chats and a beer or two along the way. You may remember that I was feeling better when I first met them at the little restaurant with great prices. I thought I had licked the onslaught of another cold, but having run out of Echinacea and also imbibing in some white wine at dinner the night before when I felt good – I succumbed to the onslaught of yet another cold. Uggh . . . but I was determined not to let that slow me down and enjoy to Yelapa anyway. And since I was already suffering I decided to follow Old Testament (Christian for Jewish Literature) advice of “taking a little wine with what ails you” and that I did when at dinner or out with new friends.
The next day I explored some new areas of the island, up above the point and around that area. If I was to live in Yelapa part time in the winters that would be the area where I would stay and will do when I have a chance to return. I found this place called House of Miracles (Casa de la Milagros) that was high up the jungle mountainside. The views were simply astounding and I took several panoramic photos and single shots on my camera and iPAD. I also found this little yellow house down at the ocean’s edge there. It is quite remarkable in construction, quite sound and different than the Palapa open air designs of most homes in the area.
This house is well built and yet it appeared unkempt and somewhat abandoned. It would not take much at all to brush it up and start marketing it as a vacation rental for people. I was really drawn to it so much, like a magnet and I am hoping dearly that I can discover the family responsible for the land there and if the previous renters are still active.
Nobody who I made inquiries with, locals from that area, seemed to know anything about it. Which is odd seeing they know most everything about the other gringos and homes. I did an internet search and there were a few pictures on the net that were posted by the renters. However, there is nothing on the web searches. The web site supporting the house is no longer available on the internet. I did a whois search and the domain was originally located in San Diego but transferred to England. I have made inquiries there too. One of the pictures I saw on the net showed some of the books in the library. One was a book about Carl Gustav Jung. I took that as a good omen! Anyway, keeping my fingers crossed. If it is meant to be it will be or I will at least have tried my earnest to make it so.
That evening there was music down the road along the village. I was going out fishing the next day and had mentioned it to April when I met her at a grocery store. She seemed interested in going fishing fish too but was concerned about the time of day. I said that I understood but that she was absolutely welcome to come along, and that I would check if it affected the price. We agreed to hook up later at Ray’s (a restaurant that was suppose to have great hamburgers). If not then we would meet down at the music event at Passion Flower down by the river.
While at the Ray’s I met a local artist who was turned on to Yelapa by California resident Isabel, who unfortunately is no longer with this world. Apparently she was a sort of patron saint of the area over the last twenty years. John, the artist friend had been coming to Yelapa for twenty years as well. http://www.yelapacasaisabel.com/_/Home.html
There were other locals from Yelapa who had been coming there for ages who showed up. Memo who has a blog http://yelapamemo.blogspot.com/. Bill and Irene who have a place on the point down from the little yellow house that I like so much. They hail from California as well. Irene is the local librarian here helping the Spanish children. Bill is this little Jewish guy who has all the mannerism of a Hollywood Larry David type. I described that to Judy later and she just laughed, saying she knows that California type very well. Anyway dinner with my new friends at Ray’s was great. We shared really good conversation once again and many a good laugh.
Judy, Ross, Roger and April did not show up at Ray’s. The time flew at Ray’s and someone mentioned that nobody was around -(apparently Ray’s is a local stronghold watering hole). They remarked that everyone must be down at Passion Flower. So – off I went to hopefully find my friends there. When I got there the music had just ended for the night but the grounds were packed with over 50 retired gingros and assortment of hippy types. I was so excited to see such a closely nit community of artist types and Yelapa lovers.
Anyway, heading back up, I bumped into Judy, Roger, Ross and April on their way down as well. We went over to the Oasis for a beer and talk. They had decided against the fishing trip because getting up and being available at 6:30 in the morning was going to be a challenge for them. Not a problem.
Anyway, despite the margaritas at Ray’s, the beer at the Oasis, and a developing head and chest cold I was up and on the doc with Angel at 6:30 the next morning for a fishing trip. We kept close to the coastline as Angel knew where rocks underneath the water served as shelter for many fish. It was fun to travel by boat further down the Mexican coastline. On the way out I saw several tails of whales breaching the waves in the distances. Then there was a group of them and a big whale did a full body leap out of the ocean. What a surprise – that alone was worth the fishing trip! They were still in the distance but how exciting that was to see. We caught three fish and Angel’s wife, Imir, prepared a lovely fish dinner for us that evening.
Later I went out for a walk and bumped into my friends down at the dock Judy, Roger, Ross and April. They were stargazing at Orion, the Pleiades and Big Dipper, I pointed out to them the north star, Taurus, and Gemini and Cassiopeia. We then ventured up to Mimi’s where there was live music playing there again that night. Towards the end of the evening I mentioned that tomorrow night would be my last night in Yelapa. Judy and April suggested that I should come up to their place for dinner. I graciously accepted and offered to bring a bottle of wine.
I really like this group, they are fun to talk and be with. They are in their late sixties/early seventies – sort of that late beat generation. Roger, coming from Great Britain, and I had a very good talk about many things technical and global that evening. There was another couple who joined us too – both of them cavers and travelers which lead to more interesting discussions about the Mayans, Guatemala, Belize, Tikal, etc.
The evening finally came to and end and I said good by to my new found friends. Roger and Judy walked with me back down to the village. They suggested that I retire early and live a longer life as a result. I kind of like that idea but I am not certain it would be in my financial best interest – however, who knows. Yelapa is very attractive, despite the beach hustle, it is a safe place. There is a community of expats there who all seem intent on keeping this little place undiscovered. However, time marches on. Imir and Angel said they thought someday, maybe in ten years the Mexican government would build roads to Yelapa.
Anyway, I am so happy that I went. What a great time. This is a third world environment so with it come challenges. Horses and donkeys haul everything and that makes the cobbled stone roads a little messy – hence the need for a good flash light at night! I did also get a little intestinal trouble briefly but it subsided. However, lot’s of great photo opportunities, good friends, conversation and a beach to hang out on, whales to watch, and a sun to bask in makes this truly a little paradise. I will send you more pictures when I have them processed.
It’s been a rather blustery day, just like the one Pooh remarks about in the 100 acre woods. Clouded over skies, leaves blowing around and a sense that the weather is about to change. Hopefully for the good, ;). It is interesting under these conditions, listening to the wind blow outside my window, to think of my recent trip to Yelapa and wonder if it had all been this somehow magical dream. I think it was. The day churn of getting up and going back to work, working to move the culture of an organization that doesn’t understand security and would rather not be moved has already taken its toll. The mundane and routine begins to sit in and then i get to go home, thinking about how i might change this situation for the better. A consultant i keep thinking.
Funny how the days erase some memories but i have not forgotten the freedom and the possibilities, the faces of the people i met and with whom i had delightful conversations free from the routine and mundane. When one is relaxed and open, ideas and creative urges naturally move to the surfaces and action follows. Anything seems possible. And, i believe for the most part it still is. I just need to find the way. However the routine, the time when one can’t do exciting things detracts from valuable time better served with creative inspiration and aspirations.
I’m thinking about the people who i want to write to concerning my art work, two art gallery owners i recently made contact with – wanting to reach out to them and connect. However, at the end of a long day and commute the time somehow doesn’t seem right. So not giving in to the routine and the mundane, i go back to my photographs from Yelapa and i continue to dream, knowing that if i wanted, in one year i could retire or at least change venues. All in time, all good things in time. So i am working on my photos this evening and wanted to share another one with you. Upon second reading, i will contact these two people tonight but first the pictures for you.
This one was taken on my first evening in Yelapa. I was told that there would be dancing and music at the Yacht Club, a mischievous name for a local hang out down by the fishing pangas (boats). This was after a long day of travel, not even knowing if i would make it to Yelapa that day because of the missed flight and if i would be spending a night in Vallarta. Thankfully, i made it and went down to the club. I must have been early because there were only two people there. I took a table since they were serving food. I had a glass of wine and two seafood appetizers that were absolutely delicious while sitting at the edge of the deck looking out into the fading late afternoon light and sky out across the boats in the bay. It must have been one of those blessed moments where synchronicity comes to the forefront helping one realize yes, surprise – it was all meant to be; missing my first flight and hooking with the right people that lead me here.
It couldn’t have been more peaceful and enchanting. Unknown to me the DJ had started to play tunes while getting ready for the dancing that would start much later. The tunes – played while i was there having dinner were – early Beatles as you know my favorite period of their work and then followed by Van Morrision (also one of my all time favorite singers). It couldn’t have been any better and i thanked the DJ for playing such awesome tunes on my way out. However, before i left the Yacht Club i managed to take this panoramic from where i was sitting and i wanted to share it with you. I hope you enjoy the images and the evening there that it evokes.
PS – In another photo i sent you at the other end of the beach beyond the people you see here in the forefront i took my last panoramic. It’s the one i sent to you earlier with the bird on the beach – it was early morning. I should probably display these images juxpositoned to each other one of these days. I will play around with this image with the HDR effects like the other and maybe send them to you. Anyway, i trust this letter finds you feeling stronger and inwardly thankful – happy. Big hugs.