Mexico Tennis (2) 2019

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March 21st 2019
Published: April 10th 2019
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waiting for the bus
This year we decided to extend our tennis holiday ( I am now playing 3 times a week) to two weeks from February 11th to the 25th. We planned this last fall and the timing worked out quite well given the snow and cold we were able to escape with this schedule. As with all SSI journeys, we had to leave a day early but this time it was in a blizzard. We had a rough ferry crossing and a cold but short wait for the bus. However by Winnipeg standards it probably wasn't that bad...

Our journey to Manzanillo was on Aeromexico via Mexico City and the trip started at 0330-a small price to pay for not being routed through the USA. We arrived in Mx at 1210 then got to enjoy the always entertaining Mexico City Airport until 610 PM. There are always a lot of worried tourists wondering if they are at the correct gate...We arrived at Manzanillo at 730 (right on time) and so did our luggage. There is a new efficient voucher system for taxis and we were quickly on our way with a driver who didn't know the location of the El Palmar-luckily we
Jan in actionJan in actionJan in action

awaiting the serve
knew the location and guided him in.

The tennis shuttle headed out the next morning at 0730 without us as we had a few things to do (money, liquor, groceries, pedicure, haircut) For future considerations, Hawaii is the best grocery store. The adjacent small family run stores are also excellent.

There was a cocktail party/happy hour tonight at the hotel. The big news is that Salt Spring has 2 feet of snow. After drinks we went to La Rana (The Frog) restaurant for dinner. It is a nice little family restaurant about 3 blocks from our hotel-massive margharitas and good fajitas.

The next day being Wednesday feb 13th, everyone was awoken at 630 AM by the sound of a nearby exploding electrical transformer. No apparent damage and we all loaded on to the shuttle van at 730 to go to the tennis courts. They are located in the town of Cihuatlan which is about a 20 minute drive. We have a mixture of Americans and Canadians with most of the people very good at the game. (I am hoping to improve as the holiday unfolds)

After tennis we returned to the resort and I went to pick up my reserved "hybrid" bike from the Bike Baron. The fee for 11 days for this gem was 1000 pesos ($70 CAD) for a bike which could generously be described as a "mechanic's special". I think the major benefit will be that I will probably be much more appreciative of my two bicycles at home and may not proceed with buying a new bike (as I had planned) Today was also market day and we bought some cake for desert. It is potluck night and we are having fish caught by Martin and Mafalda.

There are two banks in Melaque and the far one is the busiest due to it's lower commission rate. There is usually a lineup and a number of the customers seem to have trouble making the ATMs work. However the ATM lineup is infinitely preferable to the Spanish Inquisition you have to undergo when you exchange cash money at a teller. Using the ATMs assumes that the banks actually have money -on the first weekend there was a big run on the machines on Sunday which meant no money until Monday afternoon.

We both continued with tennis Thursday to Saturday and I think
Boxer number 2Boxer number 2Boxer number 2

guarding the pool
I improved a bit. The surface is a bit hard to adjust to as it is clay with a sprinkling of gravel. The lines are raised concrete so there are some interesting bounces. We had some great tennis with a couple from New Jersey (Buck and Marta) We did one different tennis day on Friday due to an oversubscription on the Cihuatlan van run- 6 of us went to the Melaque recreation centre where they have 2 clay courts. They have a more consistent surface but short backcourts and low fences. We did get home earlier so I tried the excellent nearby laundry service. We also went to the Happy Cow for meat pies.

On Sunday I gave my tennis racquet a rest and cycled off down the road to Barra- about 20 km by the time I returned home. Barra is a bit upscale in comparison to Melaque and there is a bike path beside the street on the way in from the main highway. On the way home i purchased 2 more Oxaca rugs for "the truck" -these have fish on them. Tonight was pizza night at the Quetzal with 6 people from the resort.

On Monday it was back to the tennis courts- we now have people from Creston as well as Salmon Arm and Salt Spring. After our return I had to go for money and cashed $250 USF. The armoured car arrived at 3.00 and the ATMs were back up and running.

At 530, three of us walked the lagoon path to see what birds we could find-usual suspects plus 2 crocs. After the birding, we returned to La Rana for dinner and it appears they just got the Winnipeg BDI service manual-a long wait for all components of the meal.

The next day we had our inshore fishing trip with our excellent guide Luis Sanchez. Our taxi was supposed to pick us up at 630 AM but a no show so we had to call again-finally over to Barra to Luis's house. He lives on the canal and his excellent boat is parked in a slip behind the house. We were quickly out on to the bay and had a fish on within minutes (small spanish mackeral) The weather was a bit cool the first part of the morning and we actually had a little bit of rain. The coast
La Barra tennisLa Barra tennisLa Barra tennis

carpet surface
is quite scenic with a series of small rocky islands and outcrops. We had about a 3-4 foot wave pattern which provided white water all along the edges of the ricks and Luis kept us quite close as he expected there would be fish in the spray areas (and he was right) We caught 2 nice sized tulias.

We also saw schools of manta rays coming out of the water as we cruised along. We fished most of the morning and caught 2 more (skipjacks) on the way home.

Luis cleaned the fish for us and they became part of the evening potluck dinner.

The next day 8 of us took taxis to Barra to play at the Grand Isla Navidad Resort. The cabs dropped us off at the main pier where we caught the water taxi. The courts at the resort are outdoor carpet with a layer of sand. They need some repairs but are generally pretty good to play on and we had a great time. Later that day Jan and I did the Mexico dental program and got our teeth cleaned. (dental cleaning Salt Spring = $200, Mexico = $45 plus cab fare) This time, the procedure in Mexico was done by an actual dentist...

The next day,(Thursday the 21st) we played tennis again and it appears there is hope. I may invest in a new racquet when i get home to replace my 30 year old 'Wimbledon" model. In the evening a large contingent of us went to a beach side bar looking for the green sunset flash-no luck but it may depend on the number of Margharitas....

Friday turned out to be my last tennis day (inadvertently) We played a modified round robin tournament using 4 courts based on 30 minute sets. Winners on court 4 stay on the same court but with different partners, winners on other courts go up, losers go down one court etc. It all worked out and everyone had fun. We also heard about another tournament format involving doubles tennis with 2 racquets instead of 4.... Jan and I did dinner at the Albatross which was pretty good-coconut shrimp seems to be the gourmet choice.

The next day I did a bird walk to the lagoon, then rode my bike to the Barra Gym with a stop to take some pictures at the goat
The goat dairy.The goat dairy.The goat dairy.

a slice of rural Mexico
dairy. It is located at the junction of the Barra road and the main highway and consists of a raised mini deck (covered) with a small set of stairs. The female goat (doe) climbs the stairs and stands on the enclosed deck while being milked. People bring their own containers. This is probably not something you would see in Cancun or Puerto Viarta. However Saturday is a day off for the goats...

On the way home on the bike I had this premonition of pending doom and so I was careful to cross back over the highway to our street on foot. This was safely done and I reloaded myself on the bike and immediately had the front wheel go crossways in a sand pile-spectacular crash ending up with open wound on right elbow full of gravel and scrape on one knee. After returning the bike and a quick lunch it was off to the clinic for treatment by Dr Rosie Alvarez (co-owner of the resort) Lots of gravel removal , 3 stitches and then antibiotics and lots of them.

The next day I walked to the goat dairy again and then took the bus to Cihuatlan to
American CootAmerican CootAmerican Coot

one of the usual suspects at the lagoon
go for Ceveche after tennis. After our return it was time to go into packing mode.

The arm wasn't doing well so out came the stitches and a new dressing was applied. I then got a new dose of industrial strength antibiotics.

The next day we started our trek home accompanied by a hot and swollen arm. After the scheduled overnight in Vancouver, and the ferry ride home it was off to the Lady Minto Hospital for the final solution- new dressing and outpatient intravenous antibiotics for a few days. All ended well.


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