The first part of this wonderous journey was the ever hated plane travel. In this case I needed to make two stops before reaching my destination. The first leg was from San Jose to Dallas Fort Worth. Unfortunately, arrival into DFW was delayed due to thunderstorms. We had to circle around for an additional half hour before being allowed to land. We landed just in time for me to rush over to catch the plane for the next leg. From DWF, I then flew into Mexico City, hoping to get a glimpse of the volcano that's been threatening to become active there. The weather was slightly overcast, blanketing the nearby volcano in clouds.
The first thing you notice when approaching Mexico City is its immense size. The city seems to spread out for as far as the eye can see from a central park in the city center itself. It makes LA seem small in comparison. After being herded (moo!) through customs, I then boarded the last plane of the day for a short 45 minute flight down to Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo. By this time I've begun to suspect that I will see little if any anglos while on this trip. Finding someone who speaks any english at all has been very difficult. I guess my high school spanish is going to get a good workout.
Upon flying into Zihuatanejo airport, the first thing you notice is the dark and mysterious beauty of the jungle that sourrounds this tropical paradise. You feel as if you are entering a lost world, filled with ancient lore. There's the constant sound of insects and frogs, emphasizing the jungle presence.
Upon arrival, the first chore is getting the ever needed taxi. I got a 13 mile open air ride to the hotel. Traveling through the local countryside on mostly dirt roads (the goverment is currently building a paved highway) one is able to see just how the locals live. Some parts are poverty stricken as in any country, while others show a sense of pride in their culture.
Zihuatanejo is the first bit of civilization encountered. This town is symbolic of the local way of living. Built with a simple clay architecture, this city is built right up into the hills and jungle. One the major products of this jungle appears to be coconuts. All along the route you nice piles of coconuts drying in the sun.
Using our timeshare in South Lake Tahoe, I traded to stay at the Sheraton Villas. As you can see from the thunbnail images here (simply click on the images to see the full photo), the room and view were fantastic. And the AC nearly froze me out. This room would be where I would spend most of my time, relaxing, enjoying the peace and quite.
After settling in, I decided to go out for a walk through Hotel Zone. One side of the street is covered in upscale hotels much like the Sheraton. The other is filled with shops, markets, and restuarants of all sorts. Once again I felt more like an outcast than a tourist. Since it was around dinner time, I decided to stop in at Senor Frogs for dinner. The place was just like the one I visited in Cabo San Lucas some 6 years ago. I dined on pollo de mayan and ensalada mixto ( Mayan chicken and a mixed salad if you didn't figure out) with a couple of Coronas.
Being as its a Saturday night, I figured I'd see what the local night life was like. Highly recommended is a place called Christine's at the Krystal Hotel. The evening is almost perfect. Warm and less humid than the day. When I got to Christine's there were 3 things that changed my mind about going in. First the crowd was a good 10 years or more younger than I was and it appears to be a mostly local club, not an anglo in sight. Besides, I've been out of the club scene for a much longer period of time. Second, the place was packed. With my anxiety in crowds of people, this was not a good idea. And lastly, everyone, and I mean everyone was frisked on the way in. Think this place might have trouble?
Anyways, I ending up heading back to Senor Frogs. Again the place was mostly filled with locals. But there were a few anglo tourists. I sat around for a while listening to the music, which was too loud for anyone to possibly have a conversation. Eventually I ordered a margarita from the bar (waiters serve the women right away and ignore the men) and moved outside to the patio. After 2 margaritas, I headed back to the hotel to get some sleep. By the time I got there though, those 2 drinks kicked in. I haven't been drunk in a long time, and this was not fun. After staying up long enough to acheive some semblance of soberiety, I decided to end my first day in Mexico.