Thursday, October 2, 2008


Yesterday we decided to explore the sweet little town of Zihuatanejo. We had our cab drop us off at the artisan´s market, and I think I made it about 37 minutes before I was begging John to sit down for a icy cold beer. This humidity thing is so intense! Your shirt is sticking to your body within seconds of stepping outside, and the air is thick and heavy. It carries with it, though the scent of dried palapa palms and gardenias. And it´s really not a bad excuse to have a frosty Negra Modelo con limon.

We stopped for a beer at a bar called Bandidos, where we were the only customers there and where we got to know our sweet little English-speaking server named David. He recommended some places to go shopping (which we did - hooray for silver!), and told us that his friend had a small fishing boat (or panga) that we could go out on the next day (today) for a rate far less than what the hotel would have booked for us. So we said yes, bring it on!!

We wandered around the town for another hour or so and had lunch at the tamale place, which was awesome. By this time my hair was doing the Monica thing (from ¨Friends¨- remember when they went to the Caribbean?) and there was a permantent pool of sweat on my upper lip so we can back to the hotel around 4:30, intent on chilling by the pool for a while. We woke up in our bed about 2 hours later after a delicious nap! Then we ventured all the way over t0 the tequila bar and met out new BFF Pablo, the bartender, and had some of the best margaritas I´ve ever had. While we were playing cards and eating a dinner of fresh ceviche and shirmp quesadillas, we heard that the turtles were porbably going to be coming up on the beach soon to lay their eggs. Turns out they come up during the rainy season (July - Spetmeber) and lay their eggs in the same spot every year. The hotel employees then gather the eggs (usually around 100 per turtle) and place them in a guarded hole in the sand until they are ready to be released, thus enhancing their chance of survival (though still only about 10 in 100 will make it once hatched).

We were so stoked and told the employees patrolling the beach to please notify us if they saw a turtle. Sure enough, at about 10 pm they called us from the bar and we and about 4 other vacationers hurried behind the man to see the tired turtle making her way back into the surf, slowly but surely. The men found where she had dug a hole about 2 feet deep and laid all her eggs. They asked me if I{d like to help retrieve them!! What an unfogettable experience, kneeling in the sand and gently schooping still-warm turtle eggs from their lair and into a bucket. They look exactly like ping pong balls, but they give to the touch. I was nervous but the men assured me the shells were very tough. Most of the others there took a turn scooping out the eggs. All in all, there we 91 eggs that this sweet old turtle (they can live to be over 100) had laid in the sand. The employees took the eggs to the guarded nest where they will hatch in about 45 days and then be released into the sea.

About an hour later we were informed that another turtle had made her way up the beach and indeed not only one but two turtle had come up, side by side, and were slowly digging their holes very close to the resort wall. They used their back flippers to flick the sand away left and right, and they seemed so tired, straining their wrinkly necks and pausing often. I gave them good energy. I feel ya, sisters. Can you imagine how light they feel after dropping off 100 eggs?! They´re practically skipping back into the water, feeling 50 pounds lighter!

The same man (who was quickly becoming my friend - we all love that I{m rambling away in Spanish over here) let me know that a batch of baby turtles had hatched and would be released tonight. Ummm, have you ever held a just-hatched baby turtle while standing on a warm beach at night? I highly recommend it. These things were so effing cute!! I gave mine a little blessing that she may live a long a successful life. They will be letting this batch go tonight, I{ll be sure to let you know how it goes!!

So anyway.... we woke up early this morning. 6 am. Whoo, that´s early. Still dark. Our new friend David was waiting for us in the lobby and he took us by cab to the pier to wait for his friend. We bought 18 beers at the little market and John got a bolillo with chorizo and eggs. We were so excited, even though we had quite the thunderstorm last night and I was a leeeetle bit worried about the conditions of the water.

Man, I have never been so queasy. Even the one time I got seasick, when I was 8 months pregnant on a catamaran on Maui, I ralphed and quickly got it overwith. Not today, my friends. I am still relling a little from the rough seas and the tiny boat, the smell of gasoline and of the raw fish used for bait. Even David got very ¨mareado¨(seasick), and we spent the majority of the morning dozing on and off in the swells. I couldn´t even put down water, let alone beer or food.

We eventually (well, after 5 hours and no catches) told the captain that we´d like to just turn around and go back in (this was supposed to be an all-day excursion, with the fish we caught prepared fresh for us on the Isalnd of Ixtapa). No, thanks. We haven´t caught anything and I{m turning green over here. John perked up eventually, but for a while there he was Queasy Queaserton, the mayor of Queasyville, and I was his faithful sidekick Queasles the stomach-turning clown. Thankfully, neither of us puked, and it was nice to walk on dry land again.

So now, we´re just relaxing poolside with our water and books. We managed to get down some sandwiched for lunch and it´s time to do nothing but CHILLAX.

Not too hard to do.