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Sunday, March 2, 2014

Batman & Santa

There seems to be a “land rush” on in Yelapa similar to the recent housing rush in Vancouver.  But instead of rich mainland Chinese cruising the streets of Kerrisdale in their Mercedes  trying to scoop up any upscale housing – it’s now aging North American baby boomers walking up and down Yelapa’s main (and only) drag looking for long term rentals and driving prices up. 

Beach front Casas

Rates for a Casa in high season here  are generally about $140.00US a night for a two bedroom
on the beach, and about $100.00US a night for a one bedroom.  In the off season rates drop; and if you’re looking to book for a month or more some good deals can be made.  If you’re not adamant about staying on the beach you can find places even cheaper

There are about a half dozen restaurants in this little town, and the food is generally good to excellent.  A nice dinner for two including drinks goes for about $30.00US.   You can have good meals for considerably less if you want to stay with traditional Mexican fare.  Yelapa isn’t the cheapest place in Mexico, but it’s certainly less expensive than home.
A morning's catch

Our food costs were cut when I went fishing with a local guide, Luis Garcia.  We were out on the water for 6 hours and came home with 25 bonitas (like a small tuna) and one Dorato (Mahi Mahi).   Total cost of the day fishing was $150.00 per person (there were two of).  I doubt you could get an hour’s fishing back home for what it cost for a day here.

The tourist beach
There are five distinct groups of people in Yelapa:  there’s the day tourists who come for the day by boat from Puerto Vallarta.  They are disgorged onto the beach on the far side of the little river and spend the day baking in the sun and drinking Cervesa, then are loaded back onto the boats around four for the hour trip back to Puerto Vallarta. 

The second group is the ex-pats, Canadians and Americans - generally aging burnt outpost hippy baby- boomers  who discovered Yelapa decades ago and have made it their home away from home. They have colorful names like Texas Don, Alaska Dave, Waco Dave, Johnny Bananas and Lucky. 

Next there are the twenty-something backpackers looking for cheap hostels or somewhere to crash.

Then there is a growing group of boomers who dipped their toes into being radical in their youth and searching to reliving their lost youth in their retirement.

Finally there are the Yelapans – most of whom are real-estate speculators, owning two or three Casas per family.  You do the math – they aren’t hurting.  The town is affluent by Mexican standards.

No Mexican town would be complete without  the mandatory beggar.   And Yelapa has one, Weepie,
who has the franchise for the whole town.  Don’t feel sorry for Weepie – she does spectacularly well – especially from the day tourists.   They give her all their Mexican coins.  They have no idea what they’re worth and do not want to take them home lest the boat capsizes and they drown due to the weight of all those coins in their pockets.   I saw Weepie in Vegas in the off season, in an expensive gown pumping coins into the slots.  She pretended not to know me, but I know it was her.

We have an interesting set of neighbours.  Just next door to us are Santa and Batman (an interesting movie title don’t you think?) Santa (real name, Steve) is a spitting image of Santa Claus: same build, red nose, and stomach.  What’s scary is there’s several “Santa” clones here.  If you want to know what all those Salvation Army Santas do with the money in the kettles, now you know – they head out to Yelapa.

Vampire Bat!
Batman got the name because he was bit by a vampire bat while sleeping in a hammock on the patio a night before we arrived – and yes it was full moon! He has to go into Puerto Vallarta every few days for a course of rabies shots. (Evidently the vampire bat thing is extremely  rare -  they generally feast on cattle and there’s less than a 1% chance that they’re rabid.  At least that’s what Harold keeps telling himself and anyone else who will listen.  I think he’s probably correct because I don’t see a lot of cows foaming at the mouth stampeding down the street.)

However if I was Batman I’d be worried – I saw “Santa” on the deck carving a point on a big stick.
 I’m not worried about the rabies,  I sent Michele into the village to buy as much garlic as she can lay her hands on.     Stay tuned for the movie sequel “Vampire Santa – coming down a chimney near you!”  

Yesterday Michele made  Cerviche from about one pound of the fish I'd caught.  By the time she added all the vegetables we had a huge bowl of it  - more than we could ever eat so we took the bowl over to our neighbours:  Jeff, the folk singer took some, then we went to another couple and they took some.  We finally ended up at Batman and Santa's casa.  We explained the situation to them and Santa took the bowl from me and went into the kitchen.  He emptied the entire bowl into one of his own and put it into his fridge. He then washed our bowl, dried it and handed it back.  Michele and I couldn't believe our eyes.  Just remember that next time you leave out cookies for him - he'll go into your kitchen and take the whole package!  

The living room of the new casa
All being well our “bid” on the new Casa will complete in the next couple of days. That means we’ll be down here for three months next year.  So hopefully we’ll see some of you down here next year – just bring your mosquito and vampire spray with you.

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