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Saturday, December 19, 2015

Yelapa: THe land that forgot Time

Our casa in Yelapa
My apologies for not having written earlier, it’s a combination of indolence, boredom and trying to get into some sort of writing routine here in Yelapa.  Yes, we’re back in Yelapa again.  God, I love it here – if it weren’t for the oppressive heat, the humidity, the bugs, the hurricanes, rolling brownouts, and irrefutable signs of Global Warming.  Speaking of which, they should plan to have the next world conference on Global warming here in Yelapa instead of Paris.  Half of the delegates wouldn’t survive the walk to the Yoga retreat without being swept off the path by a huge wave and carried out to sea.  Other than those few trifling matters we love it here. 

We arrived here about three weeks ago.  The temperature in Puerto Vallarta was a balmy 35 degrees and the humidity somewhere over 100%.    The good news is that it won’t last long: it should cool off right after the hurricane passes.  

Hurricanes don’t bother me much – unless of course I’m in a small boat on the ocean which is about as safe as wearing  a “Jews for Jesus” t-shirt in downtown Mecca during the Hajj .  Michele and I’ve survived few rough transits from Puerto Vallarta over the years.  The most notable being last year when the 45 minute trip took over 2 hours plowing through 15 foot seas. This time, however, the water had that oily slick calm look that precedes a storm.

The "mud" bloom from the river
Perfect, because five hours after our arrival the storm arrives preceded by a spectacular lightning storm.   The hurricane passes well south of us which means we are spared the wind. But the rain?  I haven’t see rain like that since…..    the storm that hit us a few days ago.  Now that storm was a doozy!  It pounded down for two days and I figure we had a foot of rain – and that’s a conservative estimate.  The little river that separates the town from the tourist area resembles the Mississippi – sending a mud bloom miles out into the blue ocean.  There are rivers where there were no rivers.

Before we arrive I write our landlord asking him to make sure everything was shipshape when we arrived, and he did – for the most part.  Other than no internet (essential to communicate to the outside world), a broken ceiling fan (essential for the heat), faulty wiring in the bathroom, no hot water  and no water pressure in the kitchen, the place was in tip top shape.  But on the plus side our landlords provided us with a new pair of deck lounges which means we no longer have an  excuse to visit the beach.

To be fair, most of the problems were fixed quickly by Mexican standards, and other than a few daily disasters, such as a midnight invasion of the army ants who mistakenly took a left instead of a right and ended up in our living room, things are going along quite well.  I took a page out of  Bashar Al-Assad’s book and gassed the ant army with copious sprayings of Raid.  Unfortunately I also gassed myself in the process and had to spend several hours out in the dark on the patio on the new deck lounges until the air was breathable again.  It seems to have done the trick – we haven’t seen any sign of them in a couple of weeks.
Free range horses on my walk

My day usually begins at the crack of eight or nine with a walk east to the tourist beach, or west -through town and up the mountain to the fancy hotel that won’t let me inside.  The walks generally take about an hour and I’ve been doing them for the past four or five years.  However this year the walks have become more “challenging.” 

The walk to the expensive hotel is now no longer possible – since I nearly got swept of the path - that runs along the ocean.  Normally the waves come up to the path but rarely wash across it – and if they do, the water is only an inch or two deep.  Not so this year.  The huge surf crashes right over the path and up against the retaining walls on the uphill side.  In past years I’ve avoided getting my feet wet by timing the waves then hopping quickly across the low spots before the next roller comes in.  Either the waves are coming quicker this year or my timing is out – or both  - because this year I got caught several times by huge rollers that first slammed me into the retaining wall then tried to suck me out to sea.  I think two of my fingernails are still embedded in the wall.   I survived, somewhat banged up, and wet. The locals tell me they’ve never seen the surf as high as it is this year.
a new  waterfall after the rain

The walk in the other direction is more tranquil but now requires several “portages” over large ponds of muddy water that are a result of the massive rains or the high tides – or both.   The good news is that the sunny weather should dry them up in a few days – just after the mosquito larvae hatch.

Our lives here have now settled in a routine that very much resembles what life must be in a seniors home – it gives me a chance to contemplate on my future.  We get up, get dressed, eat, nap, play a board game in the afternoon, nap, have dinner, watch an hour of TV then go to bed.  A couple of times a week we go out for dinner.  The only thing missing is the Filipino caregiver poking us with a stick to see if we’re still alive.

One of my catches for a morning's fishing
I will say one thing:  the fishing here is spectacular!  You can go out here for a morning’s fishing for less than the tip would cost you for fishing in Canada or the US.  I’ve been going for years and I’ve never had a bad day’s fishing.   This year I went out with Luis, my usual  fishing guide.  There was supposed to be another guy - but he didn’t show - so Luis took me out for three hours at the cost of two.  At fifty bucks an hour….  You do the math.  I caught, three chorra (small tuna like fish), one fifty pound swordfish (which I tried unsuccessfully to release) and two thirty pound mahi mahi’s.  I kept the smaller mahi mahi and donated the rest to the village.
Susan at the Bahia Restauarant

I’ve been complaining to my friends that the older I get the faster time seems to go by.  I’ve finally found a cure for that – Yelapa.  Time stands still here.  I pointed this out  to my wife Michele.  She told me that the battery in the wall clock had died.  I replaced the battery with a brand new one and nothing’s changed, so I think she’s wrong: time does stand still here.  So if you want to live forever, come to Yelapa.  You won’t actually live forever, it will just seem that way.

Another irrefutable sign that time moves slower here is the internet:  At home I can download an episode of NCIS in a little over three minutes.  Here the best estimate I’ve gotten is 12 hours!

I’ll be posting any exciting news from here from time to time, and I’m going to continue my practice of re-posting some of my earlier adventures around the world which I have shared with many of you.

If you’re heading down Puerto Vallarta way, drop in for a visit.  We’re here till the end of February – which is like…   forever.

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