The Coast

For me, no road trip to Mexico would be complete without a visit to Zihuatenejo. That being said, I did very little this time in the way of taking pictures, due in part I think to my need to remember it the way it was rather than the way it is. With somewhere close to 100 times the population that it had on my first visit more than 40-years ago, it is hard not to be nostalgic.

Even my old friend Tania, who has lived here for nearly as long as I've been coming, is so caught up in the bustle of the place that she was as hard to pin down for a photo as were her high-strung hairless Aztec temple dogs. Even their solitary tufts of hair have gone completely gray.

At about seventy-five meters above the far end of Play La Ropa, the walk up to Tania's once was the highest viewpoint on this end of the beach. There is now a road that goes more than a kilometer up to huge gated estates. The bay which would perhaps draw the occasional yacht once or twice a month now has a half dozen or more at any given time. The hilsides beyond the town in the distance once a verdant green, are now covered with houses to near the very tops.

Some things though still remain. Although her husband Sylviano has long since parted, my old friend Ernestina still presides over the restaurant named for her daughter Elvira at right. When we first met, Ernestina and Sylviano were divers selling oysters and clams each day from on top of an orange crate on the beach. Elvira, now 43, was just four-years-old. There restaurant is one of the mainstays here on La Ropa.

Food is one of the few things left here that get me worked up enough to photograph. On top are coconut crusted shrimp with tamarind sauce, and shrimp diablo on the bottom.

Heading south from Zihuat we would typically break the trip to Puerto Escondido up with a stop in Pie de la Cuesta. This time however we decided to go a little farther to Playa Ventura which is a little closer to half way. Although the beach is perfect for anyone who seeks total solitude the town has almost no amenities. Karen stops to point out her namesake super liquor store. This place should not be confused with the equally pink Hotel Doña Celsa across the street, which is run by a perfectly rude and genuinely unpleasant old lady. We did however happen upon a pizza place completely by chance. It was totally dark by 7:30 but when we pulled into the driveway of this place about a mile-and-a-half out of town, the lights came on as soon as we blew the horn and the proprieter rushed out to wave us in. The picture of this place (below) was downloaded off their Facebook page. Il Giardino was not just one of the best pizzas in Mexico, its one of the best I've had anywhere.

Not only was the pizza outstanding but these friendly siblings perched themselves on the windowsill next to our table much to Karen's delight.

In Puerto Escondido it is mostly surfers that rule the waves. Click on the image above to watch him boogie.

The beach front road at Playa Zicatela is mostly motorscooters and a variety of surf buggies like this  55 above. It was just a few days of relaxed unwinding before heading a few klicks farther south to San Agustinillo.

There is a spot a few miles from here that is the southernmost point in the state of Oaxaca. It is a little disorienting to see the sun rise in the Pacific Ocean, but that is exactly what is happening here in this shot facing east from the porch of our hotel room. The waves here are a little more user frienndly then those at Puerto Escondido up the coast.

We splurged a bit on the room here for its premium location and attentive staff. The fact that the place had an Italian chef who also road a V-Strom didn't hurt either.

And the seafood doesn't get much fresher than this. This guy was selling prawns as big as the palm of your hand, while later in the day we watched fishermen unload wheelbarrows full of meter long dorado.

Thirteen miles inland toward the town of Pochutla the meat contingent was not to be outdone. Known far and wide around here this restaurant La Finca del Vaquero does a parillada that includes an Argentine sausage, a smoked pork chop, juicy arrachera, and some of the best ribs I've ever eaten without any sauce at all to help them.